Why Dine In?

Why bother with buying groceries, cooking, and cleaning? Step out of the house and you find an abundance of fast food chains, diners, deli food, pre-packaged food, take-out places, and the likes of Delarosa.

Cooking for yourself gives you freedom and control. Freedom to choose exactly what you want to eat, the way you want it. When cooking for yourself, you have ultimate control over each ingredient and can maintain portion control. Choosing high quality ingredients will make any dish taste good without the use of excess butter/oil, sweeteners, sodium, condiments, and artificial flavorings. Thus, it is much healthier for you to cook your own meals. With the right ingredients, cooking at home will put you on the track of gaining your health back. In most restaurants, you can never be too sure of health sanitation or the source of the produce, meats, spices, sauces, etc. Even when you think you are eating a healthy burrito or salad at a restaurant, you may just end up consuming more calories, fats, sugars with processed, manufactured ingredients and preservatives. Also, it’s just faster to dine in. Investing some time in the beginning to well stock your kitchen, you can whip a quick, nourishing meal in no time. It would take you longer to get to the restaurant, wait in line, order, wait for your food, pay, and then go back home. Another bonus, you save a lot of money by dining in. You can eat leftovers the next day or use the same ingredients to make something different.

After cooking at home for some time, dining out becomes more pleasurable and special. With all of the money saved by dining in, you can really splurge at a nice restaurant. Eating in restaurants can be an inspiration for you to cook something new at home or a chance to enjoy food that you wouldn’t ever consider making yourself. Also, appreciation for the chefs and staff increases.  Considering that dining in is healthier,* you will not feel guilty about eating creme/butter based foods or dessert at restaurants. Therefore, save up your money  and indulgence calories by cooking more often and allow yourself to dine out on occasion.

*It’s important to choose high quality ingredients and minimize the use of sweeteners/condiments/fats in order to achieve better health.

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Social Eating: Tips To Stay On Track

It’s finally time for another 3-day holiday! Who couldn’t use a break from the normal Monday routine? Though, the holiday is no excuse to completely throw your health goals off track. Adopt these simple rules and you will not have anything to regret (at least not about your health goals)!

With summer and 4th of July upon us, what better excuse (weather permitting) to dust off the barbeque and enjoy some time outside in the fresh air with family and friends. Creamy macaroni salad¸ buttered corn, burgers, and an 8 layer United States flag cake. Sounds delicious, but not good for any health and fitness goals! Following these simple survival tips will save you hundreds of calories and guilt, without you feeling deprived¸ and keep your health and fitness goals on track.

1. Have Healthy Options Available

Bring or make healthy alternatives to processed meats, dips and macaroni salads. This way you can fill up on the healthiest foods first, without worrying about bad calories and unhealthy fats.  Chicken, fish, vegetables and even fruit are delicious cooked on the barbeque. Chicken Kebobs with tons of veggies grilled are delicious and super simple to make. Other alternatives include fresh salads (made with greens, fruits/vegetables, nuts, and a light dressing) and summer fruits (peaches, plums, berries¸ melons).  This could also be a way for you to introduce your family and friends to tasty¸ healthy foods. Other great recipes can be found here¸ here, and here.

2. Small Plates, Big Health Benefits.

If you keep portion sizes reasonable, it’s easier to eat the foods you want and stay healthy. By using smaller dishes, you can easily avoid “accidentally” eating too many calories. Use a dessert plate or grab one from the children’s table.

3. Mix and Mingle

Choose three or four items you really want to eat, and then step away from the food table so you’re not tempted to graze. You will be less likely to keep mindlessly refilling your plate if you are in the middle of an interesting conversation and standing on the other side of the room from the food. Being with friends and family and having a great time at a BBQ also contributes to overall good health.

4. Go for the Greens

 Skip the chips, bread and crackers. Refined carbohydrates spike your insulin levels, leaving you hungry and craving for more.  Unless it’s amazing, it’s not worth the calories. Make sure to complement any meal with lots of vegetables – especially green leafy veggies like kale or spinach.

5. Make Room for Dessert

Instead of saying “There’s always room for dessert,” actually leave room for it. Eat a little less of everything else so you can have a piece of that cake, cookie or ice-cream. Also, remember portion control!

6. Think before you drink

A drink that is not a glass of water has calories and sugar. Drink at least eight ounces of water or so that your thirst is quenched and stomach already feels a little full.  You will be less likely to chug the alcoholic drink to quench your thirst. Make your choices worthwhile and sip on a glass of wine or beer.

Club Dine In! is on Twitter and Facebook. Follow @clubdinein for daily health, fitness, and social news, recipes and delicious tips! Join the Club Dine In! community on Facebook to connect with like-minded individuals and find out about exclusive Club Dine! events. Be sure to sign-up to receive posts and updates straight into your inbox!

Healthier Social Eating: Holiday Weekends

It’s finally time for another 3-day holiday! Who couldn’t use a break from the normal Monday routine? Though, the holiday is no excuse to completely throw your fitness goals off track. I am re-posting simple tricks/tips I originally published for the Independence Day holiday. Adopt these simple rules and you will not have anything to regret (at least not about your health goals)! Continue reading

Why Dine In?

Why bother with buying groceries, cooking, and cleaning? Step out of the house and you find an abundance of fast food chains, diners, deli food, pre-packaged food, take-out places, and the likes of Delarosa.

Cooking for yourself gives you freedom and control. Freedom to choose exactly what you want to eat, they way you want it. When cooking for yourself, you have ultimate control over each ingredient* and can maintain portion control. Choosing high quality ingredients will make any dish taste good without the use of excess butter/oil, sweeteners, sodium, condiments, and artificial flavorings. Thus, it is much healthier for you to cook your own meals. With the right ingredients, cooking at home will put you on the track of gaining your health back. In most restaurants, you can never be too sure of health sanitation or the source of the produce, meats, spices, sauces, etc. Even when you think you are eating a healthy burrito or salad at a restaurant, you may just end up consuming more calories, fats, sugars with processed, manufactured ingredients and preservatives. Also, it’s just faster to dine in. Investing some time in the beginning to well stock your kitchen, you can whip a quick, nourishing meal in no time. It would take you longer to get to the restaurant, wait in line, order, wait for your food, pay, and then go back home. Another bonus, you save a lot of money by dining in. You can eat leftovers the next day or use the same ingredients to make something different.

After cooking at home for some time, dining out becomes more pleasurable and special. With all of the money saved by dining in, you can really splurge at a nice restaurant. Eating in restaurants can be a inspiration for you to cook something new at home or a chance enjoy food that you wouldn’t ever consider making yourself.

Chicken and cheese cooked with fresh spices, garden salad with homemade dressing, and rice are examples of whole foods.

1. Eat whole foods– foods that are unrefined and unprocessed or that is processed and refined minimally before it is in edible form. Whole foods are fruits, vegetables, unprocessed meat, poultry, and fish, non-homogenized milk, and unpolished grains. Whole food typically does not have any added sugar, fat, or salt. Food that needs high-powered, industrial equipment, or could only be made in a laboratory, then it is not whole food.

2. Avoid eating processed foods– foods that have ingredients that you wouldn’t keep in your kitchen to make food or ingredients that were created in a laboratory or made in a way that a person would not be able to make at home with reasonable skill. Unprocessed food is any food that could be made by a person with reasonable skill in a home kitchen with readily available, whole-food ingredients. “It doesn’t mean that you have to be able to make the food — but that the food could be made in a home kitchen by someone who knows what they’re doing.”- Andrew Wilder

Did you know that Club Dine In! is on Twitter and Facebook? Follow @clubdinein for daily health, fitness, and social news, recipes and delicious tips! Join the Club Dine In! community on Facebook to connect with like-minded people and find out about exclusive Club Dine! events.

My Eating Style

Always My diet consists of fresh, seasonal foods. Lots and lots of vegetables. However, I am not a strict vegetarian. On occasion, I enjoy eating eggs, poultry, and seafood. I do not eat red meat, pork, or any exotic animals. I never turn a blind eye to the source of these foods. The source is very, very important to me. What kind of farm did the chicken/eggs come from? Is the fish endangered or has too much mercury? Though, I have been a vegetarian on each Monday and Tuesday for the last 20 something years and will always be- no exceptions ever! “No Meat Mondays” maybe a hot trend, but it’s a lifestyle for me. I prefer to make and eat my own food, because I can trace the origin of each ingredient and I can control what goes into it. No thank-you to toxins and pollutants on my plate. I shop at the Farmer’s Market and grocery stores that have a large variety of local, organic, and seasonal food.  I follow the rules of the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15. Oh, never skimp on breakfast!

Most importantly, I listen to my body when I eat. I follow the principles of Ayurveda and eat according to my body type. Well, I try my best! Ayurveda’s principles on eating are: eating timely meals, eating in season, eating fresh, unprocessed foods, and eating according to your health. I will expand on Ayurveda on this site very soon!

I eat smaller meals and only when I am hungry. “Why am I eating this and what effect does it have on my mind and body?” are questions I always ask myself when I am biting into something. I try to do my best to avoid processed food.

Restaurants I am a foodie and I just love to eat out. Satish and I have a social, spontaneous lifestyle, so it’s hard to plan every meal. So, I always choose the best restaurants. When I say best, I mean restaurants that embrace seasonal, farm fresh cooking.  I try to make the healthiest choices from the menu and frequent restaurants/cafes that has a farm-to-table mission. I try to avoid food that has a lot of butter, fat, and sugar.  Also, I always share my meal. Satish and I only get 1-2 appetizers and one entrée. Normally, this is just the right amount of food for us. No matter where I am eating-at a friend’s house, Aunty Sugar and Fat, my parents, food trucks, or Mamacita- the game plan is always the same! Portion control, fresh, seasonal vegetables, and “clean” meat.

Sweet tooth I have a big sweet tooth. Actually, I have a mouth full of sweet teeth. Desserts are my downfall. But, I have learned to choose wisely. I only eat desserts that don’t have any preservatives or hard to pronounce ingredients in them. I never, ever eat pre-packaged desserts. My taste buds have been tuned to high quality tasting sweets. Home Run Pies and Musketeers are a distant memory. No point in wasting calories and good health to bad sweets.  Hey, if I am going to be bad, it might as well be from the really good stuff. On average, I have a sweet treat once a week. It’s really hard to do, especially on emotional days. And it’s a constant work in progress, but I don’t feel deprived. Actually, I am very satisfied when I do eat dessert. One more thing, I almost never make desserts and only keep really dark chocolate chips in the pantry.

farm fresh veggies, please!

veggies, fruit, and artisanal goods galore!

Seasonal Blueberry Addiction

I don't drink alcohol as much anymore 😉

No glorified, crappy desserts for me!

 

About Club Dine In!

At Club Dine In!, we believe eating sustainably and being physically active is not only a lifestyle choice but essential for a happy, healthy life. Our lifestyle choices are more responsible for our health than our genes are to blame for our ailments (for the most part). Club Dine In! is a lifestyle.

Food. Proper eating habits can prevent, ease, and cure our health issues and put us back on the path to well-being.
Friends. Live social relationships increases our well-being and happiness.
Fitness. Being physically active is an important element to overall well-being.

Club Dine In!’s purpose is to build a strong community of foodies who love to socialize around food and still want to be healthy. Club Dine In! hosts events such as happy “foodie” hours, hikes with picnics, culinary walking tours, health and fitness lectures, and primarily a cookbook potluck club. All events focus on healthy, fresh meals and/or fitness related activities with friends. Through these events, Club Dine In! strives to engage local businesses, farmers, chefs, winemakers, mixologists, and fitness professionals to the community in a social environment.

Club Dine In! is open to all- singles, couples, parents, and grandparents. There is something for everyone. Learning about eating and living well does not have to be boring, nor does it have to be stereotypical!

Club Dine In!’s blogsite offers tips on healthy living and sheds light on current food and fitness trends and environmental health issues. Becoming a member of Club Dine In! is free and easy. All you have to do is subscribe to this blog and/or join us on Facebook for upcoming events and the latest news. Follow me on Twitter for breaking foodie/fitness news and events. You will receive special invites to exclusive lifestyle events, health-minded weekly local’s guide to the San Francisco Bay Area, and special perks at local businesses.


Why Dine In?

Why bother with buying groceries, cooking, and cleaning? Step out of the house and you find an abundance of fast food chains, diners, deli food, pre-packaged food, take-out places, and the likes of Delarosa.

Cooking for yourself gives you freedom and control. Freedom to choose exactly what you want to eat, the way you want it. When cooking for yourself, you have ultimate control over each ingredient and can maintain portion control. Choosing high quality ingredients will make any dish taste good without the use of excess butter/oil, sweeteners, sodium, condiments, and artificial flavorings. Thus, it is much healthier for you to cook your own meals. With the right ingredients, cooking at home will put you on the track of gaining your health back. In most restaurants, you can never be too sure of health sanitation or the source of the produce, meats, spices, sauces, etc. Even when you think you are eating a healthy burrito or salad at a restaurant, you may just end up consuming more calories, salt, fats, sugars with processed, manufactured ingredients and preservatives. Therefore, when you make your own food with simple, whole food ingredients, you avoid eating a lot of things that are not real foods. Also, it’s just faster to dine in. Investing some time in the beginning to well stock your kitchen, you can whip a quick, nourishing meal in no time. It would take you longer to get to the restaurant, wait in line, order, wait for your food, pay, and then go back home. Another bonus, you save a lot of money by dining in. You can eat leftovers the next day or use the same ingredients to make something different.

After cooking at home for some time, dining out becomes more pleasurable and special. With all of the money saved by dining in, you can really splurge at a nice restaurant. Eating in restaurants can be an inspiration for you to cook something new at home or a chance to enjoy food that you wouldn’t ever consider making yourself. Also, appreciation for the chefs and staff increases.  Considering that dining in is healthier,* you will not feel guilty about eating creme/butter based foods or dessert at restaurants. Therefore, save up your money  and indulgence calories by cooking more often and allow yourself to dine out on occasion.

*It’s important to choose high quality ingredients and minimize the use of sweeteners/condiments/fats in order to achieve better health. In other words, eat unprocessed foods. Unprocessed foods are foods that

Farmer’s Market Finds: The Color Purple and Antioxidants

All I could notice at the farmers market this weekend was the color purple. It reminded me of my high school English teacher, who asked us to look out for the color in nature. We were reading The Color Purple by Alice Walker in class. All of us agreed that purple was a rare color in nature. Though, I completely disagree with that conclusion now.

purple turnipsPurple turnips

I have always kept Mrs. Kindle’s observation in mind and subconsciously seek out the color purple wherever I go. The color purple is everywhere, especially at the farmers market – year round. Fruits, vegetables, and plants get the purple pigmentation from anthocyanins, which are antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules that prevent oxidation (which is what happens when a sliced apple turns brown). Oxidation causes free radicals to form and free radicals cause damage and death to cells. Some free radicals are formed through natural processes, but free radicals can “spiral” out of control and disrupt living cells. To put it in a very simple manner, when the levels of free radicals in your body become disproportionate (due to aging, poor eating and lifestyle choices, and environmental triggers) disease and cancer happens.

purple radish asparagusPurple asparagus, chive flowers, and purple radish

Antioxidants protect your body from the harmful effects of free radicals. Eating foods rich in antioxidants prevent and delay cell damage, which in turn prevent cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and immune dysfunction. Luckily, there are plenty of fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants available year round. It’s important to eat a variety of foods, because not all foods contain all the antioxidants your body needs. Supplements do not provide the same benefits as eating whole foods do. Antioxidants in purple foods particularly help boost memory, slow down the aging process, prevent heart disease, and prevent and shorten the duration of colds.

Purple lettucePurple lettuce

Purple foods in the Spring
ArtichokesAsparagus, blueberries, chive flowers, chocolate mint, purple top turnips, radishes, and spring onions

herbs Chocolate mint and chive flowers

Other purple foods by season: 

Summer
Basil, berries, eggplants, figs, lavender, peppers, pluots, plums, and tomatoes

Fall/Winter
Dates, grapes, potatoes and olives

Year Round
Beets, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, endives, kale, kohlrabi, lambsquarter, lettuce, orachi, and radicchio

purple asparagusWhat are your favorite purple foods? Which purple foods did I leave out? Please add in the comments. 

An Econista Baby Shower

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This week I had to skip the Farmer’s Market for my best friend’s (Nafisah) baby shower. Nafisah is a true econista;  she has been working as a manager for Green Citizen for the last four plus years and tries to live a sustainable life as much as possible. (She also met her husband while working at Green Citizen). I wanted to make the baby shower really special for her by catering to her preference. I contacted friend and  fellow blogger, Phantom Floranista, to help me create sustainable flower arrangements to be used as decor at the baby shower. We left early on Saturday morning to get flowers from San Francisco’s Flower Market. It was my first time going there and I was just in heaven at the sight of so many beautiful and unique flowers.  To keep with the color scheme of the baby shower, we picked up locally grown greenish purple Hydrangea, green and purple Spider Mums, and purple branches for about $32. We went back to the Floranista’s beautiful apartment and had a light Iranian breakfast before getting to work. Out of five yogurt containers of varied sizes, tissue paper, net, and ribbon, we created the centerpieces. By turning the yogurt containers (which would have just ended up in the recycling) into vases, I saved a lot of money and made the world a little bit greener. We had flowers left over to make one more arrangement, so we made another for me to take to Eat The Love’s Dessert Party later that day.  The dessert party was beyond delicious, where Irvin Lin (who bakes from his heart) made at least a dozen different, intricate desserts. Stay tuned for a link to Irvin’s blogpost and pictures about the party.

 

The San Francisco Flower Market is large, hosting flowers from around the world!

Can you believe that an ugly yogurt container is under the net and tissue paper?!

We created these beautiful arrangements from just a few materials and $32!

The flowers complimented the buffet table well.

A baby shower just wouldn't be complete without mini cupcakes!

 

I also made macaroni and cheese cupcakes for the baby shower feast. I played around with a recipe from Rachel Ray, and then completely changed it. After making the mac n’ cheese, I realized just how much I loved the classic American childhood dish. However, I was also reminded by how unhealthy mac n’ cheese really is…The cupcake size portions were just perfect to completely enjoy it without guilt. You can find my green mac n’ cheese recipe here.

Mac n' Cheese baked in cupcake shells are perfect for portion size control and baby showers!

An organic-cotton bear for the baby to come.

Did you know that Club Dine In! is on Twitter and Facebook? Follow @clubdinein for daily health, fitness, and social news, recipes and delicious tips! Join the Club Dine In! community on Facebook to connect with like-minded individuals and find out about exclusive Club Dine! events.