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Looking for advice...dietary issue.

Posted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 1:32 pm
by Kystar
Okay, a little background...I guess. Recently, I've realized I need to eat healthier so that I have a better chance of loosing the 40 pounds my doctor wants me to drop. (It WAS 50, but then, I lost about 10 b/c of my

Though I'm not consistently overindulging in calories (My average is usually a bit under the 2,000 base that they set serving sizes on), I have realized that I have a bit of a problem with what I'm eating.

The problem I've discovered is a complex one. But, I'm going to just jump to what I'm looking for advice on.

I've noticed is that I'm probably eating more meat than I need to, or should be. Though I'm usually eating more chicken than red meat...I'm still eating too much. However, my stomach doesn't tolerate things like processed soy or tofu stuff well, because of my IBS. The processed soy more than the tofu, but still.

Mr. Kystar isn't keen on either, btw...and I have to cook for him too. Also, we have problems finding affordable fresh fruits and veggies out of season here...hard to find places that aren't chain or gourmet.

So, I was wondering if anyone has a few good meatless meals that I can sneak into my dinner plans here and there, or a reference website where I can find some stuff, that would be great.

It's not like I want to go to a completely vegetarian lifestyle...b/c I'm way too much of a carnivore for that...but I think adding a meatless dinner once or twice a week would improve our health.

So, advice, prods towards resources, whatever...would be great. THANKS!

Re: Looking for advice...dietary issue.

Posted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 7:56 pm
by FyreGarnet
Well, have you tried reducing the meat in your main dish? I like to make pasta with a meat sauce. But there is typically more pasta than meat that way. Things such as this might work.

Also, I've mentioned this before,

They have a great recipe area, with nutritional info. You can keep track of what you eat, if you want, or even how much you exercise. But I get recipes in my email from them, as well as go to their site.

Another recipe site I like is I think it is. I could be off on that, but if you do a google search for recipes, I bet that site will pop up.

I hope this helps some. I understand the pressures of cooking for two, when the other is the husband and is pickier than children, lol, in one way or another.


Re: Looking for advice...dietary issue.

Posted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 5:00 am
by Crazy Healer Lady
You can make your own meatless substitutions without soy or wheat. Nuts are a great thing but I'm unsure how that will effect your IBS, and they also have many calories and are slow to digest. Not to mention not healthy for you if they are cooked (the fat changes). How do you feel about mushrooms?

Instead of ground beef, try stirfrying some blended sweet potato with a small bit of tamari or soy-free dark sauce, and then add veggies. Honestly, ANY meal can be made sans-meat. The easiest are meals where the meat is hidden in there. Try just ommitting it. Like in goulash: Just don't add the meat. You still have some stewed veggies. Adding tamari will make it dark and seem like there is meat in there for S.A.D. eyes (Standard American Diet). If you have favourite meals, post them here and I can give you a vegan version. Making immitation meals is one of my specialties. Also, check out my YouTube site at - I have a few food prep vids and two more are going up in the next week. I'm posting a great cranberry dessert today.

A big culprit in weight loss, though, is dairy products and refined foods. If you can, buy sprouted flour-free bread, kick ALL sugar out of your home, and give away treats like danishes, cookies, ice cream, etc. Sweeten your creations with fruit such as bananas and dates. Just a warning: If you like sugar, you may go through a small withdrawal, but three days and your body should be off the stuff. Your mind may take longer. Refined flours are actually addictive, too, and like paste in our guts. It also sucks because it gives us the illusion that we are nourishing our bodies. When we're hungry, we go for starchy goodness which suppresses appetite chemicals very effectively, but refined foods are totally lacking in nutrients and we are hungry again very soon. So we get a lot of calories and no nutrients.

To lose weight, I fully recommend making every meal as nutrient-dense as possible. This means live foods, minimal cooking. The more you cook, the more nutrients are lost, and oh girl please no microwaves. The more nutrients are lost, the more your body is going to tell you it's hungry very soon after, and also tell you to eat more at each serving. has great recipes

For weight loss, I recommend researching Angela Stokes. Amazing woman. She has a great heart and is very knowledgable. Her website is or you can chat her up at the Renegade Inner Circle with Kevin Gianni. Kevin Gianni, by the way, is another awesome resource. He has many vids on YouTube and is a fitness health professional. Another kind heart - both him and Annmarie, his wife.

Re: Looking for advice...dietary issue.

Posted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 5:12 am
by Willow
Well a couple things, I recently lost 30 pounds and here are some of the tricks

(1) portion size (Sorry North Americans) but we all suffer from portion distortion. A serving of PAsta is actually just one cup (measureing cup, and not tightly pakced about the size of a tennis ball). Try looking at the food guide (I like the Canadian one better than the American pyramid), a serving of cheese is the size of a womans thumb, and you are only supposed to have two to three of those a day (I almost cried when I realised how much cheese I had to limit) and be brutally honest and measure every ounce you eat, you might find your portion sizes are bigger than you expect. You can also try eating off a smaller plate.

(2) Several studies have shown that journaling helps, if you write down everything you eat (including BLT's -bites, licks and tastes) you will see where you are sneaking in calories

(3) Watch out for drink calories, juice, alcohal and pop are all at least 200 calories a drink (the way we serve them). Coffee, hot chocolate, tea and lattes can also add up if we find ourselves using full fat milk and sugar and whipped cream. To lose weight you need to only cut out an extra 100 calories a day, try dropping drinks and juice if you are partaking and stick to water and herbal teas

As for food and recipes:

Frozen veggies and fruits work just as well, they are flash frozen and therefore contain all the same nutrients as fresh try them in stir fries and smoothies and soups
IF fresh veggies are not always an option, not so fresh veggies can go into soups, chillis, stir fries and pasta sauces very easily

As for vegetarian food, try beans, they are high in fibre and low in calories. Reduce the meat by half and add more beans to a chilli. There are tons of vegetarian recipes out there on the internet. Try looking in the library at old versions of vegtarian times magazine and looking for cookbooks. Eat shrink and be merry actually has really easy and really fast recipes.

And as I have said before is a great resource, it is the Canadian website for the dieticians of Canada, they have an eat tracker where they can calculate how many calories you need, what servings you require and your vitamin requirements. the weightwatchers website also has a lot of recipes and things available to the public.

Good luck, weight loss is really hard, but you can do it! we have faith in you!

Re: Looking for advice...dietary issue.

Posted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 10:48 am
by Kystar
Well, I've already gone through the journaling to a point in order to get an idea of how much I was eating...and I'm within a healthy range. I'm working on controlling the portion sizes for us, so that's not the real issue. Actually, the issue is that I'm not exercising enough yet, but there's the whole recovering from surgery thing to think there's a limitation that only time can work out.

I don't want to start making family favorites without meat. I don't want to try and make hubby adjust to a total shift in how I cook. I am just looking for additional recipes or resources to find additional recipes so I can supplement our regular meal plans with a meatless meal here and there. I will definitely check out the links provided.

I'll probably pop in later for pointers on recipes that have foods I'm not familiar with.

Thanks for the advice.

Re: Looking for advice...dietary issue.

Posted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 2:16 am
by Max
Hey Kystar hope you are recovering well from surgery. Great advice given already, but I'll add some from my own experience. These worked for me:

*If you don't like to drink water on it's own yet buy a sugar free squash (or cordial, do you get this in US?) or drink fruit teas hot or cold.
*I find easily available foods are carrots, onions, tinned beans and peppers which I add to curry, chilli, pies, stews to bulk it out (which you could use to cut down meat portions).
*Porridge for breakfast (if you have time), adding flavour with nuts, dried fruits, cinnamon/ginger/nutmeg or honey, stops me snacking until lunch. Flapjacks or plain nuts for snacks because they fill you up and are slow releasing energy foods. I don't know whether you go to a workplace where people always bring cakes (love my work colleagues) but take your own healthy snacks when it's your turn, you'll be surprised how quickly a punnet of grapes goes.
*Boiled/baked potatoes are wonderful because they fill you up and have less calories than pasta and rice, even better if they are sweet potatoes (the red ones).
*Chew each mouthful properly, I tend to be like a pig at a trough when I'm hungry (my mother shakes her head disappointedly), this makes you realise when you have eaten enough. It may seem sacreligious but leave food on your plate if you are full, although, I never do this, it pains me to see wasted food!
*Replace about a third of your usual carbohydrate on your plate (rice, pasta, potatoes) with salad stuffs and then put balsamic vinegar on it as a dressing - yumyum.
It sounds obvious but distract yourself between mealtimes to stop that bored snacking (any time I have a work assignment), whether it's reading, writing or walking to see a friend. Don't allow yourself to feel really hungry or low energy because your body will crave the sugary foods that you're trying to avoid. And don't expect instant results because the body takes time to kickstart sometimes. A couple of years ago I wanted to lose about 12lbs to fit back into my jeans (caused by long computer work assignment), I found that with a twenty minute walk every day without changing my diet the first few weeks there was no change, afterwards it dropped off me. But obviously be careful if you are still healing.

Good luck! Have fun experimenting! :-)

Re: Looking for advice...dietary issue.

Posted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:07 am
by Kitsune
I have a list of fat-free recipes that I'll try to put up, most likely tomorrow (I have to see if I put my recipes on my new computer, or if I have to grab my backup disks :lol: ). I will add that a good way to keep the meat in the meals, is to have your family add them to the meals afterwards. For spaghetti, you could make the meat, in one pan, then make the sauce in another. That way your husband still adds as much meat as he wants, and you can lower your intake without affecting him or cutting the meat out completely.

I don't eat much meat either, I eat slowly enough that I am constantly rushed by those around me (I eat fast now, and one plate of dinner still takes me 30 - 45 min. to get through), and when I was doing fitday, I think I was only eating 2500 calories max a day (usually it was closer to 1800 from what I could tell). I'm starting to think that my body type is just built so that I don't lose weight unless I'm exercising regularily. #-o

FitDay is a wonderful program, and the online one that I use, because it not only keeps track of your food intake, and calories, but because you can also put on what exercising you were able to do that day. From "sitting quietly reading" to "Light computer work at a desk" to "walked for 10 min." to "used the elliptical for 3.5 hours" and it has a usual amount of calories burned at each type of exercise.

So FitDay might help, just to keep track of your exercise, even while convalescing.

Re: Looking for advice...dietary issue.

Posted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:23 am
by Willow
Have you considered investing in a really good vegetarian cookbook?

The vegetarian times cookbook is great, the rebar cookbook, and How to cook everything vegetarian by Mark Bitman are all personal favourites.

Re: Looking for advice...dietary issue.

Posted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:11 am
by Crazy Healer Lady
Kitsune, that's a really great idea :) Meat in one pan, sauce in the other.

As for eating slow, that is a much healthier way to eat. Part of a number of digestion problems is an inability (followed by unwillingness) to chew food properly. It's the reason many new veggies or salad-eaters get bloated stomachs: They are still stuck in processed hamburger and soft food mode, and don't chew well!

I still am blasting that, "NUTRIENT-DENSE" principle here, by the way. Weight loss is about eating proper foods and moving around more. I realize in your case you can't really get up and do jumping jacks, but at least you can tackle the nutrition issue :)

Re: Looking for advice...dietary issue.

Posted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 7:35 pm
by FyreGarnet
Unfortunately, most people don't understand the way calories work. The average 2000 you see on the labels is not at all accurate. Most women unless they are athletes should be eating less than 2000. A typical woman who is sedentary and never exercises except walking to the car to drive to work and home, should be eating about 1200 calories. This is also why most people find that dieting doesn't work, especially if they do not exercise. Calories are energy essentially, and if you eat to many calories (or don't burn enough is the same thing) you gain fat which is stored energy. Most diets are silly in my opinion. Because you are watching what you are eating, and possibly cutting certain things out, you tend to lower the amount of calories you eat. This is why diets work, until you go off them.

Mind you, a diet is just specifically what you eat. Your average person has a diet, just like the people trying to lose weight have a diet and all the other people. We have turned the word into something bad. We associate it with something that is absolutely so difficult to follow be cause we tell ourselves there are good foods and bad foods and typically the ones we like are on the bad list.

Ok, I'm rambling, so I'm gonna stop there. I hope you understand why I hate hearing about special diets like Atkin's and others.


Re: Looking for advice...dietary issue.

Posted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:31 am
by Lotus
Well, I have much the same problems that you do. Seriously, I have been there. I am reading up on the Raw diet but occurances as of late have put some things on back burner.

One think I know is that you have to gradually shrink the amount of calories you eat becaue it takes time for your body to get used to things. This will prevent the hunger feeling.
I do enjoy making stews and soups which, historically were made because people did not have enough meat. Ironic, now is it not? North Americans normally suck at making Italian meatballs for the reason that we have too much meat.

Another thing, sometimes we interpret thirst for hunger. Sometimes when you feel hungry it really is that you are dehydrated. Drink plenty of fluids like very lightly sweetened green tea or water. Yes, fluids can function as empty calories. You can have your juice in moderation or as a meal. I have a friend who will pour her juice over ice (you drink less juice). Cranberry juice is still very good for you.
Lately, when I drink coffee, I will get the Land o' Lakes fat free half and half. After awhile, I cannot taste the difference between this and regular half and half. I still get to enjoy myself and not feel deprived. This actually works well in dishes that call for half/half or cream! For example, I make 40 cloves of garlic and chicken using this product and this French dish does not lose the decadant quality. Instead of mashed potatoes, I serve it with some steamed green beans with a little lemon and salt.
Look at things as changing your eating habits instead of dieting. Mentality is the important thing.

My difficult thing is sweets. I have a severe sweet tooth and I notice that when I am stressed out I will actually gravitate towards them. Pay attention to your moods and emotions since majortiy of people are emotional eaters. I do eat sweets still but I swich them out for new choices that are better. Instead of icecream, I will have a fruitful bar (frozen fruit). Better option, no depravity.
Cutting things out cold turkey makes you want them more which, is why weening yourself gradually is better.
Food is an addiction like smoking. Very rarely people quit smoking cold turkey....they have to ween off of it.

Living in Ohio, not very different from PA when it comes to fruit and veggie choices, I know what you mean about finding healthy foods that do not cost an arm and a leg. I fortunately have a Trader Joes in the area. Like it has been said, do not count out the frozen stuff. Yes, fresh is better but lets be realistic here. Frozen papaya is better than no papaya at all. Also, take a look at some dried fruits. I actually enjoy dried apricots (texture wise) much more than fresh apricots.
Dried cranberries instead of sugary cranberry juice is a good alternative.

Oooh, I forgot. For breakfast, I will have the special K protein feel fuller longer meal bars. In the mornings when I open the store I have to get up at three o'clock am and be at work at 4 o'clock am. There are not very many options other than fast food and I am alone until 9 o'clock am (and I have to start cash right away). I do not have the luxury of eating breakfast since it would deprive me of much needed sleep. These bars are a godsend since the do provide a good breakfast while curbing my hunger. Yes, they are a little bit expensive as well but the protein does fill you up.
They do not taste like dog food either.

Lastly, I will actually buy smaller portions of things in stores. Yes, it is a little bit more expensive at times. They sell mini bags of chips if I do want the taste.


Re: Looking for advice...dietary issue.

Posted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:53 pm
by Kystar
I have gone over a lot of the "lose weight" issues with my doctor and my diabetic friend. I am working to reduce portions and control my sweet-tooth indulgences.

I was really just looking for a few recipes for meatless dinners to increase our veggie consumption, or at least a few sites with suggestions.

While I appreciate the advice, we've drifted off topic a bit. Thanks for any help offered.

Re: Looking for advice...dietary issue.

Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:47 am
by FyreGarnet
Here's another suggestion on topic. Try making salads with your meals. You know how restaurants will sometimes bring a salad out first, so you eat less of the meat and all? You could try doing that. I like salads with some of my meals, so I'll eat the salad first so it fills me up some, then the meat or whatever. Cuz the salad alone doesn't fill me up long enough. I feel hungry after a couple hours. But by adding the protein after the salad I find I don't feel the need to eat something else a few hours later.


Re: Looking for advice...dietary issue.

Posted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 6:22 am
by Max
I've thought hard about this. You wanted recipes? Well looking in my recipe notebook I realised how much I use cream or cheese in my favourites :oops: so I'll pass on 2 super simple meals created during my student days, the only ones without dairy in them! These are really hotchpotch, you can put anything in them so here's a (very) vague outline of them:

Chilli - 1 carrot (cut into circles then into quarters), 1or2 peppers (cut into about the same size as carrots), 1 onion. 1clove/tsp garlic and 1tsp chilli powder/flakes/fresh (add more to taste). 1 tin of kidney beans (or any beans). 1 tin of tomatoes. add a handful of soya mince or meat mince if you want. 1 cup of rice per person.
You could also add coriander and cumin as well if you have them. other things I have included are sweet corn, peas, courgette, and mushrooms
Fry the chopped onion in 1tsp oil, just before it turns translucent add the spices, fry for a further minute. add the carrot and peppers for about 5 mins until they are hot but not floppy. Add the tin of tomatoes, the beans and a little water and reduce, I would add the soya mince here to soak up the liquid (cook meat mince with onions). Taste, and add more chilli if needed. Put on the rice, and simmer the chilli for as long as the rice takes to cook. The veg is supposed to be slightly crunchy by the way. You could add a dollop of natural yogurt on top instead of cheese, or to lessen the burn.

I cook a tomato-based sauce for spaghetti dishes in pretty much the same way, with less chilli powder.

Stew - 1 onion, 1 leek, parsnip, potatoes, carrot, stock cube. maybe: swede, butternut squash, sweet potato, peas, 1 clove of garlic
In 1 tsp oil fry the onion, when still a bit white add the rest of the veg and sweat for about 10 mins to draw out the flavour. Add enough water to cover the veg, add stock cube, simmer for at least 45 mins. So nice with warmed crusty bread. Lovely winter meal. If you wanted to add meat, neck of lamb is apparantly good (?), I would brown it the same time as the onions.

I don't add salt because I've got used to food without its flavour, so you may need to add some. Hope these help, if you attempt my vague recipes tell me if they're successful!

Re: Looking for advice...dietary issue.

Posted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 7:35 am
by Crazy Healer Lady
A great sub for iodized salt is lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar, depending on the recipe. Gives that sharpness.