Saturday, May 31, 2008

The High Cost of Eggs Really Isn't THAT High

I was chatting with my 82 year old grandmother today, discussing how she feels she eats "a lot", and specifically discussing her french toast for dinner, of which she felt I'd disapprove. But I love french toast! What a potentially healthy meal: whole grain bread, high protein eggs, a little milk, cinnamon, vanilla & spray oil - topped off with fruit and sugar free syrup (if any syrup at all) - sounds awesome and so beautifully balanced! Of course, her version may have been cooked in butter, and topped with butter and high-test syrup, but still, a good base of nutrients! Within that discussion, I told her of a conversation with my mother the day prior, where I admitted that we (my husband and I) can easily go through 4 dozen eggs a week. It seemed excessive when I said it out loud, and even more so as we were discussing the rise in prices of eggs, milk, etc. But in my conversation with my grandmother, I tried to rationalize it and break it down: my husband has a family history of heart disease and high cholesterol, and a past personal history, currently normalized, of high cholesterol. Therefore, I don't offer more than one whole egg at a time, and not more than 2-3 times per week, especially if we have red meat on the docket for that week. We do egg whites on the days between whole egg days (all accompanied by some type of carbohydrate - grain, fruit, etc.- of course). Each of us may start with an 4 to 6 egg white omelet - 3 to 4 times a week, plus a whole egg in between here and there - and walla! 4 dozen eggs a week! Where we live, I pay about $2.50 per dozen, which breaks down to $1.25 per breakfast of 6 egg whites. When I look at it that way, it doesn't seem too bad for about 100 calories and 18 grams of high quality protein with which to start the day off. And as I mentioned earlier, my bulk steel-cut oats come in ridiculously cheap, so in essence, even wasting all those yolks (essentially half the egg), eggs are still a relatively low cost source of high quality whole food, whether for breakfast, boiled up and cut in a salad for lunch, or made into a meaty omelet or frittata for dinner. No longer will I complain about the price of eggs - I'll focus on gas for a while!

Friday, May 30, 2008

It is NOT too expensive to eat healthy

I love early morning jogs and walks. It's the perfect time and setting to review things and then put them in "buckets" for future use or storage!

A common excuse I hear from people is that it's too expensive to eat healthy. And I will admit, when a box of 10 Little Debbie Ding-Dong-like snack cakes can be purchased for $1.39, that's sometimes tough to argue with...unless you give a hoot about what kind of food you're eating...or feeding to your kids! Sure, you get a good value for your money with that type of purchase, but WHAT you just purchased is total crap. I'm not sure it can even be classified as food, can it? Let's see, where would that fall in the Food Pyramid? ( It doesn't fit into the larger categories of Milk, Fruit, Vegetables or Meat & Beans. Maybe a portion of it fits into the Grains group - maybe there's some refined, stripped and otherwise-devoid-of-any-nutrient-content white flour in there! Woo hoo! Oh, and of course, there is sugar! And that fits where? In the "Oil & Discretionary Calories" sliver of an allowance. I don't think this type of food should even qualify as a food, but it's cheap, right?

I suppose it really all boils down to what's important to you. If you don't know the answer, maybe it's easier to choose a poor option or solution, than to spend a little extra time up front to find the right answer or a better option, and make a change. Take oatmeal, for instance. Steel Cut or "not rolled" oats, specifically. I was once told by a friend that they are too expensive - upwards of $4.00 - $6.00 for a box at the grocery store. I checked, and this is true. Rolled oats are cheaper. This is true, too. Rolled oats also have a bit less nutritional value than steel cut, which is why I prefer the latter. Steel cut have a higher fiber and protein content because more of the grain is left in tact - they are less refined. I recently went to the local health food store, and found steel cut oats in bulk. I weighed the same amount as was in the box at the grocery store, and paid $0.81. Interesting, huh? I didn't come across this information because I knew more than the average Joe - I actually stumbled across it. I just had an interest in eating healthy for less. I, too, had paid too much for regular grocery store boxed oats for over three years - and now I pay less. Just takes a bit of research - if living a healthy lifestyle is worth it to you. This type of thinking outside the box works for most everything that might be in your culinary repertoire - it just takes a little more work or research up front. On the back side, it's less costly, and easier.

Oh, and just a snotty comment for those who may think they don't need to worry about paying less ( I used to have one of these people in my life) - you may not think you need to take advantage of savings like this because you're in a financial position where "it doesn't matter". Well, how about taking that extra you do save and upping your donations to causes that are meaningful for you - or start donating to causes that are meaningful to you. Do some good with that extra dough, versus brag about not having to worry to about.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Long Time Coming....

Only a little over 250 days (or marbles - more on that later) until my 40th birthday when everything changes. All of the unrealized ambitions I've set for myself and my life culminate on that day into the an ominous black cloak-like cloud that perpetually nags at my self-worth and keeps my sense of accomplishment just below the acceptable line. As my husband says: "Show me a satisfied [man] & I'll show you a failure". I constantly strive to improve and be a better person. Oh, I digress...back to the will be on that day that I MUST have completed an educational goal that will allow me, finally, to help other former "fat kids" who may still be holding onto either poor health habits from their past or those new to carrying around some extra pounds in their adulthood, change their lives so that they not only normalize their weight (body mass, body fat...whatever term is acceptable and not offensive) and make truly healthy lifestyle choices from today forward.

As a former fat kid and chubby (overweight by scientific terms) adult, there aren't many days that go by that I don't think of some terrible name I was called as a child or how self conscious I was about my clothes...and how frankly clueless I was about the true definition of a healthy life and healthy lifestyle until I was 39 years old! Although, I do maintain that I've only been an adult for approximately 9 years, as I was 30 before I truly "felt" like an adult. So, I've had 9 years to figure it out, and least 25 to 30 to live that life...actively? I like those numbers!
America and most of the developed and industrialized countries on this planet are in the midst of a health care crisis, perpetuated many things: the (fast & refined) food industry, a gluttonous society, urbanization, technology (TVs, computers, video games, remote controls, automobiles), furniture (the couch), educational negligence...I could go on forever!

I have been given a phenomenal gift by my husband: four years ago we collectively decided that I would resign my corporate "dream job" position so that I could find my calling in life. I searched and searched...created a list of possibilities that included sommelier, chef, dietician, farmer...all the while working out like a fiend to lose those last 5 (OK, really 25) pounds! All the effort and research culminated with the realization that I have, and have had all my life, a passion for health: fitness, nutrition and a generally healthy and balanced lifestyle. And there you have it. Step one: ACSM certification as a personal trainer - and it only grows from there.

So here we are. My thoughts will continue to grow and evolve. I will help fight the war against poor health caused by lifestyle related choices - one life at a time - and it started with my husband and me.