After 3+ weeks of cooking & eating Indian food, I've decided to switch gears for a while, & go back to following the Abs Diet nutrition plan, as well as the Cool Running's Couch to 5K exercise plan & have downloaded a really cool podcast version of the program, all of which I highly recommend. I'm switching to the Abs Plan NOT because Indian food isn't healthy (because it most certainly is!), but purely due to time-constraints. [These days I've got a lot of sales meetings (for my Wildfire Designs & Ferlanti Couture businesses) & lately, don't have the time to cook time-consuming, super involved meals right now.]
A word about the Abs Diet Book: What I like about the book is that it's not a DIET book at all (in fact the author concurs & mentions that he very reluctantly employed this word to describe the book/nutrition plan). There are male & female versions of the book (see the right side of this webpage for links), and I highly recommend the book as one of the most sensible, non-dieting nutrition & exercise books out there on the market today. The author is the editor of Men's Health magazine, & outlines a health-plan very similar to the Canyon Ranch nutritional philosophy. He focuses on what GOOD things you'll GAIN through the plan (i.e., good foods you can eat, a once-a-week "cheat" meal, etc., & not on what you'll LOSE (although you will lose weight on the plan; I'm living, shrinking proof!). From a health & weight perspective, he talks about the essential importance of avoiding transfats & high-fructose syrups, which I've already been doing for a very long time now, even before I got my hands on this book. The diet is protein-centric, as well as fiber-centric, and makes lots of common sense. There are no weird or extreme routines here. You basically eat smaller meals, interspersed with snacks. You eat breakfast, then a snack, lunch, then another snack, & dinner, followed by -- you guessed it -- another snack. There are lots of delicious smoothies, which can either count as a meal replacement (in their 16 oz. form) or as a snack (in their 8 oz. form).
I like to do my own version of their smoothie, which substitutes low-fat soy milk for the 1% milk, which makes the shake taste better & you also avoid having that uncomfortable, post-milk-consumption feeling. (I'll spare you the description, but those of you who know what I'm talking about, will definitely concur that this feeling is physically unpleasant.)
Anyhow, I'd like to list my own version of the smoothie here. My entire nuclear family (Mom, Dad, & sister) really love this recipe, & have continued to drink the smoothies after my previous visit to see them (back in June). In addition to incorporating smoothies into their nutritional plans, they've also been going on walks together in the evening. So hooray for them & hooray for healthy habits!
Basic Fruit Smoothie Recipe
(Original Source: The Abs Diet: The Six-Week Plan to Flatten Your Stomach and Keep You Lean for Life, by David Zinczenko. The recipe, before I modified it to make my own version, was originally called the "Peach Vacation Smoothie.")
6 ice cubes
6 oz. sliced frozen fruit (Note: You can buy a 16 oz. bag of frozen peaches from your local grocery store & use a little bit under 1/2 of the bag. A food scale helps tremendously for measuring accurate portions. Or, if you'd like to combine fruit, take different fruits & peel them if needed, & then place them in a ziploc freezer bag & use 6 oz. of whatever combination you'd like from the bag. This works especially well if you've got bananas that are starting to turn brown, or any other fruits on the verge of turning soft.)
2 tsp "Max Pro" Whey Protein Drink Powder Mix (NOTE: Can be purchased at a health food store like GNC, etc. Whey is an excellent source of protein, & you'll barely taste it in the drink. Can also be used as a protein supplement in various dishes.)
3/4 c. low-fat/light PLAIN soy milk (NOTE: The original recipe calls for 1% milk; the soy gives it the proper creaminess without the resultant throat/sinus problems.)
2 tbsp low-fat vanilla yoghurt
Directions:Combine all ingredients in a blender & pulse until ingredients are thoroughly mixed into a creamy consistency.
Yield: Makes 16 fl. oz.
Useful Tip: You can eat it as a meal substitution for breakfast in its 16 oz. form, or you can split it into two portions for snacks -- share with a family member or save the second portion for later. Since it takes less than 5 minutes to make, it's an especially handy snack if you're running out the door.