Weekend Wrap-Up in Double Chin Land

Hello everyone! Wow, what an awesome weekend. On Friday night, I got to see tickets to Bill Maher, that I won from my friend Anne’s blog. Bill Maher isn’t for everyone as he’s super liberal, super atheist, and super opinionated, but he’s pretty damn funny. Kicking off my weekend with a bunch of belly laughs was awesome. Then, on Saturday, I went to Weight Watchers where I weighed in and…

Lost 1.5 pounds

israeli cous cous grilled pork chop roasted beets

Yummy simple spring dinner!

I’m on a nice downward trend as I’ve lost at least a pound every week for the past three weeks. WOOHOO!!!! It’s kind of weird that I’m paying for Weight Watchers but not following Weight Watchers, but I knew with my specific health conditions I needed to do sensible eating (like weight watchers) minus most carbs. The weight loss is slower than I’m used to with a low carb plan, considering I’m only eating about 70-100 grams of carbs per day (the average person eats upwards of 200), BUT, it’s weight loss, and I’d like to think that weight that comes off nice and slow is weight that will never come back! I also have noticed it’s much easier for me to stay on plan, and I think a lot of that comes from the regulation of my insulin (a PCOS symptom) with the aid of Metformin, a drug typically used for diabetics. I’m not craving things as much anymore, and it’s simpler for me to stop when I’m full. It feels good to be on the right track. A large part of this success is really limiting “white food” in my life. No sugar, no bread, no rice, no pasta. (Occasionally I’ll take a bite of something Matt is having — because let’s face it, carbs are delicious and sometimes you want a taste.) My carbs mostly come from fruit, like Strawberries or Blueberries, the occasional small red skinned potato or whole grain like Israeli couscous. The picture on the left was tonight’s dinner: a grilled pork chop, 1/4 cup cous cous, and roasted vegetables. Eating a ton of vegetables is a big part of my new plan, and to help with

hen of the woods CSA Farm fresh agriculture box

Farm Fresh to You CSA Box. The funky thing on the left is called a Hen of the Woods mushroom.

that, I signed up for Farm Fresh to You, an all organic CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box that comes to my house once per month. I was previously a CSA member, but ultimately had to give it up when I was doing some budgeting. However, Los Angeles Groupon has a deal going right now that you can get your first box for $15 (normally $31.50), so I decided to give it a try again. My first box didn’t disappoint, with a bunch of beets, carrots, spring onions, mandarin oranges, tangerines, sweet potatoes, strawberries, fennel, Hen of the Woods Mushrooms, a lemon, and an avocado. I roasted the carrots, onions, beets, fennel and mushrooms with some of my garden grown peas, kale and chard at 450 for 30 minutes.Roasting vegetables is such an awesome way to bring out the natural sweetness in so many veggies. Yum, yum!

 

 

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Matt and I at H&D’s wedding

In addition to laughing and cooking and weighing in, I got to see two of my dear friends get married. Congratulations to Hilda and Daniel! Matt and I enjoyed attending our first Armenian wedding, where, I kid you not, there must have been 15 courses of food served all through the night. We had hummus, salmon, lavash, cheeses, olives, kebabs, rice, salad, fresh fruit, and then wedding cake. I got a little over zealous in the beginning on some cheese and olives but learned to pace myself as the rest of the feast trickled out. After we ate, we danced our butts off, which was a nice way to burn some calories.

Then today, I slept in until 11 a.m., cleaned the bathroom, walked to the grocery store, and pulled weeds in my garden. A successful Sunday, if you ask me. In 15 minutes, Mad Men and Silicon Valley will be on, and then I’ll head to bed. It was so nice to have a weekend at home as the last two weekends I’ve been traveling, and next weekend will be on the road again.

Tell me what you were up to this weekend! This week will be busy, but I’m looking forward to it. The weather is gorgeous here, and even though the pollen is out in full force, I’m loving the sun shining as I take lunch break walks and train on my way t0 60 miles. PS: how cool is it that April and Monique are part of team Double Chin Divas with Aubrey and I?! We’d love to have you join us, if you’re interested in fundraising, walking, and glamping in San Diego November 21-23. All are welcome; together we can kick cancer’s butt! Let me know if you’re interested in joining so I can provide you a special discount code and team password.

Have a wonderful start to your week!

The Double Chin Diary Siggy

 

 

Results of my 10 Day Liver Detox

Well folks, I did it. Ten whole days of disgusting medical shakes four times a day and swallowing giant horse pills of pond-scum colored powder. Ten days of squeaky clean eating, including three days of eating ONLY cruciferous vegetables, beans and pears. Ten days of no exercise, which I actually missed. Ten days without MEAT! Ten days without CHOCOLATE! And even worse… Ten days without POPCORN!

I survived. I’m proud to say I didn’t cheat once, except for the time I added three frozen strawberries to the medical shake because I was literally sitting at the table near tears because I was so DONE with everything I had to eat. At that moment I remembered the little tow-headed girl who was forced to sit at her grandparent’s table because she wouldn’t finish her tuna casserole. I sat at the table for nearly an hour, crying because I didn’t like the fish taste and I had to eat it before I went to bed. (Note to self: Horrible lesson about food to teach your child. I get the whole not wanting to waste things mentality, but if your kid is crying because they hate something so much.. let it go.) In present day, my husband was a champ and talked me through it, but it took some MAJOR coaxing to get me to swallow that shake. Blech. So anyways, the strawberries helped mask the yicky fake sweetness. That’s hardly cheating, either… Three frozen strawberries is better than a binge at Panda Express, so I’ll take it. This detox was hard in a lot of ways, but it gave me some really good insight in to certain things. I had my blood re-tested today and should get the results by Wednesday or Thursday. I’d appreciate you all thinking clean liver thoughts, as I am admittedly a little bit nervous. I just want everything to be okay. Really, isn’t that all we ever want?

My final detox meal - spaghetti squash with heirloom tomato marinara. This was soo good!

My final detox meal – spaghetti squash with heirloom tomato marinara. This was soo good!

  • I always thought I’d be fine as a vegetarian, but this detox proved to me that I do actually crave meat. By day five, I would have traded my lucky socks for a chicken breast! My body was craving protein, and beans weren’t cutting it. Well, beans were cutting something, but it wasn’t hunger. Cutting the cheese, perhaps.
  • There are 5,000,000 ways to prepare vegetables, but after eating pretty much only vegetables for seven days, I’m sick of them. By day nine I was avoiding eating entirely because I was so sick of brussels sprouts, cauliflower and apples. I had to force myself to keep eating which is as rare as a unicorn for a foodie like me.
  • Eating squeaky clean does do amazing things to your taste buds. By the fourth or fifth day, I felt like flavors were so much more robust. Cinnamon was like a natural sugar bomb and black beans had such an amazing, earthy taste.

I was hoping after the detox I’d feel amazing, with incredible energy, no gray hairs, nary a zit on my face and a weight loss of 100 pounds. Well, I have no idea if I lost any weight at all because my scale conveniently crapped out the fourth day into the detox. I need to go buy a new one, but I’m hoping I lost some weight. As for feeling good, actually, I’ve felt pretty crummy the last four days. Tired, run-down, a little bit nauseous and head-achey. I’m trying to tell myself those are all actually good signs, that maybe my body is just hurting because all of the toxins are purging, but it’s tough to be positive when all you want to do is lay in your bed and whine about how crummy you feel. In addition, my husband is sick and a bunch of my co-workers are sick, so it’s possibly I’m either fighting off a cold or coming down with one.

The first piece of meat I've had in ten days. The angels sang!

The first piece of meat I’ve had in ten days. The angels sang!

I won’t have true “results” of the detox until my bloodwork comes back and I can weigh in, but in the mean time, I’m grateful to have had the experience, but I’m not gonna lie, I’m happy to be back to semi-normal eating. I’m going to try eating clean, but just being able to incorporate a larger variety of choices is amazing! In the end, I’m proud that I stuck to the plan like a champ and that I was able to follow doctor’s orders. It may not have been the most pleasant plan in the world, but I’m fortunate to have been able to follow the plan in its completion. But… I’m happy that it’s over ;)

What’s the latest tough love thing you’ve had to do that maybe wasn’t the most pleasant, but you did it and have come out better because of it?

 

 

10 Day Liver Cleanse and Detox: Metagenics Clear Change, Day Three

Hi Chinners, happy Tuesday! Remember how last month I found out that I had elevated liver enzymes? So basically, there was one liver count test where the high average was supposed to be like 30.. and mine was 120. Yeah, about that. So I really don’t drink, maybe prior to going on Metformin, once a week, a glass of wine or two. I do know that I’m the cheapest date in the world in that it takes me only one glass of wine to get a buzz, and I’m super easily affected by caffeine. All of these things can point to a sensitive liver, which clearly I haz. (HELP ME! MY BLOGGING IS TURNING ME INTO A LOLCAT!)

A delicious detox-approved green salad, with chick peas, avocado, cucumber, tomato and assorted butter lettuce.

A delicious detox-approved green salad, with chick peas, avocado, cucumber, tomato and assorted butter lettuce.

Under my awesome doctor’s orders, we decided to do a liver detox and re-test my liver enzymes after six weeks. The six week mark is fast approaching, so I ordered the Metagenics Clear Change Program – 10 Day. I specifically waited to start the cleanse until after FitBloggin’, because  I didn’t want to have any issues with my stomach while doing things like bouncing around on mini-trampolines or trying out crossfit for the first time. On Saturday, I made a very expensive Whole Foods trip and stocked up on organic pears, apples, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, beets, carrots, rice cakes and organic, unfiltered, unsweetened apple juice. In addition to ingredients you provide yourself, you drink a “medical shake” a few times daily.

The food part of the detox basically involves a vegan, whole foods diet from days one through three with some milk substitutes and rice allowed, and then on day four, you start getting more hardcore with no rice, no milk substitutes and no meat. Days five to seven are what have me shaking in my boots – those are days where I can only eat “Cruciferous vegetables”, aka, the fart-bombs of veggie-land; broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage and greens. Oh my. Thankfully on those days I can still have some beans and my lovely organic apples and pears, but YIKES. I get HANGRY when I’m hungry, so this should be interesting.

A healthy mixed vegetable stir fry over a tiny bit of brown rice.

A healthy mixed vegetable stir fry over a tiny bit of brown rice.

So far I’ve been feeling okay. Days one through two were easy, though I had to watch it to “remember” I couldn’t eat certain things. Thankfully I love vegetables, so eating like a rabbit isn’t really unpleasant for me. However, today has been a little more dicey, as I started taking the detoxification capsules and shakes, and I’m feeling kind of run down and sluggish. Not to mention I’ve got some interesting stomach things going on, but as my handy little program guide tells me, these types of signals are all just signs that the program is working. Of course the few hardest days happen RIGHT WHEN OUR AIR CONDITIONER BREAKS AND IT’S GOING TO BE 104 DEGREES. Murphy’s law, right? Such is life…

So now that you know what’s up with me and my liver, tell me — have you ever tried a detox or a cleanse? What was it like? Did you experience any amazing after effects?

 

 

 

Thailand 20 Tuesday – Week 4

Hello Friends:
I didn’t really know how to approach this week’s weigh in – because while there was a lot I did right this week, it was kind of a weird week. I didn’t go overboard on anything, but I got tied up and didn’t track on MyFitnessPal for two days, and then I exercised and was active but took it down a notch over the weekend because I was sad (my cousin passed away unexpectedly this weekend. Bummer. A reminder for all of us to live our lives with purpose because you really truly never know when your number is going to be called.) So, I’m not altogether surprised that I didn’t hit 2 pounds down, but I’m not devastated either – because I hit 1 pound down. I know what I need to fix for next week – which as usual – is more cardio. I’m behind on my goal but I feel good about keeping consistent with my weigh-ins and definitely making more progress than I was before. I try and think that even if the scale isn’t showing what I want, I’m noticing other things – like more energy from working out, or my jeans feeling a little bit looser. And hey – a pound lost is a pound lost – so that’s great!

Here are some of the weight loss high points from this week:

Cucumber and Tomato Feta Salad

1) I ate TONS of veggies this week. This was a yummy and simple cucumber, tomato and feta salad with some green bell peppers. So good and so filling.

A nice sunset stroll in my snazzy new workout jacket.

On the day we got news of my cousin Josh passing, I didn’t want to work out – but Matt and I took a nice sunset stroll through the park. It was lowkey and we ended up clocking in a 3 mile walk – just enough to make me feel a little bit better and burn up a small sweat.

Very Veggie Pasta


I had a craving for spaghetti on Sunday night but knew that the way we usually make it (ground beef, wine, olive oil) would be too fattening. So I did half the amount of ground beef, a tsp of olive oil, and EIGHT different kinds of vegetables. It came out amazing – super chunky and filling but chock full of veggies, so I needed very few noodles. So good.

This next week is going to be interesting as I’m getting on a plane Friday to head to Josh’s funeral – so I’ll be surrounded by family and food. I’ll need to remember not to eat my emotions! How is your week going?

Belly Flop in the Kitchen: Paneer

You know how there’s always that one thing you want to try in the kitchen, but you never get around to? Well, today I attempted something I’ve wanted to make for a long time – homemade Indian Paneer! Paneer is a very simple farm cheese made from milk and some sort of acid component – you can use lemon juice, vinegar or yogurt. The steps were simple – heat 2% milk until boiling, add yogurt, and stir until curds separate from whey. Then drain the mixture in cheese cloth. This part was easy enough, and I felt like Mario Batali with boobs as my homemade cheese drained in the kitchen sink.

The cheese drained and then I got ready to cut it into cubes – so far so good.

Freshly made paneer

Like any good chef (or hungry person), I sampled the fruits of my labor and was pleasantly surprised with the simple, milky taste of the cheese – and the fabulous squeak squeak as I chewed. I cut it into cubes to use in my recipe for dinner.

Paneer was a success! ... So far.

I decided to follow the Paupered Chef’s Matar Paneer recipe, and I diligently ground up ginger, onion and garlic in my trusty food processor. Do you have a food processor? If you don’t, you should get one, because my food processor is hands down one of my top three favorite kitchen accessories/appliances; along with my lime squeezer and OXO vegetable peeler. I browned the paneer and set it aside, continuing to mix all of the other ingredients. The recipe was coming together nicely, filling my house with aromas of India.

After everything was cooked and mixed, the recipe said to add the paneer to the mixture and let simmer gently for 20 minutes. I placed the paneer in and noticed it was starting to crumble a little bit, but I didn’t think too much of it. Unfortunately before I even knew what was happening, the paneer fell apart and disentegrated into tiny little crumbly curds. Sad, sad, sad. The curry still tasted fine, but it definitely wasn’t good. I was so bummed! There’s nothing worse than putting a lot of time and energy into a new dish and then having it be a total belly flop at the end. I ended up tossing the whole dish, because I just couldn’t get over the grainy texture and mismatched flavor. Lame.

The finished product - Matar Paneer

However, I did have one kitchen success today – homemade salsa with veggies from my garden. Lime juice, green pepper, cilantro, onion, jalapeno, tomato, garlic, salt – that’s all you need for an amazing homemade salsa.

Garden Grown Salsa Saves the Day

So yeah – unfortunately my first paneer recipe was a flop. I’m going to try it again though, and this time, let the curds and whey soak longer, and avoid cooking the finished product as long in a recipe. I hate it when a new recipe turns out sucky, but I have to remember that that’s part of learning the cooking and kitchen process. Stuff gets screwed up all the time – and even master chefs have belly flops every once in awhile. (Usually all my belly flop recipes come from Pinterest!) What was the last kitchen belly flop you had?

2012′s Summer Garden

It’s that time of year – when I spend lots of time watering and digging in the dirt! Here’s this year’s vegetable garden:

Garden!

Currently we have six types of tomatoes growing: San Marzano Roma, Tomatillos, Golden Peach, Black Krim, Beefsteak and Cherry. We also have four different types of peppers: bell peppers and a couple varieties of hot peppers. We have zuchinni, squash, cucumber, beans, basil, pumpkins and mint.

San Marzano Roma

We’re starting to get big clusters of tomatoes on all of our plants – these San Marzano Roma’s are an italian heirloom tomato that will be fantastic made into a sweet marinara sauce or dried in the sun.

Straight Eight Cucumbers

We have “Burpless” Straight Eight cucumbers, that I’m training to grow up a trellis rather than spread out on the ground. Does anyone know why cucumbers and some types of tomatoes are called burpless? It’s weird. I’ve never know cucumbers or tomatoes to make me burp but maybe I’m in the minority…? Strange.

Yellow Squash

I only planted ONE squash plant this year, because you know I’ll still be having to leave them on people’s porch at night to get rid of them. Last year I made the mistake of planting three zucchini plants, and I got so sick of them I let them grow until they were as big as baseball bats and could be used as battering rams. I’ll clip these little guys much sooner, and enjoy the sweet and light flavor in stir fries and on the grill.

Tomatillos

Tomatillos are a new addition to my garden. I love tomatillo salsa, and when I saw a tomatillo plant at Home Depot, I jumped at the chance. Aren’t they weird looking?! They’re like alien seed pods, but the plant makes such pretty yellow flowers that eventually turn into the alien seed pod. I’ll be making a lot of salsa this year.

Gardening is one of my very favorite things because it’s relaxing, and rewarding! What other hard work rewards you with delicious, homegrown and organic food? A tiny red tomato plucked off the vibe is amazing on a sunny day, just like a slice of sweet, garden grown cucumber.

Are you growing any vegetables this year? What are they?