Archive for the ‘Weight loss’ Category

Is Broccoli Bad for Your Health and a Rant About Internet Research

November 17, 2015

As a writer who lives on St. Croix, I must use the Internet for the background research on the stories I write. On the negative side, much of what is published on the Internet is simply unsubstantiated personal opinions. Fortunately, I am living and working more than 300 years in the past and people have taken the trouble to electronically archive original documents and books on line.

When I find a page about pirate activity without a source for the information, I usually ignore it unless I can find a 300 year old source book with eyewitness accounts that substantiates the information. Where I find most of the worst information is when I am searching for new recipes or trying to find the nutritional value of what I eat.

 

Broccoli snack

Broccoli snack

For instance, another of my very low calorie snacks is steamed broccoli which can be done in a steamer or even a colander above a boiling pot of water. The water should not contact the broccoli, only the steam.

double boiler

double boiler

While seeking the nutritional data, I stumbled upon the paragraph I quote below.pixel period
You probably didn’t see what was so great about broccoli as a child, but the truth is that this vegetable is one of nature’s superfoods. From its stalk to its flowering head, broccoli is packed with nutrients and vitamins needed for your overall health and wellbeing. This vegetable has been around for centuries, and it has always been used and viewed as the perfect go-to food.”

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There are many superlatives in that paragraph even though it doesn’t give any really factual knowledge. For instance; Who has always used and viewed broccoli as the perfect go-to food? What is a go-to food? And how long is always? I like to give credit to the original author no matter how bad the work to confirm this was not a plagiarized post. I used two search engines (here and here) to check on the source of the sentence highlighted in bold. I found eight posted sources word for word on various health and fitness blogs all with a different authors so I have no idea who the original author was.pixel period
Interestingly enough, nobody bothered to leave a comment at any of the sites I visited so I assume that nobody really thought about what they were reading. I guess we will now have another generation of mindless mothers who will be feeding their kids broccoli because it is the go-to food full of the nutriments and vitamins needed for overall health and well being. Their kids would have been better off if Mom spent the same amount of time that she wasted surfing the Internet on taking her kids for a walk in the great outdoors or learning Arduino programming to teach to her kids.pixel period
On the other hand, Broccoli is bad for you, like, really toxic bad was written by Tim Crowe is an Associate Professor in Nutrition at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia and an accredited dietitian. He started off with a clear warning that “An alternative title I had for this blog post was: “Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet to do with nutrition”, but I wager this one was more effective in getting your attention.” He than published an over the top rant about the evils of broccoli before telling people that this was pseudo science, exaggerations and corruptions of scientific studies.

Professor Crowe received 158 comments many of them angry and negative because people missed or ignored the subtle warning not to believe everything you read on the net. Commenters feared that careless or unscrupulous readers might quote out of context and spread false informational about broccoli.pixel period
I decided to check and see if there was any other reuse of his article. Naturally I took one of his more outrageous sentences and searched, here and here to find other sites that contain the phrase, “And remember those thiocyanates I mentioned earlier? Well those too can cause bladder cancer in rats. We have graphic warning signs about cancer on cigarette packets, so why do health authorities continue to sit on their hands and take no action against broccoli?”pixel period
On the positive side, I found his complete article was reposted in full at FitnessReloaded.com by editor Maria Brilaki, a Stanford Engineering grad with an MBA. She helps over 100,000 monthly readers make better, healthier choices. She has a personal trainer certification and spends over 15 hours researching each article people read on her site. It’s all because she doesn’t want to fall for fads or hype anymore so searches for the truth like Tim Crowe.pixel period
Unfortunately, we are discussing Internet publishing so there is always an offsetting negative and the prize for that is Ben J. Johnson, Staff Writer for Natural Newd, a site that publishes pseudo science, deceptive science and science fiction. Of course young Ben only published the negative and avoided the part about how to tell real science from junk science as that would allow evaluation of everything published at his site.pixel period
As near as I can tell he even drops so low as to violate the terms of a free Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. He does lead with a link to the original article but lists his title as Staff Writer and notes at the end that the source is Broccoli is bad for you, like, really toxic bad by Tim Crowe.

When reposting. you must give appropriate credit to the original author of the material and indicate if changes were made. Well guess Ben is one of those people who never follows the rules.pixel period
I like broccoli, it is low in calories and I am not dead yet. I am also down to 202. Guess I’ll just keep snacking on Rabbit food and eat portion controlled meals. I would drop weight much faster if I quit drinking, I am just not ready yet.

 

Back Again!

September 5, 2015

Well it is sort of official. I am 3 pounds more than when I had my stroke six years ago. Yes, I am still fifty-five pounds lighter than I was at my peak but I once again am officially obese. I live alone with a four burner gas stove and a 36 inch oven. It is far easier to cook three meals at a time than to cook one small meal. Unfortunately, since I lack will power, three meals of 2000 calories only last a day and 1/2. Even worse, when I get into manual labor, I believe I deserve the extra calories and a few beers to wash it down.

The only way I know to break this trend is Coffee Pot Cooking so here I am recycling this blog for the third to fifth time with a twist. I will prepare one portioned controlled meal a day by any means necessary. Tomorrow, I will post on cooking sauteed spicy potatoes and tilapia using my microwave and coffee pot.

I saw Don Bailey from the University tilapia program and swore I was going to get serious about aqua phonics while growing my own fish and greens. Oh well, good intentions pave the way to hell but I did have coffeepot tilapia and sauteed spicy potatoes tonight so the recipe should follow tomorrow. I got lazy and used both my microwave and coffeepot but it was definitely portioned controlled which is my real issue. I have also cooked the same meal in my electric fondue pot set at 275 degrees in a portioned controlled manner but you have to use what you have available.

BTW, I tend to prepare full flavored meals with flexible cooking times that would serve college students, myself as a writer. and other dingy people who are temporally challenged.  The joy of this meal from the coffee pot is you don’t have to watch it as closely as an electric fondue pot.

Also my starting and perhaps final weight if I do not succeed is now 212.

I’m Back with Redneck Calamari and More

February 7, 2014
Redneck Calamari

Redneck Calamari

Half the reason I’m back to coffeepot cooking is that I love to cook with my Granddaughters; especially totally ridiculous meals like the one shown above. Of course this meal pretty much comes without a recipe but most people will figure it out. For those fathers who never cook and occasionally get stuck making a meal for children, the recipe is below with a little warning. Perhaps I should have left a link to my grandfathers and hotdog post.

Recipe:

Ingredients:

Water, Enough

Hotdogs, Enough

Gold Fish Crackers, Enough

Garnish to make it look like seaweed, Optional, I used Cilantro

Method:P1000502a

Cut bottom 2/3 of hotdog into six legs so it looks like a squid.

Hotdogs in Pot

Hotdogs in Pot

Place in coffeepot

Run water throw the coffeemaker.

Let cook on hotplate for an hour.

Arrange on plates and serve.

Warning!

I used good all beef Hebrew National Hotdogs and “Frankly” they were too dry. If I ever do this again, I will intentionally buy the Brand X greasy cheap hotdogs made from pork and chicken so they have flavor at the end of the cooking process.

The other reason, I am returning to portion controlled coffeepot cooking is because I am becoming a “fat slob”. My daughter and niece were the bearers of the negative assessment this time. I first heard this as a medical assessment in Florida after I suffered a stroke in 2010. I was complaining to the doctor that it didn’t make sense as I had already lost 57 pounds which was morbid obesity at my height.

At the time of the stroke, I was at 210 and still medically classified as obese. Frustrated the doctor explained that he really didn’t care how much I had lost in the past, I was still officially obese and a fat slob.

Over the past 18 months, I have written two books, I never stopped exercising. But as I slid out of my comfort zone of 172 to 178, I never really noticed that there was a dramatic change in my cooking, eating and drinking.

Because  I was researching and writing about history, I stopped my passion for reading and writing about food. I quit cooking in my coffeepot and started grilling double portions on the grill and eating it all or cooking the food in my cute small crockpot which is still bigger than my coffeepot. When I am researching and writing about anything other than food and dieting, I sort of pace around the house and mindlessly eat. At night, I have a few extra glasses of wine so I can kill my brain activity and go to sleep.

Big Belly Man

Big Belly Man

So in 2014 just 2 pounds short of where I had my stroke, I have come to accept that I must split my time between doing what I want and doing what I need to do. I will start becoming food and diet focused again spending some time finding recipes and preparing meals based on quality not quantity. The next time I post a picture, I am sure it will be better than the one above or I must begin to accept that their may not be a next time if I don’t take care of myself.

Crucian Cherries, A Perfect Diet Food!

May 18, 2012

Crucian Cherries or Acerola Cheries

When you Google “Crucian Cherry”, the only thing that comes up is a cute little song by local entertainer Jazzy Blue extolling the virtue of this berry and the fact that you can’t just eat one because the first one makes you want more. But since one of my three trees is heavily bearing, I decided to see how much harm I was doing by eating several handfuls three times a day. I had also heard our Crucians of Puerto Rican heritage call it Arecibo Cherry so decided to search that term. I ended up with the right answer for the wrong reason. Seems that this tree is called the acerola tree which just means cherry in Spanish. Hence calling them Acerola Cheries is just like calling them Cherry Cherries. Of course we do the same thing when we order or make Shrimp Scampi because Scampi means shrimp in Italian.

But my search was made to find out if my addiction to these tasty morsels is causing me damage. After all, a handful may have 5 or 6 cherries and doing three handfuls twice a day will give a total of 30 cherries which weighs about a pound. Fortunately, I only get about three crops a year and they only are ripe for a couple of weeks. My scale tells me a big Julie Mango a few times a week does more damage to my weight so the question really became one about if Crucian Cherries are any good for you.

From nutritiousfruit.com, I found that Acerola cherry is juicy, sweet and sour in flavor and “very high in vitamin C and other nutrients. It is incredible and unbelievable that one tiny cherry has a higher vitamin C content than an orange. Specifically, the vitamin C content is 65 times greater than an orange, which means one cherry has a vitamin C content that is equal to the minimum daily recommended requirements.”

I am not sure whether or not I really eat a pound a day of these things but even if I did, it really wouldn’t matter. With only 100 calories per pound, I am now eating 120 times the daily requirement of vitamin C. This bulk loading of Vitamin C is supposed to be useful for fighting pain, healing cuts, bruises damaged muscles and keeping colds and flu away. I eat them because I like them, but it’s still nice to know I get something right once in awhile.

What does it take to Lose 101 Pounds? My Story!

May 12, 2012

Eric over at Health Demystified is young and serious and trying to save the world from the ill effect of obesity with a free product. More importantly in my mind one of the obese people he is trying to save is his father and he deserves all the help he can get. At my advanced age, I am not sure that there is a single product that would help people lose weight, and even if it were free, I’m not sure how many people would use it because of all the negative uses of the word free on the Internet.

However, his knowledge, sincerity and hard work make me want to help him so I took the time to assess what were the principle reasons I achieved a lifestyle change starting in 2010 which led to my 101 pound weight loss and as of today I am now stable around 173 pounds with a 37 inch waste when measured above the belly button. A waist above 40 inches is just as deadly as obesity and I have been as high as 57 inches at my peak weight of 265 pounds.

I apologize for the length of this post, but the following text described the knowledge gained from forty years of dieting and 3 years of lifestyle changes.

There are only a few elements to consider for a permanent weight loss and perhaps hundreds of ways to focus on them. Any holistic plan to achieve a permanent drop in weight from life threatening obesity must address all of the key issue and recognize where weight loss information is being compromised usually for commercial purposes. At the simplest level, your weight is governed by the calories you eat and drink and the amount of physical work you do. There are no magic drugs, exercises or food plans. When it comes to calories and the fat in your body, “in minus out equals accumulated weight.”

The biggest problem with this simple wisdom is that on the short term it doesn’t seem to work as our body fights our erratic behavior and tries to maintain stability. Up to a point, fat is good to provide energy when, and if, there are lean periods of reduced consumption or periods of increased activity. Yet if we eat or drink too much and exercise too little, there is no instantaneous weight gain because our body will get rid of those excess calories in our body waste. Eventually gluttony wins the battle and new fat is added to our body and a new higher weight plateau is reached.

Likewise, the reverse of the process is not instantaneous. Going to the gym without a lifestyle change probably won’t alter your weight very much. While exercise is an excellent lifestyle change to help you control the weight you are at and increase longevity, the results would be more realistically evaluated with a tape measure, a mirror and your wardrobe.

There is a very good reason to be concerned about your appearance beyond vanity. The chances of health problems double with people who have a big belly even if they have “normal weight”. Measured just above the belly button, a man should be below 40 inches and 36″ is the recommended size. For a woman to sustain good health, she should be below 35 inches and 31″ is recommended.

There is also no magic solution to shedding belly bulge. It simply involves eating and drinking less and exercising more but the gym alone won’t shed weight. An hour of moderate workout in the gym will burn about 300 calories and it would take about twelve days to lose a pound if eating and drinking habits remained the same. Even at this modest rate of loss, most grossly overweight or obese people are only capable of light exercise so they would have to workout for two hours every day to lose a pound in twelve days unless they reduce food consumption.

At 265 pounds with a 57 inch waist, I was too ashamed to go to a gym so I purchased a treadmill which I hated because I was bored to tears. I used it and controlled my drinking and eating and dropped to 225 pounds but was still bored to tears because the only way for me to cut back on food and alcohol was to cut back on socializing. My weight drifted all over the place because of my lack of commitment to a lifestyle change. When I started on my current path in December of 2009, I was 245 pounds and had a 47 inch waist, which was still in the deadly zone because of both waist size and obesity.

Now I am a cautious person and I never make a commitment without understanding everything about the nature of the endeavor. For me, a person should know enough about obesity to understand that obesity is not just about the length of time a person will live, it is also about the general quality of life and the ability to participate in family events. Also, the chance of a slow, lingering and painful death increases with weight. Morbid obesity is associated with a substantially increased risk of chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

The hardest first step for an obese person is to accept they have real issues. When I was morbidly obese, I didn’t know anything about obesity, Body Mass Index (BMI) or a slow and lingering death and in the case of obesity, ignorance is bliss. I didn’t even own a scale. I got weighed on the doctors scale and at work so was generally aware of my weight range. The two issues which had the highest impact on family life bothered my wife and I different ways. Above 235 pounds, breathing became an issue and it stopped me from having an active sex life which didn’t seem to bother my wife very much. The issue which bothered her was sleep apnea.

Dolores had been trained as a nurse and my father had died from sleep apnea where he simply stopped breathing in his sleep at age 71. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder with abnormal long pauses in breathing during sleep. Individuals with low muscle tone and soft tissue around the airway (jowls because of obesity) are at high risk for obstructive sleep apnea. Old male couch potatoes, with jowls and weak muscles, are more likely to have sleep apnea than women and Dolores was worried about me.

So at that point in time, I got a scale and an education on obesity. Health problems relative to normal people start occurring almost instantly as people move outside the normal weight range. At the extreme of morbid obesity (BMI over 40; or for me 262 pounds at 68 inches tall), the odds of incurring any health care problem is twice as often and the cost goes up with the amount of excess weight. The penalty for morbid obesity is about $3000 per year more in medical bills than for a normal person. Only 2% to 3% of the nation is in this special group but I qualified.

It didn’t take me long to learn enough to abuse science. From the studies and BMI charts, I found that I only had to drop to Class 1, Obesity at a BMI of 30 to shed about 3/4 of my health problems and costs. Also the drop in weight led to an improved sex life. The problem of sleep apnea occasionally remained as I bounced around in a range between 220 and 240 but moistly above 230. This meant every time I did binge level eating or drinking and gained a couple of pounds, the sleep apnea returned. As long as Dolores was alive and sharing my bed, I was constantly appraised when I was on the wrong side of the line because my irregular breathing was ruining her ability to sleep. I stopped using the exercise equipment, and the scale wore out and was never replaced because of my lack of commitment. Thirty-six percent (36%) of the Nation is obese in all three classes

In my adult lifetime, I had a tendency to binge eat or drink when I was under severe stress. My first diet, the Stillman all protein diet, was in 1970 when I was starting a winery and trying to balance a full time job. The first gas crises in 1974 crushed my tourist winery that I had successfully started and which depended on people driving to reach it. In 1982, I lost a job and sought solace in food until I opened an outdoor beach club which did exceptionally well and I dropped to 182 for the last time until my current lifestyle changes . In 1988, it rained on 39 consecutive outdoor events at the Beach Club and I was broke and lost the business. By 2004, things were going reasonably well and I just got fat and lazy due to becoming a “desk jokey” and not engaging in any physical activity because I could hire people to do everything that needed to be done and take time off to go fishing and drinking beer with my friends.

Still after that zenith of 265 in 2004, I managed to hold between 220 and 240 using the Type O diet until Dolores died. Then I started seeking solace in food and cooking and eating too much. Drinking was no longer that big of a problem as I was not happy enough to enjoy socializing and drinking. Unfortunately, Dolores was no longer sharing my bed to tell me when I was too fat to breath at night. This is where My Daughter Dagny and My Niece Cait joined forces and convinced me it was time for a lifestyle change.

So what are the essential elements of my 101 Pound weight loss.

1. General knowledge about obesity and acceptance of the scientific data. You must understand the problem before attempting to solve it.

2. Strong Emotional support from family (Dagny, Cait and Carson). Non judgmental loving support and encouragement is needed. Very few can solve the obesity problem entirely on their own.

3. A strong and vocal Personal Commitment and let the world know. Commitment is a struggle especially at the start because your weight loss is so fragile and unstable. When I started my diet at 265 without a commitment to a lifestyle change I had dropped about 45 pounds in a few months just by starving and working at the gym. I went on vacation where there was no scale and gained 27 pounds in a long weekend eating 3 meals a day, drinking beer mid day and having wine and a big dinner in the evening. I brought a scale because I felt I was gaining weight and when I got the result, I knew it was flawed and returned the scale to the store. Eventually, I quit the diet because the diet failed me and the weight loss wasn’t permanent. The first three to five months of a lifestyle change are most critical and a lifestyle change of only three months will also fail.

4. A commitment to reduce the calories consumed with beverages and food.  My personal commitment is covered in my book “An introduction to coffeepot cooking: How I lost 101 pounds cooking Portion Controlled Meals” which is available in Kindle format from Amazon. You can get a free Kindle app for almost every computer and operating system.

5. A commitment to a minimum of a half hour of exercise everyday or worst case every other day. It is better and you lose more weight, if you do a minimum of a half hour everyday and an hour a day three times a week. It is also better if you do it first thing in the morning to jump start your metabolism and stay physically active all day.

I firmly believe That there is no substitute for the advice in the first three steps. And a great amount of flexibility in the last two. When it comes to exercise, it is the time you commit to exercising regardless of which form of exercise you choose. I like walking because almost everybody can do it. When you work with your heart monitor and push yourself to safely do only a half hour a day, you get stronger everyday and are able to do more. Everybody in my family has a favorite physical activity and mine just happens to be walking and not a chore at all because it fits my personality. When I miss two days because of rain, I’ll look for a break in the weather and go for it. If it rains, I don’t care because I am still walking and enjoying the sights and proud of my accomplishments.

When it comes to eating, you can eat and drink what you like as long as your total calorie count is around 2000 which if you pace it during the day with moderate amounts of fruit, vegetables and protein; and then eat a light dinner, there is still a 1000 calories left over for a few glasses of wine. If on the other hand you don’t drink, then stick with the light fruit and vegetables all day and have a slightly heartier dinner and you will lose the weight a little faster by skipping beverages with calories and carbonation.

I don’t believe in special diets or severely restricted diets because for me they simply create a repressed demand for the foods I want and the quantities I am used to. When I started holding about 2000 calories, walking in the morning, getting into yard work as much as possible, walking in the afternoon when possible, and going to bed relaxed on a full stomach, I didn’t feel deprived of anything and drifted into a steady routine right away.

The process isn’t fast. In the first month, I lost 20 pounds and in the second 15. In the third month I lost 5 pounds. Remember, from previous diets, I found those first three months are the most unstable and the easiest time to have a relapse and regain the lost weight. After that, I shed weight at the rate of about 3 pounds per month. If this was a diet, I probably would have quit after the second month because I would be bored with a steady special diet of meat, carbohydrates, vegetables, vegan, caveman food, or any other cult diet.

However, this was a lifestyle change which allowed for lapses while on vacation with planed sacrifices of more work and less food after vacation. I also started in January when I wouldn’t see my family and party with them for the next six months or so I planned. I have now stuck with the plan for about 3 years and see little reason to change.

A natural evolution is that I now eat vegan about once a week, vegetarian twice a week and chicken, turkey and fish the rest of the time. However, and this is important to my mental well being, if I get a craving for liver, kidneys, sausage or any of the other weird things like my mother ate which let her live to be 93, I eat them and don’t consider it a failure in my lifestyle, just part of it. The same is true if I have a few midday beers while hanging with my family or friends. The only results my family really cares about is what the scale says and how big my belly is and that’s fine with me.

My total diet was discussed in the book mentioned above but;

Remember continue to enjoy fine food, just less of it.

How do you gain 5 pounds in one day?

May 10, 2012

Well my five pound weight gain started by going to lunch with a friend who loves to eat and drink even more than I do. For lunch I had a BLT with greasy fries and washed it down with 3 beers. On the way through town, we passed a little Mexican place where they serve $2.00 Taco’s and he just had to have one and he was driving. One more Taco and one more beer.

Then we actually did something productive and went to Home Depot. Naturally we stopped for a glass of wine before taking the cement to my house. Before picking up my car he wanted one more drink as he was departing to meet his wife. What he didn’t know was I was the distraction to keep him away from his surprise birthday party and we were starting to run late. He was driving and it was his birthday so the best I could do was to make sure we had a quick one.

We got to his surprise party and it was fantastic; people, food, band, moonlight and more. Of course this blog is food focused and the food was fantastic, just appetizers, which was more than I needed. Of course I had a dozen Swedish meatballs and about 10 deviled eggs. I really had had enough food for the day when they brought out a tray of moist rich chocolate cupcakes with a maraschino cherry on top and of course I ate three or four and thought I was done eating until they brought out the angel food cake drenched in amaretto. I couldn’t discriminate so I had three slices of cake that of course I cut myself on the large side. Now at the hotel, I washed all that food down with four glasses of wine.

Feeling completely contented, I went home and went to sleep. When I woke up this morning at my usual time, I was a little afraid to assess the damage with my scale and took note that I was up 5 pounds. What the heck, that’s a lot better than the 10 to 12 pounds I would expect to gain on a family vacation. Unfortunately, it rained this morning, and before 6 am, all the party goers who committed to walking last night called to say they were not going

So what was the special occasion that we celebrated so much. It was my friend Ted’s Surprise Seventieth Birthday Party. This is the same man that I did the 26 mile walk with on January 14, 2012 and the man I am planning to walk a tough 20 miles with on May 27th. Well as Ted always says, “The Liver is Evil, it Must be Punished!” or in my case, I think I punished my whole body.

If yesterday was part of a diet, it would have to be assessed as a failure. As part of my lifestyle, I openly acknowledge that there will be days where I socialize and eat and drink far too much and that is not likely to change. The real challenge is to get on with my life and work hard and eat properly today. It’s clearing up outside, so i guess I will repair a one mile trail that has become overgrown because of the excessive rainfall in the last couple of weeks. Not sure what I will have for dinner tonight but I am pretty sure it won’t include beef, bacon, eggs, sweets or any of the other “greasy kid’s stuff” I ate yesterday.

Vegan Black Beans and Tomatoes with Brown Rice

May 9, 2012

Vegan Black Beans and Tomatoes with Brown Rice

I simply like black beans and complex flavors and this meal just popped into my head. I have eaten similar meals with barley made with chicken stock but this time I had a cup of cooked brown rice made with no flavoring or salt so it could easily be accompanied by strong flavors. Since it was a vegan start and I hadn’t defrosted any meat, I decided to stick with the genera.

The starting point was the red beans and brown rice which I had done a while back. In that recipe, I had started with uncooked rice and used vegetable broth instead of water and cooked it all day. I also used less spices. This time I only had about 5 hours which is enough for canned beans and cooked rice. Well the meal was full flavored and complex, I loved it but only ate about half of the cooked beans and tomatoes. The rice was 200 calories and the rest of the pot was less than 800 so I only had about 600 calories and was very comfortable. Even if I had eaten all, it would have ended up at less than a 1000 calories for dinner.

Vegan Black Beans and Tomatoes with Brown Rice

Ingredients:

1-2 T of olive oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 T minced garlic
1 T thin sliced ginger
1 medium onion rough cut
1 thin slice scotch bonnet hot pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp oregano
1 package Sazon (optional)

1 can Black Beans
1 can diced Tomatoes

1 cup cooked brown rice or barley

Method:

1. Put all ingredients in the coffeepot and cook covered with a piece of foil for about 2 hours.

2. Add the Beans and tomatoes and all of the liquid to the pot.

3. Stir and let cook for another 2 hours.

4. Microwave cooked rice for 3 minutes.

5. Serve and Enjoy!!!

The most amazing epiphany I had with this meal is that 600 calories would really satisfy me. When I started my lifestyle change, I used to consume as much as 5000 to 6000 calories a day. including food and beverages and couldn’t concieve of a meal without meat.

Without thinking about it yesterday, I ate 1/2 coconut which has 700 calories, small amounts of celery probably less than 100 calories including dip, dinner 600 calories and wine 1000 calories or 2400 calories. I also walked 3 miles and worked in my yard for a few hours. Pretty much, I act like this everyday and I have lost all the weight I recently gained on vacations (about 10 pounds). I am now at 172 pounds with a 37 inch waste. That is down from 265 pounds with a 56 inch waist at my peak and 245 pounds with a 47 inch waist at the the start of my commitment to a lifestyle change.

Imagine that meatless days by choice and no perceived sacrifice. Amazing!!!

Beautiful Stuffed Peppers

January 19, 2012

Beautiful Stuffed Red Peppers!

While getting my computer organized which is just another way of wasting time, I actually found a copy of the Stuffed Red Pepper served with mashed potatoes and sauce. It really was a beautiful meal fit for a king or at least this old man. There is no need to post a recipe as the following post is for Stuffed Green Peppers.

Meanwhile, I don’t know if Ill get back to writing more about food but I certainly enjoy the visitors to coffeepotcooking.wordpress.com. There were about 13,000 visitors last year and it seems that the most popular reason why visitors come is to learn about coffeepot cooking in general but there are many who come to find recipes for Puerto Rican food which I learned to cook from my friend Chino. Of course the disasters are all mine as Chino is no longer alive to give constructive criticism. (It might be better if you used cilantro instead of parsley.)

Chino was a very positive human being and the most negative thing he ever told me was “It”s alright.” Of course, I figured out that that was a very negative assessment and I should try again. However, when he said something was good or great he meant it and we used to trade foods we cooked on almost a daily basis.

Of course some of the recipes I intend to post in the future have Puerto Rican influences inspired by Chino and some have Italian Influences inspired by Dolores. Others come from my daughter who is an excellent cook with Caribbean roots. Oh and I would be rude to ignore Monica who has taught me to love Indian food which has a tremendous influence on all Caribbean foods.

Well, I will try to remain committed, at least until I publish the best of what I have been eating so that I don’t have to keep wasting time rooting through piles of paper recipes. I am not quite so manic about what I eat as I have learned to control my input to reasonable amounts and yes I achieved one goal last December of losing 100 pounds from my peak weight (265). I am now contented holding 172 plus or minus 4 pounds. As to exercise I like walking and do about 25 miles in a normal week and last Saturday walked a 26.4 mile Marathon in 10 hours and 15 minutes.

Mea Culpa. I have failed the Coffeepot Cult.

September 10, 2011

Back to Coffeepot Cooking

Over the past eight months, I have not posted anything new and in fact my last eight posts had more to do with portion controlled meals than they did with coffeepot cooking. It’s not that I gave up on portion controlled meals or even coffeepot cooking; I just went through a phase where I stopped feeling creative about what I eat. I also stopped worrying too much about my weight which is still around 176 plus or minus four pounds.

I am also starting a new hiking/tour business which took an incredible amount of my time and creative energy so I stopped being creative with what I ate. Instead of searching the Net for new recipes which could be adapted to my coffeepot or creating a unique meal from my knowledge of food and flavors that work together, I reverted to those recipes already published by me. Even when I created a new meal, I still didn’t publish because most were simply not as good as the ones I originally published or I failed to write the recipe down and skipped taking pictures.

Well, my business, Hikestcroix.com is starting next month and I’m beginning to feel creative about food again. I don’t know if this will continue as I start walking 20 miles a week with temperatures around 88 and humidity above 85% but I know I am still committed to eating healthy portion controlled meals.

I have also started growing my own fresh vegetables including microgreens which I never heard of until a couple of months ago. I like the concept that I can grow my own greens from seeds and water that are fresh and delicious. However, after 66 years, I am more accustomed to the texture of traditional lettuce, spinach, cucumbers and seasonal tomatoes.

I am going to try to adapt some of these greens to the things I like such as soup and coffeepot meals in addition to salads. I will publish the salads and coffeepot meals here in the near future.

Old Fashioned Eggnog – No Chemicals Added

December 24, 2010

Sharing Eggnog with Vanise

When Dolores and I first married, she was intent on starting our own family traditions. We had eggnog when putting up the Christmas Tree and on Christmas Day before dinner and on Christmas Eve it was always champagne and pizza. Christmas dinner was a goose if she could find one locally and if it cost less than $100 or duck if their was no reasonably priced goose available in St. Croix.

Our recipe for old fashioned eggnog started life from The Betty Crocker cookbook in 1968 and the only adaptions were to cut back on the amount of sugar and use brown sugar instead of white. Obviously, Betty was not a closet drinker as the rum was recommended as a “flavoring.” I believe this is the only recipe for which Dolores or I ever used an eggbeater so inevitably we had to waste time every year hunting for all the pieces.

Otherwise the recipe is simple and easy to make and yes, the red Carnival Glass was only used at Christmas to serve the eggnog to family and friends. I am sharing this glass with my friend Vanise who has been a friend of our family since 1997. She is a Rastafarian Christian who truly celebrates Christmas because it is the birth of Christ.

She also puts her faith to work as a loving caregiver, helping all in need including me when Dolores died. She helped with everything including babysitting for one child while the rest of us had a sea burial. She also scrubbed my granddaughters and washed their hair when they came to visit last summer. Currently she has adopted a family with a single father and two children where the father happens to be limited by his vision. She still has time to come by and have a glass of eggnog with me as she did with Dolores and I on Christmases Past.

Ingredients:

1 egg well beaten

1 T Brown sugar

1 cup cold milk

¼ tsp vanilla extract

1 oz dark Crucian rum

Directions:

  1. Beat egg vanilla and sugar together
  2. Add milk while continuing to beat
  3. Add rum and beat again
  4. Serve immediately with freshly grated nutmeg on top

This makes only a cup plus but since we used this as a symbolic tradition more than a beverage, it was enough for Dolores and I. If you like to drink eggnog, double the amount.

With regard to the title, I am a Chemical Engineer who worked in the food and pharmaceutical industries for 35 years. On a regular basis, I really only like to eat the foods that were available when my Grandmother was born. It’s not that I think biochemically produced foods from factories are unclean or substandard, I just don’t believe my creator designed my body to eat chemicals.

Of course there are exceptions. I take medicines when I am sick but not for pain or headaches so I respect the very special needs of diabetics although no one in my immediate family has ever suffered from this illness. I also respect the self imposed dietary restrictions of vegetarians and vegans so long as Doritos and Twinkies are not on their list of consumables. I lost about 65 pounds last year and it was not by avoiding ice cream with my Grandchildren or skipping traditional chemical free eggnog at Christmas. I lost my weight based on a portion controlled diet and snacking on raw vegetables. Therefore I cringe when people who are not diabetics believe it is a good idea to drink diet drinks and artificial sweeteners.

Anybody who uses Splenda should read this article and find out why Splenda is not splendid except for a medically restricted diet where the use of sugar would be an even worse choice. As a chemical process engineer, I consider this article an accurate description of how it is made and what it really is. I am sorry but I just don’t consider ingredients like toluene, trityl chloride, benzyltriethylammoniumchloride, dimethylformamide, 4-methylmorpholine, methanol, thionyl chloride, benzyltriethylammoniumchloride, methyl isobutyl ketone and sodium methoxide to be on my primary list of consumables because they were not available to consumers in my grandmothers youth.