|June 3, 2013||Filled under Farmer's Market||
For the past couple of years I’ve been visiting the Braintree Farmer’s Market. This year’s market season will begin the weekend of June 15th. I can’t wait for it to open!
If you had asked me about going to a farmer’s market in the years before I had WLS I would have laughed. Vegetables were the enemy and a sure sign that you were depriving yourself in order to lose a few pounds. In the years following surgery I discovered that my sense of taste changed. Things that I always found bland and tasteless (vegetables) suddenly started tasting good. My own personal theory on this is that years of eating highly processed foods dulled my sense of taste. I was so accustomed to eating stuff that wasn’t really food or was nothing but sugary junk that I didn’t know what real food tasted like. Once I was no longer eating this stuff on a regular basis vegetables suddenly began to take on different flavors. I know it sounds strange. It’s sort of like once you’ve become use to drinking diet soda and someone gives you a regular sugar filled soda you can’t believe how incredibly sweet it tastes.
The taste of the vegetables and fruits is the main reason I like to go to the market. Some people do it for the organic vegetables. This market does have some but not every local farmer is organic and I’m OK with that. I like to shop there because the vegetables are so much more flavorful. It’s the difference between grocery store tomatoes and one fresh off the vine. If you have never tasted the difference between the two I would highly suggest you find someone growing tomatoes and try them out. Though this might ruin your future grocery store tomato shopping experience because you will realize that you’re missing something when you buy the tasteless store ones.
Another reason I love to go to the market is it helps support local farmers. Sure the local grocery stores might buy from local farms or farms that are a state or two away. When they do buy from them they pay the farmer far less than what they are able to get selling directly to the customer. Personally I’d rather the people who are putting in all the time and work get the bigger share. Buying local keeps the money in the hands of local families and helps to build the local economy. As someone who has now had to deal with serious pay cuts from two layoffs in the last two years I’m all for building up the local economy.
An added bonus you get from shopping at a farmer’s market is you can talk directly to the farmer. Often times these smaller farms are growing unusual varieties or vegetables/fruits you have never heard of before. They usually can offer you tips on what to make or how to prepare the produce your buying. I can’t wait to see what new things will show up at the market this year.
If you have the chance to check out a local farmer’s market give it a shot. You will probably be surprised at what you find. Looking for a farmers market near you? Go to Local Harvest – plug your zip code in and discover what markets can be found in your area.
Here’s a few tips for your farmer’s market shopping experience:
– Bring your own bags. Some of the farmers may have plastic bags available but it’s always better to recycle your own.
– Have small bills and some change. I don’t just show up with a few $20′s.
– Go early if you want the best selection.
– Go later if you want to pick up some good deals. No one wants to carry home fruits/veggies after they’ve been sitting outside all afternoon.
– If your buying meat, eggs, cheese, etc then keep a cooler and some ice packs in the car.
– Local farmers often grown veggies and fruits you don’t normally see in the local grocery store. Ask the farmers about anything you don’t recognize. They also can usually tell you how to cook or prepare the item too.
|May 31, 2013||Filled under Product Reviews||
It’s hard to believe that I have nothing school related to do until my summer class begins in July. Rather than sit around when I’m not working and watch TV I thought I might finally have a chance to check out the growing number of weight loss surgery related books that are currently on the market. Two days after I had sent in my inter-library loan request I received an email telling me a book came in. The following day I stopped by to pick up the book and discovered I now had a stack of five books waiting for me.
Here’s the books I picked up to check out. Can’t wait to review them and test some of the recipes out.
Recipes for Life After Weight-Loss Surgery Hmmm….this looks like it is the first version that was published. Guess I didn’t realize it because I also picked up the revised and updated edition. It will be interesting to see what additional material was added.
Paleo Comfort Foods: Homestyle Cooking in a Gluten-Free Kitchen Sure it’s not specifically weight loss surgery related but I find that paleo books have many recipes that are quite WLS friendly.
Well these should keep me busy for a little while. Can’t wait to dig into them! Got a favorite weight loss surgery related book? Please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear of books that other people think are worth checking out.
|May 30, 2013||Filled under General Health, WLS Tips||
Constipation. It’s the subject that no one wants to talk about yet, if two or more weight loss surgery patients gather together, the subject eventually will come up.
Why? Because it’s very common among us surgically altered people. Not just immediately after surgery but also years after surgery. This is due to a variety of reasons.
– We tend to not drink as much as we did before surgery.
– Eating small amounts of food means taking in less fiber.
– We take supplements. Iron is usually one of the main supplements that will cause constipation.
– If you take narcotic pain killers, especially after surgery, these will contribute to the problem.
– Reduced physical activity. Again, this is a big issue for those who have just recently had surgery. Your in pain, your tired, your note moving around much. Right after surgery it’s easy to go several weeks without doing even much walking especially if you’ve had an open surgery instead of laparoscopic.
The best way to treat constipation is to prevent it from happening in the first place. How? Try some of these tips and see if they help.
– Make sure to drink enough liquids. Right after surgery this is a big problem. Most people struggle with slowly sipping enough throughout the day. Add to that the fact that we are often told no drinking 30 minutes or so before and after meals. As time goes on many people seem to become less focused on monitoring fluid intake and, since they may not feel thirsty, often don’t realize they aren’t drinking enough.
– Make sure your getting enough fiber. Adequate intake of fiber for men is 30 to 38 grams and at least 26 grams for women. Since us WLS folks tend to focus on getting enough protein in fiber can easily be over looked. Foods high in fiber include vegetables, whole grains, beans/legumes, nuts/seeds and fruits. Pass on the highly processed foods especially the grain products since the fiber is usually stripped from those products.
– Get some type of exercise every day. Don’t just sit around. It makes constipation worse. Even taking several short walks throughout the day will be beneficial.
– Before giving this last tip to help with constipation here please remember I’m not a doctor though I did dress as one for a Halloween party once. Please consult with your doctor before taking any type of medication even the stuff sold over the counter.
If at least three days have passed without going to the bathroom it might be time to get some additional help. There’s tons of stuff sold out there for just this purpose. The products that add fiber/bulk (they are basically forms of fiber) are usually the ones that many doctor’s will recommend. They might even tell you to take a teaspoon or so everyday just to keep stuff moving. This would include things like Metamucil powder (pick the sugarfree type) or Capsules and even Wafers.
Some laxatives do not add bulk but instead work by stimulating intestinal contraction, included vegetable based ones such as Senokot and non vegetable based such as Milk of Magnesia. Laxatives work much faster than fiber and cramping is a frequent side effect. Again, use your own personal judgement and consult with a doctor before taking anything.
These are not the only forms of laxatives available on the market. One could easily write a rather large blog post about the types currently being sold. I’ve just listed a few of the more popular and well known products. Remember that the best way to treat constipation is to prevent it from happening to in the first place. Increase your fiber from food sources first. Drink enough fluids and exercise in some form daily. Use laxatives as a last resort.
|May 25, 2013||Filled under Freezer Tips, Nutritional Information||
My luck with having a perfectly ripe avocado seems to be hit or miss. Sometimes they feel soft enough to be ripe but, once cut open, are a brown disgusting mess inside. Other times I think they might need an extra day or two to ripen but need to use them in a recipe and they turn out fine. The only method I was relying on to test for ripeness was the texture when the avocado was gently squeezed. Not hard but not soft enough to be squishy.
I happened upon this post over at Northwest Edible Life and now I will hopefully never cut into an avocado to discover it is rotten. It seems the best way to determine the ripeness of an avocado is not by firmness but by the color of the skin underneath the stem. If the little piece of stem is removed and the skin under is brown then the inside will also be brown. If the stem is removed and the skin is still a yellow green color then the avocado will be fine. It still may require sitting on the counter for a day or two in order to soften a bit but at least you haven’t brought home one that is already rotten. The next time I’m out shopping I’ll see if I can snap my own photos to add to this post. Right now I’m stocked up on frozen avocados. Until then, if you want to see some great pictures of exactly how the avocado should look then check out NorthWest Edible Life’s blog page.
Once you have yourself a bunch of avocados then why not check out this post about how to prep and freeze them for future use.
You can also try them in this recipe for avocado and tomato dressing.
How about you? Do you have a great method that you use to avoid buying avocados that are already going bad? Why not share your tip in the comment section below.
|May 23, 2013||Filled under Freezer Tips||
I love using avocados in recipes such as dips and dressings. Since they are usually used mashed up I discovered that they can be prepped ahead of time and stored in the freezer until needed. Not only does this save me a bit of time but it’s a great way to save some money. Living in the northeast means that avocados are cheaper at different times of the year depending upon the location where they were grown. When they are not on sale a single avocado can cost as much as $2. During sales they drop to $1 each or even 2 for $1. That’s the best time to stock up. Here’s how I do it: Start by slicing each avocado in half then gently twist to pull apart. The seed in the middle can be scooped out with a teaspoon. Using a knife, carefully score the avocado and use a spoon to scoop the cut pieces out of the peel/skin. Place them in a large bowl (shown in the photo below).
I have 6 avocados all chunked up and ready for mashing in the bowl above. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice for every two avocados you are using. This will keep the mashed avocados from turning dark and brownish. The color change doesn’t affect the taste but they just don’t look as nice. Add the lemon juice to the bowl and mash the avocados:
If you have small plastic containers the mashed avocado can easily be divided between them and placed in the freezer. I don’t have containers that small so I use plastic bags. The easiest way to package the avocado up is to first roll down the zip lock top of the bag. This prevents bits of avocado from getting in the seam of the zip lock preventing it from closing correctly. Add in your avocado, gently push the extra air out and seal the bag. You can add any amount to each bag. I usually freeze about 2 avocados worth in each bag. So I got 3 bags out of the bowlful above.
The avocados are all ready to be tossed in your freezer. I usually stick several bags inside of a gallon sized freezer bag so they don’t get lost in the back of the freezer. Stick a piece of paper into the bag so you know what’s in there and the date you packaged it. Avocados keep well in the freezer for about 6 months. As time goes on their bright green color may dull a bit but they are still fine. To use a bag just remove it from the freezer and defrost in the refrigerator. Looking for a recipe that uses mashed avocados? How about my Avocado and Tomato Dressing? It’s basically a pourable version of Guacamole. We use it on tacos, fajitas, sandwiches and salads. It also makes a delicious vegetable dip too.