Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Day 28

[cue "It's the Final Countdown" music]

Today is my last official day of the 28-day Break Free diet.  I thought it would never arrive!  Now that I'm here, it feels a little anti-climatic. I'm not desperately planning out the first "forbidden" food I will eat.  That was happening on day 14.

This morning, I am down by 8 pounds from my weight at the beginning of the journey.  Awesome.  My pants fit differently.  I've worn pants (comfortably, not squeezed in & with room to spare) that I haven't been able to fit into for a few years.  Awesome again.

I have learned that I can live without sweets.  Some days I didn't think I could.  But now I know I can.  I wasn't even really tempted to cheat at our Halloween party where there were lots of tasty looking things to eat.

I have learned I can live without coffee (gasp!).  But I've also learned that I can live with coffee spiked with only almond milk.  Yeah!

I have learned that I can survive without bread in my life, and pasta, and cereal.  Sometimes it's hard to, but those things are not necessary to my happiness.  I do have a gluten-free pasta waiting in the wings.  Might as well give it a try sometime.

I have only made it into the beginning of week 3 recipes (out of 4 weeks-worth), so I have decided to keep going with this and finish out the 4 weeks of recipes.  I'll still add the allergens back in to test my reaction, but overall, I'm going to try to stick to this new way of eating for the time being.  It's working for me, and since I'm not freaking out anymore, I figure I might as well keep up a good thing.

Tomorrow, I plan to introduce dairy products and watch and wait.  Perhaps gluten will be next.  I think I have determined that even if I don't react negatively to gluten it will no longer need to be a major part of my eating life.  I think it's bad news.  For me, and probably for everyone.  I'm way less puffy, have way more energy, and I've lost weight.  I think that may have a lot to do with the lack of dairy, gluten and sugar in my life this past month.

I'll keep you posted!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Day 24

Those energy bites have been my salvation.  Feels like a treat, but they are full of things that I can have!  Yeah!

Speaking of treats, I have a few bananas-worth of sliced bananas freezing in my freezer.  I have been told that blending these frozen banana bits in a blender will make them turn into a passable ice cream substitute.  I plan to try mine blended with Sun or Almond Butter and some of my non-forbidden chocolate chips sprinkled on top.  Can't wait!

Yesterday, I bought myself some vanilla-flavored Almond Milk.  This was my act of desperation for trying to have coffee again.  The weather has been dumpy and cold, so I've been especially wanting some coffee in the afternoon.  Decaf of course.  I made some french press decaf coffee the moment I got home from Trader Joe's with the milk yesterday.  It smelled so good!!  As I poured in the Almond Milk, I realized my dream was not to be entirely realized.  Almond Milk in coffee is similar to skim milk in coffee--doesn't make much of an impression.  But it was enough for my desperate self.  The bad news is it's not tasty enough to make me want to drink 4 cups every day.  The good news is, I have now found the means to have a cup of coffee, if I must have one, occasionally.

This morning, I was down 7.5 pounds.  I have finally surpassed the 6 pound barrier I was lingering at for quite some time.  Yeah!

I am nearing the end of my 28 days, and I haven't gone off my diet once by eating any of the restricted foods.  Because of leftovers and meal-planning, I've only actually just made it through 2 of the 4 weeks worth of menus.  So, I plan to continue this diet until I've reached the end of the 4 weeks of recipes.  I figure this can only be good for me.  I may, however, after I reach day 28, allow myself to re-introduce the sensitivity foods to see if I have a reaction.  Otherwise, I plan to (mostly) stick to the program and finish it out.

Tonight, Greg and I are going to Chipotle for a dinner date.  I can avoid dairy and gluten by denying myself the tortillas and sour cream and cheese.  The rest of their items are allergen-free.  They do say some items are cooked in highly-refined soybean oil but that it is not an allergen source.  So, since I'm on day 24 of 28, I'm going to let myself go for it and eat out finally.  Really looking forward to that!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Day 21

I. am. in. heaven.

I found everything-free mini chocolate chips.  And in the first fist-full I ate, I determined they taste/feel just like regular chocolate chips.  Where have these been these past 21 days??!!  And why can't normal chocolate chips be free from all that garbage I can't eat?  These are scrumptious!

I came home and made Energy Bites out of them.  And I nearly licked the batter off of my palms as I was rolling it into balls to set up in the fridge.  Oh man.

I mixed oats, coconut, ground flax, sun butter, honey and chocolate chips and rolled that into balls.  These will set up in the fridge and be tasty, bite-sized, filling and energizing healthy snacks for later.  For now, I used a spoon to eat what wouldn't stick together in the bottom of the bowl.


Help me remember not to eat the whole entire batch at once.  Because that would be bad news...digestively and otherwise.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Day 19

Whoa!  I can't believe I'm on Day 19!  I had to stop and count on my fingers just now.  This week has been hectic, so I haven't been able to check in. 

As far as I know, I'm still holding steady at -6 lbs.  My cravings for treats have subsided for now.  I'm less crabby and freaking out less about food. 

We were away for the weekend...far, far away.  So, I had to pack food to make for others as well as suitable food for myself.  That was an ordeal because I had to bring every single thing I might need along with me.  Salt, oil, pans, etc.  Turned out okay.  I made beef stew (my own "safe" recipe), and everyone liked it!  I ate mine with salad, and the adults in our group ate that too.  I supplemented with non-diet foods to keep the kids happy.  Overall, it worked out okay. 

I made a baked french toast dish for the breakfast I was responsible for.  That was a tough one to sit out on eating, but I made it!  I had some quinoa with cooked apples, cinnamon and pecans, and it was a decent substitute. 

I discovered that some corn tortilla chips are gluten and everything else free, so I let myself have a few with fresh salsa.  That was a fun treat!

I also let myself have some decaf coffee with sugar-free syrup and no milk.  We were out shopping and passed a cute coffee shop.  The first few sips of coffee were delightful...even without the milk.  By the end, though, I was sick of the sugar-free taste.  I don't like artificial sweeteners!  So, that helped me to be okay not drinking coffee again for a while.  Kind of wrecked it for me.

Today, I was responsible for bringing snacks to a party, so I brought some things I knew I could eat.  This is my 3rd or 4th veggie tray and hummus in about 2 weeks.  Goodness!  I also brought fruit and chips and salsa.  It was fun to have a plate of okay choices so I could feel like I was participating in the partying.  Note to self...remember to bring healthy choices and fill up on those at parties in the future.  I did not even lament my inability to imbibe while cutting the Special K bars someone else brought.  Score one for me!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Day 13

I am dying for treats!  It has actually made me crabby for 2 days.  Oh my word.

I was going to go to Trader Joe's today to see if I could find some reasonable "everything-free" treats, but in the end I decided it might be hard to be surrounded by that much lovely food and temptation.  Instead, I went to Cub Foods to get a few staples.  No temptation there really.  Cub is an ugly place.  An ugly but necessary place.  While there, I did peruse the gluten-free aisle for snacks.  (I ate lunch before I went so I wouldn't be starving!).  I nearly bought some "everything-free" chocolate chunks. But they kind of grossed me out.  And I didn't want to wreck chocolate for myself.  I eyeballed some "everything-free" granola bar type thingies.  But I didn't want to be desperate enough to eat something that looked like flattened and baked poo.

I did happen upon Beanitos while I lingered there. You heard me.

I bought some.  They were on sale.  They're made out of black beans and practically nothing else.  I can definitely eat black beans and practically nothing else.  I brought them home and ate some with hummus, and they were delightful.  Now I need some Beanitos in chocolate flavor and I'll be all set.

I'm down 6 pounds, by the way.  Please remind me of this every 5 minutes so I quit freaking out about not being able to eat anything fun.  (I actually like the food I'm eating, I'm just missing the foods I can't have!!)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Day 11

I am home with a sick kid, so the packing food for a trip away issue didn't happen after all.  That made life easier in one sense.  Not being able to eat popcorn while watching a movie with my sickie was tough though!    I am still mourning the loss of treats and coffee, but I'm getting over it faster.  And trying to find things to substitute if I get desperate.  Sun butter on a rice cake actually does the trick for providing something kind of sweet and crunchy.  Although, I have been able to make it without snacks the last few days.  I am trying to only eat them when I actually feel hungry (and not when I just feel like having something).

Yesterday's breakfast was a good one for sweet and crunchy as well.  I made quinoa (a grain) in place of oatmeal.  While it cooked, I chopped up an apple, added a bunch of cinnamon and a bit of honey and cooked it in the microwave until soft.  I added the cooked apple to the quinoa and sprinkled chopped pecans on top.  All allowed!  And it tasted a bit like dessert!  Butter and brown sugar would have made it spectacular, but I'm not going to think about that.  Butter makes everything better, doesn't it?  Never mind.

I am attending a brunch on Tuesday morning, and I am sure it will be a battle of wills there too.  I am bringing a veggie tray with hummus so I can be assured of having something there that I can eat.  I'll actually eat breakfast before going too, so I won't be starved.  But it'll be hard to sit at the table with ladies eating plate-fulls of egg dishes, breads and desserts.  Interesting how so much of our social interaction revolves around food.  I. must. stay. strong.  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Day 8, and counting

As of this morning, I'm down 3.5 pounds from my Day 1 weigh-in.  Yippee!  That's a fun perk, especially since I don't feel like I'm starving myself to lose weight.

Today, however, I did struggle with not being able to have certain foods (pizza, coffee, chocolate, butter...).  We had a lunch playdate with friends, and they were serving pizza.  I sat at the table eating salad and soup with 6 people who were eating pizza and breadsticks.  Mercy.  That was a tough one.  And so hard not to eat Owen's leftover crusts at the end.  My mind was whispering, "Just a little bit wouldn't matter..."  Yes it would!  The meal plan says that if you have any of the sensitivity foods you have to start your 28 days over again!  Yikes!  That's good motivation.  That, and the 3.5 pounds.

We'll be visiting grandmas this weekend, so added to the ordeal of packing for overnight, I will also have to pack provisions for myself...to be prepared in a kitchenette.  No cooking available!  And I'm not sure the other seniors will take kindly to my smoothie-making noise at 8 in the morning.  Hmmm....still trying to figure that one out.

I have been missing coffee quite a bit.  Not the caffeine, but the warmth and the cream and sugar I put in it.  I like decaf and have that the majority of the time.  But I can't do it without cream and sugar.  Both are off limits right now.  So...I've learned to like tea.  I'm trying to avoid caffeine there too, and I can put a little honey in it, and that is enough to soothe me.

I am aware of feeling much more energetic and lacking that sluggish time that tended to hit me mid-afternoon, which is great.  And I'm even finding it easier to get up and out of bed to exercise in the morning.  Today, I woke up before my alarm!  These are the things I need to remember when I think I'm dying to have things I don't even want to mention by name because it makes me feel hungry.

Hanging on by my fingernails today!!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Day 5.5

Update:  I made it past the church cake, people.  It was tough, but I made it.  Then we went to my friend's house, and they served Davanni's pizza.  Lord help me.  I brought my own salad and white chili, so I was able to eat that and enjoy it totally.  But I had to touch the pizza to serve some to my kids.  Pure torture!!

I have also just realized that I associate Bible study with coffee and snacks.  I'm planning to spend tomorrow morning (Owen's preschool day) working on my lesson.  On his school day, I typically like to sit at a coffee shop or Panera to do it--gets me out of the house and away from other distracting chores.  But, now I can't go to the coffee shop or Panera because I can't eat or drink anything there!!  Oh goodness.

Oh, and I can't have gum either. Or mints.  They have soy in them.  Seriously?!  Is nothing sacred??

See, I'm having a fit, all because of the church cake.

Tomorrow is another day.

Day 5

I'm hanging in there!  I had some passable oatmeal for breakfast this morning at 8:00, and I made it to after-church lunchtime at 1:00 without having a meltdown.  Yeah!  That stuff really sticks with you.

We had company over for dinner last night, and I fed them the white chicken chili I was making for myself.  They actually liked it!  So nice to not have to make 2 separate meals for dinner time, especially with company over.

Going to a baptism service for a friend today and I just read they're serving cake afterward.  Oh man. This may be my first bout of temptation.  Cake, coffee, and church.  They go together somehow.  I'll be packing my own dinner for the gathering at the friend's house later at least.  But, oh, the cake.

Still feeling physically good and energetic.  Have a slight headache most afternoons, but nothing that requires ibuprofen.  And I truly haven't been missing any foods or feeling deprived.  It helps that I am always full after meals and getting to eat things that I like that taste good!  Mostly.  Cooked spinach, for instance.  Never. Again.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Day 3

I've made it to day 3 of my new eating plan, mostly unscathed.  This plan is not for the faint of heart!  But only because of the work involved.  I actually feel full all the time.  I had 2 snacks (allowed) on the first day because I felt like I'd be starved before getting to eat.  Yesterday, I had one snack.  Today, zero so far, and I'm stuffed from my lunch.

The work involves all the meal prep.  No Poptarts here!!  My first two days, I felt like I was cooking or prepping for cooking all day long. Literally.  Now that I've got a few leftovers banked, I'm sailing a little smoother.  And I really like to cook and to try new recipes, so I didn't expect that to feel so hard.

Today was the first day my breakfast was palatable.  First day, I had a gluten-free oatmeal with raspberries. Sounds good, right?  However, no sugar is added, and you're supposed to add protein powder.  My protein powder tastes like sawdust and feels about as good on my teeth.

Yesterday, I had a smoothie for breakfast.  My kids were jealous!  Until I had trouble getting the whole thing down.  Ice to strawberries ratio was way off--too much ice, therefore, little flavor and too much smoothie to drink!  Plus, the protein powder (again!) and flax this time (woohoo!) were too gritty and grody.

Today, I had a mixed berry smoothie, reduced the ice, increased the water and reduced the protein powder and flax.  Hooray!  A smoothie I actually enjoyed!  I'm hoping our cheapo blender makes it through this 28 days with me.

I'm drinking a ton of water, much more than is normal for me, so that added another challenge for a day and half.  I didn't know how I'd ever leave the house!  Today has been better.

I'm feeling good and am still motivated to keep this up.  This plan has caused me to think about how much mindless eating I have done before and would easily do now too if I wasn't recording everything I eat and drink for 28 days.

So far, no cravings that have made me want to buckle...although I did almost lick the mac & cheese spoon (Owen's lunch) when packing up the leftovers.  Yikes!  Habits, habits.  I do love me some mac & cheese.  But what I love more today is feeling good and energetic and healthy!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Hello again

Hello friends!  Good gracious, life has been full. Which is obvious when I see that I haven't posted one blessed thing here since January.  Yikes!

I'm starting to blog again to keep myself accountable.  You see, I'm starting a new eating plan tomorrow, and it lasts for 28 days.  I'm excited about it tonight, on the eve of a new beginning.  But I'll check back in and let you know how it's going.

I'm cutting out common food sensitivity foods (ie. eggs, dairy, soy, gluten...everything that is good in this world).  This will "detox" my body, hopefully get me on track to feeling at my prime, and help me to discover if I may have any foods that make me feel less than awesome so I can avoid them in the future.  Some folks have also lost weight while doing this.  We shall see.

I just returned home from a 2 1/2 hour shopping trip to buy all the food I'll need for this first week.  It took me an eternity because I had to read labels and look for foods I've never even heard of before (arrowroot flour anyone??).  Did you know that gluten and soy are in everything under the sun?!  Just saying.

In the sake of full disclosure, I will let you know that I stopped at Dairy Queen on the way to the grocery store to buy my healthy food.  I had a giftcard that had been languishing in my purse for months, and since I won't be allowed to even look at dairy for 28 days (28 days!), I decided to have a last hurrah.  Small Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard.  I shall miss you small Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard...and every other kind of Blizzard.

Wish me luck!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Public Service Announcment

Older church ladies of the world...do not, under any circumstances, ask a younger church lady, "When are you due?" unless you are 100% certain she is actually pregnant.  How can you be 100% certain said younger church lady is pregnant, you ask?  When you hear the words from her own lips, "I am 100% certain I am pregnant."  In no other circumstance should you speculate and therefore ask the younger church lady outloud, "When are you due?" 

Yes.  This happened to me today.  I was the younger church lady.

I had this happen a few years back as well.  My response a few years back was to laugh nervously and say that I was still carrying baby weight and I was wearing an empire waste shirt, so it was easy to make that mistake (I never wore that shirt again, by the way!). 

This time, I maintained my dignity, composure and eye contact, and when asked, "When are you due?" said calmly, "I...am not."  The older church lady said, "Oh...well..." and slunk off.  Which is as it should be. 

Oddly enough, I had just read an article in an etiquette section of a magazine regarding this very issue.  The author encouraged the non-pregnant "younger church lady," when asked this horrifying question, to maintain eye contact, tell the offender she is not pregnant, and let all the awkwardness hang there without making excuses for yourself to make the other person feel better.  That way "the older church lady" bears the load of the awkwardness, hopefully being shamed into contrition and learning to never ask that dreaded question to anyone not in a hospital gown and pushing again.

So, to my fellow younger church ladies....you are welcome.  I may have saved you from one older church lady today.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sophie's Rapunzel Party

We celebrated Sophie's 7th birthday today with a friend party.  It was a Rapunzel theme.  Thank goodness for my friend Laura who had done this for Lydia's birthday this past summer.  She lent us a bunch of stuff that made the party look cool.
This braid, for instance.  It trailed from the entryway back to the bedrooms.  We spent a 100 degree August day crafting it in her backyard last summer.  Good memories. 

 Another Laura addition.  Cute, huh?
 Sophie dressed as Rapunzel to greet her guests.
 She even had a Rapunzel braid in her hair.
 Another element borrowed from Laura...a pin the pan on Flynn Rider game.
 These were the little frying pans they had to hit him on the nose with. Cute!
 In Tangled, Rapunzel visits a pub called the Snuggly Duckling where she meets a lot of ruffians.

Our ruffians ate blue jello (lakes) with orange sailboats floating on top...
 ...and cinnamon/sugar braided breadsticks, hotdogs, Doritoes and fruit.
 When the girls arrived, they got to "paint the walls" like Rapunzel does in her tower.

 They took turns getting their hair braided and flowered by Laura--again, she was so helpful!  Couldn't have done it without her!
 The girls got to decorate their own floating lanterns.  This project did not go as well as I had planned--there was some frustration with keeping them open and un-crunched. 

 Then we played the pin the pan on Flynn Rider game.  Poor Flynn.
 Lunchtime!  One little guest told Greg, "I don't DO hotdogs," shortly after telling me, "Your house is small."  Thank you for sharing!  (don't worry anyone who actually reads this blog...it wasn't your kid!).
 Sophie received sweet notes from friends...

 ...lovely gifts...
 ...and even hand-decorated giftbags!
 Then, for a non-traditional birthday dessert we had rootbeer floats.  Fun!
 And as we waited for moms and dads to collect kids, we danced and sang to a little bit of music from the Tangled movie. 
It was a great time!