Saturday, January 07, 2006

Don't Feed the Writer

I was fairly disciplined about food through the holidays, and as a result gained only three pounds instead of the usual ten to fifteen. Those three have got to go, though, so the pup and I will be taking some extra walks this month.

My diet is gradually meandering back to vegetarian, so I'm experimenting with salads, looking through old cookbooks and trying to find new ways to liven up steamed and raw veggies, along with hunting down new online recipe resources and trying to balance out my cockeyed food pyramid.

My biggest problem with balancing my diet is the milk/dairy requirement. I'm supposed to have two cups of milk or something dairy per day. I can't stand milk or milk substitutes; they make me throw up and have since I was a kid. All other dairy products including ice cream and cheese just don't appeal to me much anymore (I'm also mildly to moderately lactose intolerant.) I take my calcium supplement every day, like every good middle-aged girl should, but the doc says it's not enough. I have to find two cups of some sort of natural dairy product that I can handle daily. If I just didn't have to smell or taste it, that would work (someone please invent cottage cheese gel caps for me.)

More info:

Marcia Golub has a cute article, The Writer's Diet, or How to Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind" here.

World builders with primitive cultures might find this article on modern vs. primitive diets interesting.


  1. I've been living off tabouleh this week. I add cucumber, tomato, red onion, and toasted pine nuts to my tabouleh salad. Toasted pine nuts turn a good tabouleh into a great tabouleh.

  2. Anonymous8:04 AM

    Well, I eat absolutely no dairy, and I haven't for years. And dairy isn't the only source of calcium in nature by a along shot.

  3. Try plain yogurt. Add frozen strawberries (those naturally frozen in their own juice are better than those frozen in syrup), a touch of raw honey and blend.

    I use a 16 oz container of yogurt and an 8 oz tub of strawberries with two tbsps of honey.

    You can either freeze this mixture and eat it like ice cream or keep it in the fridge for up to two weeks.

    Its low sugar, low carb, high calcium, high protein, and high vitamin C. Minimum one-cup/day (not per serving).

    For variations: add mint leaves; or
    peppermint oil; or
    banana flavoring; to the above.
    Or instead of strawberries, use
    mandarin oranges; or
    an 8 oz package of frozen blue or mixed berries.

    A complete variation is instead of the honey, half the juice (or all if you double the portions I mention above) of a can (12-16 oz) of mixed fruit, pears, or apricots. Then use the fruit of the can instead of the strawberries.

    I store (in either the fridge or freezer) the blended mixture in the original yogurt and berry tubs. Though I've not kept it frozen for more than three months, it did not change taste or develop frostbite by being just in the plastic.

    If you can stand it (it is definitely an acquired taste), try cottage cheese with canned figs (including juice). Its more sugar, but high vitamins-including calcium.

    Have you considering eating more spinach? It has a lot of calcium too.
    I like the frozen chopped packages (and their contents too, haha) steamed, with almost-no calorie 'butter' spray and Lowry's Salt-Free 17 Herb Blend. You can get this at Sam's Club in bulk or if you're not a fan of Wal-mart, most grocery chains carry the small bottle at a higher price.

    I'm not a foodie. I just eat that way. ;)

  4. Cottage cheese with a little jello instant pudding powder is good--esp the cheesecake flavored but it gets thick so you have to add a dab of water.

    Also I get the Minute Maid OJ with Calcium (the kids one with all the extra vitamins) for me because I'm lactose intollerant.

  5. There was a book published on calcium--can't think of the title--that listed other types of food that contained lots of calcium. Broccoli is something that has a lot of calcium in it.

    Lactose warning: Cottage cheese has a lot of lactose in it.

  6. You might try making Indian style vegetarian dishes. Indians know how to make vegetables taste fabulous, and many of them use plain (not French Vanilla: don't ask how I know this) yogourt as a sauce base*.

    The depth and variety of Indian spices can be intimidating, but once you've used them a few times they become pretty easy.

    * Correct me if I'm wrong: don't many lactose intolerant people handle yogourt fairly well?

  7. Broccoli and green leafy veggies are supposed to be high in calcium.


  8. Interesting article. So it's not the German rye bread with the big slab of home made butter and wild boar bacon, together with the glass of unpasteurised milk directly from the cow that's my problem, but the chocolate afterwards. :-)

  9. I think Dean's right about lactose-intolerant people being okay with yogurt. I wouldn't know for sure since we didn't have any instruction in nutrition in med school. Zero, zip, nada.

    But I know for sure Dean's Indian recommendation is spot on. Our favorite Indian restaurant in the L.A. area was vegetarian. I wonder whether lentils are rich in calcium?

    Gabriele, don't forget that fat slice of cheesecake -- oh, wait. That's a good source of calcium, too ;o)

  10. I can't drink milk either and as for yogurt, I've always wondered how you can tell if it's going bad. Does it start to smell and taste good?

    Both beet greens and spinach are good sources of calcium. So are figs, rhubarb, and canned wild salmon with the bones as well as calcium fortified orange juice.

    And after a lot of trial and error (and a dozen different brands)I found a soy milk I can drink. I didn't try them all myself. My husband sampled each one and eliminated all the disgusting ones and I tried the 3 that were left. And no I didn't take shameless advantage of him. He got a backrub for every two he tried.

  11. Anonymous1:10 PM

    Hi PBW - If you're already leaning towards a vegetarian diet, you may really appreciate the book called The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell. It contains research findings on the connection between animal protein (especially dairy) and disease (we are actually all "dairy intolerant" and for very good reason).

    The book is the result of the most comprehensive study ever conducted on this topic and is well-written and documented, so people can both understand the science and followup on the works cited. I can't recommend this book enough to people who are interested in reaching for a healthy and disease-free life.

    Best Wishes,

  12. I love milk, hubby is slightly intolerent of it.

    Did you try those chewy calcium suppliments? The ones that are chocolate or caramel flavored?

    I have the complete opposite diet. I love milk, I hate veggies. Hubby is lucky to get me to choke down on green beans every once in a while.

    I'll drink your milk if you'll eat my veggies. :p

  13. You're getting tons of advice, and chances are you probably know all of this, but here's a link anyway:

    According to Alton Brown, Who Knows All, yogurt is a good source of calcium that is friendly to lactose intolerant people. I am blessedly not lactose intolerant, as I love just about everything dairy, and it's never been a problem for me to get my daily intake.

    For my money, my favorite vegetarian cookbook ever is Crescent Dragonwagon's (yes, that's really her name)Passionate Vegetarian. Crescent is herself a writer (of children's books), and all her recipes come with some chatter about why it's in the cookbook.

    Oh, and the recipes are freakin' awesome.

  14. Yogurt smoothie:

    1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
    1/2 banana
    1/2 cup 1% milk
    1 tablespoon of sugar
    Enough frozen fruit to make it thick=
    Or you can put part frozen fruit and part ice, depending on how much fruit you want to eat.
    You can put vanilla, if you want.

    Blend it together and drink. It's one cup of milk products and it doesn't taste like milk. :)


  15. Oh, I forgot--this recipe isn't written in stone. You can adjust the proportions to your taste. Substitute honey (half the amount) if you don't want sugar. It's just a basic yogurt smoothie recipe Paul and I worked out and really enjoy. :)


  16. Have you tried organic milk? I started drinking organic when I realized I could not stand the Lactaid milk taste anymore -- I'm lactose intolerant and love milk, what a combination.

    With organic milk, I don't have the usual milk reaction and I love love love the taste. Also, it makes sense to get rid of the growth hormone when I'm trying to lose weight! :)

  17. Anonymous4:39 PM

    The only diet that worked for me was the Atkins low carb diet. Two and a half years ago I lost around 32 Kg on it. Then I was made redundant and feeling very low I looked for comfort foods (with loads of carbs). Needless to say I put it all back and some more. Now I try again to go to my low carb diet, but somehow I am so addicted to high carbs that I did not managed to stay steady on it. Probably it's better to just adopt a pup ;o). That would mean more exercise and the excuse to walk in the fields.

  18. If lactose intolerance is the main reason you don't like milk, there's a few lactose free milks out now that taste good. My son and husband are lactose interolant, the DH is a Native Alaskan and a lot of Native cultures, for some reason, don't tolerate dairy very well.

    Of course, if it's the taste... eh... can't help you there.

    One good way to get extra Calcium, plus the other vitamins you need is taking prenatal vitamins. They also have the Vitamin D that a lot of people who don't each much dairy need. That was one of the things we recommended when I was still doing nursing with grown ups.

    A good one was by GNC, at their stores or thru Their prenatal vitamins was one of the better ones you can get without an RX.

    i've been doing a lot of research on prehistoric Native American cultures for a possible project and I've read some scary stuff about their diets.

  19. Try rice milk (vanilla flavored) as a milk substitute -- it's what I use. It's lactose free and doesn't have the icky aftertaste that soy milk has. Even my six-year-old daughter switched from regular milk without complaint.

    I also agree with reading "The China Study" -- good book and has me meandering over to a vegetarian lifestyle as well.

    Good luck!!

  20. I'm with Claudia and Marianne on The China Study.

    Oh, and Buddy is adorable (I must have messed up word verification on my comment for him).

  21. Anonymous6:34 AM

    I'm not a dairy fan either...(except ice cream*grin*) My Dr. said one of the best natural sources of Calcium is raw brocolli. In case that helps. (and really, not sure my Dr. is right..but never know)

  22. In reply to Dean:
    I've literally never heard of a lactose-intolerant Indian. Must be in the genes.

    PBW, I have a ton of Indian vegetarian tried-and-tested recipes. wendelinATgmailDOTcom, if you're interested, I've got a convenient little Word document. I can't eat very spicy stuff either, so my recipes are probably OK for the non-Indian palate.. :)

  23. Re yogurt: I have also heard that you can eat yogurt if you are lactose intolerant, but it simply is not true for me.

    However, as Lass mentioned, organic milk does not cause me any trouble. I thought I must be crazy. I'm glad someone else had the same reaction to it.

    Also, I saw an article in the vegetarian times a few years ago about calcium and if I remember correctly kale is the best non-dairy source. There is also calcium in sunflower seeds and blackstrap molassses.


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