Steve

Oct 092012
 

Even the best Scotch only has about 64 calories per ounce. But it’s really easy to overdo the whiskey thing. Be safe if you decide to drink.

 There is an interesting phenomenon at work when we begin to eat or drink something regularly, we begin to like it.

Over the millenniums man has developed a taste for everything from insects to acorns. Why? Because these foods were available.

Eventually those who ate them regularly came to actually prefer them. Insects are still considered a delicacy in parts of the world and acorns, well, acorns didn’t actually make the cut, but you get the point.

You’ll find this eat-it-prefer-it phenomenon will happen automatically as you move to eating only healthy foods.

Jun 142012
 

Thin, ad-free, and information-packed.

Studies show that chronic inflammation can be a causative factor in heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

But how does your diet come into play?

 

 

 

 

Best-selling author Dr. Andrew Weil’s website states, “Most people consume an excess of omega-6 fatty acids from which the body synthesizes hormones that promote inflammation.”

The website of TV celebrity Dr. Oz follows suit: “If you’ve got too much omega-6, inflammation wins.”

Both suggest limiting your intake of omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids are found in sunflower and other vegetable oils.

The problem is studies don’t show that omega-6 increases inflammation. And it might even help you stay healthy.

According to William Harris of the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine, avoiding omega-6 vegetable oils isn’t called for: “First, the body converts so little of the omega-6’s linoleic acid into arachidonic acid [the fatty acid that is said to cause inflammation] that its levels don’t budge. And second, the body converts arachidonic acid into both pro- and anti-inflammatory compounds, so it can’t be pigeonholed as one or the other.”

In a 10-week Swedish study of people who got 15 percent of their calories either from butter (saturated fat) or from sunflower oil (omega-6), neither group showed a rise in inflammation or in arachidonic acid.

On the other hand, those eating the omega-6 diet had less liver fat suggesting that their insulin was working better.

Three years ago, due to this and similar studies, the American Heart Association cautioned consumers not to cut back on oils containing omega-6.

But wait, there’s more. According to Harris, “Eating less omega-6 fats is more likely to increase than decrease the risk of heart disease” because omega-6 fats lower the LDL or ‘bad” cholesterol.

So you decide. Scientists and the American Heart Association or celebrity doctors?

Note: My source for this blog is the June 2012 Nutrition Action Healthletter. A thin, valuable newsletter published 10 times a year.

May 282012
 

Oysters are thought to be an aphrodisiac.

 

 

It’s well-known that women find writers excitingly sexy.

 

 

I’m sure that was the case in 1864 when Mark Twain wrote of lodging at San Francisco’s Occidental Hotel where he would, “move upon the supper works and destroy oysters done up in all kinds of seductive styles.”

As a lover of oysters, Twain was likely to have been served Hangtown Fry many times. The dish is said to have originated about 1850 when a recently-enriched gold miner stumbled into the Cary House Hotel in Hangtown, California (today’s Placerville) and ordered “the most expensive dish” the kitchen could provide. Fresh oysters and fresh eggs fit the request.

 Ingredients:

2 eggs

3 fresh oysters (If you must, canned oysters packed in brine may be used.)

4 strips turkey bacon cut into 1-inch long pieces

Cooking spray (PAM)

3 tablespoons wheat flour

Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions:

In a nonstick pan cook the cut up bacon until crisp.

While the bacon is cooking, mix the flour, salt and pepper in a bowl and toss the oysters in the mixture until lightly coated.

Remove the crisped bacon and add the oil to the pan.

Fry the oysters until crispy on the edges.

Remove the cooked oysters and place on a paper towel to drain.

Scramble the eggs in the same pan.

Place the eggs on a plate and top with the bacon and oysters.

Calories:   347       Satisfaction:   6.5 

Photo credit:  yatomo / 123RF Stock Photo
May 222012
 

Select brown rice over white rice.

This is quick and healthy. If you don’t happen to have fresh spinach on hand, add any other fresh or frozen vegetable you like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

½ cup of frozen or fresh peas

1 medium size carrot sliced into ¼-inch thick circles

1 handful of fresh spinach

¾ cup cooked brown rice (cooked brown rice is available frozen)

Chopped red onion to taste

Fresh-cracked black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons of crumbled herbed feta cheese

Directions

Spray a nonstick frying pan with PAM and sauté the onion and carrot with the cracked pepper until the onion is translucent.

Add the remaining vegetables and the rice and stir-fry over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until warmed.

Spoon into a bowl or on a plate.

Sprinkle the feta cheese on top.

Single serving

yatomo / 123RF Stock Photo
Feb 232012
 
Will pills replace dieting plans? Photo compliments Vichie81

 

 

In an attempt to make the Sexy Beast Diet plan superfluous…

 

 

 

The pharmaceutical industry (read “evil pharmaceutical industry”) has yet again pitched a diet pill to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but this time, unlike the 2010 attempt with the same pill, the FDA’s advisory committee voted 20-2 to endorse the drug.

 This isn’t the last step in the approval process, but the FDA usually takes the advice of the experts on its advisory committees. Final approval of what will be the first diet pill to clear the hurdles in more than a decade should come later in 2012.

 The drug, Qnexa, manufactured by Vivus–my spellchecker wants to make that “Virus”–is a combination of amphetamine phentermine and topiramate. You may recall that amphetamine phentermine had an infamous previous life as the active ingredient in the now-outlawed weight loss drug fen-phen.

 Topiramate is an anti-convulsion medication used to treat people with epilepsy and to control migraine headaches. Topiramate may cause osteoporosis in adults and rickets in children. The new combo pill has the risk of causing heart problems and birth defects.

 I don’t suppose authors of diet books have much to worry about, but to hedge my bets, I’m going to load up on Vivus stock.

Feb 012012
 

It's likely that ancient man invented agriculture so he could have an ample beer supply. Photo courtesy Idea Go.

We all know what the oldest profession is, but which do you think came first, baker or brewer?

 

 

 

According to University of Pennsylvania Professor Patrick McGovern, who is known as the “Indiana Jones of Ancient Ales, Wines, and Extreme Beverages,” Neolithic farmers had developed the necessary skills to grow grains so they could brew beer thousands of years before anyone was baking bread.

This means Sexy Beasts were guzzling beer at least 9,000 years ago. I don’t find that surprising. I imagine hunting and gathering from dawn till dusk was thirsty work.

Not only did man’s quest for beer help establish agriculture; it was beer that built the pyramids. The laborers who worked on the pyramids in ancient Egypt were paid in beer; 231,414,717 gallons of it for the pyramid at Giza alone. Anheuser-Busch eat your heart out.

This post is unedited material I’ve written for The Sexy Beast Diet. Constructive criticism is appreciated, after all everyone needs an editor. Just click the “Add Comments” link at the top right. Thanks!

Dec 222011
 

The extra calories in most baked potatoes we eat comes from the sour cream and butter we slather on. Try this recipe instead. Photo courtesy Simon Howden, Free Digital Photos.

 

 

 

 

 

This recipe adds a hot, satisfying 6 to 7 ounces to your meal at only about 200 calories. Try it with two eggs for a 380-calorie breakfast.

 

 

 

 

Baked potatoes don’t always have to be the Idaho variety, try the red and golden ones too.

Ingredients

1 Medium (6 oz) baked potato (about 2¼” to 3¼” in diameter)      161 calories

2 Tbls Nonfat sour cream      20 calories

2 Tbls chopped chives or chopped onion     2 calories

1 Tbls Bacon bits      25 calories

Directions

Poke holes in the potato so you don’t coat the inside of your microwave with potato.

Microwave the potato on high for 6 minutes.

Slice open the top and push in on the ends to make a white fluffy pillow.

Spoon the nonfat sour cream on top.

Add as much chopped chives or onion as you want. You don’t have to stay with 2 tablespoons, chives and onions are on the Sexy Beast Diet eat-all-you-want list.

Sprinkle with the bacon bits and chow down.

Approximately 200 calories

 

Dec 152011
 

Store-bought cucumbers often are waxed. Scrub off this wax before grating. Photo by Anankkml.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This cool, tasty concoction works great when served with raw veggies as a hors d’ oeuvre or try it as a salad dressing. Don’t even think of using it with potato chips.

 1 8-inch cucumber      45

1 cup plain nonfat yogurt       110

½ teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 5

Grate the unpeeled cucumber and drain until nearly dry. Combine the ingredients, folding the cucumber into the yogurt.

As a dip, a half-cup serving is 75 calories Used as salad dressing, a quarter-cup is 38 calories

Dec 032011
 

This image is from a 16th century Florentine codex. Common lore says it portrays an Aztec woman blowing on maize as she pours it into a cooking pot so the maize won’t fear the heat. This is very pleasant and I do so love myths, but she is obviously spitting on the maize because her Sexy Beast is late coming back from the daily hunt.

 

 

 

 

 

Maize and Soy Chorizo

Maize, a large, colorful corn is finding quite a following on trendy dinner tables. Developed by prehistoric people from a wild grain native to Southern Mexico, Maize was known by the ancients as a “gift from the gods.” While it may be faddish today, the Aztecs and Mayans friended maize thousands of years before anyone thought to dedicate a Facebook page to it: on.fb.me/oECavw.

I particularly like Teasdale’s (bit.ly/oBP2vO)  Maiz Morado brand, which you can buy in big 29-ounce cans. If you can’t find Maize on your grocer’s shelf, hominy is an acceptable substitute.

Soy chorizo, with 60 percent less fat and less than half the calories, is an outstanding substitute for regular chorizo.

Ingredients:

Maize or hominy (canned): 9 ounces (1 cup)  —180 calories

Soy chorizo:  2 ounces  —90 calories

Part skim milk mozzarella cheese: 1 ounce  —72 calories

 Total: 12 ounces  —342 calories

 Instructions:

Crumble soy chorizo into a non-stick frying pan. Add the drained Maize or hominy. Cook over high heat until the chorizo is brown and slightly crisp. Dump the chorizo and maize on a plate and sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese.

 Wine:

Syrah or another big red wine.

Dec 022011
 

I’m trying to work what may be my favorite quote of all time into The Sexy Beast Diet.

Here’s what I have so far:

You are the hero of your life.

 It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.

—Teddy Roosevelt

Stay tuned. I’m sure I can figure a way to at least make it into a sidebar.