Soapbox: I Will Cut You, or how I am learning to love who I am

I’m done dieting and obsessing over working out.  Yep, I said it.  I know this will come as a shock to some people, but I usually do not get that euphoric high from working out.  I do not bound delightfully to the gym, excited for todays adventures in spinning or running.  If I am running, the Zombie Apocalypse is upon us and you should run in the same direction.

In addition, I enjoy eating the following on a regular basis: Bread; Cheese (Saga Blue Brie is my favorite); Butter; Ice Cream; Milk.  Normally regular Coke Classic would e on my list but I’ve been off the Coca-Cola Classic Crack for a week..and it is PAINFUL! #thestruggle

However, the point is that I don’t want a diet filled with only one type of food, that restricts other types that I really adore, or that fills me full of tastebud altering chemicals that mimic what I really want to be eating (Fat-Free Cheese is the devil….just saying).  In fact, it may be surprising to find out that I typically don’t even eat enough already.  What?!  A woman who is larger than a size 4 does not eat 500 thousand calories a day to get that way?!  Yes, folks!  It’s true.  I have to work to eat 1,660 calories in a day, which is what myfitnesspal says I should be eating.  Sometimes I make it, sometimes I exceed it, but most days I’m well under.

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Normally I am a worry wart about my weight.  I worry when I eat, I worry when I don’t work out.  I worry when a pair of pants fits a little too snugly.  I hate shopping some days.  However, what really bothers me is that I am NOT worried because of my health.  I am worried because I have learned to covet every scrap of real and faux approval I get due to my size.  Very murmur that I am thin, small, fit, pretty, so on.  Each and every morsel of approval I pocket and keep for a rainy day.  Since honestly, I’m a former fat kid — and its nice for someone to say more than “You have a pretty face.”

But kids, its HARD keeping up appearances.  When I go into Fall exams, I always gain weight — and get sick.  That time is the worse — so I’m fat AND sick. What?  I’m exhausted, I’m stressed, I’m worried about grades, and then someone comes up and mentions that I’ve put on a little weight.  Ya’ll better be glad that I want to run for office someday and can’t cut you….

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Fit Eating: Panera Bread Chilled Shirimp & Soba Noodle Salad

So recently I’ve been kind of hard on Panera – and then I abandoned her. I think I eat more Panera during the school year (because I can work the trip by the quick service restaurant into my commute) than normal. The closest one to my home is at our local mall, so parking is a nightmare. Further, in all honesty I’ve been cooking way more now that I live more full-time with my husband-to-be than ever. He only eats one meal a day during the week, so if I can I try to make sure it’s a good, healthy, home-cooked one.

However today, I made an emergency nail salon appointment since my poor shellac had run its course and found myself hungry and near a local Panera.

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Oh what to try, what to try! So I went old school and new school — I ordered the “You Pick 2” combo with a cup of the “All Natural Bistro Onion Soup” and a half of the “Chilled Shrimp & Soba Noodle Salad.” The onion soup was delicious as always. Hot and creamy, with deep onion notes and creamy cheese. They tossed in the crunch croutons right at the perfect time since some still gave me crunch, and a few had began to soak up the soup [Stats: Calories – 190; Fat- 9g; Carbs- 21g; Fiber-1g; Protein – 7g].

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Shrimp & Soba Noodle Salad

So now for the new.  The Shrimp & Soba Noodle Salad is one of the seasonal offerings that Panera has launched for the warmer months. The company describes the salad with a colorful story:

At Panera, our decision to only use the best ingredients often takes us on a journey. Like traveling to Thailand and beyond for the most delicious shrimp we could find. Which inspired us to create our new Chilled Shrimp & Soba Noodle Salad. Our shrimp is cooked with the shell on to keep all of the flavor in. Then, after the shell is removed, we add tender soba noodles tossed with Napa cabbage and peanut sauce and finish it with our orange miso dressing for a taste worth exploring.

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Over all….it’s not half bad. I’ll admit I am

less than enthusiastic about the soba noodles. They tasted crunch at first, and now that they have warmed up a bit the

y are more chewy. Perhaps that is how s

oba noodles are SUPPOSED to be — but I don’t particularly love the mouth feel on a personal level (plus they are getting stuck in my teeth). The shrimp (I had three large ones on my half salad) were plump, juicy and well cooked (e.g. not either underdone or rubbery). The nappa cabbage hiding in the noodles was crisp and refreshing (yes yes I picked some of the cabbage out of the offending noodles) and the peanut sauce was delicious. I also liked the orange miso dressing, which

pairs well with the handfull of crisp spinach that they toss in the bowl. Further, the stats are not half bad [Stats: Calories – 350g; Fat – 11g; Carbs – 44g; Fib

er – 6g; Protein – 19g]. Since this is the second thing I’ve eaten today I still have over 100 calories to eat, not counting the adjustment MyFitnessPal would make based on the exercise I’ll do in a little while.

So is this a totally light bit of Fit eating? No…I’m sure folks could make a 50 calorie salad — but for me the protein stats are impressive for a lapband patient, and the meal generally agrees with my surgery conflicted tummy. Good job Panera — what’s next for fall?

Fit Eating: Instant Steel Cut Oats

I admit it, I’m spoiled.   When I’m at my fiance’s house overnight during the work week — I wake up to a bubbling mini-crock pot of steel cut oatmeal.  He puts it on before he leaves for work, and by the time I get up — have a cup of joe — check some email or do some school work , it’s ready to dive into.   He makes these super creamy pots of tasty goodness.  I dribble in a touch of maple syrup, and a little pat of butter for creaminess.  Then that’s that — breakfast is in my tummy.  If have to leave the house early to make it to school (which is about an hour+ away) or to work/internship (if its during the summer months) I pack it away in a little plastic tub and eat it at my desk (maybe after a quick run in the microwave to make it piping hot).

So the first question I usually get when I eat at school or my desk is what is that — then some folks go on by asking what is the difference between regular oatmeal and steel cut oatmeal.  In all honesty — I looked this up for the purpose of this blog.  What I can say though is that I appreciate the thick rough texture of the steel cut oats over the more gloppy normal oatmeal.

According to the website BakingBites:

Steel cut oats, also known as Irish oats or pinhead oats, are whole oat groats that have been chopped into large pieces and make a minimally processed cereal with a good oat flavor and a hearty texture. They are different from regular oatmeal because of the way that the oats are processed. Most oatmeal is made by rolling the oats under heavy rollers until they are flat, then lightly steaming and toasting them. This process makes the oatmeal cook quickly and have a soft, tender texture to it. Steel cut oats resemble very small, coarse grains of rice. They have a coarser texture than rolled oats and the oatmeal has a chewier texture, as well as an even more pronounced oat flavor to it.

Further, here is an interesting article on Steel Cut vs Rolled Oats from MotherJones of all places that discusses the nutritional value and environmental impact of the two oat competitors: http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2010/04/steel-cut-rolled-oats-oatmeal.

However — today I am not at the Farm.  Today, I am at my other home.  I live most of the time with my mom, and then the rest with the fiance.  My plan is to be a one house woman by the end of the summer, but sometimes its just easier to crash at my moms.  I get to make sure she’s doing okay.  Make sure there is food in the house (usually not), and play with the Wonder Corgi.   So up I am this AM before my board meeting, and I spied some Instant Steel Cut Oats.   Hrm.  I’m sure I bought it — if it’s in my moms house and it is remotely healthy and/or fresh then I probably bought it.

The brand is Country Cook Organics Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats.  I really LOVE the Country Cook Organics Steel Cut Oats.  That is what we eat at the Farm when I can find it, if not we go to the bulk bin at our local co-op for a few refill scoops.  So I figured this would be good as well.   You open the box and there are packets just like old-school instant oatmeal.   You drop it in a deep dish with 3/4 cup of water, and then microwave it on 1/2 power for 2 minutes — stir, repeat, and then wait about a minute. Stirred in a bit of brown sugar and margarine (no real butter and maple syrup at me madres….sigh) and took a bite. [Nutrition Facts here — one serving plain is 4 weight watcher points)

So then you are left with the photo below — (if it looks a little yellow it’s because I photographed the dish over my sunny mustardy gold Isaac Mizrahi Coverlet ).  So my verdict is that it just isn’t the same.  By making it quick cooking — I get more of a normal gooey mushy oatmeal breakfast over that chewy, rough, thick texture that I have come to love waking up to.  I’m not saying it’s a bad product — but I am saying for me it is not a substitute for the real thing.  I’d rather just have regular oatmeal if I’m pressed for time.

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