Tuesday, November 30, 2010

One Day at a Time

As the holidays approach, I must say that I feel a bit scared of the coming test of my will. This is my favorite time of year. The house is decorated, the pantry is stocked with all the staples to bake the most delicious cookies and multiple parties will be attended. I have to admit that I have failed in one area - I have not exercised since early October. I started off great, then I got busy with a fundraiser and then Halloween, then just plain got out of the habit. I, however, have not slacked off in the least with my healthy food buying or cooking habits.
I'm still reading every label of ingredients and not just how much fat is in something. I don't look at that at all. I'm looking for junk. I have managed to abstain from anything containing HFCS, hydrogenated oils, MSG and other preservatives that are chemically created and packaged as food. Yeah! It's been hard to give up my favorites, but the health benefits far outweigh the taste of a chemical-laden Pop-Tart. In fact, I've found a lot of Organic substitutes for Pop-Tarts and Spaghettios! I also found this great natural food store and bought Oregano Oil and elderberry juice (immunity boosters).
One evening I experimented with making my own mayonnaise, remoulade, cole slaw and back fin crabcakes. All so very yummy, thanks to my neighbor (and mentor) Amy Butchko ( She gave me a quick cooking lesson.  It's fairly easy, but I will say that I blew through an entire bottle of sunflower oil to make all of that. So, it's definitely more expensive to make it yourself.
Thanksgiving was fun. I made all fresh sides, nothing out of a can and nothing packaged. I even made homemade marshmallows to go atop my Candied Yams. I use the recipe from Alton Brown on  They are SO easy to make and the taste is phenomenal compared to the bagged version. While decorating the tree, we enjoyed a mug of hot chocolate with the mallows on top and they just oozed and slid into the cocoa like hot butter. You gotta try it just once! I won't buy the bagged ones again.
Leftovers have been fun too. I made Turkey Pot Pie with homemade pie crusts on the top and bottom. And I'll be making Turkey Chili this week too. And my all-time fave is the Thanksgiving Sandwich - spread fresh cranberry sauce on both sides of bread, top with a slice of stuffing and slab of turkey and voila - yumminess!

On a personal note, our family's Thanksgiving was dotted with a little sadness. My Grandad passed away on Thanksgiving morning. Then, yesterday, a mom in my playgroup passed away. I lost a dear friend on Halloween and my other Grandfather in September. I really don't think I can take another loss. So please take care of yourselves, eat well, exercise, don't smoke, drink in moderation and remember to laugh.
And a big congratulations to my cousin Macy who has lost 75 lbs. and is cooking and eating whole! Kudos to you! Very proud!
For now, I'll be taking the holidays one day at a time, connecting with friends and family and enjoying my children's anticipation of Santa Claus.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Halloween is coming - Oh, the HORROR!

We're approaching the downhill slope of the "eating season" - Halloween, Thanksgiving and all the holiday parties. The time of year where the pounds slowly creep on and stay put till we decide we've had enough come January and start the two-week workout binge and then stop. I'm not ready to throw away all of my hard work these past two months for some candy and stuffing. Fun size candy bars? I don't think it's fun being a size 14. So, I've come up with a few suggestions on how to ditch the candy bucket and get your kids on board too.
Try buying these candy treats instead of the usual stuff. They're not exactly healthy, but they contain less sugar, calories and fat than other options:
3 Musketeers, Fun Size
Spangler Dum Dum Pops
Tootsie Rolls
Chewing Gum
Now & Later
Reese's Bite Size Peanut Butter Cups

Remember, Halloween is a one-day event. The more candy you consume, the more addicted you'll become to junk food - that's right, it's addictive! I don't buy candy and when my kids get some from school or birthday parties, they get one piece and then the rest goes in the trash!
I'm going to allow my kids to have two treats on Halloween night, then place all their candy in a bowl by the front door. My neighbor Amy told me of this great trick: Place your candy at the front door the night of Halloween, the more candy, the bigger the gift from the Ghost of Halloween. The next morning, the kids wake up to find their candy has been replaced by a small toy, coloring book, puzzle, etc...whatever their favorite toy might be.
Now what do you do with all that candy? No, don't hide it from your kids and sneak a piece every now and then! Get it out of your house! Several dentist offices offer a candy buy-back program, offering $1 per pound of candy. You could also donate unopened, heat-resistant candy to U.S. troops stationed abroad. For details, go to  I also found this great website called I love the density rainbow using Skittles!
See you later, I'm off to buy my Dum Dums!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Immune-Boosting Foods

For the last seven days, I have been sick with the worst cold/flu-like illness. My daughter came from school with a runny nose and then woke up the next morning with a sore throat. It started that way with me too, however, two days later, she is fine and I am down for the count. Why is it we always get their tiny little colds in ten-fold fashion??
So, I decided to comb the Internet looking for immunity-boosting foods. I found a good bit of info and thought I would share it with you. I plan on eating a full diet of these items, hosing off my kids before they walk into my house and putting antibacterial lotion in every room of my home!

The Power Foods:
  • Vitamin C - Duh! In their pure forms (no OJ), citrus fruits, green peppers, strawberries & pineapple
  • Vitamin E - Seeds, vegetable oils, grains
  • Omega-3 Fats - fatty fish, flax seeds, omega-3 eggs, nuts, seeds
  • Beta-Carotene - Sweet potatoes, carrots, all greens, spinach, cilantro, fresh thyme
  • Capsaicin - (the fire in chili peppers) - add some spice to your dishes
  • Garlic
  • Zinc - Oysters, lean beef, pork, turkey, lamb, lentils, garbanzo beans, yogurt
  • Tomatoes - the lycopene in them acts as an antioxident, try tomato soup, fresh sauces
  • Chamomile Tea - apparently there's something in there that boosts immunity
  • Oats - has the fiber to fill you up, McCann's Steel-Cut Oats has double the power
  • Whey Protein - That clear liquid that forms on the top of your yogurt is pure whey protein, so don't drain it off, stir it back into the yogurt. Or buy some Whey Protein Powder Isolate and mix in your favorite smoothie.
That's it. Not bad, nothing too weird. Crossing my fingers that this works!
In health,

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Week 6 - Soup's On!

     It's Fall and time for yummy, hearty soups! I made my favorite Fall soup this past weekend and shared with some neighbors.  It's a great feeling when someone tells you that something you made was the "most delicious soup they ever had in their life."  I can't take full credit though, I only reproduced a recipe given to me by my best friend, who is a chef. The recipe for Ribollita Soup follows today's blog.
     So last week I attended a Mom's Night Out program given by a Holistic Health Counselor.  She shared with us some basic things we all should do to clean up diets. Here's a summary:
  1. Get rid of foods containing High Fructose Corn Syrup. Why? Apparently, there's a compound in it that suppresses our bodies ability to realize we are full and thus, we overeat. Ever sat on the couch eating a bag of chips, cookies or sweets and couldn't stop - it probably contained gobs of HFCS!
  2. Eliminate Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils - Why? Well, that's the nasty stuff called Trans Fats. That's the stuff that'll clog your arteries! Even if your packaging says "Contains NO Trans-Fats" - there could still be .5 grams in there per serving. So, no more Pop-Tarts for our house. They have both HFCS and Trans-Fats in them. Boo!
  3. Pesticides! Our counselor gave us some data on kids today and the alarming number of them on anti-psychotic drugs, diabetes medicines, Ritalin, and a host of other meds. Scary! Plus, there's a new study that came out last week about the link between kids on ADHD drugs and pesticides on our produce. There are 12 fruits and veggies known as the Dirty Dozen. These are the worst offenders when it comes to foods that are sprayed heavily with pesticides. I grew some of my own veggies this summer and lost a bunch to grub worms and other pests. Someone told me to spray them with some chemicals and I responded with - that's exactly why I was growing my own produce - to stay away from that stuff! So, the Dirty Dozen are: celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, cherries, kale/collard greens, potatoes and imported grapes.
    If possible, try to buy the organic version of these. It's really not possible to wash away all the pesticides, especially with strawberries and peaches, which have such thin skin or none at all.

Our counselor also gave us two weight loss tips: eat 15 grams of less of sugar per day and exercise at least 30 minutes every day. The first is almost impossible - a medium sized apple alone contains 14 grams of sugar! The latter is easier to do, but do I do it?  Not so much.
I am down another pound. Probably has more to do with the fact that I have a horrible cold and haven't been grazing as much. But, I'd like to add #4 to the list of things to stay away from: MSG. I've noticed a severe drop in the number of migraines and headaches I usually get since starting this journey. I have also eliminated foods containing MSG. This nasty stuff has turned up in the oddest places - like my Jimmy Dean Pork Sausage! Really? Why? So, no more of that brand.
Keep up the good work guys! We can do this! Hopefully, if we can get the word out, the food manufacturers will take heed and get rid of this crap in our food! Till next week - enjoy this soup:

Ribollita Soup
4-5 stalks organic celery - diced
1 1/2 onions - diced
2 garlic cloves - minced
Place the above in a large stock pan with the bottom covered in a good EVOO. Put a lid on it and sweat the veggies down with 1 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes. Stir occasionally. When those are nice and translucent, add 12 cups of water or chicken stock (be careful about adding salty stock). I add water with 1 tbsp of chicken base. Bring to a boil, then simmer 30 min.
Meanwhile, slice a loaf of Ciabatta bread, drizzle the slices with EVOO. Save 1 large garlic clove to rub over the slices when the bread is done toasting.
Wash, clean and remove stems from 1 bag of Kale and 1 bag of Collard Greens (both Organic). Use about 1/2 to 3/4 of each bag. Add greens to the soup and simmer, Then add 1 can of butter beans and 1 can of Cannelini beans, and a little S&P. (You can use dried, but you'll need to soak them overnight). After the greens are completely cooked and soft when you test a bite, then add a whole Rotisserie chicken that has been shredded. Cook 10 more min. Toast your bread in the oven on broil till golden brown, then rub garlic cloves over each slice.
To serve:
Tear pieces of bread into the bottom of each large bowl. Add soup on top of bread. Then use a vegetable peeler to shave off large pieces of Pecorino Romano cheese on top. Add crushed black pepper. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Week 4 - You Get Out What You Put In

So here I am, four weeks later and no real pounds lost. I weigh myself every day and I'm down two pounds and back up two pounds. I'm going nowhere. However, I can note one major change and improvement - no headaches! I usually get about 1-2 migraines a month and a bevy of smaller headaches. Is it the decrease in chemicals flowing through my veins? Maybe so. I've eliminated a lot of them and tried to make a real effort to cook cleaner with more raw ingredients, but I've got a lot more work to do. But this is one side effect I can actually live with - at this point the weight loss is secondary, as long as I don't get debilitating headaches.

Remember that old adage, "you are what you eat?" It's SO true! If you eat a bag of Doritos laden with MSG, hydrogenated oils and other nasty preservatives, you're body doesn't know what to do with all that crap. It fights back, your liver is struggling to soak up the nastiness and your blood vessels start to dilate and cause intense pain in your skull. On the other hand, eat an apple and piece of string cheese and you're full from the fiber and protein.
I have actual proof that chemicals and sugary bad foods alter behavior in children. I never give my kids sugary drinks or soda, in fact at five years of age, I still water down my daughter's juice glass. I buy only 100% organic juice. Yesterday, my 3 1/2 year old was playing at a neighbor's house. They helped themselves to their fridge and drank a large Sunny D squirt bottle. Thirty minutes later my daughter was a total screamy mess, throwing herself on the ground for no apparent reason. I hadn't told her no to anything or scolder her, she was just unable to control her emotions all of the sudden. She complained her legs hurt and she couldn't walk. She screamed for over half an hour. Now my daughter can be fairly headstrong and determined, like most 3-year olds, but this was over the top, out of her normal range of tantrums. I am blaming the corn syrup solids, canola oil, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives in this bottle 'o nastiness. You get out what you put in.
One more thing to add to this week's post. The Basement Bootcamp started yesterday! I had a couple of friends come over and I led an aerobic exercise class for 47 minutes in my basement.  I used to teach classes eons ago, so I just put together a routine and off we went. I felt great during and after the class. I can't really get motivated to exercise and push my limits by myself. So, I thought getting a group together would be the best way to get me moving and motivated. It's working!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Week 3 - The Myth of Martha

I was watching a television show last night where a popular stylist wanted to cook the perfect Passover Seder for her family and friends. She wanted it all to be like Martha Stewart - perfectly polished silver, warm comforting foods served in mix and match coordinating dinnerware, and a spic & span house. She pulled it off, but is that reality television? What did they hide from us - what was not shown??  I mean, she has make-up and hair stylists, house cleaners, a personal assistant and a bevy of other people standing at her beck and call to perform any inane duty should she ask.
The reality of it is, that kind of crap makes all of us feel inferior and sets the bar too high for the rest of us "normal" folk to achieve. When we can't pull off something like that or even something remotely similar, are we failing? I'm just trying to lose weight and eat healthier - a daunting enough task on its own. I don't really care if I have a pile of dishes in my sink, dog hair dust bunnies in the corners of every room and if it's just another paper plate-kind-of-night. That's reality. Of course, probably not good television, but perhaps it could be. Maybe it's time for America to get real and stop with the "Martha Stewart fantasy."

Some would say I'm trying to cook like her, but I'm not. I'm just wanting easy, real food to come together on my plate in a palate-pleasing kind of way. It's time for us to stop using pre-packaged dinners, convenience foods and boxed-this and bottled-that and get real. Believe me, I know it's hard. I have a pantry full of those items that I'm slowing moving through and throwing out. I'm glad that I've made small changes and I hope more will come. I'm loving the bevy of healthy eating blogs I've found complete with hundreds of recipes using only REAL food. Some ingredients still mystify me, like spelt flour. What is it and why should I be eating it? That's my next investigation. I'd love to try baking my own bread. I'm going to experiment this weekend. I'm headed to two farms in two days. I'll report back on what I bought and what I learned - down on the farm.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day ?? - I'm not sure - lost track!

OK, bad me. I fell off the writing wagon for a week. However, that doesn't mean I went back to my old ways. I've still been eating fairly well (minus a couple emotional eating infractions) and I even started exercising. My oldest daughter started Kindergarten and it was heart-wrenching. Then, my youngest was an absolute terror under my feet all week. I had to find constant activities to keep her busy. She was sad too. Luckily, I only ate bad one day. You have to treat yourself once and awhile or we'd all go crazy!

So - on to the good things. I'm starting up a little exercise boot-camp in my basement. Years ago, I used to be a personal trainer and taught aerobics classes. I majored in Health & Physical Education. I wanted to teach people how to keep in shape and what they needed to eat to stay healthy. Boy have I strayed from that! But I'm back on track now. So, starting September 21, I'll be sweating it out with the neighborhood gals in my basement-turned exercise studio! I can't wait.

Meals have been pretty good. My new go-to sandwich for lunch is turkey, cheese, baby spinach leaves and cucumber with a smidgen of light mayo and lots of mustard. Tonight we had Chicken Tacos - grilled chicken with sauteed yellow and red bell peppers with black beans. I saute the peppers with a little cumin, garlic, salt and pepper and do the same with the chicken. We stuff that with the black beans into a corn tortilla topped with the homemade salsa I canned a few weeks ago! Yummy!

My canning experiment went pretty well. I had never canned anything in my life, but I wanted to try. I had a huge bag of hot peppers from my Mom's garden, a 45-lb box of tomatoes from the Farmer's Market, along with cilantro, onions, sweet peppers, garlic and a little green onion. I also made tomato sauce and Raspberry jam, using berries from my neighbor's yard. (I was lucky enough to house sit for them while on vacation. Somebody had to pick the berries or they would all have gone to waste!). I did share my bounty with them. I also froze several pounds of fresh green beans. Frozen veggies are really much better than canned, so I blanched and packaged up several for this winter when green beans are more expensive and not local. You should try it next summer. Hell - if I can do it - anyone can!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Days 6, 7 & 8 - Weekend of Challenges

My holiday weekend started off with a 3-hr shopping trip to Target. UGH! I was armed with my wad of coupons and ready to cut yuck from my life. I read every label. I was surprised to find High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) in a lot of my favorite foods. It's even in Special K cereal! Isn't that supposed to be a "healthy" variety? I purchased natural peanut butter, organic tortilla chips and found some yummy chips called "Food Should Taste Good." I bought the Sweet Potato variety and boy did they go fast! They are gluten free, low sodium, low-fat, and trans fat free, yet tasted awesome!
I bought light mayo (without HFCS), organic yogurt, deli cheese (instead of processed slices), low sugar granola bars for my kids,  and whole grain breads and cereals. I still, however, splurged on a few things like Pop-Tarts - a girl has to have her fun somehow!
Overall, it was a successful trip. I saved $85 with coupons and now have some favorite organic brands to choose from. Target's selection is growing and that's great for all of us! I think my organic selections cost me about $10 more than regular brands, but that's nothing compared to the benefits!
On Sunday, our family took a trip to Williamsburg, VA. We went to Busch Gardens where I was tempted with all kinds of indulgent treats. I, however, did not partake! YEAH for me!! We did eat a calorie-laden plate of spaghetti and chicken parmesan, but the portions were smaller and I feel I may have walked it off! I was tempted to grab one of those gigantic ice cream cones, but I felt an obligation to stick to my guns and this program.
On a side note, if you're ever traveling to the area, I recommend The Historic Powhatan Resort. We got a 2-bedroom suite for $87 night. It was perfect for my girls. They slept in one room and we had another king bedroom and even a living room, kitchen and balcony. It's perfect for families - I wish we had more time to spend there.
Today, we are off to a Labor Day BBQ. Wish me luck! I'm hoping to use my newly acquired skill of stopping when I'm full. Here's hoping!
P.S. It's 9:34pm - I'm stuffed with BBQ! I tried really hard not to eat that much. I even turned down a second helping of Banana Nilla Wafer Pudding (my childhood fave). It's so hard to eat well in the company of others!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Day 5 - Recipes & Holiday Weekends

It's Labor Day weekend - a holiday that is celebrated as summer's last hurrah. Everyone is firing up the grill and squeezing in those last trips to the pool and beach. Remember my eating tips - stop when you're full! I'm finally going grocery shopping. Yippee! (I say with a sarcastic voice.)  So, that means I'll be reading labels and looking for organic, natural products to try. I've never been a fan of the gloppy look and oily taste of natural peanut butter, but it's time to give it another try. I'm so used to the taste of fat-free, low-sugar products. I have been so afraid of eating foods that contained fat, that I was actually increasing my sugar intake. If you look at the label of a regular full-fat item, like Jif Peanut Butter and then the label of their low-fat version, so will see the sugar content is increased. Now, it's only 1 gram of sugar, but that's just one example of the myriad low-fat foods I've been consuming over the years. Of course, you could make your own peanut butter with roasted peanuts, oil, salt and sugar. Perhaps I will try that next weekend if I can find some good peanuts around here.
My girls wanted pancakes this morning, so here's my recipe for whole wheat pancakes. (Since whole wheat flour isn't something I use all the time, I store mine in a ziploc bag in the freezer. It keeps much longer that way and you don't get those creepy little bugs.)
Whole Wheat Pancakes:
3/4 cup whole wheat flour and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
heavy dash of cinnamon
Whisk in 1 1/4 cups skim milk, 1/2 stick melted butter or Promise, 2 eggs, and a dash of vanilla. Mix until combined.  Ladle onto hot buttered skillet and flip when bubbly. I add slices of banana or blueberries right on top of the batter on the skillet for an infusion of fresh fruit. To add more protein and calcium, top with Greek Yogurt and honey. No syrup. Makes about 8-12 regular-size pancakes.
Try it and let me know what you think.
Lunch was turkey and cheese on foccacia bread. Dinner was shrimp with angel hair pasta, tossed with a chili pepper, garlic, white wine, diced tomato, scallion, basil, lemon zest and juice. Takes 10 min and it's healthy and delicious!
Now, I'm off to Mom's Night Out. Let's see how good I can be. I already had 1/2 a glass of white wine with dinner. Ciao!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Day 4 - Day of Emotions

Today was Kindergarten orientation for my oldest. What a roller coaster of emotions! I'm truly not ready for her to be gone all day, every day. As I sat listening to the Principal's welcoming speech, my mind drifted off. "How can I postpone this? How can I get her to stay home? Can I really home school?" Ha! My Dad would chuckle at that last thought. I was terrible in math! All that weeping and sadness made me want to hide in the closet and eat a bag of cookies! You may laugh, but I have done that before. Raising two children close in age (mine are 19 months apart) was the biggest challenge of my life.
Emotional eating is one of the main reasons a lot of us are overweight. As we get older, we lose that ability to eat only when we are hungry and we don't stop when we are full. My children know to stop when they are full. But I occasionally find myself saying, "just two more bites" or "finish your chicken." I grew up with the FYPC - better known as the Finish Your Plate Club. I was always told that "children are starving in Ethiopia." You too? Well, it's time to get back to listening to our bodies. I'm going to start tonight. When I'm full, I will stop eating and pack up what is left. This is going to be a tough change for me. When I eat something so yummy that I can't stop, it's like a frenzy of emotions. My senses do a happy dance and I don't care that my pants button is about to pop off. Ok, so that's your homework for today - eat when you're hungry and stop when you're full. Easy, right? I know, don't give me that face. It's going to be tough - believe me!
Food today - cereal for breakfast, Subway Turkey sandwich for lunch, cashews for snack, grilled pork chops and baby spinach salad for dinner. I'm down 2 lbs! 28 more to go! Woo-hoo!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Day 3 = Cheating!

Ok, so I did well this morning. I had 2 eggs, a piece of toast with homemade raspberry jam and milk. However, nothing was organic. I have yet to make it to the grocery store to buy my new rations. Lunch was where I cheated, but it wasn't as bad as it could have been. I took my girls to Chick-fil-A. Any parent knows that this place rocks for kids. They have real chicken chunks for nuggets, cater to your every whim and the best part - the kids can play while you chat it up with mommy friends. I ate the Chargrilled Chicken Wrap with Fat-free honey mustard. The girls left behind some of their nuggets, so I sampled a few. Cheat!
I did not buy fries - never do. I did not buy ice cream. I buy their Fruit Cup to go with their lunch and they are just as happy!
Another cheat came in the form of a tiny slice of Grand Marnier cake from a neighbor who makes and sells cakes. I was taste-testing. Someones gotta do it! But she knows of my journey to lose this weight, so she truly only brought over a small piece. I was very grateful and thankful for that, 'cause it was SO good!! I would have eaten more if it was front of me. That's my main problem with food. If it's there, I'll eat it. I have NO self-control. I won't buy the bad foods at the grocery store, but if I'm at a party or buffet - watch out! Hmmm, something to work on.
Dinner is going to be a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and some steamed zucchini. Not very advenurous tonight - hubby is getting home late, so I've lost my motivation to cook a big meal. Plus, it's ridiculously hot out and turning on my stove is the last thing I want to do.
One green thing I did today  - bought green cleaners to use in the kitchen and bath. No more chemicals in my cleaning supplies! They work just as well and smell much better. I love the smell of the Green Works Toilet bowl cleaner - smells like mint! I'm just saying...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day 2

Day 2 is off to a slow start. Stayed up too late watching ridiculous reality television. Breakfast included a packet of low-sugar instant oatmeal and a slice of whole grain bread with homemade raspberry jam.
The oatmeal did contain some suspect preservatives, but I can't just throw it all out. The jam was made yesterday using freshly picked raspberries from my neighbor's garden.
Since moving to Northern VA, my neighbors have truly been my support group. Our whole street is lined with families of small children. It's all quite new and refreshing. In CA, we hardly knew any of our neighbors. Everyone just kept to themselves. But now, we have neighbors who share their garden's bounty, trade babysitting and enjoy communal dinners! I love it!
My next door neighbor, Amy, has been the biggest influence. She makes everything from scratch. And I mean, EVERYTHING! Homemade mayo, dressings, soy milk, salsa...I could go on. Everything she buys is organic and comes from local farms. We are fortunate here in NOVA to have a plethora of organic farms nearby. At first, I was stunned by the prices. For example, a dozen organic eggs is about $4, compared to $2.29 at the grocery store. But when you weigh the benefits of eating local, organic, free-range chickens to the questionable eggs from god-knows where at the grocery store - organic wins. I recently cracked open an organic egg to see if there was a difference. I found the shell to be tough and hard to crack, compared to the fragile shell of a non-organic egg. The size of the egg varied too. The organic egg was slightly larger, meaning you could eat less when scrambling eggs for breakfast. I'm going to hunt around for cheaper organic eggs - there's tons of farms to choose from around here.
Lunch was simple - turkey and cheese sandwiches on whole wheat bread. But, I noticed my fat-free mayo has high fructose corn syrup - ugh! It's gotta go. Snack: Greek Yogurt with cashews and honey. Dinner was better: grilled wild salmon, fresh steamed broccoli and black beans. Very simple and very tasty. I treated myself to 1 Fat-free Fig Newton today. I'm hoping to get a little more creative tomorrow - I have tons of garden fresh tomatoes that need to be eaten. Hmmm...what to make?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Day 1

Ok, so here it goes, my journey to get rid of all things processed in my life. It's going to tough for me. I love Pop-Tarts and my time in the kitchen is somewhat limited. My goals are simple: lose 30 lbs, lose the processed junk and create healthier eatings habits for my family. Did I say, "simple?" It sounds easy. But actually doing it is going to be one of the toughest journeys I've yet to encounter. I'm putting this out for the whole world to read. It's very hard to share these details, but I figure, if I'm going to do this, I'm going "whole hog."
Current Weight: 178 (I just gained 6 lbs on vacation in the Deep South. Can you say BBQ?)
Height: 5', 5" (Yes, that reveals I am overweight and my BMI is off the charts)
Waist: 33"
Hips: 47" (Lots of junk in the trunk)
Bust: 36"
Whew! I'm sweating. Revealing that info is embarrassing. I used to be the skinny girl. The one in pretty bikinis. The thinnest of my friends. Now, I'm just another stay-at-home mom with muffin top, back fat and a big rear.
Some background info:
I'm 41. I've been a stay-at-home mom for the past five years. I have two girls, 5 and 3 1/2. I was in PR and Marketing for 15 years. I was good at it too and enjoyed my job immensely. But working 10-18 hour days, getting up early for morning news and staying late for premiere parties wasn't exactly going to fit in with motherhood (at least not in my book). We recently moved from beautiful San Diego to Northern VA for my husband's career.
I never really put too much thought into what I was buying at the grocery store. I've always eaten fairly healthy. I don't drink or buy soda, don't eat fried foods, my dairy is all fat-free or low-fat, I limit salt, alcohol, cholesterol and trans-fats, don't eat fast food, everything I buy is fat-free or low-fat and I only drink water - so WHY am I overweight???
Well, I do have hypo-thyroidism, which is an auto-immune disease which affects almost every function in the human body - including weight control. But recently, I started to look deeper...what if the combination of foods and the chemicals in my food is actually making me fat?? Combine that with only occasional exercise and voila - I'm chunky! 
So, today I'm starting with breakfast. My girls wanted pancakes. Instead of the usual box of Bisquick, I found a recipe using whole wheat flour. I made them from scratch and they were really good. Now, my next chore is to get rid of the Aunt Jemina syrup containing high fructose corn syrup amongst many other unmentionables. I think I'm going to try a recipe for homemade syrup using fruit. Tonight's dinner is Chicken Tacos. I'm cutting up red, yellow and orange bell peppers into strips. Then I will stir-fry them (no oil) with onions. I'll brown some organic chicken breasts cut into strips (seasoned with cumin, garlic, salt & pepper) and spread some non-fat refried beans on a corn tortilla. OK - so the beans are canned, not made from dried beans. But, as I said, it's a slow process. This is something my kids like and it's healthy and quick!
Alright, so Day 1 is almost over. I feel good. I'm off to a good start. I just wish it wasn't 95 degrees outside so I could go for a walk. I just ate a fat-free Fig Newton...slip!