Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Eating...We're All In This Together

Eating better,
Finding new ways to
fill our bellies,
   nourish our bodies,
fuel our brains, bones, and beings!

A plethora of information
webbed and weaved together,
  wisdom shared
pictures that spark passion,
inspiration to live, grow, and cultivate,
   a healthier

My lunch today.  No, I do not eat like this every day.  I want to.  I'm trying.  I'm learning.  And I'm so glad I have you to help me learn!  

No matter how you say it or think of it, we really are what we eat.  I don't know about you but I find myself always saying "Ah, I need to eat better.  I need some ideas of what to cook.  I really should start cooking like that again."  Somewhere along my many attempts and roads to eating better and changing my bad habits, I've gotten off track again and find myself back to the point of wanting to change things up again and start fueling my body more efficiently.  I don't have the worst diet but I don't have the best diet either.  As with everything else in life, I'm learning. I'm tweeking things here and there and I'm gradually growing into a more healthier me.  I've been so inspired by so many blogs, magazines, documentaries, and friends to live a healthier life.  I've been inspired to eat better, try new exercises, taste new foods that I might never have heard of, and experiment with new ways of training so I can be a better runner.  

This blog has been such a blessing to me in that it has helped me grow through my writing by reflecting, having an outlet to express my feelings, findings, dreams, accomplishments and so much more.  But the biggest blessing has been my readers and the blogs I've found to be a reader of.  I've learned so much and I feel like I can ask questions and instantly have more feedback and wisdom shared than I would have ever imagined....about eating, exercise, motherhood, ideas for this and that. And not to mention, I get some really good laughs from all the good senses of humor out there!  Love that my favorite bloggers don't take themselves or life too seriously.  Huge smiles from you. 

Recently, I had one of blog readers and friends, Leah ask me a question about protein sources other than meat. Since I am definitely not the most knowledgeable about this, I asked my mom and a friend Martha to help me out.  I also know that many of the blogs I read, are great sources of information on this topic.  Since I learn so much from you, I plan on using the rest of this blog to share some of what I've learned, as well as mention some blogs that I find inspiration from.   Here is her question:

" Hoping all the changes my family has taken on with food will continue to not be fought... will eventually start weaning from as much meat as they like.. I do have one question. How do you deal with the soy issues in young children? What protein do you use instead if you are vegetarian or vegan? I know eggs, but those get old fast if that's all your eating for protein... Thanks!"

I (me, runninghood) also asked a question about soy.  Seems like so much controversy these days. As with anything, I'm a big believer in moderation.  We do drink some soy milk in our coffee and we eat tofu pretty regularly.  I do plan on doing more research on this but I think it is a little ridiculous just how much people are freaking out over this.  Every time I tell one of my friends that I drink soy milk she about has is so shocked and can't believe I'm drinking something she thinks is so harmful.  What?  Please share any useful sites or sources that have information on this topic.  Kate, from Run With Kate  Tales of a SoCal Veg Runner mentioned a podcast about soy that I'll get more information about and include in this comments on here.  Many of you also had useful information in your comments about this in my blog Date With Matt Fitzgerald. In the meantime, I will continue to eat small amounts of soy:
*  soy milk in my coffee
*  Tofu once a week

Here is an e-mail from my mom about Leah's question and a bit about the soy issue too.  I really wish she would write a blog...she's got so much knowledge on SO Much.  You are welcome to e-mail her with any questions fitness, health, or nutrition related:  chertheart@aol.com

First of all a word about soy.  We all know it contains plant-based estrogens (phytoestrogens.)  Consumed in small amounts the phytoestrogens have a positive effect.  They are helpful for postmenopausal women, and are protective against breast cancer.  The key is moderation.  As with anything else, humans tend to think that if a little bit is good for us then copious amounts must surely be even better.  As we all know, it doesn't ever work that way.  In Asian countries, where soybeans or tofu has been used for decades with no ill effects, their breast cancer rates and problems with menopause are a lot lower than ours.  Soybeans lower cholesterol, help prevent osteoporosis and can alleviate problems associated with diabetes.  Again, the rule of thumb is moderation.  There is nothing wrong with consuming tofu and other related soy products  a couple times a week or so.

I know a lot of people are concerned about the issue of getting enough protein if they switch to a vegetarian diet.  To make a complete protein you can combine beans with brown rice, corn, nuts, seeds, wheat.  You can also combine brown rice with beans, nuts, seeds and wheat.  You can eat nut butters on your bread, add nuts and seeds to salads and veggie casseroles.  You don't even need to worry about combining as long as you eat a variety of what I just mentioned every couple of days.  Your body knows what to do, and will use what you've eaten to make a complete protein when it needs it.  I think we make it far more difficult as it really needs to be.:)

My friend Martha is another great resource.  Please check out her new blog:  On Going Vegan...But Not Just Vegan  Here is what Martha wrote to Leah:  

@ Leah: RE Protein. There is a protein shake, Designer Whey, which is a milk product. http://www.designerwhey.com/
Amanda already mentioned tofu, which is of course a soy product if you are concerned about soy. Beware, especially with children, of anything that's sugared up, like most yogurts, when you are looking for alternatives for protein. There are an amazing number of types of beans with zillions of possibilities there, as well as whole grains. And do remember, there is protein in practically EVERYTHING you eat! Broccoli is GREAT! Anything dark green is GREAT! All of us who are vegan are confident that we get all the protein we need. Email me if you have more questions. I'm happy to reply. marthaeo@gmail.com

@Leah: Try this recipe. Your family will love it!

Some protein and non-protein foods I purchased today on my trip to New Seasons:
*  Flax seeds 
* Almonds
* Avocado
* Blueberries
* Basamati Rice
* Tomatoes
* Tangerines
* Bananas
* Sunflower Seeds
* Eggs
* Red Bell Pepper (A STAPLE for us!)
* Cucumber

Dinner tonight:
*  Salmon with Basamati Rice
*  Spinach with veggies of all kinds of colors

Here are some of the many blogs that I have found to be good sources for food and health related inspiration:  
On Going Vegan...But Not Just Vegan (new blog...please go check her out, follower her and support her as she starts this blog about something she is so very passionate about)
Hungry Runner Girl (she's super fun about most things but has some yummy food pictures  that make me just want to eat, have fun with food and be fit!)  
Thorns Have Roses
Muncher Cruncher
Great Blog Food, Made BETTER

 As always feel free to answer one or none of these questions but I'd love to hear from you!

1.  Since I want this blog to be about sharing information and learning more from each other, growing together, and finding inspiration and encouragement, please share a blog that you find helpful or full of knowledge about healthy eating and living.  

2.  Please share a vegetarian or vegan dinner recipe with me that is easy and kid friendly!

3.  What are your favorite sources of protein?

Thank you for helping me learn, live healthier, and be a better ME!  


  1. i've started incorporating hemp into my diet. it's an amazing source of raw protein and doesn't have the same allergy issues that soy can. i sprinkle hulled hemp seeds on cereal, pasta, put it in smoothies...pretty much anywhere. it doesn't have a strong flavor...just a little nutty.

  2. That's awesome, Amanda! I've been trying to shape up my diet as well and I think I'm doing a pretty good job. I've been finding different recipes and have actually been cooking. Here is the recipe I'm making for tomorrow night. It's easy and fast!

    Bean & Cheese Burritos (Makes 3 servings)
    6 eight-inch Flour tortillas
    1 cup chopped onion
    1 tablespoon cooking oil
    1 16-ounce can refried beans (I got veg. ones)
    1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    1 cup shredded lettuce
    1/3 cup bottled salsa

    1. Stack tortillas & wrap tightly in foil. Heat in a 350* oven for 10 min to soften.
    2. In a skillet cook onion in hot oil until tender; add refried beans. Cook & stir til heated thru. Spoon 1/4 cup of filling into each tortilla. Divide cheese among tortillas. Fold up tortillas. Place on baking sheet and bake in 350* oven for about 10 minutes. Serve with salsa & lettuce.

    We are also going to add some brown rice as a side. Might add a cerveza or margarita too :) It's simple but should be really good.

  3. No...thank YOU!!! You have been a total inspiration to me as well! This blogging journey is incredible isn't it? I've got a recipe post coming up later in the week for some more ideas. :) Thanks for introducing some other blogs to me too. Can't wait to read the start-up blog and SuperFoodsMama too!

  4. From Kate:
    Okay, have I mentioned the Vegetarian Food for Thought podcast to you yet? Why do I feel like I have? Maybe because I talk about Colleen like she is my best friend.

    Anyway, it's a free podcast by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, the founder of Compassionate Cooks. She is just plain awesome. She speaks so eloquently and she is incredibly knowledgable. I learned so much from her when I first went vegan.

    So she has this one podcast episode about SOY. It's really interesting, you should download it.
    Do you have iTunes? Go to the iTunes store, search compassionate cooks, click on the food for thought podcast (it's free) and read through the titles until you find the one about soy. :)

    I love listening to her when I get ready in the morning or when I'm cooking. It's like having a like-minded friend around that tells me all sorts of interesting things.

  5. a friend of mine who recently moved to AZ eats a pretty much raw, vegan diet. She has a blog with many many recipes

    I would eat fish every night if I could, but I am trying to incorporate a lot more beans into my diet and hope to get a pressure cooker so I can cook dry beans fast.

  6. I love how you posted questions and responses, awesome. My background is nutrition, worked as a nutritionist for 4 years before broadening that up to become a health coach- needless to say i'm ALWAYS researching the newest trends / myths with food. Soy is a HUGE controversy, so I constantly have my clients ask about this. Your mom is right with the statement: "In Asian countries, where soybeans or tofu has been used for decades with no ill effects, their breast cancer rates and problems with menopause are a lot lower than ours. Soybeans lower cholesterol, help prevent osteoporosis and can alleviate problems associated with diabetes." HOWEVER their soy is different than our soy, it is natural and hasn't been altered... in the US over 90% of our soy has. Unless whatever your soy product you are using says 'nonGMO' (stands for non genetically modified)on it- it has more of the phytoestrogens in it and it is best to stay away from. It doesn't matter if the label says organic or not, it HAS to say nonGMO. If yours does, thats GREAT, keep doing it, if not, see if you can find something similar that does. I could be wrong on this next part, but I'm pretty sure all soymilk is genetically modified, and if not its just hard to find a nonGMO one, so if you're looking for a good replacement hemp milk or any type of nut milk (especially almond) is a good switch. You don't want to do rice milk b/c now you're not getting the protein and instead getting more carbs / sugar.
    I absolutely LOVE talking about nutrition, dorky i know, but if you have any questions or such I can point you in the right direction of where to look or answer them myself :)

  7. I wanted to get back to you about Mai and if cutting out the dairy would stop my sweet little 6 year old from having pimples.

    It worked!

    We completely cut it out for a week and all pimples disappeared. She doesn't want to give it up all the way and so she's just eating dairy once a day or so now and although she immediately had a baby breakout when she reintroduced it, it was nothing like when she was having dairy multiple times per day. SO ...there. I'm guessing all the hormones??
    I think the milk at school lunch was putting her over the edge, so now she's given that up permanently.

  8. forgot to attach my recipe...this salad is AMAZING~ I was thinking of adding chicken to it and it could be a complete meal...or tofu as we know my husband love some tofu!

    3 Bean and Artichoke Salad

  9. Great info. Thanks for that. i am always trying to learn more about nutrition, especially since now I am eating to HEAL!!

  10. I could make reading other blogs a career! They all have their own style and info.

  11. I actually have two delicious meatless recipes.

    Zucchini-tomato casserole
    Slice zucchini and then slice into half moons
    Slice onions (I like red, but it doesn't matter)

    Sautee zucchini and onion in olive oil until tender. I add in garlic and some Italian seasonings while cooking. Once tender, stir in can of diced tomatoes. Pour mixture into oven-safe dish (I prefer a wide one so I can add more cheese). Sprinkle on parmesan and mozzarella cheeses and broil until cheese is melted. I serve it over a mix of wheat and regular pasta bc my kids turn their noses up at wheat but are too lazy to separate the combination. :) it's good with salad and chicken on the side but good on it's own, too.

    I have an eggplant one I love, too, but I actually need the recipe for that one, so I'll post it later. Interested in seeing all the recipe suggestions.

  12. P.S. We eat a TON of red pepper. If I could successfully grow them, it would save us a fortune. My youngest has loved them ever since we started calling them "power sticks" (stolen from an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond). He knows now what they are, but he frequently still calls them power sticks.

  13. Okay, the name of the podcast episode is "Soy Is Not Evil" for anyone that is interested in learning more. :)

    Yes, Lisa J. is right. A lot of soy is genetically modified. Luckily, there are still several brands of tofu that say "NON GMO" right on the packaging.

    I think it is probably most common to consume very processed soy products like that found in many meat substitutes -- like chik'n nuggets and certain veggie burgers. I prefer to stick to the most unadulterated versions of soy, like tofu. Yes, it is processed to a degree but not nearly as much as other processed foods we consume. It is coagulated soy milk, made much like cheese.

    I really like your mom's response. She is great! :) Great post.

  14. Hey Lisa, our soy milk says non genetically engineered...is this the same as non GMO? Kate? Anyone? Love all of what everyone is contributing!

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  16. Another good blog is Great Blog Food, Made Better at http://blogfoodbetter.blogspot.com/

  17. OK, I thought I already commented this, but it's not showing up. So here it is again (call me a flake). I can't believe you're talking about hemp. I am now reading THRIVE, by triathlete Brendan Brazier, who discovered that a plant-based, whole foods, nutrient-rich diet improved his performance. Check it out. I'm only part-way through, but it's looking like another good resource.

  18. Amanda- yes GMO (genetically modified organism) and GEO (genetically engineered organism) are interchangeable. GMO is more widely recognized though. You should be clear :)

  19. Nice info on protein. What I use to help eat healthy, is a calorie counting website (fitday.com). It also tracks the calories I burn, along with nutrition info. It helps me to portion my diet for 70% carbs, 15% protein, 15% fat. Forgive the infomercial.

  20. Such great information in the post and in the comments! Thanks for opening up this topic :)

  21. Wow, you women write the looooooooongest posts :-) You do know that I am now going to tease you, right? Okay, seriously, the best $150 I ever spent in my life was visiting a Nutrionist. I learned so much and it changed my life forever.

  22. If we are what we eat, how I so wish I could be a red velvet cupcake instead of grilled chicken, brown rice and broccoli!!!!! :)

  23. Black bean burgers, easy. Just mash and bake or fry. Add any seasoning you want. I also like kidney bean dip for people who like chips and dip. You can bake some pita chips and make kidney bean dip. Delicious!

  24. Great post. This is another great food/fitness blog. http://fitnessista.com/

  25. Thanks for the shout out Amanda! You are so awesome, and what a great post! I only like chicken, so protein is always something I'm working at. I am going to have to find my fave recipe...I'll come back and link it. :) Thanks for the great info! I still need to try tofu...I don't know why I'm so terrified of it!

  26. Good info Amanda! I admire your commitment to eating healthy. =D

  27. Thanks for the link to my blog!

    I am going to be posting a quinoa recipe here in a few days. Its a great vegetarian recipe that uses quinoa which is a whole grain, high in protein and fiber and gluten free.

  28. OK, so it was Dawn who wrote about hemp, not you, Amanda. Still, the timing of this, and the THRIVE book I'm reading, was amazing.

  29. Great post Amanda! This was full of information, thanks. You're right, we're all in this together! One of the websites I go to frequently is http://ohsheglows.com/

  30. Hi Amanda! I found your blog through Hungry Runner Girl and after skimming through will definitely be following you! I just started my journey of eating healthy and training for my first half marathon in April :)

  31. AHHHH!!! Thank you so much for saying what you did about me:) You made my day. Besides your amazing writing, beautiful pictures and killer workouts I LOVE YOUR BLOG BECAUSE I ALWAYS LEARN SOMETHING FROM IT!!! I love that you wrote down what you buy at the store...I am going to print it off and copy you:) I love that you listed lots of protein sources other than meat because I do want to someday become vegetarian but for now and my dietary needs I shouldn't but we are POOR and organic meat is expensive so I am always on the lookout for other sources. Why do I always write a novel? Oh, I know it is because I am obsessed with you and your blog!

  32. Another great post:) You have a great way of opening up topics! Totally utilizing your blog for everyone else's benefit as well as your own!!! I love reading not only what you write but also all the info in the comments!

    Favorite sources of protein around here. Lots of fish, chicken we buy from a special farm (interested in food quality), egg whites, lots of beans, quinoa, greek yogurt, TONS of green vegetables!!!

    I really do love your blog! Not just saying that! I'm ALWAYS excited when a new post pops up on my blogroll! Always learning:)