Posts Tagged ‘aging’

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.

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Kidney Stew, I Am My Mother’s Son!

July 8, 2012

Kidney Stew

I like Kidney Stew because my mother liked Kidney Stew. My brother and sister hated it and when we were poor under fed kids which was the last time I was underfed in my life until I adapted my new lifestyle of portion controlled meals, this was the only meal where I actually got enough meat to eat.

Seems, my sister and brother hated kidneys so bad that I could trade one piece of carrot or one potato for a couple of pieces of their kidneys. So I ended up with all their meat and still retained some of my potatoes and carrots. When I mention that I still make kidney stew, and have actually ordered kidneys in mustard sauce as an appetizer, it just confirmed to them that I am still nuts. Well, Mom lived to be 93 years old with her mind still functioning so she must have been doing something right with her diet.

The recipe is a standard stew recipe with a few adaptations to make allow for cooking in my coffeepot. The single biggest one being to stew the kidneys n olive oil and rum for a couple of hours to tenderize them and avoid that rubbery texture you can get when you cook kidneys too fast at high temperatures.

Ingredients:

1 T Butter
1 T flour

2 Potatoes cut into bite sized pieces
2 Carrots coined
1 tsp salt
6 cups water

1 pound kidneys (trim off all the fat and cut into bite sized pieces)
1 T crushed garlic or 3 cloves minced
1 onion rough cut
1 oz Rum
2 T olive oil
2 stalks of celery cut into small pieces
1 bay leaf
1 beef bullion cube
12 oz of water

Method:

1. Let the butter come to room temperature then mix in the flour until a smooth paste. Let sit at room temperature until needed.

2. Wash then peal the potatoes or not, it’s your choice. Cut the potatoes into bite sized pieces.

3. Wash then slice carrots into coined pieces.

4. Add carrots and potatoes to coffeepot with salt and pass about 6-8 cups of clean water through the coffeemaker.

5. When done, cover with foil and cook covered for about 2 hours until soft.

6. While waiting, all of the fat has to be cut off the kidneys prior to cooking. This is a tedious process so go slowly until you get the knack of it. Cut the kidneys into bite sized pieces

7. When done drain the potatoes and carrots and set aside.

8. Add the kidneys,onions, garlic, olive oil, rum, bay and celery to the pot.

9. Cook covered for 2-4 hours, until tender.

10. Add bullion to the pot and then pass the 12 ounces of water through the coffeemaker.

12. When water is done steaming mix it into the flour and water mixture in the bowl until you get a smooth gravy.

13. Add the carrots and potatoes to the pot and return the gravy to the coffeepot. Cook covered for a couple more hours.

If you like kidneys, you will love kidney stew. If you have never tried it, they are very inexpensive to cook and you just may like them. They are in the same texture and flavor range as beef liver. For me, they also bring back fond memories of my Mother.

Is Over Eating a Cure for Chronic Pain?

July 2, 2012

Subjective Pain Measurement Scale

For the past 16 days, I monitored everything I ate with regards to my pain level. Anyone suffering from either chronic pain, back pain or specific joint pain has been introduced to the concept of the happy face pain scale and the one I am most familiar with was the scale that runs from one to ten. Of course this is a very subjective measurement but then pain is a subjective concept. What bothers you, may not bother me at all.

I started exploring the concept of the Inflammation Factor Diet when my pain level was consistently an eight last winter and it was starting to damage my sense of humor. The first thing I found when trying to work with Inflammation Factors was that some of the food ratings were counter intuitive with tomato products bouncing all over the place between good and bad and Turkey and chicken legs being inflammatory but chicken breast being good. All this was just too much for me to remember until I discovered my list of five spices that fight inflammation. Using the five spices in combination and at normal amounts, almost guarantees that your Inflammation factor will be positive by over 1000. Of course, I took some days and nights off from spicy food to grill outside so my daily Inflammation Factor from Nutritiondata.self.com wandered between negative 246 and a positive 2327 when I totaled all the foods I ate for the day.

Except for a few foods like beer and candy, most foods seem to have a greater impact on the following day’s pain levels especially since I ate my primary meal at night and this had my higher spice loading. As a scientist, I am familiar with multiple linear regression and so I checked the values of pain for both the current day and the following day with calories, protein, Inflammation Factor and Carbohydrates as the dependent variables.

The results were incredible but not what I expected. First these variables correlated much better for the following day’s pain so there is a delay factor for eating and adsorbing all of the food value. The effect of protein and carbohydrates were minuscule and ignoring them did not change the correlation coefficient significantly. This was actually surprising because there is an awful lot published about high protein diets being important in fighting chronic pain. Over my 16 day period, I ate a fairly decent low calorie diet which was well balanced and averaged about 95 grams of protein per day (range, 54 to131) and about double that for carbohydrates, 187 grams (range, 133 to 307). The highest carbohydrate day came from a modest sugar candy binge.

Two variables were able to explain about 75% of the reduction on low pain days. It appears that in my body pain is a continuous state of affairs and that increasing my Inflammation Factor in a positive way is accompanied by a slight decrease in pain. Since I already like, cook and eat spicy foods, it would seem that my primordial instinct was already at work protecting me. The totally unexpected and even dangerous result is that there is a five times greater impact from the calories I consume. So eating more has a therapeutic effect on reducing pain.

Since I had my disc replacement surgery, I have been cussing my doctors for messing up my back and causing me a severe increase in pain which occurred the winter after my operation. It would now appear that I caused my own increase in pain by greatly reducing the calories I consumed each day to lose weight.

What had not occurred to me, was the pain got more sever as I ate fewer calories and dropped from obese to overweight to near normal in weight. It got so bad I complained to my daughter and her only comment was does it hurt when I walked? Yes! Does it hurt when I don’t walk? Yes!. Then stick to the diet, stop complaining and keep walking. Her logic was that being lighter and physically fit had to be a lot easier on my joints, than than being obese.

It seems the opposite is true: overeating helps mitigate chronic pain.

Go figure, another counter intuitive result but this one could have dangerous consequences if I give up on a pain free diet and revert to overeating as I had in the past.

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.

I Finished My Book!!!

April 30, 2012

I finally finished my most recent project and it is available for distribution. My Book, “An Introduction to Coffeepot Cooking: How I Lost 101 pounds with Portioned Controlled Meals”, is now available from Amazon as a Kindle e-book.

The focus is not on the food I ate, but the commitment that I made to my family to lose weight so I would avoid another premature death in the family. I would like to say that the entire process was driven by their love alone, but secondary influences included a stroke and a disc replacement surgery both caused by my being too fat for too many years. At $2.99 this little book will hopefully be a guide to others who are obese and need to shed a few pounds. It took me 65 years to recognize that there are no secrete diets, magic pills or special foods that will make you lose weight and become healthy.

My Ebook for Kindle

In writing this book, I came to understand that there were only three changes in my life that led to the loss of 101 pounds in a fairly painless manner spread over 2 years. Here’s the secrets if you want to call it that:

  1. Eat less all day and for dinner.
  2. Drink fewer calories whether it’s beer, wine, liquor, juice, soda or smoothies.
  3. Exercise more, at least 20 minutes every day and an hour or more a few times a week. (the hour can include heavy yard work or work on your home.

Now that you know the secrets, I hope you still buy the book whether for yourself or a friend. I started this process while morbidly obese and out of shape and have encouraged others who were even fatter than me and in worse shape. Fortunately, I had daily encouragement from my family and weekly assessments with positive and sometimes critical reminders of the need. I also looked positively on the help I received from my Creator who reminded me with my minor stroke and the need for a disc replacement that I had to take care of my body and the gift of life if I wanted to keep enjoying myself for as long as possible.

For those who don’t have a Kindle reader, you can get a free one for your PC, laptop, tablet or iPad. computers and still buy the book. I will post follow-ups as the book becomes available for other electronic media and in print

Temporary Suspension of New Recipes

April 5, 2012

I am about ¼ of the way through a 16 day detox where I skip all alcohol and eat healthier foods including lots of nuts, no sugar and more green vegetables. I wont be posting new recipes for the next two weeks but if anybody wants to see what it takes me to quit alcohol, eat healthier, lose 6-10 pounds, drop inches from my waist and relapse with occasional bad choices, you can follow my actions, ask questions and even criticism my bad choices as I track my daily activities at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Coffeepot-Cooking/388614061149768. I am already down an inch on my belly, and 3 pounds in the first three days and no, I don’t suffer. Tonight is fried chicken thighs and fried seasoned yams. Will be happy to hold even in weight tomorrow but plan on a 6-7 mile walk so I can afford the relapse. Also I have no set goals but somewhere around 172 or a permanent 8 pound loss would be nice.

French Fried Yams – Broadening My Horizons

November 3, 2011

Seasoned French Fried Yams

As I write this post, I am weighing 170 pounds which is down about 95 pounds from my peak including a loss of 75 pounds over the past two years as documented in this blog. Regular readers recognize it has not been an easy period in my life cycle as I have had to deal with the death of my wife, my mother, mother-in-law and some very dear friends but that is part of the life cycle. I have also had to address health issues of a very minor stroke, disc replacement surgery and and a bad back. This is also part of the life cycle.

On the other side, I now have the resting heartbeat of an athletic 18 year old (below 50); I have the energy to walk 35 miles per week and still work in my yard every day; I have reduced my blood pressure medicine four fold; I still skip with my granddaughters; and I even jog on occasion, especially when I am showing off for other senior citizens or running with my granddaughters.

As far as cooking and food goes, I use my coffeepot for convenience in the same way a family of four would depend on their Crockpot. I sometimes use the stove and charcoal grill, but have learned to cook portion controlled meals for one with no leftovers. I now have more energy to be physical and less time for the computer. Therefor, I am more focused on the exercise and physical side of a healthy life than I am on controlling my meals and writing about it. Also, since this is a blog about coffeepot cooking, I don’t usually post recipes cooked on the stove.

The problem with not formally documenting my recipes is that when I want to repeat a meal or my daughter asks me about what I did a few months later, I have to start all over with hours hunting for the recipe. I really have never been organized with my recipes except at coffeepot cooking.

French fried yams is really not an old recipe or one pulled from on-line. It is a variant of the Yams that Cait and I cooked at Christmas a year ago. I loved the flavor but I also liked fried food which I only eat at home where I know what oil was used and how old it is. Last night was fried fish, and I just didn’t feel like traditional French fried white potatoes. I pulled the spice blend from the previous Yam recipe which was a hit and decided to try the seasoning with fried Yams. They were great and I will definitely do them again over Christmas so that is a good reason to write down the recipe.

Seasoned French Fried Yams

Spice Blend

½ tsp ginger

½ tsp powered garlic

½ tsp cumin

½ tsp turmeric

1 yam sliced into 1/8 to ¼ inch slices

Blend spices in zip lock bag and shake until blended. Add sliced yam and shake until evenly coated. Heat oil on medium flame until it reaches 360 Fahrenheit. Cook for five minutes or until floating. Drain and dry with paper towels.

Enjoy!!! These were quite good and different for a change of pace.

End note: I use a tall asparagus cooker that came with a removable basket as my deep fat fryer for one. This tall but narrow pot takes about 1 ½ quarts or liters to fill it half way which allows more than enough room when the moist potatoes bubble up when first added to the pot.

Top Ten Vegan and Vegetarian Posts

January 7, 2011

I know what I like to eat and I don’t look for exact recipes, I look for ideas. Naturally, I surf Foodpress daily in almost every category except baking and desserts.  It is probably a sin to destroy your temple by eating sweets when you have a tendency towards obesity and equally sinful to turn on an oven when cooking meals for one.

I am more of an accidental Vegetarian than a committed one and it probably started with my friend Tracey who talks the talk of vegetarianism but will start her day with a bag of Doritos and not even the original ones which were not too artificial. As the year progressed, I have cut my meat portions from 8 ounces to 4 ounces and reduced the number of times I eat meat in a week from twice a day to 3-4 times a week.  This means I have cut back from 7 pounds per week to about 1 pound per week due to the intentionally portion controlled meals and the unintentional shrift to a vegetarian diet.

Of course the shift involves my cooking for female friends all who happen to favor vegetarian diets.  Frankly  by focusing on the rich foods of India which have developed from centuries of a vegetarian diet and the foods of Italy which have had centuries of meatless Friday’s, I have not suffered from a lack of flavor or foods that I really like. Yet I still will honestly post on what I eat.

This post evolved from two Foodpress listings, one from the Teacher Cooks on her top ten posts for the year and the other from Lisa’s call for vegan and vegetarian recipes with the intent of moving “to live a more sustainable and fulfilling life through getting back to basics, especially through food.” While it may seem weird that I do a lot of cooking in my coffeepot, it is consistent with my goal of minimal energy consumption for a small amount of food.

I also purchase as much as I can from the local Vegetable Market which has great vegetables in the American winter and fantastic fruit in summer.  It is unfortunate that when cooking meals for one, you sort of rely on canned beans because the alternative is to cook large quantities  and have infinite leftovers or waste a lot of energy cooking a cup of beans because you still have to  keep the almost empty pot on the stove for the same length of time you would cook a full pot.

Well, Lisa here is the Ten Vegan and Vegetable meals from my site and I once again learned something as I did with my post The Peoples Choice – A Bakers Dozen of Top Recipes

In the case of the following list all of the top 6 are boldly flavored vegan recipes if you leave out the dollop of sour cream on two of the soups.  The last 4 are Italian vegetarian creations based on dairy products.  Super healthy meals that taste great like Diabetic Friendly and Vegan Tomatoes and Cannelloni Beans Over Barley which was one of my favorites did not make the list. Oh well healthy is good  – just not too healthy.

  1. Pinto Bean Curry (Rajma Chawal) – A Tribute to Monica
  2. Super Vegan Acorn Squash Soup
  3. Caribbean Black Bean Soup (vegetarian)
  4. Vegan Red Beans and Brown Rice
  5. Crucian Butternut Squash Fritters
  6. Picture Perfect Borscht Tastes Good Too!
  7. Penne with Cauliflower in White Sauce or “Penne con Cavolfiore”
  8. Melt in Your Mouth Eggplant Parmesan
  9. Vegetarian Broccoli Soup
  10. Rotini Dolores

In the past year, I have lost 65 pounds without a diet.  I eat everything  I want for dinner in small portions and during the day I graze on all the items a rabbit would eat i.e raw carrots, celery,  lettuce and cucumbers.  When available I eat locally grown fresh fruits. I am not suffering from a lack of energy as I walk 2-5 miles a day in addition to some yard work and daily cooking.  I don’t really even count how many carrots or pieces of celery I eat or how much fluids I drink because I now eat as much rabbit food as I want and  drink all the fluids I want.

I am not perfect or even close to it. I party with my family and gain a quick 5 pounds because of the lifestyle change and when they are gone, I revert back.  The 5 pounds is gone in about 2 weeks without any draconian efforts.  I intend to drop another 15 pounds to 165 so I can claim to have lost 100 pounds from my peak weight but will settle for a permanent weight of 170-172 which last occurred in 1967. Oh well, it’s a plan, not a resolution or a dream.

What a Difference a Year Makes!!!

December 31, 2010

A 10" waist Loss and the Belts to Prove It!!!

What a year this past year has been. It has been a year for endings and beginnings and the rebuilding of my body and soul. At 93 and 103 my Mother and Mother-in-Law passed away. At these ages we have to accept the natural course of the events of life. While I still miss my wife, I have moved past the grief and sorrow stages to acceptance and many pleasant memories. More importantly, my children and granddaughters seem to have done the same. Those who remain have grown closer which was unexpected for an already close and loving family.

My Loving Bookends - Working to keep me Upright!!

The year started with me under edict from my daughter and niece to drop 40 pounds or they would not go to space camp with me. The concept of living on portion controlled slow cooked dinners while snacking on fresh fruits and vegetables evolved into a steady routine. As the year ends, I have moved out of the coffeepot and into the fondu pot (which is rally an electric skillet) and occasionally back to the oven and stove. As my cooking became more main stream, my fan base grew and my recipe acceptance at foodpress.com became more frequent.

My health has been a year of down and up but mostly up. In April, I suffered a very minor stroke which paralyzed my left leg for about an hour. Two heart specialist said my heart was in perfect shape and that it wasn’t a Transient Incident. One neurologist didn’t diagnose much of anything and finally the chief of medicine for Largo Hospital suggested rather bluntly that event though I had lost 35 pounds I was still clinically obese from 30 years of over eating. Also, being in shape is fine but obese is still unhealthy.

During all this testing my local physician discovered a deteriorated disc which was compressing my spinal column and had to be corrected in order to not have a different and more permanent form of paralysis in the future. I needed a disc removed and everything fused in place. Now in this case being in shape physically did cut my recovery time as they expected me to be in the hospital for several days on pain killers when in fact I left the day after surgery and never took pain killers. The day after that, I started walking five miles a day with my daughter and driving without any great problems.

My weight loss has been steady except for my vacations with family. I don’t consider these lapses as failures because I plan them in advance. I know the social nature of my family and plan a 5-7 pound gain when they are here and since it is now only a temporary gain, it only takes me a week or two to get back to where I was before the clan had gathered.

I am now down to 178-182 depending on socializing which is about 65 pounds lighter than a year ago. I also walk about 2.5 to 4 miles a day at a fairly brisk pace and this has contributed to a lack of baggy skin. Just as I am proud of my family and my granddaughters and my bookends, I am also proud that I have been able to drop 10 inches off my waist. My size 36 shorts and bathing suits are now loose and I am actually in danger of losing my swim suit when diving into the pool at the Palms Hotel.

I didn’t bother making New’s Year’s resolutions last year as this had nothing to do with my resolve to improve myself but only with my resolve to make the rest of my family happy. I actually started as soon as I returned from my Christmas visit last year which was a few days before the New Year began. As this blog celebrates it’s one year anniversary, I basically intend to do the same next year as I did last year.

I intend to have close family contact, to continue my wine at the Palms before dinner, and my wine at home with dinner, to explore the foods of the world and to eat an incredible variety of meals in the coming year while posting them on my blog. Our first adventures for the year will be soaring above the rolling hills of Western New Jersey and perhaps a white water rafting trip in Pennsylvania. I have also been trying to go on a hunt for Dinosaur Bones with my Granddaughters in Laurel, Md for about two years but the weather or other adventures has kept us from the quest.

In terms of quantifiable goals, I intend to reach 165 pounds which is 100 pounds less than my peak weight by eating portion controlled meals of whatever I desire whether it’s vegan, vegetarian or Biblically unclean foods (Shrimp, Lobster and Pork products) although I find I am not eating very much in the unclean group anymore.

After that I intend to eat as necessary to hold 165-172 which has traditionally been my “ideal weight” to look good even though I would still be classified as overweight. At the start of last year I knew what my intended goals were and far surpassed them without too much “dieting pain.”

I am told by everyone who is not my family that what has worked for me over the past year is based on poor choices. However, the combination is built around my personal social and psychological needs and without too much stress I find I can:

  1. Eat portion controlled well balanced meals for dinner
  2. Every evening, I drink about one bottle of Merlot and have done this for 40 years. This includes wine at cocktail hour and wine at home.
  3. I skip breakfast except for green tea and 1-2 pieces of fresh fruit.
  4. I drink green tea when thirsty until 3 pm and water until dinner time.
  5. After breakfast, I snack only on foods a rabbit would eat; celery, lettuce, scallions and carrots.
  6. About every 2-3 weeks, I’ll get 2 candy bars and eat both.
  7. I never deprive myself of a treat with my grandchildren like mid-day ice cream when they are with me. (About 6 times a year.)
  8. While I only eat them once a month, I never deprive myself of ethnic foods or food my mother and grandmother ate because they are not good for you. I have no strict dietary selection. I only control the amount.
  9. I exercise vigorously for 45-75 minutes five to six times a week.
  10. I have no unbreakable rules except to make up by exercising harder or eating less until I recover the ground lost while socializing.

Now the only thing that can make next year perfect is if my finances and love life improve. But only another year of my life will answer those questions.

Because I am resolving nothing I simply cannot fail.