Posted in food, physical health

What is this mysterious vegetable?

This vegetable provides 21% of your daily potassium. Potassium is critical in our bodies, helping to regulate muscle contractions, nerve signals, and fluid balance. Potassium is an electrolyte—one of those things that people talk about needing to replenish when they exercise (though most people don’t really know what it means). Also keep in mind that your heart is a muscle, so “muscle contractions” is not just talking about arms and legs and such.

(For reference, an avocado provides 20%, a cup of white beans: 18%, a sweet potato or a cup of spinach: 12%, bananas: 9%.)

This vegetable is also weighing in at 45% of your daily vitamin C! That’s not as much as an orange or a cup of strawberries, but it’s still a solid serving.

You also get some fiber, some protein, and a little iron.

What package brings you all this goodness?

A potato.

This package is for gold potatoes, but other types are similar. (The nutrition facts panel is for “one medium potato.”)

Potatoes get a bad rap, and they shouldn’t.

You’ll want to eat the whole potato (including the skin!) and eat potatoes together with a little more protein and some fat, for staying power and to avoid a blood sugar crash.

Some of the most-loved ways to eat potatoes aren’t ideal and would be best considered “sometimes (or less) foods” — like fries, home fries, hash browns, chips.

But a baked potato? Or some skin-on mashed potatoes? Nutritionally beneficial.

Posted in food, know better do better, physical health

The sad adult-y-ness of limiting snacks

Dried mango and macadamia nuts.

These are my two current favorite snacks.

I can eat them together or separately, and I can eat them in significant quantity.

Costco sells both.

For a while, I stopped buying the mango altogether—it’s easier when it’s just not in the house—and I was just reintroduced to macadamia nuts a couple of weeks ago. They’re much more delicious than they were when I was a kid.

Earlier this week, I bought a bag of each at Costco. Yum!

But, in an effort not to exist solely on these two things, I measured out portions based on the nutrition facts panel. Put the nuts in little jars. Put the mango in repurposed tomato paste jars.

I have taught and written about portion control many times, and yet I was still astounded at how little there was in my servings.

It’s for the best. And most days, I’ve only had one jar of each.

Eating things like chips, popcorn, nuts, cereal out of the container is dicey for many people. Measure it out, put the bag away, and stick to the portion you measured.

The bonus to this is that the original container will last much longer. Fend off a little overindulgence, save a few pesos. Not an entirely bad deal.

Posted in about me, ebb & flow, food, physical health

The former deliciousness of peanut brittle

For a long time, peanut brittle was one of my favorites. And it was an infrequent treat, which made it even more delightful.

It’s been years, maybe decades, since I had peanut brittle.

There was some at work the other day.

I took a piece. Or two…

And you know what? It wasn’t that delicious.

I relayed this story to a friend who reacted with sadness, but no! It’s not sad at all!

Peanut brittle is crap. It’s (formerly) tasty crap, but it’s still crap.

And now, if it shows up in the teachers’ lounge again, I won’t have to expend any energy to pass it by, because it’s not delicious.

It’s not the first time this has happened, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. The list of things that are no longer delicious just got one thing longer.

And yes, there have been a few things that I had for the first time in years and yes, they were still amazing. (A cream doughnut from McMillan’s Bakery immediately comes to mind. Only ate a couple of bites but YUM.)

But it’s OK to let your taste buds get pickier about junk food. Your body will thank you for it.

Posted in exercise, food, mental health, mindset, motivation, physical health, tips

Goal-setting, goal-pursuing, and real life

With most things, there’s a fine line between “not hardcore” and “too many excuses.”

Setting a reasonable, realistic goal is critical in walking this line.

For most people most of the time, “hardcore” is not the way to go. It’s not sustainable. If you’re in a situation where it’s critical to be all in and right now, then do it. But that’s not most of us (psychologically) most of the time.

For most people most of the time, setting small goals—goals that maybe even seem like not goals at all because they’re so small—is the way to go.

Set a small goal. One small goal.

Relentlessly stick to it. No outs. No excuses.

Once that’s a habit, repeat the process.

In time, you have a whole new set of habits. It takes time, but it’s doable and it’s worth it.

Imagine you started that process a year ago. You’d have three or four or six small changed habits. You’d be so grateful to yourself for starting.

Imagine yourself in a year. Do what you need to do to make one-year-from-now you as grateful as you would be now to one-year-ago you if you had started then.

 

Posted in food, mindset, tips

Evolution hasn’t solved this food problem

We know that we shouldn’t eat unless we’re hungry (a few health issues aside–there’s always an exception, isn’t there?). All of the ins and outs of that is another post for another day.

But when should we stop eating?

It’s a national pastime to eat until it hurts. We plan out which pants to wear so we can overeat with less discomfort.

I think we know that this isn’t healthy.

But (I think) the majority of us don’t do this the majority of days.

On a normal day-to-day basis, when should we stop?

When you’re no longer hungry. When you’re sated.

Not when you’re full.

“Enough food” isn’t the same as “no more food.”

Eat slowly. Chew a lot. (I’m bad at both of those.)

If there are many foods that all look good, like at a buffet or a big holiday meal, take literally one or two forkfuls of each. When you’ve slowly finished eating those, enjoying each, if you’re not done, pick the one(s) that were the best and have another bite or two of that.

Advice I should take for myself: put your fork (or spoon) down between every bite. Chew and swallow before you pick up the next bite.

Also, it takes time before the stomach registers that it’s full, so eating slowly helps you help yourself not to overeat. It leaves time for signals to make it from the stomach to your brain, and then for you subsequently to decide to stop eating.

It’s easier to stop eating if there’s not food in front of you. If you’re eating at home, serve from the stove or the counter instead of putting all of the food on the table. If you’re eating out, split a meal or bring a to-go container (or ask for one up front).

How fortunate we all are to have the problem of too much food. It just means we have different problems to solve. Instead of “where is my next meal coming from?” it’s “how do I not kill myself with the abundance of food?”

Eat only when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re not hungry anymore.