WritersButt Wednesday – Let’s Chew the Fat

Hello my friends!  How are you doing?  How are you feeling?

I’m always really excited this time of year when we ‘spring shead’ with our clocks and the season of spring is literally in the air, with birds twittering about, warmer sunshine slanting through the trees and the smell of our Texas wildflowers being carried along with the breeze.  For me, it means more outside time and that summer, my favorite season, is right around the corner.

 

Pretty soon, we’ll be breaking out our grill and let me tell you, we grill everything.  Food cooked on a grill just tastes better for some reason. In the meantime, for today’s post, I’ll share some recipes with you that I’ve made lately.

Before we get to the food though, let’s chew the fat a bit about, well, FAT.

The vast majority of people I meet, who are trying to ‘get into shape’ or ‘lose weight’, are essentially trying to reduce their fat. In other words, they are trying to be smaller and be more toned or rather, less flabby.  That same majority is usually going about this by reducing their caloric intake (trying to eat less) and eating a low-fat or non-fat diet. Now, I know this will be hard to believe but this is typically the opposite of what they need to be doing.  They are taking the wrong approach.

I tell them, “If you want to lose fat, you need to eat fat and get enough food so that your body doesn’t think it’s starving and hang on to your fat like Jack in the Titanic with a literal death-grip on that raft thingy.”  They look back at me with undisguised skepticism.

You guys, our bodies are made for survival.  Assuming you’re not legitimately over-eating, if you deprive your body of calories, it will go into survival mode and hang on to everything to keep you alive.  And do you know what it hangs onto? Fat! And yet, this does not mean you can deprive your body of fat either, since you’re probably thinking you have enough, thank you very much. 🙂 You NEED fat in your diet.  It’s vital to your brain, your moods and yes, you need it to lose fat, as in be smaller and leaner.  Trust me on this. In fact, don’t just trust me, check out this article, in which it says:

Studies show that keeping your mind sharp and your moods in balance may be largely related to the type of fat you eat. Omega-3 fatty acids are a form of polyunsaturated fat, and they’re arguably the closest you can get to a miracle food for the mind. Over the past decade, studies have linked omega-3 fatty acids to brain benefits ranging from better blood flow to improved mood and memory function.

Or this article, which has a great list of healthy fats and says:

EFAs also increase your bodies ability to absorb fat soluable vitamins, increase the metabolic rate and help burn fat. Yes, you can eat fat to burn fat! But there is a catch – you must eat it in moderation as part of a healthy diet.

Here’s another thing that many people don’t realize.  Fat is a fantastic energy source.  It’s slower burning than sugar (think simple carbohydrates) that many people consume for an ‘energy boost’.  Well, that sugar-laden boost will not last long. But some good, healthy fat will not only keep your engine running well, but it will be able to sustain you for longer.

Please don’t be afraid to consume fat … the healthy kinds.  Some great sources of healthy fats are, nuts and seeds, avocados, olives, oils (especially coconut!), egg-yolks (yes, quit throwing them away!), nut-butters like almond butter and sun butter.

If you see a product labeled ‘low-fat’ or ‘non-fat’ … that is codeword for processed! AVOID! Listen, they remove some or all of the fat but then they add in a bunch of crap that is bad for you. Check the labels if you don’t believe me.  🙂

Please, ask me any questions about this if you have them.  I’m not telling you to go crazy and eat a gallon nuts a day. That really would be too many calories and you’d likely have a very noxious case of gas.  No good!

Bottom line, you need healthy fat for a myriad of things but don’t go off the deep end and dive into a pool of coconut oil. Although, laps through that might be a great workout!  Ha!

Ok, moving right along to some recipes for you.

Spaghetti with zucchini ‘pasta’

Many of you know that I don’t eat grains, or very rarely, so I’m always trying fun ways to enjoy some of my favorite meals without grains. Spaghetti is a favorite in our house. It’s what my daughter requests every single birthday.  I make my own spaghetti sauce–recipe below. For the pasta, I will often either make a regular whole wheat pasta for the kids, or I’ve recently found quinoa pasta noodles which I LOVE.  It  has such a great texture and a rich, nutty flavor.  But if I’m going grain-free, I’ll also have a pasta substitute such as spaghetti squash (delish!!) or what I did last time which was to make my noodles be thin zucchini strips.

Note: First I sliced the zucchini very thin and liberally salted it with kosher salt.  This will pull out the moisture from the veggie.  Then you rinse off the salt and pat it dry. This is so it won’t end up soggy/mushy.  Then you can slice it up into thin strips like picture above.

Sauté zucchini in coconut or olive oil, seasoning to taste.  Don’t cook too long.  You don’t want it too soft.

Finished product. It was so good!

Ginger’s Spaghetti sauce:

This is the base recipe that you can multiply (I do!) and adjust. Oh, and I don’t measure anything but:

Sauté onion and garlic

Add pound of ground meat — brown

season with kosher salt, pepper, chili powder, italian seasonings

28 oz can of crushed tomatoes (I like fire-roasted flavor, but whatever you like. If you want some tomato chucks, throw in a can of diced toms.)

Taste and season accordingly — best done with a lovely glass of wine.

*I sometimes add in mushrooms, which I would have sautéed first (no salt) and set aside.

~*~

Chicken Tacos

This is what was for dinner that last couple nights. I always try to  make a huge meal that will last at least 2 nights. I plan this so that the second night falls on a busy ‘kid’ night so that I don’t have to cook.  Make cooking healthy for your family work for you!

I washed and trimmed about 3 1/2 pounds of boneless chicken breasts, cut them in half and threw them in the crockpot.  I seasoned it with some salt, pepper, chili powder, minced garlic and cumin.  Let it cook all day.

At dinner time: served with whatever taco fixins you like.  We had spring greens, sliced annaheim peppers, shredded cheese, salsa and sour cream. The picture above is my helping with a sliced jicama for my ‘shell’.  The kids all had mini-flour tortillas.

~*~

Ok, this last recipes was a huge hit.  We went to friends for dinner the other night and I wanted to try this appetizer.  There are Olive Meatballs.  It’s a recipe from one of my new paleo cookbooks.  Basically, pound of ground meat, recipe called for lamb or pork I believe, I used turkey.  Add your seasonings to taste.  Then flatten a ball in your hand and wrap it around a green olive, sealing the opening. Sauté meatballs in coconut oil. Display with leftover olives, serve warm with fun toothpicks!

~*~

For workouts this week I want you to continue what you’re doing with your water and incorporating potty-squats, or push-ups or lunges into your DAILY ROUTINE!

Also, here are 2 workouts you can play around with and let me know how it goes.

Since it’s spring, let’s take your workouts outside.

Workout #1:

4 rounds

Run 2 blocks

10 x Burpees

Workout #2:

Set a timer for 10 minutes and see how many rounds you can finish of:

10 Push Ups

10 Squat jumps (do a squat just like your ‘potty squat’ and then jump out of it with hands reaching to sky)

That’s it!  Have a great week and enjoy some healthy fat this week. You’ll LOVE it!

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About Ginger Calem

I never met a notebook I didn't want to buy. Pens speak to me. Sticky notes are dear to my heart. Some of my best friends are those clambering in my head trying to get onto the page. And when they have their stories told, and I release them to the world, I hope they'll be your friends too.

Posted on March 21, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. Shannon Esposito

    Yum! yum! yum! Thanks for the recipes! I’m getting so bored with cooking. I”m still doing good with my workouts though my trip to Atlanta this weekend derailed my healthy eating…I swear I ate fries with every meal! Going to try the olive meatballs for a get together this weekend.

    • Hi Shannon. I get bored with my cooking sometimes too. And normally it’s at the change of a season. Like at the end of winter, I’m getting burned out on soups and wintery meals and dying to to start grilling. Same thing at the end of summer, I crave a steamy, hearty soup instead of grilled chicken. 🙂

      Let me know how the meatballs turn out. Next time I make them, I’m going to make them our entree and use those big green olives stuffed with garlic or jalapeno and make the balls bigger.

  2. Great post, GInger. Working out is only as good as what your body has to give. And that means fuel. I am so into food these days. As you know I go strictly ‘organic.’ Olive oil is at the top of my list. I have to be part Italian. Luv the stuff. And I adore bananas—I’m also part gorilla. Combine bananas with tahini and whoa! You gotta super packed energy snack. And don’t get me started on cashews. As a fifteen year old I lost three wrestling matches in a row because I went down in weight and was starving before the buzzer signaled round one. I remember literally thinking I was about to faint while at the weigh-in just minutes before the event. How I hated high school. But that’s a different story and happily lightyears behind me. 🙂

    • Hi Roy! I’m with you on the olive oil. I use it for everything (or coconut oil). William, (my husband) drizzles it on top of his chicken or whatever for the extra fat. I need to find a tahini I like. I bought one and didn’t care for it. I don’t need something to be sweet to like it but found this one was really bitter or something. Ok, I’d do just about anything for cashews. They’re like crack, not that I would know what crack is like, but I’m guessing it’s just like cashews. haha

      I know all about weight restrictions for sports. Messes with your head. Last year I competed in an Olympic weightlifting competition and had to be strategic in choosing a weight class to my advantage and then making sure I came in right at that weight. Weight is so fickle that it plays too many head games!

      As always, thanks for commenting and the support.

  3. I am definitely going to try the zucchini pasta–sounds yum. And I so agree with you about the fat! I am so much more satisfied with some . . .oh and don’t get me started on coconut oil. The smell alone is awesome 🙂

    • Coconut oil is the bomb!

      Usually when someone is trying to wean off of sugar and refined carbs, it’s the fat that gets them through. You go through that carb-hangover for a few days and the cravings are intense. I recommend a few nuts or a spoonful of almond or sun butter. Usually does the trick!

      Let me know how the dinner goes. We really loved it.

  4. Karen McFarland

    I am all over that pasta dish Ginger! That looks Yummy! Hubby and I have wanted to try spagetti squash and this recipe is a winner. Now after reading a gazillion blogs today to catch up with you all since my little wordpress glitch, I’ve got to get moving around. Can’t sit any longer……

    • Karen, the spaghetti squash is amazing. I use a fresh garlic clove and rub in all over the halves. Then I cut up the rest of the garlic and throw it in the hole. Plenty of olive oil, salt and pepper, in the oven at about 350 for 45-60 minutes. Just keep checking it with a fork. When you pull the fork, if ‘noodles’ appear, it’s ready! So good!

  5. Oh, yum those look so delicious! I wish you could come cook them for me, especially the chicken tacos! I can’t wait to try and do some burpees! Thanks for the workouts and the recipes.

    • You are the very first person who has told me they can’t wait to try burpees. Let me know what you think AFTER! haha They are a great full-body movement. If fact, in any pinch for time, just do 5 minutes of burpees. You’ll be worked-out!

      I’d love to cook for you. Hey, the chicken tacos were the easiest of all the recipes. The crock pot does it all! You’re not really cooking at all. Totally doable and you’ll have leftovers for days for quick lunch or snack, etc.

  6. Another great post 🙂 I’m happy to say that I’m on track with my weight loss goals. I’m losing weight slowly because I don’t want to do the unhealthy-starvation-cut-everything-I-enjoy-from-my-diet thing. I think, though, that even though I am going at this more slowly it will make for a longer-term change because I’m not doing anything extreme. Unfortunately, I hate nuts. olives, and avocados, so any healthy fat recipes that include those are out for me.

  7. Thank you, Marcy. And, hooray!! I’m so happy you’re on track. That’s awesome and you’re taking just the right approach. You’re developing routines and habits that can be maintained.

    I can’t believe you don’t like all those amazing things! What the heck? 😉 Well, if you eat meat, you’ll be getting some fat there. Cook with those good oils. Heavy drizzling on salads. Do you eat fish? If so, get plenty of that, especially salmon. YUM!

    Also, if you eat dairy, make sure you’re not doing the low-fat or no-fat varieties. Full fat greek yogurt would be good, for instance.

    No avocados? Really? Can I have all yours? *grin*

  8. I wish my husband would believe me on the “you have to eat to lose weight” concept. He thinks by starving himself he’ll lose weight. But alas, I’ve stopped aruging with him about it, because as you most likely know, husband’s are always right. (wink). My wonderful hubby eats like a snake, one huge meal a day. I just can’t break him of that, try as I may.

    I love spaghetti sauce over spaghetti squash. I’ll try it over zuccnini next time. That sounds really good.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  9. My picky preschooler loves zucchini, so I can’t wait to try the “pasta” dish! And those tacos look super easy. I often have better luck getting dinner started hours early because my newborn inevitably gets hungry at 5 or 5:30, when I usually start cooking!

    Oh, and I am giving you the Kreative Blogger Award, Ginger. You can find the details here: http://wp.me/p1bhaB-De

    • A preschooler and a newborn, I KNOW how busy you are, especially at dinner time! You are so right, getting organized with dinner early is your best plan. 🙂 I hope your child ends up loving the zucchini-pasta.

      And–THANK YOU for the Kreative Blogger Award. I’m honored. I will prepare a blog and pay it forward. I appreciate it.

  10. I’ve always done potty squats but I didn’t know they were part of a WritersButt workout!!

  11. OH…LOVE the taco recipient. I embrace my crockpot on busy kid nights!

    • The jicama shell was surprisingly good. The recipe called for slicing it super thin and soaking it so it’s flexible to create a ‘shell’, but I don’t have a mandolin thingy and my slices were too think so I just pretended it was supposed to be a tostada.

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