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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Busyness

I slept in a little this morning and then wanted something a little different for breakfast today.  The grilled cheese last night tasted so good that I decided I would make a grilled egg and cheese sandwich with paleo bread for breakfast.  It was yummy and something different.

I was actually down over a pound this morning.  I first weighed after my month-long cleanse and then 3 days of overdoing after "breaking" the cleanse before getting down to business.  I am sure my body was still bloated with extra food that day, but I am down over 4 pounds since that day.  But I am down over a pound from what I have been weighing fairly consistently the last couple of weeks.  I'm just glad it moved.

I need to keep with the efforts to thwart water retention, try to be more active, and just keep on doing what I have been doing.

Right now, I need to go clean up the mess I made in the kitchen.  More later.

Evening

It's been kind of a busy day, but I don't feel like I have gotten that much done.  I did get up and clean the kitchen and worked some on putting my bedroom in order.  More to do on that.  Then I had to take my dog to the groomer.  Got home and did kind of this and that for a bit.  I ate a serving of pistachios and drank some water and did some more picking up.

I have also been reading on a book I am about finished with, off and on during the day.  I sit down and read when I need to get off my feet.  I also decided on things I wanted to cook for this week and made a grocery list.  I had to go back to the groomer and pick up my dog.  Then I went and bought the groceries I needed to make the food I had decided on.  When I got out of the store, it was time to go pick up my daughter's dog from doggy daycare.  I got home and felt kind of done for a bit, but remembered I had some things that needed to be brought in, so took the wagon to the car to bring all the groceries in, in one load.

I was quite thirsty after all this and got me some water and a chunk of watermelon.  I never had a real lunch and was feeling hungry.  I had decided on another grilled cheese sandwich with paleo bread when I remembered the tortilla chips that were left from the other day that my daughter had left.   Yep, I ate some tortilla chips and guacamole.  The one good thing about that was, there was less than half of a small bag left and I was eating on them, fully intending to finish the bag, when I realized there was no desire for them anymore and realizing I would be better off just to stop.  So I did.  I was full.  At least that's something.  Not a great thing that happened, but at least I listened to my "hunger" and stopped, instead of compulsively finishing what was there.

I still have not done any cooking.  Tomorrow is going to be a pretty busy day, although a fun one.  I'm wishing I had another to get more things done.  I should at least get the whole chicken in to bake, which is going to be used for two different recipes -- some low carb gumbo and some low carb chicken tortilla soup.

That's all for today.  This was my first "getting off the track" since I started this leg of my journey.  Now I just need to get back on and keep going.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Happy Friday!

Afternoon

I didn't get around to putting any thoughts down this morning.   Breakfast was bacon and eggs, again, but I just did 2 eggs this morning.  I did get a little hungry but never got around to doing anything about it.  I had to wait to go to lunch until after 12:30, so I was available for things my boss needed, so I was pretty hungry by then.

For lunch I had leftovers from last night -- creamy cilantro chicken and the cauliflower mash.  I had a salad to go with it.  I got a little carried away on making my salad this morning.  It was more the size of a main dish salad, although I did not put the extra things I might put in a main dish salad.  I just had the veggies and dressing.  I could only eat half of it; I was too full.

I still seem to be retaining water (my ankles, etc. are puffy).  Hopefully what I am doing for that will kick in soon.  I did drink some lemon water this morning, though didn't quite finish my bottle.  I took my magnesium and other vitamins.  Just need to do some more water drinking before the workday is over, and more tonight when I get home.

I don't have a lot planned for tomorrow, except to get my dog groomed.  I was thinking about getting a pedicure, but I want to pay as much as I can on debt right now, so I think I will just do it myself.  Just so my feet look okay in the pictures we are taking Sunday.  I am about to pay off 3 or 4 small accounts (that I have made substantial payments on each month) so I can roll those payments over onto bigger accounts and feel like I am really making progress.  My written budget is on my computer at home, but from my figuring, I may have some extra to pay on accounts this paycheck.  This is my biggest goal, besides health and weight loss.  I really want to be out of debt and to start putting significantly more in my retirement fund.

Sunday we are doing the family picture-taking at White Rock Lake, and then we are going to my daughter's apartment to cook out, hang out by the pool, and play board games in the pavilion area they have.  I guess if I am going to make my lemon meringue tartlets, I need to do that tomorrow.

I also need to decide on meals for next week and do some cooking/prepping for that.  I do so much better if I prepare ahead of time, although I have done some cooking after work this week.  Things go so much better when I make my own food.  Some recipes I am thinking about trying are a low carb gumbo, a kind of Mexican low-carb casserole, and I'm not sure what else.  I think I would like to have some "legal" dessert-type thing(s) made ahead of time, although my cravings have been fine.  I don't want to feel like I need them all the time, but I do enjoy them.

Other than that, I need to do cleaning and laundry and that kind of thing.

I don't have anything prepared ahead of time for dinner tonight.  I may make a pizza.  I have a wheat-free crust mix I bought from Wheat-Free Market a while back.  I also have some taco meat left if I wanted to make either another taco or a taco salad or something like that.  I just want to make sure I have variety.  I have a recipe for a low-carb meatloaf I might make, too.  My daughter doesn't really like meatloaf, but that doesn't mean I can't have it every once in a while.

I'm sitting here looking at a picture of my grandson, Carter.  I am so happy to be a Nana.  He makes our lives so much more special.  You never know how much you can love a grandchild until you have your own.  Being his Nana makes Mother's Day all the more special for me this year.

Evening

I ended up having to work a little late (left at 6:45) and when I got home, I was not in the mood for cooking much of anything.

Mid-afternoon I ate a small apple.  Late afternoon, I ate a few peanuts.  That held me until dinner.

I brought home the tomato soup I had taken to possibly include with lunch yesterday and the half salad I did not eat at lunch today.  I had those, along with a grilled cheese sandwich made with paleo bread I get from a bakery here in town.  I don't use it regularly -- it is very expensive -- but it is nice to have every once in a while.  I was wanting something refreshing after that, so ate some watermelon.  Seems like quite a bit of food today, but I was not breaking any "rules."

It was mid-morning this morning before I realized I had not yet taken any pain medication for the day.  I usually take a dose very early morning so I feel better when I get up, and another dose is "due" (if I need it) not too long after I get to work.  It was good that I had forgotten to take any -- shows my pain was not so bad that it reminded me -- but you always pay a price for waiting too long.  Once your pain gets past a certain point, it is more difficult to get under control.  I did okay; just had a lot of aches and pains when walking.  I am looking forward to the day when I can leave the medicine behind.  When I fast, my pain gets so much better that I am close to feeling like I don't need it.  But once I start eating again, it is back.  I suspect it is more about weight than anything, as long as I am eating what I supposed to.  When I broke the long fast last summer, I gave myself permission to eat some carby things I wouldn't normally have eaten, but the problem was, I didn't stop.  I went for months indulging in ice cream way too often, potato chips way too often, and corn products fairly often.  The weight comes back easy when you do that.

I am not back to the weight I got down to in the fast last summer, and I need to get there, I think, to get my body in a better state with reduced pain.  It is being stubborn, though.  I will keep working at it and I believe it will respond at some point.  I can tell I am still holding quite a bit of water.  I wore some "enclosed" shoes today and when I took them off this evening, my ankles were quite puffy above where my shoes had been.  Just losing that would take a few pounds off, I am sure.

I know there are some recommended macros for a ketogenic diet.  I should probably see what they are.  I am not following a totally ketogenic diet, but pretty low carb, nonetheless.  I need to do whatever I can do to try to get the weight to start moving downward.  I need to start working in at least a little exercise, even if it causes me extra pain.  The biggest thing that will reduce pain, I believe, is to weigh less.

I have been reading most of the time since I got home from work and having difficulty staying awake.  I thought I had better rouse myself and finish this post before I fall asleep for the night.  I'm going to go back to reading now, and if I fall asleep this time, so be it.  Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Sticking to My Plan

Morning

It's a good day, so far.  I think my pain is slowly improving.  Staying away from grains and sugar religiously is helping.  I need to never let sugar back into my life.  When I eat it, I want it all the time.  When I don't eat it, I don't care.

I do plan to make these (or one of my kids will) for Mother's Day:



They are grain-free and sugar-free (and low carb).  Yum!  The recipe calls for a mixture of erythritol and stevia.  I do not care for stevia, so I am just going to use Swerve.  Probably will only make 2 of this version and more with normal ingredients.  Maybe.  Or someone else could bring a different kind of dessert.  (It is my day, after all.  My daughter's too, since she is now a mom.  I know she would probably like to try this because she is trying to watch what she eats too.)  The crust is made from almond flour and also has a little unflavored whey protein in it.  I am finding a lot of baked goods are using a little whey protein, which seems to help make the texture more like something with wheat.  Still different, for sure, but better.  I am sure I will thoroughly enjoy this since lemon meringue pie has always been a favorite.  I have some little tartlet pans like these that I have barely ever used, so that will be fun.

Breakfast was bacon and eggs this morning.  I went with 3 eggs again this morning.  That seems to hold me better and I think it is less calories than eating peanuts or something like that to tide me over to lunch.  Lunch is going to be the other bacon taco I did not eat last night.  If that is not enough, I also brought some more tomato basil soup (but it was enough).

Tonight my plan is to make creamy cilantro chicken (you sauté your chicken breast and it has a creamy sauce made with cream cheese, and cilantro, of course).  Very tasty.  I will probably make some cauliflower mash with it and some kind of salad or other vegetable.  I don't want to overdo the salads and get tired of them, but they sure have been tasting good lately.

I have not craved sweets at all the last couple of weeks.  I have eaten some fruit and that has satisfied me just fine.  I do plan to make some desserts every once in a while, with approved ingredients.  Just to keep life interesting.  I have been finding a treasure trove of ketogenic recipes of all kinds and I think trying new ones is the best way to keep from getting bored with eating very low carb.  Doing things like making a taco with a bacon or cheese shell lets you have something that you have always loved and still stay on plan.

I have seen advertisements for pre-prepared cauliflower pizza crusts from a company called Cali'flour Foods.  I am sure they are good, but they cost $12.95 for 2 9" pizza crusts.  I was going to order a package so I would have them in a pinch, but the shipping for that one package is $9.95.  That means almost $23 for 2 pizza crusts.  I am "cheaper" than I am lazy, so I will just make my own.  If you buy the cauliflower crumbles, that makes it a lot easier and I found a way to do them in the microwave where you don't have to squeeze the moisture out with a towel, and that makes them even easier.  I need to make a pizza soon.  I miss pizza sometimes, and getting the gluten free variety some places offer is no better for you and makes me hurt when I have been following a strict program.  Having alternatives like a cauliflower crust makes it much easier.

I have made a cauliflower pizza crust and cauliflower crusted grilled cheese sandwich, so I wonder if I can make a cauliflower tortilla.  That way I could make an enchilada or quesadilla "legally."  I'm going to give it a try.  I would make it the same way; just make it as this as possible.

Afternoon

We are doing some family pictures this weekend.  We have not done this in years, mainly because I hate to have my picture taken.  But my kids really want to do it, and I need to get over that anyway.  Wish I could have gotten more weight off before then, but I have done my best.

As I said above, the one taco was enough without having the soup with it.  It is now after 5:00 and I know I do not have to work late, so I should be good to make it until dinner.

I probably have said this before, but I think another step I need to take for reducing pain and getting better is to start moving to organic foods.  I want to buy a quarter beef from a grass-fed beef source (a farm near Dallas).  Buying grass-fed at the grocery store is so expensive, and I can get it for $7.49 a pound if I buy a quarter beef.  I can get ground beef for $7.49 a pound at the grocery store, but good cuts of meat can be at least $15-$20 a pound, so it will definitely cost less in the long run.  I will also have to buy a small freezer, but that's okay.  I would prefer to be able to pay cash for it, but at the same time, I want to get my health moving forward as soon as possible.  The sooner I can reduce pain, the sooner I can get more exercise, which will speed up the weight loss process.  And I have read that grass-fed/pasture raised meat products make a big difference with pain issues.  I think the animals being grain fed is closer to my eating grain myself, not to mention the antibiotics and steroids used in commercially raised meats.  I also need to start buying organic fruits and vegetables.  (I really wish I could grow my own.)  The thing that has held me back is the cost.  I am doing my best to get out of debt and I have been putting every penny I can toward that from each paycheck.  I will have to decide if it can wait a little longer.

I should be largely out of debt in less than a year.  And when extra money comes in, that is what I use it for.  Sometimes it comes in from more overtime than expected, and sometimes it comes from my boss, who is a very generous man.  He often pays me to do personal tasks for him or just gives me a "bill" before a holiday.  He is the most generous man.  One of the main motivations for getting out of debt is so I can greatly increase how much money I am putting in my retirement fund.  The way it is right now, I am going to have to work until I die.

Another thing I may be doing to save money is to move when my lease is up.  I will have to move further away from downtown Dallas, but I could pay up to half of the rent I am paying now if I get further away.  Also, my daughter's friend may want to move in with us if we have a 3-bedroom house, so having another person to divide the rent (or house payment, if I decide to buy) would be helpful.  I think this would be a wise thing if I can find a good place, not too, too far away, but far enough where rent is reduced significantly.  Also, one of the biggest stressors for me at home is the situation with our pets.  My daughter got a dog a few months ago, and her dog and my dog do not get along.  They don't fight so much as create such a ruckus that it is not restful.  Also, her dog is always after my cat, so I have a gate on my bedroom door and my cat stays holed up in there most of the time.  We also have to use pee pads for the dogs.  I live on the 4th floor and it is just too much for me to take my dog out every time he needs to potty, nor am I home enough for him to do that.  I guess my daughter agrees, because she also uses pee pads for her dog, even though she does take her dog down to the dog area as much as she can.  We need a yard.  And a doggy door.  I am so tired of dealing with the smell and mess of pee pads.  I know having a yard will help.

Evening

I got home and immediately went to work cooking dinner.  As planned, I made creamy cilantro chicken, creamy mashed cauliflower, and a small salad.  Everything tasted sooooo good.  And I have lunch packed for both me and my daughter for tomorrow.  My daughter had to work late tonight, which never happens, but they are about to fire someone tomorrow, so she needed to do some catchup work that this person has not done.

As I said, I think the biggest key to making the low carb thing work is keeping variety.  And the thing that keeps me eating like I should so that pain is reduced is to cook my own food so I know what is in it.  I am glad I am feeling good enough physically to do that, even if I don't always feel like it motivationally.  It is very important that I spend time each weekend planning and preparing food for the week.  My daughter has not helped much this week, but she typically does these days.

I seem to be retaining water, so I am trying to take steps to combat that, including drinking more water, adding lemon or lime to some of my water, and taking magnesium (which I also need to take for pain issues).  I also took some potassium because my feet were cramping.  Guess I have not been drinking enough.  If I can get rid of this extra fluid, I would probably drop a few pounds.  I do feel like my clothes are a little looser.

Guess that's it for tonight.  I feel good about sticking to my plan.  I do think pain is improving.  Thank the Lord.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Bacon Tacos and Staying Focused

So far, so good on my eating today.  It's been one of those days where nothing seems to be going right in other ways -- had to go to the courthouse to take care of some vehicle business and the department I needed ended up being closed for employee training; then I had to make some copies of documents for my boss and the copier kept jamming, so it took three times longer than it should have because I kept having to clear the jam.  Finally had to call service and use another copier.

My daughter begged off on cooking breakfast today.  It's not really a big deal to make my own.  I had two small sausage patties and this time 3 over-easy eggs.  I have always only ever had 2 eggs at a time, but this did seem to hold me better than the last couple of days.  I don't know if I will do that every day, but I went to bed kind of hungry last night.  I have not been eating that much meat the last few days.  I might need to up that a little to help with my hunger.

For lunch, I made this -- Bacon Caprese Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms:


They were really good -- kind of tasted like pizza -- but I will say this about the recipe.  The package of portobellos I got had one kind of flat one and one kind of thick one in it.  I liked the flat one much better.  So unless mushrooms are your absolute favorite thing, I would choose "flat" ones for this recipe.  The flavors were much more balanced that way.  Anyway, I had most of two of these, a side salad and a little container of mixed fruit for lunch.  I felt plenty full.

Today is the 22nd anniversary of losing my mother.  I cannot believe it has been that long.  We lost her way too soon, and it always makes Mother's Day very bittersweet.  Tomorrow would have been my Dad's 85th birthday, too, so that always factored into our thoughts after my Mama died.  I was 34 years old when she died.  It took us very much by surprise at the time, even though she had cancer.  She was actually in remission, but they decided to do one more treatment for good measure (she wanted to do that), and she was just too weak to take it.  So she died from the chemo.  When she had her treatments, I always left her alone for a few days to give her time to bounce back (she felt so sick after them), and I always regretted that because after she had that one, I never got to talk to her again (where she was in a state to understand me).  I miss her so much.

Evening

I had tacos for dinner.  This was what  my taco shell was like:





Except it wasn't that neat.  My daughter actually did it for me because she got home earlier than me and I had to go to the store after work.  I probably better read the instructions again, but I also got impatient because I was hungry and it was taking a long time.  :)  Anyway, she made me two bacon taco shells, which I filled with taco meat, shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, grated cheese, a little guacamole and a little salsa.  It tasted good, of course.  But I can only eat one of those tacos.  So I had one bacon taco.  I was hungry before it got ready, so I ate a serving of pistachios before my bacon got ready.  I packaged the other taco up and will take it for lunch tomorrow.  Guess that upped my meat intake a little bit.

I know this all sounds very decadent, but I am not supposed to worry about eating too much fat or  too much protein, as long as I am paying attention to hunger and keeping my carb levels low.  I know low fat/higher carb had stopped working for me (and I have read much about why that is not healthy).  I would follow the low fat plan to the letter for weeks and not lose a pound.  I am still kind of learning this method, but this has worked better for me since I stopped eating grains and sugar.

I had a little bit of a headache today.  I know, almost without doubt, that I have not had any wheat.  It could be a couple of things.  I could be dehydrated.  Magnesium may help (my functional medicine doctor wants me taking plenty of magnesium when I have headaches).  It could be from dairy, although I have not seen any proof that dairy causes me any problems.  I will start by drinking more water and taking my magnesium.  If that does not help, I will see if cutting back on dairy helps.

Pain has been moderate.  The kind that I cope with, but it keeps me from doing much more than I do right now.  It has definitely been worse in the past, but it is enough that it affects how I live my daily life.  I think my "strict" adherence to my eating plan is helping my allover pain, but it is going to take more weight loss to improve the back issues enough to be able to be more active in my daily life.  I need to try to do more stretching to see if that helps.

That's how it's going.  I am doing my best to stay focused.  My goal tomorrow -- a little more water.  Didn't drink enough today.  (I'll go get some now.)  Over and out.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Hope It is Enough

Today is going pretty smoothly, so far.  My daughter has been making breakfast this week since I did the lunch and dinner cooking over the weekend.  She made these little egg muffins.  You line the cupcake pan with a slice of prosciutto, put a little mound of grated cheddar in the bottom and break an egg on top of the cheese and bake it at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes.  Then you add salt and pepper and chives, if you want it.  The recipe actually called for ham, but we got the idea to use prosciutto and I think it adds a lot of flavor to it.  You get that kind of "aged" flavor like you get with parmesan cheese or something.  We like to bake it so the egg yolk is still a little runny.  Anyway, I had two of those and a few sliced strawberries for breakfast.  Once again, I was feeling a little hungry at about 10:30 or so, so this time I drank down 16 oz. of water and that did the job.

For lunch I had a bowl of the tomato basil soup I made, and a salad with lettuce, broccoli slaw (adds good crunch to the salad), a few cherry tomatoes, some slivered almonds, about 1/3 of an avocado, 2 slices of bacon and some cheddar "peels" (used the vegetable peeler to slice a few peels on my salad).  I dressed it with the homemade ranch dressing I made last week.  Yum!  That made me pretty full.

In case I get hungry this afternoon, I brought me some cheese sticks and some apples (these will last me more than one day, of course).  I think one cheese stick and a small apple, along with another cup of water, will get me through to dinner if I should get hungry before I get to go home.

So far the scale is not moving, but I did feel like I looked a little thinner in the mirror today.  I really need weight to come off for the sake of pain issues.  Hopefully my body will start responding soon.

Afternoon

I've been a little hungry, off and on, this afternoon.  I did eat one of the small apples I brought, mid-afternoon.  I was still a little hungry after that and gave thought to going to get some peanuts but I was too busy at the time and by the time I was not busy, I remembered to drink down some water.  That really does help.  I have an hour and a half to go (theoretically, if I don't have to stay late), so I think I can hold off until dinnertime.  If I get too hungry, I can still eat a cheese stick.  I would rather do that than peanuts.

I think dinner will be some more leftovers from my son-in-law's chicken wings we had Saturday night, the rest of the sweet potatoes and some salad.  We need to do a little more cooking to finish out the week; I just have to decide what that is going to be.

Evening

I got home and both daughters were here, along with my grandson.  Always love me some Carter time.  ðŸ’™ðŸ’™ðŸ’™ðŸ’™ðŸ’™ðŸ’™ðŸ’™ðŸ’™  I was really hungry by the time I got home, though, and after holding him a while, I was feeling a little vulnerable.  I ate what I planned -- the leftover chicken wings, sweet potato "fries," and some coleslaw with some ranch dressing.  I was still feeling pretty "hungry" and my daughters were about to leave.  There was a partial bag of tortilla chips on the counter that my daughter had brought home.  I asked them to take it with them because I was feeling vulnerable.  I figured I would get into it once they left.  So they got rid of it for me.  (Yay me!)  I had a few strawberries and that's where it stands now.  It did not help that the girls were cooking brownies to take where they were going.  They smelled really good.  I'm not really in danger of eating brownies because anything with wheat does not tempt me much, because I know I will have a severe headache if I eat it.  But it could lead to other things if I am not careful.

For now, I am going to let what I have eaten settle and see if I still feel hungry.  I am also going to drink some water.  I am really motivated to get my weight moving downward because of pain issues.  I have dragged this out way too long and I need to stay focused.

I did end up eating a serving of the pistachios I like.  Still felt a little hungry and gave thought to what else I could eat, but I stopped there.  Hopefully my appetite will settle down some.  I do not feel like I overate today; I only hope it is enough to keep me moving to my goal.

Monday, May 8, 2017

A Pretty "On Track" Day

Guess I'll try to keep this going -- two days in a row!

I ate as planned today, except for one thing.  Breakfast was 3 pieces of bacon, 2 over-easy eggs and a few strawberries.  I was a little hungry before lunchtime, so I ate a palm-full of dry roasted peanuts (a coworker keeps them in a jar for everyone to share).  (Next time I'm going to drink down a 16 oz. cup of water and see if I can hold off until lunch.)  Lunch was my cauliflower grilled cheese (it was good!), some tomato basil soup and a small salad.  I ate an apple about an hour later to finish off my lunch.  The variance came when I had to stay late at work (until 7:30).  I was not expecting that since my boss was out of town.  But a coworker had to leave at 5:00, so I had to stay and take care of an e-filing that had to be done today.  I was hungry by the end of the work day and didn't have anything with me, so had some more peanuts.  That is not what I really wanted to spend my calories on, but....  When I got home, I just had a few of the leftover pepper nachos and left it at that.  I usually would have eaten more for dinner than that, but because I ate the peanuts, I felt like I should not.  I need to have something at work that I don't mind spending the calories on.  Sometimes I keep the makings for a salad there, so if I had done that, I could have had that as my appetizer and then had the rest of my dinner when I got home.  Another idea is to have a half of an avocado.  Those are good and filling.  Nuts are okay; it's just not what I would have preferred.

I thought the leftover pepper nachos might not be as good today, but I think they were better.  The peppers had gotten sweeter and the taco meat tasted better, too.  I will definitely be making those again.  I put a little guacamole, sour cream and salsa on them.

Tomorrow it will probably be more soup and salad for lunch.  Since I won't have the grilled cheese, I will "beef up" my salad a little more with some protein in it and have a bigger one.  I could also make me a grilled cheese with paleo bread, instead of a bigger salad.  Just depends on what I am in the mood for.  I am trying to keep the "more veggies" in mind.

All in all, it was a good day.  I was sleepy, for some reason, since I wasn't as busy as usual (until the end of the day).  Would like to have more energy.  I know working out would help with that, but there are still significant pain issues to deal with right now.  If I do too much, then just walking is really painful.  It already is pretty painful, but it would get worse.  I need to get some more pounds off, so if my weight does not start dropping, I will need to cut my portions some more.  I also plan to do some intermittent fasting.  That should help.  I'm talking maybe 2 days a week once in a while, or possibly one week every month or so.  I still strongly believe in fasting for health.  I just have to make sure I am doing what I need to do when the fasts are over, so that is my focus right now.

That's it for today.  I'm going to do some reading before I hit the hay.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Catching Up and Working on My Focus

I'm going to try to get back to blogging regularly again.  Hopefully it will keep me more focused.  I actually journaled all last month, but I was doing a strict cleanse and didn't feel like sharing all that with everyone.  I now want to get back to my day-to-day efforts to get my weight down and get my pain -- well -- hopefully, gone.  That was part of the purpose of the cleanse, but I'm going to have to be lighter than I am now to feel a lot better.  I think if I can get past where I was at the end of my fast last summer, I will feel a lot better.

So, my eating is low-carb.  I guess that is the best way to describe it.  I do eat some fruit and occasionally I eat sweet potatoes.  I do not eat wheat, at all, and very little grains.  If I have any grains, it is about once a month when I allow myself some Mexican food with corn products or rice.  I occasionally eat a few beans.  But I cannot do that often or I do not lose weight and it causes me more pain.  I try not to eat white potatoes except once in a blue moon.  I am completely off sugar right now and plan to stay that way.  I make myself "sweets" with approved sweeteners (like erythritol) and they are pretty good.  I have not made myself anything since my cleanse -- fruit has been pretty satisfying.

Some of my goals since my cleanse are to eat a lot more veggies and to work on portion control.  I still eat nuts, but I am breaking them into servings when I open a bag of almonds, for instance, instead of having a whole bag at hand to snack on at work.  (I don't mean I ate the whole bag, but I ate too many that way.)  I found myself eating them because they were there and I am sure that was interfering with weight loss.

Actually, though, for the last few months I had  let some bad habits creep back in and let it go on far too long.  I was eating a lot of potato chips, drinking sugar-free Monsters every day (more than one), and eating a lot of ice cream (with real sugar).  I was doing a lot of emotional eating about some issues that were bothering me.  I decided to go on the cleanse for a month to put a stop to that, cleanse my body of some toxins, and try to reset things.  I went a little overboard the weekend I stopped the cleanse, but have done very well since then.  I ate a lot of salads with my own homemade dressing last week.  The only nuts I had (other than a few slivered almonds in my salad) were these pistachios I like.  They are a 7-oz. bag (in the shells) and I used to eat the whole bag at one time.  Now I eat 1/3 - 1/2 a bag for a snack.  I think that is reasonable since that is not that much once out of the shell.

My goal is to eat food that I cook from fresh ingredients as much as is possible.  That way I know what is in it and wheat doesn't creep in somewhere without my knowing it (I still get a month-long headache if I eat any wheat).  I am also moving toward eating as organically as possible as I can afford it.  I hope to buy a quarter beef soon and some pasture raised chickens and pork and have found a couple of farms not too far away where I can get eggs from pasture raised chickens and organic dairy.  I am told that may help with my pain issues a lot, since it will help with inflammation.

I did some cooking this weekend.  My daughter has been trying to eat better too, so we are sharing some cooking duties.  I make us breakfast every morning and she has been doing some of the cooking for dinner.  We usually have some form of bacon or sausage and eggs for breakfast.  Sometimes I have full fat Greek yogurt with a few berries instead.  Some things I made this weekend are some nachos made with small sweet peppers for the base.  Like this:


I wasn't looking at a recipe when I did them and I pre-cooked the peppers a little first, but it does not look like that was done here and I will do it that way next time.  I made my own taco seasoning to make sure I know each ingredient that is in it.  They were good!  I have leftovers for another meal this week, and some leftover taco meat.  We are going to make taco shells out of cheddar cheese, like this:



Today I made a creamy roasted tomato basil soup.  The recipe called for some potatoes in it (that was what was supposed to make it creamy), but I did not use the potatoes and used cream instead.  (The author obviously worries about fat intake, whereas I am more concerned with carb intake.)  I used about 1/3 cup cream for the whole recipe.  First you half your tomatoes and roast them.


Meanwhile, you saute some onion and one red pepper (and the potatoes, if using potatoes) until tender.  Then you add 3 T. tomato paste, then 1 quart chicken stock (or vegetable stock) and salt and pepper to taste.  You let that simmer a few minutes (until the potatoes are fork tender, if using potatoes, but I did not).  Then you put in the roasted tomatoes and the basil (it called for 2 cups of fresh basil leaves; I did not want that much so I used one package of the fresh basil you buy in the produce section).  You let the basil cook a couple of minutes, then you use an immersion blender to liquefy everything.  This is where I added the cream -- just eyeballed it.  It was already a pretty good texture, so I didn't add a lot.  I tasted and adjusted my seasonings (salt and pepper) and that was it.  I served it with a little fresh grated parmesan and here is how it came out:


You can save back a little basil and garnish with that too, but I did not (probably would have if I had more).  It was really good.  I had a bowl and then later went back and tasted it again and it had gotten even better so had another bowl later in the day.  I am taking some for lunch tomorrow and serving it with a Cauliflower Crusted Grilled Cheese:


Yum!  I made up the grilled cheese today and will do the last step (which is to toast it in a toaster oven to melt the cheese) tomorrow at lunchtime.  The "bread" is made basically the same way you make a cauliflower pizza crust.  It holds together nicely and will taste really good with the tomato soup.  I will probably have a little salad along with it for lunch tomorrow.

So, just for the record, here is my eating for today:

Breakfast was a cup of full fat Greek yogurt sweetened with some Swerve sweetener and some chopped fresh strawberries.  Lunch was leftovers from yesterday, which was some chicken wings (5 flat/wingette parts) my son-in-law made (had a jerk seasoning/sauce on them), a few sweet potato "fries" (baked) that were left and a very small salad that was left from yesterday.  When the soup got done, I had a bowl of soup with a couple of tablespoons of parmesan cheese.  Later, I had another half-bowl of soup and some pistachios.  That is all I have had.  May have a little snack before bed, but right now I am satisfied.

Just to add a little cuteness to my post, yesterday we took my grandson down to the pool in my apartment building for his first swimming experience.  He was not a fan of the cold water (the water was cold even though it was at least 85 degrees yesterday here in Texas), but he was definitely the cutest little swimmer there:

Carter with his Mommy (my daughter, Bethany) and Daddy (my sil, Tom) 

Carter with his Aunt Stephanie (my daughter)
That's it for today.  Better get ready for work tomorrow and get off to bed at a decent hour.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

I'm a "Nana" Now!


Well, as you can tell from my new picture, I’m a “Nana” now.  I am loving being Carter’s Nana.  He is the sweetest and most beautiful boy.  He is a little less than 2 months in the picture in front of the Christmas tree (which was Thanksgiving Day 2016).  Below are more recent ones – he’s 4 months old now!



















 
I don’t really have a lot of people to talk to about these types of things, so perhaps it is time to start blogging again.  I don’t intentionally stop blogging; it just happens.

I haven’t read my last post at the time I am writing this, but I know I was blogging during my fast.  Do I think the fast was a good thing to do?  YES.  But the most important part of a fast is what you do after you break it, and I did not do very well at that.  I stopped when my blood sugar got pretty low.  I don’t know if that was really something I should have been concerned about, but that is why I stopped.  Then I gave myself permission to eat more carbs the first couple of weeks, since my blood sugar was low.  The trouble is, I didn’t stop.  That’s the problem with letting yourself do those kinds of things.  I allowed myself sugar, grains, except for wheat, and lots and lots of potato chips.  I didn’t feel like cooking much, so I ended up eating potato chips a lot, and eating lots of ice cream.  It was easy and it tasted good, and that’s what I was looking for.  Oh yeah, and I drank lots of sugar free Monsters.

The trouble is, although you expect to gain some weight back after a fast, I gained more than I should have and my joints began hurting more and more.  That’s what sugar and grains do to me.  So I am back to sugar free, Monster free, and grain free.  I have eaten potatoes a couple of times, but not often.  My joints are feeling some better.  But the back problems are still pretty bad, and I am pretty sure I am now bone-on-bone on my right knee.  I’m pretty sure I will have to have that knee replaced, but I just do not want to do that until my back gets better.

My back felt much, much better at the end of the fast.  I have to think that is from weight loss.  But the more weight I put back on, the more the pain started increasing.  I do not want to go through recovery of another knee replacement until my back is in better shape.  That is what I have in my sights, but I seem to be lost in the process instead of making sure I am moving toward the goal.

Even since I have been doing better on what I am eating, I have been struggling with having the energy and motivation to cook as much as is needed.  I am working around 50 hours a week, and by the time I get home from work, I’m pretty done.  The last thing I want to do is a lot of cooking.  I don’t have feel like doing a lot of housework; I do some on the weekend, but not as much as is needed.  I am also on a big quest to be out of debt (so the overtime helps with that).  I am focused on that because I really have to make some aggressive progress on my retirement fund.  Most of the debt I have was run up by my kids, and I am speaking to them about paying me for it, but what it comes down to is I am the only one I can depend on right now.  So even while talking to them about stepping up and doing their part, I have to act like it all depends on me.

Eating this way is expensive.  The things I have to focus on are cooking more on the weekend so I will have options to choose from for workday lunches and evenings – easy, but the best things to eat instead of just eating nuts or yogurt and berries because I don’t feel like cooking.  I am also trying to make sure I have something sweet to eat (with an approved sweetener), because I am still craving sugar.  I drink Topo Chico (sparkling mineral water) when my craving for carbonation (which is what the Monster habit was really about – I just like them) rares its head.  Slip-ups usually happen when I have not planned ahead.  I try to never make the slip-up something with sugar or a Monster.  Once I start on those, I have a hard time quitting.  A couple of times it has been potato chips, but that happens because I did not have something to bring for lunch and the choices I have downstairs at the restaurants (which are not many) were not appealing to me.

Next, I need to start getting up and getting a little exercise.  The trick there is to do enough (and the right type) to help without doing so much I cannot walk because of what it does to my back.

So, the things I am facing right now are: (1) sugar is not an option; (2) Monsters are not an option; (3) cooking has to be a part of life; (4) need to work exercise back into the mix.  The more I do the “right” thing, the better I will feel, and the easier it will be to keep doing the right thing.

Last week I had not taken a lunch, but knew I needed to eat something, so I chose a salad from Paradise Bakery – it was something like a Chicken Apple Pecan Salad, but it had salad greens, grilled chicken, dried apples, red onions, bleu cheese, pecans and an apple vinaigrette.  It was okay – mostly I did not care for the vinaigrette – it was pretty “vinegary” – the red onion was really strong, and I am wary of bleu cheese because some bleu cheeses have wheat in them.  So I decided to do my own spin on one this week.  It will have the salad greens, grilled chicken, and pecans.  Instead of the red onion, I am going to use green onions, instead of the bleu cheese I am going to use crumbled feta, and instead of dried apple I am going use some chopped Granny Smith apple.  Then I am going to make my balsamic vinaigrette and I think that will be really good.

Another thing I make fairly often is an open-faced burger, but I get tired of them being the same old way.  So I am going to try making some different aiolis and sauces to put on the burger to change it up.  I love caramelized onions because it adds a sweet flavor.  One thing I am going to make is bacon/onion/ green chile jam.  I think that will be good.  Last night I made one with a perfectly cooked patty with sharp cheese melted on top, fajita veggies, a sauce left over from a restaurant that is kind of sweet and spicy (they told me what was in it and it is house-made, so I knew it was okay), and an over-easy egg on top.  Soooo good.  I took a picture of it, but let’s just say my cooking skills are a little better than my photography skills.

I’ve been craving some soup, but don’t think that’s going to get done this weekend.  I made some “legal” chocolate chip cookies, so at least I have a little to eat on the next couple of days.

That’s what I’m doing; now I just need to see some progress.  I will know when my body is responding.  I’m not really doing the “scale thing” right now.

I am feeling the need for some time off, but now is not a good time.  My backup is going through a difficult situation and I wouldn’t feel right with leaving her with my workload right now.  I will be looking for a couple of days soon (probably when my boss is going to be out of town).  The trouble is, I am doing quite a bit of work for a couple of other attorneys, too, and when I think I am going to have a little “down time,” it doesn’t necessarily turn out that way.  I love the work; I just would like a break.