Monday, December 13, 2010

Fat Free Holiday Baking

Holiday traditions don't have to be all about the food - my son and I "baked" up these charms using the Cricut Imagine machine and some Shrinky Dink film.  It was a fun activity that took actually the better part of a day to do (needed 2 trips to Michaels to get the various supplies and we botched up the first set - haha) but even the mistakes were fun and we ended up with a homemade gift for my nieces and nephews.
On a food note, I am finally feeling back in control of things.  I'm not back into an exercise routine yet, but I am way more active and am back to eating a large quantity of vegetables each day.  And I mean large as in 2-3 fruits plus about 5-6 servings of vegetables/legumes (according to normal American diet standards) per day.  It is funny that I can see a direct relationship to my weight loss and the amount of vegetables I eat.  It's almost like they insulate my body from absorbing all of the other stuff.   I'm looking forward to some White Bean and Kale soup for dinner tonight.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Countdown to Christmas

Ok, my posts seem to be quarterly of late, and the weight tracker (right column) shows it.  My Second Year weight is moving in the wrong direction!!  Maintence is difficult, and the one problem I have is lack of exercise.  When I was exercising (even 3 times/week) I was able to maintain my weight around 122.  Although I got down to 118 last year, that weight is very difficult for me to maintain, so after reflecting on my journey, I've decided that 122-123 is a good weight for me to strive to maintain.  Now that we are headed into the holidays, I need to get these 5 pounds or so off, so I don't wind up back where I started when the holidays are over.

Exercise.  That is what I need to incorporate at this point.  When I had to stop exercising due to an injury last October, my weight stayed around 120 for several weeks.  I'm convinced that I had changed my metabolism by the months of consistent running I did beforehand.  After a while, though, sporadic running wasn't enough to hold down my weight and I find myself here in December not being able to remember the last time I laced up my running shoes to hit the trail.  I stare at my treadmill everyday thinking I need to get myself back on there.  However, I am not a big fan of the treadmill, so I need an exercise plan.  I am working on getting that together and will post as I go - I'm sure it will be a work in progress.

In the mean time, here is a simple recipe that my whole family has been enjoying recently:

Roasted Cauliflower
Wash, Core and Separate Florets of one or two heads of Cauliflower.  Place in mixing bowl and add the slightest drizzle of olive oil and a few shakes of Spike seasoning, turing to coat.  Place on a baking sheet lined with foil and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes (until the florets start to brown). 
Enjoy!  Leftovers (if you have any) are great cold the next day.

I hope to get back on track and posting regularly as we head into the heart of the holiday season.  I would love to hit the 122-123 mark before Christmas.

Friday, July 9, 2010


WOW - has it really been since the middle of May since I have checked in here??? 
Time passes very quickly in the summer for me.  Juggling work and kids camps and vacation and is hard to keep up.  I have had my ups and downs during this time.

On the negative side:
  • I saw my weight creep up to as much as 126 after I returned home from the beach. 
  • I have struggled with eating as much plant food as I would like - mainly from lack of time set aside for grocery shopping and the produce selection at my local grocery store wasn't that great for awhile.
  • A close family member was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes and that was a shocker.  I thought that disease was reserved for overweight people who ate junk food.  This person is thin and their diet was not that bad from SAD standards, but they did eat a lot of sweets.  I have often joked that I am the type of person that would rather skip the meal and just eat dessert - so this really hit home.  One of my new goals is going to be to reduce my sugar intake as much as possible.  Being thin does not automatically mean you are healthy. 
On the positive side:
  • I hit the one year mark on my journey to health and have accomplished each goal I set out to achieve.
  • I was able to wear a bikini at the beach (ok, I'm not sure if I looked any good in it but I felt ok wearing it so that is a huge improvement from where I was last year)
  • Learning of my family member's Diabetes diagnosis really shocked me back into gear.  I have been running again, keeping my food journal all day, reducing sugar, and am back to extra large quantites of plant food in my diet.
I intend to go back to weekly reports here and plan to include information on new foods I am trying and of course, what I am reading at the moment.  If you have been following this blog, you will know that reading books on health and nutrition is a hobby of mine.  I still have a few more chapters in The China Study to go, but took a break from it for a while for other reading.  Hope everyone is doing great!!

PS My new running shoes are great!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

New Shoes and New Inspiration (I hope!)

A year ago in June, I purchased running shoes from NikeTown in Chicago.  That was the place to go for a shoe fitting let me tell you!   I needed a stability shoe because I have weak ankles and tend to pronate.  I was so excited to see all the colors and styles, and then my excitement faded as I saw the stability shoe I needed (the Equalon 3) only came in one color scheme - white with hospital blue trim - it was very sterile and orthopedic looking.  But I knew I was buying the shoes for fit, comfort and support so the colors weren't a big deal but it was a bit disappointing.

Fast forward one year and I am in need of new running shoes. I've earned them! I would have needed new shoes sooner, but I had to take a few months off of running due to my hip injury. I had good luck with the Equalon 3 so I went out to and did a search. Imagine my surprise when I saw that the Equalon 4 was out, and offered in several different colors!! Woo-hoo! I ordered the purple scheme - here they are:

They will take about a week to get to me, but I am hoping once they arrive I will have renewed motivation to run.  I'm still using Nike+ to track my runs and totally recommend the program to all runners, whether you are a beginner or a pro.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Struggling to Maintain

I've been a bad blogger lately - I haven't had too much new to report and have really been struggling over the last few weeks - my weight has gone up to 126/127 at one point and it took a lot of effort to get it back down.

The good news is that I am running again and my hip injury seems to have healed (thankfully!). But running is not coming as easily to me as it was before. I just have to stick to it and hopefully it will get easier.

I'm reading the last of my Christmas books at the moment, The China Study...

...and let me tell you I am scared to eat just about anything now - haha.  I read all nutrition books with a critical eye so there are a few issues I have with this book, but the general premis that a diet largely comprised of natural plant foods protects against cancer and other diseases is hard to dispute.  So have an extra serving of green veggies today!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

When you get to the end of your rope.....

Tie A Knot and HANG ON!

Ok, I've been hanging on now for months and I have been losing my grip these last few weeks.
We were all sick which threw everything off to begin with (the virus I mentioned in my last post actually turned out to be strep throat)
I got extra busy at work
Hubby got extra busy at work
Both boys have activities just about every night - baseball season is underway, coupled with select soccer for my older son and karate for my younger son
4th Grade homework and projects and studying, oh my

and worst of all, due to all of the above, we have had several 'last minute' changes to our schedules. 

I am NOT a last-minute kind of person.
I suffer from anxiety
I am a Type A-neurotic-listmaker-planner type of person
Toss me into situations where I need to adjust as I go and you are asking for disaster.

Case in point:
I haven't journaled my food all week.
I ate 5 Samoas last night. F-I-V-E.  Sigh.

Did I mention I am not a last-minute kind of person??

Ok, so I am committed to getting a grip on things. 

Step One is to recognize the problem.  For someone like me Chaos in life = Chaos in health

Step Two is to plan for chaos.  I need to have some grab and go snacks ready.  I haven't been able to get to the grocery store as often lately so I need to start scheduling that in.  I usually am pretty good about this but not so lately.

So many of my pages of my food journal are only half complete.  I do great during the day, but once the evening chaos hits I blow it.  New goal is to force myself to complete the food journal daily.

This weeks episode of The Biggest Loser was great for me - they had the contestants work a full day and therefore they needed to plan out their food in advance and plan in their workouts.  I need to make sure that I am doing this!

Hope you all are doing great, or at least hanging on to the knot at the end of your rope until things turn around!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

1 to 2, 2 to 3, 3 to 4, YIKES! The pounds creep back on...

Ok, between the holidays and not exercising regularly, my weight seemed to settle in around 120.  This week I hit 122 - a weight I haven't been in months.  This past week was rough:
(1) Virus circulated around our house, first I was home with DS2, then I was sick, then I was home with DS1 when he got it.
(2) Being home and not feeling well means that I was basically lounging around all day watching the Olympics and eating.  I tried to eat healthy, but with all the Valentine's Day candy in the house that was just not happening.  Plus popsicles felt so good on my sore throat.  Even though I had the all fruit kind, that is still way too much sugar.
(3) Despite being ill, I went out for a fancy dinner on Valentine's Day with my hubby and overinduged in food and drink.  It was soooo good though!

The virus has left the house, we are back into our normal routine, and hopefully soccer practice will resume next week if the weather is mild so I can get back to running.  I SO don't want this weight to come back so I need to do something about it before this 4 pounds turns to 8!!  Catching it early and getting back on track is key!

Hope everyone out there had a better week than I did.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Still Going, a New Book, and The Far Reach of Broccoli

I realize I haven't been posting as much on here, so I'm hoping I will go back to at least 1 post per week.  I am doing great maintaining my weight-loss for the most part by eating a nutrient-dense diet.  Exercising is still a challenge for me.  I have the best intentions but then it doesn't seem to happen.  I really need to find my groove soon because I see my body fat percentage creeping up lately! 

I've gotten through most of the Dr. Furhman books I received for Christmas (listed here) and am in the process of reading another book by him titled "Disease Proof your Child." 
I'll be making some of the recipes from his books and posting about them soon.  My getting-healthy endeavor includes making sure my family is healthy as well.   My boys have always eaten way healthier than most American children - but of course there is a lot of room for improvement under Dr. Fuhrman's standards. [Side Note: I need to stop referring to him in the house though because the other day I asked Jack to make his bed and in a sarcastic tone he answered "Why, does Dr. Furhman think I should?"  Enough said.]

I have really stepped up the fruits and veggies lately, been trying out new foods, and been talking about nutrition quite a bit.   We had a incident eating out that made me feel great and is worth sharing.  We went out to dinner at a Chinese resturant over the weekend and instead of ordering two entrees and sharing them (as we used to do b/c it is family style), we only ordered one chicken dish and a large plate of steamed broccoli.  Well, the broccoli plate was just as large, if not larger, than the chicken plate and was perfectly cooked - bright green and still somewhat crunchy (and if you've been following this blog at all you know how much I love broccoli!).  We all enjoyed it very much.  Towards the end of our meal, a woman who had been sitting at a table near ours walked over and said,

"Excuse me ma'am but can I ask you how you get your children to eat all those vegetables??" 

I thanked her for noticing and told her it is not always easy but I just keep trying.  After she left, Jack said "You really liked that question, didn't you Mom?"  You bet I did.  My husband's comment was the best though - he said what is really sad is that it is such an unusual sight to see children eating (and enjoying) vegetables that someone had to actually stop and ask about it.  So now I feel like I'm not just setting an example for my family, but my family can be helping to set an example out in the community.  Broccoli knows no bounds -- Pass it on!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Beware of Sucralose!

My food label reading has expanded to not only include the info in the box, but also to include a detailed reading of the ingredients in what I am eating. Since I have been trying to eat mostly all natural foods and watching my sugar intake, I have noticed that a lot of foods labeled "Low Sugar" or "Reduced Sugar" actually contain an artificial sweetener. Now it used to be that those foods would have a nutri-sweet or splenda (more recently) logo somewhere on the package so one would instantly know there was an artificial sweetener involved. But nowadays these packages are in natural colors sans logo, and include whole grains -- giving the appearance of a wholesome natural choice. But buyer beware and READ THOSE LABELS! I recently found that the Quaker "Low Sugar" and "Weight Control" oatmeals include the artificial sweetener 'sucralose' - same thing as splenda. Yes I know Splenda is supposed to be safe, yada yada, but do some googling on sucralose and you'll find it linked to a myriad of problems in large quantities.  Anyhow, I just want to know what I am eating so I'm reading the ingredients on all food packages very closely now.  My goal at reducing my sugar intake is not to simply substitute and fill myself with tons of artificial chemicals. No thanks - I think I'd rather have the actual sugar!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Day Without Sugar.....

Seriously - I did it.  And if you are thinking 'no big deal' then you need to read the ingredients on everything you eat.  In all kinds of foods from whole grain bread to ketchup, there is refined sugar snuck in there somewhere. 

One benefit of keeping a daily food journal for a long period of time is that you can see hunger patterns.  I probably eat less sugar than most people, and the sweets I eat are not considered 'bad' foods (well except for those Christmas cookies, but that is a different story!).  I hardly eat any sugar during the day, but after dinner my sweet tooth takes over.  Low fat granola bars or even just plain old cereal.  Once I eat something sugary, then it just seems to make me hungrier.  I've discovered that my nighttime eating adds nothing but sugar and calories and an increased appetite.  So yesterday I decided I was going to go 100% refined sugar free and see how I did.  Interestingly, my calories for the day were only at about 1000 and I was not hungry (except immediately after dinner when I had my typical sweet craving which I was able to satisfy with a small glass of fruit and vegetable juice).  I also had enough energy to run 2 miles on the treadmill.  Who knew?!  So what did I eat yesterday?  Here it is:

Plain Oatmeal (no flavor) to which I added one spoon of ground flax seed, one chopped up date and 4 chopped up almonds.
about 1 cup raw broccoli
about 1/2 cup raw carrots
about 1/2 cup raw sugar snap peas
Bok Choy and White Bean Soup (my own recipe, don't ask for it, it was not good but I ate it anyway)
1/2 large Sweet Potato
Small glass of V8 Fusion fruit/veggie juice
A few carrots and about 1 tbs Hummus
3 dates and 12 small almonds (put together and rolled in flax seed - my short cut date-nut poppers)
Lots of water with lemon juice for flavoring

Dr. Fuhrman says, everything other than plant food should be a condiment.  Many of my days I have sugar as a condiment, but now I'm confident that I can have more and more sugar free days.  Now if I could only get my family on board.........

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Triple Berry Tart Recipe!

School was cancelled last week due to snow, so I was home with the boys all day.  I do really well eating during the work week because my job keeps me busy and there is no food handy.  Needless to say I was a bit nervous about being home all day from an eating standpoint (I often think if I was a stay-at-home Mom that I would be obese!).  Anyhow, knowing that my sweet tooth would get the best of me at some point, I made this easy Triple Berry Tart to snack on:

Here is my recipe which has much less sugar than most 'normal' tart recipes.  Suggested alterations are noted below.  This is not necessarily a 'healthy' recipe, but a reduced sugar and reduced fat version. 

1 14oz. bag frozen blueberries
1 14oz. bag frozen raspberries
1 14oz. bag frozen blackberries
4 tbs. cornstarch*
1/3 cp. white sugar*
1 cp. Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal
1/2 cp. instant oatmeal (plain)
1/3 cp. shredded coconut
2 tbs. whole wheat flour
10 pecan halves, finley chopped/crushed
1/3 cp. brown sugar
3 tbs. light margarine, melted (I used Parkay light sticks)

Toss frozen berries with cornstarch and sugar.  *Note that there was still quite a bit of liquid after cooking - next time I would increase the cornstarch or add tapioca to thicken the sauce (rather than increasing the sugar, as most recipes call for 1 cup of sugar).  Spread evenly into ungreased pie dish (I used a Pampered Chef stoneware pie dish).  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  While baking, mix topping ingredients in separate bowl until well blended (break up any large clusters of cereal as needed).  After initial berry cooking, remove pie dish from oven and spread topping evenly over top of berries.  Retun to oven and bake 30 minutes or until topping begins to brown.  Allow to cool somewhat before eating so sauce can thicken.  Enjoy!!

Still am trying to reduce the sugar in my diet, doing ok, but still craving sweets.  I'm wondering if I need to go cold turkey for awhile to allow the cravings to pass.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


So I'm a bit late in actually posting my 2010 Resolutions because I really wanted to make sure my goals were challenging but attainable.  So here they are (well the ones related to health anyhow):
(1)  Reduce the amount of sugar in my diet.  I am proud to say that overall I eat very healthy - way more fruits and veggies than the average person - but my one downfall is my sweet tooth.  I would love to say I was going to cut out sugar alltogether, however, sugar is in so many things that would not be realistic.  Therefore, my resolution is to greatly reduce the sugar in my diet - substituting natural sweet foods like fresh or dried fruits when possible, choosing low sugar versions of various foods/condiments, etc. 
(2)  Stepping up my Nutritarian diet.  I really moved towards Dr. Fuhrman's goal of 80-90% nutrient dense plant foods last year, but still could make a few other adjustments.  I'm probably at a 60-70% rate on average, so I'd like to step that up to 70-80%.  Reducing sugar will help, but I also need to break out of my broccoli rut and incorporate new vegetables into my diet.  I am still keeping my food journal but really only for calories and to determine plant food percentages.  I might try to make my own new version of a food journal for purposes of this quest. 
(3)  Get back into running.  My hip injury sidelined me in September and I've never quite found my groove again.  I have tried other exercises, but nothing gives me the feeling that running does.  So I may need to go slow or get some PT to help along the way, but I'm bound and determined to get back into it.  I plan to look for and sign up for a 5k in the next few months.  Maybe I can find a St. Patty's Day run somewhere.

Ok, so that is where I am for now.  I'm proud that I have been able to maintain my weight loss despite my injury and the holidays, but I know there is more I can do to get myself into a totally healthy lifestyle.  The Christmas cookie stomach and head ache sent me a message loud and clear that I feel so much better when I am eating ultra healthy!