Vegetables Every Day

Vegetables Every Day
Carrot Tarator with Beets

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Balancing your Diet

Most of us know that calories come from 3 sources: Carbohydrates, Fats, and Protein. In most diet stories, Carbs and Fat are made to be villains and Protein the hero. There is a fourth calorie source, and that’s alcohol… conveniently ignored in most “diets”. Vitamins get some supporting role; it’s usually just a Pill. Yes, some diet stories are now starting to include some new hero’s, like Flavonoids and Phytonutrients and Omega-3 Fatty Acids, but these stories are complicated and often incomplete. How do you tell the good guys from the bad?

The good Carbs, Fats, and Proteins are most commonly found in whole foods. Villains are foods unnaturally stripped from their source and processed beyond recognition. For example, Corn on the cob is good, High Fructose Corn Syrup is bad along with its brother, Corn Oil. Arch villains are chemicals masquerading as food, like Cheetos.

But back to the main characters: how much of each? This is what works for me:

15 – 18% of calories from protein
30 – 35% from fat
<5% from alcohol
The remainder (~50%) from carbs

Over the next couple of weeks, I will tell good stories about protein, fat, and carbs. Meanwhile, here is a balanced way to start the day:

Loaded Oatmeal

This takes me about 20 minutes to fix in the morning: I start the liquid to boil, then get out the apple, dice it, then get out everything else. But I have had lots of practice; I make it once or twice a week.

Serves 2 generously

1 cup unsweetened soy milk (or other milk of choice)
1 cup water
1 small apple, cored and diced
1 cup Multi-Grain Oatmeal (such as Trader Joes) or rolled oats
Small pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons raisins (or dates, or dry cranberries)
2 heaping tablespoons slivered almonds (or any chopped nut)

Put the soy milk and water into a medium pot over medium high heat. Then dice the apple, add to the pot as soon as diced. When the pot comes to a boil, add the oats, stirring well. Turn down the heat to medium, you still want good bubbling action. Add the rest of the ingredients. Stir occasionally. When the moisture is absorbed and its starting to stick, its done. Served with additional milk.

17% protein, 35% fat, 48% carbs
1 serving (with ½ cup of soy milk) is 416 calories

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