I don't like to be hungry at work as I will get grumpy. The problem is that all day long people bring food into my office that I'd rather not eat. Sales reps bring big breakfasts with eggs, bacon, donuts and muffins. Patients and coworkers often bring in cake and donuts as well. Don't get me wrong, I like an occasional cookie or slice of birthday cake as much as the next person but if I'm hungry that's not what I'm looking for. So to counteract this barrage of junk food I bring snacks to the office and keep them at my desk. Here are some of my favorites:
Dried fruit(raisins, apricots, a mix), dried fruit mixed with nuts, nuts, bananas(very filling), other fresh fruit.
While I'm on this topic I will also address beverages. Like junk food, there is a plethora of soda in my office. I actually think that the bottles are reproducing. This stuff is terrible for you. One 8 oz. glass of soda has no nutrition except about 100 calories worth of sugar(these days in the form of high fructose corn syrup). How do I get around this? Prepare ahead of time. One can always drink water and I do. I keep a water bottle at my desk and fill it from our bubbler a few times a day. This also helps to cut down on trash(see: good for the environment). Water gets a bit boring after a while and that's when I break into my tea collection. I never liked tea as a kid but more recently I have found it very relaxing in the afternoon. Any type of tea is ok. If you are sensitive to caffeine you may choose decaf or herbal types. I like the caffeine for a "pick me up" in the afternoons. Some data suggests that herbal teas may help lower blood pressure as well through a mild diuretic effect. Of course there is always coffee. I personally drink it mostly in the morning. Juice can be ok as well but remember that there is a large sugar component in juice as well. As the nutrition expert Marion Nestle has said, you are better off skipping juice and eating fruit if you want that flavor. Fruit juices are usually made from concentrates and leave out the healthiest part... the pulp(slows digestion...its fiber silly!). So go out and get a water bottle, bring a tupperware container and pack some snacks!
One large or two small garlic cloves minced 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon ground pine nuts or walnuts 2 tablespoons fresh basil chopped 1 tablespoon fresh chives chopped fine pecorino romano cheese grated kosher salt(optional)
Heat olive oil in a nonstick pan, toss in garlic, pinch of salt, a few red pepper flakes and cook until garlic is aromatic(about 3 minutes). Be careful not to burn the garlic as it will get bitter. quickly add the basil and chives and pine nuts. Immediately take off heat and let sit a few minutes. Then pour over pasta of your choice and sprinkle generously with pecorino romano cheese. Enjoy!!
Why do we eat meat(red meat, chicken, fish, turkey, veal, pork) every day of the week? Where did that start? Do we need that much meat. I don't believe we do. There are plenty of vegetarians out there who do just fine. I agree with Mark Bittman, Michael Pollan and many others who advise cutting down on the amount of meat we eat. Not only is it healthier but its better for the planet as well.
Raising cattle for red meat is particularly detrimental to our health and the planet. Most beef cattle in this country are fed corn, a substance they were never meant to eat. Think about it, did you ever drive down the road and see cattle grazing on corn by the side of the road? No, cows were meant to eat grass. Cattle have an amazing digestive system that can turn grass into muscle(meat). If you feed them corn instead of grass, cows get terrible indigestion and they get fat as well. This indigestion they get only worsens global warming through these thousands of cows expelling gas and the fat they gain makes both them and us less healthy.
Why not go meatless two days a week? Think about it, substitute meat with pasta/vegetables, eggs or dairy. Don't be afraid of missing protein, that is not a problem in this country for the most part. You will most certainly get enough protein in the eggs, dairy and vegetables you eat. For some great vegetarian recipes see my last post and also the many blogs linked to this site.
I went home yesterday, frustrated and amazed once again at the number of overweight diabetic patients in my practice who appear more content to pay their pharmacy and the drug companies $100 or more per month for their medications, than to change their diet and pay a bit more for good food. Then there was the unhealthy lunch delivered to our office by a pharmaceutical rep. who also brought in a speaker from some large institution touting the benefit of statins for almost everyone. I'm not sure what the answer is but something will have to happen sooner or later or the healthcare system will bankrupt this country.
Dinner for us last night was simple but delicious. Small amount of whole wheat pasta with a simple pesto/herb sauce(recipe follows), some left over grilled zucchini and squash slices dipped in Joyce Goldstein's amazing romesco sauce and a little chianti. Perfection.