Monday, March 28, 2011

I love this man!

Really, I have a HUGE crush on Alton Brown! Have for years. He's smart, he's creative, he's nerdy and so funny! And he loves food! What more would a girl want? I love his new eating style, healthy and balanced, simple, and not afraid of good food!

Check this out!

Friday, March 25, 2011

It's raining, I'm feeling sickly, so I'm scouring the Internet today

Been finding all sorts of interesting things to read today. Started on the Green Mountain website, which led me to all sorts of lovely blogs on health and wellness. Will be adding a few of them to my list on the right. There were many notable passages on why obsessing over losing weight was not helpful, how all this modern research on the effects of diet and exercise doesn't help paint a complete picture of the truth about optimum health, and the U.S. isn't the fattest nation on the planet (there are, in fact, 10 other countries in line ahead of us!).

Here's a passage from Refuse To Regain, a site by Dr. Barbara Berkeley and Lynn Haraldson, "dedicated to providing information and support to people who have lost weight and want to keep it off forever."

From the article by Dr. Berkeley of March 5, 2011, "The Perfect Diet: Does It Exist?" She shares wise and balanced guidelines for finding the right diet for you.

  1. Your diet is good if it is helping you achieve normal blood sugar, decent cholesterol readings, low triglycerides and a good blood pressure. If you already have some of these problems, your diet is a good one if it is lessening these markers or allowing you to decrease your medications.
  2. Your diet is good if it is allowing you to stay at a good weight. That weight doesn't have to correspond to a perfect BMI, but it should be as low as you can comfortably maintain and should stay relatively stable.
  3. Your diet is good if your energy is good. If you are sluggish or have no energy to get out and move around, look at making a dietary change.
  4. Your diet is good if it exposes you to the fewest carcinogens.  We get enough exposure to cancer causing chemicals in our air, plastics, x-rays, and modern products.  Avoidance of processing and additives is the basis for every healthy diet whether it be Primarian, Pritikin, Vegetarian or an Atkins variant.
  5. Your diet is good if you can believe in it and stick to it. If you are simply eating reflexively, without any specific thought, it's unlikely that your diet is healthy. The reason is simple: we are presented with few good choices. In order to eat well, we have to eat mindfully.
  6. Your diet is good if you wake up without guilt.
  7. Your diet is good if eating it makes you not only healthy...but happy.
Well, reading all of that validates my choices. I'm still not earning stars for sodium intake today. Even homemade chicken soup tastes pretty bland if you don't salt it!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I was really dreading this part of the nutritional challenge

Au revoir my tasty French fleur de sel!

The USDA recently changed their sodium recommendations, reducing it from 2300 mg to 1500 mg. So, we're working on sodium intake for this week...and after everything, this is the one that I struggle with on so many levels. I like salty foods! I like bacon with my breakfast. I like roasted, salted nuts. I went a little crazy with the Trader Joe's uncured corned beef for St. Patrick's Day. I like a snack of hard-cooked eggs with a little salt. I like fancy salts. The gray sea salt from France that's so expensive (and I don't care). Hot dogs. Homemade oven fries with salt and lemon. (Oh yeah, you really need to try some lemon on your fries!) Pickles. Salted butter. A bowl of ground up toasted sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, black pepper, garlic and salt...and then you take a hunk of whole wheat sourdough baguette and dip it in good strong extra virgin Spanish olive oil, and then into the sesame seed mix...really, I should get a room!

It's so easy to go over the recommended salt intake if you're not watching. I just had breakfast, under 400 calories, carbs at 46g, fiber at 23g, sugar at 2g, protein at 31g, fat at 13g...and sodium at 704mg! What had sodium in it? The poached eggs, the bread and the spinach! I didn't even salt my food! For lunch I was planning to have the Vital Choice sardines packed in olive oil and a couple cups of beet tops and three Organics Everything crackers - that's 676 mg of sodium right there!

My point is that many unprocessed or minimally processed foods already have sodium in them, naturally occurring. I am not someone who eats a lot of processed foods, mostly because a lot have soy in them, and I have a sensitivity to that. It's not difficult to get to the 1500 mg limit in a day. In fact, you really have to try to keep it below that level. Perhaps based on what I've had for breakfast and what I'm planning for lunch, dinner will be limited to boneless/skinless chicken and a big salad with 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds, an avocado, cherry tomatoes and a cucumber. Wait...even without dressing, that puts sodium at 1796 mg for the day! Calories only at 1547!

If there's a week when I'll be dropping weight, this will be the one! This is going to be an educational week for me!

Humans do need salt, but perhaps only about 500 mg. The average American eats 4,000+ mg a day. And that mostly comes from processed foods or eating out. Sodium is necessary, to keep our electrical systems running, to take in certain nutrients, and for fluid balance. Too much causes the cells to retain fluid and can result in high blood pressure. Not everyone is sensitive to sodium intake. Recent research shows that only about a third of the population is sodium sensitive. The rest of us can probably manage the amount of salt we get by drinking more water...but then again, most of us don't drink enough water.

In recent weeks, anticipating this particular nutritional challenge, I cut back on adding salt to foods while cooking them. I used to add salt to the water in which I was boiling my pasta, greens and poached eggs. I am only using salt at the table now, and I'm thinking that I'm going to pre-measure a quarter teaspoon of salt per day for myself. I can just take a pinch of that to add to my food, as needed. 1/4 tsp salt is 300 mg. Maybe I'll go with 1/8 tsp for today. Perhaps I should just skip it altogether. After a week of seriously reduced sodium, my taste buds will adjust and I'll be okay, and the occasional piece of feta will seem so salty that I'll have to rinse it down to get the salt out of it. (Didn't know you could do that, right? Put a piece of feta cheese in a small container and cover it with plain water. The excess salt will leech out and you'll still have a tasty piece of cheese.)

I'm going to miss my breakfast bacon this week...even the Trader Joe's uncured turkey bacon that's practically holy has 180 mg of sodium in it!

(By the way, I weighed in at 313 lb this morning. First time I broke below 315 lb in quite some time...hoping it's a permanent breakthrough!) 

Some time later in the day... 

I am not happy with my decision to throw caution to the wind and eat something salty. It was the last piece of corned beef. I thought it was all gone, but there was one more slice. And eating it totally blew my chances of getting a star for today! 1290 mg of sodium!!!

I have no calories left for the remainder of the day. Because I was hungry and I also ate a banana and a handful of roasted unsalted macadamia nuts. I cooked chicken and broccoli for the boys. I'll just have the beet greens, I guess. If I want more food, I have to spend time on the treadmill first!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Everyday is an opportunity to start again

Okay, I think I'm over my funk from yesterday. I had a good night's sleep. I've had my four glasses of water and big cup of coffee for the morning. (Yes, I know I said I was going to give it up, but I just don't want to!)(It's my only 'vice', and as vices go, I'm not abusing it.) I took all my morning vitamins and supplements. I'm ready to get back on the wagon.

I think all those supplements are like a meal. I just have to go buy one more and my collection is complete. I take the following supplements, mostly to support my pancreas and for diabetes management:

Renew Life's Digest More - a digestive enzyme blend to help my pancreas do it's job processing carbohydrates
A probiotic - to help restore the flora in my system after years of antibiotics to battle chronic bronchitis
A porcine thyroid supplement - because I'm hypothyroid but not low enough for the doctor to prescribe meds, even though I have all the symptoms
A kelp capsule - for iodine, to support the thyroid, and because I'm soy-intolerant
Probeta - an herbal capsule to help restore pancreatic cells
Cranberry capsule - because I don't want to have another UTI, and it's a more effective diuretic that doesn't dump potassium like prescription diuretics do.
A baby asprin - to protect my heart
Ceylon cinnamon capsules - to help manage blood sugar levels
Sheri's liquid vitamins - to get all my micronutrients
Resveratrol juice - so I can live forever! And look so damn good in the process!

See, that's practically a whole meal! But I'm still kinda hungry now, so I gotta go eat.

I still have to get some cayenne pepper capsules. That's supposed to rev my engine up and get metabolism fired for the day, amongst other things.

No Pilates this morning...Rhyan has to go to the dentist. I'll be on the treadmill again later today. And I have a Pilates DVD we're going to do this afternoon.

It's raining this morning. My dog Chloe is not getting a walk, so she's taken her frustrations out on the Kleenex box. There's tissue all over my living room!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Apprehensions about feeling hungry...

I'm experiencing a lot of apprehension about eating today, or rather, about getting hungry. I'm frustrated, to say the least, with the continued lack of weight loss. Well, it's not that I'm not losing weight, it's that it takes so much effort on my part to work another pound off. Today, back up to 318lb. So, I'm glad that I'm finally keeping my weight under 320, but it takes months to drop down a few more pounds the healthy, balanced way.

When I first began this effort towards wellness, the weight came off so easily. From experience I knew it would get harder. But I didn't think it would stall so completely!

I'm so angry that I can't break past 300 lbs! It's really doing a number on my self-esteem. Old feelings of inadequacy have been crowding in. I'm so frustrated! I'm really scared I'm going to lose my resolve. Yesterday evening I caved, after a day of dealing with all sorts of issues with my mother. For the first time in a long time, I got a McDonald's double cheeseburger mini meal with a small Coke and fries. The fries coated my tongue and felt awful, and then the Coke stripped the fat coating off my tongue! I didn't go over on calories for the day, but I sure didn't earn anything on the sugar challenge and I felt pretty low about the decision later on. I didn't gain or lose weight...I just lost focus and I disappointed myself.

Decided to play hookie from Pilates tonight. Just not feeling it tonight. Not sure what I'm feeling...except that I really needed a change of scenery. I went to Sheri's Sonshine Nutrition to pick up some digestive enzymes, hoping it might boost my pancreatic health. Accidentally fell into the new cheese shop across the, I did not partake. Of cheese. There were some local olive oils to sample, so...I'm going back later to drop off some cookbooks for their 'lending library' and to pick up some of the Coldani. And to buy the sheep milk yogurt! Getting out of the house and talking to new people lifted my mood. I think I'm up for some time on treadmill and weights tonight.

I don't want to eat. I don't want to be hungry. If I never had to be around food again, I think I'd be happy with that! I know that's not a healthy trail to head down, and I really know I won't be going there, but I don't eat anything like those people who ended up on Heavy or Biggest Loser! I'm surrounded by slim people who work out a few times a week and still eat cookies and ice cream, ribs and beer, etc. I'm not in the middle of a pity party here...I'm just desperate for a drop in girth! I want my belly to shrink so I can do a proper roll up! I want my ass to melt so I can work a proper back plank! I want my energy levels to ramp up so I can get to everything I want to get done in a day!

That's what my wish lists look like...okay, time to snap out of this funk and get back to work.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Can you go WAY over on calories and still not feel like you overate?

This week, the nutritional challenge in Pilates was to keep added sugars down below 30g. That's not a problem for me, not even a challenge (unless I forget about the challenge and go overboard with the grade B organic Vermont maple syrup on my very healthy version of French toast on Friday morning...oooops!) That's added sugar. There's naturally occurring sugars in fruit and dairy. Those don't count. We're talking adding sweeteners like sugar, honey, agave nectar, even artificial sweeteners. The point of this challenge was to adjust our palettes to crave sugar less. I was way ahead on this! Not even a challenge! Should I even be earning a star? I'm taking one anyway!

Today, at my house, we celebrated St. Patty's Day. My godmother Eve and her lovely husband George came over for dinner. I found uncured corned beef at Trader Joe's earlier in the week. It was already cooked, so all I had to do was heat it through. I roasted cabbage wedges drizzled with olive oil (at 400 degrees, 12 minutes on each side - also delicious!). I made a big pot of vegetarian chowder with leeks, baby peas, corn and red potatoes, cooked in a vegetable stock, and finished with half and half. Homemade whole wheat Irish soda bread with Irish butter. And for dessert, homemade Bailey's Irish Cream ice cream. Only 22g of added sugar!

Yeah, I was WAY over on calories for the day. Just over 2700 calories. But I kept my portions small, except for the bread and butter, and an extra slice...okay, two...of the corned beef. The meat was pretty salty, but I didn't add much salt into anything else. And right now, I don't feel bloated and sick at all. I ate what I wanted, made sure most of it was a good choice, and stopped when I was satisfied.

So, is it possible to eat 1000 extra calories in a day and not feel like I overate? Yes, I think it is. But I won't be doing this everyday. Or even every holiday. Maybe tomorrow I won't feel like eating at all...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Is there a correlation between unhealthy weight and debt?

Yesterday on Dr. OZ (I know, I had decided never to watch him again because I believe he's an alarmist -which makes for compelling TV, but really, have you actually heard the leaps of logic he's made on his show just to make a point? It's like the Monty Python bit on evaluating a woman by her weight to see if she's a witch. If she weighs the same as a duck...but I digress.)

So, yesterday on Dr. Oz, Suze Orman was one of his guests. They were discussing the correlations between excess weight and excess debt. There's a recent study coming out of George Washington University about how much being fat costs America. I was sent a graphic (thanks Jane!) portraying the study's results. You can read about it at Jane's website, DebtManagement,net.

Being at an unhealthy weight doesn't mean you're definitely in debt. Gosh, that's all I need, one more vice someone might heap on to what sort of person they think I am because they see I'm fat. I'm not in debt and I definitely weigh more than I care to. We all know there are plenty of slim folk who have filed for bankruptcy.

Will my life change financially once I reach a healthy weight? Only if I continue to save money for retirement, fill out my emergency cash fund, keep my FICO score up and stay out of debt. I'm a 50-year-old woman who spent her young adult life raising children and supporting my husband's career advancement. I may have been a brilliant asset when I lived overseas, but NONE of my unique skills will get me a job in the middle of the agricultural belt of Central California. I'm an overweight, middle-aged, under-experienced woman who would never even be considered for an internship in modern America. And now there's a study out there that tells potential employers that I'm really not a good choice for even an entry-level position.

Which is why I'm a writer! Thank God for a profession that provides me honor and self-respect plus time for Pilates and the treadmill.

My good friend Eve is the most recent individual who has mentioned I should write a cookbook. She's actually done it, so her input meant something to me. So I think I'm going to do it. I may be posting some recipes here in hopes that you'll want to try them out and get back to me. I'll develop a system for you to answer questions about the recipes and get back to me with your comments. Not ready to tell you what sort of cookbook it'll be, but I'll make sure to fill it with stories and great photos. Don't know how long this is going to take, but since I've decided to do this, yesterday, I already came up with 20 recipes and the title. Next step, the proposal!

So please, share my blog with as many friends as you care to. The more people reading me here, the more who may want to buy my cookbook, and then Mommy can keep affording to pay for Pilates every month!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I'm not Catholic, but I'm giving up overeating for Lent...I hope

I like to feel full after a meal. I really like it! It's comforting to me, insulating, helps me regulate my emotions, dampens the highs and lows...keeps me from feeling the extremes I experience on a daily basis. It's a good thing I only keep healthy food choices in the house!

My average caloric intake over the past seven days was 1732. That's low, for me. If left to my own easily-distracted devices, I'd easily eat 2300 to 3000 calories a day. That's three balanced and healthy meals, two healthy snacks, and a handful of something here and an extra serving there, plus a run through adds up! How was I able to keep my calories lower than usual? I ate a good balance of protein, carbs from vegetable sources (plus one slice of the Julian Bakery Smart Carb #1 bread) and healthy fats. PLUS I white knuckled through the afternoons/evenings and ignored my "hunger". That was really difficult, but got a little easier later in the week. I was really angry about how hard it was for me to stay out of the kitchen a good portion of the evening, so I wasted some of my evenings watching a lot of mindless TV. And then there's always something to clean!

I've been rewarded for my efforts with the loss of three more pounds. This morning I weighed in at 315 lbs. That's two days in a row! So I'm happy with that. It convinces me to stick with the white-knuckling efforts. It's a real effort to give up the overeating. I have to be really conscious about what I eat, when I eat. I have to be smart about how I serve myself, because I know that I'm an esteemed member of the Clean-Your-Plate Club.I have to make sure I eat the veggies and protein first, and take my time eating them. Only then will I allow myself to have the starchy carbs, even if they are the healthy wholegrain kind. And no more than 120 g.

I was reading a recent entry of a blog I follow. She made a great observation...there are foods and eating patterns that no longer hold any charm for her. I've come to accept the same thing about a lot of foods - pastries and ice cream, doughnuts and those Hostess lemon fruit pies, milk shakes, burgers and fries...even big cuts of meat, cheeses and salty snack foods. None of it sounds very appetizing to me. My food choices have changed so much! And that's what has helped me keep off the initial 40+ lbs I lost three years ago.

But what's been keeping me from progressing is cutting back on how much food I eat. That's my big battle to overcome. I don't yet know what it'll take before overeating will lose it's charm for me. At this moment, I just finished dinner. I'm satisfied. Actually, I'm a little on the full side. I had (and this may not sound very appetizing to you all, but it's what I wanted) a sandwich made with two slices Julian Bakery Wonderful Bread, a tin of New Brunswick No Salt Sardines in water, a cup of homemade Greek split pea soup and a handful of roasted macadamia nuts. Close to 800 calories! But for the day, I only made it to 1555 calories. It's just after 8 p.m. There's a tempting cantaloupe in the fridge. I've got around 20 g each of protein, carbs and fat left on the books for the day. Do I just stay out of the kitchen? Do I just go to bed early? Did I really record everything I ate? But the cantaloupe is definitely healthy choice. One cup is just 54 calories. It would taste so good. But I'm so full. In fact, if I eat one more thing, I'll have heartburn and I'll have to stay up a few extra hours just to finish digesting before I go to bed...

...and what is it that's eating me tonight, that I should want to stuff it down with even more food? That's the real question here. I'm sitting at the computer writing, watching Les Miserable in Concert on PBS, two of my favorite distractions, and I'm still entertaining thoughts of eating more.

  • I'm uncomfortable from eating too much and I'm angry with myself for not stopping sooner.
  • There's a mountainous pile of laundry on my bed that needs to be folded and put away and I'm avoiding it.
  • One of my mother's very bossy friends called me this evening to tell me how much she did for my mother today and gave me further instructions on how to better care for her, and this woman only shows up once a month!
  • I feel guilty for not having spoken to my mother today, even though I spent time with her every day over the last seven days.
  • I'm angry because this week marks the first anniversary of my divorce and X is celebrating the first anniversary of his marriage to his new wife, just a week after what would have been our 27th anniversary.
  • And I want to CRUSH those memories and scour the anger and sadness that all that makes me feel!
Yes, that's a lot of what I'm trying to stuff here. I don't want to have these feelings. I want them to go away, because they block my creativity, they kill my compassion, they cripple my self-confidence. I don't have any solutions on the situation yet. I'm not sure what to do about it all. The laundry represents the mountain of things I need to do just to manage my daily life, my home, my children. My mother's friend represents the weight of expectation I feel every day, to care for my mother and her endless complexity of daily needs that I can't do all by myself and she can't seem to do at all for herself. And the anniversaries represent all the emotions I grapple with post-divorce, still. It all overwhelms me at times, and when I'm feeling like a deer caught in headlights, my go-to is overeating.

I learned from my EBT training that when I'm in a level-five state, there are three things to keep in mind:
  1. With a nurturing voice, I need to refrain from judging myself as well as other. At the moment, that's tough.
  2. Minimize harm. Okay, so stop eating...
  3. Know it will pass. Realistically, I know this to be true. But it seems to be a reoccurring theme lately, and it wears at me.
In order to keep these points to live by, maybe I'll do a needlepoint of these three points, frame and hang it on the wall of my bedroom, or paint the points on the cabinets above my kitchen sink instead of the "Give us this day our daily bread" that's up there right now.

Writing this blog entry has taken me about three hours total. In between feeling, thinking and writing, I finished watching Les Miserable. I also watched the latest episode of Ruby. OMG! That was moving! She's getting very close to discovering what's eating her. It made me realize how much I judged myself, even the very young me. Like Ruby, I have a hard time honoring myself as a child. I just want to be so far away from who I was back then. I don't identify at all with that little girl! Obviously I have more deep work to do.

The craving for the cantaloupe went away, briefly. Just over two-and-a-half hours after dinner was done, I'm feeling noshy again. And thirsty. Maybe I'm just thirsty. What if I didn't eat that bit of melon tonight? I wouldn't die. But I'm feeling anxiety rising. I'm sleepy as well. Maybe a cup of herbal tea is a better choice. And then I HAVE TO put away the laundry!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My afternoon snack

Breakfast and lunch were both tasty and healthy, lots of veggies and lean protein, fiber and low on carbs. So it's almost 2:30 p.m. and I am feeling quite noshy at the moment. Dinner's not till after 7, so I want to have something that's filling and will stay with me till later.

Picture courtesy of Steamy Kitchen
Oven-roasted cauliflower with bacon and garlic...I just found the recipe online here. I'm about to make it with chopped turkey bacon. I'm hoping the sweetness of the roasted garlic and cauliflower will get me past the urge to run down to Starbucks for one of their chocolate chip cookies! I don't always have sugar cravings, but since cutting my carbs even more, I can hear the cookies calling to me around this time of the day. It doesn't really help that Lodi smells of Cheerios most of the time!

Today my 13-year-old son Rhyan got a private training session at The Pilates Place. He's excited (there's a look on his face that I'm choosing to interpret as "excited") to be getting into better shape. Lori's got him working on running, back extensions, sit-ups, push-ups and pull-ups. We bought a pull up bar after class and he's already assembled and installed it over his bedroom door.

My baby is going to start jogging! Thank you Lori!

(Okay, while my cauliflower is roasting, I'm going to spend quality time with my treadmill and 10-lb. weights.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Oh, I ate too much...

I've had a full was a good day. I missed morning Pilates, so Lori texted me and invited me to the evening Toys class. That's Pilates with extra equipment. Damn, it was hard! Made me appreciate normal Pilates class all the more. We did things with foam rollers, rings and stretchy bands. Some things felt good. Some things were pretty impossible for me to accomplish, for now. When I get more weight off, then I can really work on getting up to speed for Toys.

So I came home to make dinner after class. Stir-fried turkey tenderloins with organic peppers, onions and broccoli. Finished with a little Thai fish sauce (a good alternative for those allergic to soy sauce), and served with a generous spoonful of Kashi Seven-Grain Pilaf. It was a bit on the salty side, so I drank a lot of water afterward. Now I feel stuffed! I think I'm ready for bed.

Today was the first day in a long time that I was able to keep carbs down below 100 gm. That's really what I'm shooting for these days, because it seems to be the only thing my body responds to when it comes to burning calories, keeping the carbs low. Stupid insulin resistance! Calories are still the same, around 1800. I can't seem to deal with lower calories than that. I would dearly love to see a consistent 1 lb/week loss. I can totally be patient with that! Because if I lost at that rate, I'd be 50lbs. lighter since my 49th birthday! So, even half that amount by my next birthday would be lovely!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Saturday breakfast...

This morning, I woke up to the smell of Trader Joe's chocolate croissants baking in the oven. I forgot I bought one of those boxes. My oldest, Quinn, decided to bake them for his girlfriend Crystal, who spent the night with us.

I was not planning to have one, so I avoided making direct eye-contact with them. Got a shower, weighed in (317), got the younger son Rhyan engaged in getting ready for taekwondo training, went to get my purse, came back to the kitchen to discover Rhyan ate half of the remaining croissant plus all the chocolate out of the middle! He'd already had a whole one! I chased him out to go brush his teeth and then the croissant and I had words...okay, I ate the equivalent of a quarter of the roll, then I tossed the rest into the trash. It was a struggle to do that, but I did it.

So I took Rhyan to taekwondo. Quinn and Crystal left for the day. It's just me and the dog. And I was genuinely hungry. Time to make the wise choice, the breakfast I really wanted: 2 cups organic baby spinach, sauteed in a little olive oil, 2 oz. cherry-smoked salmon (from The Market at Crush), 1 organic free-range Cadia egg (from Sheri's Sonshine Nutrition) and 3/4 cup free-range organic egg whites from Trader Joe's. Oh, and a big cup of Starbuck's Guatemala Antigua with half and half.

413 calories, 22 g fat, 10 g carbs, 7 g fiber, 41 g protein 

(No, that's not including the 1/4 chocolate croissant. For the moment, I'm going to pretend that never happened. But I'm still going to record it on my calorie tracker.)

Chloe want...but Mommy ate it all! I went a little high on protein for a single meal, but I've been doing more weight training and I'm feeling quite sore this morning.

Okay, Chloe. Let's go for a walk!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How I trick my kids (and even adults) into eating extra veggies

  1. Shredding veggies and adding them to spaghetti sauce or foods they already like - Veggies that work with this are mushrooms, eggplant, carrots, summer squash and winter squash. Finely chopped veggies in meatloaf. Creamy blended soups and chunky chili. Scalloped potatoes and additional sliced veggie layers. Macaroni and cheese with yellow crookneck squash. Ideas are endless!
  2. Calzone - homemade Hot Pockets filled with veggies, ground turkey and a little shredded mozzarella and ricotta cheese. You can make the crust with Trader Joe's whole wheat pizza dough!
  3. Yummy dips - tzatziki sauce is made of grated cucumbers (squeeze out all the juice and drink that), crushed garlic and salt, blended with strained plain Greek yogurt. Also, baba ganouj, which is roasted whole eggplant, peeled then blended with a red onion, garlic, tahini, parsley, lemon juice and salt. Can also do the same with roasted peppers.
  4. Mini veggie frittata "muffins" - eggs and milk blended with Parmesan cheese and any variety of finely chopped veggies. Bake them in greased muffin tins.
  5. Grilled or roasted veggies - sliced eggplant or zucchini, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, peppers, endive, radicchio, corn, fennel, mushrooms, cabbage, onions, and baby artichokes.
  6. Colorful layered salads - soft, tender butterleaf lettuce cups filled with layers of dressed shredded raw beets and carrots, marinated artichoke hearts, olives, chopped fresh green beans. Roll up the salad inside the lettuce leaf and eat it with your hands.
  7. This one's my favorite!!! Baby spinach tossed with chopped fresh garlic, chopped Canadian bacon, some chunks of feta cheese and shaved Parmesan and topped with a little olive oil. Place a single whole wheat pita in a pie dish, pile the spinach mix on top of the pita and bake at 350-degrees until the spinach has wilted down. You can make this sort of pizza with anything!
You have to understand that sneaking veggies into food they already like is a great way to get veggies into their bodies, but if they don't recognize that they're eating the veggies, then when they encounter them in real life, they won't know they've already been eating them. Mixing veggies they aren't accustomed to eating with veggies or foods they like, so that they can see the veggies, is a way of getting them to see they already eat the veggies. After about nine times of actually eating something, they will start accepting it more readily, and may even admit they like it!

Except for okra. No one should like okra. That's just sick! If you have to deep fry it in batter just to make it palatable, it's wrong!