Post Whole30: Reintroduction

So, I muddled through reintroduction of the foods I didn’t eat and came up with the following conclusions:

Dairy is currently not my friend (insert bereft/sad emoticon of your choice here). But it seems to be improving as I try different things out every few days. I suppose the great CHEESE DAY 2016 was maybe not the best way to reintroduce it to my life? Haha. But seriously, I do think I solved the “where is this heartburn coming from” mystery. It was coming from ice cream. :( :( :( Luckily I’m not a big ice cream eater. And… you don’t really need cheese every day, as it turns out. :( :( :(

I don’t feel the greatest when I eat wheat products. I already don’t eat that much bread in my day-to-day life, but cutting back on the incessant noodle situation has been beneficial. I find that I don’t really miss noodles, but I will say that I made chicken and mushroom soup gravy over Jason noodles last week and it was as delicious as ever. I don’t feel like there is a gluten issue or anything, just that I was probably eating too many noodles and tortillas previously. So, I cut back to once or twice a week. Actually I haven’t had flour tortillas in the house since January, which is a situation I just realized and am having feelings about. I did have some corn tortillas last week – I made some very excellent shredded pork that made great tacos with avocado, pico, and red cabbage.

Didn’t have a problem with rice, but immediately ran out of rice, so that was kind of sad. I think this week I need to skip Sprouts for groceries and run over to WinCo for some basic stocking up. I need to try making some quinoa soon too, just to check that out. I also don’t eat much beans/legumes so I need to try some more of that soon, maybe make a soup; I have some lentils in the cupboard. I found some low sodium whole food chicken broth at Sprouts that doesn’t have so many weird preservatives in it that I want to try doing that with.

I actually like black coffee now (!!!) so I try to stick with that for the most part. I’m currently trying out various less-chemical-laden coffee creamers, but have yet to find one I really like. The So Delicious Coconut Milk one and Califia Farms Almond Creamer are okay, but not spectacular. I should probably start trying out different coffees that I could really love black and just totally forgo frou frou coffee except for the occasional Starbucks.

Anyway, so really what happened is that I ate a bunch of sugar (a whole tray of Peeps!! they were delicious) and had a couple Taco Bell burritos and basically felt terrible so I’m back on the healthy eating bandwagon. Low carb does seem to work pretty well for me, so I’m still experimenting with recipes (I made a killer beef ragu and chile colorado last week) and now have added HIIT training to my day again. It’s nice to finally feel strong enough again to get back into the weights and flailing around, you know? I’m currently working through Jillian Michael’s Body Revolution again, which I enjoyed the first time, and subbing Beachbody’s Cize for the cardio days. I’m on Week 3/4 in BR and routine 2 in Cize. So far so good!

It’s encouraging to have such a great start to my year, and I’m finally in a better headspace to keep it up to get where I need to go.

HEALTH, WELLNESS, AND THE WHOLE30

Last year, when I had a number of health issues, including the development of tendonitis in my shoulder, which has been SUCH a joy (/sarcasm) I really fell off the health wagon, due to feeling terrible, which in turn made me feel MORE terrible, and by the end of the year, I had had enough. I tried a few different exercise programs but just didn’t have the physical energy – OR, more importantly, the mental energy – to get myself back on track.

But where to start? I couldn’t really get back into logging every piece of food that I put in my mouth a la MyFitnessPal. Don’t get me wrong – MFP works and I recommend it. But I didn’t have the energy to remember to do it, and I didn’t want to do it. So, roadblock number one, right? Anybody who has ever lost weight can tell you that you have to be in the right headspace to do it. You can’t make anybody lose weight, as much as you might want to. Even yourself.

And then in January, after starting up the Beachbody workout Cize (fun dance routines! I really like this workout system) I was reading some post on a design blog I follow, and they were talking about how they were doing a sugar detox and had linked the book they were using. That diet seemed pretty bullshit – instead of sugars they replaced it with some sort of fake “natural” sugar… I forget what. Not stevia or coconut sugar, but something else. The post author wrote about the Whole30 and stated that they didn’t like the attitude of the book or something, which actually got me curious so I clicked over to the website… and loved what I was reading over there.

The entire program is available on the website and you don’t have to buy a book, though the creators do have two books, It Starts With Food, and the The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom. (I requested my copies from the library and just picked up the latter!) However, they are not necessary to be successful on the program.

The program boils down to this: remove the known-to-be-inflammatory foods from your diet for 30 days to heal your body from all the processed stuff you’ve been feeding it, and then afterwards slowly reintroduce the eliminated food groups to find out what your body’s reaction is to them in order to remove them from your diet if they are harming you.

It is also a very good teaching tool to learn about what goes into foods during the processing process (hah) and how to read labels. I was pretty surprised to see how much sugar is added into everything, from mustard to, sometimes, canned vegetables and even meat.

Basically the rules boil down to the following foods that are allowed/not allowed.

NOT ALLOWED (at all, no exceptions):

  • Grains (including bread, pasta, flour, corn, quinoa, etc.)
  • Legumes (beans, chickpeas, soy products, peanuts, etc.)
  • Dairy (of any sort)
  • Sugar (any and all kind of sugar that you add to things, including honey, stevia, artificial sweeteners, etc.)
  • Alcohol
  • Additives
  • Pancakes and other things you make with allowable ingredients, as the point of the Whole30 is to wean you off bad food habits, and subbing a banana-egg pancake for wheat pancakes is against the spirit of the challenge.

ALLOWED:

  • Meat (preferably grass-fed and not cured unless it doesn’t contain sugar)
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables (unlike a regular Paleo diet, white potatoes are allowed – this is what sold me)
  • Nuts
  • Healthy fats

Seems limited, right? But… as it turns out, it’s totally not. Here’s some of things I’ve made/eaten in the last month.

  • Pad Thai with spaghetti squash noodles (this was my favorite new recipe and made it twice!)
  • Roast Pork Loin with apples, celery, potatoes, carrots (this was my first time roasting a pork loin in the oven – I usually use a crock pot. Great recipe that I will use again)
  • Bolognese sauce over oven fried potatoes (I make this in my regular life! love it!)
  • Meat & potatoes (I make this in real life – it’s just ground beef fried up with potatoes, I just left out the tablespoon of flour)
  • Taco hash (ground turkey or beef with potatoes, a can of Rotel, jalapeno, mushrooms, taco seasoning)
  • Jalapeño burgers (super delish!)
  • Baked chicken breasts
  • Crockpot chicken thighs
  • Grilled chicken thighs
  • Lemon Garlic Cauliflower
  • Various salads
  • Various homemade salad dressings
  • Vegan Pesto (even without parmesan in it, it’s fine)
  • Salsa
  • Homemade mayo (SO DELICIOUS) – I used the “dump method” mentioned in the comments
  • Homemade ketchup (meh – probably the biggest fail, recipe-wise. It was too sweet for my taste – I just like Heinz, you know?)
  • Garlic Chicken Sausage from Trader Joe’s (Only sausage I found that is Whole30 compliant – no weird additives or sugar)
  • Coleslaw
  • Chicken salad
  • Egg Salad
  • Fried Eggs
  • Deviled Eggs (I love eggs)
  • Apple Cider
  • Clementines
  • Oranges
  • Apples
  • Cashews/Almonds
  • Homemade Almond milk
  • Black coffee
  • Hashbrowns (need to work on my technique)
  • Oven baked garlic fries
  • Sweet potatoes

That’s only the tip of the available iceberg, too. I just didn’t have time to try all the things I wanted to. For the most part, I ate great over the last 30 days. Plenty of flavor, new recipes, etc. etc. Good stuff.

Benefits I saw from this program (Non-scale victories or NSVs):

  • Inflammation is way, way down. This is the main thing I was hoping for by axing sugar, bread, and cheese from my diet. My tendonitis has gotten somewhat better over the last six months but I was still dealing with daily, chronic pain. Swelling in my shoulder, upper back area, and under arm never really went away with physical therapy, but by eliminating the NO foods I have seen a vast, vast improvement in my mobility and pain management. In fact, between January 18 and February 16, I only had one real bad day, and maybe a couple days where I was aware of some pain but not anything to really be bothered about. One bad day! I’m thrilled.
  • I no longer need my 3 pm snack because I’m eating properly the rest of the time.
  • Kicked my daily, sometimes 2x daily, coffee habit (though, I really do miss sweet sweet creamer. I will have to evaluate how much I want to bring that back into my life since it may be a trigger food).
  • Learned a LOT about what is in food and how sugar is sneaked into so many products! There are a lot of things I won’t be eating on the regular anymore.
  • Sleeping so much better. Prior to this, I was waking up around 2-3 times a night, getting only 2-3 hours of sleep per stretch. Now I am going to bed earlier and sleeping more, I am regularly getting 5-6 hours at a stretch and only waking up around 1 time (early in the morning not long before my alarm goes off). It would be nice to improve this but so far so good! It also helps that my shoulder hurts so much less because I think that was part of the problem as well.
  • Somewhat more energetic – I actually feel more up to doing a Jillian Michaels workout, which are my favorite, but I haven’t had much energy to do them in the last few months, plus I couldn’t do the planking exercises because of my shoulder. I may start one of the workouts up in the next few weeks; I’m thinking Body Revolution which I really liked and it starts out pretty easy.
  • Lost a dress size! I had to buy a bunch of new pants in December because literally all my work pants bit the dust at the same time, and now all those pants are baggy in the butt and thighs, especially the skinny jeans! I’m still going to wear them though, until such time as they start falling off. I kind of want to get down into another size (the elusive 14) before I spend anymore money on pants.
  • My skin looks GREAT; I had zero blemishes this whole past month. ZERO.
  • Bloating and stomach pains much lessened.

Some not-so-great stuff:

  • The first week of this was hard. Not food-wise, I had prepped really well, stocked up on healthy groceries, and had a lot of meals in mind. But physically, Oh Em Gee – I quit coffee the first week because I couldn’t stomach black coffee (at the time, it’s totally fine now!) so quitting sugar AND coffee gave me like a three day withdrawal headache. Plus, my body was flushing out all the bad stuff. If you get my meaning. So all that was super fun. Oy vey.
  • Massive sugar cravings hit about day 12 through day 14. This was awful, all I could think about was cookies, and I don’t even eat cookies that often! I only got through this by drinking some organic pressed apple cider from Trader Joe’s.
  • Stomach issues that I have had have not completely gone away. There is room for improvement here. I think I need to eat more fiber, which can be hard because I am just not a salad/greens person – and smoothies aren’t allowed on the program as it’s better to eat greens regularly rather than grind them up. I have to find a good solution to this, or other veggies to add to my diet that aren’t salad. I can do salad a few times a week but every day makes me sad, and the last thing I want is to be a sad salad eater. Assuming I don’t have any dairy allergies I plan on trying to get back in the smoothie game once it gets warmer.
  • It’s SO expensive to eat this way. I need to figure out a better way to budget for this. Probably just meal plan better. I wasn’t even doing organic or grass-fed much either (though come on, free range chicken is so much more delicious than caged!)

CONCLUSIONS:

I would do a Whole30 again in a heartbeat (and plan to in the summer after my birthday, maybe). The benefits FAR outweighed any negatives, which were totally negligible and I had to think pretty hard to come up with any. I plan on eating this way for the foreseeable future though I wouldn’t call myself a Paleo adherent… Maybe just “Paleo Adjacent.” I never went hungry either. I would also like to thank my mom for her help and support with this – she offered up her Vitamix to make almond milk, supplied me with spices I needed, and cooked Whole30 compliant meals for the three Sunday dinners I was at their house.

The next ten days are dedicated to reintroduction so I can find out what, if anything, I may have a bad reaction to. I’m hoping that cheese/dairy isn’t part of it as I would love to, you know, eat cheese and yogurt again (on a limited basis). Weirdly enough though, I haven’t really missed cheese and yogurt (the cheese thing is so weird because hello, I am Mexican, cheese is basically it’s own food group. And I didn’t even think about burritos once! WTF.)

About eighteen months or so ago I was looking at the label of my big jar of taco seasoning and didn’t know what some of the ingredients were. Shouldn’t a spice mix just be familiar spices? I found a recipe online and have been mixing my own taco seasoning ever since. This really started making me aware of ingredients in products and helped me be ready to take on eating clean for 30 days. I think if anyone was really interested in doing a Whole30 that they really need to do their research on the site and decide if it’s right for them, because it can be very hard physically and mentally to give up all your treats for a month, as well as read every single label you come across.  But keep in mind: if you stick with it, you may not even think about or miss your treats. I didn’t, except for the great mid-point cookie freakout.

Plus, you know, I lost 12 pounds in 30 days. I wouldn’t recommend doing a Whole30 simply to lose weight (that first week was brutal, honestly) but my body composition is a lot better and I can tell I lost inches in my waist and thighs, and my cheekbones/dimples are showing again on my face.

Which is great! And I feel great too, which was the whole point of this. Not only did I succeed in finishing the Whole30, but I proved to myself that I don’t need all that junk in my life. The Whole30 guys were right: it’s life changing.

Smoothie Obsessed

I missed Fitness Friday last week because I was busy taking part in a pool tournament with the office. I’m terrible at pool but this time I managed to actually get a ball in a pocket! A correct ball that belonged to my team! It was the best game of pool I’ve ever played. People who have skillz at pool would laugh at my attempts, but I managed to hit the the cue ball each time and all in all wasn’t totally terrible. I was, it shall be confessed, fairly, erm, inebriated. (*ahem*)

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about getting a smoothie maker. One of my coworkers has the Nutribullet (as seen on TV!) and loves it. I looked at the reviews and it seemed okay… just kind of expensive. But I figured with a coupon to Bed Bath & Beyond it would be around $85 which is doable.

Except that I was at Walmart on Saturday buying an extraordinary amount of boring-yet-necessary things (toothpaste, toilet paper, kitchen trash bags, etc.) and I thought I’d look and see if they had Nutribullets since another coworker mentioned they had them there. I wasn’t going to get it because of the whole use-a-coupon-at-BBB thing but I wanted to look at them.

Anyway, I didn’t see it, but that’s only because I was distracted by the same sort of machine (single serve smoothie maker) that was only $20, the Farberware 17-piece Rocket Blendersmoothieblender

It comes with five big cups and one little one, plus lids and lip guards, two different blades, etc. It’s only one speed but I have to tell you, I’ve made a couple of different smoothies using different ingredients that came out nice and smooth! My biggest concern, since I’m sensitive to food textures, was that it blend everything up so it’s not chunky. This worked great.

It didn’t take me very long to make one this morning before work, so that’s nice. It helps that I have everything ready to go and I stopped at the farmer’s market yesterday and picked up some spinach, nectarines and blackberries (and a cheese zombie). I also picked up some frozen mixed berries and strawberries. I actually dislike strawberries and berries in their berry form due to their texture, but I like jam and other berry-by-products, so I figured I wouldn’t mind them blended out. And – it’s true. I made a smoothie with blackberries this morning and it was really good.

Here’s the recipes I’ve done so far. None of these contain banana, as I hate banana (in every iteration):

Spinach/Nectarine/Grape/Yogurt Smoothie

Handful of spinach (probably about a cup)
Half a bunch of red grapes
1 yellow nectarine
1 vanilla Yoplait
Little bit of water

Cut up the nectarine into smaller pieces. Blend, enjoy.

Spinach/Nectarine/Blackberry/Yogurt Smoothie

Handful of spinach (probably about a cup)
1 white nectarine
Blackberries (I dunno, probably about 20)
1 blueberry Yoplait
Little bit of water

Cut up the nectarine into smaller pieces. Blend, enjoy
This one I had kind of a lot of stuff to blend so I put the spinach, blackberries, and part of the cut-up nectarine into the cup and blended that first, then added the rest of the stuff (including the yogurt) after, making sure it didn’t exceed the max-fill line.

Tonight I plan on making a tropical smoothie – I got some fresh pineapple, oranges, and coconut milk! I also got some almond milk to use for liquid in berry based smoothies… I’ve never tried it so I hope I like it. :/

So far I’ve just been making spinach based smoothies so I get some good healthy stuff in me. Eventually I’ll probably branch out to kale and other greens, but for now, spinach it is. I’m also interested in berry-only drinks and mixing up the ingredients. I don’t have any peaches right now, but peaches, pears, and raspberries are on my list of fruits to squish. I’m not really interested in apples.

The yogurt really helps add to the consistency of the smoothies. Right now I only have Yoplaits because that’s my yogurt of choice, but I will eventually branch out to Greek yogurt, which I also like for the most part. It’s nice and thick, though I’m not sure if it comes in a big tub, which I would prefer, and I’ll have to look for. I’ll probably branch out to Safeway brand yogurt, which I know comes in a tub and tastes okay. I hate Trader Joe’s yogurt, but they’re good for fresh and frozen fruit, not to mention spinach, etc.

And thus begins the smoothie adventure!

Fitness Friday, Slacker Edition

Oy vey, guys, July has been rough on the keeping momentum going on working out. I’m going to blame the heat (and not, you know, my total ennui and flopping around not wanting to do anything). As a result I slacked off the on the daily stepping but I did fire up the Wii Fit and so at least I haven’t been doing nothing.

Anyway, this week has been much better in terms of scheduling my exercising. I did the stepper Monday through Thursday like I’m supposed to and even managed to throw in a little bit of Wii Boxing, which I like for upper body, and some Wii Hula Hooping, which is good for your mid-section. It’s not so good for one of my knees so it’s not something I can do every day in addition to the stepping.

I got some new shoes which has been really helpful for the stepper, which no lie, I was doing in flip flops. (Whoooops.) (In my defense they were nice Teva flip flops.) So that’s been nice. They’ve also been great for our walks at the Lafayette Reservoir, which for the last three weeks have not hurt my feet at all. I had tried to break in my pair of Skechers that I bought a year (or more) ago, but they just turned out to be terrible. I gave them a good try but at the end of the day just didn’t work. They were a pair of those slimmer-cut type sneakers, not regular full-soled sneaks which I’ve never had a problem with. So I’m a little down on Skechers but probably not forever. Luckily I had my extra paycheck on my birthday weekend so I went to DSW and got some New Balance sneakers, which were NOT cheap but so far they have been really great.

NBshoes

I think mine are more a navy blue though (they’re the ones I posted on Facebook if you saw that) with fluorescent orange accents. I couldn’t find a picture of them on the NB website, but these are pretty close.

Anyway, I’m back on track for the most part and that’s really the only thing you can do. Tomorrow my office has been invited to a luxury box at the Giants game so there will be much food and fun… If you ever have an opportunity to watch a game from a box (where food and drinks are provided to you) you should take it, because it’s a lot of fun! I’ve never been to a box game at the Giants’ stadium but I have at the A’s stadium, and it’s a treat, even at that ridic park. Not gonna lie, after a week of relatively healthy eating (except that stop at Freebirds for lunch on Tuesday, *cough*) being handed beers and sliders sounds really great!

I’m now getting to the point in this lifestyle change where I’m going to have to address my diet, so bear with me while I figure that out. I’m a stress/bored eater, and I don’t really eat breakfast or fruit so it’s going to be a challenge to change that. I try to bring things to the office but I’m just not hungry in the mornings so making an egg sandwich isn’t totally the solution to that yet. I have oatmeal and a bowl at the office but…

Any suggestions on the breakfast problem would be appreciated! I’m willing to entertain the thought of shakes, too. Just nothing with banana in it as I loathe bananas. I could drink it if the banana flavor was mostly hidden though. I like yogurt and cottage cheese. Having protein bars (I like the Lemon Zest Luna Bars and a number of different Cliff Bar flavors) at the office has helped with my snacking but I’m not really sold on protein bars being an actual healthy thing to eat on the regular, considering all the sugar/chocolate that’s in so many of them. They do curb the hunger more than granola bars though, which are definitely not very good for you. I also don’t like crunchy snack bars – with all my teeth issues dating back 20 years to when I had braces, I just can’t with those even though they might be a little healthier.

So you can see I’ve definitely been giving this some thought. I have run into some dumb problems due to my lack of loving fruit. I have no problems BUYING the fruit but then it sits and I don’t eat it (unless they’re orange cuties/mandarins) and I even bought a bunch of apples to make applesauce, but that hasn’t happened yet. I did eat the white nectarines I bought because they were delicious but for the most part I’m pretty ambivalent about fruit. That’s why I think if I got into the rhythm of actually making shakes it would trick me into eating a wider variety.

Vegetables haven’t been an issue for me; I like most of them except the grainier types (e.g. lima beans) and cook/roast them on the regular. I mostly just have to remind myself to eat them if I have them or pick up a bag of brussell sprouts or whatever to have in the freezer if I don’t. The freezer’s kind of a black hole so I have to try to remember what’s in there to begin with. I think my non-issue with veggies is that they’re not sweet – I definitely prefer salt to sweet when it comes to flavors.

I wish I had a chef.

FITNESS FRIDAYS ARE BACK!

Yes you guys, I haven’t posted any Fitness Fridays in ages (years?) but I’m hoping to make this a regular occurrence. I actually have some things to write about!

Starting the first week of March, I’ve begun a workout regimen that I am still continuing and plan to continue from here until whenever. Sometimes it’s frustrating and I don’t want to do it but…

It’s really working. I’ve obviously lost inches (because my pants are fitting too big) and I weighed myself last weekend and am down 5 whole pounds! I know that doesn’t sound very impressive, but I have done all this only with workouts and adding more vegetables to my diet. I’m not on any food program, I’m just trying to eat a more balanced day-to-day diet. I’ve started to do a lot more research on actual nutrition and it’s becoming more and more apparent that I’m doing *everything* wrong.

Though I am proof you can subsist on burritos and spaghetti.

So: what exactly am I doing? I’m working out five days a week and kind of loving it, is what I’m doing. The fact that “workout” and “love” now exist in the same sentence is truly amazing and still surprising to me!

A few months ago, after Christmas, my mom got me a small NordicTrac mini-stepper for half off at Sears. I was like, ok whatever go ahead when she asked if I wanted one, and after I tried it the first time and nearly killed myself it went into the corner until the first week of March when I had to go to the doctor. Knowing I tend to get high blood pressure only while at the doctor I decided to try to exercise the first few days before the appointment to hopefully get the endorphins going or whatever.

stepper

This failed, totally, and I got into a big fight about blood pressure with the nurse practitioner and they not only took my precious birth control away and gave me shitty “mini pills” (which they weren’t even going to give me until I put up a fuss and it turns out a large chunk – the most important chunk – of my medical history hasn’t made it into my electronic records, but that’s a snit for another time) and also, since they apparently thought I was going to stroke out, even sent me up to the blood pressure clinic.

Once I was at the blood pressure clinic, having successfully retained some sort of birth control pill (I take them for health/quality of living reasons) my blood pressure had zoomed back down into the normal range and the nurses up at the BP clinic basically were like, why did they send you up here? Because nobody believes me that I have white coat syndrome, that’s why!

Anyway, so I decided that in order To Show Them (and to get my real pills back), I really had to stay committed to my own health. Revenge! It’s the best motivator.

And since I’ve been having luck and feeling so much better, I’m definitely motivated to keep going. I’m probably boring everybody with all my health/stepper talk, but I don’t care. Six months or a year from now I’m probably going to be seriously badass.

(Yes, I’m partly into this in order to be able to survive the zombie apocalypse). ;)

The Workout: 

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: stepper and weights, alternately working chest/triceps and back/biceps. Sundays: 3 mile walk at the reservoir plus weights if I remember. [Note: depending on my schedule I will either work out Thursday OR Friday; Saturday is my dedicated “rest” day]

Fat & Fabulous

Last week I joined Weight Watchers.

This week I'm 2.8 pounds lighter!

I think if I hadn't been, ahem, having a monthly hormone fluctuation, I may have done even better. I certainly feel less bloated. TMI? Too bad.

I like the new PointsPlus system and it really seems to work for me. Will I continue having my weekly ginormous Starbucks white chocolate mocha? At 8 points per drink, I'm thinking unlikely but you never know. What's nice about the PointsPlus is that you have a daily allotment (mine's 37, which will decrease as I lose weight), plus a weekly extra 49 points that you can distribute over your week if you, say, go out drinking one night, or really want to have McDonald's one day. I find that the fast food and prepared food are too dear at this point, so out of the diet they have gone. Alas, my kingdom for a cheeseburger(s).

What's different about PointsPlus from the previous points incarnation is that most fruits and vegetables are zero points. As I recall from before, fruits used to cost points… which means I wouldn't eat them. But I've been eating more fruits this past week and have come to enjoy having an apple at lunch! Who knew. Not I.

You might be asking yourself, why now, Melissa? And why Weight Watchers? Well, the why now has a lot to do with the hot pink bridesmaids dress I am going to have to wear next year (sigh) and Weight Watchers because I'm familiar with the program and because a bunch of people I know are doing it right now, so right away there is a built in support system.

But mostly it's the bridesmaids dress.

And I'm tired of being the fat friend.

I don't really have any mental issues with my body aside from my belly, which is a result of six months of Taco Bell and eating my emotions after my grandfather died. I'm a little fixated on the belly too because it has a large scar on it from my surgery years ago and I've never really been able to flatten it out because of that (but have I ever REALLY tried??)

I love fashion so it's sad to me that more options are available for smaller women when so many of us are actually fatter than ideal. Years ago my mom said that if I lost weight she would put $500 towards a new wardrobe, and maybe I'm finally ready to take her up on it. (Does she remember she said that? Haha, TOO BAD)

But anyway, I'm only a week into this, and a lot of it has to do with Making Better Choices and Not Eating Taco Bell All The Time. Thank God we don't have Taco Cabana here, because then I would have a problem.

I'm finding that I wasn't eating all that differently (calorically or otherwise) but that adding in the fruits and vegetables, portion control and making a concerted effort to actually eat breakfast has been helping. I'm also cooking a little more and even made oven fries (baked wedged potatoes) for the first time in my life. Yes folks, I made it 31 years without ever cooking a potato! (I would totally eat them but only at other people's houses. I don't know why I never cooked them, I just wasn't interested).

There is also a nice paved path by work so I'll try to get out for a bit of a walk during my lunch hour like I did today. Mostly I just needed to get out of the office for a bit since they have been power washing the building for DAYS I couldn't stand it in there anymore so I went for a walk.

But anyway, so that's kind of why I've been quiet here and on Twitter for the last week, I have been busy being awesome and getting my life on track a little.

If I don't update about more resin adventures tomorrow or Friday, my next post will be revealing what I made for the Bead Soup Blog Party on Saturday! Can't wait to show it off and see what other people made!

Vacation Time (for 2010)

I have somewhat injured myself and seriously must lie down for the next two days. Damned lunges and also squats. I am so tired and achy, which may also be a symptom of being dehydrated. Made it into work though, where I am diligently working hard. *ahem* At any rate, I full on feel like crap.

I have been talking to my Texas friend Tara via Facebook and we have decided that we will do the South Beach diet starting after Thanksgiving.  Our reasons are thus: Tara’s getting married next year and wants to look awesome, and I also want to look awesome for this event. I have been wanting to do the 2 week Atkins metabolic reset that starts out your South Beach experience because I really felt great the last time I did it. I was going to do this in January, but having Tara do it at the same time will be a supportive bonus, because no carbs is SO HARD for like three days, you think you are going to keel over and croak, but by the end of the two weeks you are really feeling awesome.

Speaking of Tara’s wedding, I asked her if they’d set a date, and they have! July 31, 2010 – which, honestly, is like the most perfect time for me to take time off the job. I was going to go regardless of workload/meeting schedule, but now I can take a little more time off and really enjoy myself! Since 7/31/10 is a Saturday, I am thinking that I may take off 7/29-8/6/10.  I won’t spend all that time in Texas, but I will certainly spend a chunk!

(Incidentally, I wonder if Tara realizes she is getting married on Harry Potter’s birthday?)

I also found this picture and I think I found the style of dress I will wear to the wedding:

anthrodress

Isn’t that cute? I love Anthropology stuff. Made out of cotton jersey or just regular cotton would be a nice, cool, and flattering fashion statement. I want to whip out the sewing machine this winter, so hopefully I will acquire some Mad Skillz to make it. I haven’t actually sewn anything in about 18 years, so I’m a little, uh… out of practice. I think boots would look awesome with this dress, however being realistic I have to say that boots in Texas in late July would be stupid as it is approximately 800 Billion Degrees that time of year there.

My friend Sarah has started sewing recently and has really surprised me with her enthusiasm for it, so I kind of figure that if she can get going with it, so can I! I’ve been toting a sewing machine around the country for five years, I oughtta use it, don’t you think?

Anyway, I’m pretty stoked about going back to Texas for a few days next summer. It’s my favorite place, after all. I’m a little bummed I didn’t make it out there this year, but every other year seems to be the schedule so this will be right on track.  PLUS my friend Daphne is out of grad school in Arizona so I will be able to visit with her.  I haven’t seen her since I moved away – she was out of state when I was there in 2008.

So, brace yourself, San Antonio. I am returning to your hallowed ground in a mere eight months!! bwahahaha

Finding Food Friday #4

I think summer has let go, here on the Left Coast.

I enjoyed the one stretch of cool-but-warm weather, maybe a week. It’s my favorite. Everything else I loathe. Today was the first cold day of the season. I hate it.

This week was much less of a food challenge than previous because I actually had groceries! Go figure. I’m making better choices and making use of the awesome, cheap, and questionably originated vegetables and fruits  at the Asian markets around here. My favorite is 99 Ranch Market, which is across the street from my office, but if I can’t get there for some reason, I can go to County Market which is less than a mile from my house.  It’s one of the few things that’s nice about living near the coast of the Stupidest State of Them All: easy access to A) Asian culture and B) their grocery stores.

Anyway, one of the things that’s really nice about the Asian stores is that everything is so, so cheap. I’ve been kind of strapped for cash lately (this whole “owning a house” and “paying for mortgage” thing kind of sucks you dry in the greenback department), and one of the monumentally unfair things I have found in terms of trying to Lead A Healthy Lifestyle is how frigging expensive it is!!

You can, however, learn how to shop around and make use of bulk stores and other types of stores, like organic or indie grocery shops.

My favorite grocery store, besides 99 Ranch Market is Trader Joe’s.  Trader Joe’s is not only a great store with great products and great pricing, but it treats their employees right. I buy most of my meat here because it’s good quality, often organic (like free range chicken, which is more delicious than regular chicken… honestly I could care less about chicken treatment, except that nicely treated free-range chicken really ARE way more delicious!!), and fairly inexpensive if you shop right.

Anyway, so my whole point is that here, in what is one of the (if not THE? – I’m too lazy to look) most expensive places to live (e.g.: my cost of living is triple what I was paying in Texas) if you look around and make the right choices, healthy eating isn’t too hard.

Here’s where I shop:

Trader Joe’s for basic groceries on a weekly basis – I can get about a week’s worth to supplement my current supply for about $20.

Asian Grocery Stores for fresh fruits and vegetables and quirky ingredients (I cook a lot of Thai food these days, mostly curry)

Local Farmer’s Markets for fresh fruits and vegetables – this also localizes where you shop and helps the economy for your neighborhood or county.

Winco/Target/Walmart for discounted canned goods and basic groceries.  All “house brands” at these places are good and much cheaper than regular grocery stores.

I haven’t actually set foot in a regular grocery store (here it’s Safeway, other places is Vons, HEB, Ralph’s, etc.) in months. Making that decision to look for alternate sources of healthy eating wasn’t very hard: mainstream supermarkets are crazy expensive! And I can get all the things I used to get there at Winco for much, much cheaper.

So that’s what I do when I’m grocery shopping, is go to many different places in order to find the best deals around.

(And yes, I realize I’m posting this on Saturday.)

Fake Butter Friday #3

I swear I have a blog post floating around in my drafts that ISN’T a Fitness Friday but… this has been a busy week with a Lost Day (Wednesday), house guest (Tuesday), and Unexpected Vegan Discoveries.

Now, no lie, I like meat.  However, I’ve mentioned before my interest in vegan recipes, and when I was browsing the internets I came across a few recommendations for Earth Balance “butter” so I thought I would try that out when I happened upon it at Trader Joe’s yesterday. Since I needed new butter anyway, having almost finished a container of my very favorite spread, Country Crock. Usually a margarine spread like CC lasts me pretty long since I don’t use it for much except on waffles and sometimes on bread or when I make brussel sprouts. I don’t eat that much bread, though. But I was at Trader Joe’s getting cheapish groceries – I love their fair trade Pajaro coffee and organic evaporated cane sugar – and saw this butter stuff I’d just read about.

I got the fake-butter, which is made of soy byproducts, I guess, took it home, tried it out on some artisan bread I also picked up at TJ’s and came to the conclusion that fake non-dairy butter spread is just okay. It’s no Country Crock, people. But it’s decent, and for a non-dairy soy product I will actually use, I will give it a B grade. Not bad.

EXCEPT: and here’s the big surprise that shocked me! VEGAN FAKE BUTTER IS TWICE AS FATTY AS REGULAR FAKE BUTTER.

More than, in fact.  I don’t really look at the ingredients or fat content on stuff (I probably should do this more) and I was always under the impression that Country Crock was not super great for you, but I like the way it tastes 100% better than I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter or Smart Balance. Country Crock has 5 grams of fat per serving (tablespoon) – and I would rather eat my favorite in moderation than waste my time on stuff I don’t like.

Earth Balance, woo woo vegan product has 11 grams of fat per serving.

WTF, vegan product!!!

I was alarmed. So I will be more careful about future vegan products, that is fo’ sho’.

At any rate, the vegetable oil content is quite high, so I think it will be good for baking. You can use I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter in baking because of the vegetable oil content (talking about food chemistry here) but you can’t use Country Crock because the veg oil content is too low (too delicious I guess).

A quick Google brought up the fat content of regular butter, which is identical to Earth Balance at 11 grams per T serving.  So if you actually eat real dairy butter (I don’t) you could theoretically substitute Earth Balance for that and not see a difference in the amount of fat percentages in your life.

So, I guess my point here is that you DO need to pay attention to what you are doing when it comes to vegan products/cooking or you will be the fattest vegan in town.

And yes, I do realize that I just wrote an entire entry on FAKE BUTTER.

buttertoast

These Teeth of Mine

squid-teeth

So I went to my dentist for the final appointment in my epic teeth adventure that has lasted oh these last five months. He drilled, filled, and re-x-rayed. Sadly, Rhonda, my hygienist was out with a headache and I got to experience the joy of the intern. Yay.

I asked him about one of the fillings he did in March that had a small stain or something in it. I thought it was a piece of something that had stuck in the ceramic (I chose porcelain fillings over silver – they are reported to last longer, plus – bonus! – your teeth still look like teeth since the porcelain is white), but he determined that it was a stain of some sort. As a result, he is going to redo that filling on his dime next month when I go in for my six month check-up. Just what I was looking forward to: more drilling!

Also, we looked at the x-rays and there may be something up with one of my old fillings from years ago, so we must monitor that one. I told him I’ve about had it in terms of fillings, so that one won’t happen for at least another six months.

God, 2009 shall be known as the year that Teeth Ate My Bank Account. I’m at about $1900 spent since December. Yesterday, my woe was apparently made known because he knocked off the price of the X-rays. I was expecting another $550 bill.

Just FYI: if you don’t have insurance, dental appointments can cost more than remodelling your two bathrooms (and I should know :P).

On the other hand, I am on a first name basis with everyone in the dentist’s office!

This weekend is a three-day weekend, and I am going to rock it by sleeping a lot. I put in my vacation for July, and it was approved, so that’s nice. I’m going to go see Sarah in LA and probably paint my hall, den, and vanity area.

It is a thrilling life I lead.

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