Sunday, May 6, 2012

Gravitationally Challenged ...

The title of this post is another rather colorful way of asking someone if they are a little over weight, packing a few extra pounds, pleasantly plump, has a shelf to set the beer mug on ~ namely the beer bellie, laying on the winter's larder, a little heavy, slightly rounder, rotund, imitating a blimp, obese or simply that they have a rare disorder where food to them, is like an asteroid belt is to a planetoid ~ it's like a gravitational pull that food just can not resist them. So ... let ask everyone a couple of questions here, "How many think that they might be gravitationally challenged? Could anyone maybe feel a little better if they lost a few pounds?" I am asking because here in the U. S. of A. a major health issue is the extra poundage, that many of us carry around ~ myself included. Even though I work hard and play hard, I still like to eat rather well. My problem being that I either eat to much and/or am eating the wrong foods for a healthy diet. Also like many, my relaxing time is usually spent in front of some kind of electrical device while playing with buttons and staring at a screen that is far to close to my eyes. So if you are like me, let's all turn off that electrical device and start exercising more ~ first our minds as we build our exercising machines, then going for a ride while pedaling our big arses around. You may even meet the neighbors (scary as that maybe), or see things that were only a blur when you were sitting in or on your internal combustion contraptions. That tend to suck your hard earned coins away faster than electricity can move. Also by pedaling we will loose the excess poundage and firm up while slimming down, all by pedaling around our county.

OK let's look at bad habits and/or vices for a bit now. Personally I have not gone off the deep end with illicit drug abuse, I did experiment and I did inhale in my younger years. Speaking of inhaling, I do enjoy smoking (about 30 years now) I enjoy cigars and a good pipe tobacco. Now as for drinking, I also enjoy that. My favorite metaphor on this subject is "that I don't drink any more than fish swim." Seriously though, I do drink (about 48 years on this one), and yes I am an alcoholic. However over the last 20 years or so I have painfully learned to control the cravings, even though I do tend to slip up sometimes. Smoking and drinking are my only two vices that I have left. They may end up killing me, but here is the big secret ... we can't get out of this world alive anyhow.

So as long as we are here, let's all try to get into a better shape than most of us are currently in. Maybe we cold give the grim reaper a heart attack while he tries to catch us. One way is to start walking more and not just casually strolling along. Work it up to a sweat and maintain it, start slowly by dragging our collective big arses out of that recliner. Then head for the door, without the keys to those gas and diesel guzzlers, then around the block as a starting point.

Also we need to start eating right, and a more healthy and natural diet at that. No it is not a diet per say, but more on the side of eating smaller portions with more healthy choices. It may be painful at first, but like all of our bad choices ~ our bodies will adjust. The experts all agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So why not trick our bodies into it, by making them think that a milk shake is the way to go. Well an ice cream shake is not, but a nutritional shake is. In the June 2012 issue of Bicycling magazine is an interesting article titled "Whip It Good" and on page 40 they have a list of 5 different smoothies (shakes) that are healthy and designed to revitalize a cyclist after a long work out. I think that they would also make for a healthy breakfast shake.

They are as follows:
Blueberry Almond ~ strengthens bones and fights free radicals
          1 & 1/2 cups of milk
          1/2 cup ricotta cheese
          1/2 cup frozen blueberries
          1 teaspoon almond butter (homemade ~ Google it)
          1 tablespoon wheat germ
          1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
     blend till smooth ~ 351 calories, 11 grams fat, 44 grams carbs., 4 grams fiber, 26 grams protein.
Banana Mocha ~ replenishes glycogen stores and increases endurance
          1 cup milk
          1/2 cup coffee, cooled (personally very strong)
          1/2 cup plain yogurt (Greek yogurt has twice the protein)
          1 tablespoon almond butter (has calcium, magnesium and phosphorus for strong bones)
          2 teaspoon cocoa powder
          1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
          1 frozen banana
     blend till smooth ~ 357 calories, 11 grams fat, 49 grams carbs., 5 grams fiber, 23 grams protein.
Green Tea Ginger ~ speeds up metabolism and protects the heart
          1 cup milk
          1/2 cup coconut water (homemade, google it)
          1/2 cup silken tofu
          1/2 cup frozen citrus concentrate (or fruit)
          2 tablespoon walnut pieces
          1/2 teaspoon matcha (google it)
          1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
     blend till smooth ~ 309 calories, 13 grams fat, 36 carbs., 4 grams fiber, 17 grams protein.
Tangy Raspberry ~ soothes and repairs sore muscles
          1 cup milk
          1/2 cup pomegranate juice
          1/2 cup ricotta cheese
          1/2 cup frozen raspberries
          1 tablespoon ground flax seed
          1 tablespoon wheat germ
          1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
     blend till smooth ~ 305 calories, 5 grams fat, 51 grams carbs., 7 grams fiber, 21 grams protein.
Pumpkin Spice ~ boosts immunity and replaces electrolytes
          1 cup milk
          1/2 cup coconut water (Google it)
          1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt (Greek)
          1/3 cup canned pumpkin puree
          2 tablespoon walnut pieces
          1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
     blend till smooth ~ 292 calories, 10 grams fat, 30 grams  carbs., 5 grams fiber, 22 grams protein.
*nutritional information based on 1 serving, using nonfat dairy.

Now for lunch, I would say to keep it light with fresh fruit some yogurt (plain or flavored) and 1 or 2 energy bars. If you feel a energy crash coming on in mid morning or afternoon, grab a couple of fig bars and 1 or 2 energy bars. Alright the day is done, so ... what is for dinner?

Mediterranean Pasta
          1 pound farfalle pasta (or bow ties)
          4 sun-dried tomatoes (in oil) julienned
          18 ounces artichoke hearts (in oil) quartered
          6 cups (1 bag) fresh leaf spinach
          5 pieces thick cut bacon
          1/2 cup bread crumbs
          1 tablespoon minced garlic
          1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
          3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
          2 tablespoon real butter
          kosher or sea salt (not iodized) and fresh ground pepper to taste
          feta cheese
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook the pasta. Place the bacon on a double layer of paper towels side by side, then cover with a double layer of paper towels. Cook on high for 2 minutes in the microwave, then crumble when cool. Julienne the sun-dried tomatoes, and strain the artichokes (reserving the fluids) then quarter. In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, add the garlic, tomatoes, and red pepper stir together for about 5 minutes. Add artichoke hearts and cook for 3 - 5 more minutes. Add the spinach in intervals and saute down for about 3 minutes. Add in the bacon and cook for another minute while stirring it all together. Then transfer to a bowl. Now using the same skillet (do not clean) add 1/4 cup of reserved artichoke oil, reduce by 1/3rd, add breadcrumbs stir frequently until golden brown. 
Now take a large bowl or pot add the cooked pasta and 2 tablespoon of real butter, 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Then add in the cooked bread crumbs to the pasta and toss together, add the artichoke heart mixture and toss again.
Plate and top with 1/4 cup of feta cheese on each plate. A rose or red wine goes well with this dish. Enjoy.

There you go my friends,
A healthy day of food choices to celebrate the first day of the rest of our lives,
Let us all make the reaper work to catch us ...

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