Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bread. It hurts.

I had some crusty bread yesterday.  Okay, I know, slap my hand!!!  Mea culpa, mea culpa.  I've learned my lesson.  The bread hurt.  Sweet Jesus, did it hurt.  I had such gastrointestinal distress - you don't even want to know.  Trying to go to bed last night, I had a belly full of gas and it would not go anywhere.  It was awful, awful, awful.  I thought I was going to die.  I have learned my lesson. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

There was no chicken at my rubber chicken dinner.

Last night, I went to a legal seminar. It was held in a conference room at one of our local casinos - which is about an hour plus drive from my office. So, I left work at 4:30 to get to the seminar for 6. Food was included. I assumed (ass -u - me) that it would have the standard rubber chicken fare. My bad. There was a chaffing dish of ziti and a chaffing dish of angel hair pasta, and two bubbling mini-cauldrons of creamy pesto sauce and puttanesca sauce. Served with bread and butter. No salad! No meat! Oh my God - it was carbstravaganza up in there. It was just awful. I had to eat something, lest the people at my table (one actual client, some potential clients) look at me strangely (try being the only person at the table not eating in a business scenario). Plus, I was starving, not having eaten for the previous 7 hours. So, I took one for the team. I had about 8 little zitis, with a little creamy pesto and a lot of parm. No bread. Just enough food so that I could clean my plate and not have a full out panic attack of low-carb conscience. Seriously, though. Pasta I can understand... but no meat of any kind, and no SALAD? Have you ever been to a buffet without a salad option? Ridiculous!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Intermittent Fasting Helps Psoriasis?

Today is Day #5, which really just means that I've done my two fast days this week, and I can eat like I normally do. 

As a follow-up to yesterday's post, I will confirm that fasting on Day #4 was WAY more manageable than fasting on Day #2.  I really didn't feel terribly hungry, and I definitely didn't have hunger pangs yesterday, the way that I did on Day #2.  I felt completely fine.  Also, I thought to check my blood glucose at the end of yesterday's fast, and confirmed that I had a perfect reading of 103.  Not even close to hypoglycemic (which was one concern that I had). 

Have I realized any benefits of IF yet?  I would say yes. 
  1. I haven't weighed myself (there is laundry on top of my scale, and I've been too busy to put it away).  I feel slimmer, and I am wearing a fitted top today of a non-stretchy material, and I can see that it fits more loosely around my middle than it did when I wore the same top last week.
  2. I am deeply in ketosis
  3. On Tuesday, while fasting, I felt like I had an abundance of energy, and felt the desire to exercise.
  4. I do have a feeling that it is easier now to avoid evening snacking.  Even on the nights where I could eat as much as I wanted to after 6:30 p.m., I didn't.  The fullness from my dinner really held me through and I did not want to eat. 
  5. Dermatological improvement.  I haven't changed anything about my scalp psoriasis treatment, but this week, I am less inflamed and flakey than I have been in recent weeks.  There is a tangible difference.  My skin seems to have cleared up all of a sudden.  I had a zit on my chin that has lingered for weeks.  I woke up today and it was gone.  My skin texture has improved (smoother). 
  6. However, on the downside, my BMs were very loose last night.  For months, I have been very regular and comfortable.  Now, I'm not sure what's going on - can it be attributed to the fast, could it have been what I ate (homemade thai red curry with chicken and peppers), or do I have a touch of something? I went this morning, and it was more solid.  I feel fine, otherwise.
We will see what happens on Sunday at weigh in/measurement.  If all goes well, I may incorporate one 24 hour fast per week into my regimen. 

Honestly, I have to say that the dermatological improvements alone would make it worth it, even if I don't lose a lick of weight this week.  I have read anecdotal evidence that IF helps to alleviate the symptoms of autoimmune disorders (that is what psoriasis is).  My scalp psoriasis has been pretty uncomfortable the past few weeks (at its worst - imagine the sensation of your entire scalp burning and itching - like sunburn and chicken pox combined).  Today, I have no flakes and a normal scalp.  I'm still using my meds, but maybe over time I can ratchet them down a little.  Stress can really cause a flare up, and life has been stressful recently.  If IF works and could help clear up my psoriasis over time, that would be amazing.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Intermittent Fasting - Day 4 Update (Fast Day)

Okay, it is 12:30, and I’m not hungry.  That means that I am 18 hours into my 24 hour fasting period, with none of Tuesday’s discomfort.  I still have 6 hours left to go, so who knows what will happen.

Here are some observations on the difference between this fasting period and the previous fasting period:
  • Its early in the day yet, so I haven’t reached the same point I did on Tuesday, at about 3, when I thought I would poke someone’s eye out.  I could still repeat Tuesday’s symptoms.
  • I didn’t push myself to eat more food yesterday night at dinner, right before I began the fast at 6:30 p.m., as I had on Monday, prior to the first fast period.  Notably, one article I read indicated that loading up on food prior to starting a fast is counterproductive because it causes hormonal imbalance and the body’s reaction is increased hunger.
  • I am busier today, so I am not thinking about food, as I had been fixating on it on Tuesday.
  • I am drinking unsweetened, decaf iced coffee today.  It has a heavier taste, and the coffee itself is French vanilla flavored.  I wonder if drinking flavored stuff tricks you into thinking you are getting calories, when you are really not.
  • I am wearing a belted dress today, which is somewhat constricting.  Maybe that helps decrease the desire to eat.  I don’t know. 
  • Today, I am slightly asthmatic and getting a little wheezier as the day progresses.  It is distracting, too. 

Dinner Tonight - Grilled Shrimp with Fennel and Arugula Salad

Check out this recipe (with photo) from Epicurious.  It looks phenomenal.  Dinner tonight!!!  Since I live on the East Coast, I will be substituting jumbo shrimp for the prawns. 
What else will I need?  White wine.  Charcoal for my grill (I don't like the kind that my sainted spouse purchased).  Gotta get some Pernod, too, for the recipe.  Bread for hubby.  Something for my child to eat. 
The sun is out and this will work just fine.  Yummo.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Intermittent Fasting - Day 3 (Eat)

I started eating last night at 6:30 p.m., as planned. I would be pretty impressed with my willpower, except the hunger dissipated once I left the office, strangely enough. I think that my hunger combined with being very ready to leave work at around 4, and left me desperate. I drove home, picked up my daughter at daycare, brought her home and made her a snack, then sat on the couch with her as she ate it and we watched a cartoon and talked about our days. It was not hard at all to restrain myself from snatching the cheese-its away from my kid.

We went out for dinner at 6, ordered our food at 6:15, and started eating at exactly 6:30. It was very well timed. I ordered a veggie salad with blue cheese, plucked off the croutons, and dove in. It was great. I expected to feel immense satisfaction, like I was finally filling my belly with the sustinence it craved. There was no such sensation. I felt totally normal. Unexpectedly, I didn't feel desperate to fill my face as I ate and I wasn't hungrier than I would usually be at dinner time. I ate all of my salad (minus croutons), then finished my 10 wings and celery. I felt comfortably full, not stuffed. This feeling continued throughout the evening. I observed that, now that I could eat, I really didn't feel the need to. I had little interest in my usual late night snacking activities. At about 9, I grabbed some left over meat from the fridge to nosh on – not because I was hungry, but because it was in the fridge, I knew it, and thought I'd like some. I took a couple of bites, but wasn't interested in it. I still felt pretty full, and was sure I wouldn't feel well if I finished it. So, I threw the rest of it away.

I had a bacon and cheddar omelet at 7:30 this morning, with a cup of coffee (cream, too). It was good, it was filling. I am still full.

I'm not disappointed that I'm not hungrier during the eat period, just a little surprised. I thought that after yesterday, I would want to eat more throughout the day than usual. I don't. In fact, I am not interested in snacking at all.

My desire to eat has definitely decreased from the norm.

I plan on going forward with Day #4, and start my fasting at 6:30 tonight (I am going to stick with 6:30 to keep consistent 24 hour periods) and continue on through 6:30 tomorrow.

If I have any other observations about Day #3, I'll throw them out there. But, "eat day" is a pretty normal day for me, so I don't expect too much to happen.
I do feel a little different, GI-wise (my schedule is a little off), but I'll save comment on that for later.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Intermittent Fasting Experiment - Day #2 (Fast Day)

I am in my 22nd hour of this 24 hour fasting period right now.  As you can guess, I was obsessed by food and my feelings of hunger.  I found that the following has helped me get through the day (1) drinking a lot of liquids; (2) taking fast walks (all the exercise I can get in while at the office).  The liquids helped to alleviate the hunger, and the fast walks helped to get rid of some of the ridiciously high energy I had today (I was pretty antsy in the late morning and afternoon and felt the need to move).  Strange as it is, I have so much energy, I could probably go for a run right now, even though I'm so hungry, I could eat my shoe, and I'm a terrible runner.  I am actually craving intense cardio right now, and I feel like I could just go and go and go.  I may, if given the chance, go to the gym and give this a try before I eat at 6:30, but that may not work out with childcare and all.
If you are interested, here are my notes for the day.  Sorry if they are a little random.  Here goes:

10:45 a.m.  It is Day #2, my first fasting day.  Hunger struck at 10:30 a.m.  I realized, when the sensation hit me, that I can't recall ever feeling hungry before.  I am acutely aware of how my chest, belly and abdomen feel.  I am not queasy.  Instead, I feel clenching in my lower abdomen, and as if there is an empty path stretching down the front of my torso.   I feel tense.  I want two things right now: food and a quick walk to stretch out.  I will take the latter, and grab some more water.


11:00 a.m.  I'm back.  That didn't really do much, but it was somewhat distracting.  I did some research on the topic of how to make intermittent fasting easier.  See, Adam Steer's articlewhere he suggests that one of the biggest mistakes to make is to eat a huge meal before starting a fast to avoid "starving", because you may set off a cascading cycle of hormonal imbalance that causes you to feel "hormonal hunger" (as distinguished by true, physical hunger experienced due to need for nutrients/energy).  So there is more to hunger than I thought?


Noon: Just took a brisk walk to the other side of the office to grab a fresh iced tea.  Walking very quickly felt good.  I have a lot of excess energy at the moment.  I feel antsy.  Unfortunately, I don't have walking shoes on, so I can't very well go outside and walk briskly during lunchtime, as I would return to the office with my feet completely destroyed (these boots are made for strolling).  Next fast day, I'm definitely bringing my sneakers.  Also, I think that drinking the unsweetened iced tea alleviates hunger better than drinking water.  I noticed that I'm not as hungry as I was.  Maybe the hunger is dissipating and it is not the iced tea having an effect?  Or maybe flavor helps trick you into thinking that you're getting calories.  I wonder what sugar free gum would do?  Let's google that.  Okay, results are mixed.  I think that for my first try, I will avoid chewing gum. 


12:12:  Hunger feelings are gone.  It is almost 18 hours without food.  Is it the iced tea, or have I hit a point where your brain stops torturing you?  Am I just super awesome?  That may be the case.  I am planning my next iced tea from my office keurig: it will be caffeine-free lemon.  I have to be careful with caffeine, because it can make me jittery if I have more than 2 cups.  Plus, the lemon is super strong, so it won't taste as diluted when I dispense the tea over ice.


1 p.m.: Okay.  The lemon flavor sucks.  It tastes like faux-lemon, even ice cold and diluted… I imagine that it tastes the way lemon Pledge smells.  Sweet Jesus. 

I was just going to write that I still didn't feel hungry, but suddenly, I got an uncomfortable abdominal cramp, and now I may be hungry again.  Wait, I'm okay. 


2:05 p.m.: Still okay.  Just a little hunger, not too much discomfort.  Still have a lot of excess energy.  I am almost 20 hours in.  This is not too awful. 


2:50 p.m.: I am starting to feel uncomfortable.  I just grumbled. 
3:20 p.m.: Am I uncomfortable?  Yes.  Is it unbearable?  No.  I am trying to focus on other things, but obviously my mind keeps coming back to this, because here I am, typing away.  I can't wait until 6:30 rolls around, because I am going to eat the heck out of some food.  We're having wings.  Executive decision!!
4:07 p.m.:  I have started having some more intense clenching feelings in my belly.  I am somewhat uncomfortable.  It ha abated since 3:20 p.m.

Observation: I feel uncomfortable now, but not as shitty as I did on Saturday during the "Fat Fast".  I was miserable and mean on Saturday, and got a little lightheaded.  Today, no such issue.  What's the difference?  Today, no food, maybe the body realizes that it shouldn't give you too much heck because how can you accomplish the tracking, killing and eating of a beast if you feel horrible; Saturday, not enough food, but pretty regular grazing, maybe the body realizes that food is present but you're just not eating it, and you need a little push?  So strange.  Honestly, I had more to distract myself with on Saturday, by going to the gym, shopping, doing stuff, so that I didn't obsess about food the whole time – and I only did that for 7 hours.  Today, I am constantly thinking about eating, and I have some abdominal discomfort, but no writheing headache, hair-trigger temper, or dizzy feelings – and I've been at this for 21 hours.  How to account for this, I do not know.   I know this – if I am not in ketosis by 6:30 p.m., I am going to jump in a lake.  Honestly.  (I'm out of ketosis again due to taking cold medicine with HCFS in it… no conscious cheating).

Intermittent Fasting Experiment (24 on / 24 off)

So far, so good. Yesterday was Day #1 – an eating day – and I had no complaints. I didn't manage to finish eating by 6 p.m., though, because dinner (takeout) arrived late. I was done by 6:30 p.m., so I don't think that it is a huge violation of the IF protocol I established. Plus, Dr. Eades was flexible about the timing, and would just wait to eat until 24 hours had passed, in my case, until 6:30 p.m. today. I ate more at dinner than I otherwise would (I was comfortably full, but not stuffed), thinking that my predecessors of 40,000 years ago would have glutted themselves on the meaty bounty before me, because they ate heartily when food was plentiful. Plus, I knew that [self-inflicted] lean times were ahead for me, and I wanted to make sure I gave myself the best possible chance for surviving my fast day. (I just reread this last sentence; what a dramatic choice of words!!)

The fasting period started last night at the end of dinner. It was not easy for me, because I am, in particular, a late night snacker. So, relaxing on the couch, reading a book or watching TV, did not prove to be conducive to fasting. I kept thinking about grabbing a bite of cheese or roasted chicken, or nibbling on some almonds. So, I moved to the family room – a room with no late night snacking connotations – sipped a big glass of iced water and began to read Art Devaney's New Evolution Diet (well written, novel approach, and I will review in the future). I was fine until I woke up at 2:30 a.m., and for reasons unrelated to this fast, was unable to get back to sleep until about 4:30 a.m.

So, the beginning of Day #2 – a fasting day – started off at 6:30 a.m. I was a little sleep deprived, and definitely felt it. It has gotten better since then. I am not hungry. I have good energy. I am in a good mood. I am at work, and my brain seems to be functioning well. I am drinking water and unsweetened iced green tea. So far, I have no desire to eat. I actually still feel like some of last night's dinner is still kicking around inside of me.

Hopefully, being here at work will make fasting easier, since I am more distracted, there is less opportunity to eat anything (unless you bring it, or buy it during the window that the cafeteria is open), and all of the fresh, ice cold water I want is only 40 feet from my office.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Intermittent Fasting

Well, thanks to some thought provoking responses to my "Fat Fast" posts, I have started researching Intermittent Fasting ("IF").  I came across an article written by Dr. Mike Eades on his blog, promoting IF as a way to improve numerous aspects of your health (weight loss being the least of the positive results seen with IF).  Studies seem to indicate, at least in rodents and primates, that IF also, among other things, increases longevity, improves insulin sensitivity, reduces blood pressure, and increases the amount of a substance called BDNF, which "protects against stress and toxic insults to the brain".


So, my interest is piqued, and I seem to be in an experimental mood.  I've seen a lot of IF schedules out there.  Dr. Eades' and his wife, MD Eades, tried out IF for a week, and recommended the following schedule:


  • On Day 1 and odd # days: eat until 6 pm
  • On Day 2 and even # days: fast until 6 pm


The benefit of this schedule is that, while you alternate eating and fasting for 24 periods, you are able to eat either breakfast and lunch OR dinner each day.


So, what the heck.  I am going to give it a try.  Today is Day#1, the eat day.  I'll try it Monday through Friday, still eating low carb on eat days.  Then, I will eat normally on Saturday and Sunday. 


I'm going to give it a week.  As with the "Fat Fast", I will give this a fighting chance, but if it proves to be completely horrible, I will consider bowing out early.  If it proves to work out well, and improve my health, well, then maybe I will incorporate IF into my regular life. 


Tonight, I'll make sure that I have a huge, early dinner with lots of meat!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Fat Fast is Canceled: A Critique

FASTING SUCKS!  That is my new motto.  The problem with the Fat Fast I tried yesterday, is that there simply aren't enough calories to sustain you comfortably, calmly and peacefully (sorry, husband and family) for one day (especially if you plan on exercising - which is a bad idea on a Fast day).  Who the #*&$ can survive on 1000 calories per day???  Not this woman, that's for freaking sure. 
1. Here's what happened yesterday:
I was up at 8 and went right to the gym.  I did my usual workout, but increased the weights a little bit on the resistance machines, so that by the end of my reps I could "feel the burn" on the targeted muscles.  I drank water before and during my exercise, but did not eat.  Felt absolutely fine.  Then, I went to the store to buy my food for the fast.
I ate my first 200 calorie meal for the first time that day at about 11, which is pretty late for me.  I did the bacon/guacamole/pepper combo and was surprised that it was so delicious.  It didn't take long for me to feel hungry - maybe 30 minutes.  I longed for food, but knew I had to ration my 200 calorie meals to last me the whole day.  So I waited.  I ate my next meal (macadamia nuts) at 1, then bacon/guacamole/pepper at 3, then macadamia nuts at 5. 
By 5, I was lightheaded, really hungry, and just about as bitchy as I've ever been.  I had been obsessing about food ALL DAY, nothing could distract me, and physically, I felt like absolute crap.  I was already 800 calories in, and only had one more mini meal left to sustain me until breakfast the next day (15 hours away).  I was starting to panic.  At that exact moment, my husband said something completely innocuous, which infuriated the evil she-beast lurking just below the surface.  "HURZYGURBYLURG!" I yelled (I'm not actually sure what I said, but it was probably incomprehensible).  I looked at hub's shocked, completely clueless face, apologized for being said evil she-beast, and said, "it's not me, its this &$!*ing fast".  Backing away slowly from the insane woman, my sainted spouse reminded me that I didn't really need to fast, and suggested I gnaw on some protein stat, and just be more consistent about seriously sticking to induction food.  He is a brave man.  My food-starved brain saw the merit in this argument, allowed him to escape, and fell on a [cooked] chicken breast like a mad beast.  Within about 5 minutes, I felt waaaay better.  Then I was hungry again within about 20 minutes.  Then, I ate dinner with my family - roasted turkey breast with roasted cauliflower and mixed peppers. 
2. Thoughts:
(a) I made some mistakes.  Common sense dictates that, when you are fasting, you should probably not overtax yourself, nor go too long without eating.  Well, apparently, I ignore common sense when convenient, because I made these two mistakes.  First, I used up a lot of energy by exercising that morning, actually increasing the difficulty of my resistance routine because I felt so good and strong (it was the MORNING of boundless energy... we already know the day went downhill from there).  Second, I didn't eat until about 11 am because I didn't get to the store until late morning to pick up my Fast foods because I am bad with preparation sometimes.  This was a very bad idea.  Because, by the time I ate, my body was so desperate for food, 200 calories just could not satisfy - no way no how.  I sabotaged myself by my late start.  
(b) 1000 calories is not enough.  I'm not kidding here.  It is not enough food - and it hurt.  Good God, by 5 pm, I felt absolutely shriveled inside, physically and mentally.  1000 calories is insufficient sustinence for me (and probably for you), especially when 75-90% of that comes from fat.  And, let's be honest, we're on a low-carb WOE because WE HATE COUNTING FREAKING CALORIES and because WE HATE BEING HUNGRY, and we'll forego bread, pasta and sugar as long as we can have as much of the rest of the food pyramid as we freaking want.  I love meat.  Yesterday, I ached for some tasty meat.  (Stop laughing, twits!)  I felt miserable until I had a big hunking piece of meat. 
(c) But, a fast is a fast.  Really, I should have anticipated that I'd feel awful.  I signed myself up for a freaking FAST, not a cruise, because I wanted something specific - to jumpstart my metabolism, throw me back into ketosis, and lose a bunch of weight.  Did I think it would feel good?  Did I think at all?  Nope.  I just jumped in the pool of pain.
(d) And... well, it kind of worked.  I'm not recommending the Fast.  But it did work.  I swear - I woke up with ketosis breath this morning.  After hitting the bathroom, I weighed myself.  I'm was down to 209, which is 1.5 pounds less than the same time yesterday morning.  Since then, I've eaten and drunk loads of water, so I won't weigh myself again today, but I made another, more impressive, um, deposit in the bathroom, which would probably have dropped my weight down another pound, at least. 
(e) Caveats.  If I was willing to stick with this any further (and I'm not), I can see how I could lose at least 1 or 2 pounds per day.  However, this Fast makes you psychotic about food.  I can also see that, had I continued and managed to accomplish the completion of this Fast, I would have definitely binged afterwards.  On allowed foods, of course.  But who knows how much weight would have come back?  Also, there is no way of determining whether a successful fast results in a loss of fat, or a loss of lean body mass.
(f) Lessons learned:
  • Guacamole and bacon is an amazing combination, but I'm not as crazy about macadamia nuts as I was.
  • Fasting is not for me and I don't recommend it. 
  • Fat fasting works, at least in the short term.
  • Borrowing some principles from Fat fasting may help achieve success on a low carb WOE... 

(g) CONCLUSION: I'm not Fat fasting anymore.  But I am going to: (1) increase my fat intake daily, and (2) be more careful with my carb intake. 

  • Following my fast attempt, I realized that I was had not been getting enough fat in my regular low-carb WOE because I was eating low and moderate fat proteins, and not supplementing with additional fat.  So, instead of substiting fat for protein, I'm just going to add more fat to my dietary regimen by, for example, eating high-fat snacks (bacon, macadamia nuts, egg salad with mayo) between meals, and by adding fat to regular meals (supplementing lean protein with fatty condiments like guacamole and sauces made with cream, mayo, butter, sour cream, and eggs).  I am definitely going to incorporate more avocado into my diet. 
  • I also recognized that I had started "slipping" with carbs.  I was less diligent, and I knew better.  I have started eating berries, and drinking alcohol, and when in restaurants, was not considering the carb content of sauces on top of/mixed in with allowable foods.  So, instead of keeping my carb count below 30, I was probably somewhere in the 60-80 carbs/day range.  I'm going to cut down on the carbs and focus on fat.
  • I'm in charge, here.  I knew about my carb slipping, and let it go because I was divided as to whether I wanted to "slow down" with low-carb and allow myself more freedom this summer, or "keep going" and actively work to get back into and stay in ketosis by being more vigilant with carbs.  I realized that after Anna's surgery, treatment and hospitalization, I wanted to "treat" myself for having suffered alongside her, and supporting her as we beat her illness.  I don't want to do that anymore.  I needed to make the decision about my dietary path, either way.  I have decided to keep going forward with low carb, responsibly and thoughtfully.  No slipping.  The idea of "slipping" is another way of saying that some aspect of this WOE is out of my control.  This is an excuse.  It is an illusion.  I have absolute control over what I put into my body.  I ackowledge that everything I do when it comes to eating is a conscious decision, completely within my power.   

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Modified Fat Fast - 1000 cal/day of guacamole, bacon, macadamia nuts

Today, I have started a Modified Fat Fast, to kickstart my metabolism, and get me back into ketosis.  I have read Atkin's New Diet Revolution, and he prescribes a fat fast for the metabolically resisistant, of 5 x 200 calorie servings of macadamia nuts per day (1 ounce, or about 1/4 cup).  There are other fat fasts which are similar.  Although they very slightly, essentially, you are eating about 1000-1200 calories per day, of which 75-90% of the calories come from fat.  Fasts can last between 3-5 days. 
So, I decided that I would make up my own fat fast, with foods I like and can eat for 3 days straight, and see how it works.  I picked three foods: bacon, guacamole and macadamia nuts.  I am also allowing myself 3 mini peppers per day.  (Click the links for specific brand information).  No restriction on noncaloric drinks, and I'm still taking my vitamins.
Here is my daily plan with nutritional breakdown:
  • Meal 1:  3 slices bacon  (70 cal/5g fat/0g carb/5g protein) + 4 tbsp guacamole (120cal/10g fat/2g carb/2g protein) + 1 pepper (8 cal/0g fat/1g carb/0g protein)
  • Meal 2:  1 ounce macadamia nuts (200 cal/21 g fat/2g carb/2g protein)
  • Meal 3:  3 slices bacon  (70 cal/5g fat/0g carb/5g protein) + 4 tbsp guacamole (120cal/10g fat/2g carb/2g protein) + 1 pepper (8 cal/0g fat/1g carb/0g protein)
  • Meal 4:  1 ounce macadamia nuts (200 cal/21 g fat/2g carb/2g protein)
  • Meal 5:  3 slices bacon  (70 cal/5g fat/0g carb/5g protein) + 4 tbsp guacamole (120cal/10g fat/2g carb/2g protein) + 1 pepper (8 cal/0g fat/1g carb/0g protein)
So, that works out to a daily total of 994 calories/ 87 grams of fat / 13 grams of carbohydrate / 25 grams of protein. 
About 78% of calories come from fat, figuring 9 calories in 1 gram of fat.
Let's see what happens.  I weighed myself this morning, and was 210.5.  I am going to do this fast all day Saturday, Sunday and Monday.  Wish me luck :)
Incidentally, a guacamole covered piece of bacon, with diced peppers on top is very delicious!!


Friday, June 10, 2011

WANTED: your tips to help achieve my 3 week weight loss challenge!

There are exactly 21 days that separate us from Friday, July 1, 2011. In the next three weeks, I am challenging myself to get below my next milestone of 200 pounds.

I've lost about 23 pounds since starting this blog. If you count my pre-blog weight loss of about 4 pounds in early January (when I was casually trying but not committed to low carb), I'm guessing that I now weigh approximately 27 pounds less than I did. Oh, would I like to make it a round 35!!!

My incentive: this is the date that I travel with my husband and daughter to visit my in-laws for their annual Fourth of July bash. I haven't seen some of my husband's family since Christmas… before I started strictly low-carbing and keeping this blog. How I would like to be just that much slimmer when I see those people again (how vain and prideful of me!!)...

I can do eight pounds in three weeks. I need some tips though. Here what I'm currently doing:

  • Keeping the carbs below 40/day (usually in the 30/day range, but sometimes a little higher if I eat berries);
  • Exercising about twice/week – 30 minutes cardio (usually elliptical), then resistance training with weight machines for about 15 minutes; and
  • Evening mediation/weight loss visualization, using Jon Gabriel's free MP3 on his website,

Thoughts about what I should add/change:
  • I know that I need to drink more water and cut down on stress.
  • Also, I'm drinking about 2 cups caffeinated coffee per day – do you think that needs to be cut down/eliminated?
  • Also - what about fasting? Does anyone know of a good low-carb fast that might do the trick?
  • Should I up the exercise, or tweak what I'm doing?
  • Any low-carb foods that should be avoided at this time (artificial sweeteners, nuts, cheese, etc.)?

I am really thinking about doing the Atkins Fat Fast

Any help you can offer would be awesome! Thanks!!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Working girl’s smart low-carb solutions

I have to say that pre-cooking one gargantuan meal only to be consumed by me for lunches has really worked out this week. I have saved at least $20 on lunch in just the four days I've been here. Plus, I know the nutritional content and quality of the food I cooked. I can certify that it is really low-carb, definitely under 4 net grams per serving (and all of that from the mass of veggies and small amount of almond meal I added for fiber, nutrients and texture), high in quality protein (no hormone added, no antibiotics used, all organic ground beef and good quality ground almonds), with a good amount of high quality saturated (organic butter, lard) and monounsaturated (olive oil) fats. And… I really dig it. I still love my pre-prepped, high quality, pre-measured lunches. Not going to the cafeteria eliminates the risk of being tempted by some of the inappropriate food items they have downstairs or being tricked into eating something that appears "low carb" but really isn't. Also, I have to say that their salad bar, which is my usual lunch source when I graze down there, is not that high quality, and because there is no nutritional information posted, you definitely play Russian roulette with the salad dressing choices.

I have been thinking about ways to make this mega-meal more versatile, mix it up a little, and still keep it low carb. This could easily be accomplished in a couple of ways. Here are some ideas: use it as a philly cheese-like sandwich filling on ½ of a low-carb flax lavash or inside of a low carb tortilla (either option about 5 g net carbs – check the nutritional information), topped with cheese, mayo, tomato and avocado; use it as something of a "ragout" atop a pureed veggie – like mashed cauliflower, turnips, or roasted pureed yellow squash; use it as a filling inside of a roasted vegetable – like a big red pepper or a pre-cooked halved eggplant or acorn squash. And, if you find you have leftovers at the end of the week, wouldn't this make (1) a really good and funky pizza topping for your carb-eating loved ones, (2) a good pasta toss-in, or (3) a phenomenal filling for an empanada? You bet!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Back to Work! Planning meals, promoting snack foods, feeling like a foodie.

Live is slowly returning to normal.  I started back at work yesterday, after having taken about 5-6 weeks off to be with my daughter for her surgery and recovery.  And I have to say... things are starting to feel like normal again.  It is a good thing!
Last night, I made a huge amount of food to bring for lunch this week.  I made five sizeable meals.  I took the meat/eggplant stuffing from the stuffed mediterranean eggplant recipe on this blog, and made a ton of it (4 pounds maybe).  I added a lot more veggies to it - mostly yellow squash and vidalia onions.  No stuffing occurred, so its more like a meaty/veggie goulashie thing, and it is very yummy.
I also bought pints of blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries, and have started bringing them with me in the morning to add some vitality to my breakfast food (I also chewed on some leftover porkchop before I left the house).  Although berries are not allowed on strict low carb induction, I am limiting myself to 1/2 cup of berries with about 2 ounces of cream, so the carb count for this item is around 4 grams.  It is manageable, and as long as my weight loss continues, I am not going to sweat it.  I am going to enjoy the bounty of this season's harvest, and I'll be careful about it. 
So, I am planning my meals to improve my chances of success this week.  It also helps that it keeps costs down (because a meat/salad at my office cafeteria runs about $8, and my 4 pounds of goulashie stuff cost about $12 because I loaded on the veggies).  If you try this, too, make sure it is something you really love, and could see yourself eating every day for the whole week.  I did something similar last week, as well.  Last Sunday, I brined and then grilled a ton of chicken - boneless thighs and chicken tenders.  We had a lot of leftovers, and I at them all last week, sometimes for breakfast with a piece of cheese, sometimes for lunch on a salad.  Very yummy, and it really helped me avoid cheating. 
I have taken to making a new brine - it is not actually sugar-free, but so little of the brine actually gets absorbed into the meat (its really osmosed into the meat on a molecular level), that I don't think you ingest all that much.  It is a quick brine - and my trick is that I use salty and sweet liquids, instead of trying to dissolve granulated salty and sweet things into a heated liquid.  I do a can of diet soda (ginger ale or orange works well), a packet of barbeque seasoning from McCormicks, 1/4 cup soy sauce, and about 1/2 cup your juice of choice (orange and apple work well). Add the meat (chicken or pork works really well) in a big bowl, and pour on extra soda or juice until the meat is just covered.  Brine 8-24 hours.  (I brine bony or thicker pieces longer than I do boneless/skinless pieces).  Don't remove the meat from the brine until just ready to grill.  Discard the brine, and grill your meat!
I also found a new product, which I love: Emerald Brand Cinnamon Roast Almonds.  OMG, they are so good.  If you think that you like Cocoa Roast Almonds... give these bad boys a try.  They are really killer, and at 3 net carbs per 1 oz serving  (11 tasty nuts) they are a good carb bargain.  However, I am going to write the people at Emerald and find out whether each serving is 3 net carbs, or actually 2 net carbs.... because the nutrition facts indicate that the carbs contain 1 g of sugar, however, there is no sugar in the coating mix.  Instead, they use sucralose, which must be noted as sugar carbs on the nutrition label, by law, but which is not digestible to the human body and thus does not truly add to the carb count (although there is disagreement about the effect artificial sweeteners have on insulin).
Plus, there is a lot of evidence out there that cinnamon promotes weight loss, which is one of the reasons I decided to try these, and one of the reasons that I've been adding cinnamon to my savory dishes (and it tastes incredible - very North African).  I made the best sauteed yellow squash and onions with butter, salt, and a little bit of cinnamon.  It was out of this world.  Leftovers would make a very good pizza topping, or pasta toss in (for my family - not me) with garlic oil, some goat cheese and crumbled bacon.  Ooof.  That sounds good.
I have been experimenting with low-carb flax wraps and lavashes. Typically at around 5 grams per wrap or 1/2 lavash, they help you eat your summer cheeseburger with your hands, the way God intended.  Plus, once you wrap your meat (ha ha), you can throw the thing in the frying pan or on the grill and crisp the whole thing up.  I did this last week with a cheeseburger, loaded with mayo, avocado, bacon and tomato.  Yummity freaking yum. 
Seeing a pattern?  I am trying to work out 5 g carb "treats" that I can have once a day to make life a little easier in the summer, but will help me keep under 30 g carbs per day.
One caution: I have heard bad news about those low carb pastas - evidence I've seen shows that they promote insulin response just as high as regular pasta.  So "low carb" though they might be, your body does not recognize them that way.  If you are insulin resistant like me, you're trying to avoid those insulin spikes, so this type of food is probably not your friend!!
Another caution: I love Friendly's no sugar added ("NSA") happy ending sundae, but there is so much artificial sweetener in it that I get a serious case of the intestinal grumbles.  They can truly be heard across the room by my husband, who is probably a little deaf.  If you are sensitive to the effects of splenda (and I never have been before), you may want to stay away, or try just a little scoop with the salted, slivered almonds, sans the NSA fudge topping, for your first time.  It is good, but only a once in a very long while treat for me.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Weighing In... and Thinking Myself Thin? (The Gabriel Method)

Today was weigh in.  After a serious meat fest last night at our favorite BBQ joint, I was dreading said weigh in.  However, it turns out that I had nothing to fear, for I somehow managed to accomplish a 2 pound weight loss this week, for a total of 23.5 pounds lost to date, or approximately 29% of my weight loss goal.  Yesitty, yes, yes, yes!

I started something new this week.  I'm still doing low-carb... so never fear.  However, I happened to be in Borders two weeks ago with my sister, and I picked up a bargain book, "The Gabriel Method", by Jon Gabriel.  It was a $1 book.  Essentially, it is about thinking yourself thin.  The premise is that, for fat people, our brains/bodies want us to be fat.  There are various reasons why this might be, and it all goes back to our prehistoric ancestors, who stored fat during times of famine/scarcity and cold temperatures.  Today's human no longer has to worry about famine and cold so much.  However, the same fat-storing reaction may be provoked by modern-day woes, like financial worries, working for a terrible boss, living through some trauma, etc.  So, if you are a modern day fat human, your body is storing fat because you have unresolved issues.  Jon Gabriel wants to help you get to the bottom of your unresolved issues, so that your brain stops telling your body to store fat.  Included with this book is a free, downloadable MP3 that you can obtain from Jon Gabriel's website (if you have the password, which I do).  This MP3 is a 10-minute visualization exercise that involves relaxation, soothing sounds, some hypnosis-type stuff, and positive reinforcement, designed to teach your brain that "it is okay to be thin... it is safe to be thin."  Is it a little nutty?  Sure.  But for $1, it was worth the try.  Check out his website, and let me know what you think.  I am going to stick with it, and maybe the fat really will melt off my body like never before.  In any event, it really helps me settle down to sleep :)


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