Category Archives: Life in Stilettos

What You See is Not What You Get

Just one of the reasons I don’t like to go to Applebees.

This is what I ordered:










This is what I got:


Fancy Tomatoes

I love when companies pay attention to their customers. Thanks, Muir Glen. I wrote a blog post a couple months ago about Muir Glen organic canned tomatoes. I use a lot of canned tomatoes and I was searching for a BPA-free option. It took me a while before I found Muir Glen, who is switching to all BPA-free cans this year. Yay!

I was surprised to get a thank you from Muir Glen about my blog post since I didn’t forward it to them in any way, but they found it, and thanked me for it…by sending me this fancy collection of “Reserve” tomatoes. I didn’t even know Reserve tomatoes existed!

I was especially happy to receive my thank you gift because it contained some fire roasted tomatoes. I LOVE fire roasted tomatoes but have not been able to find the Muir Glen fire roasted variety near me.

Also included with the gift basket was a little recipe book and a hand-written thank you note. Yes, hand-written. How nice is that? First a move to make a better and healthier product, then amazing customer service and attention. Way to impress, Muir Glen.

But I Hate Running, Don’t I?

Not stilettos. My new running shoes. Saucony Cohesion 5. If I stick with it, I’ll upgrade.

I hate running. I say it all the time. I know a lot of runners. My husband ran the NYC marathon last year. They all know I hate running. I find it painful. Not physically painful, mentally painful. I think it’s tedious and boring, and I hate doing it.

So how did I get here? And by here I mean running at 6:30 am. For 30 minutes. Three times this week.

Well, I put on seven pounds between the end of last summer and the beginning of this summer. I know that might not seem huge to some people, but it’s a lot on me. My pants were tight. I like to blame it all on Hurricane Irene and my flooded basement derailing my diet and exercise routine (excuses, excuses), but I certainly can’t blame my flooded basement for keeping me derailed all through the fall and winter. Once I got out of a routine, I got lazy. It’s that simple.

Finally, in the spring, I started to get back to nice healthy eating habits and a regular exercise routine. And by a regular exercise routine, I mean 30 minutes of weights and toning exercises 4-5 times/week. Because that’s what I like to do. And I do it at home. The problem is, in a few months, I only lost two pounds and my pants were still tight.

I had to admit it. I need cardio. The easiest cardio without going back to a gym? Running. Ugh.

But I told myself I had to try it. Even if I dreaded it. Just try it a few times. See if I can get through it without being completely miserable.

Since I work best with structure and set goals, I decided to try a Couch-to-5k program. It will tell me exactly what to do. Just get through it.

Well…I ran three days this week. Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday. I did some core exercises on Monday. And I lost three pounds. Just like that. My pants fit. And that was with a not totally healthy day of eating on Wednesday…I ate out, had some frozen yogurt. Three pounds.

This running stuff works!

And I’m not miserable. Maybe it’s the success. Maybe it’s the goal of completing the 5k program. But I feel great!

It also doesn’t hurt to have a husband who makes me a nice healthy breakfast while I’m out running. Thanks, hubby!

So maybe I’ll have to ease off my “I hate running” stance. Maybe. Okay, definitely. For now, at least.

Beautiful Veggies on the Grill

This is pretty much how I cook all summer…just change up the protein to go with it.

Bathing Suit Bellies

It’s that time of year when we start to think about pulling out the summer clothes and eventually, the bathing suits. Should we actually be thinking about this year-round? Yes. But that doesn’t mean we do always think about it while we have sweaters covering up our bellies all winter. But unless you plan on hanging out on the beach in a sweater, you’re probably thinking about it now. Here are a few really simple things I have learned to think about when trying to keep the belly in bathing suit shape.

  1. Eat Fiber. Fiber helps burn belly fat. But that doesn’t mean you should go scarf down a few pieces of bread. There are better ways to get fiber. Apples, beans, and broccoli are examples.
  2. Cut back on salt. It’s true that salt will make you retain fluid, which leads to extra water weight and a bloated appearance. Be aware of all the places you may be taking in a lot of extra salt besides the stuff you use when you cook. For example, go with unsalted pretzels and nuts for snacks to reduce salt intake.
  3. Stand up straight. Good posture not only immediately makes you look thinner, it also strengthens muscles that will help you actually be thinner over time. You want to engage your core muscles in everything you do as much as possible. Whenever you’re sitting around your house, try to sit on an exercise ball if possible. It will make you sit up straight and engage your core to keep your balance.
  4. Drink lots of water. It helps flush out all the bad stuff.
  5. Eat your MUFAs. Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) help fight belly fat by stopping the blood sugar spikes that cause your body to store fat around your belly. Some easy ways to get your MUFAs –avocados, pumpkin & sunflower seeds, almonds & walnuts, peanut butter, olives & olive oil, and … dark chocolate! But, remember, everything in moderation.

My Super Breakfast

Isn’t it a gorgeous looking breakfast?

When my husband decided to lose some weight last year, he went on a no carb diet. We won’t get into the debate about no carb diets since I think a balanced diet is better, so anyway… When he stopped eating carbs, he started making the same breakfast every morning of eggs, turkey bacon and vegetables. Vegetables for breakfast were a new concept for me except in an omelet, but his breakfast started looking pretty good. It always smelled good too. So I decided to give it a try, found out it was both delicious and filling, and I got hooked.

The photo above is the most common variation – spinach, chickpeas, and sundried tomatoes.  I also love chickpeas and diced tomatoes sprinkled with some Moroccan spice blend. There is also a sauté of black beans, corn, red peppers, and onions cooked in cider vinegar that I often make for dinner and also tastes great the next morning with eggs. Leftover asparagus from dinner is another great option. I also prefer soy sausage to turkey bacon because I get more protein with less fat and sodium.

It’s also not a bad deal calorie-wise with maybe 100 calories in the egg after cooking and 80 in the soy sausage, plus veggies. That’s a lot of protein and nutrients for under 300 calories.

Delicious, filling, nutritious. Super breakfast.

Better Bread

I was doing my weekly online grocery order last week on Peapod when I noticed Food For Life Ezekiel bread. I remembered talking to a nutritionist once who said that if you were going to eat bread, it should absolutely be Ezekiel bread. She said that you buy it frozen because it is made without preservatives. It is also flourless, made instead with sprouted grains so it has a lower glycemic index than other bread. It sounded intriguing since I have become more and more of a natural whole foods eater over the past couple years. But, I blew it off at the time because it sounded a little strange and also like a bit of a pain to deal with bread that would quickly spoil if not frozen.

When I noticed it online last week, I thought again about the nutritionist’s advice, especially since I have been moving more and more toward an entirely whole foods diet and adding many new things into my diet lately that I now love. I decided to give the bread a try.

Again, this bread is flourless. Instead, it is made with “sprouted grains” – whole wheat, malted barley, whole millet, whole barley, whole lentils, whole soybeans, and whole spelt. The only other ingredients are water, yeast, sea salt and organic wheat gluten. According to the Food For Life website, when these grains are combined “a complete protein is created that closely parallels the protein found in milk and eggs. In fact, the protein quality is so high, that it is 84.3% as efficient as the highest recognized source of protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids.” Pretty cool.

But how does it taste? Well..good! It is not as soft as white bread, of course. But it is not as coarse as some of the hearty wheat breads out there. In fact, I liked it much better than any wheat bread I have had. It is a thin-sliced bread though, so if you like thick bread (which I don’t), this might be too thin for you. It is actually perfect for me. I think the texture is just right. As for the taste, it simply tastes like a multi-grain bread. It’s quite good.

I also LOVE that it is completely preservative-free. That’s pretty awesome! One of the things that stopped me from trying it before was worrying about losing the convenience of sliced bread since this has to stay in the freezer to prevent spoiling. Well, the day I first bought it, I took a few slices out of the bag (the frozen slices actually break apart very easily) and put them in the fridge so they would be defrosted to make lunch the next morning. No problem at all. Easy. Well…the next night, I forgot to take some out. So there I am ready to make my daughter’s lunch in the morning, and I have frozen bread. Guess what? No problem. I put two frozen slices in the toaster on low and pushed the “warm” button on my toaster. In one minute, I had defrosted bread. I’m glad I discovered this so quickly because now I don’t even worry about defrosting it ahead of time.

And, my 8-year-old didn’t notice any change in the bread form the normal wheat or mutli-grain bread we used to use.

One popular breakfast in my house is wheat mini bagels with peanut butter. But once the bag of bagels we have is gone, I think we will switch to slices of toasted Ezekiel instead of bagels. I seriously love this bread – both the lack of flour and the lack of preservatives. They do also make English muffins, but I have not seen them in my store yet. And pasta too, which I’d be interested in trying if I can find it.

If you’re trying to add more natural whole foods to your diet, give it a try. I wish I did it a few years ago when I was first told about it instead of being scared of the frozen bread. How silly. It’s the non-frozen preservative-filled bread that can sit in my cabinet for a couple weeks that I should have been scared of.