A - Z Blogging Challenge - Calories, Carbs & Cauliflower

Welcome back to A - Z Blogging Challenge, Day 3/26!

Today there are so many topics to discuss.
  1. Caffeine - can it be part of a healthy lifestyle? I'll touch on that next week, keep your eyes open for H is for Health In the meantime here's an article that gives coffee a glowing review
  2. Calories: what are they? It's the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of a milliliter of water by 1 degree.
  3. Carbs - they are killing people, aren't they? Well, it depends if you're talking about simple or complex carbohydrates. Simple = refined, "white" food like baked goods from wheat, rice, sugary sweets and soda that supply quick energy to the body but let you sluggish and craving for more after a short while. Complex = whole grain bread, legumes, potatoes, corn, veggies and fruits are balanced and unprocessed, are slower to digest, keep our blood sugar steady, and come with protein, fiber and vitamins.
  4. How is a "low carb" diet affecting your cholesterol levels? Positively, says this long term study.
  5. What's the definition of low carb anyway? Recommendations for regular people (meaning not trying to lose weight and not suffering from diabetes) are to have a carbs intake percentage of 45 - 65% of their total calories. On most days I'm lucky if I stay below 40%. To complete our total calories we're supposed to get 20 - 35% from fat and 10 - 35% from protein. Here's a random day to see how I did:

I pulled those figures from my "Lose it" app - I will talk about it in my L post.

Let's stick with the last question about low carb for a minute. All the talk about good and bad carbs, glycemic index etc. basically means we're supposed to be cutting carbs. 

Like this:

Kidding aside. You're not supposed to eat bread (I know!!! Not even whole wheat if you're die-hard! My fitness coach and I negotiated one slice per day, though. With Nutella, but more about that later as we'll arrive at the letter N), no pasta, no pizza, no cake. As it turns out, even nuts, otherwise healthy, are very high in carbohydrates.

I'm not religiously counting carbs. But because I don't do well when it comes to moderation, I just say no to the above mentioned foods, end of story. I still eat sweet corn, nuts and fruit because I'm convinced they literally bring good stuff to the table.

Here's an interesting article on weight loss due to low carb diet. Here's another one that begs to differ between good (whole grain, veggies, fruit) and bad carbs (cake, cookies, candy, all the c words, did you notice?)

When I first started going off spaghetti cold turkey, I felt I was hungry and grumpy all the time. Especially when I cooked some pasta for hubby and son, I felt like a freaking rabbit, all I was allowed to eat was lettuce and carrots?

I got over it pretty quickly, though. Once the first 2-3 pounds were down, and I allowed myself to trust I wasn't just losing water that was formerly retained, I got motivated! 

Plus there's more out there than lettuce and carrots! You'll see throughout this month. I'm including one example below.

You may have heard of cauliflower pizza crust. 

Are you frowning? I know. It's all a matter of perspective! Chef John @ Foodwishes.com says it very nicely: 

"It's a classic case of managing expectations: don't tell your friends they're coming over for pizza, tell them they're coming over for cauliflower. That way they won't be disappointed!" ;-)

If you don't like Chef John's recipe because of the goat cheese you can always refer to 
The Domestic Geek.

Either way you start by preparing your cauliflower: wash, remove leafs and stem. 

Grate! If you have a food processor pulse until it resembles the texture of rice.

Steam, boil or microwave your cauliflower until tender and let cool.

Dump onto a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out as much water as you can. This is a bit of a painful job, but it's worth it, otherwise you'll end up with a puree instead of a crust.

Add cauliflower, cheese, herbs & spices and the egg(s) to a bowl and mix well.

Spread your dough onto a parchment paper, shaping your crust

Bake according to recipe, considering your oven's quirks.

Put on your toppings and return to the oven until the cheese is melted.

Cut and enjoy!

Another time I used an ice cream scoop and flattened the balls with a spatula for small, individual patties.

VoilĂ ! Including the tomato sauce, broccoli, red bell peppers and mozzarella sprinkles it added up to about 110 kcal per piece.

And should you slip and splurge on a high carb item like a real wheat and yeast pizza, you can still commit to burning off those calories again:

Good luck, let me know how that works out ;-)

Do you have any recent experience with losing weight by banning bad carbs from your plate? How do you feel about cauliflower pizza?

Please be sure to come back tomorrow for the letter D, I'm gonna be talking about determination!

In the meantime here's a bunch of letter C posts! Check out some of them!