What I Ate Wednesday: A sneak peek into low-carb life

Ok, so technically, the title should be “What I ate Tuesday” since I ate all of this on a Tuesday, buttttt I’m pretty sure you’ll let it slide. Right?! This week marked a new shift for me in deciding two very important things: 1) I need to get on track with low carb, because it WORKS – for me, anyways. 2) I’ve been prescribed a new medication for stress management… it’s called EXERCISE. When the going gets going, it’s too easy for me to say “Oh, I didn’t eat that much today, I don’t need to exercise.” Wrong! I need to exercise at least three times a week. At least! At the end of the day, 30 minutes on the elliptical is a tiny sliver of time out of my week. I’m worth it. Anyways! What did I eat today?

I started the day with some egg whites and bacon ends. I’m in love with Bacon Ends lately (Sprouts sells them). They cook up way faster, and they’re inexpensive compared to the whole strips. A perfect compromise for a busy, frugal person. I also had a cup of PG Tips tea, sweetened with a sprinkle of Swerve Sweetener.

Breakfast: Egg Whites and Bacon Ends

Breakfast: Egg Whites and Bacon Ends

Then, for lunch, I had a Southwestern Salad. I used the Lean Cuisine Salad Additions pack which included chicken strips, roasted peppers, corn, black beans and tortilla strips. I omitted the tortilla strips, nixed their Chipotle Ranch dressing in favor of a yummy Cotija Cilantro dressing, and added a fresh tomato. Yummy! I also had a small serving of cajun flavored cheese curds and a Diet Pepsi with lime juice.

Take your salad from drab to fab with Lean Cuisine Salad Additions! Haha, no that's not a sponsored caption. Just copywriting fun :)

Take your salad from drab to fab with Lean Cuisine Salad Additions! Haha, no that’s not a sponsored caption. Just copywriting fun 🙂

Later on in the afternoon, I was meeting a client at a coffee shop. I had an unsweetened iced tea, and when I got home, decided I wanted a sweet snack. In came some frozen mixed berries with a spoonful of Chia Seeds and some cream. NOW – Most people who read that I had “cream” while on a diet would probably finger-wag me, but the great part about low-carb is you don’t need to be afraid of fat. In fact, fat is what satiates you and keeps you full on a diet like this, along with the protein. As long as I’m not poppin’ bacon ends like tic-tacs or drinking cream by the gallon, there’s no harm, no foul in some fatty-flavor-makin’.

Frozen berries with chia and cream.

Frozen berries with chia and cream.

Next up was dinner, which came very late today because of the time change and colliding schedules. Matt made a delicious meat loaf from lean ground beef, ground pork, oats and V8. It’s super yummy! I paired it with a quarter of a huge sweet potato, and a generous helping of asparagus and brussels sprouts. Mmmmmm.

Delicious, filling and fresh dinner.

Delicious, filling and fresh dinner.

I consider this a pretty successful day in terms of eating well. The dark chocolate square and handful of raw cashews aren’t pictured, but those were snacks on the “inbetween” moments of the day, shuttling to and from different meetings. Now what does all this look like in terms of the numbers? According to MyFitnessPal, I ate about 1,580 calories and 98 grams of carbs. I’m trying to stay under 100g of carbs per day, so while this cuts close, I saw success on a plan like this previously. It’s higher in calories than what traditionally may work for people, but that’s one of the advantages to not eating bread is that you can eat higher fat. (Oh, bread. I wish we got along. I miss you. I dream of you.)

I have my follow-up thyroid and weight appointment on Friday the 15th, so I’m looking forward to (ok, not really looking forward to because I hate scales) getting on the scale and seeing what’s happened in the past six weeks. Hopefully, my imperfect road map to weight loss has resulted in a small loss, but ideally, it will be at least a couple pounds. However, there were a few bumps in the road that I talked about on Monday, but I’m not going to let it derail me. I’m back on the wagon!

So now you know what I ate today. I want to know what you ate today. What’s gone down the hatch in your world? Bonus points to whoever describes the best carb-heavy meal!

 

 

All or Nothing

Hello! Can you believe it’s November already?! I can’t. It feels like just yesterday that 2013 was starting and I had all the hopes in the world of being at my goal weight by the end of the year. Well, erm… *scratches head* So maybe that hasn’t happened, yet, but in all reality, some things just take time. More time than you imagine. But, I digress.

Today I want to talk about “All or Nothing”, or, what happened to me with food this weekend! The past few weeks I had done a Doublechindiary_popcorngood job eating low-carb. I did meal prep for breakfasts, making scrambled egg whites and pan fried lean chorizo. I ate salads with chicken for lunch, drank water and snacked on persian cucumbers. Sadly, since I’m scaleless, I have no idea if I lost weight. I need to schedule a follow up with my doctor and can weigh in then. I was on track!

Then, Halloween came. That meant pizza with friends for dinner, and a few Almond Joys accidentally fell into my mouth. Halloween passed and I resolved to get back on track to the low-carb eating. Instead, we went out with friends to Dia de Los Muertos, where Matt and I split three tiny tamales. Not satiated by the corn husk wrapped burritos, I smelled the unmistakable smell of popcorn, a treat that had eluded me for the past few weeks, as buttery corn doesn’t really fit into a low-carb lifestyle.

Hunger and the thought of “a treat” got the best of me, and I was in popcorn heaven. We hung out at the festival for a few hours longer, then went to a 24 hour diner where Matt and I split a cheeseburger and onion rings. Thankfully, I was too full before I could do major damage on the onion rings.

I forgave myself for my few days of foodie misgivings and vowed to get back on track today. But then, I saw the open box of Count Chocula and said I’d “start tomorrow”. How could I tell myself that after last week’s blog?! Haha. But, these few slip ups have reminded me of why a low-carb diet will probably be my key to success. When I can’t have a certain food group (in this case, sugar or bread), I stay away from it. It’s All or Nothing. Where I get into trouble is when I am eating a little bit of everything, and trying to pretend that I’ll have the power to say no. Tomorrow is a new day, and it’s back to the low-carb lifestyle. No sugar, no bread, no onion rings. And that’s ok. Because it’s not that I’ll never be able to have them ever again; it’s just that I’ll do better refraining entirely for the next little bit of time. I’m not sure how I’ll navigate the holidays, but I’ve noticed I feel better on low-carb. More energy, less stomach issues, and hopefully, less bloating and weight gain.

Do you notice when you splurge on something (and it doesn’t have to be food), that’s it’s ALL or NOTHING?

 

Naturally Sweet & Gluten Free Cookbook Review and Giveaway

doublechindiary_almondcookie

Hi everybody, happy Friday! A few months back I had the opportunity to sign up to review a new cookbook by Ricki Heller called Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free.  I knew back then that following the PCOS diet would mean making healthier choices in regards to sweets, and trying to eat as close to low-glycemic as possible would be a huge puzzle piece in my efforts to get fit. The book first attracted me because of the gorgeous cupcakes on the front cover. Although I can get down and dirty in the kitchen, I don’t consider myself a great baker… EXCEPT for making and decorating cupcakes. A few cake deco classes later, and I’m pretty confident with my swirly-topped creations. I have to admit that sometimes, the words gluten-free, sugar-free and vegan make me skeptical. Is it *possible* to have delicious tasting treats without butter, cream, eggs, or sugar? The answer is yes, and I know from both Lenny & Larry’s Vegan Protein Cookies and this new cookbook that vegan, sugar-free, and gluten-free CAN mean delicious!
As a highly visual person, one of my favorite things about this book is the gorgeous photography by Celine Saki. There are more than 60 full-color photographs in the book, which makes me happy because I think the most important part of any cookbook, besides the recipes, are the pictures. Doesn’t this picture of Cinnamon Buns make you drool? I’m a sucker for gorgeously styled food photography, and I must be the daughter of a photographer because today I was even pondering buying one of those mini light boxes for amateur food photographers.

vegancinnamonbuns_rickiheller

Heller also spends some time discussing how she came to be a food blogger and natural foods baker. She struggled with IBS and various tummy ailments her whole life, until she learned to start eliminating wheat, sugar and processed foods from her diet. Her story is similar to so many people I know, including my best friend, and I always appreciate it when authors give personal context to their work. Heller also provides a handy breakdown of the different types of non-wheat flours and sweeteners, which was helpful to me as I cheated a little bit in the upcoming recipe and used pre-ground Almond Flour by Bob’s Redmill. Shhhh.

The recipe I decided to test first was the “Easiest Almond Cookies”. The relatively short ingredients list appealed to me, and other than flax seed, I had almost all of the ingredients on hand. I was slightly intimidated by the process of grinding my flax seeds at first, because my food processor wasn’t seeming to “grind” them — just whirled them around helplessly. I finally realized if I jiggled the processor a little bit as it spun, it hit the seeds just right to turn them into crumbly, coarse meal.

Easiest Almond Cookies by Ricki Heller

Easiest Almond Cookies by Ricki Heller

Once I got past the step, the recipe lived up to its name, and they were pretty darn easy to make. I especially like that these are “smush” cookies, meaning you get to roll the dough into little balls with your hands, which I always think is fun. What can I say, I’m still six years old in a lot of ways 🙂 After a brief visit in the oven for just eight minutes, my cookies were delightfully firm around the edges but still chewy and soft. I barely let them cool, took a bite and was pleasantly surprised by how clean they tasted. Most cookies are so sweet that you’re kind of sugar-shocked with the first bite. These have a very delicate, light taste with a fragrant almond after taste. The texture would be lovely with a dark British tea like PG Tips. I did make one small substitution by using coconut oil instead of the suggested sunflower oil, as I had it on hand and am loving all things coconutty.

doublechindiary_alyssa_naturallysweetglutenfree

You can find the recipe at the bottom of this post, but because you guys are awesome and so is Ricki Heller, she’s graciously offered one copy of the book to one lucky Double Chin Diary reader. To enter is pretty straight-forward — just leave a comment on this post telling me which recipe from the book you’d most like to try. You can read about a few more recipes at this webpage. For an extra entry, “like” Ricki Heller on Facebook or follow Ricki Heller on Twitter.  Just let me know in the comments if you did either, and I’ll count your entry twice. This giveaway will end one week from now, on Friday, October 4 at 11:59 PM PST. GOOD LUCK!

Easiest Almond Cookies by Ricki Heller

This recipe is from Naturally Sweet & Gluten Free by Ricki Heller. Recipe re-printed with permission from Sellers Publishing, 2013.

Yield: 15 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (12 oz or 340 g) natural raw skin on almonds, preferably organic
  • 1/4 cup (25 g) finely ground flax seeds (from about 2 Tbsp or 30 ml whole)
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp (1 ml) fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) agave nectar
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) sunflower or other light-tasting oil, preferably organic
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) pure almond extract
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) water, if necessary

 

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F (180˚C). Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper, or spray with nonstick spray.
  • 2. In the bowl of a food processor, whir the almonds, flax, baking soda, and salt until you have a very fine meal (it should be the consistency of a coarse cornmeal or fine breadcrumbs, with no large pieces of almond visible). Watch that you don’t blend so long as to obtain almond butter, however!
  • 3. Add the agave nectar, oil, and extracts, and process again just until the mixture holds together and leaves the sides of the bowl. It should look like a moist dough. If the mixture is too dry, add the water and pulse quickly to blend.
  • 4. Using a small ice-cream scoop or tablespoon (15 ml), scoop the dough and roll into balls; place them about 2 inches (5 cm) apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Wet your palms (or use a silicone spatula) and press down to flatten each ball to about ¼ inch (6 mm) thick.
  • 5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating the sheets about halfway through baking, until the edges are barely golden brown and the cookies are dry in the center (the tops will still be light). Allow to cool completely before removing from the cookie sheets; the cookies firm up as they cool.

**** A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes, and an affiliate link to Amazon is included above. As always, all opinions are always 100% my own!

lyssaloves

Weekly Weigh In

MyFitnessPal – Free Weight Loss Tools

Howdy! Sorry I missed a post yesterday, it’s been a hectic week of tons of writing and deadlines and preparing for my trip to Portland on Thursday! WOOHOO! I’m heading up for a nice little weekend for FitBloggin’, where I’ll do things like attempt Crossfit and meet lots of amazing bloggers. My weigh in this week is pretty anticlimactic – I stayed the same. I’m riding at about eight pounds lost on my home scale, but unfortunately at the doctor’s office, I show a gigantic one pound loss in the past three weeks. SIGH. However, I’ve now started metformin, the insulin resistant drug for my PCOS, and as long as I keep up the fitness and good eating, I will hopefully see that weight start to slide right off! Here I am after an amazing boxing workout with my boxing instructor Shari, and my friend Susannah. I’ve upgraded to using “wraps” in addition to my gloves, and HOLY COW BELLS, does that increase the workout. The wraps protect your knuckles and keep your wrists straight and when I was using them, I could really FEEL the power coming from behind the punch. Yowza!
Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 8.50.38 PM

One of the main hallmarks of the PCOS diet is staying fairly low-carb and low in sugar. I’m not gonna lie, I’m struggling a little bit with that. Great snacks have helped ease the pain, like last night I took carrots, celery sticks and garlic hummus to my gal pal’s house. That was a satisfying and yummy snack, but I’m missing my bananas and the little Skinny Cow chocolate packets I got as an occasional treat. Anyone have any suggestions for me of snacks that are low in sugar and low carb? I see a trip to the Whole Foods olive bar in my future, but I need to go easy on those because of the salt level.

Chicken Salad for dinner! Yummy and PCOS friendly!

Chicken Salad for dinner! Yummy and PCOS friendly!

So far the Metformin hasn’t been too dicey. I’ve only had one not so great experience and that was after enjoying a delicious pat of butter on my corn on the cob. Unfortunately right after eating I felt the all-too-familiar “UH OH” sensation and the side effect was not pleasant. Now I know that butter, even in a small, limited amount, is a no-no. I guess not everything is better with butter. PCOS certainly isn’t.

It might be placebo affect, but I even feel like I’m more energized from the Metformin, like I somehow have more energy. This of course could be fleeting; maybe it’s excitement about my upcoming trip, or the fact that we’re househunting (EGADS! Watch for a post about that soon!). However, I’m going to enjoy a little more pep in my step while it lasts!

Tomorrow I’ll be back with a post about Beets. Don’t get too excited now… it’s a tutorial on how to make quick pickled beets, because I know you all have so much extra time on your hands, and pickling beets is exactly how you want to spend that time, right? HA! Till next time…

xoxo