Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Avoiding that Thick Winter Coat - Some HOTR Nutrition Tips

"Seriously, you're not going to eat that are you".
I get comments on the blog and emails from folks I know off blog about how I stay healthy with all the bacon, cheese and dessert recipes.  It's simple.  I don't eat like that on a daily basis.  Like 1792 whiskey and a chance to wrap one's self around the sky in a T-6, such things, as fun as they are, aren't indulged in every day, or even every other day.

It's not easy as I LOVE to cook and create new recipes (all the photos here have recipes on my right sidebar).  
Pate Chinois

None of it makes for a "low cal" diet plan, even including all the healthy produce available here in the Midwest.

So here are a few HOTR hints for eating healthy with the occassional whole pig worked into your diet plan. If you eat healthy most of the time a big, blow out, take no prisoners, lock up your women, HOTR bacon infused dinner is fine once in a while for most people (if you are under doctor's dietary restrictions, you know the deal, ask him or her before any dietary changes).

Maple Bacon Whiskey Cream Scones
95% of the time to eat only real food, prepared by people, not machines.   Yes, I have my vices , some of it comfort food from childhood- Bologna or peanut butter sandwiches on white bread, Beavertail pastry, Caesar salads with garlicky croutons, Tourtière, Buttermilk biscuits and gravy, Midwest Chick's Brownie Cookies,  homemade mac and cheese,"Mr. Squishy" Slushee Drinks from the Quicky Mart and my best friends creme brulee browned with acetylene torch. But they are comfort food treats, once a week or so, NOT a daily indulgence and for the most part, made from scratch when able.

I believe that only seagulls should eat food tossed at them out a McWindow.

Eat lots of garden fresh and lacto-fermented vegetables, grown naturally, with a regular but small portion of meat and some animal fat for seasoning and baking (avoid tub margarines and Crisco, which is laden with trans fats).  Learn to freeze and can if you have the time and space to do so, but keep tin canned food consumption to a minimum (tin can food is for the zombie Apocalypse). If you want some recipe ideas on fermented food, some of which you've never tried and are really missing out, visit my Canadian gal friend Kymber
 at Framboise Manor . She and her man know how to eat well, and you will leave their blog from home, content, smiling, and just a wee bit hungry.

Disappearing Appetizer - a HOTR favorite (meat and dairy free)
Use game, pasture raised meats and fresh caught fish when you can. Avoid shellfish that come from polluted waters (sorry, but they are just the little oil filters of the sea). Avoid "Blinky the Tuna" canned or frozen fish from China (seriously, I'd avoid any consumable product for man or dog from China)

Some of us get a 4 H cow every year which is raised with only the best feed and care and have it butchered.  It's great quality, minimally "doctored" beef, four times the quality for the price you'd pay for "Two Buck CHUCK" at Cosco. 

Smothered steak (mushroom gravy with horseradish cream and red wine)

If you can safely include alcohol and dairy in your lifestyle, drink raw, fermented or lacto-fermented beverages such as a little ale or mead with a meal (make your own) and some kefir every day.   This helps with digestion when eating grains and other carbs as well.  I'd never had Mead until Partner in Grime made some and Miss D. and Bayou Renaissance Man, as well, showed up with some as a housewarming. Wow. Good stuff, though it's been rumored that Miss D and I get silly and start telling Lucas Wiring jokes after a couple of glasses.

Eat more whole, unprocessed grains, keeping your servings of white grain products to small portions of simple breads prepared at home. Discover homemade Sourdough bread. Sprouted grains are good if you have a sensitive stomach and some food allergies. Ezekial brand sprouted grain tortillas are usually found in my freezer, to be used for wraps for sandwich and salad fixings for a quick lunch I can pack.

Irish Brown Bread
Organic is often over hyped and priced. Buy from sources that use minimal "gunk" on their food, but buying produce, locally and fresh, and washing it thoroughly, can provide excellent produce at half the price of "shipped in from who knows where and you WILL pay for it" organic. Even better, grow your own.

Other than on splurge day, breakfast here is barley cereal or steel cut oats with berries and kefir, or eggs cooked with a piece or two of bacon and yogurt, with sourdough or whole wheat toast added when it's going to be many hours til lunch.  Lunch and dinner is a small portion of meat (about 15 % of daily diet,  more in winter) salad, grains or pasta,  steamed or roasted veggies, or soups and stews with salad and homemade bread.

Guinness Stew

I often, like my Mom, make up a condiment tray of cold regular and pickled vegetables and a few olives to munch on before dinner.  Dessert after dinners is usually just a slice of cheese and apple or pear.

I snack on fruit, Greek yogurt (non flavored with just a dab of homemade jam or honey added), venison jerky, roasted plain, cinnamon or cayenne almonds and an occasional piece of cheese with whole grain crackers.  I can't remember the last time I ate a candy bar, but I do keep some Tootsie Pops and Smartees in big beakers in my office (like the Mr. Squishy slushy drink, an on the job vice).  Fried foods, as well are a rare treat, be it pan fried walleye or beer battered onion rings.  Fortunately, I don't like french fries so that's easy  to cut back on (mashed potatoes and gravy though, that's its own food group). Popcorn popped in a brown paper bag with vanilla, some raw sugar and a tiny bit of olive oil and sea salt or salt and ancho chili seasoning  is excellent and will help you break the "chips" habit.

Eat Seasonally - eat more meat, especially game meats and animal fats in the winter when your body needs the extra fat and calores along with the produce you've frozen or canned from fresh picked. If you don't time have to prepare a meal every night, make an assortment of thick soups and stews using meat and vegetables with homemade stocks (boiling bones and the remants of a dismantled chicken with some herbs and some chopped onion makes a great stock).   That can provide several meals by themselves  or served up as leftovers, ladeled over a small portion of biscuits,  cornbread or homemade noodles. In the Spring  enjoy lots more leafy greens and dairy as you reduce your meat consumption a bit.

With Summer, enjoy a wide variety of fruits along with your veggies and meats. With fall and cooling temperatures, take advantage of the abundance of root vegetables with game and grains. Fruits and vegetables should take up to half of your plate.

turkey and stuffing  with pear/cinnamon balsamic glazed sweet potatoes.
Don't eat when you're driving, texting, on the computer or racing any vehicle on a closed track on Top Gear. Eat when you're hungry, savor the food and stop before you are stuffed. It won't make you wafer thin after you hit middle age and your metabolism moves to an offshore island, but it will help you stay healthy and full of energy.

That being said, here's my biggest bit of guidance:

Enjoy a "splurge meal" a couple of times a week (or just pick one day a week where you eat what you want). For those few meals, for that single day, unless you are on strict doctors orders with dietary restrictions,  there is/are no rules, bacon wrapped bacon with a side of bacon and a piece of pie, carbs, dessert after your meal, whatever will fit your need and your plate (but no seconds). Throw in an extra half hour or so of walking with your best friends of both the two and four legged variety and just enjoy your day. Whatever rocks your boat. Then go back to healthy eating.

Most of my recipes on my sidebar are "splurge" meals.  Go on, enjoy one this week, we always do, either a favorite, or a "new" experiment in the Range kitchen.
Irish Boxty with Pork Tenderloin Whiskey Cream Sauce
If travel and life stresses are such you can't always eat a "healthy" meal, consider some quality meal replace protein shakes and bars (I love the "wow, this actually tastes like creamy chocolate milk, not goat sweat mixed with a hint of cocoa" Advocare protein shakes, which I ordered from Tin Can Assassin on my sidebar).  They are SO much better  than the "Slimfast"  store or "Ensure"  type drinks,  which will just make your blood sugar crash later (or the store meal bars and shakes that taste like plastic infused drywall material).   I also take a daily multi vitamin, a B and C energy drink, fish oil and Glucosomine since I blew my knee out (also Advocare).
salt roasted potatoes
Am I a size 2?  No, not even close.  But my total cholesteral is 154, my bad cholesteral is about 29 and my blood pressure, passing my 50th birthday was clocked at 105 over 58. Blood sugar as well, is very low. My doctor says I have the cardiovascular health of someone in their 20's (just not their right knee.).  Look, I am not a stick, never will be.  I have no desire to be one of those women whose biggest meal of the day is  a rice cake and a breath mint so I can  wear a gun sock as a frock to a cocktail party.  Nor do I want to spend hours a day working out with a personal trainer who yells at me like a drill sargaent and shoots me with a tranquilizer dart if I make a run on the last piece of bacon.

I want to be healthy.  I want to stay active.  The rest is window dressing. I'm round and curvy but I always get carded in the "we card under 40" grocery.  Even more importantly, I can keep up with team members in the field and many close friends, twenty or  thirty years younger than I.  Attention to nutrition, no smoking and healthy habits plays a good part in that.

But having folks over for the occassional Guinness Brownie and wheelguns never hurts either.