Monthly Archives: August 2010

Satisfying my Sweet Tooth the Jillian Michaels Way!

Today started out well. Corey and I woke up and decided to take Callie out on a 2 mile jog. I have to work on Saturdays and I wanted to get my workout out of the way. I should work out in the mornings more often. I am not a morning person, but morning workouts are a great way to start the day!

However, after I got home and took a shower I promptly developed a migraine. ­čśŽ Being the trooper that I am, I went into work anyway. My husband was awesome and drove me into work so I wouldn’t have to drive. But counseling patients on a migraine is not my idea of a good time. I blame my migraine on the MSG from last night’s Chick-fil-A dinner. Hard to say that it was worth it. Yes, the chicken sandwich was sooo good. But this is why I try to stay away from MSG and preservatives. No good can come from it.

My food intake was not that great today because of the headache. I had no breakfast and when I finally did have lunch, I had an awesome salad with spinach, leftover chicken, and my homemade salad dressing. Yummy. And for dinner, my husband made me my favorite “sick” food: tomato soup. Mmmm . . . so comforting and so light on the tummy. I used to eat Campbell’s tomato soup, but I have since switched to 365 Organic Tomato Basil Soup because that doesn’t have any MSG. And . . . headaches or not, that is the.best.soup.ever! There is a reason to only eat foods with simple, nonprocessed ingredients. Awesome taste and flavor.

Anyway, the most exciting thing of the evening was that I was in the mood to bake. My headache was feeling better and I wanted to bake my husband some healthy brownies. I have been dying to try a recipe I found online that come from Jillian Michaels “Master Your Metabolism” Cookbook. Seemed like a simple recipe and the brownies are only 86 calories. And I love cooking with Corey! After all, the couple who cooks together stays together, right? ­čśë

These are the ingredients needed for the recipe:

Mmmm . . . . chocolate batter

Finished Product

Brownie #2 - Since I already have a headache, it's okay to indulge, right? ­čÖé

These brownies were so freaking amazing! I have never had brownies that were this moist and tasty. I had two of them . . . okay, maybe three. I had to stop myself. Yes, chocolate is bad for migraines and I totally shouldn’t be having any chocolate. But I already had a headache, so how much more damage could I do? And I hadn’t eaten that much today and they are only 86 calories each. It’s amazing the way that my mind can rationalize things. ­čÖé But seriously, we will be making these again. Best brownie recipe EVER! See the recipe below.

Fudge Brownies courtesy of Jillian Michaels (makes 16 brownies)

2/3 cup mild honey, such as clover or orange blossom

1/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup white whole-wheat flour (I just used organic white all-purpose flour, so that will do as well)

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 large egg, at room temperature  

3/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-inch pan with nonstick spray and set aside.

Place the honey in a large glass measuring cup. Microwave on high power until the honey is runny and just bubbling, 45 to 60 seconds. Add the cocoa and stir with a fork until well combined. Let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile in a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk until combined. In a large bowl, combine applesauce, oil, egg, and vanilla. Whisk together until well blended. Add the honey-cocoa mixture and whisk until smooth. Add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture and stir until no traces of flour remain. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake until the surfaces look dry around the edges of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, about 25 minutes. Do not overbake. Place the pan on a cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing into 16 squares. Store the brownies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Need More Greens!

If there is anything that today’s meals taught me, I need more veggies. I’m not worried about the calorie count at all, but I know that I need to work on getting more fruits and veggies in my diet. But it’s the end of the week and most of the healthy foods are gone so alas, a trip to the grocery store is called for.

The day started with my favorite (and almost daily breakfast): eggs and bacon. I typically have an egg white with two whole eggs. It allows for a more filling breakfast without having the additional calories of a third egg.

You can't have eggs without cheese!

Can't have breakfast without bacon . . .

Sometimes I think it’s too much, but since I’ve lost weight eating this way I won’t sweat it. I did add a peach to today’s breakfast to add a few more nutrients.

Today’s lunch consisted of a leftover burger from the other day. It was just as good as the other day. I would have made some bacon to go with it, but I feel guilty about having bacon for more than one meal a day. It would just be too much. I also stole some of my husband’s potato chips to go with it. It was just that kind of day. I very rarely have chips with a meal. It is amazing to me that chips do not have any MSG or preservatives. They are just made with potatoes, oil, and salt. Isn’t that awesome? Of course, that philosophy does not hold true for Doritos. Ahhh . . . Doritos. That takes me back to my childhood. I miss them sometimes.

Why is it that I always feel the need to eat even when I am not hungry? Believe it or not, this burger and chips kept me full well into the afternoon. Since I can’t bear the thought of being hungry, I am always well prepared with quick snacks at work. Even though I wasn’t hungry, I felt like I should be eating the foods that I had brought. But I refrained.

When I got home from work, there was some time before dinner and I was hungry at that point. So I got some wonderful hummus and put it on some whole wheat saltine crackers. And I just have to say that it was really tough to find hummus that did not have any lemon juice in it. But I am sooo glad I did. I forgot how much I love hummus. It is unbelievably good. Can’t wait until I can have feta cheese again. I’m dreaming of a feta, hummus, and lettuce wrap. Mmmm . . . Yum-O.

Watch out for garlic breath!

As for dinner . . . it was supposed to be pasta with chicken. That was the plan. It was on the menu for the week. However, I let my wily┬áadorable husband talk me into getting Chick-fil-A. I know, it’s not good for me due to the MSG. But sometimes a girl just needs a chicken sandwich. A spicy chicken sandwich at that. And boy was it good. We actually just got two sandwiches and an order of fries to share. But Corey ended up letting me steal┬áeat all the fries because he wasn’t feeling super well. Probably not the best idea because I ate a little too much.

so spicy!

It was a great dinner, maybe not the best day in terms of meals. Tomorrow will be better. ­čÖé

On another topic, I actually received a compliment today because a coworker noticed that I had lost some weight. That made me happy. In the past couple months, I have lost roughly 10 pounds. I always negate my accomplishments though. Maybe it’s because 10 is a really small number or maybe it’s because I don’t notice any changes myself. Or maybe it’s because I still have about 30 more pounds to reach my goal weight. Whatever the reason, I have to start celebrating my victories where I can get them.

Trying Something New

Tonight was an adventure for both myself and my husband. Corey had said last week that he wanted to try something new at least once a week. This conversation started when he informed me that he wanted our (future) kids to eat healthy. He wants them to eat fruits and veggies, he doesn’t want them to drink soda hardly ever, etc. I had to raise my eyebrows at this. Really? This coming from a man who eats chocolate pop tarts every day and says they contain 7 essential vitamins and minerals? This coming from the man who thinks mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese is an appropriate meal? (And he actually eats those things when I am not here.)

I think that when you have kids, they pretty much follow by example. And I think he has finally realized that it may be hard for me to get the kids to eat their broccoli if he refuses to eat it (regardless of the fact that I may be eating it). So he has decided to broaden his horizons, albeit kicking and screaming. ­čÖé

The first thing that I suggested was . . . a rutabega. I had never, ever tried one before either. Maybe I could have suggested something a little more wimpy tame for him to try. But there was a recipe for Rutabega Fries that I found on another blog that I read on a regular basis and I was dying to try it. Thanks Julie for the idea!

the star of dinner - scary looking!

We basically just cooked them like we would a potato. You peel it and chop it like fries. Then put some spices on it. We have “baked fries” that we make on a regular basis (like tonight) and we just put the same spices on it as the potato. We put some red pepper and paprika on it, tossed it with a little olive oil and cooked it for about 20 minutes or so.

Final product!

As I am never one to shy away from tasting new items, I didn’t hesitate to grab one, dip it in some ketchup like a regular fry and try it. And . . . it wasn’t horrible. The spices covered up (most) of the rutabega taste.

I should have taken a picture of Corey’s reaction. For some reason, he didn’t want to put ketchup on it because he didn’t want to “mask the flavor.” I’m not sure he realizes that it is important to do what you have to do to vegetables so that they taste good. He was immediately turned off by the smell (which I barely noticed). He said that they “smell like throw up.” Honestly, my husband can be very melodramatic. But he did take a bite and then he proceeded to spit it out. Nope, he did not like it at all.

I ate some of it, not all. I think I still have to get used to the taste. I read somewhere that a person (on average) needs to eat something at least seven times to develop a taste for it. And I firmly believe that. So I will be having that again. As for whether Corey will try it a second time . . . that’s another story.

I think the next thing he tries will be something a little easier to handle. Grapes maybe??

Nature's Candy

After dinner, Corey and I did try to go for a run. However, I became sick with what I like to call “runner’s upset stomach” and we had to turn around. We only managed to do 1.75 miles instead of the 2.5 miles that I wanted. At least I got some exercise, even if it was walking instead of running.

Mmm . . . Bacon

Still feeling so tired tonight and I’m really debating about whether to work out or not. I always feel guilty if I skip a day. It’s the obsessive, perfectionist part of my personality. I feel like I have to work out every single day. My typical week involves me working out 5-6 days a week, so I usually do pretty well. My days off usually vary, depending on my mood but I still work out when my body needs it.

Tonight I decided I was in the mood for a bacon cheeseburger. Bacon is one of my favorite foods. If I could get away with eating it every day for every meal, I would. But I don’t think I can afford that much bacon and I don’t think that would be the healthiest thing anyway. Since my headache prevention diet, I discovered a bacon that is nitrate and MSG-free. Honestly, I think it is way tastier than the other stuff.

With my burgers, I usually just throw a heaping dose of onion powder in the meat along with some red pepper to spice it up. I love spicy foods.

Then I just fry the burgers in the pan. One trick I have learned with burgers is not to press them during cooking. That just squeezes out the juicy goodness. So I just let ’em cook a few minutes per side and then they are done. I cooked two of them so that I would have one as leftovers. I love leftovers!

Of course, you can’t forget the cheese . . .

Everything's better with cheese!

Then I had to fry up some bacon . . . my favorite part. I love the smell of bacon.

I wrapped it up in lettuce like a wrap, low-carb style. With a little mayo, ketchup and mustard, it was good to go. I practically inhaled it and I had to restrain myself from eating the other burger. It was sooo good!

Now I am waiting for my husband to get home from his business trip and still debating the merits of taking today off from exercise or just resting. I am exhausted because I haven’t been sleeping well. I never seem to sleep well when Corey is away. I don’t know if it’s because I stay up too late just because he’s gone or if it’s because I just don’t like sleeping without him. Looking forward to having him home and getting back into our normal routine.

Migraines and my Diet

One thing to know about me is that I get migraines . . . a lot. At least I used to. I’ve actually been getting them since I was three years old. I know, insane right? I get them so severely┬áand so often that I have to take daily medication to prevent them from coming on. And they aren’t regular headaches either. I don’t get the kind of headaches that gets better with a pain reliever. I actually don’t get the actual headache at all. No, I’m not crazy. You can have a migraine without a headache. Headache is just a symptom of a migraine. I get other symptoms. I get so dizzy I can barely walk, I have blurry vision, I get nauseous, etc. Fun stuff, huh?

It wasn’t until recently that I started to realize just how my diet affects my migraines. I guess I’m a late bloomer. I’ve always known about the obvious food triggers, such as caffeine and chocolate. Caffeine and I have had a love/hate relationship for years. I have fallen off the wagon numerous times, but I am now happy to report that I have kicked the caffeine habit.

Used to drink this by the gallon . . . this is what I miss the most!

Of course, chocolate is a whole other story. My neurologist would tell me countless times to switch to white chocolate (because only the cocoa is a trigger), but seriously?? Was he mad?? White chocolate isn’t even chocolate. I adore dark chocolate. However, after getting sick of all the headaches, I haven’t had a piece of chocolate in MONTHS. Seriously, that is what is killing me right now.

my most favoritest of flavors!

Of course, the headaches kept coming. Then I came across this great book by a doctor, “Heal Your Headache” by David Buchholz. He talks about a great plan to decrease and even get rid of your migraines. It starts┬áwith getting rid of all pain relievers and not taking them at all. Some of them can cause rebound headaches. The other step was to eliminate all possible food triggers from your diet for a period of 3-4 months to eliminate the toxins from your body and hopefully see a change in the amount of headaches. After that point, the plan is to gradually reintroduce the triggers one by one for a week at a time to see which triggers are actually causing my headaches.

Starting this program was a huge undertaking. I knew it would be a huge lifestyle change and that even my husband would have to change a little bit in order to make our dinners a bit more “migraine-friendly.” Frankly, I wasn’t sure I could do it. But I wanted to try for the sake of my health. And the results have been awesome. I am eating better and my migraines have gone wayyyy down. Granted, I have had a couple of cheat days but all in all, I have stuck to it pretty tightly. I have been on the diet since May 25. If I want to go the whole 4 months, that means I will still be on it until September. We will see how I’m feeling. I’m still not sure about that.

The only thing is that the diet is very, very restrictive. There are even some healthy things on the list that I haven’t been able to eat because they may be triggers. Below is a list of stuff I am not allowed to eat/drink:

  • coffee, tea, sodas. no decaf coffees either (Goodbye Starbucks)
  • no chocolate except for white chocolate
  • no foods that have MSG in them (and MSG is EVERYWHERE. once you start reading labels, you understand how prevalent that stuff is)
  • no processed meats that have nitrates or nitrites; no hotdogs, lunchmeat, hams, sausage, or bacon with nitrates
  • aged cheese are not allowed, such as cheddar, parmesan, mozzarella. the only cheeses I can have are cottage, American, and ricotta. I also can’t have yogurt, buttermilk, and sour cream
  • no nuts of any kind, including nut butters. seeds are okay
  • no red wine or champagne
  • clear vinegar is okay, but other vinegars are not
  • citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, limes, pineapples, clementines and their juices. also can’t have bananas, raspberries, red plums, avocados, figs, dates
  • no raisins and no dried fruits if they are preserved with sulfites
  • onions are not allowed
  • less than one day old bread, homemade bread, bagels, doughnuts (all of them have to be at least a day old)
  • aspartame
  • soy products as well, like soy protein that is in a lot of processed items and soy sauce

So that is my list of what I can’t eat. It’s been tough. I haven’t been able to eat a lot of fast food because of all the MSG and preservatives and believe it or not, I don’t really miss it. I think once you detox your body from that stuff, it’s easier. I do, however, miss things like feta cheese and peanut butter. Seriously, I would give my right arm for some peanut butter right now. And heaven help me if it turns out to be a migraine trigger.

Pancake Breakfast

This morning was one of those days where I woke up about an hour before the alarm clock went off and couldn’t get back to sleep. I hate those days. I was still feeling so tired that I didn’t really feel like working out this morning. How lazy of me. But Corey isn’t getting in until after 9 pm tonight, so I should have time to get a good workout in after work. I’m just hoping I have the energy. Today’s breakfast consisted of some pancakes that I still had leftover from Sunday breakfast. Mmm . . . so tasty. And a great basic recipe for pancakes. I probably could have used whole wheat flour for these things, but since Corey was eating them as well for once, I decided to go with basic organic white flour. I have to take my victories where I can get them. I’m just glad he took a break from the chocolate fudge Pop-Tarts.

they taste even better than they look!

I put a little I can’t believe it’s not butter on them and drizzled a little honey on them as well. I love honey on my pancakes. I can’t have sugar free syrup due to the aspartame and the regular syrup has way too many calories. I actually bought a jar of raw honey that came from a farm here in GA at our Farmer’s Market. It is way better than the processed honey you get in the grocery store. The taste is sweeter and clearer somehow. And a little bit goes a long way.

Recipe for Basic Pancakes

    1 1/2c. All-purpose flour
    3 Tbsp. sugar
    1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    1 tsp. salt
    1 egg
    1 1/2 c. fat free milk
    3 Tbsp. I can’t believe it’s not butter light, melted (or other low calorie/fat free butter)

    Mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients seperately. Mix both wet and dry ingredients together. Spray a frying pan with non-stick cooking spray and turn the burner on medium heat. Ladle pancake batter by 1/4 cup into pan to fry. Flip after pancake bubbles up (approx. 3 min.- different for some stoves) Continue cooking other side for another 2-3 min. Makes about 13 pancakes. The pancakes are very fluffy and delicious.

    For lunch, I am having some leftover slow cooker sloppy joes that I made the other day. I know, sloppy joes. Don’t they remind you of the cafeteria at school? I still love them. I have made my own special “sloppy joe mix” that is better than any packet you buy in the stores. It is pretty tasty. For snacks, I am bringing a blueberry muffin that I made a couple days ago and a tasty peach.

    I adore fresh peaches and will be so sad when August is over and peaches will no longer be fresh and in season. I had never even tried a fresh peach until a month or so ago. Before that, it was always canned peaches. I had no idea what I was missing. Peaches are now my favorite fruit, next to blueberries I think.

    Well now it’s time to get ready for work!

    ÔÇťYou donÔÇÖt make friends with saladÔÇŁ

    Every time I make a salad, I think of the Simpsons episode where Lisa becomes vegetarian and the family sings that song, “You don’t make friends with salad.” Catchy tune. But whether salad wins you friends or not, tonight definitely felt like that kind of night. I had a late snack so I wasn’t even hungry when I got home from work. Since Corey is out of town on business, I was on my own. Whenever he is out of town, I want to do as little cooking as possible. Cooking for one is really no fun. I watched TV for a bit and then hit the elliptical for half an hour. I had already went out on a 30 minute run this morning, but I usually like to work out for an hour total whenever I do work out. After my workout, I definitely needed some sustenance.

    I decided to make a salad out of some leftover rotiessirie chicken Corey had made on Sunday and some spring mix lettuce I had purchased at the store earlier.

    I had originally wanted some spinach as the base for my salad, but this was all they had by this brand at the store. And it was organic and I had a coupon, so you can’t beat that. I know that iceberg lettuce is healthier, but for some reason I can never bring myself to eat anything but iceberg when it comes to sandwiches. Maybe that’s something to work on. But when it comes to salads, iceberg is definitely boring (not to mention lacking in serious nutrients). So I try to get just about anything else (usually spinach).

    Regarding the dressing, I actually took a chance and made my own. I can’t have store bought dressings because they have a lot of ingredients in them I can’t have (due to my headaches, but more on that later). Last time, I tried to make my own dressing, it didn’t turn out well at all. But this one turned out really well. It has a base of fat free mayo, some vinegar, fat free milk, and some different herbs. I even put a pinch of cayenne pepper to spice it up. I may even use this dressing as a veggie dip.

    delicious creaminess

    The salad tasted wonderful and really hit the spot. I even added some yellow and red peppers that we had gotten at the Farmer’s Market last week.

    Final Product!

    For dessert, I had some Breyer’s all natural strawberry ice cream. Yummy! My favorite dessert right now. And now I am so incredibly tired. Went to bed late last night and then forced myself to get up at 5:45 am to go for a run this morning. It was extremely hard to drag myself out of bed, especially since my husband wasn’t here to drag me kicking and screaming. But I managed on my own. I had energy for most of the day, but now I am fading. I am watching Bachelor Pad on my DVR (which I can’t believe I am actually getting into) and then it’s off to bed!

    Welcome to my Blog!

    The first thing you need to know about me is that I love t0 eat. Seriously. I can be eating breakfast and I will be planning what I will be having for lunch . . . and dinner and even some snacks in between. There may even be a chance that I am drooling over a dinner that I’m not even going to be eating for five days while I am eating something else right now. That is how much I love food.

    Another thing to know about me is that, although I am trying to lose weight, I do not consider myself a dieter. Don’t even say that word around me because I loathe and detest it that much. I don’t count calories, fat grams, carbs┬á . . . nothing, nada. I used to be obsessed with counting calories. I would plan my meals (and exercises) out FIVE days ahead of time and know EXACTLY how many calories I was going to consume each and every day (this included meals and snacks). Sounds exhausting, doesn’t it? It was. But then I read a life changing book.

    Women, Food, and God was an AMAZING book. I’m sure I will talk about it a lot more later. But in a nutshell, it taught me to look deeper as to why I feel the need to eat the way I do. Geneen Roth (the author) also said that when you put certain foods on the forbidden list and you try to restrict yourself, it’s like saying you don’t trust yourself or your hunger. I would recommend this book to anyone (male or female) who has issues with food. So now, I pretty much eat when I’m hungry, stop when I’m full (at least I’d like to think I do), and I eat what I want without feeling too guilty. Don’t get me wrong. I do eat healthy. I eat foods that are healthy and all natural and mostly organic even. (Although I know I have a problem getting enough fruits and veggies in my diet and I am working on that.) But if I’m craving a cheeseburger or some ice cream, I’m not going to make myself feel too guilty about giving into the craving. And I’ve lost about ten pounds doing it this way so I must be onto something. The only real foods that are “forbidden” to me are ones that give me a migraine. And I’m sure I will talk more later about how my migraines effect the way I eat.

    Another thing to know about me is that I am married. I’ve been married to a wonderful man who I met on eharmony (yes it does work) for almost two years now.

    my husband Corey and me in Hawaii

    We also have a beautiful dog (Callie). She is about a year and a half year old Springer Spaniel full of energy, and so mischievous sometimes . . .

    Don't let the cute face fool you. She's up to no good.

    My husband is wonderful and I love him, but the challenge with him is that he is such a picky eater. He hates all fruits and vegetables (not that he’s tried most of them of course) and so that does make healthy eating a bit more challenging. But my job (and one I take very seriously) is to come up with excitring recipes for us to try every week so we aren’t eating the same things over and over. It gets hard (and time consuming for me), but I have managed quite well. We do have several dishes that are in our rotation, but every week I manage to throw a couple different things into the mix. If it were up to him, he would live on mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese. And swiss cake rolls, of course. But alas, I am here as his wife to make sure he eats foods that he enjoys and that are not heavy and fried. We also want foods that are simple to make and quick.

    Well that’s me in a nutshell. I could go on for longer, but then what would I talk about tomorrow?