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Diet Makeover: Beginner’s Edition

Posted Sep 17 2010 3:32pm

Hey guys! Happy FRIDAY!!! :D

Got any exciting weekend plans?

Besides the fact that my blog’s been DOWN for a good part of the day :( , life’s been pretty good over here. It seems like there are finally some GOOD movies coming out this weekend–> The Town , Easy A , and the movie we’ll probably see tonight, Never Let Me Go . To be honest, we’ll probably see ALL of those movies this weekend! (gotta use our free AMC movie pass while we have it, ya know?) Are you guys excited for any movies coming out?

I loved hearing about all the TV shows you guys are looking forward to! Sounds like Glee, Gossip Girl, and Grey’s Anatomy are all popular picks! ;) We had fun watching the season premiere of Always Sunny last night! We started the night with dinner at P.F. Chang’s to use up some gift cards (we’ve had them since Christmas!), and I got the Coconut Curried Vegetables (no peanuts) with brown rice. To be honest, I didn’t like it at all compared to the vegetable curry I enjoyed the other night . Bummer. I didn’t sneak any pictures, either, because we went out with my brother-in-law and he doesn’t know about the blog. I didn’t want to even try explaining my picture-taking! ;)

And I’m also sorry to say I can’t show you any of our Grilled Charlie-making pictures, because we wimped out and didn’t make them. You may understand WHY when you see what they look like:

[ source <--a brave soul who tried one!]

Not only is it maybe the MESSIEST sandwich ever invented, it’s also practically a heart-attack on a plate! It’s a sandwich with peanut butter on the outside, chocolate syrup on the inside, butter on the inside, and cheese on the outside. Yum, right? (I hope you can sense my sarcasm there…)

In other news…

Remember last week, when I was vacationing in Vegas with my family? Well, my brother mentioned to me that he would like to improve his diet, but quickly pointed out that “Carrot sticks aren’t going to cut it, Megan.” (He thinks I eat rabbit food.) ;)   My brother definitely falls into the Standard American Diet (also known as “SAD”) –> often eating fast food in huge portions, guzzling soda, and including little-to-no fruit or veggies. *cringe* Obviously, he’s not going to be jumping into a glass of green juice anytime soon!

Instead, I want to give him manageable diet changes that won’t be too overwhelming! I think often times people avoid improving their diet because they think it will be too hard… but it certainly doesn’t have to be!!

A couple other things I had to keep in mind for this situation:

1) My brother is on a budget, so he can’t be spending oodles of money on pricey “health food” and supplements!

2) He also isn’t willing to spend much time on his meals! It needs to be FAST and EASY for him to stick to this.

Good thing he has a Trader Joe’s in his area!! (he doesn’t shop there currently, but I’m hoping to change his mind!) I take advantage of my local Trader Joe’s ALL. THE. TIME. In my opinion, it’s the ultimate shopping destination for healthy-eaters on a budget!  They’ve got tons of pre-chopped veggies, pre-cooked meats, and even pre-made meals… all at affordable prices! (and no, I’m not being paid to say that…) ;)

I thought I’d share my tips with you guys, in case you have any friends or family members in similar situations.

To get my brother familiar with the store, I took some quick snapshots with my camera phone during my shopping trip yesterday! Here are some easy “upgrades” I think he could make:

1. Switch from cow’s dairy to goat’s milk products. (goat’s dairy is easier to digest, and is less “clogging”) Trader Joe’s carries goat’s milk yogurt, too!

2. Switch to “sprouted grain” products. (Sprouted grains are easier to digest, and often contain more fiber and protein than white bread–> which means they should be more filling, too!)

3. Ditch the white pasta.

(I use this brown rice pasta ALL THE TIME– even for company–  and no one notices a difference!)

4. And while we’re at it, let’s upgrade the pasta sauce, too! (preferably a sugar-free variety with very few ingredients)

Can’t beat that price, either! ;)

We’re also working on ideas for packable lunches” that he can take to work

Perhaps a can of soup, that he could simply heat up in the microwave?

I’d love him to choose a veggie-packed lentil or black bean soup that’s full of fiber and vitamins!

But heck, I think even some meat-filled chili would be a better option than an Extra-Value Meal!

He could enjoy it with some whole-grain toast or crackers on the side, and a piece of fresh fruit for dessert!

Other “brown-bag” lunch ideas include:

Veggie Sandwich: on sprouted grain bread, with a whole avocado, dijon mustard, and any veggies you like!

Homemade Bean Burrito, made with a sprouted grain tortilla, vegetarian refried beans, and salsa and guacamole as desired.

Almond Butter and Banana Sandwich, on sprouted grain bread.

*I’d really like him to upgrade his peanut butter to either Almond Butter, or the new-to-me Sunflower Seed Butter!! I’ve been seeing Sunflower Seed Butter pop-up all over the blog world lately, and I’ve heard it’s VERY similar to Peanut Butter in taste and texture, so I decided to give it a shot yesterday:

Looks like peanut butter, for sure!

Taste-test time:

It really DOES taste very similar! Holy cow. There is a bit of “evaporated cane juice” listed in the ingredients, I’m sure to make the sunflower seeds palatable, but since my brother is upgrading from processed peanut butter, I’m not too worried about it. It’s still a big improvement for him! (In case you’re wondering, the reason I suggest avoiding peanut butter is that peanuts are highly acidic in the body, and most are carcinogenic & pesticide-contaminated [ source ] ) If you’re going to eat peanut butter (and I still do, on occasion) stick with ORGANIC and NATURAL varieties, okay?

I’ve also suggested he keep a stash of Larabars in his office, in case of a snacking-emergency. They’d make a great dessert, too! (I’m not going to worry him with ANY ideas of food combining yet… getting him out of the drive-through is really our first step here…)

I also wanted to give him some fast-food options, in a pinch:

At Subway , he could get a Veggie Delight sandwich or wrap with avocado, mustard and whatever veggies he likes. (yes, their bread has HFCS in it– soon to be called “corn sugar?” – but, I still think it’s a better option than two double cheeseburgers!)

At Chipotle , he could get a Burrito Bowl (just cutting out the tortilla saves you 300 calories !) with rice, beans, salsa and guacamole, or if he wanted to be REALLY good, he could get a salad with those toppings… but I’m not holding my breath on the salad option just yet. ;)

I’m not very familiar with other healthy fast-food options, so do you guys have any suggestions? I’m pretty sure he’s NOT willing to sit down to a fast-food salad topped with chicken, which is why I didn’t list it above… and I’m not really crazy about him eating a small bowl of iceberg lettuce, anyway! That wouldn’t even keep me full! If you’ve seen the size of MY salads, you know a little fast-food salad just won’t do…

Okay, I’ve got lots of errands I’d like to run before the day is over! Hope you all have a great weekend!!

Reader Feedback: Do you have any more EASY brown-bag lunch ideas? I’m all ears!!

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