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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Living alone -- not an excuse!!!

I hate excuses.  It's always easier to find a reason not to make the right choice than it is to go to the effort to make healthy choices.  Such as, when patients tell me they haven't exercised in a month because it's too hot, it's too cold, it rained.... it's Southern California, give me a break!

But, when it comes to making good food choices, I often hear from patients that they live alone, so it's too hard to shop for one, keep food from going bad, and take the time to prepare a meal.  So, instead, they resort to fast food, restaurants and prepared meals, which nutritionally are poorer quality than most of what you might otherwise prepare in your kitchen.

I can debunk the living alone excuse quite easily, because for most of the past ten years, other than my adorable greyhound companions, I've lived alone.  I prepare most of my meals at home, and it's not that hard to do.

Shopping
I buy much of my produce at the Sherman Oaks Farmers Market on Tuesday evenings.  It's a stop on my way home from work.  For other food, I'll usually shop once a week.  I'll pick up the basics at Trader Joe's, because they offer good prices and plenty of organic options.  I buy a few things in bulk at Costco like organic baby carrots, And, because I can walk down the street to Whole Foods, I pick up odds and ends from there.

Food Prep
Often, I'll spend a weekend morning, or an evening, preparing some staples, so that it's easier during the week.

I love my steaming baskets.  I'll put them on top of a pan of simmering water, add vegetables, and cover with a lid to keep the steam in.  Here I cut up some red peppers.  After these cooked for about ten minutes, I then steamed some purple cabbage and baby carrots.

I like to have a grain on hand as well.  Often it will be quinoa or brown rice, but today I decided on Trader Joe's Harvest Grains Blend with Israeli couscous.

I like to roast a few items in the oven as well.  Today I roasted brussel sprouts in oil, Braggs Organic Sea Kelp Delight, and some sea salt.  I put a couple of large Japanese sweet potatoes in the oven.  And, I roasted a butternut squash, which I'm probably going to turn into a soup by spinning it in my Vitamix with some veggie broth.

After I finished cooking and chopping up some herbs and cucumbers, I put it all in the fridge.

What I Eat
I do not spend a long time preparing meals.  I grab a few items from the fridge and usually put them in a bowl.  I try to keep my meals half vegetable, one quarter grain, and one quarter protein (beans, lentils, cut up tofu, etc).

And, I may have the same thing a few days in a row, because honestly it's easier.  For example, recently I bulk cooked quinoa.  I put some in my salad for dinner, and the next morning, instead of making oatmeal, I put some quinoa in a bowl, added soy milk, frozen mango and berries, and chia seeds, and microwaved it for a delicious hot breakfast bowl.

Eating well when you live alone isn't that hard -- it just takes a bit of planning.



2 comments:

Michelle Winarsky said...

Hi Dr. Shenkman, I went to your presentation at Veg Fest, Tampa last year and was impressed to learn about your accomplishments. I have been a vegan for 14 years and vegetarian for 25 years so I knew about some of the plant based diet benefits. Your slides about the change in artery health was most intriguing. I knew my brother (a carnivore) and diabetic had 3 stents and was complaining about his energy. In DecemberJanuary following a heart cath procedure, he was advised to have a quadruple bypass. He immediately moved in with me and I veganized his diet. In 4 weeks, his cholesterol has come down 100 points! His blood sugars have also dropped drastically and he is taking almost no insulin where it was not managed up to that point. "Traditional", top notch cardio docs here tell me that food can't change his situation and he has to have the bypass. I would love to speak with you and get your opinion. I left my name and number with your office today. I had no other way to reach you. Please call me. Thanks, Michelle

VeganHeartDoc said...

Michelle, I am impressed by your brother's lifestyle changes. However, without a consultation, talking to and examining a patient, reviewing an ekg, echo, cath films, etc., I cannot provide a valid recommendation. My best advice to you and your brother would be for him to go back to his cardiologist for a follow up visit, tell his cardiologist all he's done and how he's feeling, review the blood work, and see what his or her thoughts are.