Healthy and Sane

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Candy is the scariest thing about Halloween

October 30th, 2010 · 30 Comments · baking

Who’s doing something fun this weekend? Are you dressing up? I have to say that I never really got into the whole Halloween thing. We didn’t have anything like that when I was growing up. In Israel (where I went to middle school) purim was kind of fun (same idea, you get to dress up to school, etc.) but there was no trick-or-treating tradition attached to it. My favorite thing about Halloween these days is all the pretty holiday-themed dishes, napkins, etc… and then of course there is an excuse to bake your heart out and make it spooky. πŸ˜‰

I went to a new Weight Watchers meeting yesterday. I didn’t weigh-in. I just wanted to listen to some inspirational messages and I did. The leader was very much into Halloween; she got all dressed up and brought a giant bag with all the scary toys – spiders, skulls, etc. – but the scariest thing she pulled out of that thing was a fun-sized Butterfinger. For someone that’s actively trying to lose weight (heck, even maintain it) this candy craze is definitely the scariest thing about Halloween. And we need to have a plan to deal with it, otherwise it’s easy to erase all the hard work of previous weeks. And for what?

In past years Halloween marked the beginning of the weight-gaining season for me. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, and of course Christmas, right around this time my mind already started forming excuses and planning to start losing all that weight come January 1. You all know how big of a sweet tooth I have, but you know what, I NEVER eat candy bars… except for the weeks leading up and right around Halloween. Why? What’s so special about this week? Is it the “fun sized” packages? Those fun sized packages aren’t so fun when they cause depression for many months to come. One fun-sized snickers bar (one of my favorites!!) is 99 calories. I could eat like 10 of them. Easy! Yet I would never even think about grabbing a regular sized bar, which is less than 3 fun sized bar’s worth. Those little packages are misleading. No more!

I think there are a lot of articles going around this time about how to prevent overeating candy on Halloween. Here the reasons why I thinkΒ  this stuff just ain’t worth it!

– Every single (traditional) candy bar out there is full of junk ingredients. I’m not talking processed sugar; I’m talking real junk – partially hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup (you can read more about the dangers of PHOs here and HFCS here). I normally avoid anything with these ingredients like poison. I know I won’t drop dead if I have 1 candy bar but again… if all year long I’m doing my best to eat mostly organic, unprocessed, artificial ingredients and junk free foods – why would I make an exception this time of year? Is it because it’s free and in my face? Not worth it!!

– There are alternatives – Most candy you see out there has junk but I am not really into deprivation so if I really want candy, I seek for their organic counterparts. You will never see that nasty ingredients list in Newman’s Own Organics peanut butter cups. You can also make your own! I literally just watched Giada make peppermint patties (recipe here) which can replace your favorite York peppermint patties (which have artificial flavoring) and earlier in the month Jen posted recipes for her own fun sized “snickers candy bars,” “3 musketeer candy bars” and “milky way candy bars.” Instead of filling up on cheap candy, you can savor the homemade variety. I will bet any amount of money that it will taste better and you will be proud of your little creations (so you won’t feel the need to see how many you can stuff in your mouth at one time… not that I’ve ever done that πŸ˜‰ )

– If I’m honest with myself, I’d rather have a real baked good instead of super sugary candy. Again, it’s about quality vs. quantity. Treat yourself to something sweet and delicious from your favorite bakery or make your own. I made pumpkin cheesecake brownies (recipe here; I doubled the recipe and followed the original measurements… i.e. not Jen’s subs) on Thursday for Adam’s work party and really enjoyed this Halloween/fall themed treat. Who needs candy when there are brownies and cheesecake competing for my stomach capacity!?

This last tip I actually heard from one of the WW members and I thought it was a really good one. If you have trick or treaters come to your house on Halloween, you probably stocked up on candy. What do you do with all the excess the next day? We don’t have kids come to our condo but if we did, I would buy the stuff I don’t like and bring the rest to the office come Monday. But this I thought was fun – dump the rest of it into the last kid’s bag! I am sure the kid will feel like he just won the lottery and you won’t have tempting candy calling your name from the pantry the next morning. Isn’t it such a good idea? πŸ˜€

Last but not least, enjoy this season full of smiles. We had a giant party at work yesterday and the kids were so excited. I was not tempted one bit to eat candy, I just tried to soak up all that positive energy!!

All right, and with that – I’m off! Have an awesome weekend!!

Do you love candy? Is this a difficult time of the year for you? What mind games prevent you from stuffing yourself silly of candy?

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Reach for bread-y things when you’re low on time!

October 27th, 2010 · 22 Comments · sandwich

I’ve had a busy couple of weeks. That means I haven’t been cooking much and I miss it. Of course not really cooking doesn’t mean that I haven’t been eating real meals so I thought I’d share with you what I’m talking about.

So what does no time mean? Lots of salads and bread-y things with fillings/toppings. Yes, one might call them sandwiches. πŸ˜†

There was the bread-y thing called a wrap. With turkey, avocado, hummus and tomato. Let’s not forget the baby carrotsΒ  + pickle on the side!

There was a bread-y thing called a pretzel-baguette. Mmmm. This sandwich was killer! TJ’s organic savory baked tofu (the best!!!) with avocado, tomatoes and mustard. And yes, a pickle.

Then we got a different kind of carb – a crunchy corn tortilla with shrimp, avocado, tomatoes and queso fresco.

Ooh, this one was kind of amazing as well. Homemade roasted red peppers (prepared earlier), tomatoes, spicy hummus, avocado and pickled greens beans on black bean bread. The pickled greens beans were the stars although my roasted red peppers are pretty sick as well. πŸ˜‰

With yummy sandwiches like that, who needs this bread-y thing? Pshh! πŸ˜‰

What’s your favorite super fast meal when you’re really low on time?

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Week 6 weigh-in: let’s change things up again

October 26th, 2010 · 37 Comments · weigh-in recaps

This is week 6 of my weight loss recap journey. If you follow me on twitter, you probably already know I don’t have good news of this week. The scale showed absolutely no movement. I am exactly the same weight at last week – 157.0 lbs. I had a bad feeling about it last night despite the fact that I truly think my week was better than last. I felt like I was much more focused. I brought a big bag of baby carrots + a container of hummus and snacked on those mid-afternoon. I didn’t eat out this past weekend (no really on purpose, just how the plans turned out). On the flip side, there were a few too many cookies at the pumpkin carving party,Β  I had sandwiches (purchased out) 2 days of the week (I very rarely buy lunch) and only worked out 4 times (one of these was early morning and I am pretty much useless at that hour). SO, a mixed week but I really felt I did better. The scale showed me all I needed to know though. It’s time to change things up.

I’m going back to calorie counting. I used to LOVE it but have definitely fallen out of that habit and I’m not excited to do it again. But it’s time. I know it works and I know I can no longer tip-toe around this issue. I will get back to my normal weight. I guarantee you that. I haven’t really decided on the range of calories I’d like to target at the moment. I’d like to just track for a few days to see where just mindful eating gets me. I can tell you that I thought I was a saint today and I’m over 1,700 calories. I don’t even want to know what I was eating before that. This is going to be a good thing.

How do you keep your portions reasonable? What low calorie foods keep you full? I did the protein shake after dinner trick today and really enjoyed it. I can definitely see myself very easily going back to the kitchen for more, so it’s not a magic pill or anything, but if I’m honest I am satisfied so the kitchen is closed for the night. πŸ˜€

I’ll be back tomorrow with food pictures. Yeah, this is a food blog after all. Don’t worry, I didn’t forget. πŸ˜‰

PS – Thank you all for the amazingly supportive comments on Russian Bites. I plan on posting there twice a week. I cooked a bunch of food before launching the blog (and of course will continue to do so) so hopefully there won’t be any shortage of material. Russian food is quite versatile. You’re going to have to follow my journey there to see for yourself. πŸ˜€

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