Friday, November 12, 2010

Onion Project Success!

So....I am a nerd.  I own that and I even embrace it.  It's just who I am.  So this project is a little on the nerdy side, but it was a total success.  Awhile back, someone on the Weight Watchers Vegetarian Message Board mentioned prepping a bag of onions all at once and freezing them.  That way you just cry once and get it over with.  So I started doing that.  However, it still felt like a pain in the ass to me b/c it burned my eyes so bad and by the time I was finished, it was like I had just watched My Life with Michael Keaton.  So, when Rebekah asked me to pick up some goggles for her so she could swim at the gym, I decided to get some for myself to try out this little project.

Step 1:  Get some goggles

Step 2:  Get a bag of onions

Step 3:  Get other supplies ready: food processor, knife and cutting board and containers to put your onions in

Step 4:  Chop the onions into chunks, food process and put into individual containers-then freeze

That's it!  If you prepare your onions this way, it takes the hassle out of it.  You wear the goggles so you don't cry, you prep a lot of them at once and you freeze them.  You will always have onions ready to go into any recipe at any time.  Amazing!  

Monday, November 8, 2010

Making New (Healthier) Holiday Traditions

Making health and fitness a priority sometimes requires some reprogramming-especially for me.  Holidays and celebrations have always involved food (and lots of it) in my family.  I think many people who are trying to focus on being healthy are faced with this challenge.  How do you make it through the holidays and not gain weight or how do you make it through without having your progress derailed?  It’s a challenge, that is for sure.  I think food has a place in celebrations and holidays, but does it have to be the standard holiday food?  Last year, my mom bought an apple pie and I thought I would have a piece.  But I looked it up in my Weight Watchers book and it was 9 pts!  9 pts for one, yes 1, piece of pie!  Crazy and so not worth it for me. 

How do you create new holiday traditions that still capture what that holiday is about?  I am mostly thinking about Thanksgiving because it’s the holiday that’s coming up next month, it’s the holiday that typically comes along with some of the richest foods and it’s the holiday I think of as being the most food focused.  Is Thanksgiving supposed to be just about food?  I think of Thanksgiving as a holiday about gratitude, things I am thankful for.  When I think about it this way (instead of thinking about Thanksgiving dinner), I can think of many ways to celebrate this holiday.  There are so many things I am grateful for and I would love to spend a day focusing on that! 

Rebekah and I have a Thanksgiving tradition that we have been doing for several years now.  We “adopt” a turkey from Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt a Turkey project.  We give a donation and then they send us a picture of our turkey along with its biography.  We display our turkey in our house all through the holiday season.  We started this the first year we became vegan-we liked how it was symbolic for us not eating turkeys (or any other animals) anymore. 

Farm Sanctuary usually has a celebrity be the spokesperson for the Adopt a Turkey project each year.  This year, the spokesperson is Ellen Degeneres.  I am very excited about Ellen being a vegan because she is really able to get the vegan message out there with her show and just her celebrity in general. 

*Here are some possibilities for new holiday traditions/celebrations:

*Thanksgiving Day Hike or other outdoor adventure

*Thanksgiving Day 5k (or other race)

*Work on a craft project with your friends and family (especially if the focus of the project is what you are thankful for)

*Volunteer (I was thinking about walking dogs at the humane society on Thanksgiving Day or any other day for that matter)

*Work on making holiday recipes healthier with your family

*Think of ways to express gratitude to your loved ones

Any others?  I would love to know about a healthier, less food focused holiday tradition that you have!

Monday, November 1, 2010

2 New Product Finds!

If you have ever dieted or tried eating healthier, you know how exciting it is to find new products.  I am constantly on the prowl for new foods to incorporate into my meals, snacks, etc.  Recently I have found two new products that I think are great!  The first one, and the most exciting is Wildwood Probiotic Unsweetened Plain Soyogurt. 

The reason why I think this product is so exciting is because soy yogurt is typically pretty high in Weight Watchers pts.  When you buy the big container of this vegan yogurt, you can have a half of a cup for one pt!  I have been eating 1/2 cup with fruit and it's a great breakfast or a snack.  However, if you buy the individual size containers, most varieties are at least 2 or 3 pts.  I have also found that using vanilla or plain yogurt is great for cooking in brownies.  See my last blog entry for a recipe.  Another great perk for the Wildwood Soyogurt products is that they are organic and Wildwood is a great company.  I found my container at Earth Fare Health Food store.  It's a regional chain, but I bet that Whole Foods carries it too. 

Another product I have recently found is Silk Pure Almond milk (Unsweetened).  I was buying either Almond Breeze or Silk Pure Almond Original but then I discovered that the Silk Pure Almond Unsweetened has just 35 calories per cup.  Even if I have 2 cups of it throughout the day, that's just one WW pt.

I couldn't find an exact image of the Unsweetened box of the Silk Pure Almond, but just make sure you look for "Unsweetened" and not "Original."  The "Original" variety is great too, but it has some sugar in it which makes it 60 calories for 1 cup.  Still not bad!  The only problem with buying Silk products is that they are owned by Dean Foods which owns a lot of dairy companies and Silk brand is mostly not organic products.  So when I buy Silk, I feel like it's much less of a vegan purchase than when I buy the Whole Foods variety of almond or rice milk or when I buy Almond Breeze.  So, next time I go to Whole Foods, I am really going to spend some time searching their almond milks to see if I can find something comparable.