Tag Archives: health

Ch-ch-ch-Chia! (seeds that is)

P_20160214_152245.jpgSo, recently I posted a drink recipe, Everything but the Kitchen Sink Drink that included chia seeds. I’d never had them before buying a 15oz bag last month. Chia seeds get such swell press for their nutritional properties that I was curious if I’d be able to see any measurable benefits. I finished the bag in just under a month, so I was knocking back essentially half the portion size listed per day.

As I’d said in the other post, chia seeds are not exciting. Not offensive, but not “Oh, yum!” either. (I looked through my files and found a Delicious Living article from a few years ago – July 2011 I think – which described them as “flavorless” which I guess is better than the “boring” I said.)

I noticed two results. The first was I dropped a pound or two which I attribute to the high fiber. I don’t need to lose weight but to maintain it, which in winter is more challenging. So my weight is right where I want it. (Many years ago I read & kept an article which said the secret to weight loss is fiber. That simple maxim stuck with me and besides that, if there is anything adults are forever being encouraged to add to their diets, it is fiber. The Delicious Living article notes that with 6 grams of fiber per 2 tbsp, chia seeds have more fiber than any other whole food.)

The second specific thiing I noticed was that my nails grew a tad faster. I already have a decent amount of calcium in my diet and this was just an added boost. That is, I didn’t eliminate any of my other calcium sources while I was eating chia seeds. There may be other, less obvious benefits (the good fats ought to be working in there somewhere), but these were the ones I could measure.

Because I found the chia seeds for such a decent price ($2.99 for a 15oz bag), I went ahead and bought a second bag. I’m pretty sure I won’t try to eat it in a month, but I think it’s a nice addition to my diet, not for its bland taste, but for the nutrients. It’s one I’ll definitely have to remind myself to eat, because I’m pretty sure I’ll forget it exists otherwise.


Fruit Yogurt drink (otherwise called a “smoothie”)



I love my blender drinks and generally use the same/similar ingredients to my fake “icecream”.

I got a single serve “personal blender” for $10 and I use it all the time – the cup unscrews from the base and you drink right out of it – less dishes to wash!

It's about 1 foot tall. I use it so much the brand name wore off. Love this little guy!

It’s about 1 foot tall. I use it so much the brand name wore off. Love this little guy!

For ingredients, I usually use what’s on hand; more frozen fruits in winter and more fresh in summer. The fresh fruit drink pictured above was:

*3/4 cup water
*About 1/2 cup plain, non-fat yogurt (also I try only to buy yogurt which says the cows aren’t treated with hormones – yep, that’s right, actual cows are involved in yogurt production!)
*A banana
*Unsweetened coconut
*Brown Sesame Seeds (aka unhulled)
*Blackstrap Molasses (lots of iron, some Calcium)
*About a teaspoon unsweetened peanut butter
*Ground Flax Seed
*Nutritional Yeast
*Cocoa powder

Oh man is that good!

“Green” Drink

An easy way to get more fruits & veggies into your diet is to drink them. I’ve had a green drink recipe kicking around awhile but hadn’t tried it (I don’t think the experiment I once did spontaneously with fruit and canned spinach – it was nasty – really counts).

The other day at the local Farmers Market I had the good fortune to buy a sizeable bag of kale for $2. Kale is a cool weather vegetable, meaning it’ll taste better when/grown eaten in cool weather, therefore it’s getting a bit late for it. However, I had a lot more confidence in what a bonafide farmer was selling than any kale being sold in grocery stores – which tends to look old & tough – at this or any time of year. I was not disappointed! I tried a few pieces raw and they tasted great.

I doctored the short recipe I had to omit cucumber (not a big fan) and include fruits.

Into the blender I put

*3 stalks of celery, washed & cut
*A big batch of rinsed kale (with thickest stems removed)
*A handful of frozen strawberries
*Half a frozen banana, sliced

Yum! It was really good. I didn’t have to force myself to drink it, I wanted to. I’ll grant you, the color was suggestive of pea soup, but once you get past that, it’s tasty. I think the sweetness of the fruit makes a big difference. This made enough for 2 drinks so I put the remainder in the fridge for the next day.

Water, water everywhere, especially in me

This past week, for five consecutive days I drank the recommended eight glasses of water a day. I measured out 64oz each morning, so I wouldn’t be guessing, and also so I could handily see what I was up against. I mostly drink water anyway and a decent amount on a daily basis. Or so I thought. May I tell you that while a half-gallon of water is somewhat visually unimpressive, it is indeed a fuck of a lot of water to consume, in the middle of winter at that?

I know I drink more water in summer, but I wouldn’t have thought my winter intake too shabby. (Now that I think about it, I’ve never seen different recommendations depending on the seasons – which might make sense – it’s always eight 8-ounce glasses.) While other health directives seem to change over time, that one has stayed fairly constant.

Guidelines typically say other (non-caffeinated) beverages and even foods can count toward the total, but for my purposes last week, I found measuring 64oz out to be more exact, and further, I’m not going to try to calculate how much fluid is in an apple.

Water is essential to every level of our functioning. Many people don’t drink enough water. One of the oft-stated rules of thumb is that if you wait till you’re thirsty, you’re too late. Another is that fatigue is often a result of dehydration, so when you’re tired, you should reach for a glass of water. That one is my first line of defense when I feel sluggish. Hunger feelings can be assuaged by drinking water as well.

In fact, I actually felt a bit perkier during first couple days of my experiment. This may have been a sign that I was, in fact, dehydrated. Possibly from the drying effects of winter-heated rooms? Drinking all that water for five days definitely didn’t hurt me. The only thing was – it was really boring. Still, I’m going to make a point to commit to doing this, getting in the 64oz, more often, although probably on the occasional day basis, not for a whole week, during winter anyway.

Short Thought 79 (“You look good”)

I used to think when people who hadn’t seen one another in a while, met again and one sized the other up and said, “You look good,” or absent people later inquire of another, “How did so-and-so look?” that people were being shallow or superficial commenting on appearance.

I’ve reconsidered. I think now what’s really happening, is that people are assessing deeper matters, like health and mortality even, by external looks. It seems like a primitive instinct; to look for well-being or its absence in our “fellow-man.” We all generally do this by rote, which is why I think it must be deeply rooted.

Grocery shopping: healthy, healthy, healthy, junky, healthy

Which item doesn't belong?

Which item doesn’t belong?

This is my grocery store receipt from earlier this week: 3 lbs apples, 1 lb lettuce, 1 lb carrots, 1 lb pears, a bag of spinach, almost 2 lbs bananas, almost 2 lbs tomatoes, and… potato chips. Sort of a vegetable, yes?

This list pretty much captures my overarching diet philosophy, that is, mostly healthy with a little bit of junk. Does all the healthy stuff cancel out the occasional junk? I reckon it does, and if not, I am just not willing to never have anything “unhealthy.” How many people get to the end of their life and say, “If only I’d never had any chips. I coulda been somebody?”

I’m not a purist. I get cravings. Mostly I don’t give in, but once in awhile do. To stay honest – and I realize this stickler practice isn’t for most – whenever I have something junky, I jot it on my calendar. That’s how I know this is the second time this year I bought potato chips.

IF chips were healthy, I’d eat them every week. Salty, crunchy, greasy, oh my! A savory trifecta! The chips I got this week were a mixed pack, including two flavored kinds. I can’t say when I last ate a flavored chip (as I’m well aware their ingredient lists are appalling), but when I munched into that first barbecue-flavored chip the other day, my senses flooded with pleasure. Oh man was that good! Potato chips have a secret ingredient that changes an otherwise rational person into a dopamine-filled chip junkie whose only thought is “More, MORE, MORE.”

The bags are labeled in a way that caught my notice.

They're Made from potatoes? Is this anything to be boasting about?

Made from potatoes? Is this anything to be boasting about?

Drink up ladies and lads!

I mostly drink water. Plain old tap water. And if that’s a problem, it is far too late for me. Occasionally I buy juice, orange regularly, apple less often. I bought a bottle of the store brand apple juice yesterday, with the thought I’d use it sparingly to flavor water. After I got it home I noticed tiny printing on the back, in the same font size that expiration dates are stamped, the ones which can be difficult to decipher, what with liquids sloshing in the background. It wasn’t an expiration but something I’d never seen before on any product:

Now it just strikes me that if the manufacturer considered this bit-o-information good news or at least believed the consumer should think it so, they’d pass it along more like THIS: