Less is More: A Lay Down the Beef and Fight Kinda Thing
by: Brian Christopher Lutz

Prologue

A time for alarm: it sounds. Ten snoozes later, you scratch what needs scratching and march heroically onward to the bathroom scale, affectionately known 'round these parts as the plank of death. You take the dive. Gravity, the nation's wretched foe, notches forward to your unpopular poundage with the unrelenting momentum of a sorority reject pinwheeling towards the 1/2 Off Haagen-Dazs sale. You tell yourself you are wise. Mature. As such, you let it out--not your gut, in case the ample snooze rings led your spouse a-stirring--the river of tears, brought to you by the world's smallest violin, hoping that some kinda combination between the weeping reflex and the loss of bodily fluid will send the scale's ticker the other way. Be damned, it doesn't.

bathroom scale says what to eat We are a go for Act II. Your plump relatives philosophize on weight loss, pounding the table in grave solemnity with one hand, palming enough swiss and colby cheese cubes for a Rubik's Cube with the other. Work is so long, exercise so rare. The YMCAs put your face on milk cartons. Hard thinking on a kick-boxing schedule you think would be doable...if you ever found the time...maybe one day...makes you thirsty for 8 pure ounces of Kraft's Rubik's Cube. The alarm rings again in this endless Groundhog's Day and you realize you're about to run out of Acts. In such a tragi-comedy, yes, you are the star, but this ain't a film-- make-up and lighting haven't advanced that far.

Brian and Jue go Vegetarian For many of us, this long-winded tale is not new, nor so winded for as long as we are after our marathon to the Haagen-Dazs aisle. I lived this cycle of high-calorie hell, but I've seen the pearly gates. What's the answer to looking good in no time while putting in no time, you ask? Come on, we're Americans: when we want to win, we sweat no dignity praying for loopholes and technicalities; we take 'em where we can get 'em as long we don't have to sweat 'em till later--much later. I took to vegetarianism two weeks ago with little sleep, high stress, loads of food, and no exercise. That normally spells pounds galore for me, but actually I lost seven. Healthier eating without exercise is a lazy way of "getting there" and it won't take you all the way. But hey, even if you've got the treadmill, the Reebocks, the sports gel, and you've yet to run, it's a start.

The Start

Vegetable-Face-Alex-J-Jefferies I don't have any answers, but I think Socrates would like that. Nutrition research on the Internet is so conflicting, a cogent argument would feel out of place. One point for the Creationists. I did the best I could and found I should stuff myself full of whole grains, mushrooms, spinach, radicchio, and garlic, to ward off Heart Disease and Cancer. A glass of milk and a bowl of Greek yogurt a day. Almonds, walnuts, pecans and two tablespoons of home-ground flaxseeds for protein, fiber, calcium, and mental alertness--an unnecessary qualification if you're running for congress this year. Last but not least, black beans, navy beans, peas, lentils and/or tofu to join those daily whole grains, and 3 eggs a week. Two snacks a day and those are Potassium- and Vitamin C-rich fruits.

I convinced my wife to go Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian, which means we can eat both eggs and dairy products. While we won't eat animals, we will eat the products that animals produce. Some folks are Ovo Vegetarians. They forego dairy, but eat eggs. You can learn more by downloading the Vegetarian Starter Kit from Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Just click this image:

http://www.pcrm.org/health/veginfo/vsk/
.

My typical daily meal plan consists of the following foods:
  • 8:00 AM: 1 bowl of Steel-cut oats oatmeal with walnuts and 1 strawberry
  • 10:00 AM: 1 banana
  • 12:00 Noon: Salad plate with 1 slice of whole rybe bread with cream cheese, 1 egg
  • 2:00 PM: 1 glass of milk with whey protein powder and ground flaxseed
  • 4:00 PM: 1 apple
  • 6:00 PM: 1 plate brown rice and beans (black beans/falafel or lentils/tofu/quinoa) with stir fry vegetables, 1 bowl of salad
(See our favorite recipes at the end of this post!)

I lost seven pounds in two weeks this way. I, of course, tried to throw in as many vegetables that would fit down my tube. To keep my cholesterol down, I also take fish oil pills daily.

Fork in the Road

Brian and Jue go Vegetarian Yesterday had my nutritionist appointment--the first--for 150 clams. Whole grains & fruit: too many, she says. Grab a multi-vitamin with a lot of Zinc. Buy whey powder for additional protein. More oils, more protein, less carbs. We'll see.

Tune in next week, super friends. We'll see if I'm posing at trade shows or weeping on or near the plank.

© I Can't Believe It's Better Productions 7/12/2012




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Brian and Jue go Vegetarian


Brian Christopher Lutz is an author, copywriter, technical writer, poet, metal guitarist, and classical composer. He is in the process of finishing both his first novel and first musical while he and his wife, Jue Zou Lutz, are becoming Vegetarians. See Brian's writer resume and composer website.

Organic on a Budget by: Jue Zou Lutz

Let’s face it, going organic is great, but it can cost up to three times as much. My husband’s a spender, but I like to SAVE! Were it up to him, the whole organic produce aisle would be in the cart, and he’d see nothing wrong with this picture. So I quickly hit the books and scoured the Internet. Well, savvy shoppers, here’s what I found:
  • Make an Organic Food Priority list. I use EWG’s (http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/) DIRTY DOZEN list to determine what fruits and veggies are most important to buy organic. The CLEAN 15 list always makes me smile, since it provides 15 tasty options that don’t need to be organic, since the amount of pesticides they contain is negligible. That’s 15 chances I get to tell hubby to STEP BACK from the organic shelf!
  • Be a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscriber and have organic produce delivered to your home. We spend $24.95 on the Harvest Blend Basics for the following:
    • Baby Carrots 1b
    • Celery 1
    • Hass Avocado 1
    • Red Leaf Lettuce 1
    • Strawberries 0.5 lb
    • Tomatoes 2
    • Valencia Oranges 4
    • Yellow Peaches 4

  • Many times, you gotta ’spread it around’ to find the best shopping deals. We rarely ever use our nearest grocery store as a one-stop-shop. Once you get the hang of it, you can plan ahead and map out your shopping routine, utilizing the nearest routes, to save on gas. We use ALDI Food Market for the CLEAN 15 items, such as onions and mushrooms. ALDI spends less on advertising, making their products a steal.

    Costco comes in handy at times, as well. They’ve got a great deal on gas, and their price on organic spinach in bulk can’t be beat. While I may give Walmart the occasional black eye, their deals on strawberries ($2.48/1b) and carrots ($0.99) is not too shabby.
  • Check out local farms in your area, but note: Prices vary from farm to farm. In Central Florida, for example, South Seminole Farm & Nursery sells delicious organic eggs for $3.50/dozen. Don’t be surprised if you reach for an egg carton and it’s got a national brand label on it, though. You save on price because they recycle egg cartons, so there is no cost for packaging and less overhead, so it’s in your benefit to save your empty egg cartons. Their wildflower honey is super tasty, too.

  • Go or No Go on organic milk? I’ve done a lot of research, and I’ve concluded there are no significant nutritional differences between organic and regular milk. All types of milk, whether regular or organic, are supposedly tested for antibiotics to ensure they satisfy the government’s quality and safety standards. The All Natural label on the milk I buy from ALDI says it’s antibiotic-free, hormone-free. Sounds good to me. What’s more, in Reuters’ article, Is organic milk worth its higher price? Isabel Maples, a spokeswoman for the National Dairy Council, contends that the difference between the prices is just marketing. Since it’s safe to drink regular milk, I’ll only jump the organic train as our budget allows.

  • Last, but not least, eat just before you shop, so your empty stomach won’t go to your wallet.

That’s all folks! You heard it here, the real one-stop-shop for savvy shoppers. Next week we’ll talk healthy recipes on a budget. Till then, happy shopping, healthy eaters!

P.S. The next time you go grocery shopping, don't forget the DIRTY DOZEN and CLEAN 15 Lists:

DIRTY DOZEN (Buy these organic)
  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Sweet bell peppers
  4. Peaches
  5. Strawberries
  6. Nectarines (imported)
  7. Grapes
  8. Spinach
  9. Lettuce
  10. Cucumbers
  11. Blueberries (domestic)
  12. Potatoes

CLEAN 15 (Lowest in Pesticide)
  1. Onions
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Avocado
  5. Cabbage
  6. Sweet peas
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mangoes
  9. Eggplant
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cantaloupe (domestic)
  12. Sweet potatoes
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Watermelon
  15. Mushrooms
Brian and Jue go Vegetarian

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jue Zou Lutz is an Advertising, Marketing, and SEO Guru. With an M.A. in Integrated Marketing Communications from Florida State University, Summa Cum Laude, this raven-haired entrepreneur is a speeding force to be reckoned with, on or off the highway (of life). Jue and her husband, Brian Christopher Lutz, are becoming Vegetarians.



Editor's Note: See the following links for more helpful information about Going Vegetarian and Buying Organic:

Lacto-Ovo (dairy and egg-eating) Vegetarian
R E C I P E S!

*~* Cheese Ravioli-on-the-go
with Spicy Mushroom Marinara ~*~

(Makes about 3 cups/6 servings.)

Ingredients:
  • 1 Package frozen cheese ravioli

  • 1/2 Cup chopped onion

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 Tbsp. Olive oil

  • 1 can (28 oz.) plum tomatoes, undrained and chopped

  • 2 cups chopped fresh mushrooms

  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red peppers

  • 1 cup peeled, seeded and diced fresh tomatoes

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

  • 1 Tbsp. Oregano, crushed
Instructions:
  1. Prepare ravioli, as directed by package.

  2. In large skillet, cook onions and garlic in oil until onions are tender.

  3. Stir in canned tomatoes, 2 cups chopped fresh mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon crushed red peppers.

  4. Bring to a boil.

  5. Add remaining ingredients.

  6. Reduce heat; cook over medium-low heat, uncovered, until sauce thickens (about 1 hour).

  7. Serve over cooked ravioli.





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