I remember when I was in college and it seemed like I could eat whatever I wanted and my weight never really changed much. I went to school in a typical college town that had a great sub shop, a yummy Mexican fast food place and, right across from campus, a pizza place that delivered. And of course there was the dining hall; not great food but plenty of food. Nutrition and healthy eating we're not high on my list of priorities. Then I turned 25. I swear it was like my birthday came and then my body stopped working the same way, all in one week! I had never thought about metabolism and how it can change how your clothes fit! The older I have gotten the slower it gets and the easier it is to gain weight. ARGH!
Metabolism is your body working to convert fuel to energy. The fuel is the food you eat and drink. As women get older our metabolism slows down and if we continue to eat the same way as we had, our bodies don't turn the fuel into energy as well and we end up fatter. It truly is all about the amount of calories we consume, the amount of muscle we have on our body and about how much we move. The bad news is that metabolism is completely determined by genetics. The good news is we can keep our bodies burning food efficiently even if we haven't been blessed with the genes of a super model. It is a fact that men have it easier in this area because their bodies are more muscular than a woman's and muscle will burn many more calories than fat, even at rest. You can read an amusing article about this at womenshealthmag.com. The author sets out to improve her metabolism and finds it can be done, but it is hard. No surprise, she had to cut back on calories and ramp up her exercise to get results. Having gone through this same process, I could relate. The old saying that nothing worth having is easy certainly applies. Having a body that will help you maintain a high quality of life is definitely worth it!
A staple in many a college student's diet is ramen noodles. You can still buy four or five of those packets with the noodles and the little pouch filled with flavorings for $1! Of course reading the ingredients will make your head spin. MSG, salt, chemicals, etc. When I found this recipe I was intrigued. A ramen noodle soup bowl that is healthy? Yep! My first thought was to buy one of those cheap packets, throw the seasoning pack away and just use the noodles. Then I read the ingredients in the noodles. Nope! Next I checked the Asian section at Wegmans and found curly noodles from Asian Gourmet that contain wheat flour, sea salt and water. I was back in business. This recipe could also be served over rice if you would like it to be gluten free. The original recipe is chicken based. This is my vegetarian version.
Easy Miso Ramen Soup
Adapted from Eating Well
1 Tbsp cooking oil (I used rice bran. Olive, grapeseed, canola, etc. are ok)
4 or 5 scallions, sliced, white and green parts separated
4 cloves garlic minced or grated
1 Tbsp finely grated fresh ginger (or more if you really like the flavor)
4 cups water
3 Tbsp white miso (found in Asian section or natural food refrigerated section. Comes in three colors. White is the least strong)
1 1/2 Tbsp liquid aminos (could use low sodium soy or tamari)
1 tsp sesame oil, optional
1 can beans (I used red)
1 bunch escarole, cleaned and chopped (could use spinach or bok choy)
1 package curly noodles, broken in half
4 ounces white mushrooms, sliced (or shiitake)
Sriracha sauce for garnish, optional
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large sauce pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add scallion whites, garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add water, miso, aminos and sesame oil (if using), bring to a boil. Stir in noodles and mushrooms and bring back to a boil. Stir in escarole and beans and return once more to boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Cook until vegetables are tender and noodles are done, 5 to 10 minutes. Serve sprinkled with scallion greens and drizzle of sririacha.