Two weeks into my no-sugar challenge — and five pounds lighter

As the year started, my wife challenged me to go for the entire month of January without any added sugar treats. I made it official by blogging about it here. Like a lot of people, we had been eating treats during the pandemic that we normally would not have in the house, such as candy galore from Chicago candy icon Fannie May, or cakes from a local bakery, Tag’s.

The bakery started delivering during the pandemic, even small orders. How could we pass that up? Not well, and you can probably tell that, after 18 days without sugar, I’m now hallucinating about chocolate cake.

The good news, I’ve lost five pounds in the past two weeks or so. The bad news — I’m hungry all the time as I was when I first completely changed my eating habits after a first stent was put in back in 2012.

What would a celebrity trainer say about Drake's Yodels?
Favorites like these haven’t touched my lips yet this year!!!

I also find I’m substituting starchy things — like bagels, English muffins and even whole wheat bread. I had pretty much cut those from my diet in recent years but had some in the freezer this month and so have turned to them.

I did buy some price-reduced after-Christmas candy, M&Ms and chocolate to be specific, which are sitting in our pantry waiting for Feb. 1.

This experiment has reminded me that if you eat healthy, I mean really healthy which means cutting most salt, fat and sugar from your diet, weight loss becomes simple.

You cannot eat enough plain veggies to gain large amounts of weight. Believe me, you should see my broccoli portions these days!

A Record Year for Nosaltnofatnosugar.com Thank You All

We had a record number of visitors to our No Salt No Fat No Sugar Journal in 2020, more than 34,600 people, eclipsing our old record set in 2017.

“Covid and the move to more eating at home sent a lot of people looking for healthier recipes like we provide,” says site Founder and Editor John N. Frank. “While a lot of people were binging on chips and junk food, I’d like to think some realized they need to get the salt, fat and sugar out of their diets as they think more about what they eat every day.”

This site’s recipe page remains its most popular feature.

Frank started the blog in late 2012 after his first angioplasty to open a blocked artery which nearly killed him. He’s since had a second stent inserted in a different artery in 2017.

He has utilized his prior experience as a food journalist to find or modify recipes to get out the excessive salt, bad fats, and high amounts of sugar that many Americans eat every day without realizing what’s in their food.

Frank recently was named a 2020 top executive by Marquis’ Who’s Who in recognition of his career in journalism, his work on this blog, his efforts to start a small theater and his volunteer work with Mended Hearts, a national peer-to-peer support group for those dealing with heart disease.

“I’ve been stuck inside all year like everyone else but I’ve tried to keep busy,” he jokes.

Did You Miss National Cookie Day? It’s every day during the pandemic, apparently

Did you know Dec. 4 this year was National Cookie Day? Me either, but it’s ok because it seems like during this pandemic, every day is cookie day for many. many Americans. U.S. cookie demand is up 25% in the pandemic while global cookie demand (crisps in Britain) is up 31.6%, found integrated marketing network Top Global LLC.

And almost all Americans, 95%, eat at least one cookie per month, Top Global found in its research. Roughly four in 10 of us eat many more than that (see the table here, provided by Top Global).

Top Global also has a map of the United States showing cookie consumption by state, along with data on which cookies are most popular where; just click here to see all that…and then have a cookie to celebrate 2020 being almost over!

Covid-19 cooking trends: Everyone is making banana bread, apparently

I just finished blogging about one study on how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted American cooking and eating habits. And now a second study has crossed my desk, this one looking at the most searched for recipes since the pandemic began.

Banana bread (which I don’t like or eat, by the way) was the number one recipe searched for in all 50 states in April, found Bid on Equipment.

Tiny Rhode Island had the most searches for banana bread recipes, followed by New Jersey and Washington state.

So obviously the country likes banana bread more than I do and is finding some comfort in making it. More interesting, because of the range of choices, is which recipes came in second in every state. Regional differences can clearly be seen there. Continue reading “Covid-19 cooking trends: Everyone is making banana bread, apparently”

First salad of 2020…and so it begins

The start of any year is notorious for people resolving to lose some weight. Indeed, all the major weight-loss programs already are running ads to attract new clients this time of year.

Like millions of others, I’m resolving to drop some pounds this year too. But I don’t use any commercial diet plans. Rather, I merely need to return to what I was eating after having my first angioplasty in 2012.

Following that surgery, I dropped 25 pounds by cutting out everything I enjoyed — red meat, candy, cookies, doughnuts, cake, rich, creamy ethnic foods (think most things from Europe), high-salt ethnic foods (think anything from Asia).

Sadly, after three years of that, I began slipping back, mainly with M&Ms and cream-filled doughnuts, until, in 2017, I was forced to have a second angioplasty to open yet another blocked artery.

That second surgery really had me questioning whether changing my diet had any impact on my artery-health, since it seemed like the answer was a resounding no.

So for the past two years, I’ve been eating much more junk food than before and have gained back that 25 pounds I lost. That officially makes me a fat old man these days and I don’t like that image. So I’m starting all over again.

Here’s today’s lunch salad which I made at home. Restaurant salads are normally load with salt, fat and sugar, avoid them or strip them down to their basics if you must eat one.

I try to add as much as possible to the basic spring greens lettuce mix to give the salad some texture. Here’s a look at ingredients before I built the salad. The only thing missing in this photo is the turkey I put on. That’s leftover from our low-salt Christmas turkey.

The feta cheese is fat-free and the olives (in that black liquid) are low-salt. The beets are sold at Costco, they’re sealed and shelf-stable, not the jarred ones that are loaded with salt.

The mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumbers and even the lettuce mix were on sale at a local supermarket. Eating healthy is expensive, so always shop the sales each week to find deals.

I topped all this with olive oil (a so-called good fat) and balsamic vinegar.

Happy 2020 eating everyone!!!

Soda tax can cut consumption, new study finds

Soda makers for years have lived in fear of local soda taxes that would hurt their businesses. When one passed on Cook County, Ill. where I live, a massive lobbying effort was launched that successfully repealed it.

My Super Big Gulp days are over when it comes to diet soda, I given it up for water on the advice of nutritionists...who didn't mention arsenic in water could be a cause of my heart troubles.
Should sugar-sweetened beverages be taxed?

Advocates of such taxes have cast them as public health issues, but here it was cast simply as a way to raise needed tax dollars. The thinking was the health argument is a hard one to sell to consumers who don’t want to give up their soda.

When soda taxes are enacted, they do cut consumption. The latest study on the topic, looking at a soda tax enacted by Berkeley, California, in 2014 shows that once again.

Consumption there dropped by half in the three years following the law’s passage, found a study  done by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. Continue reading “Soda tax can cut consumption, new study finds”

Ever hear of the 80/20 Diet? It wouldn’t work for me

So many diet plans come and go, it’s always amusing to me how people think a specific plan could be the answer to all their eating and health problems. This piece I saw recently talks about the 80/20 Diet, which I hadn’t heard about before.

MY half slice of Junior's chocolate mousse cheesecake, Mmmmmmm.
MY half slice of Junior’s chocolate mousse cheesecake, Mmmmmmm.

Basically, it says it you eat healthy 80% of the time, you can splurge on junk food the other 20%, presumably on weekends which we tend to think of as rest and party time.

If you can be that mathematical about your eating, more power to you. I’m an all-or-nothing type of person, which means I either have to eat healthy all the time, or I eat junk food every single day. Continue reading “Ever hear of the 80/20 Diet? It wouldn’t work for me”

Ever eat and still feel hungry? This may explain it

Are you full yet? My wife tends to ask me that every time we eat and I usually reply, no, I’m never really full.

Is that really possible or am I just focusing feeling stuffed with being full? As it turns out, apparently you can eat some foods that just leave you feeling hungry. I was intrigued by that idea when I saw this headline 12 Foods That Leave You Hungry  on WebMD, so I clicked through to view the list.

my egg white omelet apparently isn;t filling me up.

Of the foods listed, I eat low-fate yogurt and egg whites regularly on advice from various nutritionists I’ve seen since my first angioplasty back in 2012. And doughnuts, french fries and diet soda are on my regular cheat list as well, so that’s five out of the 12. No wonder I never feel full. Check the list to see how many of your favorites are on it. Two I have cut out since  2012 are white bread and white rice.

Have some bad eating habits? Here are ways to break those

Bad eating, binge eating, eating lots of sugar, salt and fat — all are ways to say we have bad eating habits.

Like to over-eat? Try this quiz that may help you break that and other bad habits.

A new year is always a good time to resolve to break such bad habits, it’s a fresh start after all, isn’t it?

So try taking this WebMD quiz on how to break bad habits. Some of the answers it gives (you have to answer questions and then get told if you gave the right or wrong answer, may surprise you. The correct answers will give you tips on how to best break bad habits.

 

Looking for a diet plan? Here’s how U.S. News ranks the plans

I’ve said before this is not a diet site, its a site for helping you cut the salt, fat and sugar from your daily food intake (ok, diet). If you cut all three of those, chances are you’ll be losing weight because you will simply be eating less.

But that said, it’s January and this is when everyone realizes how much they over-ate during the year-end Holiday season and so searches for the best diet to help them drop some pounds.

The Keto Diet got lots of press in 20918, but it’s not at the top of the list of best diets U.S. News has put out for 2019. Number one is the Mediterranean Diet which I think of as very old-school since it’s been around, and recommended by healthcare professionals, for some time. Continue reading “Looking for a diet plan? Here’s how U.S. News ranks the plans”

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