Two a Healthy Life

One couple on a mission to become healthy


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Apple Chips

Here is a recipe that I came across a couple of days ago that sounded super easy and is something I have bought in the past to snack on; Apple Chips!

In the store you can buy them by the bag, and while they are tasty, why eat preservatives when you can make them yourself for virtually no cost.  They turned out delicious and they are a great addition to take on hikes or walks as they wont go bad (or get bruised).

Ingredients: 1-2 large apples (of any variety), 1 lemon

Directions:

Preheat over to 200 degrees.

Cut the apple(s) into 1/4 inch slices (as best as you can) and put into a pan lined with parchment paper.  Once all the slices are cut, drizzle lemon juice on them (I assume this is to keep them from oxidizing as they dry), I would squeeze the lemon on them and then use the fibers of the lemon as a paint brush to paint it on the slices.

Bake in oven for two hours, turning the slices over in the middle.

Notes: depending on how thick you slice the apples will determine how long they should bake.  If you want soft (more like dehydrated apple slices) then bake on a lower temperature for less time, for a more “chip” like texture then bake them for the time recommended.  Just keep an eye on them near the end of the second hour as they may begin to burn.  USE THE PARCHMENT PAPAER, thinner slices will stick to the pan.

Slices ready to go in the oven
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Delicious Apple Chips (with as many calories as the apple you used, generally between 50-100)

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An ode to the omelet!

I love omelets, especially the kind that cost $15 at restaurants and come with sour cream, avocado, bacon and all that other delicious stuff… mmm…

One whole egg however nearly maxes out your recommended daily cholesterol intake.

I started making omelets at home because they are delicious and restaurants overcharge for them.

I started making egg white omelets because an omelet with 5 whole eggs will eventually kill you.

Each egg white only has 16 calories while the yolk has 54 along with most of the egg’s cholesterol and protein.

My lunch today was an almost egg white omelet (it had one yolk) filled with spinach, onion, 1 serving of feta and a sliced tomato on the side. You can obviously customize yours anyway you want and have it for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Total calories for lunch: 230 with 24.3g protein

Quick Tips on making an omelet:

  1. You should cook your eggs on medium to medium high heat
  2. Make sure your pan is up to heat before you place your eggs inside of it – if you take too much time cooking the omelet it will dry out
  3. Allow it to half cook before you add your spinach, feta, mushrooms etc…
  4. Make sure you are using a nonstick pan and/or nonstick spray because folding your omelet will be a disaster if it sticks (French people will tell you to use a lot of butter to coat the pan which will taste better but also defeat the purpose of making an egg white omelet)

For more omelet tips read this blog entry on bonappétit.com

***Note: If I ever talk about making something you want to try and you don’t understand my directions ask me to clarify.  I will do a step-by-step how to either with photos or a video.


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Day 4: Food rules & Cherry Cordials

He said:

Today was a hard day.  I finished my mid-morning snack and about thirty minutes later I was hungry again.  I only took half a bowl of soup for lunch (all that was left) so I ventured up to the local grocery store near my work and got a protein bar. Not eating meat during the week has one real disadvantage in that it is hard to get enough protein without consuming a lot of carbs.

Thinking that this week I have only eaten vegetables and a little rice, there has been no processed food or any food chemicals, so when I looked at the nutrition information on the protein bar it blew my mind how many ingredients it takes to make one of those (note: most of the ingredients are things that you never herb of).

This leads to a cool book that Alex randomly bought a couple weeks ago, but that I also own as well called Food Rules by Michael Pollan (who also wrote The Omnivore’s Dilemma).  Food rules is a great little book you can finish in one sitting if you want (I’m dyslexic and I still finished it in one sitting) that has a bunch of great food adages and advice in it with an easy to read approach.

One of the rules (or several rules put together) basically say that if you cannot pronounce the ingredients or if there are more then five (not including whole foods that would be part of a recipe) then you probably shouldn’t eat it.  I would agree with this and was reminded of it when I was looking at the label for the protein bar.

For years I just put things into my body without really thinking of what they were doing to it.  Growing up I thought I had a mild case of IBS but really it was probably due to the fact that I was putting lots of junk into my system (McDonalds just announced that they would stop putting ammonium hydroxide in hamburgers).

With this in mind, I am happy to say that, other then the protein bar, I have only consumed whole foods this week.  In modern society it is almost impossible to go without eating any processed foods or food chemicals, but it is a lofty goal to try and reduce the amount of these chemicals you put in your body (and most likely you’ll be eating significantly healthier).

Daily Food Log:

Breakfast: Skyr (100 cal.)

Mid-morning snack: Banana (120 cal.)

Lunch: Lentil Soup + Protein Bar(6.5g fat, 295 cal.)

Mid-afternoon snack: Apple (100 cal.)

Dinner: Carrot-Ginger Soup + Salad (7g fat, 205 cal.)

Total calories: 890.

 

She Said:

I’d been doing the ‘week one’ part of my couch-to-5k plan for a few weeks as I was establishing a gym routine so today I read the ‘week two’ schedule just before leaving for the gym although I told myself I was going to do the week one schedule again.

However, when I actually got on the treadmill I told myself to stop being silly (lazy) and start the week two plan. Week one wasn’t too hard even the first day I did it… wasn’t hard at all actually but when you are as out of shape as I am switching to week two was a little challenging.

So I did my 5-minute warm up walk and then switched between 90-seconds of jogging and 2 minutes of walking for 20 minutes. The most annoying part of doing this is manually changing the speed on the treadmill that many times. I wish you could program it so switch between the speeds for you!

Mini-topic: Have your cake and eat it too

I think in the long-term my nightly cherry cordial will help keep me on my diet longer than if I wasn’t eating it. During the day when I am hungry and eating yet another banana or Siggi’s yogurt while the smell of grilling meat is floating around outside it’s nice to think about that small indulgence waiting for me at the end of the day.

This idea is supported by a study Nathaniel shared with me the other day which showed that in the long term people who ate a piece of cake in the beginning of their day were more likely to keep weight off than those who didn’t.

Interesting.

Food Today:

1 cup Siggi’s yogurt (100 cal.)
1 bowl carrot ginger soup (145 cal. 2g fat)
1 banana (120 cal.)
Salad – lots of spinach, 5-6 cherry tomatoes, ¼ cup sliced onion, 1oz feta (80 cal. 6g fat), 1 egg (90 cal. 5g fat), balsamic vinaigrette ( 60 cal. 7 g fat)
1 cherry cordial (75 cal. 1.5g fat) (I ran out of milk / sad face)

(I consider the calories in the spinach and tomatoes to be arbitrary… kind of like celery it’s just not enough to worry about)

Total: 670 calories 16.5g fat


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Soup: Carrot Ginger

Nathaniel and I eat a lot of soup for a few reasons: It’s filling, it can be really low in calories and you can make a whole lot of it at once. Nathaniel takes soup to work for lunch nearly everyday and I usually have the same thing at home.

But- I also really love cooking and trying new recipes.

Yesterday I tried a new recipe for carrot ginger soup from The Vegan Table: 200 Unforgettable Recipes for Entertaining Every Guest at Every Occasion by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. It turned out delicious which is why I decided to share it here.

This soup is even healthier than the lentil soup we usually eat so I predict you will see it mentioned with frequency in the future.

I just purchased ‘The Vegan Table’ (although I am not vegan) because it has great photos and health information for every recipe which makes choosing new and healthy recipes easier than some other cookbooks do. Also – you can always adapt the recipes for your own lifestyle.

For example: I used low sodium chicken stock instead of vegetable stock and the feta was added for the photo but it tasted great on top.

Carrot Ginger Soup

(Yield: 4 Servings)

7 or 8 large carrots, peeled and cut into rounds

1 large yellow onion, diced or sliced

2 medium yukon gold potatoes quartered

2 tsp ginger minced

2 garlic cloves minced

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

salt and pepper to taste

(If you stay true to the recipe and use vegetable stock each serving only has 145 calories and 2 g fat)

  1. Sautee onions in a medium to large put using either butter olive oil or water (water is used in original recipe)
  2. Once Onions are soft add potatoes, garlic, ginger and carrots to the pot.
  3. Pour in enough liquid (chicken or vegetable stock) until vegetables are covered
  4. Simmer ingredients until carrots and potatoes are easily pierced with a fork
  5. Blend all ingredients in a blender till you have a nice thick soup – you can add more stock to thin the soup if you wish
  6. Season to taste and enjoy!


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Day 3: Push-ups & being lazy

He said:

Today was day two of my 100 push-up plan that I heard about from a coworker.  The basic premise is that after a six week program you should (theoretically) be able to do 100 push-ups in a row without stopping (I will be the perfect case study for you).

I could already do 30 push-ups (I have been doing them on a regular basis for the last couple of months, this is not where I started at) and the program suggested that I start on week three, but after the first day on that I realized I should start on a lower week.  Today was day 2 of week 2 and it went much better with me being able to complete the workout.  There is also an app for this if you have a smart phone which I highly suggest, it will count the breaks in-between sets for you and tracks your progress (and it’s free so there’s nothing to loose).

While Alex has a gym membership (I have had them in the past too) I currently do not.  And while I think I may get on in the future I am currently working from a different perspective.  See in the past I would get on a health kick, diet and go start lifting weights.  But after a couple of weeks I would get discouraged that I wasn’t gaining any muscle, this was because it was still burried under layers of fat.

This time around I am taking my old teachers advice (see post in Day 2) and doing mostly cardio (riding my bike and jogging).  But I also wanted to work out some muscles, so I latched onto push-ups and now this 100 day program.  The basic premise behind the program I am working on is the concept that anyone, anywhere could conceivably do what I am doing right now regardless of their circumstances.  I understand that some people can not afford a gym membership, or fancy protein powder.  So this is a simple plan based around using what I already have at hand.

Daily Food Log:

Breakfast: Skyr (100 cal.)

Mid-morning snack: Banana (120 cal.)

Lunch: Lentil Soup (1g fat, 250 cal.)

Mid-afternoon snack: Apple (100 cal.)

Dinner: Greek Salad + milk (greens, cucumber, 4 olives, vinaigrette 10g fat 410 cal.)

Total calories: 1,020.

She Said:

Today I did not go to the gym mostly because I stayed up too late watching Lord of The Rings and playing paper toss on Nathaniel’s phone. Also – as I reasoned to myself my couch-to-5k plan doesn’t require me to do it everyday.

However I was pondering that if a person walks 4-4.5 miles an hour they will need to walk 20 miles to lose one pound. So while I am lazier less stringent with my workouts than Nathaniel, a very tangible goal for me to set for myself is to do my jogging plan and walk enough miles on top of that to equal at least 20 miles a week until I reach my goal of being able to jog 5 miles at a time.

Saturday we are planning on walking from San Francisco’s Ferry Building to a restaurant on the complete other side of the city for lunch. It should be about 10 miles and have a lot of hills. I am excited because it’s going to be a lot of fun and we might find cool things to take pictures of along the way!

Today’s Food:

1 Siggi’s Yogurt (100 cal.)

1 banana (120 cal.)

1 cup of coffee (10 cal.)

1 bowl of lentil soup (250 cal.)

2 cuties (small citrus fruit) (70 cal.)

1 bowl of carrot ginger soup (145 cal. 2g fat)

4oz milk / 1 cherry cordial (120 cal. 1.5g fat)

Total calorie count: 770


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Day 2

He said:

Hand in hand with diet is exercise. There was a joke going around the internet a couple years ago, that in the year 2020 scientists would, after years of research and billions of dollars in grants, would come to the conclusion that diet and exercise would keep you healthy.

In this the other side of my trying to keep healthy is getting exercise every day.  I work for nine hours a day (on a good day) and as in most office settings I sit most of the time.  Luckily I recently moved to Burlingame and am a twenty minute bike ride (about five miles) from my work.  So I have taken to riding to and from work (which is nothing provides at least a little exercise every day).

On top of the bicycle I am trying to run (jog) at least four times a week.  At the end of high school I took a weight training class at UCSC and got close to lifting what I thought I should.  Near the end of the class I asked the instructor how I could be more tone in my muscles and her response was “you need to run, every day”.

Being the lazy slug I am, the thought of running everyday was not appealing, but now that I have lost some weight it is not as hard to run as it used to be.  Did 2.7 miles yesterday and today, need to keep it up.

Food for today:

Breakfast: Skyr (100 cal.)

Mid-morning snack: Banana (120 cal.)

Lunch: Lentil Soup (1g fat, 250 cal.)

Mid-afternoon snack: Apple (100 cal.)

Dinner: rice with sauteed vegetables and half an avocado (14g fat, 500 cal.)

Total calories for the day: 1070.

 

She Said:

I am currently doing the couch-to-5k running plan and for my last “jog” during the 25-minute program today I cranked the treadmill up faster than I have in the past. When I got off the treadmill I was a little light headed but the feeling passed after a few seconds.

After that I moved on to the weights, which I used to be intimidated by.

I’ve had 24-hour fitness memberships in the past (and had to cancel them because of my constant moving) but I was always too embarrassed to sign up for a personal trainer. My mom even offered to pay for one when I was just starting college and I refused. The idea of one very in shape person watching me sweat and struggle for an hour at a time was terrifying,

This time around I paid for 3 sessions with a personal trainer and she showed me how to use a ton of stuff at the gym I had been afraid to try. It was great! I was sore after every session and felt really accomplished at the end of the day.

I can’t afford any more sessions but the machines are my favorite part of the gym now. I wasn’t getting my money’s worth in the past by just doing 2 hours on an elliptical.  25 minutes on the treadmill and 30 minutes on the weights with a little rowing machine thrown in are a lot more efficient.

Food today:

1 Siggi’s yogurt (100 cal.)

1 banana (120 cal.)

1 cup of coffee (10 cal.)

2 cups of tea (10 cal.)

1 bowl lentil soup (1g fat, 250 cal.)

1 large greek salad: lots of lettuce, ½ cucumber, 5-6 cherry tomatoes, 1/3 cup feta (90 cal.), 8 Kalamata olives (80 cal.), Balsamic vinaigrette (homemade).

2 x 8 oz. diet juice (5 cal. each)

4 oz milk with 1 cherry cordial

***To explain why you are going to see me eating a cherry cordial everyday- my Dad gave me a small box of them on Saturday so I am limiting myself to one per day. Nathaniel and I really don’t buy food like that to have at the apartment even when we aren’t on a diet.

 


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The First Day

He Said:

Today went pretty well, there was a period around 2pm where I was hungry but didn’t want to eat my afternoon snack yet and was thinking about the fact that I wanted a French dip.  Well, not really the whole sandwich, just the bun.  It stuck in my head, and I had to get up and have a glass of water to get my mind off of it.

In trying to eat healthier I, like many I’m sure, feel like I have tried every trick in the book and taken every suggestion people and experts have to offer.  With that said,  I have finally decided that I need to do what works for me and leave the advice that just doesn’t fit.

With this in mind, I eat five meals a day when not on my free day.  Here the term meal may not be what you are thinking, for example one of my meals is a banana, so these are not what an average person would consider a meal, but it helps me not feel hungry most of the time.

Another suggestion that I have taken to heart is drinking, at least, four 8 oz. glasses of water a day.  This helps to fill my stomach, and I find on days where I do not drink this much I am hungry and dehydrated.  I start the morning (after my shower) with drinking two cups of water (no I do not measure out two cups of water with a measuring cup, if you have a regular pub glass, that holds almost exactly two cups) as this helps to get me started for the day.

Another aspect of this is that if you don’t think you can drink that much water, because lets face it, water is a boring drink.  You’ll be happy to know that it counts as drinking water if you drink tea or coffee (though coffee will act as a dehydrator).  The only thing you should watch for is not consuming too much caffeine, I sip on tea almost all day long, but I drink mostly green or herbal teas that contain almost no caffeine.

Food list for today:

Breakfast: Skyr (Icelandic yogurt and something I will blog about later) (100 cal.)

Mid-morning snack: Banana (120 cal.)

Lunch: Lentil Soup (1g fat, 250 cal.)

Mid-afternoon snack: Apple (100 cal.)

Dinner: Lentil Soup (1g fat, 250 cal.) I got home late so I didn’t make dinner and just ate some soup I made for lunch this week.

Total calories for today 820, though it would have been closer to 1000 if I had made the dinner I planned on making.

Getting psyched for tomorrow!

 

She Said:

Nathaniel and I were discussing how oftentimes people handing out diet suggestions say you should eliminate beer or soda from your diet as an easy way of cutting calories.

The problem with this suggestion (for me and maybe you) is that I don’t drink enough of these things for them to contribute significantly to my weight. To be realistic the beverage that contributes the most calories to my usual diet is milk.

As a child I drank a lot of milk (I’ve always loved it) and my parents didn’t see the point in limiting something that is considered healthy. I once drank a half-gallon of milk in one sitting (although to be fair this was without parental supervision).

Today it was important that I acknowledged to Nathaniel and myself that I really have to pay attention to how much Milk I am pouring into my glass.

I’ve consumed around 1,000 calories today and to be perfectly honest I was still hungry after I finished my dinner of sautéed veggies and white rice. I like to cook meals with big flavors to help keep myself from feeling gypped.

Luckily as a result of being a foodie I have an arsenal of spices. However today I went cheap for my flavor booster and topped the stir-fry with sriracha.

You may have to save some of these recipes for a ‘free day’ but a few of them are diet friendly!

Today’s food intake:

1 cup yogurt (Suggi’s)
2 cups of coffee (no sugar but a splash of milk)
2 cutie’s (small citrus fruit)
1 cup lentil soup (homemade)
1 cup diet juice (ocean spray)
Sautéed veggies over white rice
4 oz. milk / 1 cherry cordial (see’s)
tea (no milk or sugar)