In Case Boo Radley Was a Vegan

Hello there! As promised, in my recent To Kill A Mockingbird reference post [no mockingbirds were harmed in the creation of this post], here are the grilling recipes!

Now, since I spent that last post more or less devoted to meat and meat-eating persons, I am going to post a “tribute” if you will to my raw eating Vegan friends out there in the blogosphere

Allow me to share with you a few Grilled Vegetable recipes:

 

Bell Peppers

 grilled-peppers

After cleaning, Brush each pepper with 2 tsp of olive or truffle oil to taste

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese * optional

Cut** the four sides, or “faces”, from the pepper and grill each for 3-5 minute per side

**Note, it is up to you if you cut the peppers or not. Feel free to leave them whole or even slice into more narrow segments, fajita style.

Zucchini/Eggplant

grilled zuccini

After cleaning, Brush each zucchini/eggplant with 2 tsp of olive or truffle oil to taste

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese * optional

Cut in to long spears or round discs about 1/4 inch thick and place on grill for 2-3 mins per side

Asparagus

grilled-asparagus

Asparagus_bacon_wrapped

**NOTE** Sorry Vegan readers, I had to sneak in one more Carnivorous possibility…

After cleaning, Brush each spear with 1 tsp of olive or truffle oil to taste

Sprinkle with lemon juice, sea salt, and Parmesan cheese * optional ; bacon **doubly optional.

Feel free to skewer longitudinally to help keep the spears from slipping through the cracks.

Keep in mind, grilling times vary significantly with thickness of spears – – -really thin spears could be done in as little as 2 mins; thicker spears could take up to 8 mins

Sweet Potatoes

sweet pots grilled

After thoroughly cleaning the skin [leave skins on, that’s where the nutrients are!], Brush each spud with 2 tsp of olive or truffle oil to taste

Sprinkle with sea salt and nutmeg * optional

Lots of versatility here: you can cut in to quarterly spears, thin spears [fry style], or rounds [chip style].

Depending on how you cut them the grill time will vary. Aim for tender in the fleshy part when tested with a toothpick

Feel free to pre-cook in the microwave before-hand – then the grill is more for aesthetic purposes and that extra crunch, but it’s already largely cooked

Maize-de-Quatro

That’s right. Corn on the cob – 4 ways.

Let’s make the Pilgrims proud, people.

FOBIGF02

First and foremost, if you want great corn on the cob, it all starts with the pre-soak:

1. Peel back the husks and silk [but don’t totally remove]

2. Soak the cobs in cold water for 20 mins

3. Add ingredients to corn [see below for options]

4. Place on grill over medium heat for 10-15 mins, turning every 5 mins until the kernels are tender and brown spots begin to appears

5. Remove from heat and let cool before biting into

OPTION #1: Maize Mexicano

Brush with olive oil and squeeze fresh lime juice on

Sprinkle with chili powder and cayenne pepper

OPTION #2 Maize Italiano

Brush with olive oil based basil pesto

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and garlic powder

OPTION #3 Maize Non -Vegano a.k. Maize Bacono

Wrap cob in lean, nitrate free bacon

Last but not least, now that we’ve covered the Meat and Veggies, let’s talk BEER. Depending on which combination of meats and veggies you decide to host, you will want to stock the coolers with particular brews. Normally I wouldn’t advocate for the empty calories of beverages, but, a good craft beer has high levels of trace minerals that help keep calcium from leeching out of bones. Just don’t imbibe too much: stick to no more than 24 oz at your party. Beyond that the health risks outweigh the benefits. And for the record, there are virtually no health benefits to the Hard Ciders, Hard lemonades, and wine cooler-type drinks. They are glorified soft drinks that you end up wasting hundreds of calories on.

brooklynbeers2PORTER – if you are grilling a thick steak, compliment it with the caramel, chocolate, and coffee notes of a craft Porter beer

SAISON – if you are going all Vegan, compliment it with the spicy, floral, and agave-like notes of a craft Saison

AMERICAN WHEAT – if you are serving up some seafood on the grill, compliment it with the earthy, yet floral notes of a good ‘ol ‘Merica Wheat craft brew

AMERICAN PALE ALE –  from lean chicken to bison burgers, this versatile brew compliments the whole spectrum with it’s classic, citrus goodness

AMBER ALE/LAGER – another Vegan favorite, this sweeter-side brew pairs wonderfully with the caramelized nature of grilled vegetables

Keep in mind, the darker the beer, the more calories it is going to have.

Per 12 oz can most beers range from 95 to 300 calories

Because, Somehow, We Ended Up With More Than One Idiot in Each Village…

Daily Post Jeopardy

 

ANSWER : Soft drinks, electronics, nutrient-free snacks — you can get all of those from a vending machine. But what type of vending machine is sorely needed but doesn’t yet exist?

Question: What is,  The Vending Machine of Common Sense!

 

SNL2

**cue syndicated audience clapping**

 

Consider placing one in front of every Fortune Telling studio,

fortune teller

Within every hospital proudly selling McDonald’s and Arby’s at it’s cafeteria,

Hospital-dining

And discretely behind the counter of every pawn shop knowingly in a drug trafficking area

 

🙂

The Day Boo Radley Came to a Cookout and Cancer Left

 

Alright, well I alluded to it a few posts ago: Swim Suit Season is either upon us again, or still, depending on where you live.

No, this is not another “Beach Ready Abs in 7 days!” gimmicky article.

Which, by the way, can I just say I despise those articles? If it were truly possible to get abs in 7 days without depriving yourself of the water you need to stay hydrated and the fibrous foods you need to stay…regular – there would be no obesity epidemic. It would be a small, scale contagion at most.

Now, I’m not saying that to take the wind out of your proverbial beach-ready sails, I’m saying it because it’s true.

And far too often we get our hopes up for something we truly want [who doesn’t want abs in 7 days??] and when we are made to believe it is attainable… and then we fail… it is devastating and further endorses the notion that being healthy is just too hard. And we must not be very good at it.

Oh- contraire.

Like your favorite pizza made with high-quality ingredients, we can only be expected to be as “good” at something as the tools with which we have to work with. The tools those beauty mags “equip” you with for getting abs in 7 days may be grounded in partial truths [i.e. fibrous foods such as kale and beans can indeed make you bloat – but normally only if you restrict water intake, which that article probably suggests too – wouldn’t want any excess water retention that’s so unsexy…; it is also true that salt can make you bloat… But salt is needed in small amounts along with water to keep you hydrated at a cellular level] so all in all – – Like the teenage boys those hormone charged magazines seem to be written by, they offer too many mixed, unfounded messages, making for a poor health competency gauge.

Shew. I feel better getting that off my chest.

Yes, it was arguably cruel for me to use pizza as a metaphor in that example.

Hopefully you aren’t too upset with me, as delicious food was sort of the focal point of the rest of this article…

Time to chat about that uninvited guest at your backyard cookout.

Ants?

Mosquitoes?

The neighbor on the corner house that reminds you of Boo Radley?

No, no, no.

Well, wait, technically: yes, yes, and… maybe?

Those can all put on a damper on things. Unless it really is Boo Radley. I’ve always wanted a fictional character at my cookout. Great conversation piece, no?

Ok, ok, back to center: For the purposes of this article, the answer we were looking for was: Carcinogens.

I’m sure you’ve heard the schtick before: Grilling foods causes cancer!!!

But wait, fried foods cause fatness.

Microwave foods cause radiation.

Boiled foods cause nutrient depletion

Raw foods cause salmonella, E. Coli, Mad Cow, and tapeworm [for good measure]**

SO… what are we to do?

Time to clarify this and sort through the scare tactics for some facts.

The facts are these:

  • Grilles can get up to 640 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Cooking meat at high temperatures above 500 degree Fahrenheit has been shown to generate Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons [PAHs] and Heterocyclic Amines [HCA]
  • PAHs and HCA have been shown to causes cancer in laboratory rats as well linked to stomach and colon/rectal cancers in humans across longitudinal studies.
  • Meat and poultry produce the highest levels of PAH/HCA because they have the highest levels of amino acids and creatine [building blocks for protein]; Seafood has lower levels, and vegetable by products [i.e. veggie burgers] and vegetables themselves [i.e. squash, asparagus, tomatoes] have little to no PAH/HCA because the amino and creatine precursors aren’t as abundant.
  • Additionally, Meat and Poultry have the highest levels of PAH/HCA because, even at their leanest, they have a higher fat content then their vegetable counterparts. The fat content comes into play because whenever fat drips on a heating element [think flames and charcoal], the PAH/HCA are formed on contact and then waft back up in the smoke and can land on the food where they are cooked into those deliciously, crispy charred pieces. SO sad. But so true.
  • From the looks of the research, you would have to eat a considerable amount of charred food and abandon most anti-oxidant foods [think berries, tea, coffee, green veggies] to wind up with cancer that could be solely attributed to our little PAH/HCA friends. However, don’t tempt fate, at least not when preventative measures are so simple.

Here are a few simple preparatory steps you can take to reduce your chances of consuming even low levels of carcinogens at your next cook out:

Pick a lean meat to begin with and trim extra fat [based on a 6oz serving]

i.      Top Sirloin Steak [240 calories, 30 g protein, 12 g fat]

top sirloin

ii.      London Broil [165 calories, 36 g protein, 5g fat]

london broil

iii.      96% Lean Ground Beef [195 calories, 33 g protein, 7 g fat]

96 lean ground

iv.      Pork Tenderloin [185 calories, 36 g protein, 4 g fat]

pork-tenderloin

v.      Chicken Breast [187 calories, 40 g protein, 2 g fat]

chicken-breast

vi.      Turkey Cutlets [180 calories, 42 g protein, 1 g fat]

turkey cutlets

Take noteprocessed meats like bratwurst, sausages, and hot dogs that have casings and nitrites are linked to carcinogens on their own accord, even without grilling, so eat those sparingly and opt for kosher, non-nitrite options when you can

Marinate your meat

Use dark beer – [ don’t argue] recent studies have shown that the darker the beer, the greater the power to diffuse HCA/PAH. Sorry Miller Light won’t cut it. Just one more reason to love craft beer. Consider a Porter or Stout

Use spices – a combination of cloves, rosemary, oregano, and thyme has been shown to protect the fat content from oxidizing and thus reducing carcinogens

Pre-cook meat in microwave to reduce open flame exposure time

Pretty self explanatory. Cook to about 85 % of cooked-ness [if you will]. This is especially a good idea if you have not thawed out the meat – – frozen meat directly on the grille is one of the best way to seal in HCA/PAH because the internal temperature is never consistent with the outer

Try a gas grille

Cooks at a lower temperature than charcoal and is easier to control the temperature

If you do use Charcoal, opt for hardwood charcoal, as it burns at lower temperatures than mesquite or other soft woods

Drain off the juices [which contain highest levels of HCA]

Worried your meat will be uber-dry if you lose the juice? Try the “tenting method” : place your meat on a cutting board or plate and drape aluminum foil loosely over the top; do NOT wrap it to the plate; leave for 5 mins; the steam will help force the redistribution of juices already inside the meat and help keep the whole piece moist

Lastly, Clean your grille after each use!

 

Check back later this week when I post some of my favorite grilled vegetable recipes [think Garlic Truffle Corn-on-the-Cob and Pesto Zucchini] and share which beers go best with which foods.

 

Until next time,

Live  Well.

Post-script:

Some of you may be wondering why, as a fitness guru, I am espousing these seemingly “rich” foods. It’s less devious than you might imagine. All things in moderation. When you eat quality food, your body thanks you. You feel satisfied because your body is getting the nutrients it needs. Steer clear of any summer diet that has you skipping meals, substituting a bunch of sugar-free, fat-free options, or eating just a few of the same items over and over.

 

 

** I know my True Raw Food Diet and Vegans out there are cheering right now.

“Ha-ha!”, they will say. “We don’t have to worry about any of that!”

At least scan the article and be an ambassador for all your non-raw friends.

 

 

 

And Then There Were 31

No this is not an Agatha Christie remake.

Although, she was definitely on to something.

Allow me to explain.

In 2010 USDA conducted a survey and found that “only 0.25% of 12,845 samples of drinking water and food contained pesticide residues above tolerance limits set by the EPA. [Environmental Protection Agency]” Therefore:“The report concluded that pesticide residues pose no safety risk through food”

Well terrific! Give a point to the written art of the Media Skew… 0.25% is written in a way that looks negligible.

As negligible as the EPA/USDA needs you to believe it is. 0.25% = 0.0025.

But out of 12,845 that is still 32 samples.

32 samples.

SO if each person was given one sample, 32 people would have been exposed to unsafe levels of the pesticide – an event that has been strictly tied to a spectrum of disorders beginning with attention/learning deficits in childhood and progressing to neuro-degenerative conditions [like Parkinson’s] later in life.

If you are one of the 32 people …you may start to question the EPA’s thought process, yes?

Even if you aren’t, keep in mind that was ONE sample on ONE day.

Perhaps tomorrow you are one of the 32.

Or should I say, 31.

The real world is not confined to a controlled laboratory.

Is it just me or would it it be a lot more helpful if scientists are going to spend their time researching that they actually work with Governing bodies to publish the information in a way that values health instead of bank accounts?

But alas, lots of money to be saved using all those pesticides [increased crop yields, etc*]; lots of money to be made on all those pharmaceuticals to treat those spectrum symptoms I mentioned…

I know, I know you thought that pesticides were a thing of the past… what with DDT gone some 42 years ago at this point… sadly no.

I mean, well yes, DDT is off the shelves, but we just replaced it with something else.

A little something called Organophosphates.

MMMMM organophosphates – organic pesticides, how….green!

Oh yes, I will drive my Prius over to the factory right now and thank them personally.

Don’t be fooled my dear readers.

It may have the word “organo” [no this is not Spanish for organ] in it but they are anything but. Organophosphates are a by-product of WWII where they were used as nerve agents. That’s right… that warm, fuzzy feeling you get isn’t because it’s organic, that’s the feeling of your acetylcholine neurotransmissions being blocked and your nervous system being hacked warfare-style.

Oh, and also, a few others studies are confirming that in-utero contact with these organophosphates [meaning, the mom came into contact with them through food/water] has been linked to disturbances in testosterone and estrogen production for the unborn baby. Laure Vandenberg of Tufts University Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology reviewed 800+ of these in-utero type cases and had this to say, “Chemicals that mimic hormones, even in low doses, can have a profound effect on the biology of our bodies”.

The hormone disruption was so extreme in some animal studies that the animals were literally turned into hermaphrodites bearing both male and female reproductive organs.

While direct animal to human comparisons can’t [and shouldn’t] be made, when you consider the size differential of brains between say frogs and humans – it could just be a dispersion issue and humans chronically exposed for say 40+ yrs could develop increased symptomology that shows up in just a few months in the frogs….Yes?  Either way, any sort of [involuntary] chemical-induced hormonal disturbance should be seen a red flag.

Unfortunately, it rarely is.

Most case studies that show adverse effect on animals are not removed from the market until they can be confirmed to be comparably lethal to humans.

I’m not going to call PETA, but it does sort of beg the question as to why even bother if we end up testing humans anyways and it has to go badly [aka severe health deficits, possibly death] before change is considered. I’m thinking… if the rats keel over and the male frog gets a vagina… it’s probably not good long term for any living, breathing thing on Earth. Unless we all wanted to just be able to reproduce by ourselves.

Interesting theory.

No more alimony, though.

While you are contemplating the pros of cons of having sex with yourself, let me just share one last thing – a quick supermarket guide to show the foods most commonly sprayed with pesticides that you may want to consider buying organic or washing really well.

Or both. Those hands that put all those peaches on display could have just …

 

pesticides

Handy-dandy cut out one for your wallet

Handy-dandy cut out one for your wallet

* In case you are thinking “but we need those crop yields! There are starving people! If we lost even more crops to insects, how would we feed all those starving people???”.

My dear Reader. It is a misappropriation of food we have. Not a scarcity. We feed more food to Livestock than is generated from the Livestock.

p.s. Whose idea was that? That’s like when I found out it costs 5.7cents to manufacture a $1 bill. So right off the bat it is only worth 94.3 cents.

That Day You Missed in Psych 101…A Continuation of Tough Love

OK, so normally I am not a fan of piggy-back blogging, but I suppose I can make an excuse so long as it is shrouded in self-bias, right?

Ah, yes the American Way.

Ok, so you all read one of my Recent Posts where I chatted about the probable connections between your Personality Type and your fitness goal success rate, yes?

Well, if not, shame on you for missing that day in class and your mulligan opportunity a decade [+] later.

Go ahead, redeem yourself, and click the convenient hyperlink above.

And in case you need a laugh along with your redemption, view this 14 seconds of Hollywood glory below:

 

Moving right along, now that you know about some of the benefits [and pitfalls] your personality may be having on your health – what if I told you that I came across some information that linked your personality type to your… paycheck?

Intriguing isn’t it?

Now, there are a lot of routes I could have chosen to go with this.

Some as philosophical as:

“Those scoring High on Conscientiousness and Agreeableness may tend towards careers in Social Services”.
Thus [as I can personally attest] rendering themselves to a life of “over-worked and under-paid” status while always garnering the “oh my gosh, that is so great” cooing and head-tilting nods of admiration at cocktail parties when the formidable cocktail question “SO what do YOU do” rears its socially mandated head.

In other words, their personality type drove them towards a career that happens to be on the low end of paychecks, while those scoring High in Extroversion have a higher tendency towards glamorous careers in Hollywood and thus bring home a larger paycheck [which of course they will need to pay their rehab bills, and get hooked up with a Therapist…who, wait just a minute…is part of that Social Services sector we just discussed…Ah yes, the Circle of Life, round it goes…].

As fascinating as that angle for this topic is, I am going to stay a bit more localized, and discuss factors within the workplace that operate on a continuum inside each profession.

First things first, this information is NOT indicated to infer that a stellar personality can take the place of things like job experience, skill set, and those minor details things like that PhD that separates you from your surgeon – especially in the Operating Room.

Disclaimer aside, take a look at how some researchers are drawing conclusions about how your personality could be interacting with your paycheck:

magnet moneyNeuroticism: Particularly interesting findings here… you would think that those High on this spectrum would pull in the big bucks because of their perfectionism and tendencies towards work-a-holism; however, according to some researchers at Cornell University, the opposite was true, at least at the managerial level: those scoring above average on Neuroticism pulled an average of $36, 000 LESS than their less Neurotic peers.

Wow! Now, take this with a grain of salt, I don’t know much about the sample size here or what field of work they tested in…$36K for a McDonalds hamburger flipper is far more dramatic than for a successful Wolf on Wall Street. But, all things being equal, I think it does interject an interesting question – is your perfectionism helping you or hurting you? It may hurt you in the long run if it reduces productivity [because you have 15 drafts of everything] and makes you quick to frustration when things change last minute or tasks don’t go the way originally planned. High neurosis can even lead you to adopt a more “closed-door policy” as you bunker-down to complete tasks and miss out on social elements around your workplace that are often evaluated [sometimes subconsciously] during reviews. Remember, just because you graduated high school, doesn’t mean that the popularity contests are over – they still go on just disguised in adult versions. Balance your perfectionism with a bit of light-hearted schmoozing for best results.

Ah, yes, schmoozing, no longer just a term used by your dear, old Bubbe [ Jewish Nana], in fact it is a perfect segue into Extraversion.

According to a study done by Social Psychologist Daniel Spurk, those scoring High in Extraversion were more likely to earn 6-figure incomes.

Why?

Spurk suggests,“They set higher career advancement goals’; plus, they’re more confident”.

I would venture to say a lot of it has to do with the schmoozing aspect. In this day and age, it is 80% about WHO you know and 20% about WHAT you know. That is either really good or really bad depending on how much networking you care to do. Take note, there is an art to schmoozing, if you are too obvious about networking intentions, it can turn some people off from doing business with you. It is best to be genuine and make collaborative alliances – that is to say, don’t hog the spotlight but show the other person in your words and actions how their involvement with YOU will benefit them as well.

Just make sure not to cross the line and sell yourself short in the Doormat Land…Behavior Researcher Charlice Hurst finds that “Nice Guy [can] finish last”… to the tune of about $10,000. Findings that suggest that those scoring LOW on Agreeableness, who are aren’t afraid to be assertive and even step on a few toes, tend to advance more frequently while those who self-sacrifice in the name of niceties miss out on opportunities that end up manifesting financially.

Again, not sure of the specifics of this case but great food for thought – like Neuroticism, aim for balance: Be Nice, but know when to stand up for yourself and your own career. At the end of the day, no one cares as much about your own life as you do. No matter how nice they are.

Be this as it may, you cannot shuck all ethics and expect to pursue solely self-serving goals. We are social beings by nature, and even if you don’t WANT others help, statistically speaking, you need it. Interesting finds here in the Ethics realm – most closely related to the Conscientiousness scale on the Big Five test… Econometrics researcher Andrew Hussey found an inverse correlation for pay and ethics that was divided not by the level of ethics themselves but by gender.

Hussey found that businessmen who openly embraced ethics made almost 4% less than peers without such vocal policies and were seen as weaker, less aggressive leaders. However, that morality of corporate play was heralded in women who earned more money with less aggressive leadership styles than their male counterparts.

No-money-clipart     money-women

Last but not least, Openness.

Specifically openness to new experiences – and not just open, but actually embracing those new experiences with something a tad more positive than an eye roll.

Psychologist Susan Segerstorm did a study evaluating law students and found that 10 years after graduation, those inclined to optimism in the face of educational and career set backs contributed to an average earnings of $32, 667 above their Debbie Downer contemporaries. Likely a by-product of resiliency. If you tenaciously seek out opportunities with a gut instinct of success, even if the odds may really be stacked against you, it will likely come across in your encounters and your personality seen as an attribute for a company.

 

In case you are wondering why Miss Fit is discussing financial forecasting – remember this is about being Fit4Life.

Your lab results are part of that. But so is your bank account and your social and emotional IQ.

It is important to understand the roles of all these players in this crazy game we call Life.

game of life

Have something to add? I would love to hear from you. Simply comment below or email direct at write.with.ms@gmail.com

Until next time, Stay Well.

Flexible is the New Black

In response to the recent Daily Prompt:

  1. A medium exercise ballblue-exercise-ball1
  2. A self-cleaning Yoga Mat

    The Self-cleaning part is in the works... I have a voicemail in to NASA. I remain hopeful

    The Self-cleaning part is in the works… I have a voicemail in to NASA. I remain hopeful

  3. A laptop [for music of my choice]

 

SO…. I’m sure this is not a surprising list coming from Miss Fit…

But, hear me out –

Currently I do a self-developed version of Strength Training Yoga [STY].

It’s wonderfully effective for toning muscle and building flexibility. Let’s face it – when you live in Phoenix , AZ  swim suit season is YEAR ROUND  so the toned muscles and flexibility also seem to always be  “in-season”.

Wait?

Flexibility ?

What does that have to do with swim suit season?

I mean – dont- you -you-er—— um— don’t you— no, nope, definitely not.

Wow I almost got myself into trouble there…

Just know this – —  There are lots of ways to burn calories  – – and some things when done in the heat of summer…well let’s just say it’s a time of year when you sweat more doing um…cardio-vascular workouts…and well sweating is essentially detox for your skin and that just HAS GOT  to be healthy.

So

Yes

Flexible is the new Black

Further questions should be addressed with your significant other. And all exercise regiments should be discussed with your physician first – most specifically the good looking, single ones.

…..

In case you thought I wasn’t coming back to my point [valid concern] I will say that whomever came up with this Daily Prompt is most certainly clairvoyant as I was just saying to myself today that I need more space in my house. Currently the room that I practice said STY in is what I like to call a combo-suite…It is the 10×10 cube that is home to my roommate and I’s entire life supply of books, office paraphernalia, and free weights.

Oh- and there is also a small closet.

Which has a missing door.

But only one missing door.

And not so much missing as transplanted to our garage by [yours Truly]  20140531_214809   in a [small] fit of super-human-strength-rage when it came of its sliding track for the 87th time.

Yes.

I meditate.

Yes.

I have situational anger issues.

Apparently doors repeatedly coming of their tracks is one of them.

Clutter and filth may also be triggers for me…

pigpen

Which is why, if I had my druthers, my very special room would be for STY.

To take the place of the current pig-STY I practice in.

Curious to know more about STY? I would be happy to share some of the basics with you! Send a quick email to write.with.ms@gmail.com and let me know of your interest .