Tuesday, October 6, 2015

My Dog and My Dental Saga

Wow! It has been awhile since I last posted - my how time flies!  Well, to keep you in the loop, since I'm sure you were on the edge of your seat, anxiously awaiting this post, I am still in the game!  Still in it to win it and all that.  I just have had some other priorities that have taken precedence over the blog. 

For example, one of my dogs (Coal - the black one) is having some health issues of late that have taken a bit of time and money and still haven't been resolved.  Nothing too serious we hope, but after over a year of chronic ear infections (which he eventually got over with the right meds), and a torn nail, he now has this problem with his eyes and if left alone, turn into these huge spiky balls growing next to his eyes.  The current solution is daily warm compresses to soften and remove anything before it can harden.  There are also some skin and nail issues we're dealing with and will probably end up going to a doggie dermatologist to figure it out.  Not an expense I am looking forward to nor one for which I had planned.  But he's my pal, so I'll do whatever I can for the little bubba-face...

This is Coal and Gabbie at the vet. 
He looks as scared of the vet as I am of the dentist!
I'm on the mend myself after having a dental procedure done about 3 months ago.  I don't know if you've read my post about my last dental visit (two years ago), but I decided I really wanted to be all-around healthy.  I don't just want to lose weight you see?  I also want good health in general.  I planned to get my teeth cleaned and then after that, go get a medical checkup.  Since it had been longer (by years) since I went to a dentist, I decided to do that first.  Now, keep in mind, I had ZERO dental problems (that I knew of) going in - all I wanted was a healthy mouth.  Well, I guess that was mistake number one.  I should've left well enough alone.  Don't fix it if it ain't broken and all that. 

I had my roots scaled and planed.  Now, maybe just maybe, if I had been a good dental patient and had regular checkups and cleanings, this wouldn't have been such a big deal.  You could definitely say that I brought this on myself and you wouldn't be wrong.  So, that said, if it has been a long while since your last cleaning, do that first and then keep up with your dental care by brushing and flossing daily for a good 6 months before having this procedure done. 

First off, I am a total freak about mouth pain.  I can't stand it!  I can take a lot of pain elsewhere, but not my mouth or head.  Besides the fact that I'm allowing this torture to occur while I sit there voluntarily, the poking and prodding of gums and tooth nerves freaking HURTS!  Anyway...

Since I don't tolerate this pain well, and since I will never go back if it hurts, I turned to sedation dentistry.  Good idea right?  Just get knocked out and all will be wonderful right?  Well, no.  No it won't be.  Not really.  Not right away.  If ever.

Not only did I need a deep cleaning, I needed several fillings.  I thought, why pay for sedation more than I need to?  It's mostly coming out of pocket anyway as insurance only pays for so much.  Let's do this all at once!  Is that possible?  Sure is.  So, I went in on a Monday morning at 9am and came out at 3. 

I have no memory of pain that day whatsoever.  Actually, I really don't have much of a memory of that day at all.  But for every day after that, I have been in pain.  It's not always been excruciating pain, though that happened often enough.  It's more of this deep ache in all my molars.  I also became extremely super sensitive to hot and cold, which really sucks as a coffee drinker and one who loves ice.  Chewing things like peanuts, crunchy fruit, salads, or any crunchy vegetable, steak, yogurt, or anything remotely cold, sweet or requiring extensive chewing is painful.  It feels like I'm chewing using a loose tooth.  Remember how that felt when you were about to lose a tooth as a kid and you bit down on something?  That's how all my molars feel right now.  And I am limited to room temperature or slightly warmer beverages only.  This procedure has blown my way of eating out of the water.  Fruit and veggies were a major part of my nutrition plan and to have them taken away was a huge blow.  Needless to say, I gained some weight in subbing all that healthy, crunchy stuff with easily chewable carbs.  Ramen and mac & cheese became my new friends. 

After a couple weeks, I talked myself into going back to the dentist because of the pain.  I was prescribed some pain meds (hydrocodone) and antibiotics.  He also "adjusted my bite" while I was there.  That was like THE WORST!  I know it shouldn't have hurt, but it did!  That stupid, loud, whirring, buzzing tool that,once it touches my tooth, sends awful, painful vibrations straight to the nerve and, oh my word, why I don't just get up and walk out right then is beyond me!  My teeth are so sensitive that the air from the tool hurts my teeth!  Why did I go back?  I still have problems remembering.  Oh yeah, I was in pain. 

Well, the drugs helped a bunch, but they ran out after only a few days.  Since then, I've just been dealing with it.  The dentist told me that sometimes it takes a while for the teeth to calm down after as much work as I had done.  Also, when under sedation, the bite doesn't always line up just right because, well, you're under sedation and you just aren't paying much attention or even caring that much.  After almost 3 months of an achy mouth, I did something that, in hindsight, may have ended up being a blessing...  I chewed gum.

Only 10 weeks after my procedure, I chewed a piece of Big Red chewing gum for like 5 hours.  I was hauling some stuff to a storage unit and chewing gum just seems to get me into a rhythm.  I hadn't done it since the procedure though.  There was no unusual pain, just the normal ache in my molars, so I didn't think anything of it.  The next day, everything I put in my mouth caused unbearable pain.  Luke warm coffee and food was all I could handle and even that hurt like crazy.  Even room temperature water hurt!  I couldn't imagine what I'd done.  I was in tears all night, the pain was so bad.  I took some naproxen (which usually helped) and that barely even touched it.  I started alternating acetaminophen with ibuprofen every two hours.  Again, almost no relief and I still couldn't eat.

Since a starvation diet is in no one's best interest, the next day (Wednesday), I called the dental office.  As much of a scaredy cat I am about the dentist, this was so much pain that I didn't care what they did if they could make it stop. They got me in that afternoon.  I got the "bite adjustment" again along with some pain meds - hydrocodone again - and was told to come back on Monday.  However, if the pain didn't go away, I'd probably need a root canal, so they had me call back on Thursday to see where I was with the pain.  The drugs helped SO much!  I was so happy to not be in pain that I could easily see how people get addicted to pain meds.  No pain is so sweet.

I hit sort of a snag on Thursday morning.  On my way to work (I was running late because of the meds helping me sleep), I grabbed a protein bar for a quick breakfast.  As I was driving, I took a bite of the bar and as I was chewing, switched sides of my mouth to the more sensitive side to see how things were going.  Suddenly I bit down on a chocolate chip and the pain the shot through the top back teeth almost made me wreck my car!  I immediately cried out and moved everything back to the left side and kept chewing.  There was nothing there!  I mean yes, there was a tiny piece of chocolate, but nothing to cause THAT kind of pain.  What the what?!?  It felt like those two back teeth were loose too!  Ughhhhh!  What next?

Fortunately, I still had pain meds and those helped everything immensely.  The regular pain that I was in before (how odd to call it that - "regular pain") had now subsided, but I didn't know if it was because the new pain was more painful.  You know how if you stub your toe, it hurts, but if someone were to punch you in the face, your toe wouldn't hurt anymore?  Like that, only bottom vs top teeth.  Well, I decided that if a root canal was on the line, I'd better know for sure if the bottom tooth pain was gone.  I stopped the pain meds and waited.  Whew!  It didn't come back as bad.  No root canal, just another appointment on Monday.
Can you believe I actually went back?  Another adjustment and another appointment for next Monday.  The pain is much less now.  My bite seems to be more aligned, especially on the right side.  I'm thinking the left side will need adjusting next, but we'll see.  So, lots of people asked how could chewing gum cause that pain?  Well, if your bite isn't aligned just right, the teeth get irritated and with irritation comes swelling and when swelling occurs inside a tooth, it can affect the nerve.  Sense one or more of my fillings come really close to a nerve, the pain is way more likely to occur.  Chewing gum all those hours irritated the teeth and  caused more inflammation than usual.  The "usual" being my normal day-to-day chewing and thereby my day-to-day deep achy pain for the last several weeks.  Hopefully, with a few more adjustments, I can be completely pain free again.  I can only hope at this point.

Well, if you've gotten this far, thanks for reading my saga.  I hadn't planned on sharing, but it feels good to get this off my mind.  Anybody else ever had this kind of thing happen after dental work?  Super sensitivity to cold?  Pain after fillings due to a misaligned bite?  I'm just curious if I'm the only one...

Monday, August 10, 2015

Chocolate Zucchini Cake Recipe - Simple and Delicious

Almost everyone has tried Zucchini bread or Zucchini cake.  But it's never really been something I thought of making at home.  Until now!  I couldn't believe how easy this recipe was to make.  Just throw it all in the blender, pour it in a pan and bake!  Then when I tasted it, I was amazed.  It's so moist, it doesn't even need frosting.  Of course, I frosted it anyway!  Not only is this low carb with no sugar added, both my picky eater kids loved this cake too.  Score!!

And now, without further ado, here it is…

My first recipe video!!!  Yay!  I hope to post more in the future, so let me know what you think.

The recipe is listed in the comment section of the video, but I'll put it here as well:

Zucchini Cake
4 TBS melted butter
1/3 cup sweetener (I use Pyure Organic Stevia/Erythritol Blend - see link below)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
2 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup THM baking blend (check out Products at trimhealthymama.com)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 TBS Cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar free chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 375
Blend ingredients in blender until well mixed
Pour batter in 8x8 or 9x9 dish
Bake 30-35 minutes until middle is just set
Cool before frosting (frosting is optional because cake is awesome without it!)

Estimated nutrition of cake only: 
Recipe makes 9 servings with 81 calories/6g carbs /6g fat /3g protein /2g fiber /0 sugar

Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting (adapted from recipe at chocolatecoveredkatie.com)
3/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup peanut butter (no sugar added)
2 TBS cocoa
5 tsp maple syrup
4 tsp Almond Milk

Estimated nutrition of cake with frosting: 
Recipe makes 9 servings with 140 calories/11g carbs /10g fat /5g protein /3g fiber /2g sugar

Here's a link to the sweetener I love to use.  This is an affiliate link, but I have to say that I get it WAY cheaper at Walmart - usually $6.99/lb)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

My Trim Healthy Menu for this week

Here I am trying to post regularly again, so I thought I'd start with this week's menu.  Breakfast and lunch are always up in the air for me no matter how much I try to plan.  So instead of assigning a day with a meal, I just give myself choices.  I also tend to eat the same meal for several days for breakfasts, so as long as I have my ingredients on hand, I'm good to go.  Dinner meals are a bit different due to the preparation involved, still I just list them as choices as opposed to assigning meals to days of the week.  

Breakfast Choices:
  • Sausage & Cheese on low carb wrap (you could add egg, but they don't like me!)
  • Oatmeal w/cinnamon and sweetener of choice (I also add some FF Cottage Cheese hi-speed blended with some frozen berries for additional protein)
  • Ezekiel toast with Laughing Cow Light and SF jam/jelly
  • FF Greek Yogurt with fruit (my favorite is to dip a sliced Fuji apple in Oikos Triple Zero Strawberry Greek Yogurt)

Lunch Choices:
  • Chicken & Black Bean Quesadilla w/ salsa
  • Pita Pizza (I use a Joseph's Pita and a spaghetti or pizza sauce w/less than 4g sugar and my fave toppings)
  • Deli Wrap (any lean deli meat plus lettuce, tomato, cucumber slices, w/mayo or Laughing Cow cheese wrapped in a low carb tortilla)
  • Tuna Salad on Ezekiel toast
  • Leftovers from dinner

  • Chicken* Rice & Broccoli
  • Taco "Rice" (Grd beef with taco seasoning over "Cauli-Rice" topped with shredded cheddar & sour cream, shredded lettuce and tomatoes)
  • Chicken* Burritos (use FF Refried Beans, LF Cheese, & salsa on Low carb tortilla)
  • Crabby Patties w/Broccoli
  • Spaghetti w/salad (uses Dreamfields pasta, grd turkey, sauce w/less than 4g sugar and LF salad dressing)
  • Pot Roast w/salad & "Mashed Cauli"
FF = Fat Free
SF = Sugar Free
LF = Low Fat

*Chicken is prepared in advance in Crock Pot - it's so tender, juicy and tastes GREAT!  I use the recipe in this video…

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Finally settled

Hello all!

Just wanted to give you a quick update… I've moved into my new (or uh, new-to-me) house and we are settling in nicely.  I am as determined as ever to reach my goals in both fitness and general health and well-being.  That said, I'll be back posting regularly in no time at all.  Can't wait to catch up with the blogosphere!!

'Til then, I'll leave you with this…

Just soaking up some much needed Vitamin D!!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Still winning the "Losing" Battle

Hi everyone!  I'm still here, just crazy busy.  I'm in the process of buying a house, so my focus is elsewhere these days.

BUT I'm dropping this post with fantastic news, I'm now down 30 pounds!  Woo-Hooooo!!

I'm still doing THM (Trim Healthy Mama for you newbs) and it is working great!!  I've added in some exercise and when I get more than a minute to post, I'll add it to my Workout tab.

Yesterday, I rode 9 miles on my bike.  It was lots of fun and I burned a bunch of calories.  It was around 10 mph average and total time was right at 50 minutes.

Well, that's it for now!  Sorry to post and run, but I just want to let everyone know I'm fine and outstandingly dandy =D

Friday, February 27, 2015

My New Love...

Fried zucchini.  Yes, I love zucchini.  I can not describe to you the awesomeness - you'll just have to take my word for it… Or try it yourself!  Wait, did you think I meant some other kind of "new love"?  Haha, I wish.  Still on hold in the prayer department for THAT sort of lovin'.  For now, I shall stick to food and it shall not stick to me - MU-WAH-Ha-ha-haaaa!

Anyway…  I saw a video with someone using a "spiralizer" and felt compelled to get one.  I know I can always use new methods to get veggies into my meals.  I bought mine HERE on Amazon (of course).  A few days later - had to go shopping first - I made my first bowl of Fried Zucchini noodles.  WOW!  All I did was sauté the "noodles" in a pan with some butter, salt and pepper.  They take a few minutes of stirring/flipping until they're done, but the results are soooo yummy.  Zucchini shrinks quite a bit when cooked, so I used 2 medium-sized zucchini to make a bowl full of noodles and fried it up one "spiralized" zucchini at a time for optimum cooking.

They may not look pretty, but they sure are tasty!
So far, zucchini is the only veggie I've tried "spiralizing" but I'm sure there'll be more!

Well, that's it for now,  just wanted to drop a quick post and say all is well.  I'm working diligently behind the scenes right now on new blog pages that will show my entire menu collection so far on my Trim Healthy Mama journey.  Can't wait to share it all!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Two Delicious & Healthy Drinks - THM Friendly

I cannot believe I waited this long to try the Shrinker.  It was one of the first videos that I'd seen from the Trim Healthy Mamas themselves - Serene Allison & Pearl Barrett.  I used to drink A LOT of iced chai latte from Starbucks - it was soooo good.  But it's got a whopping 42 grams of sugar!!  WHAT!?!?  Anyway, enter the Shrinker from the THM ladies… This drink has less than 20 calories and zero sugar added.  Oh my word it's me back in Chai land.  Ahhhhh =)

Initially, I shied away from trying this drink because of the key ingredient - Oolong Tea.  I'd never heard of it before and have yet to find it in a store.  I mean seriously - Oolong?  Even the name is funny lookin' right?  Well, a couple weeks ago, I saw a post about Prince of Peace Organic Oolong Tea being on sale at Puritans' Pride (and as of this post, it still is 2 boxes of 100 for $14.95).  Well, I took the plunge and ordered it.  I am so glad I did.

Today, I followed Serene & Pearl's video (and ignored the parts where they talk over each other) but ultimately, I had the most amazing "healthy" drink EVER!! It tastes so much like an iced chai latte, ohhhh so good.

The purpose of the Shrinker is well… to "shrink" you.  It's used between meals to keep blood sugar levels balanced and helps us stay full on liquids instead of getting all "snacky."  The health benefits are immense as well - some supported, some not, but if you're curious - do a quick search and check it out.  Well, enough of my rambling about that…

Later in the day, for my afternoon snack, I tried another beverage recipe:

The Snickers Smoothie.  Yes, it was a Snickers-like "milk shake" really.  Link to the recipe is HERE.

Here's what I used:

1 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1 scoop Vanilla Whey Protein (didn't have any plain)
3 TBS Peanut Flour
2 TBS Cocoa (unsweetened)
1/2 tsp Caramel Extract
1/4 tsp Gluccomannan (optional if you don't have any - it's a thickener and also helps you feel full)
Pinch Sea Salt
2 TBS Sweetener (I used a Stevia & Erythritol Blend - pretty much the same as Truvia)
1 cup Ice

Blend it all together using my Nutri-Ninja cup and it made just over two pints.

I thought, as I was putting this together, that it might be a bit too powdery.  Nope.  Everything blended up nicely and for the first time, I was very happy about using the Gluccomannan.  It thickened this smoothie to the point of a creamy milkshake.  Imagine a straw-worthy, slightly melted Wendy's Frosty with a peanut-y/caramel taste.  Are there there?  Yes.  You should make this.  Even if you don't have the Glucomannan or Peanut Flour - use a TBS of natural peanut butter instead.  Peanut butter would add some fat, but seriously - it'd be worth it.

And moving on to the meals for yesterday and today:

B:  Oatmeal w/cinnamon & sweetener topped w/blended cottage cheese & frozen blueberries
L:  Turkey Swiss wrap w/salad greens & Laughing Cow Garlic & Herb (used Joseph's Lavash)
S:  Handful peanuts
D: Salmon Patties (a.k.a. "Crabby Patties") w/steamed broccoli, butter and cheese
S:  PB Cup - just one as it was late and I just wanted something sweet

B:  Oatmeal w/cinnamon & sweetener topped w/blended cottage cheese & frozen blueberries
L:  Ham & Cheddar w/mustard & salad greens on Joseph's Lavash
S:  Snickers Smoothie
D: Beef Enchiladas w/salad
S:  PB Cup - just one again - almost out - need to make more!!

That's all for today folks!  Thanks for playing Movie quotes with me last week.  Here are the answers in case you were wondering…

Sunday Feb 8 "Must Love Dogs"
Friday Feb 5 "Frozen"
Wednesday Feb 4 "Terminator" to name only one
Tuesday Feb 3 - "Matrix"
Monday Feb 2 - "When Harry Met Sally"

Have a great week!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

THM Really Works - Down another 2 lbs!!

I was so excited when I stepped on the scale this morning.  I try not to weigh in too obsessively and usually weigh-in on Sundays, but I was just wondering and...  YAY!

In my food world today, I didn't get the fruits and veggies I was aiming for and this morning it dawned on me why.  First, most of the fruit is in the freezer and therefore, out of sight, out of mind.  Totally forgot it was there.  I woke up late and didn't have time to fix the oatmeal - which is where my morning fruit usually is.  I probably could've put some frozen berries in the fridge overnight for my cereal - there's a thought.  Anyway, around dinner time, I realized my lack of anything green today, so I added a side salad.

Here's the details
B:  Uncle Sam Whole Berry Flakes & Flax Seed w/unsweetened vanilla almond milk
L:  Turkey breast with mayo on Joseph's Lavash
S:  Choc. PB Cups (from last night - yummo!)
D:  Pizza using Joseph's Pita w/sausage & turkey pepperoni and salad with cheese, ranch & turkey bacon bits
S:  Chocolate Cake in a Mug (THM Recipe) w/ chocolate cream cheese frosting 

New for today is a healthy coffee creamer.  I've been trying to find a coffee creamer to replace the last of the sugar in my life that resides in my coffee creamer.  I've found 2 that work with the THM lifestyle.  Here are the recipes:

Coffee Creamer
1-2 tsp vanilla extract
1 doonk (1/32 tsp) stevia extract
1 and 3/4 cup unsweetened Almond Milk
1 scoop Whey Protein Powder
1 tsp stevia/erythritol blend
Stir into coffee, sweeten more if needed with on-plan sweetener

"BulletProof" Coffee 
1 mug brewed coffee
1-2 tsp unsalted butter (pref grassfed)
1-2 tsp coconut oil (pref MCT)
vanilla or other flavoring (optional)
sweetener to taste
Blend 'til creamy (in a blender)
NOTE:  Shake and carefully unscrew lid to release air a few times if making in Bullet-style blender BEFORE actually blending to avoid messes.

So uh… it appears that I walked away from my computer and didn't post this on Friday night.  Ah well, here is  a rare Sunday post for your perusal…  I may as well include my weekend meals too:

B:  Sausage & Cheese on Low Carb Tortilla (S)
L:  Steak Wrap w/cheddar, side salad with ranch (S)
S:  Handful peanuts (S)
D:  Spicy Beef & Broccoli over "Pasta Zero"(Recipe to be posted soon!) (S)
S:  Choc PB Cups (yep made more!) (S)

B:  Oatmeal w/whipped cottage cheese & blueberries (E)
L:  Turkey w/mayo on Joseph's Lavash (E)
S:  Nothing yet...
D:  Haven't eaten yet!
S:  Probably PB Cups LOL!

Oh and something else I've been doing… Sippers!!  These are between meal drinks that help keep you full and offer great health benefits to boot.

Here's one I've particularly enjoyed:
Tazo's Passion Tea brewed with sweetener added (I make a 2-quart pitcher and share that with the fam)

In a quart jar, pour a half a jar of Passion Tea.  Add 2 TBS Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, 1/2 tsp powdered ginger and additional sweetener if you like (I've been adding about four drops of liquid stevia).  Stir.  Add ice to raise the liquid level to the top.  Enjoy!

Passion Tea Sipper
Hope you are enjoying your weekend!!  Live today as if it were your last because you never know when it might be.

Movie quote:  "The best place to meet a guy is at the supermarket.  You don't need to waste a lot of time there, either.  You see a guy holding a list, you know he's married.  He's in the frozen food section carrying a small basket, he's single.  I like to hang out by the fruits and vegetables, there's a better chance of getting a guy who's healthy."

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Sugar Free Dessert of the Month

Quick post tonight since it's so late and I have to work tomorrow… 

Food for the day:

B:  Bacon & Cheddar Wrap (on low carb tortilla)
L:  Tuna w/mayo & mustard on Joseph's Lavash
S:  Choc. PB Cups (I mentioned these yesterday - OMG YUM! - recipe/link to follow)
D:  Chicken w/Broccoli & Cauliflower topped w/Sour Cream, Cheddar & Bacon Bits
S:  Cheated at Taco Bell - half a bean burrito and half a chicken soft taco

Didn't plan the cheat at all - we were driving home and dinner had been light and like 5 hours ago, and my stomach got the best of me.  Sadly, it was terrible - hence the "half" listed in the foods above.  Hopefully, I won't pay for it too much on the ol' scale.

I did get in some exercise today, so I'm 2 for 2 days in a row doing that.  Every little bit helps, right?  

Looking over these daily meals is a big help.  I can tell I'm still not getting in enough fruits and veggies.  I will make that my goal for tomorrow!  

Oh and before I forget… the original recipe for the choc PB cups… is here at The Sunny Patch.  You can checkout how I made them below.  

This recipe has just been dubbed (by me) as DESSERT OF THE MONTH Month month!!!  

Wow, did ya hear that echo?  It must be good.  Seriously though, you won't believe how tasty it is!  And best of all, sugar free!  My kids immediately started calling them the "frozen little Reeses' Cups".  Ohhhh so good.  This is something I'm gonna be making for a very long time. 

Sugar Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Ingredients I used:

For the chocolate (I used the Trim Healthy Mama Skinny Chocolate recipe): 1/2 cup coconut oil, 3 tsp stevia blend, and 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa.  Mix well and pour into a mini-muffin pan.  Freeze for approximately 10 minutes.  

Peanut Butter - 1/2 cup natural peanut butter, 1/4 cup coconut oil and a healthy squirt of Skinny Girl Stevia Extract - mix well.  Pour over top of the frozen chocolate and freeze again - another 10 minutes and these babies are all yours.  My batch made about 20 of these delicious little treats.

Now, if you're thinking that these ingredients are too weird and that you'll never find them, well, you'd probably be mistaken.  All these ingredients are available at Walmart.  I listed a link with the stevia blend because that's where I buy it, but the Truvia (stevia and erythritol) blend is the same stuff.  And I just picked up a new brand I found (also at Walmart) called Pyure - also a stevia and erythritol blend, also organic and certified non-GMO, AND it's less expensive than both.  Anyway, my point is that you could eat this tonight if you so desired…

And finally, I'll sign off with the easiest movie quote ever - I thought of this especially for all you folks up north…

"Do you wanna build a snowman?"

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Trying New Foods

I think we get nicely tucked into our comfort zones when it comes to food, don't you think?  But given that our taste buds can change and given that it's important to remove processed sugar from my life, I'm finally, after several years of staring change in the face and doing nothing, finally I'm ready to try some stuff outside of my comfort zone.

Recently, it was a soda called "Zevia" and if you couldn't tell by the name, it is sweetened with stevia.  Also has zero calories.  I stumbled upon these at Publix, tucked away on the bottom shelf.  Well, I was feeling adventurous, so I bought 2 six-packs - one Orange flavored and one "Dr Zevia."  Any guesses to that flavor.

Well, we all tried them and were promptly disappointed.  You know how (back when you used to drink regular road) a fountain drink tastes when it's running out of syrup and you get more carbonated water than actual flavor?  Yeah, that's how these taste.  Not good.  I mean, I could drink them if I had to, but even a Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi would taste better.  So I will hold on to these until my tastes have adapted to stevia over sugar.

Today, I was also adventurous and tried the "uh-oh order" from Amazon (my fault not theirs) the Sweet Leaf Vanilla Creme stevia.  I had the thought that those Zevia drinks just needed a little more flavor and what if that flavor was Vanilla Creme?  Maybe it'd be like an Orange Creme Soda right?  And it was SOOOOO much better - I added a wee little dropperful - well not even a dropperful really, more like 1/3.  Wow, what a difference.  So much so that I'm taking the Dr Zevia to work tomorrow and see how that does with some Vanilla Creme.  I will certainly report my results.

Let's talk about the food side of things today…

A quick low carb tortilla wrap with some bacon and cheddar (this really holds me for awhile - half the time I have to set a reminder to eat!  Much different than Oatmeal days where I'm hungry in a couple hours.

Leftovers from dinner "Egg Roll in a Bowl"

(Another recent new try) Oikos Triple Zero Coconut Creme, mixed with a TBS almond slivers and a half serving 56% cacao chips.  It's like an Almond Joy, but healthier.  I had been using Chobani in the past, but alas, those were sweetened with sugar.  They called it "Evaporated Cane Juice", but we all know what that means - sugar.  Yeah, had to stop eating those.  Then I heard about Oikos new line "Triple Zero" Zero added sugar, Zero Artificial Sweeteners and Zero Fat.  Awesome combo.  I actually think this one tastes better than Chobani - it's more smooth and every so slightly sweeter along with the typical Greek yogurt "bite"being much more subdued.  Wow, sound like I was tasting wine, not yogurt.  Longest snack entry - ever.

Taco "Rice" Taco-seasoned ground beef over steamed cauliflower chopped and pretending to be "rice".  Yep, I don't have a better name for it yet, but I like throwing out the air quotes to the kids when they ask what's for dinner.  Then they go, "so what is it really?"  HAHA it's fun having kids, even if they are college students.  Anyway, the taco seasoning is homemade (or at least "home combined" as opposed to the little packs of sodium attacks at the grocery store.  Also made a topping with some equally mixed sour cream and Picante Sauce.  I was very happy with how it turned out. - the kids added more salsa and/or hot sauce.

Ahhhh, this one was a hit!  It's from Pinterest.  Skinny Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.  Oh. My. Word. These were AMAZING.  What a success - Pinterest is hit and miss for me, but this one - keeper.

Til tomorrow!  Hope your Thursday is spectacular!!  In the words of Arnold  "I'll be back."  Anyone know how may other movies he said that or some variation of it?  Seems like it was more than ten.  Anyway,  g'nite!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Trying out Liquid Stevia

I'm in search of a sweetener that is natural and has zero calories, but most importantly, tastes good.  I don't like the aftertaste of artificial sweeteners like Equal and Sweet n Low.  I've tried Splenda and it's just ok - still not sold.  I tried stevia a few years ago and threw out the whole box - it was so bitter!  Then I tried a stevia brand guaranteed not to be bitter - guess what… it was still bitter to me.

I used to enjoy a soda every once in a while and Mtn Dew was a fave.  Well, with a new lifestyle of no processed sugar, Dew went out the window.  Diet sodas never appealed to me either - same problem - aftertaste.  I did find that Diet Dr Pepper and Vanilla Coke Zero are tolerable and eventually likable.  Problem is both have aspartame - I don't want to include aspartame in my sugar-free lifestyle.   So apart from an occasional need for both caffeine and soda during the work day, I stay away from diet drinks.

This just makes me more determined than ever to find a suitable substitute for soda.  For a REALLY long time, my caffeine and sugar fix came from sweet tea.  I'm from the south ya'll and the only way to drink tea is sweet.  In fact, when you order it from a menu and you want UNsweet, you better say so, or else you'll get sweet.  The rest of the country is the other way around.  Here's my problem, if I can't have the tea taste the way it's tasted my ENTIRE life, I'd rather just do without.  But I know there is a solution, I just have to find it.  Until then, there's that nasty diet soda crap.

But wait!!  There's good news.  I found a recipe for a DIY soda that is supposed to taste similar to Mtn Dew.  It uses a liquid-based stevia.  Hmmmm, liquid.  Good concept.  So I ordered some online and it arrived today!  Yay!!  But it was "Vanilla Creme" and I thought I ordered the plain, non-flavored stuff. Well, I checked my order and sure enough, it was my fault.  That's ok, I found some recipes for it so it won't be thrown out.  But now I was back to not having the sweetener I needed.  I had already checked 4 grocery stores near me and none carried what I was looking for.  What I need is a natural or whole foods store.  When I lived in Colorado, I had several to choose from.  Here?  Few and far between.  The closest Whole Foods is like 45 miles away.  But I did remember seeing a small mom and pop type somewhat closer, so off I went - in search of liquid stevia.

I found the store!  It's so cool!  And it's a co-op.  Membership is $50/year and if you are a "working member," you get even more of a discount.  How cool is that?!?  A "working member" works in the store 4 hours a month - either all at once or whenever.  I'm so totally in!!  Serendipity - looking for stevia, found a co-op.

AND I found the stevia among bunches of other stuff I've been wanting to check out.  Woo-HOOOO!

I made the fake Dew recipe and it wasn't bad.  Here's what I used:

I'm callin' it "MtZ" >>> Pronounced "Empty-Zee"

2 liter bottle of carbonated water (aka "seltzer" or "soda water" etc)
4 TBS Bragg Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
4 TBS Lime Juice
12 droppers-full Sweet Leaf Sweet Drops

It doesn't look like Mt Dew at all, nor does it smell like it.  But it does indeed have that citrus-y flavor.  I can live with it for sure.  Way better than a diet soda!

Oh yeah and a quick input for what I had for food today:

B:  Oatmeal w/cinnamon, sweetener & almond milk, topped w/blended cottage cheese & blueberries
L:  Ham & Cheese wrap with mustard
S:  Handful of peanuts
D:  Egg Roll in a Bowl (<<<< you have got to check out this recipe - it was FANTASTIC!!)
S:  Pumpkin Pie in 2 minutes flat (greatly improved recipe with shorter cooking time and pecans!)

We may have added a touch of Fat Free Reddi Whip too!  This could seriously become a habit.

Alrighty then, that's it for tonight.  I'm off to dream world.

Oh and here's another movie quote - not too hard at all…

"There is no spoon."

Monday, February 2, 2015

Satisfying and Energizing Meals

Let's talk about food, shall we?  I can't say enough about how much I love this new Trim Healthy lifestyle.  I mean, don't get me wrong, it has it's ups and downs just like anything else, but by far, this is the easiest plan I've ever followed.  It's also very forgiving.  If you mess up - whether purposefully or accidentally - you can start over 3 hours later.  Isn't that AWESOME?!?!

I'm more of a purposeful messer-upper than accidental though.  Most times it's that stupid $5 deal at you-know-where.  So easy, so cheap.  Well, now... that's a whole other discussion now isn't it?

ANYWAY!!  Food today...

Breakfast was interesting.  I decided to try some pancakes, but put the batter in the waffle iron.  Have I mentioned that, until yesterday, I didn't own a waffle iron?  The horror!  I know.  But I always thought, "why bother with waffles at home when there are places like Waffle House?"

Well, I know now of course, but in years past, I'd call it a cheat day and press on.  So today was an experimental day to say the least.  I had not made this pancake batter before nor had I used the brand spankin' new waffle iron chillin' on my kitchen counter.  Last night, I read all the waffle iron instructions and it didn't seem too complicated.  I washed the little grill plates or whatever they're called and then prepped the batter.  I learned that the batter could be made ahead and stored in the fridge overnight.  Sweet!  I cannot be expected to mix together more than 3 ingredients in the morning hours.  Let me give you examples:  1) coffee / sweetener / cream  2) tortilla / breakfast meat / cheese  3) cereal / sweetener / milk and so on… Therefore, a make-ahead breakfast meal is ideal.  Ingredients include:
8oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, 6 eggs, 6 TBS oat fiber, 2 Tsp glucomannan 1 TBS cinnamon, 1tsp vanilla extract, 6 packets of Truvia.  I got the recipe from Erika @ AbidinginHimDaily on YouTube

I was surprised at the outcome.  These were not bad at all.  I expected eggy - I immensely dislike eggy. These weren't.  And the best part was adding bacon as the side!!  Oh yeah, I had bacon!  Oh and did I mention butter?  Butter on the waffles - yup - on plan.  See?  This plan is amazing!  

And thanks to Erika for posting the video!  I heart YouTube vids.  It's so cool to be able to watch what needs to happen instead of just reading about it.  That said, I am planning on doing some videos as I come across recipes that don't have them.  I'll post links as soon as I have them.  I'm in the prep phase now.  Kind of wondering about setting up lighting and whatnot.  I'm a photographer (hobby), not videographer (new hobby), so we'll see how that goes.  

Now on to the rest… For lunch, it was simple… Tuna Rollup.  One package of Tuna mixed with a half tablespoon mayo and a squirt of mustard on a Joesph's Lavash wrap.  Very satisfying with a glass of water.  I don't know what it is about tuna and water that it just tastes right together.  Oh wait, tuna… water… I get it now.  <giggle>

For dinner, I had some leftover pressure-cooked chicken breast that needed to be used, so I went for an "E" meal.  "E" stands for "Energizing" and that means I needed less than 5g of fat and no more than 45g of carbs per serving.  Since I'm only two months into the plan, I have to calculate stuff like this because I want to be sure I'm getting it right.  Some folks don't do that, and I'm not even sure it's necessary to calculate exact amounts, but I'm a perfectionist and it makes me happy to figure it out - like a puzzle.  Ok, I'm weird, I know.  

Andddd… we're… back on topic… So, I combined the shredded chicken (1.5 cups) with a can of low sodium black beans, one cup steamed corn (from frozen), 1/3 cup Pace Hot Picante Sauce, 1/3 cup of chicken broth.  Let that simmer on the stove for a bit then topped it with a half ounce (yes, measured) of freshly-grated 2% cheddar cheese.  This was a perfect amount for the 3 of us.  Just the right zing in the spice department too!  Normally, I use ground turkey for this meal, but I think the chicken actually works better.  The per serving nutrition worked out to be:  5g Fat, 35g carbs and 31g protein - right where I want to be.  Got a thumbs up all around.    

Finally, 3 hours later, we had dessert.  Since dinner was an E and dessert an S, you wait 3 hours so that one fuel source is expended and you eat a new fuel source - mixing fuel sources like fats and carbs can and usually does lead to weight gain.  "S" is stands for Satisfying and it does indeed do that.  Fat is no issue when making an "S" meal.  I have a sweet tooth like you wouldn't believe and I love to try all the dessert recipes out there that are low carb.  I found this one through a blog - I saw "Paleo" in the title and figured it would be low carb and sugar free - sure enough it was.  It's called "Pumpkin Pie in 2 minutes flat" and <<<<<<click that link if you want to check it out, from The Paleo Mama.  This was one of the absolute best microwaved desserts we have tried - and believe me, we've tried a bunch.  I split the pumpkin mixture in half and made two ramekins of the "crust".  The crust was decent, though not really "crust-like" in my opinion.  It wasn't bad though.  The pie filling oooohhh - that was AMAZING!!  The texture was more bread-like than pumpkin pie, but that didn't detract from it at all.  We put a little Reddi-Whip on top and thought it was Thanksgiving all over again!  Glad to have found a good recipe that was quick and easy.

OK, wow, I seriously did not know this post was going to be this long - whew!  Time for bed already.  See ya next time!  Until then, this movie quote has been going over and over in my head tonight.  Sure I had pumpkin pie for dessert, but I thought about adding pecans.  And that lead to

"Waiter, there is too much pepper on my paprikash… but I would be proud to partake of your pecan pie… Peeee cahn Piiiiiii"  Name that movie lol!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

I'm a Trim Healthy Mama - The Beginning

Wow, I skipped out on this blog for like FOUR months!  No matter, I'm back at it now.  Typically, when a weight loss blogger, such as myself, steps out for this long, it's bad news.  I think we just get busy with life and re-prioritize.  Prioritizing a crazy, busy life typically means food choices suffer - am I right?  Well, I have good news… During my absence, I did not gain a single pound.  In fact…

I have dropped TWENTY pounds!!!!!

Woo-HOOOO!!!!  Yes, you read that right - twenty - as in two, zero.  Oh yes, I am thrilled.  I still have about 50 pounds to go, but this is an awesome start!

Don't worry, I won't hold out on you.  If you know me personally, I've already told you about this new lifestyle I've adapted, but if not - here it is.  Trim Healthy Mama (THM).  That's what I'm doing.  That's what I have been doing since around Thanksgiving of 2014.

I wanted to wait a few months to see if I could actually stick to this plan and see if it really works before posting about it.  Well, I'm very happy to say that it does work - without a doubt.

Have you heard of THM?  It's a pretty popular thing on Pinterest and Facebook.  You can search "Trim Healthy Mama" online too - they have a website.  The best thing to do is check out the book - that's what it's all based on anyway.  But hey, let me give it to ya in a nutshell, ok?

This is straight outta the book:  "Never include large amounts of both fat and carbs in the same meal…"

That's it, that's the basic principle to this lifestyle.  Check out my Meal Plan tab to see what I'm eating.  It's SO crazy that I can eat like this and lose weight.  Of course, there are more guidelines than not combining fat and carbs in the same meal.  But it's really easy to get mixed up in rules and perfection.  So when that happens to me - I just remind myself of that basic principle - and then I'm all good again.

Anyway, if you're curious, here's a little more info:

Eat this:
Protein + Fat (Max 10g NET CARBS and no max Fat, just eat 'til satisfied)
Protein + Carbs (no more than 45g Carbs and no more than 5g fat)

Avoid sugar of any kind - white, brown, agave, maple syrup, honey, sugar in the raw, etc.

Avoid bread (including wheat bread), pasta, white rice, white potatoes or starchy veggies while trying to lose weight.  Once goal is achieved or if weight loss is occurring too rapidly, add in healthy carbs such as brown rice, corn, potatoes.  But for now, avoid them.

Eat every 3 hours - for me that's 8am/11am/2pm/5pm/8pm

So there it is in a nutshell.  I have to admit - when I first saw the "no bread / no pasta" thing, I was very hesitant, 'cause I love bread and pasta, you know?  Honestly though, it hasn't been that difficult.  If I want pasta, I'll go to Olive Garden and have some - not all the time, but once in a while won't hurt.  Actually, I haven't been there in a long time - I'm just not missing it.  These meals are so satisfying that I rarely feel like I'm being deprived of something.  How cool is that?!?

Click HERE to check out the book!!

Well, that's it for now.  I plan to start making videos for recipes I use, as well as workouts and much more in the upcoming months.  

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