Vegetables. Those things your parents made you eat so you could have what you really wanted: cake. As an adult, I now eat it to be healthy. And also, so afterwards I can have cake. As I attempt to lose weight, I know that vegetables are a way to get nutrients I need, while also providing fiber to keep me full longer. But besides just throwing them on top of salads, or using them in their natural form, how do you shove them down your gullet while not feeling intense sadness? Creativity, friends, creativity.
As I try to eat more healthy meals, I know that cutting back on “empty carbs” (white rice, white bread, pasta, sugars- really, a war on whites) is necessary to feel full longer and get the nutrients I need. BUT- it also means my food tastes like sadness and regret. So figuring out how to work more healthy food into my diet that I actually WANT to eat is important. And I find that hiding the vegetables in my food (as if I were a toddler) is the best way to do this.
Cutting out starches and grains is never going to happen for me. I love them. But I’ve started changing the types of grains I eat. I use brown rice instead of white, I use whole grain pasta (I also tried the veggie enriched pasta, but it wasn’t as good for you as you might think), and I do whole wheat bread rather than white. Having grains that are higher in fiber allows me to eat less and not feel like I’m starving (which results in my eating an entire cake rather than one piece).
Adding vegetables to many of my staple foods became easier as recipes and products became more available. Many of these items are billed as replacements for the item you’ve been eating for years. Cauliflower mashed potatoes instead of white potatoes, replace your rice with riced veggies (vegetables shredded into small pieces that resemble rice), thin spiral cut vegetables in place of pasta. I have tried all of the above, and while good, I did not find to be a true “suitable replacement” for the items they claim they are just like. However, using these items with the original is an excellent option. I added riced cauliflower to my rice in chicken tikka masala, and found that it added a perfect taste to the dish without taking anything away from the original. I would have missed having no rice, but cutting back on the rice and adding finely cut cauliflower was the perfect compromise. The same is true of baked and mashed potatoes. Mixing cauliflower into the potatoes is subtle, not overpowering. Mashed cauliflower is not a true replacement for mashed potatoes, but adding them in with potatoes gives you a serving of comfort food with a serving of health, and that’s a compromise I think most people can make without feeling like they’re compromising at all. And that’s what every diet needs.
If I was told that in order to be healthy I could only eat bananas and brussel sprouts I would die of starvation and grief in no time. However, when I find things that I like and that I know are good for me, I have no problem loading up on them. And adding veggies to your current recipes is far easier than you might think:
Use a grater or food processor to make raw vegetables “rice sized”
Add to your favorite recipes and season/cook as required
Cook cauliflower until soft
mash into paste
Add to mashed or baked potatoes, season as required
Use a peeler or food processor to create “spaghetti noodle” vegetables (usually squash, cucumber, and zucchini are best for this)
Add to pasta, season as required
DONE. Easy. Simple. Even someone who sucks at most things like I do can do this. And that says a lot.
And if this all seems like too much work, the frozen aisle of most grocery stores sells products that are fast and little to no work. Green Giant has riced veggies, cauliflower mashed potatoes, and even veggie tater tots. I tried the Broccoli and Cheese Veggie Tots by Green Giant, and they were very good. Again, not a replacement for tater tots, but an excellent substitute. I am also a fan of anything covered in cheese (ANYTHING- cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting are one of the most delicious things on earth), so the advantages of a broccoli cheese veggie tot is not lost on me.
Making comfort foods healthy is not always possible, and there is a time when loading up on mac and cheese is just a necessary guilty pleasure. But when done right, adding some nutrition to an overall non-nutritious dish is possible. Vegetables can be used in most dishes to add flavor and substance to a meal, without giving up all the flavor you love. Making a dish healthy is great, but if it tastes like dirt and depression, you will not want to eat it. But adding vegetables in creative ways to dishes you love is a way to eat healthy AND happy- and that is well worth the effort.
I recently decided to upgrade my Fitbit to something a bit more fashionable- and purchased the Samsung Gear S2 Classic in rose gold. I have to say, I am pretty darn pleased with the function and look. It is more a “watch” than a “fitness tracker”, but if you want something that looks like you drink smoothies for lunch WITH YOUR PINKIES UP- then this is the watch for you. It does everything the Fitbit does, but, in my humble opinion (and that’s the only one that matters here, this is MY blog) looks and functions better. But life isn’t all about looks (which you would never know by reading my rants- this is a fitness blog called Fatty’s Fitness Forum and I talk about how fat I am, and how a new body would be marvelous), substance is needed to sustain you. Lucky for me this watch is more than just a “trophy wife”- it has multiple redeeming qualities beyond just looks.
Besides doing everything my Charge HR did, the Gear S2 has a lot of features that my former Fitbit lacked. The watch is round, and has a rotating bezel that changes the watch face. The first face is just the standard watch face, allowing you to see time, date, month, etc (you choose the style, so it can include different things). I then set up the faces in the order I prefer. Face 2 is my step counter, 3 is the heart rate monitor, and 4th is an exercise tracker where you can set they type of workout you are performing. I don’t often use this, but it is available as needed. The watch itself picks up on workouts and starts a timer. Based on heart rate it determines if you are walking, running, etc and sets the workout type under the timer. This is nice because when the workout ends, it gives you a total time you were performing a task. The apps are also a great addition that my Fitbit did not have.
Standard Face Heart Rate Monitor
(picture from Samsung’s site)
Inactive Watch Face App watch face
I added a calculator to my Gear S2, because it comes in handy at work. But this isn’t a “I can do calculus in my head while playing D&D” calculator watch, more a “I need to take my glass of champagne with me while calculating out my Rolls Royce payment” type of watch. Adding apps and changing the faces on this watch is super simple, which is great when you’re me and not a tech mastermind. I also find the step counter to be more accurate than my Fitbit was, which is a bonus when you want to track your activity for the day.
The app for my phone is where I have the most qualms. When you install the app for the phone, a secondary app needs to be added to track fitness related items. The Samsung Health (S Health) app is average, and this is where Fitbit has Samsung beat. The app is not terrible, but I don’t rank it as highly. I don’t like how the calorie totals are calculated- Fitbit includes your RMR (resting metabolic rate) in along with the calories you burned through activity, so it shows a total you burned that day. S Health only includes what was burned that day through activity, so it does not give me an idea of the whole picture.
The food tracker on the app could use a larger library- it does not have all the brands for every food, and the calorie totals are hard to determine. It lists foods as serving size and grams, so it’s difficult to know what that is in cups, tablespoons, etc. Remember how I suck at math and installed a calculator? Determining grams in a cup is a thing I can’t do without Google. And by then I have eaten my entire meal and don’t want to enter it into the counter anyway (screw you diet! I curse you and your demand that I count calories!). I have linked S Health with MyFitnessPal, but am still stumbling through having them talk to each other.
Step totals on app
The only other concern I have with my Gear S2 is the band. I bought the Gear S2 Classic in rose gold, which comes with a white leather band. A WHITE band. You put anything white on me and it 1. Blends in with my pasty white-like-milk skin and 2. Gathers all kinds of gunk, grime, and perspiration. When using this watch for working out, the leather band turns yellow in no time. No matter how much I wipe it down or clean it, it yellows.
The one great thing about this band is it was simple to take off. There are spring snaps on the band that are easy to pop in and out. And then stay locked when you are wearing the watch, so the band does not come loose. I replaced my band with a rubber watch band, and this worked great. I highly recommend getting a more durable watch band for everyday use, and use the leather bands for “upscale events”- like taking a glass of champagne with you to calculate out Rolls Royce payments.
I’ll stick to my doughnut ranking, and give this watch a 4.5 out of 5. The only Cons I have deal with the app and the band, not about the actual functioning of the product.
Looks great- like an expensive watch
Tons of apps
Monitors heart rate
Step counter is very accurate
Easy to use
White band turns to yellow in no time
S Health app needs a bigger library, and a “total calories burned”
A fairly expensive watch (they start at $250 and go up from there)
Overall, I highly recommend the Samsung Gear S2 Classic. Beautiful AND smart? This watch is like me, just less annoying, thinner, and more functional.
Cinco de Mayo is here friends. That one day a year that I can have a margarita for breakfast and its “festive” not a “serious alcohol problem”. When eating tacos for every meal is “fun” and not a “serious gastrointestinal event”. Knowing that celebrations in general require, by law, being a glutton- I plan to eat my fill.
Attempting to eat healthy is a difficult path when you love food. I didn’t become the fine looking fatty I am today by eating broccoli and lettuce. Attempting to eat healthy, but not have it taste like dirt and sadness, is important if you want to maintain it. And planning for a healthy option when things are about to get crazy (margaritas for breakfast crazy!) is putting out things I love, but that are also good for me.
Because my husband and I like different food, it can be difficult to agree on a healthy diet. That’s why my plan for this year is to set up a buffet. I am not a huge fish fan, but my husband is. Having a fish option allows him to make fish tacos if he’d like. I love shrimp and scallops. Grilling up seafood, chicken, beef, and other options allows for me to pick what I want. This also works with large groups- everyone can pick what they enjoy, build the foods they want, and have as many servings as they want.
I love avocado, and it’s a perfect topping on any kind of taco. They are calorie and fat dense (234 calories per cup and 21 grams of fat!), so coating every taco in them may not be the best idea. Now, the fat is mostly the good monounsaturated type, and avocados are a great source of many vitamins, but too much of a good thing blah blah I’m already fat I don’t need extra calories. So adding avocados along with other toppings is great, just don’t make an avocado taco topped with avocado and a side of avocado. Put other stuff on there too.
I also love spicy salsa, and I have an avocado lime salsa (more avocado!!) that I use with everything now. Herdez Avocado Salsa has a good spicy flavor, and is another healthy option for toppings- only 60 calories for 2 tablespoons. Because it’s a thin salsa, it works well on tacos in place of other sauces. Salsa and pico de gallo are other healthy options that add flavor. I also use nonfat Greek yogurt in place of sour cream. It has the perfect texture and flavor to work as a replacement, and has far fewer calories than low fat sour cream (35 calories for 2 tablespoons verses 60 calories in reduced fat sour cream). The other difference is that nonfat Greek yogurt tastes delightful, whereas low fat and nonfat sour cream tastes like caulk and looks like eel goo.
Finding healthy ways to eat things you love is important when trying to lose weight. You can’t cut out everything you love and expect to maintain any diet. I love tacos! Finding a new way to eat what you love, but do it better, is the best way to celebrate and maintain a fit physique. So go have a taco or 80- but top it with things that are good for you!