Kiwifruit….who knew?

I was logging my weekly weight on Weight Watchers this morning (3 pound loss…thank you very much!) and I saw they had an article on kiwifruit.  Last week I went to Costco and bought way too may kiwis so I am desperate for ideas.  I was surprised by the stats.  Did you know that kiwifruit only has 56 calories per large fruit and is packed with vitamins C and E and loaded with potassium?  I guess I never really thought about it.  I was most surprised to learn that the skin, once washed, is edible as well.  Personally, I don’t think I’ll ever acquire a taste for the rough fuzzy skin, but good to know.

Kiwi’s are best when they start to soften.  You can leave them on your counter for up to 5 days to ripen, but then it is best to store them in a plastic bag in your chill chest.  They will last up to 2 weeks in there.  I could not believe how many uses they have.  The enzymes found in a kiwi act as a natural meat ternderizer, so remember that the next time you are smothering your favorite animal flesh with chemical tenderizer.  🙂

At this point I have so many, I’ve just been adding one to my morning GNC Lean Shake protein smoothie, but I’m excited to try some more adventurous options as well.  Weight Watchers has some great ideas so be sure to check them out.  I’ve created my own variation from their No Bake Fruit Tart recipe.  WW version has 4 points and mine only has 2.  I hope you enjoy it and let me know how it goes.

2 Point No Bake Fruit Tart
serves 2

2 whole graham cracker rectangles (that’s 8 smaller rectangles)
1 Tbls apple juice
1 large kiwifruit
4 strawberries
1 peach
1/4 cup blueberries

Pulverize the graham crackers into a fine crumb and add the apple juice.  Find a tin can out of your recycling and clean it really good after removing the top and bottom.  Use the can as a mold for the crumb base.  Press 1/2 of the crumb mixture into the can and press to compact.  Once you have made the base remove the can. 

Peel the kiwi and peach, hull and wash the strawberries and wash the blueberries.  Slice the kiwi, peach and strawberries into thin slices.  Layer the fruit over the base.  I think this order works best:

Kiwi on the bottom
Strawberries next
Peach on top of the strawberries
Blueberries on the top

I suppose you could add a small amount of whipped cream, but remember that adds calories, fat and POINTS. 

Enjoy and let me know how you love it!

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Let’s talk Vitamins & Supplements

I will be the first to admit that I resisted the benefits of vitamins for a very long time.  Let’s face it, I was 65 pounds overweight and obviously not too concerned about my health.  The decision to lose weight was a personal one and a very well planned one at that.  I knew that I needed to make lifestyle changes and not just drop the pounds by starving myself.  I was getting sick on  a regular basis when I was at my heaviest and I was eating all the wrong foods.  I knew that a change in my diet was going to be a shock to my system and my immune system was already weak so I talked to my doctor and did a lot of reading on vitamins.  In the beginning I was taking a multi-vitamin, Fish Oil, CoQ10, Fiber and Echinacea and I was buying whatever was on sale without much research on the product.   I was making better food choices, exercising and losing weight.  I was feeling great.

When I made the move to a vegetarian diet six months ago everyone was worried that I was going to be missing vital nutrients like protein, calcium, B12 and Omega 3 Fatty Acids.   I’ll admit that I did get a very bad cold during the first month of my vegetarian diet, but I expected my body to react that way.  I was shocking my system again and it was ridding itself of all the animal toxins.  After two months I really started to see the difference in how I felt and looked.  My skin was clearer, my hair was stronger and I wasn’t suffering from those nagging digestive issues.  I want to be truthful and tell you that the first 3 months I was very strict about not eating much dairy or eggs, but in the past two months I got lazy and have eaten more dairy.  The results are clear that I need to continue to limit dairy and egg products.  In the two months I’ve been adding more of these products to my diet I’ve had numerous stomach issues and had gained two pounds.  YUCK!

So how does this tie in to vitamins and supplements?  I know…get to the point Carrie!  A strict vegetarian or vegan diet may cause deficiencies in your intake of protein, calcium, B12, Iron, Zinc, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Iodine and Riboflavin.  It takes careful planning in the variety of foods you eat and how you consume them.  I’m still learning all of the ways in which I should combine greens, beans, fruits,etc.. to maximize my nutrient intake, so I take a vegetarian dietary supplement from GNC.  The Maximum Greens Vitapak provides me with all the important nutrients that I might be deficient in except protein.  I get my protein from soy, legumes and occasionally I use a brown  rice protein powder.

I’m confident that my current vitamin regimen is giving me what I need…are you?  What vitamins do you take and how do you decide which products are right for you.

To cleanse or not to cleanse

I’ve been researching cleansing for what feels like an eternity and with each passing day I find myself more and more confused and uncomfortable.  I guess I was hoping that a change to a vegetarian diet would just naturally unclog the works, but alas, it was not so.  I believe this partly to be my fault.  I still have a difficult time avoiding dairy and in fact, I think I’m eating more dairy than ever.  As a result I have found my plumbing to be more screwed up than before.  After months of research, I decided to give this a go.  I walked over to my local GNC and forked over $25 for their Complete Body Cleanse product.  I started my cleanse on Friday morning, so I am officially 1/2 way through this 7 day program.   So far things seem to be getting a little more regular and I don’t have the back pain I’m used to having every morning.  The program includes the following four products: 

AM Formula
Each AM Formula packet contains a Gastro Formula, Total Cleanser and Enzyme Blend. This packet combines specialized herbs such as ginger, artichoke and pomegrante with fructooligosaccharides (FOS) to help promote intestinal health. It also provides digestive enzymes to help promote protein, carbohydrate and fat digestion.*PM Formula
Each PM Formula packet supplies a Blood Circulation Formula, Liver Cleanser, Kidney Health Formula and Enzyme Blend. This packet blends the popular herbs cayenne, goldenseal and milk thistle which supports liver function with antioxidant herbs such as green tea and grape seed extract. It too provides digestive enzymes that help promote digestion.* 

Probiotic – Acidophilus
Introduces beneficial probiotics, acidophilus and bifidobactrim. These organisms are important in promoting the health of the digestive tract.* They not only help maintain the health of the digestive tract but also have a direct influence on the balance of the body’s natural flora.* These beneficial flora also support healthy immune function and when taken on a regular basis, support overall digestive health.* 

Fiber and Prebiotic Blend Fiber is a necessary component of everyone’s diet. Among the many health benefits of fiber, it is most commonly recognized for its ability to aid in the digestion process.* Fiber plays a critical role in the intestinal transit time, it serves as a bulking agent and also provides relief from occasional constipation.* This specially formulated blend features multiple fibers that promote and support daily digestive health.* Unlike other fiber products that typically target the end of the colon, this fiber and prebiotic blend is site specific and provides fibers that work at the beginning, middle and end of the large intestines. By offering this diverse group of fibers, this patented formula helps to improve bowel cleansing without urgency or discomfort.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

The rep at GNC said he does this cleanse every six months, but my hopes are to get my diet regulated so that I can do a more natural, food based cleanse every six months.  I’m currently reading Super Cleanse by Adina Niemerow and I’m finding that I could really get into some of her food based cleanses.  What cleanses have you tried?  Did you get the results you were looking for? 

10/5/2010 – Update 

I completed the 7 day program and I’m happy to report I had very few issues with the supplements.  I lost two pounds in the process, but that was not my goal.  I wanted to cleanse my system of the “junk” and start my 40th year off on the right foot.  Of course today I’m home with the stomach flu, but I don’t think it  has anything to do with the cleanse.  I definitely see me doing this cleanse twice a year.