"Let food be thy medicine, and let thy medicine be food." Hippocrates

"One-quarter of what you eat keeps you alive. The other three-quarter keeps your doctor alive." Hieroglyph found in an ancient Egyptian tomb

"It is a matter of common knowledge that any processing that foods undergo serves to make them more harmful than unprocessed foods." McDonald's Corporation legal statement, shown in the documentary Supersize Me.

“Control the oil and you control entire nations; control the food and you control the people.”~ Henry Kissinger

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas success!

I did make it through Christmas and the holiday season with NO sugar or flour. I am amazed.  Really. You have no idea what an accomplishment this is for me.  I've really been thinking about how we place so much emphasis on the food associated with holidays. And really, what for? I mean it's only one day out of the entire year. So I didn't eat "traditional" foods for Christmas. Did it change the meaning of Christmas? Oh sure we have "memories" and "feelings" tied to certain foods, but I'd rather be losing weight and be thin. What good are memories if I'm dead? I'm headed that way sooner than later if I don't lose the weight.  Sometimes I just have to be blunt with myself. Sugar-coating never got through to me.

So the Christmas menu was grilled salmon (roast for my husband), green beans, faux-tatoes (yeah you know I love that mashed cauliflower!!!), cranberry sauce, mushrooms stuffed with spinach-artichoke-parmesan and garnished with smoked salmon. All legal and all low carb. And of course for the holdiay we had Sugarland Cellars Cherry-Kee wine.  For dessert? Fresh mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries) with real whipped cream. IT. WAS. AWESOME.

Did I miss the traditional foods and all the sweets? Nope. I can honestly say that too. I'm quite proud of myself for staying on track. I mean really....if you can make it through the holidays, the rest of the time should be a breeze!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Recipe: Asian Mushroom Soup

1 tsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp fresh ginger root , grated
2medium garlic cloves , minced
5 cup low sodium vegetable broth
8 oz fresh portobello mushroom , sliced
1 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
1 pinch salt (to taste)
2 tbsp fresh chopped green onion

1 In wok or medium saucepan, heat vegetable oil over medium high.
2 Add ginger and garlic. Stir fry 30 seconds.
3 Lower heat to medium. Add mushrooms. Stir fry 2 minutes.
4 Add broth. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes.
5 Add rice wine and sesame oil. Stir well. Season to taste with salt.
6 Garnish with green onions. Serve.

Nutrition Facts:
Makes 6 servings
Serving Size: 1 cup

Amount Per Serving
Calories 55
Total Carbs 5 g

Dietary Exchanges:
1/2 Fat, 1/2 Vegetable


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Recipe: Low Carb “stuffing” (VEGETARIAN VERSION)

2 cups diced cooked chicken (WORTHINGTON CHICK’N)
1 pound pork sausage (PROSAGE)
2 large stalk celery (chopped)
1 green onion (chopped)
1 jar mushrooms, drained
4 lg. eggs (1 c. EGG BEATERS)
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 oz. Cheddar Cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt (I didn't add any)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced, optional (I didn't add any)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp sage (depends on taste. I start with a small amount, taste the mixture and then add more as needed).

How To Prepare:
Brown the “sausage” with the onion and celery. Add sage and mushrooms. Place in a 2 qt. casserole dish. Mix in "chick'n" and cheese. Beat eggs, cream, seasonings and parsley, if using. Pour evenly over meat mixture.

Bake at 350ยบ 35-40 minutes until set in the center and nicely browned. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. I scooped it with a large serving spoon just like regular stuffing because this was more a casserole than a quiche like the original recipe was.

Number of Servings: 1 cup
(Makes a nice 2-qt casserole)

Carbs per serving - include all nutritional information if known:
Per 1 cup serving: Carb: 1
Preparation Time: 10 minutes or less
Effort (Easy, Average, Difficult): Easy

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Thankful Thanksgiving

I am thrilled to say that I survived Thanksgiving with no bread or potatoes! I was really getting worried about  how I was going to handle this holiday. Maybe, I thought, I picked the wrong time of year to start a low-carb diet! Geez. What was I thinking??

Since I don't eat turkey or meat (no sorry, no crazy PETA person here, I just can't digest the meat...believe me if I could, I'd inhale it), I decided on Worthington Wham--(vegtarian ham). (As I should mention, technically I'm a "pescatarian"--I eat vegetarian plus fish). I wanted it to feel somewhat like Thanksgiving and those traditional foods so I found a breadless "dressing" recipe (I will have to post it later) and it actually turned out well. It has sage and that's what Thanksgiving smells like to me anyhow. I wish I had taken a picture of it.

I also had the Mashed Cauliflower with cream cheese. OMG. This is my new favorite food. I think I will be able to happily give up potatoes for this. And that is really saying something because my Irish chickadee butt LOVED potatoes. 

Of course I had green beans and salad. I was really quite happy with it. I enjoyed not having alot of leftovers too. When I was growing up we used to have "turkey surprise" everyday for a week after the holidays...you know, some new concoction made up with the leftover turkey each day.  I did have leftover dressing which I am enjoying a "slice" of with eggs in the morning for breakfast. :)

I stayed away from the sweets and all the high-carb foods my mother-in-law had and I'm feeling quite proud of myself. Now...Bring on Christmas!! I think I can handle it now!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A bit of history & a new start

I struggle daily with the weight problem. I quit seeing the food counselor about my food problem/addiction over 2 years ago. While seeing him, the scales creeped up even higher. Yikes. I became angry with him when I was working a 2nd shift job and he "demanded" that I quit sleeping in until 9 or 10am every morning. The fact that I worked evening shift and was only getting 8 hours sleep anyhow didn't matter. (He thought that was being lazy). I became angry when he "poo-poo'ed" the idea that food could be an addiction. And then there was the fact there was only 1 chair in the entire waiting room that I could sit in & it was always occupied by a thin person. :( I'm not able to stand for a long time--and he always ran late even though I had the first appointment after lunch.

Needless to say, it's easy to feel like a total failure. I miss the OA meetings. The accountability of the HOW program worked for me. Actually it's been the only thing I can say ever really worked for me. Until now.

I have pondered and played with the idea of the lap-band surgery. My Dr wants me to have gastric bypass. Deep down inside I know that it won't work for me. It is nothing more than a tool and like everyone else I want to see it as a "fix". I am terrified of weighing 500 lbs. I figure at my present rate of weight gain, I will be there within a year. Walking is almost impossible. I forced myself to take step after step trying to get into my work place until it got to the point I couldn't do it any longer. I am not able to walk more than 200 ft and I have to stop and "rest". I now ride my mobility scooter into work. (I work at a university and the parking permits should be called "hunting permits". I wish I could measure the distance between parking spots and my office). This is my prison.

So I guess it comes down to two choices really. (1) Losing weight is really hard. (2) Being fat is really hard. Which one do I choose? I have struggled with (1) and lived under (2) for so long now. I cannot go on like this. I am killing myself slowly with the food. I have been diagnosed as a diabetic. My body is breaking down. I can only shop with a scooter. I am not able to walk Wal-mart or any other store. I hate my life like this.

I decided to choose (1). I have been seeing my Dr monthly for weight loss. I need the accountability. I don't know why for me, getting on that scale monthly with the accountability and facing those demons actually works for me. God give me the strength to do this. I cannot go on like this.

So what made me finally decide to give in? Well, I was reading in my health benefits package from work that the lap-band surgery approval now requires that you do a 1-year Dr program BEFORE you are allowed to have the surgery. Does that mean that in one year I am going to have the surgery? No, actually that is not the plan for me. Obviously they want some major life changes before they approve the surgery. And I want those changes too. I do not think surgery is the answer. If I can't learn to change BEFORE, then nothing after will help me.

I feel like this hard-core case stuck in this prison of a 400+ lb body. What makes me eat these excess calories? What will it take for me to break out of this prison?

I have been following a "diabetic" diet for the last 6 months and have lost 24 lbs. I should be thrilled! But it's 1LB a week. My Dr is thrilled. She said that is all she is asking from me...1LB a week. Losing it slowly and safely and keeping it off. She would be thrilled if I would do low-carb, but I'm a vegetarian. And that is really difficult to do when you don't eat meat. However, technically in the last few years I have became a pescatarian, which just means I still eat vegetarian + I eat fish now. I haven't restricted my carbs to any extreme since losing the weight; just the calories mostly. I am allowed 2 "starchy" carbs per meal. But I find that the bread & potatoes are my true weaknesses. Somethings never change. :) I have given up most of the sugar and learned to like my occasional sugar-free "treats".

Now I've decided to cut out the bread and potatoes. I call it a "Low-er carb" diet. I would prefer the 2LB weight loss a week. I have a really long way to go!! Based on a 2000-calorie diet, which should be the average American's diet, you eat about 300 grams of carbs a day. That's about 2-3 "starchy carbs a meal. Two carbs servings are translated into 2 slices of wheat bread, 2/3 cup of pasta or rice, 1/8 slice of fruit pie, 1 small(!) serving of McDonald's french fries. That being said, how many Americans do you know that only eat 2000 calories a day? And only 300 grams of carbs? Seriously...how many do you see eating at McDonald's a bun-less burger & small fries? Sadly as Americans, we don't eat alot of produce at all. It's usually what goes to waste in our fridges. But not the boxes of Little Debbie snacks!

My biggest gripe with low-carb diets (other than missing the starch!) is the planning. It really does take time to eat healthy. Those drive-thru's and potato-as-a-side restaurants are soooo easy to order from. I think of it as mindless eating. We just eat it and say: everyone eats this way and I'm still doing better than "so-and-so". Maybe it's time I became accountable for my life. We (Americans) eat this way every day and act like we're going to live forever. I'm beginning to see my mortality and the diseases I have because of my 40+ years of unhealthy eating habits. Maybe I should say 20+...because I sure didn't eat like that when I was growing up.

Maybe becoming diabetic is sadly what I needed to make these changes. So I'm going to try sharing my weight loss here again. Even if no one ever reads this, I need the space to journal and sort out some of the feelings and frustrations, celebrate the small victories, and who knows...maybe just 1 person will stumble upon my blog and I will inspire them to make their own changes.