Tag Archives: Quinoa

Looking Too Far Forward

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Confession: Recently, I’ve been having a bit of trouble seeing the forest through the trees with regard to my fiance and our future.

I’ll think to myself (read: stage-whisper with contempt), If he doesn’t like eating quinoa now, he never will. 

If he doesn’t start running this summer, he’s never going to train for that 5k.

If he doesn’t make time to look at rehearsal dinner venues, we’ll never find one.

[It’s all very dramatic. Obviously.]

What it really boils down to is this: Somehow, through all my “drunk soapboxes,” low-blood-sugar-fueled-bitch-fests, and fits of frustration and selfishness, I have somehow held on to a guy who thinks I hang the moon. He’s patient, he’s thoughtful, he makes me laugh every single day, and I believe he would literally do anything for me.

So what’s the problem??

Instead of fretting that he’s a meat-and-potatoes guy who prefers French fries to quinoa, the world (most likely) isn’t going to stop turning if our carbs come from different sources.

If running isn’t Ian’s thing and his profession demands that he study from 8:00-6:00, it doesn’t affect my running schedule.

Just because we haven’t found a rehearsal dinner venue 16 months in advance yet doesn’t mean that everything is booked up. I should be thanking my lucky stars that I have a fiance who is interested in the planning, who renders legitimate and realistic opinions, and who is so much more than the stereotypical “Whatever you want, Dear” wedding-planning type.

Recently, I’ve been so focused on The Future and all of the difficult decisions and life changes it encompasses that I’ve completely forgotten to simply slow down and enjoy the moment with Ian, as cliché as it sounds.

I’ve been much more wrapped up in the “what-ifs” and the unplanned aspects of our wedding than I have the fact that we are blessed enough to have families who get along splendidly with each other; the fact that we have parents who support our life decisions and our choices; and the fact that we are lucky enough to have hard-working families who are willing to give us the dream wedding we envision.

I’ve been concentrating so much on the next time I’ll see Ian that it causes petty disputes and unnecessary bickering that sometimes ruins the few hours we are spending with each other now.

I’ve been so caught up in my own head with decisions like Rent vs. Buy and Farmer’s Market vs. Whole Foods that sometimes I literally forget that I have another year of grad school — plus that all-too-important factor called GETTING A JOB — before any of this comes into play.

I need to stop and smell the flowers, so to speak. This is my wake-up call to myself.

The point is, I need to focus on what we do have instead of what we don’t; the time we can spend together as opposed to the time we can’t; the aspects of our wedding we have planned as opposed to the minute details which can wait; and the positive, the good, and the fortune I have in my life as opposed to the things which, quite frankly, don’t matter.

I’m still a work in progress, but hey, it’s a start.

“The future depends on what you do today.” –Mahatma Gandhi

Drawing Conclusions

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My week-long nutrition calculating culminated yesterday!

(Geez, what is with this woman?! She won’t stop talking about protein and carbs! Enough already!)

I know, right? 😉

First, let me just say that writing down every morsel I put into my mouth was tedious and at times, difficult. I found that without actually altering the amount of food I was planning to eat to suit this task, I did measure a number of foods I normally wouldn’t (e.g. number of Wheat Thins, tablespoons of salsa, teaspoons of salad dressing). Without knowing the amount I was eating, nutrition labels would have been all but useless. Also, it was eye-opening to see how many so-called servings of food I actually consume when I bypass measuring and just eat. That said, here are the last few stats*:

Monday — 262.5g carbohydrates, 65g protein (woohoo!), 48g fat, 26g fiber

Tuesday — 231.5g carbohydrates, 76g protein (score!), 56g fat, 28.5g fiber (win!)

Conclusions
To be honest, I can’t draw too many conclusions other than that I’m not consuming enough in any category every single day. I hit my protein intake mark three days out of five, so that’s nothing to scoff at! I only hit my fiber mark twice, so I’ll be looking into how to up my fiber intake per diem. I never hit my carbohydrates or fat marks.

Reactions
I am one hundred percent surprised that I never once hit my RDV fat or carbs intake marks. Before I began tabulating everything, I thought surely I consumed enough fat and carbs to satisfy the RDV requirements (and probably several other people’s, as well). Perhaps this is where the answer to my personal hunger games lies; carbohydrates fuel the body through strenuous exercise as well as daily living, while saturated fats satiate the body and make it feel artificially full. Perhaps if I am not eating enough of either, my body is going into conservation mode because it never detects fullness and therefore feels that it needs to hold on to fat reserves and sources of energy. In a circular effect, my body needs ample fat and carbohydrate intake to signal it to allow me to lose weight through diet and exercise without feeling the need to hold on to those nutrients. This could be the answer to my weight-loss plateau, as well. Many people told me that at the beginning of my weight-loss journey, I would shed pounds like they were nothin’. Further down the road, they said, I would hit a plateau and it would seem as if I’d never lose another pound (for most people, I assume that’s how those “last ten pounds” feel). I’ve been hovering around the same weight for a few months now with little noticeable progress. I think I may have finally found my answer! Now, uncovering the solution to my intake woes is another story… Looks like more research is next on my to-do list!

Typically
A typical day in meals looks like this — Breakfast: coffee + Splenda + a splash of skim milk, Greek yogurt, Kashi cereal + fresh fruit; Lunch: spinach salad with cucumber, tomato, broccoli, baby carrots, and Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing (or) quinoa bowl with shredded lettuce, quinoa, sour cream, fresh salsa, black beans (or) hearty soup (Italian Wedding-Style, Mexican Tortilla, French Onion, Homestyle Chicken Noodle); Snacks: almonds, Asian pears, Wheat Thins, KIND bars, bananas, blue corn tortilla chips + fresh salsa; Dinner: pasta + sauce (or) hearty soup [if not for lunch], fresh tomato + cucumber slices in apple cider vinegar + black pepper; Late snacks: frozen fruit, sugar-free Jell-O, decaf coffee + flavored creamer

*Just as a refresher, I based my “stats” on the recommended daily value for a 2,000-calorie diet; I currently have no precise way to measure how many calories I burn or need to take in per day. Also, I did not include my weekend meals, as they were atypical of my diet, eaten at a restaurant, or homemade sans nutrition info.

HELP! I’d love any suggestions you have for how to increase my intake in any of these nutritional categories! I like to eat as many “whole” foods as possible, without a lot of the processed stuff and without calorie-counting.

What Does That Even Mean?!

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Steel-cut oats.
Quinoa.
Chia.
“Whole.”
Roasted vegetables.
Kale chips.
“Clean eating.”
Gluten-free.
“Natural.”
Superfood.
Sea salt.
“Raw.”
Coconut water.
Grass-fed beef.
And of course, the catch-all, the big O: organic.

Raise your hand if you know what all of these words pertain to. Well, okay, so I can’t exactly see your hand raised. (Or not raised.)

These are all buzzwords I’ve heard floating around the wellness and healthy-living spheres during the past year. Quite frankly, I didn’t know what the hell most of them meant until I did extensive research and label-reading. I am not ashamed to admit now that until I tried most of these things for myself, I didn’t at all fully understand their nutritional value or their merit as part of my diet. Okay, let’s be honest — I didn’t know most of these things existed until I ran across them in someone’s blog or the newspaper or on Twitter.

I know I’m not alone in this. We hear something (e.g. steel-cut oats) and we pretend that we know exactly what that is (a different way of cutting oats? a different type of oats altogether?) until we can look it up on Wikipedia or secretly Google it on our cells under the table. I’m not a Registered Dietician or a physician, so I don’t know the biochemical breakdown of every single food I stuff into my gob (i.e. why all of a sudden everyone is gluten-free). Honestly, I don’t see the benefit in pretending to like something just because it’s popular in some social circles or in defying ignorance for the sake of dietary sophistication.

Should I be using fat-free plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream atop my vegan chili? The operative word here is “should.” I should be eating whatever it is that I’m comfortable eating.

What exactly are the benefits of drinking coconut water as opposed to good ol’ H2O? Besides my wallet losing weight…

I’m all for research and experimenting with different foods. That has been the name of my game over the past 11 months. But I’m over feigning understanding about why peanut butter is out and almond butter is in. I’m done nodding and smiling and saying, “Yep, mmhmm,” when someone raves about a particular brand of herbal tea. My eyes are probably glazing… but don’t worry — it’s not you, it’s me. I surrender to the almighty foodie powers that be: I don’t know everything! I don’t think heaven has reserved seating for vegans, while those ignorant to the existence of granola are banished to the smokers’ lounge. Just sayin’ 😉

P.S. Your comments are always welcome and appreciated!

Fall Recipe Favorite: Quinoa Bowls

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Wednesday night was the first quinoa bowl of the season. I vowed to take pictures, but I was too ravenous. Thursday afternoon, I made a bowl with the leftovers, and I thought ahead enough to snap a few photos.

I shared quinoa bowls with you on my previous site, Girl Emerging, but I’ll share them again because they’re one of my favorite vegetarian recipes. Even though I’m an omnivore now, I still relish a lot of my vegetarian faves.

This recipe serves two heartily. You’ll need: boxed stovetop quinoa (or about 2 C), a bag of shredded lettuce, fresh salsa–you know, from the nice part of the store–or pico de gallo, a medium-sized can of black or pinto beans, sour cream, and cilantro (if desired).

First, I start with a generous helping of shredded lettuce.

I top it with a half-cup or so of quinoa. Or in this case, my quinoa and rice blend. I’m a big fan of Far East products from Kroger. I’ve really been trying to steer clear of processed foods, but boxed quinoa products are so manageable and sensible for me.

From there, I add a half-cup or so of black or pinto beans.

Lastly, I top the bowl with whatever my heart desires. Usually that means fat-free sour cream, fresh salsa or pico de gallo, and “sprinkly cheese.” Today, that meant sour cream and diced organic tomato.

How can you go wrong with a dish so deliciously full of fun, flavor, and nutrition?!