Not Just Tofu

Archive for January, 2012|Monthly archive page

The Truth about Water

In Editorial on January 25, 2012 at 1:24 am

Feeling tired lately?  Trying to lose weight? Are you bloated?  Any of the 3 conditions can be related to dehydration.  How much water are you drinking?  Do you follow the 8 by 8 rule which is eight oz glasses of water 8 times a day? Maybe you are just tired of drinking plain water.  WelI I have done a bit of research for you to simplify and motivate you  to DRINK MORE WATER.

Ten years ago, I didn’t drink as much water as I drink now because it just didn’t taste good to me.  I am sure that is how many of you feel about water.  Water is neither sweet or sour; its taste can only be accurately described as water.  My first reason to increase my water intake was pregnancy.  While pregnant with my first son, I was always thirsty.  I never loved soda, I drank a lot of juice and iced tea but they are not suggested during pregnancy.  I started adding water to my day one glass at a time until I started drinking a gallon a day which you know led me to the bathroom.  At the end of my pregnancy, I was miserable from drinking so much water and having to use the bathroom every 20 to 30 minutes. After all was said and done, I became a water lover. 

How much water should you drink?  Some say 64 ounces of water but for men that may not be enough.  It is suggested that men drink 3 liters or 104 ounces.  Females should drink 2.2 liters or 72 ounces daily to prevent dehydration.  How do you know if you are dehydrated?  Symptoms include:

  • Consistent thirst
  • sleepiness/tiredness
  • Headache
  • Lack of tears when crying
  • Constipation

Drinking a gallon of water seems crazy to most and sometimes seems crazy to me but there are situations and conditions that you should drink a lot of water.  For instance, water is a great tool for losing weight.  Instead of drinking cups of coffee and cans of diet soda, drink water.  Drinking a glass of water before a meal makes you feel full.  Adding lemon to your water while eating a meal fools your taste buds into thinking that you are drinking juice without adding calories.  Drinking a class after a meal can cleanse your palette so that you don’t desire more food.  These are the tricks that I use to prevent me from gaining weight and help me in losing weight.

Maybe drinking water is just boring to you; there is more than one way to drink water.  I suggest drinking sparkling mineral water which is carbonated.  After reading many studies, the myths about carbonation are cleared up.  The popular belief is carbonation is bad for the bones.  Research has found that caffeine not carbonation is the culprit that robs the bones of calcium.  The bonus to drinking sparkling mineral water is often fortified with mineral which are good for your bones.  

Other reasons to drink sparkling mineral water:

  • comes lightly flavored without sugar
  • calorie free
  • contains essential minerals
  • provides calcium for lactose intolerant 

Have I convinced you to add water to your diet yet? If you can’t wrap your head around the concept, slowly dilute your way off of juices. Start mixing 50/50 beverages mixing 1:1 ratios of water to beverage.  This won’t work for soda but mixing juice nectar with sparking mineral waters can do the trick. It will also help kids to increase their water intake. 

Water is necessary for kids too.  My 9-year-old is a big drinker and can knock off 3 Snapples from the time he gets home (4pm) to dinner time if I don’t watch him. I became very aware of his lack of water when we went for a blood test and the blood didn’t flow through the tube into the needle.  I now buy mini bottle waters and pack them into his lunchbox and serve them with dinner. Now drinking water is not so bad.  My 5-year-old is another story.  Water out right is a no go but if I dilute his juice he slowly drinks it; at least it’s a start.

You don’t have to drink gallons of water to feel hydrated but you should make a mental note to add water to your day to avoid painful and annoying symptoms. I would just like to leave you with a few more ways to creative add water to your diet.

  1. Use herbal tea bags and lemon to make ice tea without the caffeine and sugar 
  2. Freeze fruit in ice cubes add them to your water for fun
  3. Drink water through a straw which makes most people drink quicker
  4. Add cucumbers which are an old school quencher
  5. Splash fruit nectar to make flavored water or natural soda with sparkling mineral water.

Product Review: Tofurky Sausage

In Food on January 22, 2012 at 7:51 am

I don’t know how many of you are like me, skeptical about meat substitutes.  I know nothing will replaced my fry chicken but there are a few products that are keeping me open-minded about meat substitutes.  In my early cooking adventures, I was familiar with Morningstar, Loma Linda and Worthington brands but in the last 5 years a few brands have become popular. 

Tofurky is most popular from their turkey roast that people have used on their thanksgiving table for years.  Sorry Tofurky, I am not a lover of the roast which made me suspect about trying another product from their line.  In an effort to create a quick meal on a budget for Alvin, I came across Tofurkey Kielbsa and Italian Sausage at Whole Foods.  The price was right at $2.99 for 4 sausage links.  With sausage and peppers in mind, I purchased the product. 

The aroma of the sausage were reminiscent of turkey sausage with fennel and garlic.  The texture was sturdy which allowed me to cut the sausage on the bias.  I browned the sliced sausage in olive oil and they didn’t fall apart.  They actually browned nicely which created a bit of crunch which is good because it stood up to the sauce.  After browning the sausage and sauting it with onions, garlic and bell peppers, I added tomato sauce and a 1/2 cup of vegetable broth.  When it was all done, it looked like sausage and peppers. 

The most important test is the taste test.  Alvin tried it right of the pot, as he usually does.  He like it but then he likes most meat substitutes.  It then came time for my meat eating taste buds to try it.  In the past, I have tried veggie sausage and didn’t like it because it left a bitter aftertaste in my mouth.  To my surprise, no bitter aftertaste.  I really enjoyed it becuase the texture was firm and not soggy and it absorbed the sauce like regular sausage.  I have since put this product on my weekly grocery list as a staple for sandwiches or pasta dishes.

So for all you new vegetarians and vegans, this is a tasty product that will enjoy.  I have served dishes with the Tofurky sausage without any complaints from meat-eaters.  This product has not made it to all the chain grocery stores but if you are fortunate enough to live by a Whole Foods, Trader Joes or Fairway you can find it there.  So try it and let me know what you were able to do with it. 

Send me an email with some of the products you would like me to review. 

So Hard to Jumpstart

In Editorial on January 5, 2012 at 6:40 pm

The New Year has begun! Even with all the hoopla about resolutions, I just can’t get myself moving in the right direction.  For example, I didn’t get out of bed until 8am because my kids didn’t have to go to school today.  On my list of resolutions, getting up and going to the gym was in the top 5.  After accepting the fact that I was not going to the gym, I thought maybe I should eat a healthy breakfast.  Instead I ate a handful of chocolate drizzled pretzels, a cup of hot cocoa and a cup of juice before having a homemade egg and vegetable breakfast taco. Another resolution still not accomplished is reading and prayers in the morning.  I got up, used the bathroom and watched the morning news.  Honestly, I don’t know if it being a new year is enough to change bad habits.

Everyone craves to be a better person especially for the new year but I think the need should come from a more personal place.  For instance, I was diagnosed with Lupus, an autoimmune disease, in 2011 and in my research 2 of the best ways to fight symptoms are to change my diet and to exercise.  My diagnosis sparked me to change my eating habits, hence becoming a pescatarian, but not to exercise.  For one, I am usually too tired to workout or in too much pain to move.  Not taking care of myself will only worsen my case of Lupus but it still hasn’t been enough to get me to move.  As personal as that reason is to change, I still have to dig deeper.

As a mother, I feel guilty that I am not setting a better example for my kids.  I fell even worse when they are not a good enough reason for me to remember to take my medication or to stick to my diet.  You hear parents all the time say that they want to be around for their kids and that is why they decide to fight.  I want to be around for my kids but still it isn’t enough. Not to say that they are not important but at this time in my life I am not so sick where I can’t be their mom.  If symptoms aren’t in full swing, I put Lupus to the back of my mind and live in the moment.  Denial is another hurdle that prevents me from making changes. Because I don’t wake up thinking I am sick, I don’t think about it at all. When I feel the pain there is not denying that it is real and I have to deal with it.

I am being so honest that it scares me.  How has all this open heart mumbojumbo changed your opinion of me?  Maybe you think that I am just lazy.  Some may say that I am stuck in a rut.  My friends may change the way they look at me.  I think that most of you will identify with me that it is hard to start.  It takes 21 days to make a change; is today day 1?

I confessed to Alvin last night that I haven’t taken my medication for over a month.  Crazy thing is that I wish I did.  For the last 3 weeks I have had rheumatoid arthritis in my left ring finger and destroyed my wedding rings by cutting them off.  Scared that I won’t be able to wear my wedding rings, whenever I get my new ones, I took my medication last night and this morning.  Typing this article, my hands aren’t moving like they use to which is another reason why I will take another dose tonight.  Feeling like crap even though it is my day off motivates another reason to make some changes.  Having the simplest joy removed from my life due to pain is today’s reason for making a step in a healthier direction. 

I have not totally jump started, but I am honest about the fact that I am not where I want to be.  Hating to be a failure, 2012 gives me 365 or 360(today is the 5th) chances to live today better.   So I will try yoga, I will plan my meals and I will take time to pray and reflect.  There will be no treadmills or P90X in my future, let’s be realistic. This year I am gonna try the holistic approach…yoga…green tea and meditation.  Jumpstart is the wrong word and so is resolution, I think revelation is more appropriate because I now realize why and how I MUST make changes in my life for a better me.

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