Monday, November 28, 2011

Make Stuff That's Bad For You Less Bad

Here we are... the time of the year between Thanksgiving and New Years.  "They" say if you are going to gain weight, its going to happen during those 5 weeks.  I don't think athletes are exempt from this.  Not because we increase our consumption, but I think it has more to do with our decrease in exercise that often coincides with this time of year.  Unless you cross country ski, this is typically the 'down time' or period of time off that multisport and cyclists.   
This is an out-of-the-ordinary post since I don't typically write anything about food, but since this is the time of year that many indulge, I figured I may as well put something together...

Some say you have to live a little or you only live once or this time of year needs to be enjoyed and you can't deprive yourself of the holiday treats.  Whether you any believe that, buy into that way of thinking, or simply don't care and what you eat or you want and gamble on being able to burn it off, I've put together a list of a few things that you can enjoy that are slight alternatives to the regular holiday indulgences.  Some easy changes to the regular holiday treats and dishes can keep the calories down, but more importantly, the fat goes down and the cholesterol pretty much disapears. 

1/2 cup of So Delicious! Nog has 90 cals, 3 gfat, and 0 cholesterol.
1/2 cup of Kemps Premium Eggnog has 190 cals, 10g fat, 70 mg cholesterol.
(not comparing Nog to Light Eggnog because Nog does not taste light)

EGG NOG.  I love it. Always have.  A few years ago when I went "mostly vegan" I quit eating eggs so out went the eggnog and the McDonald's Eggnog shakes.  Surprisingly I realized pretty quick that just about the only thing you need eggs for is for eating eggs or a dish that is mostly egg. They're pretty much unnecessary in recipes that call for them too. They're not needed in cookies, cakes, pancakes, French toast or even EGG NOG.  Yep, true. You can have 'Nog' that I guarantee you'll like just the same if not more.  Seriously.  I thought Silk "NOG" was the best eggnoggish drink there was until I tried So Delicious! Coconut Milk Nog a couple weeks ago.  If you hate coconut that's ok, you can't taste the coconut. You don't taste beef when you drink cows milk do you?  Same dif.  Check out the numbers below the photo (right)--you won't believe the difference--especially when you taste it.

GRAVY.  Mmmm...  blood, fat, and other animal secretions in the form of broth all mixed with  flour/starch, maybe some more fat (butter) then dumped over everything on your plate.  Not to mention the chemicals and animal growth enhancers that find their way in there too.  Wow.. how appetizing.  Ok, now that you don't want gravy at all, there are other ways to make beef and chicken/turkey gravy that are cholesterol free and just about fat free too, but still have that savory, salty taste. Basically you can just thicken vegetable broth as you would beef or chicken stock broth and use that for gravy.  If you really need that chickenish or beefy flavor, try McKay's seasoning. You can buy it by the scoop at a co-op (Good Food Store in Rochester) or get jars of it.  Make broth and thicken with flour or starch.  Add olive oil if you want it to have a richer taste. There are a million variations on the web too or go to for a thorough list all in one site.  Another great brand is IMAGINE.  They make the regular standby soups, but also have a line of vegan/vegetarian products. We made a mushroom gravy using their Creamy Portabello soup and brought that as an option to Thanksgiving dinner.  I prefer McKay's chicken gravy, but the Imagine worked.

GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE. Use the regular recipe from the French's Fried Onion container, but instead of condensed Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup, use Imagine Portabello Mushroom soup (use same amount as a can of Campbells), heat and stir in corn starch a little at a time until its thick like a condensed soup.  If you can find the powdered mix of the Imagine Mushroom soup you can use that--I think that would be easier to make a condensed version from, but I couldn't find it locally.  You can, but don't have to, let it cool in the fridge overnight so it thickens even more. The original GBC recipe also calls for milk so use unsweetened soymilk or unsweetened almond milk instead.  By the time the crunchy onions are stirred in and spread over the top of the beans you'll have almost the same taste as the original, but with fewer calories and no cholesterol.  Everyones recipe turns out a little different anyway, right.  Also, there are only a few grams of fat in the soy/almond milk--and of course the fat in the friend onions. 

ICE CREAM / WORKOUT RECOVERY ICE CREAM.  This is my latest indulgence.  I haven't tried it with any other blender other then the Ninja, but others may work.  Take a cup of soy or almond milk (or juice), 1 to 2 cups frozen fruit--banana's work great for a smooth consistency.  Stopping there is just fine and you'll have some awesome ice-cream that can end up thick enough to scoop right from the blender (freeze for a few hours and it will be).  If you want to make this a recovery (after working out) snack, blend in some non-dairy protein powder like GNC Soy Protein 95--they make chocolate, strawberry, and banana), or use hemp, rice, or pea protein.  If you want it drinkable, obviously just use more liquid, or less frozen fruit.   Banana's, vanilla soymilk, and chocolate protein powder is awesome!

CHOCOLATE.  Sorry, but you still need to eat this as is in any form possible  : )

FRUITCAKE.  Stay clear of this stuff.   If you think you want fruit cake, eat some chocolate cake and some real fruit.  Seriously though, I think there are 100 loafs/blocks of fruitcake in circulation worldwide that just change hands thru the "re-gifting" process.  Look at that crap.  Seriously.

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