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Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

What’s Been Going On?

Lots of stuff, truthfully.  I know I haven’t been on in a few weeks, and for that I am sorry.  I have been busy, busy, busy!  It is that time of year, you know…

That time of year when you actually get to see family you haven’t seen the rest of the year.  You know, I think we should all try harder to see our families and friends at times other than Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Sometimes it seems like we say “Oh, behold!  It’s the Holidays!  I get to see my family!”  I am blessed that I get to see my parents fairly regularly.  It’s the other relatives I don’t see too often.  My sister, for instance, has been in Spain studying since September.  I have missed her tremendously since she has been gone.  We got her back on Saturday, though!  SF Hubby and I went with my parents, her fiancee and friends, and my aunt and uncle to pick her up in Atlanta.  It was a big day for all of us, and we’re very glad she’s home.

It’s also that time of year that you have more on your calendar than you can realistically “make happen.”  I think that’s what has happened to us.  We have been very busy – sometimes with planned activities, and, well, you know, the unplanned stuff that comes up – so I have had less time home with my two boys than we are used to.  For that reason, the blog took a passenger seat for a time.

Surprisingly, thinks have slowed down enough that I can pick back up on my blogging.  I have not been blogging, but I also have not given up on living healthy.  I still get my fiber, and I try my hardest to make my “cheat meals” few and far between.  I am trying to make a game plan for the upcoming two weeks as far as my eating goes.  I plan on consuming most of my fiber at home and at work, and I am prepared to eat a few challenging meals (as in it will be a challenge to make the meal healthy).  With family in town, and it being Christmas, often I don’t know what’s on the menu until I sit down at the table.

I have a few strategies that I am hoping *fingers crossed* work for my holiday eating.  Maybe these tips will help you out, too.  I have heard that if your plate is 3/4 vegetables, you will already be eating healthier than the average American this Christmas.  Let 1/4 of the plate be meat with no gravy, and the rest be vegetables.  For heavy hors d’oeuvres, I will try to make my plate mostly vegetables and crackers, with one or two savory treats.  Restaurants really aren’t too much of a challenge for me.  I have learned how to look for healthy items on the menu, so this doesn’t present a problem for me.  Hopefully, with these tips in mind, I will survive this year’s Christmas eating unscathed.

I also would like to let you know that I am going to be blogging book reviews again.  I had a blast when I did this last year, and I am looking forward to starting back up.  The address for my new book review blog is http://southernfiberreads.wordpress.com.  I hope you will check it out!  I am networked with several authors and book reviewers, so I am in the process of obtaining new books for me to read and review.  In the meantime, I am transferring my old reviews onto the new blog, so check back often for updates!

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas this year, and keep in mind that because Christ Jesus was born and gave us the greatest gift ever given, we are able to join with those we love and give of ourselves to them.

With much love this Christmas season,

Southern Fiber

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What a Value!!!

Many of you are aware of the Grocery Store Relay I attend every other Saturday.  My husband lovingly reminds me that the correct term for the event is “Sidewalk Sale.”  He has never been.

Row after row of boxes, with people crowded around 3 to 4 people deep.  I spy a box or two and stand guard for an hour and fifteen minutes.  Everyone else does, too, and we will tell you which box(es) is (are) ours.  If you want something out of my box that I don’t want, fine – I’ll give it to you after I grab my box.  Many of us crouch into starting positions as though we are about to run a marathon, waiting for the whistle to blow.  This, folks, is not an ordinary sidewalk sale – this is a relay, in every sense of the word.  You may win or lose your box.  I’ve had boxes grabbed out from under me because some people don’t like to play by the rules.  Normally most everyone is nice, but there is always one or two that likes to ruin it for everyone.

No, this is no ordinary sidewalk sale.  Especially not with the value you get for your dollar!  Seven dollars a box, and you can’t beat it.  This morning, I grabbed two boxes, and managed to get the items I wanted into one box.  The box was overly stuffed, believe me.  I have decided to note the items I brought home in my one box and calculate the value I got today.  I have listed the items I purchased, along with the amount of each, and the estimated ARV for the amount I brought home.  Some of the prices I could find online, and some only listed bulk, so I listed the unit price according to the bulk price.  These prices may vary, but you will get a good idea of how much this would all cost.  At the end, I will calculate the total amount, subtract the seven dollars I spent, and give you the total savings amount.  Here is a picture of all of the items for your viewing pleasure:

Here we go!

Diamond Slivered Almonds – 4 bags – $11.96

Diamond Black Walnuts – 6 bags – $16.32

Wagner’s Seasoning Packets – 4 – $4.93

Land O Lakes Cocoa Classics – 35 packs – $23.97

Zone Perfect Indulgence bars – 3 boxes – $18.87

Alessi spices – 7 – $15.68

McCormick Garlic Salt – 4 – $6.57

Enjoy Life Trail Mix – 12 bags – $45.38

Equal Tablets – 1 – $2.49

Quaker High Fiber Oatmeal – 1 box – $4.25

Del Monte Spaghetti Sauce – 26 oz – $2.05

Kind Bar – 1 bar – $1.83

Arizona Mandarin Orange Green Tea Bags – 2 boxes – $5.50

Propel Powder Packs – 1 box – $2.98

Enjoy Life No-Oat Oatmeal Cookies – 6 boxes – $22.62

Chebe Pizza Crust Mix – 2 – $5.10

Bakery on Main Gluten Free Granola Bars – 7 boxes – $41.23

Seeds of Change Arroz Hispana – 1 bag – $3.45

Seeds of Change Basmati Rice – 1 bag – $3.45

Nestle Peanut Butter and Milk Chocolate Morsels – 1 bag – $2.50

Slim Fast Meal Bars – 2 boxes – $13.38

Slim Fast snack bars – 8 bars – $17.52

Grand Total:  $265.47

Total Savings:  $258.47

There you have it!  A box full of healthy goodness for diiirt cheap.  See if you can find out if there is a store in your area that does something like this – it is so worth it!  For those of you close to me, I will let you know where to find this one.

Have a great weekend all!

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An Apple a Day

I really, really, really wish that Fall would make its appearance here in the south!!!  We had one week of lower temperatures, but today it was 87 degrees.  It’s October!!!  The leaves should be changing, and I should be able to wear the long sleeved shirts that I recently pulled out of our storage closet.  I can’t, though, and that’s kind of depressing.  Fall is my favorite time of the year.  The leaves aren’t even changing yet!  I’ve seen flocks of birds fly south, but I think that has more to do with how the Earth revolves than it does the temperatures.  I’m ready for my fall.

Even though Fall hasn’t officially shown up here in the Carolinas, I have had some fall indulgences since the calendar told me Fall has begun.  I wrote about pumpkin pie that Scott and I made in the dead of night last week.  We also have found honeycrisp apples!

Honeycrisp apples are, by far, my apple of choice.  I love how crisp they are, and how the apple juice flows with every bite you take.  It’s not very tart – it’s quite sugary compared to some other apples.  I looked all over for honeycrisp apples when we went to the farmer’s market a few Saturdays ago and no one had them yet.  Their peak harvest month is Ocober.  Scott found them at the grocery store last week and brough home some for me!  Excitedness.  He noted that their price is about a dollar more than the other apples, but that’s due to it only being available for a few weeks in the Fall, while other apples are available most of the season.

I also tried something different last week – I was in the mood for zucchini, but didn’t want to wait on water to boil and all that, so I tried steaming them in the microwave.  I didn’t use any instructions, just chopped up the zucchini and drizzled with a teeny bit of water, then put it in for 45 seconds.

It worked.

I ate some plain, and then put the rest into pasta alfredo that got consumed before I took a picture.  Zucchini = yummy fiber!  Squashes and zucchini can be found everywhere this time of year, and they are delicious as sides or in casseroles or other dishes.  I still have some left, so I’ll be trying these out in different ways over the next week.  Check back to see what all I create with them! 🙂

On a final note, I need to mention something about greek yogurt.  I have plugged Chobani yogurt in the past, and that’s what I’m about to do again.  I love their yogurt!  It’s so thick, creamy, and rich, and has much less fat than other yogurt, and absolutely zero additives.  Most fat free brand name yogurts (store brand, too) contain high fructose corn syrup because they need to cover the extreme tanginess of the yogurt.  Greek yogurt doesn’t need any because of how they strain their yogurt.  They use real fruit, pectin, and cane sugar.  My reason for bringing up greek yogurt again is this: please be sure you stir it up.  Most greek yogurt is fruit on the bottom.  Scratch that, the fruit, cane sugar, and pectin is on the bottom, unlike other yogurts where the HFCS is in the yogurt.  Have fun stirring up your greek yogurt!  You’ll be glad you did.  It means the difference between sour cream and pudding.  Plain greek yogurt can be used as sour cream, and the yogurt on top of the fruit mixture is plain greek yogurt.  It will taste that way unless you stir it up first.  I’ve had some people tell me they were not happy with the blah flavor of the yogurt, and everything was at the bottom.  So be sure to stir your greek yogurt!

What’s your favorite kind of yogurt?

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SF Pumpkin Pie

Mr. Southern Fiber and I were invited to lunch at our cousin’s home this past Sunday.  Her kitchen has recently been completely remodeled, and she wanted us to come see it.  I walked in the door and the first thing I saw was a brand new stainless steel stove with matching microwave above, and a stainless steel kettle on the stove!  It looks like something out of a Kenmore catalogue.  So chic.  I loved it!

We had salad and lasagna for lunch, and with Scott being the cook, we didn’t want to show up empty handed.  We brought the dessert.  What did we bring?  Pumpkin pie!  Of course, I wanted to enjoy the dessert, too, especially since I love pumpkin pie, like, to death.  We searched and found a recipe that fit the bill for our now persnickety bellies.  Here’s the recipe:

  • 2 9-inch unbaked pie shells
  • 2 cans pumpkin
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 cup brown sugar (remember, this makes two pies, so it’s only 1/2 cup per pie)
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Beat eggs with a whisk, adding other ingredients and continue to beat until smooth.  Pour mixture into two pie shells.  Bake for 15 minutes at 425 and then reduce temperature to 350.  Allow to bake for another 45-60 minutes.  Test to see if it’s done after the first 45 minutes, and every 5 minutes after until toothpick (or skewer, as we used) comes out clean.

    Now, the funny part about all of this is Scott forgot to make the pies.  He laid down for bed and I asked him when he was going to cook the pies… this was 11:45 pm.  So, at midnight, Scott is putting the pies into the oven, and me being the good wife I am stayed up to keep him company.  We watched an episode of Earth 2 while the pies cooked, although I don’t remember much of the episode.  I was zonked.  When the pies were done, he took them out to cool and we went to bed.  Here’s what I saw Sunday morning:

    Mouth watering goodness!!!!  I really wanted to have a slice right there before church, but I resisted knowing I could have some at lunch.  I had fiber cereal instead:

    Not a valid substitute, but it was necessary.  It didn’t taste bad at all, but it wasn’t pumpkin pie.  I did get to enjoy a slice later:

    This tastes sooo good, and I am even more glad we still have some left in the fridge!  And with low sugar and skim milk, this is a good healthy alternative to the usual I-don’t-care-about-my-waistline usual pumpkin pie.  Also, it has about 4g of fiber per serving.  Yay me!

    I encourage you to try out this recipe this holiday season.  I think it’ll be a hit.

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    Southern Fiber

    I wore white after Labor Day!!! Yes, I did.  White pants, and capris at that.  They’re a size 12, and with my weight loss, I’m afraid they won’t fit after Easter next year, so I decided to wear them yesterday.  Granted, it’s just a week after Labor Day, but it’s still “after.”  They felt great, and I’m kind of sad because they have served me well and I really like them.  I’ll have to get a new pair next year – yay for shopping!

    On a side note, Noah tried the organic crunchy peanut butter and loves it.  He also has been eating my fiber and nutrition bars!  I will need to continue getting large stashes at the grocery store relay so that Noah and I will have a continual good supply of nutrition bars.  I’m glad he’s taking initiative and making his own decisions about the healthy things he wants to eat.  As far as the nutrition bars go, he likes them so much that Scott and I have to remind him not to eat two or he won’t eat any dinner.  This has actually made him sad.  I don’t think I ever thought that we would get to a point where we would have to limit his eating of healthy foods, or that he would get sad about having to watch how much of it he eats!  Noah is making great progress!!!

    Thinking about my blog’s namesake, I would like to share with you some great high fiber meals I have had recently.  Enjoy!

    Yes, this is what it looks like.  This is Chick Fil A.  I had a chargrilled chicken sandwich, which comes on a whole grain bun with lettuce and tomato.  I had it with no butter or pickles, and I added light canola mayo.  As a side, I had the yogurt parfait with harvest granola.  According their nutrition information, this meal is 590 calories with 5g of fiber.  Not bad for fast food, and having worked there for two years, I know none of it is processed.

    This is (du-du-DUUUH) The Beacon!!!  About as southern and heart-attack-on-a-plate as you can get, but I fared okay with this meal.  I sang in the choir at Overbrook Baptist Church on Sunday in celebration of its 60th anniversary.  Lunch was catered by the Beacon.  I had a plate of pulled pork, which I don’t eat often, one squeeze of barbecue sauce, and a mountain of baked beans and coleslaw, both of which have fiber.  With the number of beans I ate, and how much coleslaw I had, too, this dinner ran me to about 15 grams of fiber, and they held the grease, thank you.  Sunday night we had a picnic with our own church (I didn’t take my phone) and I had grilled chicken with a lot of raw veggies, so my calorie count for lunch didn’t make me feel guilty since I consumed so few calories the rest of the day.  I still hit about 1800, I’m guessing.

    I made chicken salad from leftovers, again.  We had chicken left over from the picnic, so I chopped that up and mixed it with a whole apple that I diced, light canola mayo, and salt and pepper.  Then, I got fiber happy, and got to thinking about bulgur wheat I had in the pantry, and added 1/4 cup of bulgur wheat.  Not cooked, just dry.  I wanted crunch.  It gave the chicken salad a nice crunch, and a very nice nutty flavor.

    I put this on Arnolds sandwich thins, and had it alongside 1/2 cup black beans and a heaping spoonfull of 0% Chobani plain yogurt.  Dinnertime fiber = 29 grams.  It was very tasty, indeed!

    On the menu tonight is spaghetti with whole grain pasta.  Grains, grains, grains, and beans, beans, beans.  Both are excellent sources of fiber (beans = soluble fiber!) and you can get very creative with both of them.  I’m still going strong with my high fiber diet, and I’m so glad.  I feel wonderful.  Thank you all for your support and encouragement!

    What are your favorite ways to eat beans or grains?

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    I’ve been approached by several friends and family members who all mentioned that I need to put a before and after post on my blog.  I am excited to do so, especially since I have already lost ten pounds!  I am still getting into serious exercising – old habits die hard, and my body, after years of being sedentary, is slowly getting used to exercise.  I still have a long way to go, but I am happy to report that I have already come a long way since my visit to the doctor and my switch to healthy living.

    Here I am in 2007.  You can’t tell my weight here, but that is because I have discreetly hidden my belly and legs from view by cunningly “showing off” my cute pocketbook.  I was not happy with my size here.

    Honestly, I wasn’t happy with my size here, either.  This picture was taken in April this year on a trip to Vegas with my wonderful husband.  I added inches and pounds after we got married and chalked it up to “happy marriage weight”, which I’m pretty sure is true.  I am still extremely happy, and now that I am in a happy and solid marriage relationship, my self image isn’t nearly as bad as it used to be.  That doesn’t mean I liked having a belly.  Can you see me still trying to hide it?

    Mother’s Day 2010.  I was sooo happy on this day that i honestly didn’t think about hiding my belly, or any other part of me that showed I am overweight, which at least means I was beginning to accept me for me, however I look.  You can notice my belly in this shot, though.  I have had people come up and ask me when I’m due, which, as any woman knows, is embarrassing and hurtful.  Please, don’t ever ask a woman when they’re due unless you’ve heard it from them that they are pregnant.

    Here I am today!!!!!!!  I’ve already accepted that my face is probably always going to be pudgy, since I have the face build of my Daddy’s side of the family.  But – my arms, and my belly!!  I am so proud!!!  The ten pounds I have lost so far have obviously been lost from my belly, and I am not complaining.  Now people everywhere are asking if I have lost weight (still not the best thing to say, but better than “when are you due”) or mentioning how good I look.  It’s invigorating!!!  I’m glad it’s not just me that notices – that helps make all of this more real.

    A close up shot of my belly today.  Sigh, happiness…. I am so very proud of me!  I am staying strong on my high fiber, low fat diet.  Today, for lunch, I had a bean burrito in a flour tortilla, grapes, and Chobani greek yogurt.  MMMMy!

    1/2 cup of black beans, which equals 22g of fiber.  I’m still full.

    Thanks again for all of your love and support.  And remember – I love to hear from you! I enjoy hearing how my progress is helping others have the courage to switch to healthy living as well.  It’s also great to have the support and guidance of others who have made the switch.  You can also sign up for the RSS feed  from my blog, or subscribe by email, on the right hand side of this page.

    When were you finally honest with yourself that you weren’t living healthy?

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    First, please allow me to apologoze.  I have been a busy bee this holiday weekend and I haven’t posted since Thursday!  Second, I don’t know how long it will take me to write this post since I am in the middle of eating my lunch:

    Leftover day, with leftover Thai veggie fried brown rice and leftover lime chicken with peppers that I made into a salad and put on sandwich thins.  My belly is doing a happy dance right now.

    So, having finished the rice, I am now between bites of the sandwich, updating my blog.  I have had a great weekend so far!  Scott took Friday off, so Noah and I spent the afternoon with him before we dropped Noah off at his mom’s.  Fun game night with friends Friday night!  They even popped kettle corn for me so that I wouldn’t be left out of the snacks.  We left around ten thirty so that Natasha and I could get ready for the grocery store relay!

    Da da-da daaaa!!!! The whole point of this post.  I had a blast yet again, and even more friends joined in this time.  The gang from my first Saturday was there, minus one due to a migraine, plus two other lovely ladies from church and a great friend of mine from growing up.  Word is getting out about this thing, and if there ends up being too many people at the relay, I’m afraid they will all blame me.  Never fear – I will continue to tell you of my great finds at the grocery store relay!

    I rode with Natasha and we got there a little before eight.  I cased the joint with her sister to find the box I wanted to grab.  They had a box full of organic preserves, several boxes of almond and rice milk, box after box of cereal, and then I saw it:

    The row on the right, third box up from the bottom… a box full of protein and fiber heaven.  All this box had in it was healthy snack bars!  I love these for snacks, meals on the go (if they have enough fiber), and Scott has gotten into the habit of eating them, too.  I didn’t want to be stingy with them, though, so when I grabbed this box, I went back to my group and told everyone to take some bars for them, too, and I would take the rest home with me.

    I still had almost an entire box left over.  This should last us for months.  I also found three more (3!!) jars of Maranatha nut butters!  Two organic peanut butter, and one of the crunchy and roasted almond butter like I found before.  My mom asked me, “how much peanut butter are you eating?!”.  I assured her that we’re stockpiling since the sell by dates on them are a long way off from now.  We have a good stock of nut butter now, and that’s a good thing, since there’s now two of us that are eating them regularly.

    There were several organic salad dressings to choose from as well, and I got some Caesar, some honey mustard vinaigrette, and some sweet and sour dressing.  I got a box of bulgar wheat, some more oat bran, granola, whole wheat pastry flour, and black beans.  This is some mondo pantry building on the cheap.  Seriously cheap.  Here is my kitchen table with all of my finds:

    The two boxes in the back are free salad dressing cases they were giving out.  These aren’t fat free, so we plan on donating them to our local soup kitchen.  Saturday afternoon, I went to lunch and a movie with my mom and sister!  Lunch, for me, included seasoned broiled tilapia with cauliflower and snow peas.  It was yummy!  After, we went to see Eat Pray Love.  It was a wonderful afternoon with my two favorite women of all time before my sister leaves for Spain!

    Speaking of my sister and Spain, Scott and I are going to dinner at my parent’s house tonight for her going away party/engagement party/everyone’s labor day party.  I am eating high fiber today (I had about 15g at breakfast, and more for a snack) so that I may enjoy dinner with my family tonight without feeling guilty about how much fiber is in the meal.  I informed them that no menu changes needed to take place tonight just for me.  There will be eighteen there, and I am one, so I will enjoy myself.

    And drink extra water.

    Happy Labor Day, everyone!

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