Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Chicken with Mint Raita from Weight Watchers

Yes, Men Are Allowed to Buy Weight Watchers the Magazine
Over the weekend I picked up the January issue of Weight Watchers magazine. The cover reads: Budget Dinners and Do-Ahead Meals and 42 Brand-New Recipes. Budget, Do-Ahead and Lose Weight all sounded like good options to this new parent.

Chicken with Mint Raita, cooked on 1/28/09, Pictured Above
I opened the magazine this morning and picked out a recipe from the superfast recipe section. Chicken with Mint Raita. Total prep and cook time, 15 minutes. On my way home tonight I picked up the required mint leaves, romaine lettuce, chicken breasts and fat-free Greek yogurt. I came home to take over Rosie duties and Annie began to cook. 20 minutes later, dinner was ready.

Santa Julia, Torrontes Organica, 2008.

Pairing Weight Watchers Recipe with Wine
To up the ante, I wanted to pair our diet food with a wine. I popped into Bottlerocket, my favorite local wine store, and asked their wine expert for an affordable wine to drink with our planned meal. She pointed me to a $12.00 bottle of Argentinian wine named Santa Julia, Organica. When you buy a wine at Bottlerocket the clerk prints out tasting notes. Our notes read: The highly aromatic Torrontes grape resembles a blend of Reisling, Viognier, Albarino and Gewurztraminer. A huge taste sensation with intense aromas of jasmine rose petals, orange blossoms and peaches. Amen!

It was the perfect wine for a perfect pre-Lost dinner. Now, if only watching TV burned calories.

Chicken with Mint Raita Recipe
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup fat free Greek Yogurt
1/2 small chopped cucumber
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound of chicken
1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of curry powder or garam masala
12 hearts of romaine lettuce

1. To make the raita, chop the garlic and salt until a paste forms. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the yogurt, cucumber, mint, vinegar and pepper.

2. To make the chicken, heat the oil in a non stick skillet over high heat. Add the chicken, garam masala or curry powder and salt. Cook for about 5 minutes or until chicken is ready, stirring constantly.

3. Divide the lettuce up evenly among the 4 plates. Top evenly with the chicken and serve with a small serving of the raita.

Nutrition: 3-4 chicken pieces with 3 lettuce leaves and 1/2 cup of Raita = 197 calories, 5 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat. 70 mg of cholesterol, 702 mg of sodium, 7 carb, 1 gram of fiber, 29 grams of protein. Points Value: 4

“Is it Bacon Day?” - Homer Simpson

Sorry my first post this year isn't a healthy one, but I couldn't resist. For those of you who love bacon, sausage, and bbq... behold your new Holy Grail:

As I haven't yet begun my Cubano Gordo efforts in earnest, I think I'll hold off on the carrot sticks for a few more days so I can make room for one of these Bacon Explosions, perhaps for the Super Bowl. Who's in?

Starbucks and Dunkin Coffee Calories

In New York City, chains with 15 or more outlets are required to post calorie counts for food next to price.

The city believes that outing this information will help NYC residents select lower calorie meals and improve public health.

I've started to obsess over the calorie counts at Starbucks and Dunkin. Plain coffee is pretty much fat and calorie free.

But coffee drinks that go beyond the drip at Starbucks and Dunkin use whole milk and sugary syrups which often have as many calories as a small meal. Starbucks recently switched to 2% milk in its standard espresso based beverages. But that doesn't mean the drinks are low in fat or calories.

2 percent milk has only about 1/3 less fat than whole milk. So a grande latte made with 2% milk has 190 calories and 7 grams of fat vs. 220 calories and 11 grams of fat when made with whole milk. And a grande White Chocolate Mocha with 2% milk has 400 calories and 11 grams of fat.

To save on the Starbucks and Dunkin calories, El Cubano Gordos can request non fat or 1% milk and order the smaller size. That same grande latte with nonfat milk has 130 calories and no fat, a cappuccino, only 80 calories.

Or just skip the Starbucks latte entirely and switch to water. You'll save the $3 bucks a day and 200 calories. Over a one year period just by skipping your latte you'll lose 9.7 pounds on the waist and save $1,095 dollars.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Week 4 Update - Steve and Mary Take the Lead

Week 4 Update - Frank Finishes the ING Marathon

Steve set a commanding pace this week with a five-pound weight loss. He credits a low-carb diet plus a few games of lunch-time basketball as his keys to success. Again he proves that we shouldn't count out the 2007 champion.

Frank Pena came in a close second this week with a four-pound weight loss. Frankie achieved a major fitness milestone this weekend by finishing the ING Miami Marathon in 5 hours and raising $1,800 for Leukemia research as a member of a Team in Training.

Honorable Mentions: Alejandra / Niza lost 1.5 pounds, Chris -1.2 lbs, Annie -.5lb, Colleen -.5lb, Cathy -.2 lb
Um Really:
Chris Brand +1.2

Mother's Milk for Sale

While not on the Hooter's Menu yet one enterprising swiss restaurantur in the exclusive Winterthur resort will improve his menu with local specialities such as meat stew and various soups and sauces containing at least 75 per cent of mother's milk.

"We have all been raised on it. Why should we not include it into our diet?" Hans Locher, who has become Switzerland most controversial restaurant owner, said.

Mr Locher attracted the attention of the leading media of the German-speaking world this week after he posted ads looking for women donors, who will receive just over three pounds for 14 ounces of their milk.

He said: "I first experimented with breast milk when my daughter was born.

"One can cook really delicious things with it. However, it always needs to be mixed with a bit of whipped cream, in order to keep the consistency."

The food control authority in Switzerland was initially confused by the apparent loophole in local legislation regulating the use of human milk and it was not clear whether Mr Locher could actually be banned from serving his specialities.

"Humans as producers of milk are simply not envisaged in the legislation.

"They are not on the list of approved species such as cows and sheep, but they are also not on the list of the banned species such as apes and primates," Rolf Etter of the Zurich food control laboratory said.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

98, 99 and 100!!

Hi everyone,
My name is Steven Lee and I was the first ever El Cubano Gordo winner. It is crazy how things can change in 2 years. For those that don't know me, I have 5 kids. 4 girls and 1 boy. After winning the first competition I did really good for a long time. I was at a weight that I was very happy with, but then along came the twins. Once they were born, everything changed. In 6 short months I gained over 30 lbs!! It is amazing how easy it is to do. I went from working out twice a day at the very least to barely working out at all. I went from having no fast foods or desserts to only eating fast foods and some how finding yummy ice cream, cakes and cookies far too often sitting in front of me.

But I am back. I am super competitive and this is just the motivation I need to get back. It is still tough but you have to find time. Good luck everyone and I hope to see a lot less of you in the next couple of months.

Now let me get back to my push ups!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Quick tip

If you find yourself with an out-of-towner for a few days, you don't necessarily have to eat these creme brulee doughnuts, these bialys, these pistachio cupcakes, these burgers, these chocolate almond criossants and macarons (pictured left), and this roasted lamb pizza in a three-day span to be a good host. You might want to cut out a pastry or two to avoid feeling like a sugar-coated whale.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Baby weight

I've lost a pound since the start of the competition and am down to 142.5. I think that's mainly due to the exercise I got yesterday cleaning out my closet. Frightening!

Anyway, I'm a new mom nursing a seven-week old (look at that hungry baby on the left!). Experts say nursing a baby burns calories and helps the post-pregnancy weight come off. (Unfair advantage? Sorry, guys). It's got to be true since I have actually found myself self-consciously exclaiming to waitresses, "Yeah, um, you'd be amazed how much you can eat when you're nursing a baby!" as I order yet more food.

It's also probably true since the first 28 baby pounds (uh-huh) came off pretty quickly. But I'm still carrying around a 12-pound souvenir from those nine months that seems to like me a lot.

Honestly, I'm not too concerned about losing weight right now. I'm more interested in getting fit again. But there are diet changes to be made. Other moms have told me how much they were able to eat while nursing, and then they stopped nursing but didn't stop eating. I don't want to do that.

So I've got to kick some of the bad, unnecessary, certainly-not-contributing-any-antibodies-to-my-breast-milk habits now. White chocolate mochas in the afternoon? Cheese almond danish from Pain Quotidien soon after breakfast? A chocolate-covered marshmallow cup after dinner? That means you.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Can we keep it off?

This week, I turned on Larry King and saw Erick Chopin, talking about the 122 pounds he gained back after winning last season's Biggest Loser. He now weighs almost 300 pounds--again.

A bit shocked, I put together a spread sheet that tracks El Cubano Gordo participant weight loss over the years. The data doesn't lie. Many of us simply regress back to our original weights.

Tom has suggested that we include a claw back provision to encourage long term weight loss. While I hate the constant battle with weight, I wonder, does the contest prevent year over year gains. If El Cubano Gordo didn't exist would I weigh 300 pounds? Scary thoughts, but ones worth considering as we approach the end of January and resolution motivation begins to slow.

There's Something About Mary

Welcome back everyone! After several months of chowing down on holiday feasts of turkey, stuffing and pies we are back and more committed than ever to losing weight.The new El Cubano Gordo contest began on January 1 with 16 participants. After 17 days, many congratulations to Mary Lee from Miami who lost 9.2 lbs in the first 17 days of competition. Good luck to everyone this week!

Weight Watchers Snack Bars are like Crack...But Healthy

First off, contgratulations Mary for the weight loss and also, you know, for being alive to tell us your story. Hopping on the self report train, I'd like to report that I've lost 4.5 lbs since Jan 1st! This is mainly due to Weight Watchers snack bars. Though I don't actually go to weight watchers meetings, there's one held 2 blocks away from my work - so I weasled my way in just to buy their snack products. The chocolate caramel 1 point bars are like a little bite of heaven, and the banana nut bars (2 pts) surprised me as a sleeper hit. Good options for sweet cravings, which are what typically get me in trouble. Beware though: they can be addictive.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Lee Secret Weapon

I will follow up Tom's self report with a self report of my own. I weighed in a few minutes ago at 185! (That's almost a 10 lb. loss since the start of the competition. Read it and weep, fellow competitors!)

But I must admit that I have not prevailed over fat completely on my own. I have had a little help from my "friends" - namely a stomach virus and the flu since the competition started. Yeah! These "24 hour bugs" should be bottled up and sold! (along with a family size pack of Charmin and a small bucket to keep by the bed.)

So yes, there is a bright side to everything. In the past week I've been to the pediatrician twice (called at least 5 times,) been to the pharmacy for 4 different prescriptions, went one time to my own doctor, missed 3 days of work, been thrown up on & worshiped the porcelain goddess myself, been pooped on & have read 2 Shape magazines cover to cover on the toilet, been coughed on & have coughed a lot, have done approximately 25 loads of laundry, and there are still 2 kids left who have not yet been affected... good thing it's a long weekend. But after all is said and done, the most important thing is I LOST 10 LBS!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Self report

my weight from sunday - 191, down from 193.
pushups. 50

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Ok, I'm just putting a number out there, but I think 21 wins it. 12% of body weight and 9 points for pushups (60*.15).

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Egg Salad Sandwich - From Men's Health

It can be hard to find healthy sources of protein that don't require grilling or expensive cuts of meat. Below is an egg salad recipe I used during the first two contests that is delicious and easy to make. It's lower in fat than the usual egg salad because it relies more on egg whites and fat free sour cream instead of yolks and mayo.

19 grams of protein per serving. Makes 2 servings.

2 hard boiled eggs
4 hard boiled egg whites
2 Tbsp fat-free sour cream
1 Tbsp chipotle mustard
2 Tbsp finely chopped onion
1/2 Tsp dried dill
dash of ground pepper
4 slices of whole-grain bread, toasted
1 (1.5 oz) seedless raisins

1. In a bowl, mash the eggs and egg whites into small pieces with a potato masher. Stir in sour cream, mustard and onion unti well mixed.

2. Add the dill and pepper

3. Spread on toast, serve wtih raisins.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Pound For Pound Challenge

Hi Everyone,
Not sure if I am glad to be back in the contest, but I am back. I just thought since we are all starting right now we should sign up for the "Pound for Pound Challenge" . For every we pound we lose they donate 10¢ to Feeding America.

Well good luck everyone. I am late for a date with an elliptical machine.

Steve, ECG I Champion.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 El Cubano Gordo Contestants and Rules

What is it?
A four-month-long weight loss and fitness contest to help you lose some of the extra weight you might have put on in 2008 (or the second half of 2008 if you participated in El Cubano Gordo 2).

When is it?
Start Date: January 1, 2009
End Date: April 25, 2009

Entry Fee:

Rules of the El Cubano Gordo Contest:
1. Contestants report initial weight on January 1, 2009.

2. Contestants must report weight via email or text every Sunday.

3. Winner is determined by the following formula:

% of Body Weight Lost + 0.15 point for every push up completed in a 60 second period. Example: 20% body weight lost + 30 push ups completed= 24.5 points

Women receive 0.3 points for every push up completed in the one minute period.

Footnote to Female Handicap for Strength Portion
Handicapping the strength portion will surely lead to some controversy. The multiplier is based on a 30 second push up contest that Annie and I completed this morning where I completed 15 and Annie 7, so, yes, we are assuming that all men and women share our strength differential.

Winner's Circle Gala and Weigh-In
This year's winner will be announced at a dinner celebration at Havana Central on April 25th at 8pm in NYC.

Contestants need to report final weight and demonstrate push up ability the morning of April 25th.

Participants are not required to be present for final weigh in. You only need to provide video proof of the push ups + weigh-in to qualify for the first prize.

1st Prize receives 75% of the purse
2nd Prize receives 25% of the purse

Please let me know if you will be participating.

Current Particpants
Cathy Salazar
Colleen Soriano
Chris Bell
Tom Hughes
Dea Hughes
Pete Meyers
Al Muzaurieta
Annie Muzaurieta
Steve Lee
Mary Lee
Ralph Rosado
Frank Pena
Millie Tonarely
Jorge Tonarely
Niza Tonarely
Andrea Tonarely
Ana Victoria Tonarely
Alex Vandevere