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Meaningful Use of My Breakfast Information

12 Jun

So I learn on this business trip that if I have a big American breakfast, I don’t need to have a mid-morning snack or an early lunch.

I didn’t have to use the little plastic container I brought for my usual fruit-and-nut snacks. To think I brought Axion dishwashing paste and a sponge so I could wash my reusable container everyday. Yeah, I’m a nerd like that. I didn’t want to use disposable sandwich bags.

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So how do I make meaningful use of this dietary intake discovery to make a health tweak? Should I have bigger breakfasts moving forward?

Around the World in 40 Eggs

12 Jun

Italian scrambled eggs for breakfast? Check!

I rarely cook, but it’s a holiday, so I took the opportunity.

In The 4-Hour Chef, Tim Ferriss lists 44 flavor combinations that will help you arrive at the different flavors of the world. An easy way to try these out while making even novice cooks build their kitchen confidence is to just apply the different combos to scrambled eggs! So simple and yet it makes the kids think I know what I’m doing!

I’m doing this in the name of making healthy eating fun (yes, eggs are supposed to be healthy now) while exposing the kids to different flavors.

Let the journey begin!

And oh, our helper is eager to try out these combinations too. She will be crucial to keeping the momentum on this journey.

The Gargle and the Fem Wash

12 Apr

The doctor ordered me to gargle with Betadine as my throat has been bothering me for more than a week. I asked if my regular green mouthwash would do but she said Betadine would be more effective.

I get a bottle, ignoring my mental barriers about the brand being more known for treating wounds and as a feminine wash.

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Povidone-Iodine preparations. For wounds: 10%. Feminine wash: 7.5%. Gargle: 1%.

When I poured out some to gargle… blech! The taste was ok but it was the same blackish thing that bleeds orange at the sides. I will have to steel my mind as I gargle with this beautiful liquid for the rest of the week.

And yeah, I have to rinse my sink after each gargle.

Did You Just Call Me Cholesterol-Face?

27 Mar

I managed to squeeze in a dermatologist consultation this week. There was a soft, little bump under my left eye that had been there for several months and it wasn’t a pimple.

Two possible diagnoses: syringoma or cholesterol deposits. What a big, fat slap in the face! I didn’t know you could grow such things. I guess when you reach your mid-30’s your body needs to impress you with new tricks.

While I’m processing the possibility that my cholesterol had shot up enough to show on my face, my dear husband sends me this unhelpful text message, Will you be home for dinner? At Buffalo Wings and Things taking out WINGS!!! 🙂. I gently remind him that my body doesn’t tolerate fat as well as his does.

The verdict was syringoma, which I later learned was a kind of benign tumor of the sweat glands usually found around the eyes. A Google image search revealed to me that yeah, I’ve seen these bumps on some elderly people. Turns out I had a few on my forehead too. I had them all cauterized though I was warned that they have a tendency to recur.

I also learned that cholesterol deposits appear more yellowish and are caused by, you named it – high cholesterol. Interestingly, while the causes for syringoma don’t seem to be well-established, livestrong‘s general preventive measures for these bumps include maintaining proper lipid levels as part of a healthful diet.

Did I pass on the wings? I had one piece. Am I more motivated to keep my cholesterol down? You bet!

Trained to Read Labels

10 Mar

I was asking G3 yesterday about how his playdate went when he surprised me with this statement,

I ate Scottsberry. It has only 2g of sugar and it has vitamins and calcium.

Whoa. I showed him how to read labels months ago but never really tested him nor expected him to be applying the knowledge. Good job, kiddo.

Rice with Black Beans

20 Jan

I’ve been looking (and procrastinating) about adding beans to my diet in an effort to increase my protein intake, borrowing slow-carb diet principles.

Two weeks ago, I scouted the SM grocery for what was easily available – black beans, garbanzos (chick pea), different kinds of soya beans. There ware lentils in the imported aisle. I bought a can of black beans and a can of lentils.

A week ago, I started googling recipes. Three days ago, I forced myself to choose two black bean recipes and two lentil recipes to try. This morning, I finally had rice with black beans for breakfast!

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Photo from allrecipes.com

I loved it! It made my brown rice more interesting! This is a breakthrough for me. Black beans used to be the thing I put aside when I ate my humba (braised pork belly). The other recipe I got was for black beans as a side dish. I wonder if I’ll get there, eating the beans straight. Hehe.

Here’s how a half cup of brown rice compares to a half cup of brown rice with black beans, according to MyNetDiary:

Brown Rice Brown Rice with Black Beans
Calories 109 100
Protein 2.3g 4g
Fiber 1.8g 3.5g

I can see myself eating this everyday! Soak the black beans in water before cooking because the canned ones are usually salted.

To those worried about beans and gas, Tim Ferriss points out in The 4-Hour Body that soaking beans in water for a few hours will break down the oligosaccharides, which are responsible for making you gassy. Canned ones are usually (always?) already soaked in some kind of liquid so you don’t have to worry about it.

Blueberry Bliss

29 Dec

About a month back, K2 and I went to a cafe for some blueberry muffin. It was not available so we got their blueberry bagel instead. K2 did not like it as much – he could not taste the fruit. So I described to him what a blueberry cheesecake was. A few days later, he had his first taste and was in heaven!

Earlier today, K2 spotted fresh blueberries at the grocery. We got some. I wondered how we would eat it and whether he would really like it. Even I had not eaten blueberries fresh. Then I had a flash of mommy brilliance! I grabbed some graham crackers and condensed milk.

K2 and his 6-yo cousin happily ate these quick-and-easy blueberry hors d’oeuvres. They thought I knew what I was doing too!

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Sat-Fat Counting

20 Dec

At the start of the year my cholesterol level was elevated. I’m generally good, avoiding fatty foods and eating small-moderate portions. It just wasn’t fair! I nag my husband about his love for eating crispy pata (pork knuckles) and bulalo (beef shank and bone marrow soup), and I’m the one who gets high cholesterol???

I downloaded MyNetDiary for my smartphone to find out where the hell I was getting the cholesterol from. You enter your basic info – gender, height, weight, age, and activity level. You can enter a target weight and date for achieving that if you want. The free version was enough for my needs.

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MyNetDiary screenshot

Everyday, for about a month, I diligently logged everything I ate. It gave me a sense of whether I was eating too much or just right. There’s a report that details the calories, and the amount of fat, carbs, and protein (in grams) for all of your meals for the day. There’s also an analysis that tells you whether you’re on track for meeting your weight target and flags various things in your diet. My analysis usually came out with the following highlights:

  • Congratulations: n g of trans fat is less than 1% of calories, reducing risk of heart disease.
  • Low cholesterol: n mg, stay under 300 mg.
  • Low sodium: n mg of sodium, staying under 1,500 mg.
  • Include at least 5 g of fiber in your breakfast to help meet fiber and weight control goals. (I struggle with this.)

The revelation to me was that I would sometimes get flagged for consuming sat fat that was more than 7% of my caloric intake for the day. And guess my #1 culprit – crackers! I would get flagged when my sat consumption reached 7 g. A pack of three crackers contains almost half of that, with the “healthy” variant coming in at 3 g. That’s like three strips of bacon! And yes, our bodies turn sat fat to cholesterol.

Cracker nutritional information

Cracker information from http://www.myfitnesspal.com

I had no idea refined flours were this negatively potent. To think that, before this realization, I considered crackers healthy! You know, keep a pack in your bag so you never go hungry. I guess that worked for my mom ‘coz she had ulcer.

Another thing I learned was that even the seemingly healthier sandwiches from cafes (as compared with burgers) can give me a huge percentage of the calorie and saturated fat budget I have for one day. I really thought I was making a healthy choice by getting a sandwich instead of eating junk when I got hungry at work. I got around this by eating only half the sandwich for my snack, saving the other half for dinner.

I’ve since turned to nuts, raisins, and instant oatmeal for my snacks and I’m happy to report that by the middle of the year my cholesterol levels were back to normal.

We all have different food intake requirements. Using an app like MyNetDiary can help you understand what may be causing your high cholesterol, high uric acid, etc.

Habits That Cause Pimples

19 Oct

Food, stress and hormones aside, there are some habits at work and at home that can more directly lead to pimples. I’m talking about touching our faces with bacteria-laden objects.

Here are some of my habits that bring me pimples:

  1. Resting my chin on my hand during looong meetings.
  2. Cradling the phone between my ear and my shoulder.
  3. Resting my chin on my son’s head, esp. when I lie down with him to get him to nap.

I’d been doing pretty well with not doing #s 1 and 2 but for about two months I’ve been getting pimples on my chin. I was ready to blame my toothpaste or my lipstick, none of which I had recently changed. Hubby pointed out the pimples were not near my lips. When I caught myself doing #3, it was like, aha, it’s the kiddo’s sweaty hair! Another score for the mindfulness movement.

I don’t want to go crazy and have the kid take a bath thrice a day. I’m trying to cut back on habit #3 and have been getting chin pimples less often.

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