Asparagus: healthier than chips or popcorn!

Yesterday we cleaned out the freezer and I found several large bags of asparagus.  I thawed some out, spread them on a cast iron pizza pan, sprinkled on some coconut aminos, fresh ground black pepper, and garlic powder and placed it under the broiler.  I ended up eating them as a snack while watching TV with my husband.

Nutritionally, a plate of asparagus this size (about 125 spears, give or take – I ate some before I took the picture) contains the following:

47 grams of protein

3.1 grams fat

77.5 carbs

403 calories

37 grams of fiber

372% RDA Vitamin A

217% RDA Vitamin C

31% RDA calcium

62% RDA magnesium

93% RDA potassium

Brown rice grits with bananas and raisins

I went for a walk with the dog in a light rain this morning then started working with my windows open so I could listen to the rain and suddenly I needed something hot to eat instead of my usual raw fruit.  This is an incredibly quick and wholesome meal that will keep you full for hours.

  

INGREDIENTS

1 cup brown rice grits

3 cups water

2 bananas

2 heaping teaspoons of coconut palm sugar (or other sweetener)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 vanilla beans sliced open lengthwise

1/4 cup raisins

  

Bring water to a boil then add cream of rice and vanilla beans.  

  

Cover and simmer for three minutes.

 

Slice bananas and sprinkle with cinnamon.    

  

Add bananas, coconut palm sugar, and raisins to pan.

  

  

Stir continuously uncovered for one or two minutes, remove vanilla beans, then serve.  

  

Plant-based milk may added if desired, although I prefer mine plain.  For variations, other fruits may be added or substituted for the bananas and raisins.

 

Nutritionally, this meal has:

Calories:   957

Fat:  4.5 grams

Protein:  15.6 grams

Carbohydrate:  194 grams

Fiber:  16.2 grams

Vitamin C:  34%

Vitamin B-6:  40%

Magnesium:  16%

Potassium:  21%

Thiamine:  40%

Iron:  22%

Niacin:  40%

Phosphorus:  40%

Calcium:  2%

As is the case with all meals on this blog, this dish has zero cholesterol so it won’t cause heart disease and clogged arteries.

Fast food for breakfast

  

Bananas are truly fast food.  No matter how late I am running as I am leaving the house I always have time to grab a bunch of bananas.  Today I had six of them while driving to court.  

Mangos for lunch

  

Mangos are a sweet fruit with a lot of substance.  Today I ate three of them for lunch.  A lunch consisting of three mangos has 600 calories, 3.9 grams of fat, 15 grams of fiber, 8.4 grams of protein, and, of course, zero cholesterol.  Percent daily values are 48% potassium, 216% vitamin A, 609% vitamin C, 9% calcium, 6% iron, 60% vitamin B-6, and 18% magnesium.  Got energy?

Judgment error on Easter

     

Easter eating started well. I ate half of these bananas for breakfast on my way to church and the other half during a coffee break at church.  

For Easter supper I made rotini with tomato sauce and wilted spinach with vegan garlic Parma topping; a tossed salad made with romaine, tomatoes, avocado, and cucumber; and a small bowl of leftover cabbage soup from the day before (sorry, forgot to take pics before we ate everything). Since the weather was perfect we even took the dog for a walk to the lake after supper. So far so good – healthy and happy. 

Then came my judgment error.  In an attempt to be festive, I ate an entire  vegan chocolate egg (made with rice milk chocolate).  Did I mention I ate the entire thing?  I knew it was more fat than I am used to eating, but I didn’t anticipate how heavy and thick it would feel in my stomach and digestive tract.  I also forgot about how much caffeine there is in chocolate!  I don’t typically consume anything that  contains any caffeine whatsoever so I had quite a strong reaction to an entire chocolate egg’s worth.  I literally had a hangover from indulging in this egg.  Oh well, live and learn. Next holiday I will undoubtedly be making my own ultra-lowfat high-carb caffeine-free dessert.

Cantaloupe!

Have I mentioned before how much I love to eat melons for breakfast? Since I totally over-stuffed myself last night eating an entire pot of bean-thread noodle soup I figured this morning I would start out slow by eating a solitary large and juicy lope, which only has about 275 calories. However, what my lope lacks in calories it makes up for in nutritional content. One large cantaloupe has 550% of my daily vitamin A and 497% of vitamin C. It also has 30% of vitamin B-6, 14% magnesium, 9% iron, and 7% calcium. As an added bonus, 7 grams of protein, 1.6 grams fat, and a nice dose of 66 grams of carbohydrate to give me energy to face my day. Perhaps I should have given my dog a lope this morning as she appeared to have no desire to face the day when she chose to hide under my desk rather than go for a walk in the rain.


Watermelon for breakfast, again.  Navel oranges for lunch.

I eat watermelon for breakfast often.  It is one of those foods that I find myself craving like an addiction. Watermelon not only provides great energy, but it is also hydrating, sweet, juicy, and delicious.  And, because an entire melon has only 400 calories, I can still pig-out during the rest of the day without feeling like I over-ate.

Last night I rode my bike for about 45 minutes then ravenously ate three left-over fajitas for dinner together with some low-fat salt-free tortilla chips and salsa. Later, as I was eating two navel oranges as a snack, I immediately made plans to have them for lunch today.

Oranges have about 60 calories each, so an average meal of five oranges has approximately 300 calories.  Five oranges also contain 580% of my daily recommended vitamin C, 30% of my vitamin A, 20% of my calcium, and 15 grams of fiber.  As a bonus, you can peel them quickly and no knife is needed, which also makes them edible while driving if necessary.

So far today I have only consumed 700 calories, so I will need to eat heartily this evening to make sure I get enough calories.

 

 

 

Cucumber and tomato salad for lunch

Among the great buys I found yesterday when shopping for produce, I came across 8 cucumbers (about 1 lb) for $2.26, so I decided to eat them for lunch today together with a dry pint of grape tomatoes.

IMG_6987IMG_6988

I first peeled the cucumbers then sliced them into quarters lengthwise before chopping them into bite-sized chunks.

 IMG_6989cukes

I then cut each tomato in half and put them into a mixing bowl with the cucumber chunks.

IMG_6991

I then made a dressing using the following ingredients:

2 TBSP Bragg’s apple cider vinegar
2 TBSP mustard
6 TBSP coconut nectar (or coconut sugar or agave nectar or minced dates or other sweetener)

IMG_6992

I ate this entire bowl for lunch.  Peeled large cukes have about 35 calories each and the pint of tomatoes had about 110 calories for a total of about 390 calories in fruit (yes, both tomatoes & cukes are technically fruits) plus the calories in the sauce, which was about 330 (due to the coconut nectar). Therefore, the entire meal was 720 calories, with only about 3 grams of fat (from the cukes), zero cholesterol, about 18 grams protein, and 20 grams of fiber.  Nutritionally, the meal contained 195% of my daily vitamin C, 100% of my vitamin A, 40% of my iron, and 25% of my calcium (from the cukes).  It was quite a refreshing, satisfying, and nutritious lunch.

IMG_6993

Prickly pears for breakfast

800px-Prickly_pear_cactus_beed

Prickly pears are the fruit of a cactus.  I first tried a prickly pear a few years ago when I was on a trip to Santa Barbara for my uncle Jim’s wedding.  I enjoyed the pear, but then I spent the next hour pulling microscopic barbs out of my hands with tweezers. Beware of prickly pears as they are indeed prickly.

I was surprised to see these pears at my local Giant Supermarket yesterday in Mechanicsburg, PA.  They are not quite as fresh as the one I picked in Santa Barbara, but they were definitely the perfect ripeness for eating.

IMG_6974

Due to the dangerous cactus covering of these pears, it is wise to handle them while wearing gloves.

IMG_6975

To get to the fruit inside, you simply cut the fruit along one side and peel off the outer layer to reveal the beautiful seeded fruit inside.  The seeds are crunchy.  I find these pears reminiscent of a pomegranate, except much sweeter.

IMG_6981IMG_6984

IMG_6985

Prickly pears have about 40 calories each.  A serving of six pears only contains 240 calories which are made up of 84% carbs, 10% fats (from the seeds), and 6% protein.  Six pears also provide 100% of your daily magnesium, 36% of your daily calcium, and 36% of your daily potassium.

IMG_6986

Apple apple apple!

IMG_6951 (1)

I had Fuji apples for lunch today, although they are not nearly as crisp and fresh as they once were when they were picked last fall.  In fact, a few of them had rotten parts that I had to cut around, but they were very sweet.  I wil miss eating fresh local apples this summer, although I can’t wait for local strawberries, blueberries, melons, and other delights that will soon be replacing them as my lunchtime meal.  I have always loved apples.  I remember when I was a little girl my grandmother would have bags of McIntosh apples delivered to her side kitchen door by “the fruit man.”.  I would look up at her and say “apple apple apple” and she would then lovingly peel and slice some of them for me as a snack.  I couldn’t get enough of them and they remain one of my all-time favorite foods.  Today I had about 5 apples for lunch.  I ran out of time before an appointment so I ended up having to take them with me and eat them in the car.

 IMG_6952

Apples have about 100 calories each and are great for quick energy.  5 apples have over 50% of the RDA for Vitamin C as well as a whopping 20 grams of fiber.  Just don’t eat the seeds which contain cyanide.  Yikes!  Despite the toxic seeds, apples are one of the healthiest foods ever created.  For more nutritional facts about apples, see http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/267290.php.

Melon wolf and shamrocks


IMG_6925Melonwolf


For breakfast this morning I ate one personal-sized watermelon.  I decided to wear my melon wolf shirt in honor of my choice of breakfast.  Before eating my melon I drank 32 ounces of water with 2 TBSP of lemon juice added.  I typically purchase http://www.santacruzorganic.com/products/100-juices/100-lemon-juice because it’s quicker and more economical than buying and squeezing lemons every day.

Mini watermelons are great.  They weigh on average about 4 lbs and a whole melon has about 400 calories.  One melon contains over half of the daily recommended amounts of both vitamins A and C as well as potassium, calcium and iron  They have 7 grams of protein and no fat or cholesterol.  They are good for the eyes and the immune system and the digestive tract. They are a sweet, satisfying, and refreshing start to my day and I eat them for breakfast at least twice per week.

I am also including a picture of the shamrock on my kitchen windowsill.  This little shamrock belonged to my great-grandmother and I acquired it in 1989.  When the flowers fall they can be planted and they will grow into more shamrocks. The leaves and flowers get bigger as they are given more room to grow, so a large potted shamrock will have much bigger leaves and flowers than my small shamrock, but will probably not be as loved.

Great-GrandmaGreat-Grimmy Shamrock

Breakfast and Lunch

I typically eat organic raw fruit for both breakfast and lunch because it digests easily and gives me a huge amount of energy. Regarding portions, if I am eating fruit as a meal I will eat the following amounts, with the goal being for each meal to consist of between 400 to 600 calories worth of fruit.

6 to 8 bananas

20 pitted medjool dates

8 apples

8 oranges

11 tangerines

11 kiwis

1 mini-watermelon

1 lope

1 honeydew

4 mangos

1 pineapple

6 cups whole blueberries

8 cups whole strawberries

If I combine fruits with one another I always make sure that they are combined properly for optimal digestion.  Melons should always be eaten alone.  Keep in mind that if your digestive tract is healthy, melons should digest in less than 30 minutes.  Bananas can be combined with dates but not with other fruits.  I often eat bananas and/or dates if I’m in a hurry because they can easily be eaten while on the go with very little mess – just don’t forget to bring a bag for the peels and don’t leave the peels in your car on a hot day. Dates keep well even in extreme temperatures so I always keep a mason jar of them in my glove compartment or console.

IMG_1252

Pears

Honeydew melon

Honeydew melon

Lunch

Kiwis