Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pro inflammatory foods

I'm still doing research on which type of eating is best for managing pain and inflammation. It seems that fried foods, starchy foods, and sugary foods all promote inflammation in the body. I found this list online and it's a good place to start if you are trying to decrease inflammatory foods in your diet. I am going to try to eliminate or reduce my consumption of these foods:

  • Bagels

  • Breads, rolls, baked goods

  • Candy

  • Cake

  • Cookies

  • Cereals (except old fashioned oatmeal)

  • Cornstarch

  • Corn bread, corn muffins

  • Corn syrup

  • Crackers

  • Croissants

  • Doughnuts

  • Egg rolls

  • Fast food

  • French Fries

  • Fruit juice—choose the fruit instead

  • Fried foods

  • Flour

  • Granola

  • Hard cheese (except for feta and grating cheeses, such as Romano and Parmesan)

  • Honey

  • Hot dogs

  • Ice cream, frozen yogurt, Italian ices

  • Jams, jellies and preserves

  • Margarine

  • Molasses

  • Muffins

  • Noodles

  • Pancakes

  • Pastry

  • Pie

  • Pita bread

  • Pizza

  • Pasta

  • Popcorn

  • Potatoes

  • Pudding

  • Relish

  • Rice

  • Sherbet

  • Shortening

  • Snack foods, including: potato chips, pretzels, corn chips, rice and corn cakes, etc.

  • Soda

  • Sugar

  • Tacos

  • Tortillas

  • Waffles

  • Read more: http://www.oprah.com/health/Dr-Perricones-List-of-Pro-Inflammatory-Foods#ixzz1p1pfml8O

    Comfort foods made healthier

    Part of my way of getting back into the swing of things has been to cook more at home. I modified recipes I found on the internet to make these dishes. Enjoy!

    Turkey Enchiladas:
    8 medium tomatoes, cut into chunks
    2 onions, cut into chunks
    cloves from 2 bulbs or garlic
    1 TB + 1 tsp chili powder
    1 TB + 1 tsp cumin
    pinch of salt
    dash of black pepper
    half a bunch of cilantro, diced
    1 TB olive oil
    1/2 cup water

    1 pound ground turkey breast
    1 can unsalted diced tomatoes
    1 bell pepper, diced
    1 portobello mushroom, diced
    1 large can diced green chiles
    2 tsp cumin
    1 TB + 1 tsp chili powder
    2 tsp garlic powder
    pan spray
    healthy tortillas: I used La Tortilla Factory low carb tortillas
    Reduced fat shredded cheese
    2 TB diced cilantro
    Fat free sour cream

    1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat a cookie sheet with pan spray. Place tomatoes, onions, and garlic on the sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the onion are golden brown. Transfer to a blender, add the spices, cilantro, olive oil, and water to the blender, and puree til smooth. Set aside.

    2) Coat a skillet with pan spray. Cook the ground turkey, diced tomatoes, pepper, mushroom, chiles, and spices together until the juice from tomatoes and chiles has evaporated and the meat is fully cooked. 

    3) Spray a large baking dish with pan spray. Fill each tortilla with a few spoonfuls of the turkey/veggie mix and top with 1/8 cup of cheese. Place the enchiladas seam side down in the pan, top with sauce, and add another 1/4 cup of cheese and 2 TB diced cilantro on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until sauce bubbles.

    Top with fat free sour cream and enjoy! Each enchilada has about 175 calories and is very filling. My love said if these were the only enchiladas he ate for the rest of his life, he'd be ok with that! :)

    Vegan No Bake Cookies:
    1 ripe banana, mashed
    3/4 cup agave nectar
    1 bar Ghirardelli unsweetened chocolate (or 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder)
    1/2 cup soy, rice, or almond milk (vanilla or unsweetened)
    1/2 cup peanut butter
    pinch of salt
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    3 cups rolled oats

    1) Place all of the ingredients in a saucepan on medium heat and bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil for one minute.
    2) Remove from heat, and add the vanilla and oats. Stir well to combine.
    3) Drop by the spoonful on wax paper or foil, and cool to room temperature. (Or enjoy warm for a gooey treat.)

    These weren't as sweet as original no bakes, had a different texture (they didn't harden up as much), and you could definitely taste the banana, but I liked them a lot. I felt good enjoying a treat that was made with such wholesome ingredients. My love didn't think they were sweet enough so you could increase the agave up to one cup if you wanted a sweeter cookie (he said they tasted too much like dark chocolate). Making 20 cookies from the recipe, each cookie has about 160 calories.

    Back in the saddle again

    me at age 2

    Well friends, it's been a crazy eight months. Between a promotion at work, a new romance, moving, and settling into new routines, the blog took the back burner. Unfortunately, my health did too.

    Have you ever seen the episode of How I Met Your Mother where Barney and Robin are dating and realize they've totally let themselves go? Robin doesn't shower anymore; Barney gains a bunch of weight. They've got a serious case of "relationship gut". Well my friends, it appears relationship gut does exist and happens to the best of us. Between the cocktails and dinners out when we started dating, to the beer and takeout at home when we got more settled, my new love and I both got the gut.

    I was also at a bit of an impasse with my disease. Being a dietitian I've always wanted to try and manage my disease with my diet, but there is so much conflicting information out there. Do I do low starch, but miss out on the phytonutrients and antioxidants from eliminating some fruits and veggies? And what does eating all of that animal protein do to my cholesterol? (ps - my cholesterol went up when following low starch) Or, do I embrace a gluten free, vegan lifestyle? Do I quit cooking food all together and go raw? Or is it best to follow the tried and true dietitian mantra of "all foods in moderation"? My head was swirling with options, and even my fellow dietitian friends couldn't agree on which would be the best path for me.

    Also during this time my insurance plan had changed and my deductible skyrocketed. This meant that I could no longer afford my Humira injections. Unfortunately, I didn't qualify for the Humira assistance program, but I definitely couldn't afford the $1500 a month injections. It became very painful to exercise, so I stopped. Some days it hurt so bad getting out of bed that I cried. The last thing I wanted to do in that state of being was hit the gym.

    I've gained back every pound I lost, plus a few extra. I had been feeling a combination of depressed, disappointed, and embarrassed. Honestly, I was avoiding blogging because I felt like a complete and utter failure. Then through a series of conversations with my friends and my love, I realized I'm only human, and certainly not the first person to gain back lost weight.

    So here it is, early March, on the cusp of Spring. Seems like a good time for new beginnings.

    The first thing everyone agrees on for managing arthritic pain is maintaining a healthy weight, so that is what I am focusing on most. I'm back at bootcamp, cooking more meals at home, and tracking my caloric intake with the help of the My Fitness pal app for my iPhone (which I love and highly recommend). I'm trying to drink more water and less alcohol, eat a bigger breakfast and a smaller dinner, and take into account how much exercise I've done when deciding if I want a treat. With the help of these changes, I've managed to lose ten pounds in the last three weeks.

    I know it will take me a while to get back into a routine, and I'm still not sure which diet is best for arthritis, but I had to start somewhere. Thanks again for joining me on my journey. Yee haw.

    Thursday, July 7, 2011

    Detox, day 2

    I survived day one with minimal grumbling and only one small cheat. I went out for lunch at a Mexican restaurant and had ONE chip with salsa. Since chips and salsa are pretty much my most favorite snack ever, I felt pretty ok about it.

    Here's to day two!

    Wednesday, July 6, 2011

    17 day detox

    I've been waffling back and forth between the merits of following the low starch diet. On the one hand, it's supposed to help relieve my symptoms. On the other hand, it's very restrictive, and kind of a pain in the butt to follow in real life. However, due to a recent change in my insurance and a rather large deductible that I haven't met yet, I can no longer afford my Humira injections. Therefore, I've decided to give low starch another go, in the hopes that it will help me manage symptoms until I can get injections again.

    My friend Kristi and I have decided to do the 17 day diet. (Disclaimer: I'm not officially endorsing this as a dietitian, I just think it'll be helpful for me.) It's a meal plan with three phases, and very similar to the low starch diet I had been (somewhat) following. In phase one we are eating tons of veggies, some fruits, and lean protein. We are also not drinking alcohol or consuming sugar. I think it'll be a much needed kick-start to get me back on track with low starch.

    I did notice that when I was following the low starch diet and cooking more meals from scratch, I felt better. I had more energy and vitality, and it also helped me maintain my weight loss. It didn't necessarily relieve any back or joint pain per se, but I know others have found great relief from AS symptoms when living the low starch lifestyle. Since dabbling with eating a more "normal" diet, I've felt more lethargic and squishy. My back and hips have also been hurting lately, and I'm thinking it's a combo of gaining ten-ish pounds and not being on the Humira. So, here I go again! (and I've made up my mind, I aint wasting no more time... yeah I pretty much love 80's music...)

    I've attempted starting the 17 day diet three times, and every time I felt pissed that I had to restrict myself. It's like my body knew I was going on a diet, and I felt angry that I couldn't be normal (even though the typical American diet is far from what should be considered a healthy norm). A new friend has helped me gain perspective on taking better care of myself, through avoiding foods that "don't nourish [me] in a positive way." What a beautiful idea, and a much needed change in my perspective. So, here's to living a more nourishing life.

    Be well, friends! And wish me luck! :)

    ps- just cuz I like pictures, here's a recent one of me at the Grand Canyon :)

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    Let the Danskin training commence! (Plus: yummy summer salad!)

    The sunshine has finally returned to Seattle, hooray! We've had two weekends in a row of sunny days and I can finally feel my Vitamin D stores starting to replenish themselves. I couldn't be happier. I even have a few new freckles on my nose as evidence of sun!

    Sunshine also means that it's time to start the biking portion of my Danskin training. (I'm not brave enough to start outdoor swimming yet though. It's the Pacific Northwest for Pete's sake! Swimming outside in 60 degree weather sounds like a recipe for hypothermia.) I'm kind of a fair weather rider, mostly due to the fact that I'm relatively new to street riding. I purchased my bike last year for Danskin training and I love it! I still mostly stick to bike paths and only venture into the street when absolutely necessary. I'm hoping to take the intro to biking class at REI soon so that I can learn how to patch a flat and all of those things that seem like they'd be good to know for longer solo rides.

    This past Sunday I went all over West Seattle on a 13.5 mile ride and got in some long, gradual hill training. (For a great resource on tracking how long you ride, check out  Map My Ride. It's free to join and you can track your route to figure out the distance.) I biked a few routes with long gradual hills last year during training and realized I passed numerous riders on race day, so such training was really helpful. Hill training can also help increase endurance and improve leg strength, which are also good things.

    In addition to my typical routine of cardio (running, step classes, kick boxing, and hill walks) and hot yoga, I've been lifting weights more as well. Now, I don't claim to be an exercise expert by any means, but I read a fitness article recently that said if you're in training mode it's best to do a 10 minute cardio warm up and then go straight to weight lifting for at least 30 minutes. This helps burn through your body's glycogen stores (stored carbohydrate in the body that fuels your muscles). Then, you should do at least 30 minutes of cardio. That way, once you start the cardio you've already burned through the glycogen and your body is ready to burn fat as fuel. If you only have 30 minutes to exercise, do weights rather than cardio, and try to get in a little cardio later in the day, even if it's just a walk. I'm just a recovering chocaholic trying to do the best I can with the resources available to me, but that article seemed pretty legit, so that's what I've been modeling my current exercise regimen after.

    I'm not sure if it's exactly legal, but I find I pace myself much better with good music, so I've been known to bike with one earbud in (obviously one needs one free ear to listen out for cars, etc). This is my current biking mix. It's about an hour, and chock full of great upbeat tunes that are perfect for sunny day rides:

    Joker And The Thief - Wolfmother
    Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves) - The Wombats
    Laid - Matt Nathanson
    Hope For Us - The Jealous Sound
    Wake Up - The Arcade Fire
    What You Know - Two Door Cinema Club
    Young Blood - The Naked and Famous
    Electric Feel (Justice Remix) - MGMT
    Whirring - The Joy Formidable
    A-Punk - Vampire Weekend
    New Low - Middle Class Rut
    You've Got the Love - Florence and The Machine
    Down In the Valley - The Head and the Heart
    Love Today - Mika
    Moth's Wings - Passion Pit
    Fader - The Temper Trap
    Vanished - Crystal Castles
    Here it goes again - Ok Go
    Ride - Cary Brothers

    Another great thing about summer are the picnics and BBQs! My lovely friends/neighbors had me over for a backyard BBQ last weekend and this was the salad I made. It's perfect for sunny days.

    Summer Spinach Salad:
    1 package baby spinach, washed
    1 pound strawberries, thinly sliced
    1 cup glazed almonds (see recipe below)
    1 small package goat cheese
    cracked black pepper, to taste

    This salad is delicious with fig balsamic vinaigrette (see recipe below)

    Glazed Almonds:
    Roughly chop 1.5 cups almonds
    Heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium in a saucepan until melted
    Add 1.5 tablespoons of agave nectar and the chopped almonds
    Stir continuously until almonds have been coated and warmed, about 5-6 minutes
    Spread almonds over parchment paper. Break into small pieces once cool.

    Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette:
    Combine equal parts extra virgin olive oil and fig balsamic vinegar (available at Pike Place Market). Shake vigorously to mix. Add cracked black pepper to taste.

    Wednesday, April 27, 2011

    it's Danskin time!

    As some of you may remember, last year I completed my first triathlon. Well, I loved it so much I've decided to do it again! I just signed up for this year's Danskin women's triathlon on Sunday, August 14th. Let the training begin!