Thursday, April 28, 2011

Back on the blog

I'm back.  I couldn't stay away for too long.  Guess what, being a scared mom actually leaves you plenty of free time to sit around and worry.  So, here I am.  Here are some low carb observations that came to me during my crisis.


The first one:


Headgames.  That's what I call it when pre-low carb Kate would negotiate treats with herself, like she was two different people.  Well, I caught myself wanting to drift back into that dual-minded mentality.  Since we've had our medical scare, very sweet, well-meaning people have begun dropping off food at my house.  Literally, one "square" meal per day is left in my porch by this really nice group of ladies that I belong to.  And I'm incredibly touched.  I feel loved.  For real.  However, if I have to be a Debbie Downer (and I do), I will tell you that I have not been able to eat one freaking thing that they brought to my home!  Carb-crazy Kate (as distinguished from regular Kate and evil Kate) has been negotiating like she's a diplomat and it's the Treaty of Ghent up in my house.  Oh, sweet Lord, it has been so hard.  I've had to slap my own hand, yell "down girl!" and firmly remind myself (dual-minded again), that these other Kates don't really exist, and they don't necessarily want what is best for us...I mean, me. 



The second one:


Well, on Tuesday, I had the two-hour oral glucose tolerance test that I've been whining about for a couple of weeks.  Yes.  75 grams of pure glucose in one nasty little bottle of disgusting glucose drink.  Ugh.  Even carb-crazy Kate wanted to hurl up that foul, wretched goo.  I did it though, and three puncture marks later (yes, I look like a heroin fiend), I headed home and was unsurprised to learn that this foray into the devil's drink has taken me out of ketosis.  I have been in ketosis for about 12 weeks.  So – and I am not proud to admit this – I took the opportunity to go ahead and have not one but TWO of these huge, beautiful, buttery, chocolate-chippity chocolate chip cookies that were dropped off at my house on Tuesday.  It was so good.  Y'all… it was too good.  I felt like a fiend, but heroin was not my drug of choice… it was cookies.  I was about 2 seconds away from inhaling that entire tin of 12 cookies.  But, I stopped myself.  There was no trick to it.  I felt the absolute, certain knowledge that once I started, I would not stop… and I was pretty horrified with the mental picture that developed of me shoveling all those carbs (and many more to follow) in my mouth.  No kidding.  I had a millisecond-long talk with myself, slapped carby Kate one more time for good measure, and realized that I just couldn't let myself down again with diet, and I refused to go down that slippery slope (slippery because it is coated with molten chocolate).  I want to be healthy and thin.  I do, I do.  I am on my way. 


The third one:


Good things.  I went to TJ Maxx on Tuesday, after my bad behavior, and picked up some new things.  It was not for the purpose of celebrating my weight loss or return to normalcy.  It was because I don't have any casual clothes that fit, and I still can't find any of the shoes that my husband "organized" right out of my life.  So, I spent $109 and change, and bought myself 3 new pairs of pants, each one a 16 regular, two cute shirts, a pair of leather ballet flats with little rosettes on the toes, and a new blue leather purse (which I got on clearance for a ridiculously low price of $7).  Plus, I got some new handsoap for my bathroom and kitchen, which made me happy.  One is rose water (so yummy), and the other is lemon verbena (sharp and clean smelling).  It was a really good load.  And…. I really needed it.  Phew.  The jeans are life-affirming.  They look good.  It was a great purchase because I saw my butt, and it looketh nice (if you're into juicy booties).  And I was suddenly glad that I did not eat that entire tray of cookies.  So glad, in fact, that I invited my family over for dinner and they ate all of that stuff I can't eat, including the cookies.


The fourth one:

No sugar added chocolate sundae at Friendly's.  So, my kid wanted to go to Friendly's last night for ice cream, and who can refuse a little kid who has to go in for surgery next week?  I sure can't.  So, we loaded up in the car and headed over to Friendly's, and I ordered a cup of coffee.  Enh.  I asked if they had the nutritional information for their no sugar added vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.  They did NOT have it in the store.  Luckily, my sister whipped out her I-phone and looked it up for me.  I'm not sure exactly how they do their math, but I'm pretty sure it is low-carb enough to eat.  Check this out:

The ice cream has 11 grams of carbs, 3 grams of dietary fiber and 5 grams of sugar alcohols…  So, I'm pretty sure that means that it is either 8 grams of carbs, or 3 grams per serving.  I'm guessing that it has 3 grams per serving, because its mostly just dairy and fake sugar.

The chocolate sauce has 25 grams of carbs, 2 grams of dietary fiber, and 21 grams of sugar alcohols.  So, again, that means its either 23 grams of carbs, or 2 grams of carbs.

I added sliced roasted almonds.  Just 1 carb.

It was so good.  My guess, the carb count was 6 for the happy-ending sized sundae.  I hope.  I'm going to email Friendly's and figure out what's up with that / how you count the sugar alcohols.  Because, I'd love to do this again next week.  (Down girl!!)  I think I'm safe



Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cancer Scare

There is a chance that my 4 year-old has cancer.  She is going in for a biopsy on Thursday.  So, I'm not going to be logging in for a bit.  I'm going to stick with this way of eating, because I need to be a healthy mom for my girl and I am seeing results now.  Wish us the best.  As always, I wish you lots of luck.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Self-love (and get your mind out of the gutter!)

I have to tell you something.  I just love the way that my legs look in a skirt and heels these days.  I am so glad that spring is here and it is starting to warm up a bit, and now I can wear somewhat more revealing clothes when I'm out and about.  I'm keeping it office appropriate, I promise!

I don't think that I have worn a pair of pants this week.  Tuesday, I wore a very pretty flowered wrap dress with a black blazer.  Thursday, I wore a great gray sheath dress with a hot-pink cardigan.  Today, I am wearing a black pencil skirt, with a pink, black and white-striped button down (tucked in, with belt!) and a pink cardigan on top.  Too cute.  Oh wait. Okay, now I remember, on Wednesday, I wore black trousers, black tee and a gray, white and black argyle cashmere cardigan.  It was flattering.

I am starting to love clothes again.  It is a sign that things are going well on this diet, because I won't wear clothes if I think they show my lumps, humps and rolls in an unflattering light.  (Yes, I look at myself with a very critical eye in the mornings). 

I have one accessory that I swear by.  I bought it a few months ago.  It is a wide leather belt from Lane Bryant, in a size 14.  Okay, I wasn't a size 14 when I bought it, but the front is leather, and the back is a wide elastic, which helped.  (At first, it really constricted my breathing when I wore it...but I've given it a second try now that I've accomplished some weight loss.)  It is not cheap or chintzy looking elastic – it just looks like fabric.  Believe me, this belt gets a lot of use now, because it helps to bring in the silhouette of tops and dresses that are getting to be roomy.  It looks good when I wear it over a blouse, then put a jacket or sweater on top of the whole thing.  In fact, I am starting to like to wear it now sans jacket or sweater, because it really emphasizes my newly-appearing waistline and makes me look a little waspish (maybe a little corseted).  I highly recommend this for the diva that is transitioning to a smaller clothes size – it gives a little more longevity to the stuff you own, and its hot.

I'm not saying these things because I am a very vain person.  In fact, I am pretty critical of myself at times.  I am saying these things because I am getting to the point where I am starting to look a lot better than I did when I started this diet.  I'm recognizing, and now, so are other people.  It feels good.  I am happy to see results.  I am starting to feel young and pretty again (as opposed to old, hormonal, and not so hot).  I can feel the change inside of me, and I'm happy to celebrate with you the fact that, as of today, I am starting to feel like a hot mama.  It is working!!  I can do this.  I am doing this.  It is working!!  I am getting healthier and slimmer.  I can see the finish line in the distance. 

Am I still a "big girl"?  You betcha.  Even though I feel exuberant (at the moment), I realize that, just because I feel slim, it doesn't mean that I actually am slim.  When I look in the mirror, the first question I force myself to ask is, "should a 212 pound woman be wearing this?"  My husband can feel my ribs for the first time since we've been married, but that doesn't mean that I'm twiggy.  My "slim" is another woman's "holy shit".  I get that.  It doesn't make me feel bad about myself.  I can remember the days, in high school, when 200 was my "holy shit".  Now, I'm going to have to fight back the urge to wear a bikini when I hit 200.  And that's okay.  It is about damn time that I showed the old body a little love.

Holy Crap, That's a Lot of Fat You've Got There!

Here's my crazy-scary update on my body fat and lean calculations from Dr. Eades book, Protein Power. 


So, as I mentioned yesterday, the book is a little complicated with the calculations, but like I said before, I kind of like that... except, I did my calcs this morning, and I am freaked out.  Before I give you the numbers, let me describe the technique (for women only - men have a different calculation to perform):


First, you take three waist measurements without pinching or sucking it in (around your navel), and average them out.

Second, you take three hip measurements without pinching or sucking it in (widest point - don't cheat), and average them out.

Third, you measure your height.  (Note: all measurements are in inches).

Fourth, you find these coefficient numbers on a chart for each measurement.

Fifth, you add together the coefficient for your hips and waist then divide it by the coefficient for your height, and arrive at your percentage of body fat. 


Ready for the real, nitty gritty??  Here's how it went for me.


Step 1. Waist measures 39".

Step 2. Hips measure 47".

Step 3. Height is 66".

Step 4. Coefficients: Waist is 27.73; hips are 57.22; height is 40.23.

Step 5. 27.73 + 57.22 = 84.95.....  84.95-40.23 = 44.72% body fat.


Holy shit.  44.72% body fat.  That is about 94.8 pounds of body fat on my 212-pound frame.  Wake up, Kate!


Luckily, you can then calculate your lean body mass, then use that to find your ideal target weight range.  I have about 117.19 pounds of lean body mass.  Calculating that my body fat should be between 21%-27% for my age range (31-40 year old women), I should weigh between 148.34 - 160.53 pounds.  So, my goal weight of 150 pounds is actually on the low side of my ideal body weight range.  In order to weigh less than 148.34, I would have to have a much lower body fat percentage, and the likelihood is that it would be difficult to achieve unless I also lost some of lean body mass (which would not be good).


The lesson - even if I didn't realize how much fat I am truly carrying, at lease I know that my weight loss goal is healthy and realistic.  Also, I apparently could survive the artic winters, courtesy of my own fat blanket.


The feeling - well, I'm not ecstatic about these numbers, but I'm not exactly surprised either.  I mean, I'm the one who picked 150 (flying blind) as my target weight, and I was right on track with that, so some part of me realized the state I was in.  So, its not surprise, but it is just a little more real than it was yesterday. 


The good news - I am on the right path!  More, better information = more tools to help guarantee my success.  I am moving towards healthy, and that makes me happy.  In fact, my regular MD was really happy with my progress when she saw me yesterday, and told me that I looked "fantastic" and was doing all of the right things (low carb, exercise, etc.) to address my health issues... and that she sees further improvement than when I visited her only weeks ago for my knee injury.  Her nurse told me, when I weighed in before my appointment, that I looked like I had been on one of those makeover shows.  (And I was like, "thank you very much").  I did have a very sharp outfit on ;)  So, I am already healthier, and as my MD said, I'm just going to feel better and better as I continue to exercise, eat right and slim down. 


In related news, I am going to have a two-hour oral glucose tolerance test on Saturday morning.  Hurray.  (Not.)  So, I've decided to do this week's weigh in and measurements on Saturday AND Sunday, because I want to see how/if the GTT affects my weight and girth. I've heard that it can cause you to put on water, and can knock you out of and make it hard to get back into ketosis. That makes me a little nervous, but I've got to do what's right for my health, even if it sets your diet back a little bit.  Also, FYI, I asked my doctor whether she wanted me to eat a "normal" carb intake the week prior to the test, and she said no, she wants to know how I handle glucose based on what I actually eat, not on some idealized diet.  We'll see what happens!  I have another appointment in a couple of weeks, to go over the results.  The doctor said if I am diabetic, which she doubts because my HBa1c is 5.3, I am nevertheless keeping my glucose controlled through diet.  Anywho, let's cross that bridge if we get to it.  I'll let you know how things progress.

Peace out, y'all...and happy Friday!!!








Thursday, April 14, 2011

"Protein Power" and the Skinny Jeans Measure of Success

I am reading Protein Power, by Dr. Eades.


I really like it because, I have to tell you, some parts of it are right up my alley.  After the introductory chapter and the medical explanations, Dr. Eades goes into how you should measure you percentage of lean and fat body mass, so that you can come to a better understanding of what your ratio is and what your healthy ratio should be, for optimal health, and to promote regulation of your hormones.  So, you take various measurements, including your height, circumference at waist and hips (if you are a woman), and plug it into their equation, which is supposed to result in a more accurate understanding of your body mass composition.  Once you get this number, Dr. Eades helps you to determine what your minimum daily protein intake should be, so that you can maintain muscle mass while you burn of your dietary fat and adipose tissue, because…you're cutting carbs, baby!  (Surprise!  Not!).  For people like me, who have a lot of weight to lose, or for people like me, who have certain warning signs of hormonal imbalance, you eat 30 or fewer grams of net carbs daily until you get closer to your healthy ratio of lean and fat body mass.  So far, I like Dr. Eades book.  I'm going to go home later and plug in my measurements and do out the math, and will report back. 


One thing that Dr. Eades has emphasized, thus far in the book, is that he really doesn't care about a measurement as simplistic as your weight.  Using CAT scan technology, Dr. Eades shows abdominal cross sections of four different people – an average person, a high-level athlete, a person with intra abdominal fat (an apple-shaped/beer belly type), and a person with hip/butt fat (a pear-shaped/junk in the trunk type).  Fascinating.  The average person and the pear-shaped person carry their fat just under the skin, so it lies like a fat blanket on top of their muscles.  The apple-shaped person carries their fat within their abdominal cavity, surrounding their organs, and even inside some of their organs.  It's the latter type of fat storage that is related to insulin resistance, which produces all sorts of problems for the body.  The pear shaped person, who weighs the same as the apple shaped person, is actually more likely to be much healthier.  It goes to show that your weight alone is less of a predictor of health problems than is how much fat you carry for your size and where you store it.  It is really quite visually striking.


One suggestion that Dr. Eades made is that individuals stop weighing themselves and start measuring themselves instead, because this is a better measurement of whether you are becoming a healthier person (i.e., one who is less likely to suffer from disease and premature death).  Another way that he suggests to measure success is to get yourself a pair of too-small pants, and keep trying them on, week after week, noticing how much closer you are getting to fitting in to them as you continue with his program.  The language he used evoked powerful images for me, and may for the other women out there who've experienced the struggle to fit into "skinny jeans".  I won't quote him verbatim, but he starts off with these pants which you may not be able to get past mid-thigh.  As the weeks progress, and you lose fat and gain muscle (through exercising), you'll be able to work those pants up your thighs.  Eventually, you'll get them over your butt.  Then you'll be able to zip them a bit, if you lay down on the bed and suck it in.  Another week or two, and you're able to zip fully and button (using the lay down-suck in method).  Before you know it, you're in those damn skinny jeans, girl, and they fit comfortably.  Congratulations.


I am so enamored with this "skinny jeans" measure of success, that I am going to go out there, buy myself a pair of size 10s, and get started on Sunday.

Hearty salad recipes and photos from

Check out this delectable slide show of tantalizing hearty salads from  Yummo.  Clearly, If you are going to eat these, you'll want to omit some of the ingredients to keep them low carb, i.e., don't put the bread in the salmon panzanella salad, or the corn in the grilled shrimp salad, or the chickpeas in the other salmon salad salad.  The smoked fish salad with the herbed aioli sounds right up my alley today...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ketosis and Blood Glucose - more questions than answers

The diet is going well.  I'm still in ketosis.  What is interesting is that I've been checking my blood glucose regularly, as my doctor recommended, and I have found that my morning blood glucose readings are higher when I eat certain foods later in the previous evening… I'm talking about my amazing low-carb brownies and/or truffles, which I really enjoy!  I've experimented.  Last night, I had 3 low carb truffles, which total about 6 net carbs, at around 9:30 p.m.  My blood glucose at 11 p.m. was 108.  This morning, at 6 a.m., my blood glucose was 133.  When I eat a savory, as opposed to sweet, snack in the evening, my sugar is at more acceptable levels the next morning.  Faux-sweet evening snacks that are low carb appear to drive up my morning blood sugar.  The same brownie, if eaten for breakfast (because frankly it has a lot of dietary fiber, protein and fat, and some caffeine, and I like it for breakfast), fills me up, satisfies, and does not make my blood glucose shoot up.


I'm a little surprised, frankly, that my blood glucose levels are on the high side of the normal range.  How does that happen on this kind of diet?  Also, how does low blood glucose happen on this diet?  It is not rare for me to have a blood glucose reading of 68 mg/dl at around 4 p.m. (probably the product of having a super-compliant low carb lunch, like salad with a scoop of tuna and some hard boiled eggs).  Shouldn't this diet, and being in ketosis, work to keep my blood glucose on an even keel throughout the day (so as to keep my insulin consistent, i.e., no spikes, which then turns my glucose into lipid and stores it)?


How do I keep my glucose consistent and on the lower side of the normal range?  I am worried about my fasting glucose.


Why didn't I pursue a career in endocrinology?!  I would know the answers to these questions by now!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Diabetes? Type 1, Type 2, or [Type] None?

Last night, I received a phone call from my MD at home.  The results of my fasting glucose and insulin tests from last Friday came in.  My fasting blood glucose was 118 mg/dl, and my fasting insulin was 10.  Apparently, the blood glucose was elevated, but the insulin was well within the normal range (the max normal is 17).  The fasting blood glucose result seemed strange in light of the prior post-prandial glucose test I took at the lab, which resulted in a reading of 95 mg/dl.

But...I expected a higher than normal fasting blood glucose.  I have read a number of blog entries and posts from low-carbers out there who have had the same results:

My doctor is concerned that I may be diabetic.  According to her, I should do a glucose tolerance test, and get my HbA1c tested.  I told her that I was worried about getting a false positive from a GTT because of my low carb diet.  As observed by Dr. Atkins: 

"Note: The GTT results are not considered accurate unless you are consuming at least 150 grams of carbs a day for at least four days before you take the test. Therefore, doing it after you start Atkins would mean you'd have to go back temporarily to eating a high carbohydrate diet (and almost certainly regain some of the pounds you have just successfully lost)."  Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution, p.113 (2002 ed.). 

This recommendation seems to be pretty mainstream:

"Those taking the OGTT to diagnose diabetes or prediabetes who are not pregnant should eat a normal, balanced diet the week before taking the test. Experts recommend that this diet include at least 150 to 200 grams of carbohydrates per day. Patients must fast for at least 8 to 12 hours before having the test."; see also, (recommending 150g for 3 days prior to GTT).

I know I'm getting about 20-30 grams of carbs a day, which is confirmed by my carb counting and daily ketosis testing.  I'm leery about guzzling all of that sugary stuff for the GTT, about high-carbing it for 3-4 days prior, and about sticking around a blood lab for 2 hours to get the GTT done (I have to work, people)!! 

So, we're compromising.  I'm going to do another fasting glucose and the HbA1c tomorrow morning before work.  I'm going to start monitoring my blood sugars three times per day with a home glucometer, which I have to pick up this afternoon from the pharmacy (yay, insurance paid for the glucometer and lancets – no copay!).  Then we'll see if we need to do the GTT after those results come in.  Hopefully, the HbA1c will look good enough so that I don't have to do the GTT.

I have read that exercising at night, and eating a good, low carb snack before bed, can help with fasting blood glucose.  Guess that means that yours truly is hittin' the gym tonight.

I hope I'm not diabetic.  Type 1 and Type 2 are both in my family.  Type 2 I can deal with, as it is likely to resolve itself once I've got my health and weight under control.  Type 1 is pretty scary stuff. Shudder.  My maternal grandfather and first cousin once removed have Type 1.  But I make insulin…  and I have PCOS, which is related to insulin resistance (I make too much insulin).  I don't know how you can have symptoms of insulin resistance and have Type 1 diabetes, because having insulin resistance implies that you are producing a lot of insulin and your cells just aren't responding to it.

I'm going to start keeping track of my blood glucose levels on this blog.  Hopefully, it will provide some insight and result in a healthier me.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ketosis breath

Oof.  This morning, I have a serious metallic mouth taste going on, and I'm burping up K-breath like nobody's business.  I didn't measure ketones this morning (because I was in a hurry and forgot), but I've got to be putting out more ketones than I was yesterday. 


I'm onto my fourth glass of water right now, so I'm a little more hydrated than I usually am at this time of the day.  Drinking a lot of water dilutes your urine, which results in a lighter ketostix result.  I don't think that hydration would have the same effect upon the other markers of ketosis, i.e., my breath, or that metallic mouth taste.  It is strange, because I haven't had that metallic mouth taste in a while. 


Let's talk about food.


Yesterday, I had a hard boiled egg for breakfast, some leftover stuffed eggplant for lunch, and grilled steak (horseradish sauce) and shrimp with buttered broccoli for dinner (that's about 10 ounces of meat, folks).  Last night, about 2 hours after we got home, I needed to eat – it wasn't hunger, but I felt that I needed food ASAP – it wasn't even like a craving.  My belly had room, and my body needed food.  The "eat now alarm" was screaming at me (the one I get before I get heady and woozy).  It was bizarre, because I had eaten plenty that evening.  So, I ate.  First, I ate 1 low carb brownie (2.5 g carbs).  I waited 10 minutes to see how I felt.  "Eat more" said my brain.  Then I ate one mozzarella cheese stick.  I waited again, same response.  Then, I had another low carb brownie.  Waited, same response.  Then, I ate about an ounce or two of sliced pepperoni, and sucked down a can of seltzer water.  I can't say that I was satisfied, but the alarm stopped sounding, and I went to bed.  I checked my ketones last night before bed, and I was in ketosis – "deeper" than I had been that morning, despite my late night eating.


My meal time food choices were really good yesterday.  Very low carb, high fat, full o' protein… good ketosis-inducing and -maintaining foods.  I'm consciously increasing my intake of saturated fats from healthy sources.  By 9 p.m. last night, I definitely felt that I had run through all of the energy produced by that food.  I feel like I've jump started my metabolism.  Today, my energy is good.  My headache is absent (as it was yesterday).  I can focus better.  I feel positive-minded.  I am starting to believe that I've been missing the right kinds of fat in my diet, and that things will get better now that I'm conscious of this issue and working to resolve it. 


What would I change about yesterday?  Well, I'm glad that I listened to my internal alarm.  However, I think I could have made better food choices to silent that alarm.  If this happens again, I will drink water and eat some cheese, almonds or meat, first and second, if necessary. 


Although these brownies are low-carb and contain good fats and lots of flaxseed meal, they are made with artificial sweeteners and I don't want to take in too much of that stuff.  Also, they are full of caffeine (from the chocolate), and other things that make you feel good (again…from chocolate, God's gift to us humans), and I'm pretty sure that they are physiologically addictive (no joke…I'm jonesing for one right now).  And, well, they are a dessert.  My instinct is to feel guilty about eating dessert.  Should I feel bad?

Mediterranean Stuffed Eggplant

Stuffed eggplant

Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 20 mins | Servings: 4 servings | Difficulty: Easy


  • 1 pound meatloaf mix (ground pork, veal, beef)
  • 1 tbsp lard
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp organic butter
  • 1/2 pint white mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 small eggplants, halved and contents scooped out and chopped
  • scant 1/4 cup raisins, chopped
  • 1/4 cup almond meal (or finely chopped almonds)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • pinch of cayenne powder
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a cast iron skillet over medium high heat, cook ground meat in lard until well browned, scraping bottom with a wooden spoon periodically to avoid burning.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute onions in butter, with a little salt, until translucent (about five minutes). Add chopped mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms have softened.

Add onion and mushroom mixture to meat in skillet, and stir to combine. Add chopped eggplant to skillet, stir to combine. Add seasonings, raisins and almonds. When eggplant softens, add water to skillet, and deglaze bottom of the pan.

Add olive oil to the empty saucepan. Lightly salt eggplant cavities, and place eggplant in the saucepan, cut side down. Cook eggplant this way for about 3-5 minutes. Flip eggplant, exposing cavities. Cook eggplant in a 400 degree oven for another 5 minutes. Remove eggplant from the oven.

Add cheeses to the meat mixture and stir to combine. Check for seasonings, and add salt if necessary. Divide meat mixture evenly, and stuff into the 4 eggplant halves.

Bake until delicious, golden brown, and bubbly, about 5 more minutes.


Source: My collection

Sent from Paprika Recipe Manager.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Happy / Diversifying Fats / "Nourishing Traditions"

I just left my desk for a moment to run to the ladies room.  On the way, a coworker approaching from the opposite direction stopped me and said, "Kate, you look amazing!"  She continued, "you've lost a load of weight."  It was so spontaneous and honest!  It was so nice to hear!  I've been feeling crappy for a while, and this immediately elevated me to a happy state.  Even before the compliment though, I noticed that today was a headache and grump-free day.  I feel more like myself.  What have I changed!!?

Well, I am still taking the progesterone.  The MD got back to me, and told me that, yes progesterone can cause headaches and that is probably what is going on at the moment.  It should stop once I'm off of the progesterone.  The MD told me I could go off of it if I really needed to right now.  I only have a few days left, so I am going to stick with it.  She said that there is really no way to know whether the progesterone will cause headaches again when/if I have to take it next month. 

I had a high-fat, high protein meal last night for dinner, and frankly, I felt amazing afterwards.  I made meat, veggie and cheese-stuffed eggplant, with raisins, middle-eastern spices, and almonds.  It was flipping fantastic.  I had a hardboiled egg for breakfast today, and leftover eggplant for lunch.  (I'm telling you, this recipe was a killer.  I took care to use a few different fats – lard, organic butter, EVOO – to make sure I get the benefit from each one, ala Nourishing Traditions.  I'm going to post it once I clean it up a bit.  The procedure I used is a little confusing, and would benefit from being streamlined.  These would make GREAT meatballs.  My family loved the recipe, even Picky Daughter Who Disdains Mama's Creative Cooking.)

I am starting to wonder if I need more and better fat in my diet.  Heretofore, my focus has been on increasing protein and lowering carbohydrates.  I have been eating a lot of dairy, and getting fat from there, as well as from the protein I eat.  Truthfully, though, the animal protein usually ends up being lower in fat, just because I like chicken and fish, and because red meat tends to be more expensive than poultry, so I buy it less frequently.  I wonder if I'm not getting enough fat, especially healthy saturated fat.

I've started reading Nourishing Traditions.  Reading this book has been a learning experience for me.  I saw interviews with its authors, Sally Fallon (from Weston A. Price Foundation) and Dr. Mary Enig, on Tom Naughton's documentary, Fathead.  I also saw a link to this book on Mr. Naughton's website, which I enjoy reading.  So, I picked NT up and started to go through the book.  Well… it is so much more than a book about low-carb (its actually NOT about low-carb, particularly...although it discourages refined sugar consumption, it encourages the consumption of fruits, unrefined sugars, and sprouted grain products, which are starches).  It is really a book about returning to traditional foods and methods of food preparation, for the purposes of eliminating toxins from the body and of getting the maximum nutrition out of the food that we eat.  The recommended way of eating is, well, a little intimidating.  Here are a couple of things that I have picked up so far, that I have been incorporating into my diet:

  1. Diversifying fats: I have begun to diversify the fats that I use when cooking, where before I relied mostly on olive oil, supplemented periodically with cheap, salted butter.  The authors of NT really take the time to explain the benefits and risks associated with consuming various types of fats.  Here's what I remember: animal fats are very high in stearic acid; fresh, organic butter contains healthy medium chain triglycerides; coconut oil contains significant quantities of lauric acid; olive oil contains health oleic acid; and flaxseed oil contains a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids and has an appropriate balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.  So, when I made my low-carb brownies the other night, I used coconut oil and butter together.  When I made my eggplant last night, I used butter, lard and olive oil.

  1. Eating organic: Although NT recommends that all of your foods be of the highest possible quality, organic, free-range, cage-free, animal products from animals fed on pasture, that is really hard to do and super expensive.  They give really good reasons for that.  I'm going to put my toe in to these waters, and make sure that my eggs and dairy are organic, that my meat is hormone and antibiotic free, and that my onions and potatoes are organic (not that I eat potatoes…but my family does).  Apparently, the stuff they spray on non-organic onions and potatoes to keep them from sprouting early can be harmful. 

Here are the two things that make me nervous: 

  1. Lacto-fermentation: I am not a shy cook, by any means.  The daughter of a professional chef knows many food preparation methods and has a number of handy tricks up her sleeve, gastronomically-speaking.  However, lacto-fermentation (pickling, culturing, etc. without pasteurization) is something that I am just not trained to do.  Honestly, I made crème fraiche a few months ago (this is a product of lacto-fermentation), and I was a little scared to eat it (you take heavy cream, add buttermilk and salt, and let the mixture sit out at room temperature to culture for about 8-12 hours, it thickens and sours and is like a lighter version of sour cream).  I did eat it, and it was delicious.  I would probably eat it again.  Even if I would eat it, I don't know that I would feel comfortable feeding it to my child.  Pickling is something that people have done for millennia – my grandmother even periodically makes her own, homemade, crock pickles (very Polish).  However, it doesn't mean that the prospect of allowing certain foods to sit out unrefrigerated for long periods of time is something that I am comfortable with.  I would like to try this out, but I am a little hesitant.  (And I have very clear memories of my mother being horrified by Babci's pickles).  I am going to try to make NT's salsa recipe, and feed it to my husband.  The high salt and acid content in the recipe makes me a little more comfortable with it, and I can probably get my husband to eat it.
  2. Raw milk and raw milk products.  Well, let's just say that this is pretty non-negotiable in NT, as the authors decry pasteurization.  I would personally try raw milk products like butter and cream, I suppose.  However, I would not want to give this to my child.  I have heard horror stories of raw milk tainted with e-coli, and e-coli is scary stuff.  But, if you want to try to make their pickles… a lot of those recipes require the use of whey, which is produced from making curds and whey from lacto-fermenting raw milk.  Plus, I've had raw milk cheeses before, and they are awesome.  Ever been to France.  OMG.  Raw milk goats cheese...just a little stinky + good, crusty bread = pure heaven!  As a general rule, I do love to experiment...  I am thinking that I will come around. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

End of Week 10 - weigh in (a day late)

I weighed in yesterday, on April 3rd, at 215.5, which is one more pound lost from last week.  I also lost about 3/4 of an inch from around my waist.  Last week was a tough one.  I had not been feeling well - the week was plagued with headaches, moodiness... you name it.  I seem to have a headache all of the time, and ibuprofen and tylenol do little to help.  I'm not sure if this is the result of my new meds, or if it is the start of allergy season, and I have some kind of sinus thing going on.  I am going to call the MD who prescribed the new meds, and see what she says.  Hormones are serious stuff. 

I was hoping to pen a new post this week, entitled, "high energy... I love Mondays!"  That is not going to happen.  I'm still tired, moody, and headachey.  I hope I can get some resolution from the MD.

Cheers, and here's to feeling better in every way!!  :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Brownies #3 (healthier carb - for your kids)

Brownies #3 (healthier carb)

Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 20 mins | Servings: 8 | Difficulty: Easy


  • 5 tablespoons organic butter (salted)
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
  • 5 ounces coconut palm sugar
  • 3 ounces organic honey
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cold large eggs
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1/4 cup stone ground whole wheat flour
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon


Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8" baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

Melt the fats and cool briefly. Combine the fats, sweeteners, and cocoa in a medium heatproof bowl. Stir until the mixture is smooth.

Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flaxseed meal, cinnamon, and the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Spread evenly in the lined pan.

Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.

Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 9 squares.

Source: My collection

Sent from Paprika Recipe Manager.

Friday, April 1, 2011

I am the HTML Maestra!!

Check out my new weight/measurement tracking table on my stats page.  I made it myself using html!!  How awesome is that?!

Get thee to the doctor!

I've been doing a lot of research on PCOS and "estrogen dominance" and "progesterone deficiency".  Turns out having PCOS causes you to have a lot of estrogen running around in your body.  Too much estrogen and not enough progesterone tends to make you fat around the midsection, hairy, moody, headachey, etc.  As if these symptoms weren't bad enough, having such an estrogen imbalance can apparently increase your likelihood of heart disease and breast cancer.  (And, let me be the first to tell you, having PCOS can make you infertile).  If these symptoms sound familiar, consider getting yourself to your MD for a check up, and have them run some blood tests on you. 

Hey - I'm not a doctor, but I believe that if you feel like crap you should get yourself to the MD and find out what's going on. 

I know a lot of people who prefer to stick their heads in the sand and just live with their symptoms.  An example: I have an Aunt Pam.  She is one of my mother's sisters.  After my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer (for the second time) in 2008, she had genetic testing performed to determine whether she had a gene abnormality on BRCA1 or BRCA2 (these are human tumor suppressor genes - women and MEN who have an abnormality in these genes are much more likely to get breast, ovarian, and other types of cancer than the general population).  Mom had a deletion on her BRCA 2 gene - she had hereditary breast cancer.  With the exception of my Aunt Pam, my mom's children and her brothers and sisters all were tested.  We were all negative, thank God.  My Aunt Pam didn't show up for her appointment, she didn't reschedule, and she has never been tested, to this day.  Aunt Pam has two biological children, each of whom would also have benefitted from knowing whether their mom carried such a gene abnormality (because that would mean they have a 50% chance of having the same gene abnormality...the same elevated risks). 

My mom died last August, at age 54.  If she had had the benefit of a "heads up" ten years earlier, maybe she would still be alive today.  (Case in point: Christina Applegate).  To squander the opportunity to learn more about your own health, when it could provoke action that could save, extend and/or improve your life (and the lives of your loved ones), is tragic!

We only have this one life and this one body.  We should take care of them the best we can.  You're never too old to start taking care of yourself for the first time in your life.  Hey, I'm 31.  I'm obese and not that healthy at the moment.  But, I'm working on it, and my life is improving as a result.  There is no shame in being a work in progress.  There is no shame in investing in YOU!


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