Sunday, July 24, 2011

My New Favorite Treat

I've been playing with a few different recipes for sugar-free "real" food treats.  I came up with one today that was delicious!

30 grams of raw cashews
80 grams of pitted dates (I buy them whole, but chop them up since they seem hard on my food processor)
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp vanilla
3-4 fresh raspberries

Mix it all up in the food processor for a while and voila - yummy fudgey treat!  Really, you should try it!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Week 1 Report

I'm one week in and feeling good!  Yesterday I had to deal with a few unanticipated events and I'm still not sure how to deal when these types of things come up.  We went to my in-laws house for dinner.  My mother-in-law always makes something delicious, and always serves dessert.  I knew I'd have no problem skipping dessert, but first - dinner.  We had delicious pork chops with white rice, [white] rolls, and corn.  There was a yummy mixed fruit salad as well.  I didn't want to just skip half of what was being served, so instead I just got a very small portion of the rice, and only one roll (normally I probably would have had 2-3).  I had two [small] pork chops and loaded up on fruit salad along with some corn on the cob.  I thought I'd just ask for a little more fruit while everyone had dessert (chocolate cake and strawberrry ice cream) when my mother-in-law said, "I heard you're not eating sugar, so I got you some sugar-free ice cream."  So sweet, right?  She got a little single serving ice cream container out of the freezer and plopped it down in front of me.  There were well over a dozen ingredients.  I'm really trying to avoid processed foods and especially artificial sweeteners, but I felt like I kind of had to eat it.  It was so nice of her to get it for me to try and help me in my sugar free quest.  But honestly, I think all the aspartame made me really hungry.

Other than that, I've lost 3 pounds (in a week!) and I'm about 4 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight.  I have my goal weight broken down into a few steps - first to get to pre-pregnancy weight, then lose 4 more, and ultimately 10 less than that.  So I'm still 18 pounds away from my ultimate goal, but I'm definitely on the path.  Also, a friend and I have committed to run together 3 times a week for 30 minutes at a time.  It's been great so far!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Progress and Recommendations

I am on Day 5 and going strong!  I am feeling great and have only had a few minor slips.  Two mentioned previously were the organic whole wheat bread and sandwich thins that do contain sugar.  The only other one was yesterday when I made some quesadillas for dinner and used plain ol' flour tortillas.  My plan for next time is to follow this recipe and hopefully make a bunch ahead and freeze them.  My plan for bread in the future is to make it at home or buy from Great Harvest.  Their honey wheat bread only has five ingredients: freshly ground whole wheat flour, water, yeast, salt, and honey.  Yum!  Does anyone have a great whole wheat bread recipe I can try at home?

My biggest temptation this week was a bridal shower I went to mid-week.  There was a table overflowing with cupcakes, cream puffs and canisters of my favorite candies.  There was lemonade (and water - yes!) to drink and chicken salad croissant sandwiches to eat.  I passed everything by and had a plate of watermelon, strawberries, grapes and some water to drink.  I'm finding it's really not that difficult to turn things down when I've made the decision to do it ahead of time.  I find it much more difficult to moderate myself or say "only one" because one inevitably turns into "one of each" and then "just one more."  Once I'm feeling like I've conquered my sugar addiction to some degree, I will definitely be making allowances for super special occasions.  I think that's how I'd like to develop my relationship with sugar for myself and my family: something special that we don't have all the time.  I'm not going to make my children eat some strange concoction of carob and honey and applesauce and whole wheat flour instead of birthday cake, but I'm also not going to have such goodies around the house on a regular basis.  Naturally sweet snacks will rule the day, but "real" sugar will definitely be allowed now and then.

One great thing I've tried since starting this is R.W. Knudsen Organic Apple Juice.  I read about it being super good and - wow - it's really delicious.  Definitely lived up to they hype!  Also, last night I made a black bean and corn salad for dinner and it was delicious.  No guilt in having multiple helpings of healthy veggies and legumes!  We're having it again tonight.  Sadly, one thing that did not live up to my expectations was a bowl of oatmeal I made mid-week.  I got the recipe from a blog (I'd rather not mention it, because they otherwise have great recipes, but this was disgusting) and it had a beautiful photo that made it look so appealing. Well, I should have run the other direction when I saw that they used water instead of milk AND equal portions of water and oatmeal.  It was so thick I could hardly get my spoon in.  It was just gross.  If you have a yummy oatmeal recipe, please share.  Also, I'm looking for great (and healthy - no sugar, no brown sugar) granola recipes.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Day 2 Report

Day 2 was happily a success.  Here's how it went:

Morning Pre-Run Snack: 1/2 banana
Ran 2 miles with the jogging stroller (still getting the hang of running with a stroller - it is HARD)
Breakfast: 1/2 banana, 1 egg (scrambled) with a little bit of cheddar jack, slice of whole wheat toast + butter
Lunch: leftover sweet and sour chicken from dinner
Afternoon Snack: green smoothie (spinach, banana, pineapple, orange, honey, ice)
Dinner: Grilled chicken and veggie sandwich on a sandwich thin (grilled chicken, mashed avocado, cheddar, cucumbers, red peppers, lettuce, tomato mustard), sweet potato fries, watermelon, green salad (no dressing)

Even though I am not trying to count or cut calories, I did record my food on dailyburn throughout the day and was shocked that it came out to less than 1200 calories. I felt completely satisfied throughout the day and enjoyed everything I ate (though the salad could use some dressing - I'll work on that).

I did discover an oversight: the bread AND sandwich thins I bought do contain sugar, but since I have so many, I'm just going to suck it up and eat them.  I can make healthier choices (like baking my own whole wheat bread) but I'm not going to waste the food I have.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Day 1 - Report

Day 1 was a success!  This is encouraging, since pathetically, the last time I set out to do this, I lasted only a few hours.  I ate two scrambled eggs with cheese for breakfast and I think this was a big key to the day's success - getting some protein in early can make a big difference.  For lunch I had a peach, slice of cheese and some cashews.  For dinner I made sweet and sour chicken, substituting agave nectar for brown sugar.  I served it over a brown/basmati rice combo.  We also had watermelon and green salad, and water to drink.

I went shopping at Costco last night and was shocked at all of the "healthy" foods that contain sugar or "evaporated cane juice" (fancy term for sugar).  I bought some Kirkland Signature Organic Whole Wheat Bread that looks delicious.  I think it will make really good toast.  In fact, I'm sure it will, since I think I've tried the sample in the store several times.  Also, I got some Orowheat Sandwich Thins that will be great for [whole wheat] paninis and sandwiches.  Their website has lots of great recipe ideas - I can't wait to try the Chicken and Apple Panini.  We're not the best about using even one loaf of bread before it expires, so these will have to go in the freezer so I can get my money's worth!

The Vitamix people were there doing a demo and the green smoothie they whipped up was delicious.  It had spinach, pineapple, orange, banana, honey and ice.  That's it.  It was so good, you couldn't even taste the "green" part.  Of course, I bought a 3 pound bag of spinach (we'll see if I can get through it!) and 5 hearts of romaine for salads this week.  I love buying fresh produce, but I hate wasting it.  So hopefully a green smoothie or quick salad can become a go-to meal/snack instead of a bowl of cereal.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Week 1 Meal Plans

M - Scrambled Eggs + Cheese and Whole Wheat Toast
T - Veggie Omelet
W - Green smoothie
Th - Oatmeal + Peaches and Cream
F - Scrambled Eggs + Cheese and Whole Wheat Toast
Sa - Oatmeal + Apples and Cinnamon
Su - Fried Egg on Wheat Toast

chips and salsa
raw veggies (red, orange, yellow, green peppers, cucumber, carrots, celery) and hummus
fruit - mangoes, apples, watermelon, peaches, nectarines, raspberries
rice chips
apple with peanut butter
hard boiled egg

M - Turkey and Cheese in Spinach Wrap
T - Big Salad
W - Turkey and Cheese in Spinach Wrap
Th - Peanut Butter and Honey on whole wheat bread
F - Big Salad
Sa - Veggie Panini on Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins
Su - Fruit and Berries

M - Sweet and Sour Chicken (use agave in place of brown sugar) + Brown Rice
T - Whole wheat pasta + homemade marinara + green salad + red pepper slices
W - Grilled Chicken + Artichokes
Th - Stuffed Peppers + SW Salad
F - Burgers on Whole Wheat Buns + Sweet Potato Fries + Green Salad
Sa - Black Beans and Rice
Su - in-laws for dinner

Shopping List
red peppers (6)
yellow peppers 
orange peppers
green peppers
red onion (2)
SW salad mix
sweet potatoes
jalepeno pepper
lime (2)
romaine lettuce
white onions (5)
almond milk
organic corn chips
rice chips
nitrate free turkey
spinach wraps
sandwich thins
whole wheat bread
canned tomatoes (3 28 oz)
tomato paste (2 6 oz)

Before I Get Started - Meal Plans/Ideas

I feel like I'm behind before I've even started.  Meaning, I've come to day one and I'm not sure what I'll be eating today.  For me, planning my meals will be key to the possibility of any success in this journey.  Here are some ideas:

Breakfast Ideas
- Fruit smoothie
- Veggie omelet
- Fried egg on whole wheat toast
- Green smoothie
- Steel cut oats
- Breakfast compote
- Quinoa almond berry salad

Lunch Ideas
- Veggie wraps
- Brown rice and beans
- Stir fry and brown rice
- Whole wheat pasta and homemade marinara
- Salad
- Veggie panini
- Sandwich on whole wheat bread

Dinner Ideas
- grilled chicken + veggie
- whole wheat mac and cheese
- beef and broccoli
- grilled kebabs
(most things I normally make for dinner can be adapted.... I think)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Beginning and Why

I am not one of those people that can eat sugar in moderation.  In fact, on most days, I'd say that sugar and refined carbohydrates make up the majority of what goes in my mouth; I feel like sugar water is pulsing through my veins.  But something's got to change and since I'm fairly certain that other people won't stop offering me sugar, the thing that needs to change is me.

Starting tomorrow, I'm giving up sugar and refined carbs.  I'm sure it won't be an easy thing, but I feel a little more determined this time around than any of my previous attempts.  Maybe it's just that it's summer and sugar and treats are overflowing at every BBQ, party, and family reunion I've attended.  I feel like I've got s'mores, twizzlers, cotton candy and creamies coming out my ears.

I don't feel like sugar is inherently evil, but I know that it is not healthy.  I'd love to just say that I will keep it special (like for holidays and birthdays) instead of completely cutting it out of my diet, but before I can do that I feel like I need to retrain my tastebuds and squelch the cravings that seem to get me every. single. time.  That's why I feel like saying goodbye to sugar for an indefinite period of time is my only option.

Nearly two years ago, I was diagnosed with PCOS (polycycstic ovarian syndrome) which made it difficult for me to get pregnant.  When I first received the diagnosis, the most imminent concern was [not being able] to have a child.  But the doctor also [very casually ] mentioned that PCOS patients also commonly deal with weight gain, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease.  That really shook me.  I checked out every book I could find on the subject, and did all sorts of research on the internet.  Many recommendations pointed to one thing to treat (or least not exacerbate) the symptoms (and thereby related illnesses) of PCOS: a whole foods diet low in sugar, fat, red meat, dairy, caffeine, refined and processed foods, and high in fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts and seeds.  So, for nearly two years I've had this diagnosis and not changed much about my diet.  It's time.  I was able to get pregnant and have a beautiful healthy baby, which adds even more motivation since I want nothing more than for her to continue having a healthy life.  I'm going to deal with sugar and processed carbs first because I feel the most strongly about them.  I'll work on the other things another time.

Also, having had a baby six months ago, I definitely have a different body.  I'd like to get back not only to my pre-pregnancy body, but better.  I know that I have to think in baby steps though.  One thing and one goal at a time.  My first goal is to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight (I'm currently about 10 pounds away).

For now, I'm focusing purely on cutting out sugar, refined carbs and excessively processed foods.  I'm not going to worry about cutting back calories (though I'm fairly certain that will happen somewhat naturally) or anything else.  The point of this initial sugar fast is just to get it out of my system and lessen my desire for it.  I hope to get to the point where my sweet tooth can be satisfied by a peach or handful of strawberries.

I'm a little worried about planning meals around this challenge.  Desserts and treats will be fairly easy to leave out, but when it comes to white flour and other processed foods, and the fact that sugar comes in so many forms in so many foods, it will be more difficult.  I think that planning will be HUGE for all of my meals.  I need to know what I'm going to eat and have it at home.  I need to have healthy snacks at the ready.

I hope to check in very regularly to give updates and progress reports.  Wish me luck.