I'm not a nutritionist. I'm not a fitness expert.

I am a 57 year old woman who has never felt more healthy and fit in my entire life. Five years ago, at 52, I weighed about 80 lbs. more than I do now. I felt much older, with stiff joints and back aches and no energy. And don't even ask about clothes!

My goal was not just weight loss, but to get healthier. I did not "go on a diet," I did not count calories or carbs. I made lifestyle changes, a little at a time. I tried to eat healthier and move more. You can do this, too. You can make changes to look, and more importantly, feel healthier and fit. You don't have to be overweight to be unfit. You will feel a difference in strength, energy, stamina and flexibility. I'm talking to you, men, too!

I can tell you how I did it. Not everything I do will be right for you. Through posts about my progress; tips and ideas about nutrition and exercise; links to sites I like and find helpful, I hope to inspire others to get fit and healthy and encourage a community of support and an exchange of ideas. And have a little fun on the way! Much of our information will be about local Cape Ann sites - walking and bike routes, gyms, types of exercise, yoga studios, good buys on healthy food - but Guests and commenters from anywhere are welcome as well.

Okay, I know you all want to know. Right now I'm wearing a pair of Levis - size 8. A comfortable size 8!

Twenty year old daughter:
"Mom, why are you wearing my clothes?"
Mom: "Because I can!"

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Abs Diet Power - Beans and Other Legumes

Beans and other legumes ...

Legumes. I'm pretty sure that 40 years ago I would have asked what the heck is a legume. Growing up in a large, partly-Irish family, the only beans we ate were baked with hot dogs on Saturday nights. My first experience with lentils back then was at a sketchy B'hai gathering on an Indian Reservation in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Ever since then I've associated lentils with chanting and peyote. And then there's that little ditty we've all known since childhood.

Now the lowly bean has been elevated in status - a legume, a super food. Low in fat, high in fiber, complex carbohydrates, folate, phosphorus, potassium, iron, zinc, calcium, and selenium. Truly a nutritional power food.

Taste buds are adjustable
- much of the time. I have a hard time with legumes. I've tried. I have bags of dry lentils and beans - waiting for a craft project. Being a convenience eater, if something requires much preparation I'm apt to avoid it. I've tried canned. It just hasn't become something I look forward to eating.

Reading up on ways to conveniently fit legumes into my diet, I discovered that peanuts are not nuts at all - they're legumes! They are higher in (beneficial) fat than beans and lentils, but they contain more high quality plant protein than beans or lentils, offer the same essential minerals and are a good source of Vitamin E. Works for me. Why not peanut butter as a legume? I use Teddie brand unsalted, all-natural peanut butter. Ingredients: peanuts. That's it.

Chickpeas are a legume, too. Thinking creatively again, that makes hummus a source of legumes. Hummus also contains lemon juice, garlic and olive oil, all good-for-you ingredients. I use hummus as a spread on a sliced chicken sandwich instead of mayonnaise (which I classify as a super-evil food). Hummus is about 50 calories for 2 tablespoons, compared to close to 100 calories in 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise - never mind mayonnaise's 99% fat, artery-clogging properties. I also mix it with tuna instead of using mayonnaise. Or as a dip with a good tortilla chip: Food Should Taste Good brand. I like the multigrain ones - Ingredients: Stone Ground Corn, High Oleic Sunflower Oil and/or Safflower Oil, Brown Rice Flour, Flax Seeds, Evaporated Cane Juice, Oat Fiber, Sesame Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Quinoa, Soy Flour, Sea Salt.

I don't know if the nutrition experts would agree, but I think I've got the legumes covered.

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