Cronometer Saves the Day

Hi! I lost about 150 lbs after having gastric bypass surgery. Many times during my weight loss phase I would get worried (unnecessarily, but that's me!) about whether I was getting adequate nutrition. I would turn to Cronometer and log my food for a couple of days and voila, would discover that I was doing just fine.

I also used Cronometer to prove to my surgical nutritionist that I'm getting adequate protein on my mostly-vegan diet. And knowing how many vitamins actually take in helps me adjust my vitamin & mineral supplements so that I'm not taking in excess (which can be as bad for you as too little).

Most of my friends who've had this surgery have regained a substantial amount (like 30% or more) of their weight. Even though this is pretty common and usually doesn't re-start the serious health problems they had before the surgery, I really want to avoid significant regain because, well, it's really fun to be slim! So I continue to weigh weekly and whenever I gain more than a couple of pounds, I use Cronometer to track what I'm eating/drinking to show me what I've been doing wrong. Sometimes its as simple as not drinking enough water, and sometimes it's eating more high-calorie treats than I'd realized.

For example, using Cronometer helped me identify a pattern that was causing me to gain weight. I eat primarily WFPB, but a few months ago started eating cheese. I didn't think I was eating that much but nevertheless was gaining weight. After faithfully tracking everything I ate/drank in Cronometer, though, the graph made it crystal clear that every night I had wine, I also went WAY over the number of calories I needed. Digging a little further into the graph data (LOVE that feature of Cronometer) proved the unwelcome fact that most of those excess calories were coming from the cheese! (Apparently a little wine has a big effect on my ability to estimate cheese intake, lol!)

WFPB + No-Added-Oil = EZ Wt Maint & Rocket Fuel for Your Health!

Comments

  • Wow! Congratulations @talkingmountain!
    So good to hear Cronometer has been instrumental to your success!
    I hear you with the Cheese! So easy to chow down - especially with the help of some wine! Sounds like you have your evenings sorted - love wine and cheese nights!

    Hilary
    cronometer.com
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:
    https://forums.cronometer.com/discussion/27/governing-terms-and-disclaimer

  • I try to limit it to weekends only now. That's at least stopped the weight gain. May have to cut it out entirely to reverse the weight gain but I'm not sure I'm ready to do that yet, lol (even though dairy cheese makes my joints ache...) :s

    WFPB + No-Added-Oil = EZ Wt Maint & Rocket Fuel for Your Health!

  • @talkingmountain do you have any good recommendations for plant based cheeses? I have seen some pretty cool looking recipes floating around the internet! :)

    Hilary
    cronometer.com
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:
    https://forums.cronometer.com/discussion/27/governing-terms-and-disclaimer

  • Definitely! Are you looking for recipes or for store-bought options?

    WFPB + No-Added-Oil = EZ Wt Maint & Rocket Fuel for Your Health!

  • Recipes!

    Hilary
    cronometer.com
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:
    https://forums.cronometer.com/discussion/27/governing-terms-and-disclaimer

  • @Hilary, sorry it took me so long to reply! Here is our favorite cheese "sauce" recipe. What I love about this recipe is that everyone, even non-adventuresome SAD-eaters, love it (I've only made it with cashews).

    This is a very "forgiving" sauce:

    • Don't worry of you don't follow the ingredient amounts exactly. The only "must" is to add enough starch to thicken it because you can thin it out later but once "cooked" you can't re-thicken it.
    • If you don't have a high-powered blender like a Vitamix or BlendTec, make the substitutions marked with an asterisk (*) so you still get a smooth product.
    • It stores and freezes well (see Hints below).
    • If you don't have a blender that can run "hot" enough to make the starch thicken, just blend everything but the potato starch, then put it in a saucepan and cook on medium heat until it thickens.

    "Not-So-Cheese Sauce," adapted from Vitamix's cookbook

    Makes about 6-7 cups of "cheese" sauce. You can make a half-recipe first to see if you like it. However, do not try to double this recipe because it won't fall fit in a Vitamix!

    INGREDIENTS

    1 cup water
    2 Tablespoons lemon juice (fresh if possible, it really does make a difference).
    1/4 cup canned pimentos, drained, OR 1/2 to 1 roasted red pepper, rinsed & drained (if using roasted red pepper paste, use about 2 Tbsp or the manufacturer's equivalent measure to 1/2-1 whole pepper)
    2/3 cup whole, _raw _cashews* or almonds* (NOT roasted or salted!)
    1 1/4 teaspoons onion powder
    1/4 cup nutritional yeast (more or less to taste)
    1.5 to 2 teaspoons salt (if used to packaged foods & dairy cheese, use 2 tsp. Can reduce or omit for low-salt diet).

    1 1/2 cups _boiling _water (have simmering water at the ready, or microwave to boiling just before using)

    4 Tablespoons (i.e.1/4 cup) potato starch mixed with 1/4 to 1/2 cup cold water (use just enough water to be able to soften/suspend the starch so that you can pour/scrape it into the blender).

    DIRECTIONS

    1. Place all ingredients into the high-powered blender container in the order listed and secure lid.
    2. Blend at lowest speed for a few seconds, until ingredients are fully mixed (on Vitamix: Select Variable 1.)
    3. Slowly increase speed until you reach maximum (for Vitamix: slowly increase speed to Variable 10, then flip switch to High.)
    4. Blend on highest speed for 6-7 minutes or until heavy steam escapes from the vented lid. (While it blends, you can prepare the boiling water and the potato starch paste.)
    5. Reduce speed to medium-high (on Vitamix: Select Variable 7) and remove the lid plug. Pour the 1.5 cups boiling water and then the potato starch mix into the opening while blender is running.
    6. Continue to blend about 1 minute, until mixture thickens.

    SUBSTITUTIONS FOR NON-HIGH-POWERED BLENDERS (OR NOT HAVING AN INGREDIENT)

    *Substitutes for the pimentos or roasted red peppers:
    - Use roasted red pepper paste (available in a tube in most groceries' canned tomatoes or Italian foods section).
    - Though it won't taste the same, you also can substitute about 1/2-1 tsp of tomato paste plus a few drops of "smoke" flavoring , or 1/2 to 1 tsp smoked paprika (or chipotle pepper if you want spicy-hot).

    *Substitutes for the cashews or almonds:
    - Use cashew butter or almond butter. Make sure it doesn't have Palm or Coconut or other hydrogenated oil in it. Just the nuts (and some salt is ok). Use _raw _cashew/almond butter if possible; the roasted varieties will make the sauce taste too much like the nuts.

    HINTS:

    • For an even smoother sauce, soak the nuts in water (at least 30 mins for hot water; at least 90 minutes for room-temp water). Can soak a whole day ahead if you put them in fridge. Drain before using.
    • For a "nacho" style sauce, add 1/2 to 1 cup **drained **salsa after Step 6, and continue blending till smooth. (I usually pour off 1/2 the recipe to keep as standard sauce, then add the salsa to the rest so I have some of both on hand!)
    • The sauce thickens as it cools. If it's too thick, whisk in some milk (dairy or non-dairy) or room-temp water. You can up to half the potato starch in the recipe next time if you prefer a thinner consistency.
    • Keeps well in the refrigerator for up to a week.
    • Freezes well (both regular and "nacho" style). Thaw at room temp, overnight in refrig, or slowly over a low heat (do not microwave to thaw). You may need to stir it and add a bit of "milk" or water.
    • To reheat, warm slowly over a medium-low stove. If using in a baked recipe, you can use it cold and let the baking process heat it up.
    • For a lower-fat version, substitute up to half the cashews with white beans (rinsed & drained well) or cooked-till-soft cauliflower (drained well).

    IDEAS ON HOW TO USE THIS SAUCE:

    • This vegan, gluten-free "cheese" sauce is perfect as a nacho dip or served hot over anything you would use melted Velveeta(R) on: cooked macaroni, baked potatoes, broccoli, asparagus, etc.
    • This sauce bakes beautifully. Thickens and gets a browned "crust" much like dairy cheese!
    • Can substitute 1:1 with any recipe that would use cheese, such as baked macaroni, baked scalloped potatoes, etc. Does not have to be reheated first, just pour it in and bake.
    • An easy dinner is a bag of frozen hash browns, a small bag of your favorite frozen veggie medley, a can of white beans, and 2 cups of this sauce. Stir it all up and bake in a large oiled baking pan or casserole dish at 400F for 45-60 minutes.

    WFPB + No-Added-Oil = EZ Wt Maint & Rocket Fuel for Your Health!

  • Wow! Thanks! I'm definitely going to try this on the weekend!!!

    Hilary
    cronometer.com
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:
    https://forums.cronometer.com/discussion/27/governing-terms-and-disclaimer

  • I can't seem to edit the post -- forgot to include the amount of nut butter to use.

    If you are substituting cashew or almond nut butter for actual nuts, use about half the amount of nuts. E.g. about 1/3 cup nut butter if making a full recipe.

    WFPB + No-Added-Oil = EZ Wt Maint & Rocket Fuel for Your Health!

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