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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tip: An Apple a Day Is Not a Cliché

A grapefruit almost the size of a dinner plate?

Lately I’ve encountered an overwhelming urge to eat more fruit, an urge I can indulge myself in. I no longer crave cookies, cakes, pies, and candy, even though I do eat a piece of chocolate now and then, but nowhere near the volume of sugar-laden desserts I used to eat. Fruit has natural sugars that satisfy my taste buds, and fruit is also loaded with nutrients and fiber. I say “yes” to fruit, and I enjoy exploring all the fruitful possibilities.

A few weeks ago I bought something called a pomello. I’d never seen the fruit before. It looked like overinflated grapefruit, perhaps a cross between a grapefruit and a basketball. I took pictures of it, because I wanted to show how large it was. When I cut it open, the sections were uneven, sloppy, more unpredictable than a grapefruit. I suspected it might taste like grapefruit, but I had no idea it would taste so deliciously sweet. Eating half a pomello was like eating a whole grapefruit sprinkled with sugar, but I didn’t add any sweetener. Delicious! Pomello, it turns out, is a forerunner to the grapefruit, rather than a hybrid, and it’s popular in other countries, but only recently imported into America.

Perhaps because I could not eat grapefruit all the years I was on cholesterol-lowering statins, I’ve had a craving for grapefruit. My cholesterol is once again within recommended levels, so I’ve stopped taking statins and started eating grapefruit (and grapefruit-related fruit) again and loving it.

Is juice as good as fruit? Not usually. I read on the site that apple juice is overloaded with sugar and should be avoided, although apples themselves are a perfect snack.

In general eating the fruit is almost always better for you than drinking the juice from the fruit, because the juice eliminates the vital fiber, plus you’re likely to drink more juice than a single fruit would have, so it would be like eating several apples or several oranges, adding calories to your intake without adding fiber. The one juice that is actually better than the fruit is red grape juice, because it is made from the whole grape, skins, seeds and all, giving you more antioxidants than you’d get from eating the fruit without eating the seeds.

Orange wedges offer even more benefits, not only for the fiber, nutrients, and vitamin C of oranges, but also because eating a few orange wedges curbs my hunger. I love to eat slices of orange for a midday snack.

I have also fallen in love with lime. I order it instead of lemon with my water in restaurants, even though not all restaurants have limes. I also buy limes in quantity and use them in several ways. Primarily I use limes to extend my salad dressings. Lower-fat salad dressings are usually lower in flavor yet higher in cost and often higher in sugar than high-fat dressings. Some of those “low-fat” dressings are simply diluted with water, yet the price can be higher for less of the pure product. My favorite dressing is regular high-fat honey mustard dressing. I measure two tablespoons for my salad and then squeeze half a lime onto the salad. I pull out the pulp and add it to the salad as well. The lime juice expands the liquid of the salad dressing, so it covers all the greens, and it enhances the flavor of the salad. I love biting into a bit of the tart/sweet lime pulp amid my greens, carrots, and avocado.

I squeeze lime juice on my steamed broccoli, too, and it’s yummy. No butter or salt necessary.

My only problem with fruit is that it must be eaten relatively quickly, or it spoils, but apples tend to be the exception. They keep a long time in my refrigerator, so it’s easy to keep a few apples on hand for that snack attack, so I won’t attack something more fattening.

At my weigh-in yesterday I hadn’t lost any weight this week, but I’m still on track to meet my mini goal by the end of February, so I’m not worried. I especially love the feel of my muscles and body these days, now that I’m working out more diligently and more often. Yes, underneath all this fat is a truly buff Bobbie!

Starting weight: 245
Weight last week: 193
Goal weight for this week: 192
Actual weight this week: 193
Total pounds lost: 53
Goal weight: 150
Mini goal: 190 by February 28

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