The Task Tamer

Good Choices

11/11/2013 Comments




I spent this morning focusing on the two things that seem to take high priority in my life: food and fitness. The weather has been so wonderful this summer and fall that I have spent minimal time at the gym. I would rather go for a walk or jog outside than be on a treadmill. I have a few key weights and equipment to add in some resistance and stretching and I am done. Today was another story. It was yucky and wet so I went to the gym. I spent about an hour and a half there and I am already feeling sore from doing exercises I haven’t done since last May. After I got home and showered I made a trip to Wegman’s. That is where I realized all my work at the gym could really be sidetracked. I have said it before, but it is worth repeating: if you want to lose or maintain weight, you have got to pay attention to what you are putting into your body. A trip through the grocery store can quickly become dangerous to this goal. 


There are many tips that you can use to avoid the pitfalls at the supermarket. The one that works the best for me is to never go when I am hungry. Donuts are a lot more tempting when my stomach is growling. Making a list and sticking to it is also important. If I don’t write down chocolate chip ice cream I will not buy it (hopefully). I also spend a lot of time reading labels or using my favorite app Fooducate (refer to my posting on Food Labels). There is a constant conversation going on in my head about what I should be buying. Kind of like those sitcoms that show an angel and a devil on a character’s shoulders. I keep reminding myself that I work way to hard to let that devil win (too often).


Food and our relationship with it is fascinating. It is the only thing I can think of that we cannot give up in order to live healthier. Smokers can give up cigarettes. Drinkers can give up alcohol. Vices are avoidable. Eating is not. We have to train ourselves to make the right decisions and avoid the myriad of temptations out there. It truly is about a lifestyle. We have to decide that we want to live a full and productive life, not one that is compromised by bad choices. We also have to be open to learning how to make and maintain good choices. I showed a friend the grade fooducate gave her favorite granola bars (not good) and her response was that she liked them and didn’t want to give them up. What are we willing to give up so we can continue eating what we want? Mobility? A longer life expectancy? Avoiding disease? I would rather give up the bad granola bar. My grandfather was a stubborn man who did not want to face the consequences of not taking care of himself. He promised me he would dance at my wedding. He died when I was 18 and I was mad at him for not keeping his promise. I still think of him and make many decisions based on believing that I can be around to dance at my nieces’ weddings! Cinnamon rolls will not get in my way!


Today’s recipe is one of my favorite for homemade veggie burgers. It is full of flavor and just plain yummy! I top ours with guacamole, lettuce and tomatoes. (180 calories, 14 g. protein, 195 mg. sodium, 9 g. fat)


Barley-Mushroom Burgers

adapted from Vegetarian Times


1/2 cup uncooked quick-cooking barley (I have also used rice)

1 large egg, well beaten

1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese)

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

1 cup minced mushrooms (I shred with a box grater)

1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs

1/4 minced flat leaf parsley


Cook barley (or rice) according to package directions. Set aside.

Meanwhile, combine rest of ingredients and salt and pepper to taste. Stir barley into egg mixture (if barley has not cooled, stir in a little at a time so as not to cook the egg).

Spray a large nonstick skillet or griddle with cooking spray. Spoon 1/2 cup of mixture onto hot skillet and repeat until skillet is full, but not overcrowded. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes and carefully flip. (This is tricky as the burgers will be soft and easily fall apart). Cook until mixture is firm and cheese has melted. Remove from pan. Repeat until mixture is used up. The burgers will firm up as they cool a bit.



Copyright © 2020 The Task Tamer. All Rights Reserved.