Sweet Silver Lining

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Why is Pizza So GOOD? July 31, 2009


spinachbacon pizza

Jamie once told me that pizza was the perfect food because you could add all of the food groups to it: bread, meat, veggies and fruit, cheese, oil. It has it all! Is this why we love it so much? All my friends know just how much of a sweets freak I am, but I would give up just about any sweet treat for a slice of good pizza. My favorite is feta cheese, spinach, and bacon. Yum yum!

So if it’s the perfect food, why do people who are trying to eat healthier avoid it so much? Let’s take a look at calories. The average person should get 2000 calories per day. That varies per person according to gender, age, height, and activity level.  To find out the minimum number of calories you need per day for your body to function properly, you need to find out your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and multiply it by 1.2 for a sedentary lifestyle.

http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/

You will need slightly more than this amount of calories per day as your activity increases. That would be the amount you need to maintain your weight. You would have to create a deficit to lose weight. If that person needs to lose weight, he or she must get fewer calories and/or burn off some of those calories through cardio. I’ll blog about that later.

The average slice of pepperoni pizza has about 330 calories. It doesn’t seem too bad, right? Do you stop at just one slice? Didn’t think so. Neither do I. Say I eat 3 slices (I can definitely eat more than that, though!). The calories for 3 slices of pepperoni pizza would be 990 calories! Already, I’ve consumed over half my daily calories in just one meal.

It’s amazing how many calories are in certain foods. Let’s pick on fast food because it’s quick and easy, and people love it.

Can I take your order?

Hardee’s Monster Thickburger: 1420

Taco Bell Mexican Pizza: 530

Arby’s Roast Beef and Swiss Sandwich: 777

Sonic Fritos Chili Pie: 940

Dairy Queen Chicken Strip Basket (6-piece): 1270

Arby’s Meatball Toasted Sub: 1000

Sonic Super Sonic Cheeseburger with mayo: 980 or with mustard: 890

Would you like fries with that?

McDonald’s Large Fries: 500

Chick-fil-A’s Large Waffle Fries: 420

Sonic Large Onion Rings: 640

How about a drink?

Sonic Route 44 Cherry-Limeade: 463

Dairy Queen Medium Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Blizzard: 1030

McDonald’s Triple Thick Chocolate Shake (32 oz.): 1160

Wendy’s Large Coke: 270

Sonic Strawberry-Banana Fruit Smoothie: 460

Burger King Mocha Iced Coffee (15.9 oz): 380

Sonic Chocolate Java Chiller (20 oz): 760

So you drive in to Sonic and order the following meal:

Sonic cheeseburger w/mustard (890) + a large order of onion rings (640) + a big cherry limeade (463) = 1993 calories! In just one meal, you’ve already eaten more calories than you should in an entire day.

Here’s a mindblower for ya. You go into Arby’s and think, I’ll just have a little sweet treat. Oh look, Arby’s Pecan Sticky Buns in a 4 pack. You can eat the whole thing, right? Who doesn’t like pecan sticky buns?…You just consumed 2751 calories! I hope you shared those with someone!

Up against a meal like that, pizza doesn’t sound so bad. Of course, it’s still not a great choice if you’re trying to lose weight. It’s very easy to let one’s weight creep up when high calorie food is regularly a part of the diet. I won’t even get into the gross amount of saturated fat that Sonic meal above has, which clogs the arteries and envelopes the heart and other organs, making them work harder as they push against the excess fat.

Check out this website to find out more about calories:

http://www.acaloriecounter.com/calorie-counting.php

I went with my aunt and mom to a diner today to eat lunch. I ordered fried green tomatoes as an appetizer because I absolutely love them. I decided I would have a “bad treat.” I don’t know if the cook didn’t cook them well or if I am just losing my taste for fried foods, but I didn’t enjoy them near as much as I used to. I have a recipe for a healthier baked version of fried green tomatoes that is so yummy! My husband couldn’t believe they weren’t fried. They were so tasty.

I originally intended for this to be just a random blog about my love for pizza and to maybe pacify my craving for it, and I ended up teaching again. *shruggz* Oh well! Maybe it wasn’t just chance that I picked teaching as my career.

:o)

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Am I ADD? July 29, 2009

Filed under: raNdOMnesS — dragonfly180 @ 9:24 am
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addbutterflyLOGO

Jamie and I have been debating this for a while now. Well, actually not debating it but confirming it with different instances that arise. It is so hard for me to concentrate on one thing at a time. In fact, I can’t think of a time when I really only concentrate on one thing. As I type this in Word, I’m checking Facebook, opening another blog document, and debating when to go in to work this morning, all before the first paragraph is finished! Maybe everyone does this.

I can’t read just one book from start to finish. I have at least five lying around my bedroom, because I get so bored, almost agitated, with reading just one. This was a terrible habit that I began to notice in grad school. Suddenly, I had to read an entire book from start to finish in a week for class. I would sit down to read, and before 30 minutes was up, I’d have laid down the book and jumped up to go where? I didn’t know. I just needed to get away from it. And that’s how it was nightly as I tried to get my work done. I think it’s one of the reasons I began running. That gave me a break from it. And writing papers? I wasn’t one who could wait until the last day or two to do it. It would take me a week or two to write one paper because my ideas were all over the place, and I was jumping up from the computer in frustration every 30 minutes or so or just minimizing it and concentrating on stuff on the Internet to get my mind off of it. Again, I’d feel agitated by doing one thing for so long, almost like someone was holding me down until I felt like I was fighting to get up. Strange, huh? Isn’t it funny that I chose running to “get away” from something that I felt was holding me down?

Monday, I went into my classroom, and there is so much to be done in there. I was running from one thing to another, getting half of this done and half of that done. Sometimes I just have to stop myself and say, “Finish this now,” or nothing will get done. Being like that is frustrating, because  you rarely feel like you accomplish anything. Cleaning my house is the same way; I work on five different things but rarely ever get any one thing totally finished.

Is it really ADD? Probably not. It’s probably just a weird part of my personality that I’ll have to deal with and learn to adjust if I can. It certainly makes me more compassionate for the kids who really have ADD and have to try to sit still and concentrate on one thing at a time in school all day long. It must be a huge challenge.

 

Healthy Lifestyle July 28, 2009

Filed under: fitness,food,hEaLtH — dragonfly180 @ 2:49 pm
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fit18

Mississippi has the highest rate of obesity for the third year in a row. Not only that, but two-thirds (that’s nearly 70%!!!) of Mississippians are overweight or obese. Wow! Here’s a link to read more about that.

http://calorielab.com/news/2008/07/02/fattest-states-2008/

Want to know if you are obese or overweight? Check out your BMI here:

http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/english_bmi_calculator/bmi_calculator.html

Considering we are the poorest state, it’s not a surprise that we have the highest rate of obesity. Cheap food is usually not very nutritious. Yet, I think that we can’t blame only that for our obesity problem. A lot of it has to do with ignorance about nutrition and exercise.

You may be asking so what, and the reason that I am blogging about it is because I sincerely care about the health and well-being of others. I think I probably should have been a nutritionist or personal trainer. Not that I’m perfect. I can eat a huge helping of Coldstone Chocolate Devotion or piping hot pizza with the best of them. But I know that I can indulge in moderation and still remain healthy and happy with myself. I spent many years living in ignorance about nutrition and exercise myself. I used to cook with tons of oil, thought meat must come with every meal, and had no issues with eating two plates of food at supper. I thought that the only way to lose weight was to drink coffee all day long and pretty much starve myself until the 5 or 10 lbs came off. I didn’t understand anything about calories or macro nutrients. My exercise on those rare occasions when I felt like I needed to lose weight consisted of walking at the park for 20 minutes or lifting weights for 10 minutes a day, none of which lasted more than a month or so. No wonder I never got the results I wanted!

I think that people who do want to change their lifestyle (and it has to be a lifestyle change, because diets do NOT work for the long-term) go into it with some really strange or confused ideas about nutrition, exercise, and weight loss. So I guess that’s why I’m blogging about it. I know so much more now than I did a few years ago, and my teacher’s instinct has me wanting to educate the world about being healthy, because it’s something that I really care about.

So here is the first installment of healthy info for anyone out there who might be misinformed or just curious:

Most people don’t know that cardio should be done most days a week (meaning about 5 days per week usually with a day or so of rest), ideally for 40-60 minutes per session at a moderate intensity. Beginners should start out at 30 minutes and work their way up to 60 minutes. And the intensity part is really important. If you aren’t getting you heart rate up, you’re wasting your time. So that means that if you’re walking along leisurely with your girlfriend for 20 or 30 minutes each evening while gossiping your head off and never getting your heart rate up beyond what you anger does to it as you hear the latest thing that Ms. Audacity did last week, then you really aren’t getting much benefit. Here is a link to info about heart rate and exercise intensity:

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=1044

The following link provides some really good info about cardio, a.k.a aerobic exercise.

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=1032

I like to vary my cardio. There is such a thing as muscle memory, where if you do the same thing over and over, your muscles learn that movement and don’t have to work as hard to do it anymore, therefore burning less calories and getting less benefit. So you incorporate muscle confusion by varying your workouts. For instance, if you’re a runner, you would do different types of runs per week, such as the long slow run, the tempo run, hillwork, and speed sessions. You can also confuse your muscles by crossing training (doing different types of exercises, like biking, swimming, and yoga), and interval training (where you speed up for a certain amount of time and then slow back down and do that over and over – interval training, by the way, really torches the calories!).

I hope that I’ve provided some good, useful info for someone out there who wants to make a change.

 

cooking with coconut oil July 27, 2009

Filed under: food,hEaLtH — dragonfly180 @ 9:35 am
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this article was posted by one of my favorite bloggers at sparkpeople.com, and i wanted to share it with everyone. it sounds pretty interesting. although i don’t cook very often with oil (will usually omit it or use unsweetened apple sauce instead), my favorite oil is extra virgin olive oil. i may give coconut oil a try, though. the health benefits are pretty astounding.

coconut_oil

What’s so great about coconut oil as a food?

Coconut oil is 64% medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), which burn as energy quickly rather storing in the body as fat (especially belly fat) like the long-chains. MCFAs are quite rare in foods and have massive positive implications for your health, although the processed vegetable oil industry tried to malign the tropical oils years ago and many consumers have no idea what great nutrition they are missing out on. Coconut oil is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-parasite, and anti-fungal. It prevents heart disease, linked by recent research to lingering infections in the blood and tissues that coconut oil kills. It has been documented to inhibit carcinogenic agents that cause colon cancer and breast tumors in animals. Coconut oil is highly alkaline and purifies the blood—never clogging arteries since it’s liquid above 76 degrees. It is used in hospitals around the world: it’s ideal for people with digestion problems because the medium-chain triglycerides don’t require pancreatic enzymes or bile to digest. It’s perfect for diabetics because it helps regulate blood sugar and supplies energy to cells without affecting blood sugar or insulin levels. It’s been shown to improve insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose.

How does it compare to other oils?

Coconut oil is very stable and doesn’t go rancid for 2-3 years or more, even when stored at room temperature. Refined oils are rancid already when you buy them, heated above 400 degrees and often bombarded with hydrogen atoms to make them fake foods, trans fatty acids that damage or destroy every cell they touch.

It’s the only oil that doesn’t create trans fats even when heated to high temps, as in sauteeing—so it’s perfect for cooking and even better raw. It tastes SO good—my kids eat it plain by the spoonful. You want virgin, unprocessed oil for coconutty flavor and maximized nutrition. If it has no flavor, you’ve bought a poor product missing some of the benefits.

Another rare feature of coconut oil is that its main component is lauric acid, the powerful antimicrobial, immune-function compound in mother’s breast milk. That’s why baby formula companies use it for fatty acids in formula—it’s the closest they can get to mother’s milk. (Unfortunately, they use an inexpensive processed version of the oil.)

Much has been written about EFAs—essential fatty acids with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that your body cannot manufacture itself and therefore must receive from food. I put a tablespoon of fresh flax oil in my green smoothie to get these compounds. Although coconut oil isn’t a significant source of EFAs, it can increase the efficiency of EFAs by as much as 100%!

Coconut oil health benefits include combating viral infections including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and AIDS; helping with gallbladder disease, osteoporosis, Crohn’s Disease, and hypoglycemia; and nourishing premature, low-birth-weight babies. Many people say coconut oil helps them control sugar cravings.

Change your health dramatically by making a very simple change today: throw out any vegetable oil (and margarine and shortening) in your pantry, never buy it again, and replace it with a superior alternative. Discover amazing coconut oil health benefits for yourself!

Why should I get virgin, organic cold pressed coconut oil?

First of all, organic is more than just avoiding chemicals on your food. You can’t just wash it off your vegetables and fruits, let alone coconut oil. The nutrient value of organic foods is often many times the value of those same “conventional” foods. That’s because in the absence of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, no enzyme- and nutrient-absorption inhibitors cause breakdowns in plant growth and development.

Fortunately, organic status is rather easy to find in coconut products, since coconuts grow in tropical climates where chemical processes are not as pervasive as in the U.S. The Phillipines has excellent sources of good coconut oil, as does the pristine island of Fiji where I get my group-buy coconut oil for GreenSmoothieGirl’s Wasatch Front group buyers.

“Virgin” refers to the first pressing of a nut, seed, or vegetable, when the highest nutrient content is available.

You also want to look for cold-pressed coconut oil, since temperatures in cold processing are kept below the 116 degrees necessary to preserve all enzyme, vitamin, and mineral content, and avoid oxidation that accelerates breakdown of the fatty acids and robs your body of antioxidants.

You will know if you’re eating organic cold pressed coconut oil because the oil will taste coconutty. If you don’t taste coconut, you are likely eating a processed, deodorized oil that is missing many of the health benefits you hope to achieve with this amazing food.

 

another internet time-waster? July 26, 2009

Filed under: raNdOMnesS — dragonfly180 @ 10:46 pm
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so i have to ask myself if i really need another internet time-waster, as though email, facebook, sparkpages, and myspace aren’t enough. oh, and world of warcraft and moshi monsters take up even more of my time online. *sigh* but i get so easily bored, so here i am, just blogging away. how did i ever make it through grad school with the short attention span i have? thank god no classes lasted over four months. i haven’t even decided what this blog will be about. maybe health and nutrition, maybe the insanity of being a teacher, maybe just complete randomness. we’ll see.