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Food for Thoughtful People

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Food for life

Food is not only a big part of Jewish life, but is necessary for everyone. If you are a working women, coming home and still having to make dinner can tempt you into buying fast food.

As part of the cooking section of Kasheringyourlife, I  be posting recipes that help you stretch your meals and will not cost you a fortune. Most recipes will also not take more than 30 minutes to make.

I will be posting my own recipes as well as recipes from guests, the topics will be wide ranging and so will the cost of these recipes. Not all the recipes will be healthy and some will definitely fall under the indulgent category.  They will also range from novice to experienced, vegan to carnivore, and everything in between.

Is there any heathly food left?

If you read Facebook, you will notice that just about everything from tap and bottled water, to certain previously healthy foods, has come under discussion.  All the adverse effects and ‘poisons’ are highlighted to such an extent that it feels like we may be better off not eating anything and just taking a pill.  Just about everything causes ADHD, eczema, constipation, diarrhoea, and even, G-d forbid cancer, (spit three times here!).

I try to be conscientious about the foods we eat but eating healthy is often very expensive. The dietician costs money, the diet clubs cost money, recipes that are healthy often don’t cater to the South African palate or the ingredients are not available here and the measurements are imperial (USA) when we and most of the world use Metric.

guide to converting metric to imperial

I dislike exercising at the gym, as I hate being around sweaty people (all those germs- sorry I am nurse). I lack the discipline to exercise at home.  I know I am not alone in this. Exercise is great, it makes you feel good (once the pain stops) and it gives you energy. You won’t always lose weight while exercising because you may not be doing the right type of exercise.  What happens to the people that are too large to go to the gym and too shy? How do they get healthy?

food and excersise

BMI vs Body weight

I do not go by how much you weigh but I do go by your body mass index (BMI), this is especially good with teen girls, as peer pressure to be thin is very strong.  I remind my girls, as long as your BMI is within the healthy zone, whatever you weigh is the right weight, up to the age of 20.  Also go by your clothes. Those very tight waists on your skirt or pants – are they a little more comfortable, then great.

The formula to work out BMI is your weight in KG divided by your height squared (e.g. 55kg/ (160cmx160cm)= BMI), this is only for adults over 20 years old. www.cdc.gov has a downloadable Excel,  BMI calculator to work out the acceptable children’s BMI.

Please note that this is only a guide, pregnant women and athletes should not use this formula. Muscle weighs more than fat. Your BMI also does not indicate your percentage of body fat or muscle mass ratio. This would need to be measured by a qualified person. It does mean, however, that you could have a skinny person who is ‘overweight’ due to the amount of body fat they carry, or a large person who is ‘underweight’ as they do not have enough body fat.

I needed and still need to lose weight, so I spent a lot of time on the internet trying to work out how to go about this. Calorie counting has come up over and over again as a way to lose and keep your excess weight off.

Here comes the problem. We live on a tight budget, we also keep kosher and as stated I don’t exercise. Walking to Shul doesn’t count as exercise. Sorry.

The exorbitant price of kosher meat has always been in contention. I will not be getting into the subject on this.

For a lot of people it has become more and more difficult to cook with meat and fish is even more expensive per kg than meat.

Over the past few months I have been following a blog called http://www.loseweightbyeating.com/.  In it Audrey talks about her journey from 125 kg to 68 kg in one year.  She is unable to do a lot of exercise due to a medical condition. She designed her own weight loss program using calorie counting and meal planning. I am down 3kg with very little effort and no exercise.

The first thing to do is to plan your meals for the week or month ahead.  Secondly, count your calories. Women may consume between 1200-1400 calories per day and men 1800-2200 calories per day.  This also depends on your job.  If you have an office job, use the lower number in the range, if you are active, then you use the higher number, but never less than 1200 for women and 1800 for men.  Thirdly, increase your water intake (a problem for me as I really dislike the taste of water) Audrey suggests fruit infused water – not flavoured water. Lastly, and definitely very important, increase your physical activity.

Before putting children and teenagers onto a diet, they must, at least, see a dietician but should also see a paediatrician. Teenagers should also, as a guide, consume the same calories as an adult.

Remember, the more active you are, the more calories you burn. So even if you sit in a chair and watch TV, you can do simple things like leg raises and tightening your abdominal muscles (tummy muscles). http://www.rd.com has a nice set of exercises to do while cooking, but you can really do them anytime.

arm chair exersises

I have posted a mince recipe on the recipe page of the blog, with a calorie count.  It is suitable for diabetics and hyperactive kids as it has a low GI (Glycaemic Index) count. It also uses much less meat that normal.  It is really delicious.  I have adapted it from the book ‘Eating for Sustainable Energy’. Basic Mince recipe

Do you have ideas on how to cut costs and improve your health without cutting the quality of the food your serve, if you do please share with us?

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