Thursday, February 28, 2013
Here we are on the last day of February. I like March, because it's the gateway to Spring. Daylight Savings begins, our days stretch longer, the air gets warmer, the heavy layers aren't so necessary, and the snow melts away. For the most part, anyway. Here in New England we've been blessed so many times with April snowstorms.
February was a good month for me. I did not see a significant loss on the scale, and I stayed steady between 156 and 158 each week. For some reason it did not bother me to see these numbers, because I was seeing bigger results with my clothing. My jeans slip on without a fight, and I've lost the bulge around my waist. So for the first time in several years, I'm going several days between weigh-ins, instead of each morning. It really and truly IS a fact that the scale doesn't tell the whole story, or do us any justice.
I've been gluten-free for about five weeks now, and I'm not missing anything. I don't have any cravings for bread or pasta. I did try clean-eating brown rice pasta last week that was very nice, and I'll have it again, but I'm not out in search of gluten free foods- it is just happening more naturally for me because I eat clean.
I find that I'm eating cleaner each week that goes by. I've given up the gelatin. It was hard to say goodbye to, but now I just grab a clementine or two instead. Each little step helps.
Since March is such a long month, I would like to see 6-8 pounds gone. I'd like to be in the higher 140's by around April 1. Sure, the scale hasn't been my BFF lately, but I still do need the focus.
In order for a 6-8 pound loss to happen, I have to end each day correctly- there are many days where I'll do great until around 3:00pm, and then the mindless munchies set in. I don't binge on chips or cupcakes, but I do go overboard on pistachios, avocadoes, pitted dates, cheese, and OH YES, the wine on the weekends. Even though I plan them in, these are the things that I'll always reach for a second helping of.
And I have to remind myself each afternoon about how absolutely fabulous I am feeling each morning when I bound out of bed for the gym- to find a small loss on the scale because I've done well the days previous. It's a wonderful feeling that is very easily squashed by the mindless munchies in the afternoon.
Next time I'll tell you about our winemaking adventure. And cheese- yes, homemade cheese, too. Happy Thursday!
Saturday, January 26, 2013
This is a stressful time for me, discovering new food insensitivities and dealing with food allergies in my early 40's, and at the same time trying to keep my family fed in a healthy way while I have to avoid some things that they eat.
I thought life was pretty easy two years ago when I tested positive for a hazelnut and strawberry allergy, and positive for every tree pollen, grass, mold, animal, etc. I could easily avoid strawberries and hazelnut, and I've been successful in doing that (even though I was sad when strawberries were big, juicy and in season.) I sort of brushed off the fact that my doctor wanted me to carry an epi-pen. As if I would ever need that, I said to myself.
But since then, I've discovered that other fruits and vegetables are triggers, and there is an "oral allergy syndrome" community out there that suffers almost daily with food reactions. This is my life now, and every day is new and a challenge. I am discovering that the asthma that I developed in my early teens is very likely/closely linked to food insensitivies. I can climb a mountain or run a 5K and not worry about my asthma- unless I've eaten a food that causes an allergic reaction, no matter how minor.
This year I have decided to eliminate most highly-allergenic foods- wheat/gluten, soy, egg, and corn. I have cut back my dairy significantly. I can eat peanuts right now. Other nuts can make me feel sick. Since cutting out most of those things, I'm feeling so much better, less bloated, my skin is clearer, I feel energetic and enthusiastic.
Until Thursday. I made a regular, usual dinner in my home. Spring rolls, clean-eating style, with cabbage, carrots and shrimp, wrapped in rice paper. No sauces for me- but they were there for anyone in my family who wanted them (soy sauce, fish sauce, ranch dressing are popular ones in our house.) I immediately felt a cold coming on, and wondered if I might be getting what's going around. My hands felt puffy. My skin felt itchy. I thought it was all due to the cold weather we're having. Overnight, I couldn't breathe. My inhaler wasn't working well, and I couldn't get good breaths. I wondered if it was just the weather. I fell back asleep, and looking back, I wish I had woken up my husband to let him know I wasn't feeling well.
I woke up in the morning covered with hives, my eyes were bloodshot, and my face was all blotchy. I thought I had pink eye, and I lectured my kids to PLEASE use soap in the school bathroom, as I was sure they had brought home conjunctivitus. I thought my irritated skin had to do with our dry, cold New England air. And then I had that "OMG" moment and realized that I very well could have been experiencing a shellfish allergy. I looked it up, and sure enough, I was experiencing classic symptoms.
So I'm off to visit my allergist again this week. I am very sad, almost mourning. Seafood has always been a fun splurge for me, in a healthy way. We vacation in Maine every summer, and we enjoy crab, lobster, shrimp, and mussels/clams. If I test positive this week, I'm not sure how I'm going to feel. Surely I will know that I will be diligent in avoiding seafood for my safety. I will look at pictures of shrimp in their ugliness swimming in the depths of the ocean with their googly eyes and try to gross myself out. But deep down, I am very, very sad.
I'll come back and report the results. The skin test will give me a reading right away, but this time they'll do a blood test which may take a few days. It will completely s*u*c*k if I have a shellfish allergy.
Goodnight, sleep well, and yes, I will have my epipen on my nightstand.
Thursday, January 24, 2013
A little over a week has passed and I have eaten gluten free (along with soy free, egg free and much lower dairy.)
Last week when I made the decision, I was a little nervous. I'm not sure why, but I was. I visited the gluten-free section of my supermarket and got overwhelmed at all the flours, packaged products, and things that I've never seen, never used, and never knew existed.
And guess what- I don't need them! So while I was overwhelmed at first, I realized by that night that it was much easier than I thought- a sigh of relief came over me. I don't need to start baking anything gluten free, as I don't eat baked goods anyway. And if I do want something special, I'll seek out an alternative then. But not now. Instead of making my noodle soups in the winter with wheat or egg noodles, I'll use bean threads or brown rice. It's really so much easier than I thought.
After one week without gluten- my skin is still clear, my sinuses are clearer, I have a ton of energy and I am not as "puffy" in my midsection. Maybe that muffin top was full of gluten. ;) But more importantly, I feel like I can breathe better, I'm not coughing and wheezing, and I don't need an inhaler before my run or spin class. This may all be a huge coincidence because I've been eating clean, but once I'm free from this stuff for a time, maybe I'll add it back in and do a test.
I did discover that the california rolls that I bring home as a treat for my family here and there has gluten in the imitation crab, as well as in the soy sauce. So while they enjoyed them, I made myself some leftovers from the night before. I'm planning to make just-as-good spring rolls with shrimp for them tonight, and while they can enjoy soy sauce as one of the dips, I'll try fish sauce instead. It's sort of fun in a strange way to find alternatives that I can still enjoy.
Edited: I just looked up fish sauce and there's NO WAY I will put that in my body. More than 1,500mg sodium in 1.5 tbsp. I'll have a dash of rooster sauce or something comparable. After eating clean for almost a month that sodium content might send me into convulsions. ;)
Enjoy. It's a word that I use often in my head these days. The way you feed your body, and the lifestyle change that it brings (when you don't treat it as a "diet") can truly be enjoyable, I have discovered. I enjoy eating to nourish my body, not my mind.
Have a great week!
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
I was a little surprised this morning to find the scale sitting at exactly ten pounds less. Exact even to the tenth. 156.6. I'm getting closer to last summer's weight, so I'm happy with it.
It was a decent clean-eating week, with again 90-95% clean eating. I think the only thing "processed" on my food diary this week was Fiber One Cereal which I had once or twice, and I plan to ditch it.
One of my favorite meals- spicy chicken breast over a big salad. I poured a bunch of Srirachi (Rooster) sauce over the chicken and roasted it in the oven. It was a nice alternative for my husband, because he probably would have loved chow some spicy wings during the Patriots game. He was happy with the chicken breast. The sodium was not pretty, though- I saw it on the scale over a couple of days. Life.
Some hurdles I'm facing, and accomplishments I'm making:
**I am watching sodium like a hawk, and I'm doing well at keeping it under 2300 mg's most days. Some days are much lower, so I'm happy with that.
**On pizza and wine night at my mother-in-law's house, I had a big bowl of salad, brought my own homemade clean-eating ranch dressing, and had one glass of wine instead of two. Or three. I skipped the pizza.
**I've made the decision to go gluten free for a time. Maybe forever, maybe just a choice here and there, I don't know. Since having far less wheat/bread/pasta/cereal while eating clean, I've noticed I'm not as bloated, my asthma is almost non-existent, and my skin is still clear from hives and breakouts. Maybe wheat has been the culprit- who knows, but it's worth cutting it out. I can be friends with rice, rice noodles, sweet potatoes and other healthy choices instead of the breads and pastas.
*My Wasa light-n-crisp (or whatever they are called) are OUT because they are wheat. Until I find a better alternative, Kame rice crisps are back in as my crunchy afternoon snack here and there. I do have to keep a healthy level of carbohydrates in there somewhere.
I've been reading alot about The Virgin Diet and food insensitivies, and she has a list of seven items to cut from the diet that are inflammatory foods. This speaks to me and my focus on reducing items that are highly allergenic and might be contributing to my oral allergy syndrome.
The seven items:
Gluten- I am going to go gluten free for a time.
Soy- I avoid it.
Eggs- easy to avoid, as I don't really eat them anymore unless they are in something.
Dairy- I have cut it down, but I am going to cut it more.
Corn- I avoid it.
Peanuts- I eat PB2 and occasionally regular peanut butter without issues.
Sugar/Artifical Sweeteners- I try to avoid, but geez, my jello has it. And some other things. But I'll try harder. Yes, I've put my hand in the candy jar and fished out some atomic fireballs again this week.
So while I'm not following the Virgin Diet, I do believe that she is right as far as MY body goes, and I'm keeping her list in my brain.
I don't think I tried much of anything new this week. I'm going to make gluten free, dairy free blueberry muffins this week though.
I believe by next week I will have reached my first goal of 156, which will be earlier than I had planned. There's nothing more motivational than seeing that scale move a little quicker than you anticipated. See ya next week.
Wednesday, January 09, 2013
I have completed one week of clean eating. It was a great week!
In my estimation, I ate clean 90-95% of the time.
*I lost 4.8 lbs in the week.
*I have a ton of energy this week (but funny how the Christmas stuff still isn't put away!?)
*I am sleeping like a baby!
*My skin is clearer (I have some food allergies, oral allergy syndrome and often have a rash/hives on my face, neck, back and chest- this has been far less, and I'm exploring the possibility that gluten and dairy may have been playing a role all these years.)
Best food of the week- spaghetti squash with sauce made with chicken and black olives. This felt like pure comfort food.
Worst food of the week- none, in my opinion! My worst offense is either the glass of wine on the weekend, or the atomic fireballs a couple of evenings. ;) My next offenses are likely the processed South Beach high protein bars I had twice, and the Kame rice crisps, but neither will worry me moving forward, as I'm only striving for 90% here- I will eat processed food occasionally. That's life! I'm also still snacking on my sugar-free jello, which has an artificial sweetener. Maybe down the road I'll find a more natural, low calorie alternative. Any ideas?
What I consciously eliminated: lowfat cheese sticks and processed sliced meat. This was my go-to lunch forever- wrapping a cheese stick in a couple slices of lunchmeat. Goodbye. Just the level of sodium alone was enough for me to clean that out. Now I have to be more creative and make a clean lunch with a clean protein and vegetables.
Something new I tried: roasted chick peas with garlic and parmesan, although I eat chick peas all the time on salads. These were great, and my kids loved them.
I've eaten clean before, and every time I revisit it I am reminded how GOOD real, unprocessed food can be. I'm happy with the choice to make it a priority for 2013. See ya next week.
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