Tag Archives: healthy eating

Eat to lose weight

So, as expected, it seems like I seriously need to lose a few (read: five to ten) pounds.

To get myself started on this great, big task, I began not eating rice during dinner – no rice after 6! But I know I have to be doing more than that if I want to shed the fat. I know, though that even the best diet pills on the market are out of the question. No, thanks.

Do you know that there are foods to eat to help you lose weight? According to an article on Women’s Health, these foods make us feel full longer, keep the blood sugar levels low longer, help burn fat faster and even reduce blood triglycerides (the bad fats). What are these foods?

  • berries
  • low-fat yogurt
  • peanuts
  • turkey
  • breakfast cereals
  • enova oil

Of course, a healthy diet must consist of more than just the ones mentioned above. I learned a while back (when I began losing weight 3 years ago) that it really isn’t rocket-science. All we need to eat healthily is common sense – choose a lean cut of meat over a fatty one, brown over white rice, fruits over junk, baked over fried…

And then, choose to just do it! (The most difficult part).

*sigh*

Calorie restriction for longer life?

My family has long life in the genes.

Both grandparents on my dad’s side died in their old age – Lola in her mid 80s, and Lolo early 90s. Inang, on my mother side, died at mid-90s. My Amang, would you believe, is still well at 90-plus today! He lives to see many of his great grandchildren.

According to studies, genes make up 30% of one’s chance for longevity. So I guess I have that much chance. Other determinants are the obvious: healthy diet, some form of exercise, adequate rest and sleep, eliminating unhealthy habits such as smoking and alcohol drinking.

But beyond these, are there more we can do? Taking care of your skin – slathering on anti-ageing creams and religiously applying an eye wrinkle remover –  will probably make you feel and look younger. But are there specific diets, certain activities that will lengthen one’s life?

My mommy blogger friend Lynn wrote a feature at POC Wellness about longevity. One of the tips for longevity she shared is Calorie Restriction (CR). Calorie restriction, in a nutshell, is eating fewer but higher-quality calories. It seems to be the secret of Japanese centenarians, because their diets were found to be rich in fresh fish, vegetables and grains, and low in meats, eggs and dairies.

CR entails choosing calorie-sparse, nutrient-dense foods over over calorie-dense ones:

Complex carbs/sugars such as brown rice, wheat, bran, potatoes, kamote and fruits, instead of simple sugars such as white rice, white bread, cakes, sweets, refined flour;

Vegetables – both the green-leafy ones and the non-leafies. Vegetables make up the bulk of of a CR diet;

Adequate proteins from good sources – A good alternative to animal proteins are plant sources such as beans, legumes, cauliflower and spinach. Animal proteins, though complete with amino acids the body needs for building and healing, may carry with them high fat content. Plus red meats have also been associated with cancers. So it’s a good idea to balance intake of animal- and plant-based proteins;

Good fats such as monounsaturated and Omega-3 fats, instead of saturated and trans fats. Sources of good fats are olive oil,  nuts, avocados, fish oils, and flax seed oil. Of course fats have high calories, so intake of these are restricted at minimum in the CR diet.

I’ve been considering this kind of diet for some time now (though of course not a strictly restricted diet, haha). Red meat is not a problem for me, since the family diet has been beef-free since around 2000 anyway. Fish may pose a bit of a problem, because of Nate’s allergies. So I’m thinking of going the gradual route – will start with more fruits and vegetables first.

Really, my end-goal is to go vegetarian (or at least semi-vegetarian) –  you know, lessen animal cruelty in my own small ways.

And so, because of this, I’ve been peeking at the Organic Manila website. I’m excited to get my first box of organic produce. But I’ve yet to make up my mind and choose what the box will contain from this catalog.

So there. I suppose I have 30% chance of living past the 80s mark. The question is: will I live past that mark happy and healthy? If I survive life that long, I might as well be healthy and happy, right?  Besides, it’s not much the quantity, but the quality of life that should matter. 🙂

July is Nutrition Month

In the Philippines, Nutrition Month is celebrated every month of July. So this month, on POC Wellness, we shall be featuring articles related to nutrition and good eating.

The habit of eating healthy is not something that we are born with or develop overnight. Kids naturally go for what is sweet or crispy, not what is green and healthy. So it’s good to start them off right. For me, the best tip is to be good examples as parents, because children copy what we do. Read more tips for making healthy eating fun for kids here from Toni of Wifely Steps.

Also from Toni is an article on label lingo. Good nutrition starts with choosing the right food. The article includes 10 supermarket buzzwords that each supermarket shopper must know.

This month is also a good time to dig the archives of POC Wellness, especially the articles on organic food. What’s a better way to eat good food than to make it yourself? Organic gardening sounds like a good hobby, though I’ve never really tried it myself (I must be the only brown thumb in a family of green-thumbs!). I may initially be excited setting up the garden – buying seeds, pots, soils, garden windmills. But I’m not really sure if I can sustain the hobby…

Anyway, here’s a great article on Organic Gardening 101. While you’re at it, you may want to make your own organic fertilizer by vermiculturing.

Here’s to good food and good health! 🙂

Cooking Brown Rice in Rice Cooker

how to cook brown rice

In an effort to observe a healthier diet, my family has gone back to eating brown rice. Compared to its white counterpart, brown rice is full of the good stuff – vitamins and trace minerals essential in fighting cancers and other diseases. It’s also a low glycemic index food, meaning it belongs to the good carbs gang.

I think brown rice is an acquired taste. The kids, especially, always don’t find it easy adjusting to the coarser texture and earthy taste. When cooked with too little water, the grains turn out tough. So we cook ours with a little more water and a little bit longer.

We use rice cooker to cook brown rice. The rice is rinsed with cold water once. Then water is measured with 1:2 ratio. That is, for each cup of brown rice, use 2 cups of cold water. After rice boils and all the water is absorbed, I keep the lid on for about 15 minutes more to let the rice continue cooking. This makes the brown rice fluffier when served.

Other sites suggest soaking brown rice in cold water thirty minutes before cooking. While others say using broth instead of plain water for cooking will result to more appetizing brown rice. I haven’t tried either yet. I have a feeling the first suggestion will shorten cooking time, which right now lasts about 30 minutes for me (on the rice cooker). And the second suggestion will be welcomed by the kids!

I’ll let you know if I do try them out.

My kids, by the way, have gotten the hang of eating brown rice again. It took about a week or so of resistance manifested in half-finished bowls. Persistence, persistence. 😉

Check out the benefits of brown rice in my fitness blog.