posted by Mark McGill, RD
I was asked by a patient the other day how to properly hard-boil an egg. Luckily I know someone who never disappoints with her egg cookery. That person is my mother, Mary Jane. A quick phone call home resulted in the following instructions:
1. Add desired amount of eggs to a pot of cold water ensuring they are completely immersed.
2. Add ½ cup white vinegar. This will prevent the eggs from cracking.
3. Bring water to a boil.
4. Boil for 7-10 minutes on medium heat.
5. Remove pot from stove and place in sink.
6. Run cold tap water into pot until water turns cold.
7. Add 1-2 trays of ice cubes to water (1 tray for 6 eggs, 2 trays for 12).
8. Let stand for 10 minutes.
9. Remove from water and enjoy!
posted by Mark McGill, RD
Disclosure: Dr. Freedhoff was sent this book by the publisher.
A few weeks ago, Dr. Freedhoff gave me a copy of Rocco's latest book.
Here are my thoughts:
The central message of Rocco Dispirito's latest book, "Now Eat This! 100 Quick Calorie Cuts" is that in order to lose weight you need to reduce the calories you consume and that these reductions need not be several hundred calories at a time. Often it is easier to make small changes to your diet. How? Canadian, or turkey bacon in place of regular bacon saves you 52 calories. Ultra light beers, such as “MGD Light 64tm,” are as much as 85 calories less per 12 ounce bottle.
A quick and easy read, the book is divided into two main parts: calorie cuts at home, and on-the-go. Between them is a fast-track weight loss plan, and a more long term healthy eating plan, both with corresponding shopping lists. More on those, later.
Remember, if you cannot see yourself happily making any change indefinitely any weight lost consequent to that change will be temporary. For example, Rocco's suggestion of using a zero-calorie condiment brand is something I would never do. Why? I’ve tasted many of these products and to put it nicely, they’re awful! I also wouldn’t eat pumpkin pie without crust because pie isn’t pie without crust. What would I do? I would always measure the amount of oil I use, never skip breakfast, use applesauce instead of butter in a recipe, switch to lower fat cheeses, use Greek yogurt instead of full-fat sour cream on a baked potato. The important thing is to be consistent.
His on-the-go or eating out strategies? Most of the advice reflects what many may already know: choose broth-based soups instead of cream, avoid high-fat/high-calorie appetizers, ask for dressing on the side, share your entrée, don’t order regular soda, skip desserts. I did like his advice on using a salad dressing spritzer – assuming that you were comfortable packing your own dressing.....
Four ideas for calorie reductions caught my attention in particular.
The first suggests you ask the person making your food to re-tool the dish you’ve ordered to have no more than 500 calories. Do chefs have the ability to tailor recipes on the basis of calories?
The second: bring a brown bagged lunch from home instead of eating out. That’s right – a great way to cut calories when eating out is to not eat out.
Rocco also suggests that eating out following his rules is a safe thing to do. While it's certainly part of life, I wouldn't want readers to believe that Rocco's advice truly makes eating out a healthful choice. Cooking meals from scratch as often as possible and eating together are important healthy eating habits. While I understand that people are going to eat out, don’t assume it’s healthy and conducive to weight loss – it’s not. Restaurant calorie amounts are very high and the more you eat out the harder weight loss will be. A better idea: pick up some frozen dinners to have on nights when you’re not cooking, you’ll save calories and money.
The third: Pour hot sauce on foods. He cites a small study showing individuals who consumed capsaicin, the "hot" in hot sauce led to decreased consumption. Now if you like hot sauce, great, but even if you do, can you really pour it on everything?
The fourth: Eating grapefruit before a meal will result in fewer calories consumed. Of course it's not grapefruit that's magical, it's eating a large, non-energy dense food right before eating. But what if you don't like grapefruit? Why not school readers on the value of any pre-eaten, low-energy density choice?
Now as for those meal plans:
The two-week fast-track plan has women averaging 1200 calories per day and 1400 for men. Will you lose weight at these calorie levels? Absolutely. Are you going to feel satisfied or will you be hungry and fatigued? That depends. Some women may be satisfied at 1200 calories, but most will need more. I've not yet met a man satisfied with just 1400 calories per day.
The lifestyle plan, which is meant for long-term has women eating 1400 calories per day and men 1600. This will also result in weight loss for most but again, will you be satisfied? A better approach: Have the smallest number of calories per day that leave you happily satisfied, and don't worry about specific numbers or thresholds. Meal plans are great for giving you ideas and to act as a guide. But following them to the letter cannot be done forever. After all, what if you don’t want salmon and wild rice on day 9 for dinner? It's more practical to know how to build a balanced meal and count calories so you can make appropriate substitutions for your meals.
In the end, if you pick up a few new tips that you’re able to implement and see yourself sustaining then this book may be worth picking up, but unfortunately the book has too many shortcomings for me to offer it a ringing endorsement.
Posted by Mark McGill, RD
Soya sick of almonds, are you? Peanuts and cashews – not for you? Why not try unsalted roasted soya nuts! How do they taste? The best way to describe them would be a cross between popcorn and peanuts. I’m probably not doing them justice by that description, but trust me – they’re very tasty!
Per serving (1/2 cup or 50 grams)
Protein: 18 grams
Carbohydrate: 7 grams
Fibre: 7 grams
Sodium: 0 mg
posted by Mark McGill, RD
My parents were in town visiting recently so I took the opportunity to show-off my cooking skills with this sumptuous salmon dish (Salmon Cowell, Eat Shrink & Be Merry p. 101). We all enjoyed the meal (especially my mom who didn’t have to cook!) which took very little time to prepare. It paired well with wild rice and boiled spinach.
What You’ll Need
¼ cup frozen orange juice concentrate – 113 calories
¼ cup hoisin sauce – 132 calories
1 tbsp grated gingerroot – 5 calories
1 tsp grated orange zest – 2 calories
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional) – 1 calorie
4 boneless, skinless salmon fillets (about 5 oz each) – 1168 calories
1 tbsp canola oil (for grill) – 124 calories
- Whisk together all marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Place salmon in a large, heavy-duty, resealable plastic bag. Add marinade and seal bag. Turn bag several times to coat salmon with marinade. Marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Preheat grill to medium. Remove salmon from marinade (keep marinade) and place on a grill rack that has been coated with cooking spray or lightly brushed with oil. Grill for 3-4 min per side, until done (salmon should be slightly pink in centre). Do not overcook or it will be dry. Baste salmon with reserved marinade during last minute of cooking time, if desired.
Makes 4 servings
Nutritional Information (per serving or ¼ of recipe)
Calories - 386
Protein – 32g
Sodium – 329 mg
Carbohydrates – 13g
Fibre – 1g
posted by Mark McGill, RD
There’s nothing scary about this “Flank‘n’Stein” recipe from the “Chorus Loin” section of Eat, Shrink and Be Merry (p.125). It’s quick to prepare and very flavourful.
What You’ll Need:
½ cup light beer (I used Molson 67) (22 calories)
1/3 cup hickory-flavoured BBQ sauce (160 calories)
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 calories)
2 tsp Mrs. Dash Steak Grilling Blend (0 calories)
1 tsp grated lemon zest (1 calorie)
1 tsp balsamic vinegar (3 calories)
¼ tsp dried rosemary, crushed (1 calorie)
1 ½ lbs flank steak, trimmed of fat (~900 calories)
- Whisk together all marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. Place flank steak in a large, heavy-duty, resealable plastic bag. Add marinade and seal bag. Turn bag several times to coat steak with marinade. Marinate in fridge for at least 2 hours or as long as 24 hours.
- Preheat grill to high. Remove steak from bag and transfer marinade to a small saucepan. Bring sauce to a boil and continue to boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
- Place flank steak on a grill rack that has been coated with non-fat cooking spray. Grill for about 6 minutes per side, or to desired degree of doneness. Baste often with reserved marinade during last few minutes of cooking time.
- Let steak rest for 5 minutes before slicing. To serve, slice steak thinly across the grain using a very sharp knife.
Makes 4 servings. Pairs well with a sweet potato and spinach.
Nutritional Info (per serving)
Protein: 46 grams
Carbohydrate: 10 grams
Fibre: 0 grams
Sodium: 379 mg