Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Putting Away the Kitchen Scale

I've spent a solid month counting calories, weighing my food, and logging every bite I eat. It can be tedious and even exhausting at times, but it's been a necessary evil in order to achieve my desired weight. However, I know I can't be spending the rest of my life living this way, so I've been taking a break from it to see if I can continue with my 1.5 lbs per week weight-loss trend without the scale.

I weigh myself on a daily basis and log it online. Some people say not to torture yourself doing that and to stick to once a week weigh ins, but waiting a week to weigh myself would be torture. It's only been half a week, but I've noticed that I'm maintaining my weight and not really losing anything. I also know I haven't exercised since last week. That's probably part of it.

Maintaining is better than gaining, but I want to be losing! I thought about bringing back the kitchen scale because I don't want to mess up my progress I've worked so hard for in the past month. On the days I did no exercise, I really relied heavily on counting calories so I could still make sure I was going to have a deficit by the end of the day. Now I go to bed and I have no idea how I did for the day. Well, I sort of know, but I don't exactly know. I like exactly knowing.

By the weekend I'll decide if I should start using my kitchen scale again. I honestly can't imagine someone trying to lose weight without a scale. I'm little bit obsessed with mine. Is it weird that I miss using it? Don't get me wrong, I love the freedom of being able to cook and eat a meal without going through all those extra preparations, but I do miss the security blanket of knowing exactly how much I was eating. I like pouring the food in and watching the number of grams climb. I can have this much.

The only 2 kitchen appliances/gadgets that rank higher than my scale are my blender and my food processor, (which is now deceased, RIP Black & Decker Food Processor, and I've yet to replace.) I could live without a microwave, a toaster, a coffeemaker, but my kitchen scale is here to stay even if it stays in the cupboard while fit and sexy me eyeballs all future portions of food. It's just too damn handy!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Primal Birthday Party

My little girl's is turning a year old in a few short weeks. She's so bright, funny, and totally adorable every single day. I just want to squish her with all of my love! If you know me, you know how much I hate celebrating my birthday 6 bloody times in the month of April. And how I hate celebrating it again in the month of May even more. There's the dinner with my family, the dinner with Bob's family, dinner with Bob on my actual birthday, and then the going out with friends party, and then the going out with the other friends party. And there's the random people who couldn't make it to any of these events and so we do lunch. For my birthday. Ugh!

Well, let it be known that Tesla also hates more than one birthday celebration by association. She's getting one party. If those invited can't make it, too bad for them. See ya next year! Literally, it's all the family from far and wide and a few honorary aunties that happen to live close. One big mega party!

Due to the eating restrictions I have placed on myself and Tesla, Food for this party is going to be essential. Also, there will be one vegetarian in attendance. This is my chance to introduce primal eating to a bunch of people at once and show them how rich and delicious our diet is. We can eat satisfying and filling meals without ever using grains!

The menu I've prepared for our Sunday brunch birthday party consists of:

- Spinach and avocado quiche with cheese. No crust obviously, and no meat so the vegetarian can have some.
- Greek yogurt and mixed berry parfait with a topping of toasted nuts and seeds on the side so the birthday girl can have some.
- Bacon wrapped prunes. Not vegetarian, but I gotta eat some meat at this meal! This is the one thing I haven't taste-tested it yet, but it got rave reviews online.
- Spiced Paleo cake with maple cashew frosting. This will be Tesla's birthday dessert. After much consideration, I think I will make a tray of dainty squares instead of cupcakes or a layer cake. Paleo cakes just don't rise and a layer cake would be a lot of work. This way, everyone can sample the cake and I don't have to listen to "a small piece place," 15 times while cutting the cake and then have all this dessert left over.

And my mom is going to prepare some non-primal foods as well. Apparently my menu is "interesting" and she's worried certain people invited aren't going to be able to eat anything because it's too weird for them. That's fine. I know this menu will be a hit. Yeah, it is different from what is normally served, but it's not like I'm trying to feed people goat's tongue wrapped in lettuce or something. I thought I chose really normal foods. Well, they're normal to me.

There's always opposition every time someone comes along and introduces a new dietary restriction, but over time it becomes normal, acceptable even, and people accommodate it. Bob's sister was saying that when she decided to become a vegetarian almost 20 years ago, her family didn't approve and the best they could do for her was buy 2 Michaelina's a week, those frozen microwave dinners. Everyone had a laugh and we looked how far the family's come.

I hope I can have the same happy ending because eating this way is really important to me. Not many people seem to get it right now, but over time I hope they will.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Eating Paleo This Week

On the weekend I decided I was going to do a full week of paleo only meals just to see what it felt like and if it was something I could adapt to at this point in my life. Changing your lifestyle overnight is hard, but I've been working toward this for nearly a month now, so I am ready to give it a test drive.

Our Sunday grocery shopping didn't cost any more than it normally does, so that was a relief. (Also sort of telling in a way. Those who base their meals around discounted boxes of processed foods are the only who get the sticker shock of what real food costs I think.) We did buy more meat than usual though and more fresh veggies, but a lot less dairy items. I also had to buy some staple items that were expensive to get all at once now, but will last a while. Things like coconut oil, milk, and flakes, as well as almond flour.

Planning out my menu was easy and I've been in the habit of doing this for months now. It makes shopping and cooking so much easier and really takes the guesswork out of eating. I even tried to get Bob in on the action by packing a Paleo Pack for him for lunch. (It's a trail-mix made up of jerky, nuts, and dried fruit.) He said it was good and filling and it was only 500 calories. Definitely better for him than the bologna sandwich and Fibre 1 bar he's been taking, cringe. In the future, I think I'll make some more Paleo Pack variations. It's very portable and easy for either a meal or a snack on the go.

For breakfast this morning, I was originally going to make some quiche. I like crust, so I was going to make a paleo crust, but I was feeling tired and lazy this morning. Bob made my bacon for me, so I just needed to make something else. I decided to make an omelette. Avocado, spinach, and cheese! It was fantastic! I fried up a bit of frozen shredded hash-browns in bacon grease and my meal was complete. It was absolutely to die for delicious! I am making it again next week for sure!
I'm making a stirfry sans rice or noodles for lunch and roasted chicken with broccoli and sweet potato for dinner. For Tesla's birthday coming up, I think I'd like to tackle making some sort of paleo dessert. I'm not a cake person and paleo cakes are so dense and heavy anyway. For my birthday I always have a birthday trifle, so not serving birthday cake for my little girl's first birthday is not a crime, I promise. Perhaps there's some sort of paleo parfait I can make for our guests.

If I can be full on paleo by the time Tesla turns 1 in 3 weeks, that would be amazing. I very much would like to raise a paleo baby, but that's another post for another time. Until then, I urge any and all who read this to try one meal a day without grains just to see how you like it for a week. It's filling, it's satisfying, and that's what I did before deciding to eliminate them altogether. Happy eating!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Paleo for BP

I've been counting calories for nearly 3 weeks now. I'm having a moderate amount of success, having lost 5 and a half pounds thus far. It should be higher, but I mostly maintained my weight this week and didn't lose anything.

One thing I'm trying to do is keep my carbohydrate intake to 150g or less a day. I guess it's sort of like a Zone thing I'm doing, 40% of calories from carbs, 30% from protein, and 30% from fat. Eventually I want to be able to only have 30% of my calories from carbs and then 20%, but I'll get there in my own time.

I quickly realized that if I cut out grains, I will meet my carbohydrate goal. I love rice and pasta and chips and crackers! I still have extremely small amounts of these foods, but I hope to one day completely remove them from my diet. I want to follow a paleo diet.

For those not in the loop, a paleo diet focuses on eating vegetables, meat, fruit, seeds and nuts in that order. No grains allowed! Any breads or desserts would be made with nut flour. Dairy is permitted in small quantities, though the purists stay away from it, as well as peanuts, beans, and rice. The whole point is to eat like our ancestors did prior to agriculture existing.

In my quest to find more information about the paleo diet, I came across something very interesting and relevant. There is a link between eating a modified ketogenic diet and having a reduction in mood swings in bipolar patients. There has yet to be a single scientific study of ketogenic diets in bipolar disorder patients, but in the article I was reading, the doctor said he had patients who followed an Atkins, paleo, or other low carbohydrate diet and reported a significant improvement in their symptoms.

How incredible would it be for me to change my diet, lose the weight, and stop taking lithium?

Studies have shown there's a whole bunch of medical conditions that patients have seen improvements in when switching to a low carb diet, (we're talking 10-20 grams a day,) like:
  • Autism
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Brain Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Obesity
  • Chronic Pain/Inflammation
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Insomnia/Circadian Rhythm disorders
Living off of only 20 grams of carbs a day seems so impossible right now when I'm having a hard time living off of 150 grams, but I feel like I have to work toward it, and keep modifying my diet until I can get there. When my psychiatrist told me 3 years ago I was probably going to have to be medicated for the rest of my life, I cried. When my dad got hyperthyroidism, I thought what does this mean for me? Lithium affects the thyroid function.

I want to be off medication so bad. I know it may take a few years and I need to be comfortable with the transition, but losing weight isn't nearly as big of a motivator as this! I will gladly never step into an Olive Garden, order in a pizza, or eat deep fried food again if it means controlling my bipolar naturally. There's no proof it will work for my body specifically, but there's no harm in trying, and I was going to try it anyway, so this new piece of information is a nice bonus!

Monday, August 5, 2013

16 Hours of Driving

For the long weekend, Bob and I drove up to Snow Lake with Tesla to visit my bff Steph and her husband and 2 daughters. It's a solid 8 hour drive up North, and very scenic too! We spotted a baby lynx, pheasants, and this huge hawk almost smacked into our windshield!

To keep ourselves entertained and awake we played games like 20 Questions, I'm Going on a Trip, (we memorized items for an entire hour!) and Last Letter Game. All very good games, but by far the funniest game we played was Think Pink. Basically you think of a simple way to describe two words that rhyme. An example would be, A dwelling for rodents: Mouse House.

Of course we got totally ridiculous with it. Hover over or click Answer to see the the solution. I'm not sure what this html does.

"In the event that things in the stratosphere went to school and came home with straight A's on a report card you would have a..." Answer

"In the event that a type of aspirin would be elected to city hall, you would have a..." Answer

"A citrus smelling thing that is part of an entrance way would be a..." Answer

Bob and I have a lot of fun together. And Tesla was so good the whole time! She slept or played quietly and didn't cry or fuss at all. When we got home, she was excited to be back. She recognized where we were before we even got inside and made these cute little squeals of delight. She just started crawling everywhere once inside, finding all of her toys and chasing the cats.

Bob and I are ordering a pizza to eat tonight. It's sort of a last hurrah before getting back into the old routine. Also, I took time off of my diet this weekend, so pizza is my last hurrah before getting back to counting calories and hardcore exercise. I'm nervous to step on the scale in the morning.

I know this blog really focused on the driving aspect of the trip, so I'll mention some of the actual trip. We went to the beach, went for a short hike to see the falls, and made s'mores over a campfire. We took a walk through town and enjoyed some soft serve, and we just hung out with our kids, relaxed, and enjoyed the company. It was wonderful! A very rejuvenating weekend. I should have taken more pictures, but oh well. This blog post is memory enough. For me, vacation memories have always been about how the trip made me feel, not what I actually did on the trip. I hope y'all had a great long weekend!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Cottage Cheese

It's a body builder's dream food. It's clean, it's high in protein, but low in carbs and fat, and it's very versatile! Some people love it so much, they eat it straight out of the tub with a spoon. (A certain scholarly gentleman named Chad from ACC comes to mind.)

The only time I've ever bought and eaten cottage cheese is when I'm making a lasagna, but even then, half the time I use ricotta cheese instead. In my effort to lose some weight before November, I bought Dairyland Cottage Cheese Combos on sale at Safeway. I didn't like it at first, but quickly acquired a taste for it and came to enjoy the filling snack.

When they were all gone, I bought a tub of plain cottage cheese so that I could mix in whatever I wanted. I went on some forums and got some ideas. This morning I mixed 1/2 cup of cottage cheese with a half of a thinly sliced banana, flax, and cinnamon. I took one bite and wanted to throw up. SALT! Holy effing sodium! I added 2 teaspoons of brown sugar and it still tasted like ass. Those cottage cheese combos must have had a lot of added sugar because my concoction tastes nothing at all the same.

In order to cut the salt, I think I'll need a fruit like pineapple which pairs very well with salty foods and cheese. I thought bananas would be good since I find them to be too sweet already, but pineapple taste more like juicy candy than bananas do.

I don't know what I'm going to do with all this cottage cheese if I can't find a suitable way to consume it. I don't eat pasta anymore and I don't eat breads or tortillas either. There's so many recipes out there, I'm sure I'll find something that fits my lifestyle.