Friday, January 30, 2009

Fri Jan 30th - What I'm Eating

Breakfast: oatmeal with cream, raisins, almonds, flax seeds, a little maple syrup.

Lunch: Arby's Market Fresh Roast Turkey Ranch sandwich with no onions - I think this had (obviously) turkey and ranch dressing, also bacon, tomato, lettuce, American cheese, mayo, on whole wheat bread. I think the bread was not 100% whole wheat though. Also I am sure the mayo and ranch were full of preservatives and maybe even HFCS...and the meat was probably full of nitrates...and the cheese was definitely not real... I was out and this was the best I could do given the circumstances...but next time I think I'd just rather be hungry and wait until I got home...or pack something...when am I going to get a clue about this?

Dinner: Applebee's 4 oz sirloin with portobello mushrooms, grilled shrimp & parmesean sauce, a double serving of steamed veggies including broccoli, carrots and yellow squash - it was by far mostly broccoli though.

Snack: Archer Farm's Organic Cranberry Nut trail mix bar - only natural sweeteners, no preservatives. Not bad for Target...

Analysis: Wow, quite possibly the worst day of my whole diet, except maybe the Honey Bunches of Oats day... I ate out twice! Lunch was actually a huge mistake because while I thought I was getting the healthiest thing on the menu, I think the bread turned into glue in my stomach and I have been feeling kinda sick the rest of the day. I should have not eaten that bread! I did pretty darn well at Applebee's though, I thought! I even avoided dessert, which was not easy! mmm...Triple Chocolate Meltdown... The trail mix bar is only so so - on the one hand, its organic and doesn't have any nasty HFCS or preservatives, but on the other hand, it has "crisp rice" which is code for "brutally mutilated processed rice product," not exactly whole grain...

The whole problem is that we actually didn't do a meal plan this week, hubby just went to the store and bought a bunch of meat. So that meant that by today, we didn't have anything to put together a proper meal, and I was gone all day. Case in point, more planning ahead required...I'm off to make a proper meal plan, which will be procured at the store tomorrow.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thurs Jan 29th - What I'm Eating

Breakfast: egg & cheese burrito w/whole wheat tortilla

Lunch: leftover bacon kielbasa, a few spoons of applesauce

Snack: most of an Ezekiel English muffin with butter & boysenberry preserves - the dog ate some when I had to leave the room for a minute...I was ticked...

Dinner: pork chop, big salad with homemade vinaigrette, broccoli & green beans.

Snack: chicken & mozzarella quesadilla - the last whole wheat tortilla...

Analysis: kind of a funky day - a lot of cravings and feeling negative about food today. :( I have to drive past a Little Ceasar's pizza place on the way home from work, and tonight I was dreaming about garlic cheesy breadsticks, and also those cinnamon glazed breadsticks... waaaahhhh!!!!

I didn't get any exercise done today, but I did take the little guy to a toddler playtime at a local community center gym, where I chased him around for an hour and a half...does that count? I would do some pilates now, but frankly, I'm exhausted...

I also wanted to tell you about how I make pork chops... I don't bread and fry them, surprise, surprise! I usually toss a little seasoning on them and then I cook them in my electric oil-core stainless steel skillet. Its not frying because there is no oil...its not exactly baking either, though I guess that would be a little closer. Anyway, they turn out nice and brown and very moist. If I didn't have this special skillet, I suppose I would broil or bake them... frying definitely falls into the category of "damaged fats."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Weds Jan 28th - What I'm Eating

Breakfast: Ezekiel bread toast with butter and all-natural boysenberry preserves, organic whole milk plain yogurt with raisins, almonds, & honey.

Lunch: leftover chicken fricassee

Snack: half a banana and half an orange

Dinner: leftover BBQ pork, leftover mushroom rice, broccoli, big green salad with homemade balsamic vinaigrette.

Snack: the same yogurt as above, with raisins, almonds, Ezekiel cereal, honey and vanilla...

Analysis: today was a pretty lazy day, cooking wise... I needed a protein with my afternoon snack... got some good veggies at dinner, though. Did you read my blog about High Fructose Corn Syrup yet???

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention I have been back to doing pilates the last few days - my abs huuuuurrrrrttttt... that's good, right? :) DS and our dog act really funny when I am doing it though! The little guy tries to climb on me and hug me and give me kisses, which is funny because usually if I ask him for a hug or kiss he shakes his head no and runs the other way! He also tries to lift up my shirt and get "milkies!" The dog stands right over me wanting me to pet her - if I ignore her, she butts her head into me, and then flops down practically on top of me...she paws at me unless I pet her or make her go away! I guess there are 2 people who don't want to me get in shape...go figure!

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Well I am still working on the milk and dairy post but I just saw this info and felt compelled to post about it.

You know the recent series of commercials that make claims that High Fructose Corn Syrup is "all-natural, made from corn, has the same calories as sugar, and is fine in moderation"? Well I was shocked to see those commercials putting bald-faced lies out there and making fun of parents who try to avoid giving that stuff to their kids... but now recent reports are revealing the ugly secret that HFCS is often contaminated with mercury! Yes, the same mercury that can cause autism, the same mercury that is in the fish they tell pregnant and nursing women to avoid eating, yes, the same mercury they swear is not in our vaccines anymore (that's a story for another day)!

There are two reports I am linking to, but I'll give you the juicy bits:

First, a research article published this month in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health, "Mercury from chlor-alkali plants : measured concentrations in food product sugar" by Dufault, et. al. Article URL

This study tested HFCS from three different manufacturers, and found detectable mercury levels in 9 out of 20 samples. Most of the samples testing positive came from only two of the three manufacturers. Based on their findings, they made this analysis: "With the reported average daily consumption of 49.8 g HFCS per person, however, and our finding of mercury in the range of 0.00 to 0.570 µg mercury/g HFCS, we can estimate that the potential average daily total mercury exposure from HFCS could range from zero to 28.4 µg mercury." Since "prenatal exposure as low as 10 mg/kg methylmercury, as measured in maternal hair growing during pregnancy, may adversely affect the development of the fetal brain," it is clear that HFCS may be a very serious source of potential mercury exposure.

The second article is from The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, also published this month: "Not So Sweet: Missing Mercury and High Fructose Corn Syrup" By Wallinga, et. al.

This group gives further background information on the problem, and undertook their own independent testing of 55 brand name food products that list HFCS as the first or second ingredient. They found detectable mercury in about 31% of products tested. They measured total mercury in Parts Per Trillion (ppt) which does not directly compare to the other study, but it is becoming increasingly clear that there is no safe exposure amount for pregnant women or for children. Here are the results for some of the products that were found to have the most mercury:
From Recently Updated

This study is just meant to illuminate the issue, and bring attention to the need for the FDA to regulate the levels of mercury and other toxins in all food. So many Americans, especially children, consume very high levels of HFCS, and advertising such as the recent campaign only serves to potentially increase exposure to this problem-ridden additive.

But even if all the mercury is taken out of HFCS for good, its still bad for us! For those of you who are unfamiliar, below is a quick run-down of the other known evils of HFCS:

1) Fructose inhibits the absorption of copper. "Lysl oxidase is a copper-dependent enzyme that participates in the formation of collagen and elastin. Fructose seems to interfere with copper metabolism to such an extent that collagen and elastin cannot form in growing animals." "A deficiency in copper leads to bone fragility, anemia, defects of the connective tissue, arteries, and bone, infertility, heart arrhythmias, high cholesterol levels, heart attacks, and an inability to control blood sugar levels."

2) Fructose can only be metabolized by the liver, so high exposure overworks it, causing Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Syndrome, similar to the cirrhosis seen in alcoholics.

3) "Free fructose interferes with the heart’s use of key minerals like magnesium, copper and chromium. Among other consequences, HFCS has been implicated in elevated blood cholesterol levels and the creation of blood clots. It has been found to inhibit the action of white blood cells so that they are unable to defend the body against harmful foreign invaders."

4) Fructose worsens Insulin Resistance by further reducing the affinity of insulin for its receptors. Furthermore, "fructose interacts with oral contraceptives and elevates insulin levels in women on 'the pill.'"

5)Fructose gets converted into fat more than any other sugar, contributing to obesity.

6)Fructose leads to imbalances of the minerals iron, magnesium, calcium, and zinc.

These and a full list of dangers and references can be found in the article "The Double Danger of High Fructose Corn Syrup" by Bill Sanda.

So please please please STOP using HFCS!!! Go through your cupboards and fridge and just throw it all away! Read labels and do not buy another thing with it! Your health depends on it! If you want to sweeten something, use honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, even regular sugar is better than HFCS! There are also a lot of natural calorie-free sweeteners out there, usually made from a plant leaf called Stevia. Don't even think about using artificial sweeteners like Equal or NutraSweet - cancer in a little packet - but that is another post!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tues Jan 27th - What I'm Eating

Breakfast: the rest of yesterday's scrambled eggs with spinach & tomatoes

Lunch: leftover chicken fricassee with whole wheat shells

Dinner: teriyaki chicken legs, steamed asparagus, brown basmati rice cooked in chicken broth with mushrooms

Snack: whole wheat quesadilla with colby jack cheese

Analysis: we like to marinate some chicken legs in some nice organic teriyaki sauce every now and then - they bake up really nicely in the oven and have a nice glaze on them - very flavorful and juicy! its a nice meal to prepare without a lot of extensive preparations! NICE! that being said, I really want to start figuring out ways to start incorporating more vegetables into my snacks, especially.

I really didn't realize how much grain I was eating until I learned more about them the other night and now I am noticing all of it! I can't wait to get the stuff I have out of my house and get started learning how to soak and sprout. I have also started doing some research on milk and dairy, which is interesting too! I'm not quite ready to write yet, but maybe in a day or two...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Mon Jan 26th - What I'm Eating

Breakfast: eggs scrambled with cream in a little coconut oil, with spinach and tomatoes

Lunch: the last of the lamb curry, sauce and cous cous...

Snack: half a banana and a piece of ham

Dinner: baked bacon-wrapped kielbasa drizzled with maple syrup, peas, big mixed greens salad with homemade balsamic vinaigrette

Snack: whole wheat tortilla quesadilla with cheese & grilled chicken

Analysis: I didn't do too terribly today, I guess. The dinner entree looks pretty bad, but in fact, it was an improvement over the old way I used to make it, crusted in brown sugar! The little drizzle of maple syrup gave it just enough sweetness, but I will admit I did miss the crusty, caramelized brown sugar a little... You do have to be careful of sausages and hot dogs and the like because they can really contain a lot of bad stuff. We buy the Wellshire Farms brand, which "are made of All Natural pork that is raised free of drugs, chemicals, and growth stimulants. There are no added artificial flavors, colors, food starches, or fillers." They are also nitrate and nitrite free, and have 65% less fat than conventional kielbasa. We get this brand for our bacon also, which comes uncured and preservative free... In fact, we only buy meat products that we feel confident have been raised without hormones or antibiotics, and that have not been treated with preservatives or other additives...there are a lot of brands popping up now, even in the regular grocery store...there is a demand for it, and rightly so!

I have a few grainy things left to finish off and then I am going to go to a majority soaked/sprouted/fermented grain plan, after all that research last night. It might be a little tough to get the hang of planning everything, but once I am done with teaching after Feb, it will be easier because I will have more time...I guess I'll ramp up my efforts slowly until then. I will definitely keep you posted (haha) on recipes and stuff I'm trying with that.

I have a couple more topics in mind for additional posts, so I'll put them out here, and maybe you can comment and tell me what you'd like to hear about first:
book review
milk and dairy
other - you tell me!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

How to Eat Grains (and beans, seeds, and nuts)

Well we know we are supposed to eat "whole grains" and avoid white flour and other highly processed carbs, like commercial cereal and instant oatmeal, for example... A nutritionist who gave me dietary advice right after I got diagnosed with PCOS and IR recommended that I avoid all bread except "Ezekiel" bread and occasionally, sourdough. She said something about it being "sprouted" so it was easier to digest. OK, I like whole wheat bread anyway, and turns out, this Ezekiel stuff is basically just like a heavy whole grain bread. So I have stuck to her advice (when I have stuck to good eating habits) and have even discovered a whole line of baked Ezekiel products, like tortillas, cinnamon raisin bread, and even English muffins. Lately I have been wanting to know more about the theory of sprouted grains that is behind this Ezekiel thing. The following is what I have been able to surmise in a brief review of a couple of excellent sources, Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon, and The Weston A. Price Foundation,

Refined grain products = BAD

Today’s modern white flour has a horror story to tell. The wheat is abused with chemicals from seed to harvest, then stored in warehouses where is it regularly fumigated with poison to kill insects. The germ and bran, which contain the fiber and essential fatty acids, are discarded before milling. High-speed mills reach over 400 degrees destroying any remaining nutrients. Commercially made whole wheat flour retains the germ and bran, but the high temperatures cause the oils to become rancid. This says nothing of the preservatives and conditioners that are added when making commercial baked goods, let alone the toxifying processing that gives us breakfast cereals. White flour is not only nutritionally void, it is actually toxic!

Whole grains = a little better
Organic or biodynamically grown grains will be free of the chemicals of standard processing. You can also buy 100% stone ground whole grain flour, which has not been exposed to the high temperatures – but because of the fatty acid content, it will go rancid. In fact, flour spoils in about the same time as milk, and should also be kept in the refrigerator or freezer. I have actually bought (on 2 different occasions)100% stone-ground whole wheat flour from the health food store before, and found it to be already rancid when I opened it at home. Good thing I don’t bake much! The bad thing about regular whole grains, though, is that they contain phytic acid, which binds with various minerals in the digestive tract and inhibits their absorption. This can lead to mineral deficiencies and even bone loss. Whole grains also have enzyme inhibitors, which keep the seed in a dormant state until germination, but also inhibit many of our enzymes, reducing digestion. Lastly, our guts just are not anatomically designed to be able to fully break down whole grains…animals that eat them have four stomachs and we only have one!

You have to watch out when buying “whole grain” baked goods because many of them will have white flour but call it “wheat flour,” which should not be confused for whole wheat flour. Also the flours are usually made with the traditional chemicals and high temperature milling practices, and contain hydrogenated oils, soy flour (which is loaded with antinutrients), and bad sugars like high fructose corn syrup.

Soaked and sprouted grains = the way to go
Studies of traditional societies who had good physical health showed that they ate all their grains after soaking, sprouting, and/or fermenting them with lactobacilli or other friendly microbes. These processes break down the phytic acid and neutralize the enzyme inhibitors. This also activates some enzymes in the grains, which increases the amounts of many vitamins, making them even more nutritious. Fermentation allows friendly microbes to help break down some of the difficult to digest parts, similar to the processes that occur in the first couple of stomachs of ruminant animals, making our job easier, as well. This is why old-fashioned, slow-rise breads from fermented starters, like organic sourdough, are also ok to eat. Likewise, the Ezekiel breads are actually a brand from a company called Food for Life, which makes all sprouted grain baked goods that are free of bad additives and chemicals as well.

Sprouting is the main thing that can increase the nutrient value in grains (and beans and seeds and nuts) – for example, Chinese sailors traditionally avoided scurvy by sprouting mung beans on their voyages, which produces vitamin C (and many other nutrients.) Many of the complex sugars that contribute to gas formation when eating beans and grains are broken down, and additional enzymes are produced in sprouting as well. Sprouting also inactivates aflotoxins, which are carcinogens found in grains.

Sprouted grains are best eaten cooked because when raw they do contain some irritating substances (which are intended to prevent animals from eating the young shoots). They can be ground and made into breads. Of course they can be steamed or put into soups, stews and casseroles as well. There are many different kinds of grains that can be nutritious when soaked, sprouted, and/or fermented, including wheat, oats, rye, barley, corn, rice, buckwheat, millet, spelt, kamut, teff, amaranth, and quinoa. Grains should be cooked slowly and for a long time, at relatively lower temperatures, to maintain nutrient content. Soaking can usually be completed overnight, sprouting can take 1 to 4 days, and fermenting can be achieved by soaking grains with fermented dairy products, or by creating starter dough, taking anywhere from a day to a week. Clearly, this kind of preparation takes a little planning ahead!

A last little note about sprouts, though, alfalfa sprouts are actually not good for you! I know, I know, you thought it was the ultimate health food! They actually contain canavanine, which is a toxic amino acid that can inhibit the immune system and contribute to the inflammation of arthritis and lupus, when eaten in don't go chowing down on the alfalfa sprouts!

A word about soy

(It falls into this category because is it a bean, in other words, a seed, and much more like a grain than anything else…and should be treated as such.)

The nutritionist told me to avoid soy products because of the estrogen-like compounds they contain, since one of the problems in PCOS is an excess amount of estrogen. I don’t need any more from my food! However, I have uncovered a few other disturbing things about this food that has been marketed as a health food for as long as I can remember.

Soybeans are very high in phytic acid and contain potent enzyme inhibitors, neither of which are neutralized by standard cooking. Remember, these things cause mineral malabsorption and reduce digestive efficiency. These are actually concentrated in commercial soy milk, which also contains carcinogens that are formed during processing. (not to mention, it usually has added sugar too) Soy is totally evil for anyone who has thyroid issues – it can severely aggravate them, creating a debilitating condition. Giving babies soy artificial infant milk can cause changes in pubertal timing as well as thyroid problems and immune system dysfunction.

But what about the claim that soy is healthy because asian peoples have eaten them for centuries and have notorious longevity? They actually only eat relatively small portions of fermented soy products, such as miso, natto, and tempeh… Have a look here for a good article about soy.

Sun Jan 25th - What I'm Eating

Breakfast: the last of the Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds that my sister left here...I had to get rid of it...with whole milk

Lunch: homemade pizza on cornmeal crust with tomato sauce, canadian bacon and pineapple

Snack: apple and string cheese

Dinner: BBQ pork roast, leftover sweet potatoes, garlic sauteed green beans.

Snack: leftover lamb curry with yogurt sauce and cous cous

Analysis: Yikes, the cereal this morning was my biggest cheat since I started this blog. It was calling my name and there was only one serving left, so I decided to punish it by annihilating it. Now this evening I've done my reading up on grains and man am I feeling guilty. So help me, I'm never eating anything like that again! Wow, that is a huge statement for me - in my past life, there would be days where I would eat nothing but cereal.

It is very scary making public proclamations about commitments to strange habits, but if I stick with it, I guess as time goes by it will be less strange. The public part makes me more likely to stick with it...(that's the idea, anyway) I have a long way to go in making all the changes I want to achieve, but I'm on the track... Its really an emotional process - fear of the unknown, grief in letting go of the memories and comforts that are wrapped up in those foods I'm saying goodbye to, anxiety at not knowing how I'll meet the needs that those foods used to address...look at the trouble we get into with emotional attachments to food! But who can help it? Food is an intrinsic part of our social life, and it affects the hormone systems that make us feel various ways as well. Its psychological, and also chemical... Its not too hard when you are feeling strong and resilient, but when you are sensitive or low, it gets challenging...

Sat Jan 24th - What I'm Eating

Breakfast: coarse cut oatmeal with raisins, whole milk and honey. Scrambled eggs with cheese.

Lunch: leftover chicken fricasee

Dinner: salmon baked with olive oil and Fisherman's Wharf seasoning, mashed sweet potatoes with butter, cream and maple syrup, and a huge green salad with my homemade balsamic vinaigrette.

Snack: whole wheat tortilla quesadilla with colby jack cheese and grilled chicken...

Analysis: yikes, I have slipped badly on my veggie intake. I have had an insanely busy last few days, and today my sister departed, so now I am going to be really on my own most of the time... I have also been very stressed out about some things, which doesn't help. At least I haven't fallen off the wagon and binged on anything sugary, though I tell you I have been tempted by various types of uber-sweet coffee drinks - mmm, sugar AND caffeine...I have not caved, though...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Fri Jan 23rd - What I'm Eating

Midnight snack: so I did go ahead and eat some of that leftover lamb dish with the cous cous and yogurt sauce before bed - yum!

Breakfast: Ezekiel cereal with raisins, almonds, honey & whole milk

Snack: banana

Lunch: Leftover burger with all the same fixin's as last night

Snack: half a quesadilla, whole wheat tortilla with colby jack and grilled chicken

Dinner: Chicken Fricassee: cream sauce with onions, garlic, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, dijon mustard, and peas. Whole wheat shell pasta.

Analysis: I did a bad job of veggies again today. I am learning to love leftovers, which is a major milestone since I used to basically never eat them - I get bored of food very easily. You'll notice that I don't cook the same dishes over and over very often... Then again, I guess there's some things I do eat all the time like eggs, quesadillas, cereal, fruit, etc. I guess I just don't like to cook the same big dinner meals all the time... Wow, I'm tired and rambling.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thurs Jan 22nd - What I'm Eating

Wow, today has been a very long day - I will try to remember everything.

Breakfast: scrambled eggs with mozzarella cheese. (I should have had some whole grain and/or veggies here but I was in a hurry...)

Snack: orange and string cheese

Lunch: whole wheat pasta with pomodoro sauce and a little cheese. salad with spinach, eggs, olives and blue cheese dressing. whole wheat pasta with beer cheese sauce (this was admittedly an unneccesary indulgence.) We ate out at Spaghetti Works.

Snack: banana (should have had a combo here too, but I was on the road and had nothing else)

Dinner: cheeseburgers with Ezekiel sprouted whole grain buns, lettuce, tomato, safflower mayo, ketchup. steamed broccoli.

water all day, pills before bed.

Analysis: well I got my exercise running around the Capitol today... We did eat out for lunch, but considering I got whole wheat pasta and steered clear of the jello and chocolate pudding on the salad bar, I think I did pretty good. Dinner was surprisingly filling - I wasn't hungry when I got home from work at around 10, though now that I've been sitting here for a while, I am starting to think about food...maybe I'll grab a little snack before bed. Wow, maybe if I went to bed earlier, it would cut out those late night snacks - if I'm sleeping, I'm not eating! Its like two birds with one stone!

Lamb Curry Dish and accoutrements...

I will say that all this looks very complicated to prepare, but really I think it wasn't terrible. It must have taken maybe a half hour to get everything ready, including thawing the lamb roast and trimming it. It just needs about an hour to cook, so you have to make it on a day when you have time. I thought it was great and totally worth it all, but like I said, the others in my house were less impressed. I hope you like it if you try it! Also, I guess some people use tumeric as a substitute for saffron if you don't have any.

Oh, and Becca, in case you don't see my comment, for the enchilada sauce recipe, try Enchilada Sauce Recipe under the recipes label. :)

1 lb boneless lamb stew meat - we bought some kind of less expensive lamb roast and cut it up into smaller chunks
Salt & pepper (to taste)
1/4 cup oil to saute (we used olive...)
1 medium sweet onion, diced small
2 Tbs minced fresh peeled ginger
1 Tbs minced garlic (we always use more)
2 large tomatoes, diced, with juices... I think it would be good with at least one more
2 largish peeled parsnips, about 1/2 inch diced (enough to replace about 3 medium potatoes)
1 cup peas (we used frozen)
Curry powder to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste (optional, we did not use any...)

Season lamb, and brown in oil over med-high heat, about 5-8 minutes. Set meat aside. Reduce heat to med-low and add onion and curry powder and salt (and pepper) to taste. Stir frequently until onion softens. Add ginger and garlic and stir continuously about 2 minutes. Return meat and add 2 cups water and tomatoes. Increase heat to med-high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 min. Add parsnips and cook, covered, until lamb and parsnips are tender, about 30 more min. Add peas and cook until heated through. Adjust seasoning if desired. Serve with cucumber yogurt sauce and saffron scallion cous cous (and mango chutney if desired.)

Cucumber Yogurt Sauce
2 cups plain yogurt
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and coarsely grated (we put our in the food processor)
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground cumin
dash of cayenne if desired

Mix all ingredients together and chill at least 15 minutes, but up to 3 days.

Saffron Scallion Cous Cous
1 cup cous cous
2 Tbs olive oil
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 tsp saffron threads, lightly crushed
salt and pepper
7 scallions (white plus 3 inches of green, about 1 cup) thinly sliced

Drizzle olive oil over cous cous in a heatproof bowl. Rub grains or stir until all coated with oil (about 2 mins.) Bring chicken stock just to a boil. Remove from heat, add saffron, stirring. Add half to the cous cous, keep the rest warm over low heat. Stir and fluff cous cous with a fork. Cover bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Add the remaining stock, fluff and cover for 5 more minutes. Season to taste and stir in scallions just before serving.

All recipes here are adapted from Food To Live By by Myra Goodman.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Weds Jan 21st - What I'm eating

Breakfast: leftover bison sauce pasta

Lunch: tuna sandwich with safflower mayo and Ezekiel bread. snap pea crisps and water.

Snack: orange

Snack: apple and string cheese

Dinner: Lamb curry with parsnips, peas, onions and tomatoes. Saffron scallion cous cous. Cucumber yogurt sauce.

before bed: water and pills

Analysis: I'm going to bed early tonight - have to get up really early tomorrow... Dinner was awesome but hubby and my sis didn't love the cous cous...we're not used to saffron here - I'm not sure if I've ever had it before! Still, I shoulda coulda eaten more non-starchy veggies today. G'night!

Tues Jan 20th - What I'm Eating

OK, its 2am on Weds already and I REALLY need to go to bed. I was considering skipping this tonight and doing it tomorrow, but I really want to keep myself accountable. So here's the short version:

Breakfast: eggs with cheese scrambled in coconut oil. sprouted grain english muffin with butter and all natural strawberry preserves.

Lunch: leftover whole wheat pasta with bison sauce. banana.

Dinner: DIY pizzas on whole grain corn meal crusts, one with canadian bacon and pineapple, and one with spinach, broccoli, tomato, garlic, onion, and gorgonzola.

Snack: more veggie pizza. sprouted grain Ezekiel cereal with honey and whole milk.

water all day, pills before bed...

Analysis: well I think I did pretty well today! I could have/should have snacked more during the day and less at night...this seems to be a common pattern of mine, fueled by the fact that I am often not home during the day, making snacking very difficult. Maybe I should learn to pack some...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Mon Jan 19th - What I'm Eating

Breakfast: quiche and water.

Lunch: sauteed spinach with garlic, leftover chicken mix from the lettuce wraps, and vegetarian thai mini spring rolls with teriyaki sauce. water...

Dinner: whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce and ground bison. steamed zucchini, lightly salted. water.

Snacks: yogurt & spiced prunes (the last of it!) and whole wheat tortilla with colby jack cheese and grilled chicken. water.

Analysis: ok, I'm done with the spiced prunes - wow, that dish sure lasted! I was feeling a lot of cravings for sugar today - I almost bought a bag of candy at the zoo, I almost got chocolate at the store tonight... I have to wonder if these cravings may be because I have had a little sugar with the prunes...well, lesson learned, don't make desserts like that anymore, at least not for a good long while.

Sun Jan 18th - What I'm Eating

Midnight Snack: steamed asparagus with salt...technically this was yesterday but it was after I posted...

Breakfast: 2 pieces of french toast made with Ezekiel bread. water.

Lunch: leftover chicken mix from the chicken lettuce wraps. apple. water.

Dinner: quiche with bacon, colby-jack cheese and green bell pepper in a whole wheat crust. rainbow swiss chard sauteed with garlic, onion, olive oil, raisins, and toasted pine nuts. water.

Snack: yogurt and spiced prunes.

Analysis: well I've gotten a bit addicted to the spiced prunes but they are almost gone, so I guess I won't be making them again any time soon and save them for very special occasions when there are other people who can help me eat them. I definitely need to get better at eating a more balanced is truly the most important meal of the day, and should be the biggest, with a smaller dinner, so I should work towards that, or at least a compromise.

My sleep schedule has been SO off lately, I also really need to go to bed earlier and get up earlier. And get back to exercising... Well tomorrow I have nothing on the books so I can make it a priority. And that extra post I was talking about... Off to bed!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sat Jan 17th - What I'm Eating

Breakfast: 2 sprouted corn tortillas with colby jack cheese and grilled chicken. water.

Lunch: chicken noodle soup and a banana. water.

Dinner: Heartland BBQ - pork with no sauce. green beans. a little bit of baked beans. water.

Snack: a few more spiced prunes and yogurt. water.

Snack: cinnamon raisin Ezekiel cereal with almonds, honey and whole milk.

maybe I'll try my pills tonight...

Analysis: So I've been snacking up a storm tonight - I'm craving sweets and I'm giving in in the most "allowed" way possible - at least I haven't gone out and gotten ice cream or pie or something. Its really the first time I can say I've felt genuinely hungry without the fear of vengeance from my gut in the last several days. And yes, we did go out to eat again...we didn't get to cooking in time and we were all starving by the time we were able to do anything about it. That being said, I skipped the BBQ sauce, white bread buns, corn bread, potato salad, raspberry iced tea, etc. So you can see, I did pretty well staying on the rules even there!

Tomorrow I really really really want to do a different post - maybe a book review - there are several I want to do! I have been super busy with my teaching job and also the advocacy work I'm involved with, so I haven't had much spare time to sit and write. I think about it a lot though! Its coming! Stay tuned!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Jan 16th - What I'm Eating

Breakfast: More chicken noodle soup. water.

Lunch: leftover beef stew. one piece of Ezekiel bread toast with butter and all-natural raspberry preserves. water.

Dinner: chicken lettuce wraps, homemade this time, with bok choy, water chestnuts, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, scallions, teriyaki and soy sauces, and white wine vinegar, served with iceberg lettuce... a very small glass of OJ. water.

Dessert: yes, we made a little dessert today - spiced dried plum compote. basically spiced prunes with a little sugar. eaten over plain whole milk yogurt. it was a splurge since we've been sick, and I don't feel bad about it at all!

Analysis: well, today was rather odd in that there were a lot of leftovers, but that's ok... Usually I am a strictly breakfast food at breakfast kind of gal, but with the tummy issues, chicken noodle soup has just been calling me. In fact, I think I might eat a little more of it before bed! And as for dessert, hey, it was as close to all-natural as you can get, balanced with the yogurt. I could have/should have used agave syrup instead but we didn't have enough in the house...hubby bought a small bottle last time and I didn't want to use up the entire thing just for this. Wow, that makes it sound like it was a bucket of sugar - it was only 3/4 cup for the whole recipe, which will probably make 10-12 servings overall, so really, its not that bad for a little treat. And really, this is a lifestyle, not a diet, so you can't completely deprive yourself and be miserable forever! In fact, aside from the extra work of all this cooking, I really do enjoy my food immensely more when I am eating right...even if I only make a real dessert maybe once a month or less...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thurs Jan 15th - What I'm Eating

Breakfast: organic unsweetened applesauce - about 1/3 cup... water.

Lunch: about 1/4 piece of string cheese... water.

Dinner: homemade chicken noodle soup with semolina egg noodles. water.

Snack: a little more soup & water.

Analysis: well I broke some rules today but to be fair, my gut is still recovering! I'm feeling significantly better, so maybe tomorrow I'll get back to my pills and exercise. Thank goodness it was only really a 24 hr bug...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Weds Jan 14th - What I'm (not) Eating

Well today started out ok, but by noon I had succumbed to the gastroenteritis that has been sweeping the city! Gregory had thrown up a few days ago, Dan spent his turn in the bathroom after that, last night Hannah was puking until 3am and was still sick all day today, so I guess I was up.

Breakfast: clementine orange, banana, string cheese, water.

Lunch: puking.

the rest of the day: sips of water.

I am simmering a chicken carcass for stock so hopefully tomorrow we'll be able to nurse ourselves back to health on it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tues Jan 13th - What I'm Eating

Breakfast: Ezekiel cinnamon raisin sprouted grain cereal, with almonds, agave syrup and whole milk. water and pills.

Lunch: meatloaf sandwich with gouda cheese, a little katchup, and Ezekiel bread. water.

Dinner: Beef stew in the crockpot with onion, mushrooms, parsnips, a few carrots, garlic, and a little red wine. water. leftover broccoli salad.

Snack: apple and valencia peanut butter. water and pills.

Analysis: well I was out of the house most of the day again, and while I did manage to not eat out, I also just plain didn't eat enough! Here it is almost 11pm and I'm hungry. I'm going to go find a half-decent snack if I can, but really, I shouldn't be eating so late at night.

I got my exercise running around the Capitol again today... One of these days I'll learn how to wake up early and get a workout in before getting my day started... Early rising is decidedly not a talent of mine. Also one of these days I'm going to get around to doing another post besides just what I'm eating - I really have a lot to say - its just a matter of finding the time to do it right! Thanks for being so patient, and thanks, everyone, for the great comments...they are really heartening!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Mon Jan 12th - What I'm Eating

Breakfast: oatmeal, cream, milk, raisins, almonds, cinnamon, honey. half a piece of string cheese. water and pills.

Snack: black cherry berry tea

Lunch: leftover chicken stir-fry with brown rice. water.

Dinner: meatloaf, brussels sprouts with gouda cheese, sourdough bread with butter and honey. water.

before bed - water and pills - I finally got my Metformin

Analysis: today was pretty good - I didn't snack enough but I didn't really feel hungry. I absolutely loved this new brussels sprouts recipe I tried - I think even those who don't like them would be pleasantly surprised - they were very mild and delicious with the cheese. I know you are all thinking, hey, sourdough bread is white flour! Well, yes, its true, but its a little bit of an exception because its fermented so the carbs are broken down quite a lot in the dough and its allowed occasionally. I only had one very thin slice from an all natural loaf from Whole Foods, and I'm not planning on eating any more of it - hubby will use it for sandwiches...

I did pilates again today. Yay, its already getting easier! It feels so good to be doing a little bit of exercise!

Sun Jan 11 - What I'm Eating

Breakfast: leftover multigrain pancake with butter and a little real maple syrup. scrambled eggs with colby-jack cheese. water and pills.

Lunch: apple, string cheese, a few blue corn chips and a couple of slices of salami. water.

Snack: a few more slices of salami and a few more blue corn chips.

Dinner: pork chop grilled with fisherman's wharf seasonings. raw broccoli salad. unsweetened organic applesauce. water.

Snack: just a little Ezekiel granola (cinnamon raisin) with almonds and whole milk. water and pills.

Analysis: I loved dinner today! So delicious and satisfying! And there is plenty of broccoli salad left over for lunches... breakfast suffered the same issues as yesterday, as it was the same food as yesterday! I really need to pack better lunches for work, but I only have 15 minutes to eat, which is often cut into by other tasks I need to do as well...I should have brought some leftovers to heat up though. The salami is probably not the best, but we got it for Christmas and we are trying eat it up. Its probably full of nitrites though...oh well, its not a long term habit...

I really need to start going to be earlier! This morning, the little guy woke up puking all over our bed at 5:30 - we were hoping to have slept in until at least 8:30... Hubby did get up with him and let me sleep longer but it really threw my whole day off... I really just need to go to bed at a decent hour, and then I would be able to get up at a decent hour and actually have a morning! With that, off to bed I go.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Quick Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

I like to mix up my salad dressing right in the bowl before I add my lettuce and other salad fixings. I start with covering the bottom of the bowl with a thin layer of olive oil. Then I splash some balsamic vinegar in there, about 1/4 to 1/3 the amount of oil. I squirt some lemon juice in there, maybe one or two tablespoons worth depending on how much dressing you're making, and about the same amount of honey. You can add salt and pepper if you want, or anything else if you think of it, but I like to keep it simple. Stir this together with a fork or whisk until well combined. Then add your salad and toss it and there you go!

Roast Chicken and Chicken Stock

To roast a chicken:

Put slices of a whole onion on the bottom of your roasting pan along with the cloves of 2 heads of garlic. You can stuff the cavity of the bird with whatever fresh herbs you like: thyme, oregano or tarragon...we didn't because we didn't have any fresh... Put the bird on the rack bottom side up. Brush with melted butter and apply seasonings - we used a poultry rub, but any seasonings or just salt and pepper will do. Bake in 375 oven for 1 hour - we kept it covered at this point.

After 1 hour, turn the bird right side up. Brush with more butter and apply more seasoning. Bake another hour - at this point we uncovered it.

Carve chicken as desired. Add 1/4 - 1/2 cup (we were generous) white wine to the drippings and begin to bring to a boil. Add 4 cups of chicken stock (we used homemade stock given to us my by friend Becca). Allow to boil rapidly, stirring frequently, until reduced to about 1/2 the original volume. Strain and serve warm. You can also thicken this sauce more by adding 1 TBS gelatin if desired, but we didn't. It made a pretty thin sauce, but delicious. It would have been great over mashed potatoes, but they're on my no-no list...thats ok, I enjoyed it all the same!

I plan to use the carcass to make stock for chicken noodle soup. I'll add to it 4 cups of water, 2 tbs vinegar, some onion, carrots, and celery, and let it stand for an hour. Then I'll bring it to a boil, then simmer for 6 to 24 hours. About ten minutes before its done, I'll add a bunch of parsley. Then I'll strain it all and put it in my fridge until the fat settles out. Once I've skimmed off the fat, it'll be ready to go! I'll use the veggies and chicken meat bits for the soup, with some nice big noodles I found.

Sat Jan 10th - What I'm Eating

Breakfast: well it was really much more of a brunch due to us sleeping in... I made multi-grain pancakes (and ate 2 smallish ones) grilled in coconut oil in my cast iron skillet, buttered and drizzled with real maple syrup. Scrambled eggs with colby-jack cheese. Honey Vanilla Chamomile tea.

Dinner: Roasted Chicken with reduction sauce. steamed carrots with a little cinnamon. baby greens salad with homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing. water. pills (yes, very late today)

Snack: apple and provolone cheese. water.

before bed - pills and water.

Analysis: Breakfast should have included some sort of veggie - I could easily have put tomatoes and spinach and mushrooms (etc) in the eggs... The pancakes were a splurge but they were whole grain and I didn't pig out on them, and I didn't use artificial syrup...real is ALWAYS better than fake. I was working from 12-5 so that made lunch hard since breakfast was so late. I brought my apple and cheese but then didn't get a chance to eat them either. I need to make it my priority...its not good to skip meals! Dinner was amazing - we roasted the chicken ourselves - well hubby did the work! We reduced the drippings with a little white wine and chicken stock, which made an incredibly tasty sauce. I'll post the roasting directions and the vinaigrette recipe in a separate post...I'm going to put all recipes from here on out separate I think, to make it easier to find them.

I also forgot to take my pills this morning - I actually had them in my pocket all day long but never took them until dinner. Oh well, better late than never.

Exercise again alluded me today - I am feeling guilty because my Mom and Dad just kicked off their exercise commitment. I need to start thinking about it (and actually doing it) in the morning because as the day wears on, I feel less and less like doing it. Its just really tough on the days I am at work or otherwise not at home...ok, ok, no excuses! Everyone has a life!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Fri Jan 9th - What I'm Eating

My goodness, today was a crazy day! I was out of the house, and actually also out of town, from 10am til 5pm, and non-stop busy the whole time I was away. Let's see if I can remember what I ate today:

Breakfast: at home, pills and water. in the car, half a piece of string cheese and a small handful of raisins.

Lunch: this was a potluck at a meeting: 2 deviled eggs (so 1 whole egg). a little cabbage salad, like a slaw with dried cranberries and almond slivers. maybe a half a cup of sloppy joe meat. quinoa salad with tomatoes, kidney beans, cilantro, and I'm not sure what else. most of a pineapple ring (some shared with little boy). water.

Dinner: Jason's Deli: bowl of sausage and chicken gumbo (did have a very small amount of white rice sprinkled on the top as garnish). Salad bar - field greens salad with mushrooms, alfalfa sprouts, one cherry tomato, blue cheese dressing. fruit salad with grapes, strawberries, apples, and yogurt. A little bit of banana pudding.

bed - pills and water.

Analysis: Well as you can see, I didn't get any snacks in today and I did not drink nearly enough water (I forgot my water bottle at home). Breakfast was pathetic. I was truly running on adrenaline today so I wasn't really feeling hungry, and also I had no access to food. I did a terrible job planning ahead on that one. I did really pretty well at the potluck, and I did give myself a little grace at dinner to indulge in my favorite banana pudding at Jason's Deli, but I probably had 1/4 to 1/3 the amount I would have eaten of it in the past. I even skipped the free soft serve ice cream and gingerbread muffins. Wow, when I say it like that, it almost seems like I have something to be proud of today! Well I'll have another couple of chances next week when I am going to have similar busy days. Note to self: plan ahead!

I also did not get in any formal exercise, but I did run around a lot and up and down some stairs too, so its not like I was sitting on my tush all day. That's my story and I'm stickin to it!

I do have to say a word about the deviled eggs I ate at lunch - they were made by my dear sweet sister, Hannah, who is visiting us right now. They contained safflower mayonnaise, organic white wine vinegar, organic dijon mustard, and a little raw honey. So they could definitely have been a lot worse. If you are looking for a deviled eggs recipe, I highly recommend this combo of ingredients, of course the amounts are all to taste. Don't forget a little paprika sprinkled on top...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thurs Jan 8th - What I'm Eating

Breakfast: coarse cut oatmeal with raw honey, whole milk, cream, raisins, almonds. water and pills.

Snack: cranberry zinger tea

Lunch: tuna with safflower mayonnaise. banana. green beans. water.

Dinner: chicken stir-fry with "thai" stir-fry veggies and a sauce I made that was basically 2 parts soy sauce to one part agave syrup. brown basmati rice. water.

Snack: 1/2 enchilada left over from last night. water and pills.

Analysis: not terrible today. the veggie portions at dinner were a little small compared to the amount of chicken. I did not feel as hungry in between meals today, hence the minimal snacking. Not sure if that's good or not, because I know its better to eat more frequently. That's ok though, I am definitely only eating when I am hungry (but not denying myself if I am!)

I did my pilates again today, which felt really good. I hope I can keep it up - its just a matter of making it a priority and remembering to do it! Its only 20 minutes, seriously, I have the time! I used to do it every day and I am starting to remember/realize how nice it was...

I have all these ideas for posts I want to do but I am trying to space them out and only do them when I really have the time... that way we'll always have new stuff to talk about, and also I won't be tempted to spend inordinate amounts of time blogging until I get everything out of my head. All in good time... If you have anything you want me to talk about specifically, let me know!

Enchilada Sauce Recipe

About 1/4 cup of coconut oil warm up in a skillet - I like my cast iron skillet for this. Add about 2 tbs whole wheat flour. If you like spicy, you would also add chili powder to taste at this point. Stir and simmer until the flour is browned.

Puree one or two tomatoes and add water until you have 1 and 1/2 cups of liquid. Add to skillet along with one smaller can of tomato paste. (You could also just use plain water and a bigger can of tomato paste, or canned tomatoes...) Season with cumin, garlic, and onion powders, about 1/4 tsp each. Simmer and stir all until the sauce is slightly thickened.

I like to pour a little in the bottom of my rectangular glass dish and then line up my tortillas. I fill with whatever, ground beef, beans, cheese, etc., and then roll the tortillas and pour the rest of the sauce over the top. Cover the whole thing with cheese and bake uncovered at 375-ish until the cheese is melted and the sauce is a bit bubbly, maybe 20 minutes or so.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Weds Jan 7th - What I'm Eating

Breakfast: Sprouted grain English muffin with butter and all-natural blackberry preserves. Celery and peanut butter. Water and pills...

Snack: Very Cherry Berry tea. The baby's leftovers from breakfast, which was sprouted grain corn tortilla with colby jack cheese and turkey.

Lunch: Ugh, I went out again! At Panera I had a half salad - Fuji Apple Chicken - and a small cup of garden vegetable soup. Water.

Dinner: Homemade enchiladas: whole wheat tortillas, ground beef, black beans,and colby jack cheese, and sauce with coconut oil, whole wheat flour, tomatoes, cumin, garlic, & onion powders. A little sour cream on top. Green beans. Water. (My enchilada sauce recipe always goes over well, so I can post it if anyone wants to try it.)

Snack: Honey Vanilla Chamomile tea, fig and sunflower crackers with provolone cheese. Pills and water before bed. (I write it here to remind myself!)

Analysis: Well darn it, I went out to eat again. I really had no choice, it was that or skip lunch entirely. Its becoming evident that this whole eating right thing is going to require a major re-org of all of my lifestyle habits. I need to learn how to anticipate, pack and bring food with me when I'm out. I need to be more careful of the baby's nap schedule so I don't get trapped in the car, like today. I need to plan way ahead what I'm going to cook and when I need to start preparing it, taking meat out of the freezer, etc. I need to make double sure I have all ingredients before I start cooking... Etc. Etc. I am a person who thrives on flexibility, so this is not easy for me!

On the sugar craving front, the herbal teas seem to be helping a little. Celestial Seasonings has a great selection of herbals and fruit-based teas that you don't have to add sugar to, and have a very satisfying flavor. Since I try to avoid caffeine (you think my toddler is already wild...keep in mind I am still nursing him!) and juice is just pure sugar, I always enjoy a nice fruity tea as an alternative beverage to water!

Last but definitely not least, I found my pilates DVD and did it this evening. Wow I am out of shape. That workout used to be so easy for me that I would do extra reps while the lady was talking... Yikes, tonight I had to go back and do all the beginning modifications. My flexibility is gone and my muscles were burning! I am looking forward to seeing my body change as I make it a regular habit, though.

Also on the body-care front, I went to the chiropractor today! I got the full tune up and she worked on my chronically bad right shoulder for a while. I am going to go every 2 weeks until my shoulder is doing better, and I think every month after that. In the past, that frequency has kept me feeling pretty good. If you don't have a chiropractor, I highly highly highly recommend it. They help with so much more than back pain! I have come to realize that chiropractic care is all about your autonomic nervous system. These are nerves you can't feel, but they control all your internal organs. So you won't have a pain if one of them is pinched, but the organs it controls can suffer and affect your overall well-being. (Did I mention I am a Biology/Anatomy and Physiology college instructor?) All chiropractors are not created equal, so I suggest getting a referral from a friend who likes theirs.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tues Jan 6th - What I'm Eating

Breakfast: 2 mini breakfast "pizzas" as my 18 month old calls them. 2 small sprouted corn tortillas from Food for Life, topped with a chopped hard boiled egg, melted colby jack cheese, and black olives. Cranberry Zinger tea (sweet enough as it is) and pills.

Lunch: leftover BBQ pork (it was a big roast!), broccoli with butter and salt, half an apple (my kid, and therefore, my dog, ate the other half...)

Snack: string cheese and a banana

Dinner: Quiche - whole wheat crust, green peppers, colby jack cheese, bacon, eggs and cream. water.

Snack: another piece of quiche. water, pills before bed.

Analysis: Well today wasn't too terrible. Of course I can always do better on the veggies. I really should probably avoid bananas since they're pretty high in sugar, but they are going bad so I needed to eat it. I made the quiche myself - it was really easy! I got a pre-made crust from Whole Foods (2 in a package) and you just put whatever you want in the crust and pour the egg and cream mixture over it. 4 eggs and 1 cup of cream. Then you just bake it at 375 for 50 minutes or so. If you try it, be warned that it will rise up in the middle, but it will go down again as it cools. I can tell its done when the middle seems to be all the way dome-shaped...if you make it, you'll know what I mean.

The sugar cravings are about the same today. TIts worse at night... I know I just ate a piece of quiche, which should have been nice and satisfying, but I feel like I'm starving! Doing this blog at night really actually helps though because I am reminded of all the better choices I'm making and how much thought I'm putting into it, and then I don't want to screw it all up by eating that ice cream... I think hubby might have gotten rid of it for me though...what a sacrifice that man made for his darling wife!

I forgot to exercise today, darn it! Its too late now... Man its hard to remember when I'm so out of the habit!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Proportions Part 2 - snack combos

Well you might have noticed that I eat some weird snacks sometimes, like english muffins with chicken. The reason I do that is because of a little guideline I learned from The Schwarzbein Principle by Diana Schwarzbein and Nancy Deville. One thing this book says is that you should never eat a carbohydrate alone. You should always combine it with a protein and/or fat. This helps slow down the absorption of the carbs and slows down the increase in your blood sugar, keeping it and your insulin levels more stable. So there you go, never eat a carb alone! If you want an English muffin, better find some chicken to go with it!

Jan 5th - What I'm Eating

Breakfast: Kashi Heart to Heart Instant Oatmeal (Golden Brown Maple) with cream and flax seeds added. Grilled chicken. Water and pills.

Lunch: leftover BBQ pork. celery and valencia peanut butter. clementine orange. Black Cherry Berry tea - naturally sweet, no sugar needed.

Dinner: P.F. Chang's - chicken lettuce wraps and lightly sauteed spinach with garlic. Water. 1/2 a fortune cookie.

Snack: almonds, raisins, and a couple of semi-sweet organic chocolate chips.

before bed - pills - I promise!

Analysis: well, for breakfast I finished off a box of instant oatmeal I had. From here on out, if I eat oatmeal, it won't be instant, because that tends to be more processed and have more sugar...but at least the Kashi stuff was not too bad. I also didn't get a snack during the day, but that's mainly because it took me like an hour and a half to eat my lunch... And yes, we went out to dinner...we had a gift card. For going out, it was really about the best I could do though! I think the biggest problem with going out is that you don't know what types of oils your food was cooked with, and chances are it isn't what you would choose at home... You do the best you can...

The sugar cravings are hitting me HARD today! It was all I could do to limit myself to only one clementine orange today - they are so sweet! I actually have a carton of all-natural vanilla ice cream left over in the freezer, which I can't seem to forget about for more than about 10 seconds at a time, but the half a fortune cookie, few chocolate chips, and raisins were my compromise. As a friend suggested, I might have to introduce that ice cream to the hot water in the sink!

The good news is: I exercised today!!! YAY!!! When the boy went for his nap, I sat down for a quick lunch, but then got a wonderful phone call from a dear friend who recently moved away. I couldn't not talk to her, but it slowed down my consumption of my lunch! We did break it off early enough to get a yoga video in, though. I intended to do my pilates video, but I couldn't find it! Anyway, the yoga was nice, but really reminded me how disconnected from my physical self I have become, and how much attention that self needs! From now on, when we are at home for naptime (I'm not at work) I am going to do my exercise first thing. On the other days, I will have to decide when I will do it - maybe as soon as hubby gets home from work, we'll see.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Jan 4th - What I'm Eating

Breakfast: Coarse Cut Oatmeal with a little real maple syrup, raisins, almonds, flax seeds, cream and whole milk. I made what I thought was a fairly small bowl, and couldn't finish it! I took my pills too, with water.

Lunch: Got a little messed up due to sleeping in and my work schedule. So around 2 o'clock I ate a string cheese and a clementine orange. Water.

Snack: On my way home from work, I snacked on organic blue corn tortilla chips and hard salami.

Dinner: BBQ Pork Roast. Steamed Broccoli, lightly salted. Leftover Lemon Rice Pilaf. Water with EmergenC.

Snack: Sprouted grain English muffin from Food for Life, with butter and all- natural blackberry preserves. Grilled chicken. Water and my pills...

Analysis: Well my biggest problem on weekend days is that I tend to sleep in a bit and have a late breakfast, and then I teach a class from 12-4, which makes it tough to eat lunch at a proper time. I try to eat something during our 15 minute break but its hard. Its also hard to remember to plan ahead and have good healthy things available to bring with me. The dinner spread was much better tonight. For BBQ pork roast, we usually get a butt roast and pour a bottle of BBQ sauce over it in the crock pot. We use a locally made brand which is pretty decent, though it does contain regular corn syrup and sugar of course. We could probably find one without the corn syrup and maybe a more natural form of sugar, like honey. That being said, when you actually eat the meat, there is not that much sauce on it, and I don't add any extra (unlike my hubby, who likes a little meat with his sauce.)

I am having serious sugar cravings this evening, so I sprung for a little sweeter snack with the English muffin. Tomorrow I'll talk about my seemingly strange snack combinations though, because I doubt most of you would normally eat chicken with your toast...

Proper Proportions

Well who doesn't struggle with portion control? Well actually, most of us have a big problem with proportion control as well! Here's a little trick you can use to make sure you are eating the right amounts of the right types of food. You can actually eat a lot more than you think, so you don't have to be hungry, you just need to eat more of the right things, less of the moderate things, and none of the bad things.

From Drop Box

So you can see that you need to make 1/2 your plate non-starchy vegetables, 1/4 protein, and 1/4 whole grain (this graphic shows a baked potato, but remember, white potatoes are not whole grains.) This was the problem I had with my dinner last night. I had 1/3 whole grain, 1/3 legume (starchy vegetable), and 1/3 protein. So on face value, my meal looked healthy, but it was not following the basic rule of proportions. I got too much starch between the rice and the peas.

Here's a description of starchy and non-starchy veggies to remind us which foods go where:

Starchy: Roots, tubers and plantains. Avoid: Potatoes, Parsnip, Pumpkin, Rutabaga, Sweet potatoes, Corn (actually a grain) In moderation: Beets, Carrots, Green beans, Eggplant, Jicima, Peas (actually a legume), Squashes, New potatoes, Taro, Yams

Non-Starchy: leafy greens such as lettuce and spinach; cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and bok choy; and allium vegetables like onions, garlic and leeks. Cucumbers, squash, peppers and tomatoes – botanically classified as fruits – also fall into this category.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Jan 3rd - What I'm Eating

Breakfast: sprouted grain English muffin from Food for Life, with butter and all natural blueberry jelly. 3 small pieces of hard salami. one slice of provolone cheese. glass of water. morning pills.

Snack: baby carrots and crunchy valencia peanut butter

Lunch: 2 quesedillas made with sprouted grain corn tortillas from Food for Life, colby jack cheese and grilled chicken breast. I drank a 27 ounce Klean Kanteen's worth of water, which had an EmergenC packet in it, since my kid seems to have come down with a nasty cold which I very much want to avoid.

From 2009 01 03
Baked Salmon with olive oil and Fisherman's Wharf seasoning. Lemon rice pilaf with brown basmati rice, lemon juice, onion, chicken bouillon, bay leaf, parsley, and toasted pine nuts. Peas, buttered and lightly salted. Water.

Snack: clementine orange and pistachios. and I promise I'm going to take my pills before bed. except the Metformin - I am out and the pharmacy was closed when I wanted to stop by after work today. Hopefully I'll be able to get it tomorrow.

Analysis: Well I did markedly better today but there is still a ton of room for improvement. Still not enough veggies. I did get in 2 snacks today, which was good. I am not super happy with dinner, which on face value seems good. Can anyone guess why?

I didn't get any exercise in today unless scraping ice off my windshield counts (but I did take a shower, which is unfortunately saying a lot!) We did do a cupboard purge, though, and threw away all things old, rancid, or that we knew we would not eat. That felt good and now I have a big empty space to fill up with lots of healthy things! I encourage you to do the same, because if the junk is not in the house, obviously you can't eat it!

Jan 2nd - What I'm Eating

OK, so I haven't exactly started my nutrition revolution yet as of today (yes, I know its technically tomorrow already...I'm a night owl, ok?) But I thought it would be useful to show you what I have been eating for the last long while, and I am being completely, brutally honest, in the spirit of accountability and in hopes of inspiring you to post what you ate too.

Breakfast: Went out to Village Inn. Had a Regular Combo (as opposed to large) with 2 strips of bacon, 2 over easy eggs, hash browns, and 3 multigrain pancakes with cranberries, almonds, and a wonderful sweet orange glaze syrup. I only ate half the eggs and hashbrowns, but I got extra syrup. I also drank 2 cups of decaf coffee with a total of 5 sugar packets and 5 little creamer things.

Lunch: um, I think I forgot this one... I did eat 3 macadamia nut chocolates from Hawaii, the ones with 2 nuts in each piece. Breakfast was kind of late, and kind of big, I suppose.

Dinner: Went out to an Irish pub restaurant. Had a Boxty (potato pancake) stuffed with ham, bacon, 2 kinds of cheese, and tomatoes, and topped with cream sauce. Gave most of the tomatoes to my kid. Also had an iceberg lettuce dinner salad with bleu cheese dressing. Drank water. Also I declined dessert - which is good because I usually cannot resist it.

Analysis: So today I didn't snack much, and what I did snack was candy. Both of which are not good. I need to snack more, on healthy things. Snacking helps keep your portion size at mealtimes under control because your blood sugar is more stable and you don't feel starving. Also we ate out twice today. Not good. To be fair, we've been out of town for 2 weeks and have no groceries in the house. We did go to the grocery store on the way home from dinner. My choices of food today contained a couple no-no's, namely, White Potatoes and White Sugar, but I did go for the multigrain pancakes, and I got some good protein with the eggs and meats and cheeses. I also did well in that I did not eat an entire theater-sized box of candy today. Or any ice cream. Or cake. Or pie. Or cookies. I definitely needed to do better on veggies though. Wow, I need more quality veggies - iceberg lettuce does not count.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Welcome to the Journey!

Hey everyone, are you ready for this? I've been psyching myself up for this for several weeks now, this big commitment to changing my lifestyle and nutrition habits once and for all.

I will start out by saying this is not a blog about losing weight. It might happen, in fact, it is almost sure to happen, but you aren't going to hear me talking about it, and chances are, I am not even going to keep track of it for myself! Believe me, I would love to lose a little and be svelt and sexy, but that is decidely not what this is about. That being said, feel free to share when it happens to you and makes you feel good! I am quite sure I will be rejoicing, though perhaps privately, when I can fit into my fat clothes again! (I never really had skinny clothes...)

This is really all about saving myself from this really obnoxious issue I have with my health. Namely, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and insulin resistance (IR). These are by no means rare issues...I've seen estimates that as many as 1 in 10 women in the US has PCOS, and IR, well that is what is going on to one degree or another with basically all of us who are carrying a little extra around the middle! PCOS and IR seem to be linked - lucky us! All this puts a person at higher risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, you know, all those lovely things that kill people these days...usually slowly and painfully. When I first got diagnosed in April 2006, I went gung ho and changed all these things cold turkey for several months. I was extra motivated by the desire to overcome infertility. Well, it worked and I had a baby, and I totally fell off the bandwagon. But I've gotten to another breaking point lately, hence my final readiness to face it and truly change myself on a deep and permanent level. At least, that's what I'm going for - I know it won't happen overnight. I'm going to stumble and make mistakes, and I'm definitely going to need a lot of support. So thank goodness you are here - I need to hear from you!

So here's the plan. I'm going to be trying a multi-faceted attack strategy. I figure if there are a lot of things I am trying to do, I will succeed at least some of the time at some of them, right? Here are the main ideas, I am sure they will be refined and adjusted as time goes on and I learn more about all this:

1) Get rid of the Whites: White Sugar, White Flour, White Rice, and White Potatoes. I have done this part before and it is one of the hardest things psychologically, especially for a Candy Addict...but I really can't have any of these things in any quantity because of what they do to one's blood sugar. And especially, no High Fructose Corn Syrup - don't believe those commercials, it really is extra bad for you.

2) No more processed food: things from boxes, cans, and freezer trays are generally detrimental. Obviously some ok things come in this form, but one must be discriminating. Oh yeah, and no fake food either, like Splenda. A lot of people will be having a hard time with this, especially in the form of diet soda, but fortunately for me, I don't like carbonation. I also can't stand the taste of fake sugar. Only real candy for me...oh wait, not anymore...

3) Only healthy fats, and plenty of them: Good bye deep fried food, coconut oil is my new best friend. Anyone ever read "Eat Fat, Lose Fat"? Neither have I, but I heard its great. That one is definitely going on my Amazon Wish List. All kidding aside, I did actually go to a doctor and nutritionist (who did read that book) after I got diagnosed and she told me that I need to make sure I am getting plenty of good fats because hormones are made of fat (well, the steroid hormones are, at least) so it would help balance me out. And since she's a doctor, it must be true. (wink wink) So I'll be cooking (at low temperatures) with coconut oil, butter, and olive oil, and taking generous amounts of fish oil as well. No low fat, fat free, or margarine stuff for me, thank you. I know, this one is throwing you for a loop again, but I am really serious. Go read "Eat Fat, Lose Fat."

4) Speaking of taking fish oil, I need to start taking all those pills again: UGH! Honestly, this is what broke me the first time through. Months and months of downing probably 20 pills a day. When you're relatively young like me, it just doesn't feel right to have to tote around a pill box as big as my Grandma's. After a while you really start to wonder if they're even doing anything for you. Well, after going off of them I found out that yes, indeed, they were really doing a lot for me. So like I said, I've been psyching myself up to get back on track there. I'll be taking a multivitamin (prenatal, just in case), calcium & magnesium supplement (3 pills/day), probiotics (2/day), fish oil (2-4/day), garlic, B-complex, sometimes vitamin C, and Metformin (2/day). Metformin is the only prescription in the bunch, also known as Glucophage. Its a diabetes drug that helps your body be more sensitive to insulin, and it has also turned out to be a miracle drug for PCOS women. They don't really know how it works, but it does.

5) Do the organic thing: yes, its expensive, my husband calls this the Bankruptcy Diet. But frankly, I need to reduce the chemical load on my body and those pesticides are often endocrine disruptors...

6) No more eating out: oh man, this one is a toughie because a) I'm not a great cook and I hate cleaning up after myself, and b) my hubby loves eating out. Not that it would hurt him to do it less either... This one actually has double benefits though because in addition to being much healthier, it also saves a lot of money. Maybe even enough to cover the organic bill!

7) No more plastic: I've actually done this one for a while but have been a little lax about it at times. However, since PCOS is a hormone problem, and plastics often leach endocrine-disrupting chemicals into whatever substances they contain, its best to avoid it as much as possible. So, no more GladWare, no Dasani water, you get the idea... Glass and stainless steel are my new best friends. Oh yeah, this ban goes for styro too...

8) All natural body products: I've also been doing this one for a while as well, but I can always do more. Again with trying to reduce my exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Check out Skin Deep for more info on this one.

9) Hello, exercise! I am basically a lardo who sits on the couch under my laptop as much as my toddler will allow. Really, the only exercise I get is chasing him around if I happen to allow him out of toddler confinement (aka the shopping cart). I do have this nifty 20 minute Pilates DVD that has been pretty good for me in the past. I bought it because I thought I could probably manage an exercise that you do lying down the whole time, and that is basically true. Its just a matter of making myself do it. Oh yeah, and there's that $1500 treadmill with an inch of dust on it in the corner. Maybe I'll work my way up to that... But seriously, studies are showing that regular exercise can be as effective at combating depression as prescription medications! Definitely going to need to deal with that when I'm going through sugar DT's.

10) Explore multiple healing modalities: go to the chiropractor regularly, and if I can find any way to afford it, visit a massage therapist, a homeopath and an acupuncturist regularly as well, and maybe a naturopath or herbalist too. I have had very good results from these things in the past and they just make you feel good and help your body click along a little bit better. Probably the biggest barrier to this type of care is the cost, since its all out of pocket. So what ends up happening is that I rationalize my way out of going, booting myself to the bottom of the priority list and suffering along with stuff that I could most likely get rid of with the proper help. Its time to hoist myself up a few notches on that priority list, and convince myself (and hubby) that these things aren't just luxuries.

I guess I should put some sort of disclaimer on here since we are going to be talking about a lot of health related things. I am not a health care professional. Any information here is purely for support and education purposes and any changes you make to your personal care habits based on this blog should be reviewed by your health care provider. Your health is your own responsibility, and I am not able to take any liability for anything that may result from your following ideas on this blog. Though I will screen them for propriety, I also cannot assume liability for the content of any comments on this blog. Everyone's body is different and what works for me may not be appropriate for you. You always need to be your own advocate and do your own research before making health and lifestyle related decisions.

OK, that being said, what I am doing is pretty much common sense and is based on a whole food, close to nature approach, and as such, would probably be healthy for most people, PCOS or not. I do basically believe that PCOS and similar problems are a reaction, in genetically sensitive individuals, to our modern environment, and therefore can be helped a lot by avoiding man-made things and living naturally.

Well, I'm going to wrap it up for now. Thanks for sticking with me though this long intro post. From here on out, I'll be posting what I'm eating and doing for myself every day, along with some discussion topics, interesting info I come across, etc. Please, please, chime in and let me know where you're at in your journey, share recipes, etc. I'm looking forward to seeing the changes unfold!