Thursday, August 30, 2012

Switching Gears and Hoping to Blast Some Fat

Hello from the steam bath that is Southern California right now.  Holy smoke! I feel like this whole region is having sympathy pains for my dear hubby AKA - MSB (My Sweet Babooh).  For the uninitiated.  He just arrived in Conackry, Guinea safe and sound.  Thank you for all your prayers for his safe travels.  You may continue to keep him in your thoughts and prayers since they are in the midst of a cholera epidemic. Also for their huge patient screening that they are having next week on September 3rd.  If you'd like more information about our time with Mercy Ships please visit my other blog:

Bluff walk over looking beach
Although most of the country has had an unseasonably hot and dry summer I really should not mention our weather here.  Especially given that the south is experiencing hurricanes and the fallout from such horrible weather that people are losing their homes!  No matter what the weather we are so grateful that the Lord has blessed us by letting us live in the paradise where we are.  Late in the evening it cools off enough for a nice walk.  Here's a gorgeous shot from my walk last night with our little doggie.  Indeed - I have nothing to complain about! 

It is a great thing to be following an uncooked diet when the weather is so steamy, wouldn't you say? Today we are embarking on the first day of 15 following Ani Phyo's 15 Day Fat Blast diet.  Ani Phyo is a Raw Food Chef who has written multiple books on following a raw diet.  The Fat Blast diet book has other ideas for health and fitness that I will touch upon in the next two weeks.  Tonight I have to run off to my very first guitar lesson so I'll have to be brief. 

Here's today's menu:

   I won't be posting the actual recipes here since this is from a copy-written book but if you have the book I'll post the page number in the chart at the end with the names and my ratings.  I'll describe the recipe but I don't want to get into hot water publishing something without the author's permission. 

First on the hit parade is Blueberry Blast.  Once again we have a sweet breakfast drink that will give you some quick energy.  There are a number of things you'll notice with this diet.  First of all we are making smoothies and soups.  This means we're leaving the fiber in for you to consume.  This several implications:
  •   More fiber creates volume so we're buying less of our expensive produce to go into the recipes
  •   More fiber is definitely more filling
  •   Depending upon the health of you gastrointestinal tract more fiber may be a great thing or possibly a not so great thing
  •   Great or not - you will definitely notice that things feel different. 
It is really up to you to decide whether you prefer the light feeling that comes from not having a colon full of fiber or if you like the full feeling and it doesn't go overboard and make you feel all bloated and uncomfortable. 

For most people increasing their fiber intake by leaps and bounds takes a little getting used to and one can experience either more bowel movements and others fewer.   'Nuff said.

So - back to Blueberry Blast.  This gorgeous drink is loaded with blueberries, of course and more surprisingly almonds.  Even more surprising is the addition of coconut oil.  In the health food world coconut oil has been getting a huge amount of press. It is rather counter intuitive since we've long been told that any fat that is solid at room temperature has to be bad for you.  Well apparently since this oil has more medium chain fatty acids than the looong chain ones in the hydrogenated, solid fats it is supposed to better for you.  It seems like over kill to me to have almonds AND coconut oil in this morning drink.  In addition - since the drink is cold the oil has a solid feel when going down that I really don't like much at all.  In the food biz I believe they call it "mouth feel".  I'm not a fan. 

As for me, I figure if you've got nuts in something you have all the fat you need.  Take your pick - nuts or oil just not both.  So - if I'd omitted the oil this smoothie would get high marks but as written I'm giving it a B-

Now, let's talk a little bit about fat - more specifically about nuts.  But first - click on this YouTube video so you can have the same song in your head as I have now...Why Can't We Be Friends? Unbeknownst to me nuts have turned into a war zone of opinions between several of the icons of healthy vegan eating that I cited on the first day of this blog!  I had no idea they were feuding.  Apparently one of them is a big nut proponent and others say "Balderdash".  Well - maybe they don't actually say balderdash so no actual quotes, but it appears that these guys are the newest "Point / Counterpoint" since Jane Curtin and Dan Ackroyd would go after each other on Saturday Night Live in the 1970's.  Yeah - I know I'm old.  Let's go to the video tape...Jane Curtin vs. Dan Akroyd SNL 1978

As luck would have it one of the very good healthy eating blogs I follow talked about this very conundrum regarding Nuts vs. No-Nuts just today.  Rather than rehash - here is the link to her insightful and well written blog  Healthy Girl's Kitchen .  For me the bottom line is I'm trying to minimize my own bottom line - so I try to avoid fat as much as possible and use nuts only sparingly. 

So - have we beaten that poor, dead horse long enough?  I sure hope so.  Next, for our mid morning snack we have the Pineapple Green Shake.  This is also a very lovely drink and of course is green like the past three days because in addition to pineapple we have a cup of Kale.  This makes the drink incredibly healthy but since it's just blended instead of juiced there was a fair amount of kale bits to contend with. So, because I'm not a huge fan of the Kale bits my score here is a B+

This is the part where I will wax poetic about my lengthy love affair with my Vitamix .  To call this machine a blender is a disservice.  Not only does it blend but because it has infinitely variable speed so it can do everything from coarsely chop to  liquefy.  Their promo materials even show it making saw dust out of a hunk of wood!  It is that powerful! 

That said - I didn't feel like I blended the Kale enough to not have little bits coming thru.  The taste was wonderful.  Not too sweet.  I really enjoyed this drink a lot. I think the next time I would make it I may just process the kale by itself to really puree it before I throw in the other ingredients. 

The fiber in these two smoothies must be pretty substantial since I had some errands to run and didn't get to make my lunch soup until 3pm and I was only a bit peckish by then.  Very encouraging!  For lunch our soup is Spicy Bok Choy Soup and it was certainly worth the wait.  This very yummy soup is just slightly spicy but very creamy due to the addition of a half of an avocado.  This is a luscious soup! Obviously this soup deserves the highly coveted A+! Perfect for a hot summer day. The creamy mouth feel and refreshing taste makes you want to keep eating the soup -so that the challenge here is to not eat the entire recipe so that there is some left over for a snack later in the day. Fortunately I did have enough for about a 6 oz. glass full that really hit the spot about 6:30 when I got back from my guitar class.

We were talking about fat in our diet earlier and of course avocado is a high fat fruit that is usually avoided if trying to lose weight.  However avocados contain the good fat known as monounsaturated fat - not the saturated or worse yet the trans fat that are now banned in many foods.     From the website Bodyecology there are several reasons to select monounsaturated fats when using some fat in your diet.  Here's the list:

Research shows that diets with healthy amounts of monounsaturated fats have a host of amazing health benefits, including:1
  • Decreased risk for breast cancer. A study of women in Sweden found that those with diets higher in monounsaturated fats (as opposed to polyunsaturated fats) resulted in less frequent incidence of breast cancer.
  • Reduced cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association recommends the consumption of MUFAs to improve your blood lipid profile.
  • Lower risk for heart disease and stroke. Diets with monounsaturated fats correlate with healthy hearts and fewer strokes.
  • Weight loss. Studies have found that switching to monounsaturated fat from diets with trans fats and polyunsaturated fats results in weight loss.
  • Less severe pain and stiffness for sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis. Diet plays a role in improving the pain and stiffness of those who already have rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Reduced belly fat. A study published by the American Diabetes Association found that diets with monounsaturated fat could improve the loss of belly fat better than high carbohydrate diets.

But fat is still fat so if you are wanting to lose weight and are puzzled that it's not going as well as you'd hoped cut out the fat - and that means avocados and nuts.

Finally - for dinner tonight we have another very luscious soup aptly named Tomato Bisque. I will be the first person to admit I do not like tomato soup.  It has to have a spicy taste or be heavy on the basil - like the juice we had the other day for me to tolerate Tomato soup at all.  This tomato soup also has a half an avocado in it as well as some garlic, thyme and sea salt.  I was frankly very surprised that I really, really enjoyed this soup.  It is creamier than a gazpacho but another great summer soup when you can't bear to add anymore heat to your kitchen.  This version of tomato soup is definitely a keeper.  A solid A from me on this one.

Thanks to everyone that has submitted comments either via e-mail, the blog comments or Facebook.  It is so encouraging to know that you are reading this and some of you are even trying the recipes.  I hope we all meet our health goals via healthier eating and along the way we may even lose a few pounds.  Let me know how you're doing. 

Here's the summary from today - see you all tomorrow! 

Name Category Diet Day Page number Rating
Blueberry Blast Smoothie Fat Blast one 116 B-
Pineapple  Green Shake Smoothie Fat Blast one 124 B+
Spicy Bok Choy Soup Soup Fat Blast one 144 A+
Tomato Bisque Soup Fat Blast one 150

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