So this morning at work, which is where I eat my breakfast 4 days of the 7 since I work 4 ten hours shifts and I’m not the type of person who’s starving as soon as they get up, I devised a tasty new little breakfast sandwich idea that’s vegan friendly and quite filling for several hours!
It’s really simple so I’m not going to pretend like this is some huge original idea that is going to blow your mind. It’s super simple and common sense, but it’s also a spin on a sandwich I used to gobble by the ton when I was a kid.
The variation is of the toasted tomato and mayo sandwich I used to eat as a kid. I would toast up a couple pieces of bread (thank goodness at least my parents made me eat wheat bread which of course as a kid I didn’t care for, but at least it was healthier than the Wonder Bread most of my friends ate).
Then I would slice up a tomato. We always had tomatoes at our house growing up. Then I would take one of my childhood favorites – Miracle Whip, and slather that on one side of the bread and make a tomato sandwich. It wasn’t really filling and I would always want another one when I was done, but it was a tasty and simple treat.
Of course at that young age I didn’t yet understand that I should have added a healthy fat to the sandwich to make it more lasting and satisfying. Now I do!
Which leads me to my tasty vegan breakfast idea. All you need is two pieces of whole wheat or whole grain bread (I love those larger slices of the nutty tasting stuff with flax seeds and stuff in them), avocado slices, and tomato.
Basically all you’re doing is substituting the mayonnaise (or Miracle Whip) with avocado slices. Avocado is fatty and mushy, so it acts like a perfect non-dairy replacement for mayo. It’s much richer actually, and it actually has a lot more nutritional value than mayonnaise anyway with the additional vitamins and healthy fatty acids it brings.
Avocados are actually a pretty transportable food. I took mine in a baggie when it was halved with the pit still in it, and since I like my avocadoes pretty ripe, the peel comes right off of it so all I need to do is take pit out with a knife.
I also cut up the tomatoes right at work. Of course, you can do all this ahead of time or just keep them in a plastic storage container for using them every morning if you’d like. Either way, it’s a really simple sandwich. It filled me up almost all the way up until lunch time, which is unheard of for me since I tend to get hungry every couple hours even when I’ve eaten a fairly satisfying meal.
It’s probably somewhere around 300 calories, depending on the type of bread you use (whether the larger or smaller pieces) and also on how much avocado you like to use. It needed no spices since the tomato and avocado perfectly complimented one another.
It’s a really simple, fiber filled, nutritious breakfast that I’ll definitely be putting into my breakfast food rotation going forward.
So I fell in LOVE with the Fiber Gourmet brand of noodles. They are really, really good and you cannot tell the difference between them and full calorie noodles in the least. The biggest attraction for these noodles is that they are indeed a healthier alternative to traditional pasta, which comes in at about 210 – 220 calories per serving.
Fiber Gourmet noodles come in at about 140 calories for the exact same serving size, making them the obvious choice over other brands of noodles. In addition, they provide a TON of fiber, which fills you up all night or for several hours after eating them at a meal.
I like to pair my spaghetti noodles with a nice Asian sauce and some veggies, and it fills me up for hours. I’ve also tried the spaghetti style Fiber Gourmet noodles with marinara sauce and it is delicious.
I decided to go ahead and order bulk this time. The only type of noodle they had in the bulk option that looked like something I would like is the short fettucine variety. This is just a shorter version of the twirl-around-your-fork regular long fettucine noodles.
What I’m aiming to do with these noodles is to use them as a simple side dish (or main dish!) staple of buttered and salted (and peppered) noodles. I love plain buttered noodles sometimes, but I don’t like the mega calories that your typical egg variety noodles come with. These noodles are also actually vegan since they don’t contain eggs or egg by-products, so they’re a littler healthier that way too.
While they may not be the perfect option for making my favorite Asian inspired noodle dishes, I personally like a longer, skinnier noodle like the spaghetti variety for that, they will go very well in a lot of other dishes. I could probably even make an impromptu type of mac and cheese with these noodles. By the way, the company does offer their own boxed version of mac and cheese, only it’s low cal.
Haven’t tried that yet, but I’m working my way through the Fiber Gourmet menu of items and I’ll let you know when I’m ready to test more. I’ll also keep you posted on how my short fettucine noodles taste. I’m sure they’ll be awesome!
They figured out how to make a traiditionally high calorie, low nutritional density dish healthier. Cheers to them for that. And my waistline will be cheering them as well if this fits into my currently strict no meat or dairy diet.
I’m always on the lookout for pastas that aren’t as fattening as traditional pasta is. Unfortunately a lot of the higher fiber pastas are either weird tasting or don’t even offer any type of calorie reduction. That is, with the exception of the Fiber Gourmet brand which are all excellent and which I do plan on buying again. Aside from their somewhat steep price for the serving size, they really are an excellent, high fiber, lower cal pasta replacement.
Just because I found them doesn’t mean I still can’t hunt for options! I found an option at Marc’s the discount grocer by our house, and they are actually pretty good although I had my doubts when I read the strange cooking directions to be honest.
They are called brown rice vermicelli noodles. They are very fine – finer than angel hair pasta actually, and come in big bundles in a bag instead of in straight pieces of pasts in a box like other pastas that are long noodles that you can spin around a fork do.
I was thrown off by the direction to put the noodles (the whole bunch, they’d be hard to break off the way they are all bundled together), in a bowl of warm water for 15 minutes. However, once I saw them pulling apart and swelling up and looking more like very thin angel hair noodles as they sat in the water, my confidence grew that I might not have wasted my time and money on something that tasted or looked too weird to enjoy.
After you let them soak in the warm water for fifteen minutes, you take them out and plop them into boiling water for a minute. I over did this a bit because I was paranoid they would be too chewy, so I boiled them for more like five minutes. I wish I would have stuck to the directions though because mine came out a bit on the mushy side unfortunately.
They were still pretty good though, even for being overcooked. I at them with a bunch of veggies and some sauces over them (Thai red curry paste, a tiny bit, some hot chili sauce, soy sauce and a little bit of pineapple chili sauce yum!)
Here are the dietary benefits of brown rice vermicelli noodles :
1.) Only 180 calories per serving. The serving size is pretty generous.
2.) High fiber content
3.) Gluten free since they are made with only brown rice!
The downside is that I can’t imagine you eating these with anything else other than Asian style sauces and veggies. This is mostly because I myself prefer to eat Italian style sauces with thicker noodles like regular spaghetti noodles or some linguine or something like that. However, if you’re an angel hair pasta fan, you may enjoy these noodles in a variety of dishes. You can barely tell the difference between these and regular pasta.
Red Lobster really does have some great seafood dishes, and aside from the fact that it has some of the most tempting carbed-up appetizers like the to die for Cheddar Bay Biscuits, dining there can be a dream for those who follow a low carb diet.
Why? Because it offers some extremely tasty, well-seasoned seafood dishes that are often very low carb unless you get the breaded variety. In my estimation though, the type of fish I like is so mild and flaky that breading it is a travesty, so I like it broiled or fried up in some buttery or creamy sauce. That’s my idea of indulging without going overboard on the carbs!
Although you have to have a strong sense of willpower to not eat those darn cheddary bay biscuits when they come to your table, and you have to make sure you skip the croutons on your salad (no big deal for most people, unless they’re those delicious fresh croutons that actually don’t break your teeth when you bite into them), you have some absolutely deliciousness in store for you with their shrimp collection.
They have a few flavors that are out of this world. The one I liked the best was parmesan ranch. It was crusted with a parmesan and ranch dressing flavored coating, which was either very low carb or no carbs at all. Then there was the garlic shrimp, which was a simpler but still very tasty selection that had a wonderful garlic zest to it.
I’ve also had the teriyaki flavor before. That was definitely my favorite but it’s rarely available any more. It had a really great, very definite flavor to it. The slightly salty, slightly sweet and very flavorful blend really hit the spot, and they seemed to over cook it a bit which is the way I like my shrimp. No rubbery consistency for me!
Another delicious flavor was a Hawaiian or Jamaican style with a bit of pineapple zest flavoring it. Just a tiny bit of carbs, but absolutely delicious. Even though the shrimp were small, there were several of them and along with my side salad (always get the Caesar with no croutons) and my steamed broccoli, it really satisfied my taste for low carb seafood.
Because it also had some fat to it, it really helped fill me up and sort of made me feel like I was indulging more because fat adds a ton of flavor. All in all, getting any of the shrimp on the Red Lobster menu seems to be a safe bet no matter what flavor you get as far as I can tell.
There are also other low carb options as well like the wood fired salmon and the various types of fresh white fish they usually grill up. The key is to get it without the breading of course. I always find fish to be incredibly filling. It really does seem to be a brain food, because the omega 3’s in it help keep your blood sugar stable for hours and keep your mind functioning at its peak.
It has occurred to me on many occasions how food addiction – specifically the type that has addictive chemicals and sugars in it, is very much on par with serious drug addiction. Not so much in how destructive it can be immediately like serious drug addiction, but more so in how hard it can be to overcome it.
Many people find it just as hard to stop eating junk food and too much of every kind of food as they might find quitting a serious drug such as crack, cocaine or heroine. Food is really that powerful. When you add in addictive things like sugars, fats, and chemicals like MSG which tend to be addictive as well as to make you hungrier in the end, you’ve got a very difficult thing to overcome.
I’ve experienced this myself. When I’ve made a decision to stop a spate of bad eating, the day I try to “clean it up” is a very tough day to get through. Usually breakfast isn’t so bad, but then around lunch time I find my body rejecting healthy, low fat, low sugar and low sodium foods and wanting to stuff things like deep fried, salty (then sweet) foods down my throat.
Your body adapts to richer foods pretty quickly. Our diets have become increasingly rich and calorie dense over the years, welcoming in weight gain, diabetes and other weight and diet related illness. Processed foods are cheaper to make and cheaper to buy, so those in lower socioeconomic brackets tend to eat these foods more, keeping the vicious circle of bad health and bad diet going. But the pharmaceutical industry loves this.
They make a lot of money off of a sicker America, and the food companies make larger profit margins when the fill their foods with processed junk, chemicals and nutrient-deprived ingredients. And so we see the food quality getting worse, and America’s waistline expanding while also seeing chronic disease go up.
This is all because these new age foods are not full of nutrition, making our body want more and more of them, in search of that feeling we only get from whole, unprocessed foods. Because we will never get that feeling from these foods, we keep eating the low quality foods in vain trying to seek some form of satiety, only to be hungry an hour or two later because we never were satisfied by the fluff we ate.
These low quality foods have only fueled food and junk food addiction, and added to our problems with obesity and all of its closely associated diseases and disorders. The only way to clean it up is to get through the “withdrawal” phase and never get back into the habit again.
Balance Bars are a nutritional snack bar that may really surprise you for how much flavor and nutrition they offer, as well as for how much they fill you up and fend off your appetite for such a small amount of calories (see below for some more calorie information).
Balance Bars are formulated on the principle of a 40/30/30 ratio of carbs, protein and dietary fat, which is ideal for sustaining energy levels while also helping to suppress hunger. This is important in the snacks you choose since when they are balanced properly as the Balance bar is, they really help support our weight loss or weight maintenance and nutritional goals.
Let’s start with my favorite flavor of them all. I LOVED the Dark Chocolate Coconut flavor. It had a wonderfully rich coconut flavor that made me feel like I was eating something decadent while also helping to tide over my appetite and assure that I wouldn’t over eat. The richness of the chocolate is what I really love about these bars. It doesn’t have that waxy, “not real chocolate” taste and feel that so many other nutritional bars tend to have.
1 Balance Bar is 180 calories, which is just about what a snack should be in my opinion. Any less and I feel like I’m starving again right after I eat it. After I ate one of these Balance Bars, I actually felt satisfied enough to resume with my work or whatever else I was doing with my day without experiencing feelings of hunger or cravings.
Because they satisfied my sweet tooth, I also felt that they really helped prevent me from eating other things that didn’t contribute to a balanced blood sugar and consuming less calories. A candy bar would have more calories, no fiber or protein, and would have made me feel ravenous within an hour of eating it, so for the same pleasure of eating a candy bar, I got less calories, a lot of fiber and protein, and even some additional vitamins in there.
In addition, they also are gluten free for the GF community, are a kosher food, and they have 13 grams of protein per bar, which is pretty great for those looking to boost their protein intake and help build muscle while also helping shed fat in their diet. There are antioxidants as well in the bar thanks to their vitamin content of vitamins A, C and E as well as the ever-potent and important vitamin D.
My second favorite flavor was the Dark Chocolate Peanut flavor. This had real peanuts on top of it, and reminded me of a nutty, chocolaty candy bar without all the calories, high sugar content, fat and nutritionless “filler” ingredients. Oh yeah, and this one was very hearty and really made me feel satisfied for a long time, probably because it had peanuts on top, which always make me feel full.
The Dark Chocolate Crunch flavor was also quite decadent. This one would be great as a “dessert” after a meal because it is just pure dark chocolate bliss. All three of these flavors really offer a lot in the way of flavor, nutrition, and dieting needs.
I would definitely recommend them to anyone who is watching what they eat, is diet-conscious and wants to choose healthier snacks, and who is looking for a bar that will sustain them in between meals without adding to their caloric intake too much or throwing off their blood sugar and making them much hungrier in the evening.
This is all healthy, save the brown sugar in the recipe which is required to give the sauce a sweeter, more robust flavor (unfortunately, brown sugar is always best to give things that sweet, full bodied flavor, and to offset any heat in a recipe).
This is a traditional recipe with a healthy twist. I used brown rice instead of refined white rice since it’s much healthier and digests more slowly. This means it keeps you fuller longer with it’s whole grain hulls, and it also is a lower glycemic food than white rice since it has a lesser impact on blood sugar levels.
The recipe only takes about a half hour start to finish. I actually prepped the sauce the night before – took me five minutes. I wanted the flavors to blend in over night, plus I didn’t want to mess with blending them all the next day, when I’d surely be hungry and in a hurry when I got home from work at 6:30. I usually just wanna eat when I get home that late!
I also cooked the rice in my rice cooker the weekend before I made the chicken dish, on a Sunday. You literally just plop the rice and water in a cooker and it automatically cooks it the right amount of time, you don’t have to stir it or anything. It makes perfect rice pretty much every time. I added a bit of veggie bullion to the rice to give it some flavor.
Here is the recipe without further ado!
Healthy Chinese Chicken and Brown Rice:
Sauce : 2 TB brown sugar, 4 TB Soy Sauce (I use ginger infused), 2 tsp. corn starch, 3 TB water, 2 TB red wine vinegar. Blend these all together, set aside.
Chicken : 2-4 pounds chicken breast. Cut into small pieces, brown in some oil in a wok. Add Green beans or snow peas, depending on preference. You can also add some broccoli or whatever other conducive veggie you have around. I added some onion to mine too. You can add some water chestnuts if you like also.
Brown all of this together until tender and chicken is cooked. Serve over brown rice and pour some of the sauce over the prepared mixture.
Happy Easter to all DDB readers! Hopefully you’re planning on resting at home or having a nice family get together and relaxing today. Easter foods aren’t exactly my forte, so I must admit that it’s not one of the holidays that I used to get excited for as a kid, except for the chocolate bunnies I would get in my Easter basket and the peeps which I would put out to get stale (yes I got some this year).
So many of the Easter treats are steeped in sugar, but so are many of the treats we enjoy with other holidays like Halloween, Christmas and Thanksgiving, so touche.
I wanted to wish everyone a really happy and safe Easter and good luck getting back to work on Monday. Hopefully many of you took Monday off to recuperate from the holiday
I was fortunate to receive some samples to try of Nasoya’s new and improved vegan-friendly versions of mayonnaise and also a new variety of a tangy sandwich spread that are completely vegan. No eggs, no dairy.
I was a bit skeptical that a totally vegan product could taste anything like the real thing, or have the same type of texture as a mayonnaise or tangy sandwich spread called NayoWhipped (which I also enjoy here and there, but mostly I’m a mayonnaise girl when I’m not doing the vegan thing – I’m not a full time vegan).
When I opened the jars, the texture looked like you would expect a mayonnaise or sandwich spread to look like. They may have been a bit more gelatinous in appearance, but nonetheless, not too far off form the dairy variety and they were a lot creamier looking than other vegan varieties I’ve seen.
I tasted both the mayonnaise version and the tangy sandwich spread version with my finger before applying either of them to my tester food of choice to really test drive them – a vegan veggie burger.
They both passed the test with flying colors in a simple “dip your finger in” tasting. Then I spread them on my veggie burger bun, with the same amount I would have used any other sandwich spread or mayonnaise, no more and no less.
Both of them were really, really tasty. I couldn’t tell any difference between this and a dairy variety of mayonnaise or a Miracle Whip-like spread at all. No funny aftertastes and no texture issues – it was all there I’m happy to say. I would definitely recommend these spreads to anyone who is a vegan or who dabbles in veganism like myself but still enjoys the textures and flavors of the dairy-allowed diet.
Here are some other facts about the Nasoya brands of vegan mayonnaise and sandwich spread, including the ingredients list, which I pulled right off of my jars at home.
They come in three varieties : Nayonaise, Nayonaise Light, and NayoWhipped (the tangy, sweeter version).
All three varieties are completely vegan, are a good source of Vitamin B-12, which is great for boosting energy and often lacks in the vegan diet, are made with expeller pressed oil, are gluten free and cholesterol free.
They are now also fortified with Omega 3 ALA and made with non-GMO soybeans which really makes a big difference considering all the controversy coming to light about the possible adverse effects of GMO foods. They are also lower calorie than mayonnaise, coming in at 40 calories per tablespoon, another win! Retail price is $4.69 for 15 oz. jar or $6.99 for a 30 oz. jar.
Nasoya Vegan Nayonaise ingredients : soy milk, expeller pressed soybean oil, vinegar, salt, dried cane syrup, natural flavors, mustard flour, xanthan gum, guar gum, sodium alginate, lemon juice concentrate, turmeric, paprika, spice, garlic powder and vitamin B12
Nayowhipped ingredients : soy milk, expeller pressed soybean oil, vinegar, salt, dried cane syrup, salt, mustard flour, spices, xanthan gum, guar gum, sodium alginate, lemon juice concentrate, natural flavors, garlic powder, paprika, turmeric and vitamin B12
This story really attracted my attention. Perhaps it is because I myself have struggled with some serious weight and self image issues over the 38 years I’ve been on this earth, and it’s been a struggle for me to maintain a healthy body image since I overcame (you never fully overcome) a long term eating disorder in my younger years.
For me, it was a lot about self control and perfectionism, but it also was shaped by what I was seeing in all the glamour magazines when I was at a very impressionable young age. I started reading magazines like Vogue, Glamour and Seventeen before I was even old enough to drive. I thought the women in these magazines looked so beautiful, and I wondered why my naturally shorter, thicker body type couldn’t match those beautiful ideals.
Back then, the same thing that still seems to be “in” today was in. The rail thin models with skinny arms, skinny and log legs, and naturally lanky, long bodies were still in at that time. In fact, when I was at my most impressionable, which was in high school, the supermodels like Kate Moss, Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell and the like were all the rage.
Cindy Crawford was too, and at least she was a bit more realistic, but the point is that my ideals that I’d have formed in my head had a lot to do with the material I was reading and the images I was seeing in music videos and on television. I really tried my hardest to emulate those women even though my natural body type isn’t meant to be waifish.
So the story out of Sweden where a clothing store was using more realistic mannequins really piqued my interest. When I saw the mannequins, who were clad in lingerie, they still really looked like beautiful bodies – but they made you do a double take because you’re so used to seeing the super skinny models in all the other stores.
It was absolutely REFRESHING to see a store have the guts to display models that more accurately and realistically portray how women in America look today. They were by no means overweight, but they weren’t that starved out, muscular look that so many fashion plates tend to exemplify much to the detriment of the young women who tend to try to emulate them to no avail.
I hope we start seeing more of these realistic mannequins in clothing stores. It really will set a precedent that we’re ready to move on from these ridiculously thin, Victoria Secret model types of ideals and move more toward an achievable, “real” body ideal.