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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Make your own almond flour!

     I love almond flour.  It is so useful for baking and is low carb and  paleo.  It's so versatile.  You can make breads, cakes, pie crusts, all kinds of stuff.  The downside?  It is hard to find and is expensive.  I'm lucky to live in a city where there are a few places to find it but at my local Target, it is $11.50 a lb.  I could drive across town to get it for $8 a lb but that is a pain and I'm using gas money.  My solution?  Make my own!

Ingredients:

Two 10 oz bags of almond slivers
A Magic Bullet or Food Processor


Pour slivered almonds into the Magic Bullet and in short pulses (I did around 10 seconds at a time to avoid overheating the bullet) process until you have almond flour!  Easy peasy.  Why didn't I think of this sooner?  For a couple minutes of my time, I get almond flour for $6.40/lb.  I might even be able to get it lower if I can find cheaper almond slivers.






     Now off to my Saturday baking!



Monday, June 10, 2013

Staying on track during vacation



     Friday before last was the last day of school for the kids.  Matt and I decided spur-of-the-moment that it was time for a vacation.  We discussed a few ideas, but ultimately decided on Colorado.  Matt was raised there and in the 13 years we've been together, I had never visited.  It was in fact as awesome as he had told me.

     Staying low-carb during vacation can be a feat.  A lot of people "fall off the wagon" either deliberately or just end up giving in due to the lack of choices but I'm here to tell you it can be done!  My weight was up a couple lb due to water retention and I was determined to not let it go any further.

     The first day I actually did a correction day.  On vacation.  Yep.  I brought the stuff to make Bulletproof coffee and had that for breakfast, had boiled eggs for lunch (I brought them in a cooler) and had a giant Porterhouse and salad for dinner at a local restaurant in Denver.  Total carbs:  3.   I dropped 3lb.

     The next day we had breakfast in the restaurant in our hotel.  It was amazing.  And expensive.  Me being me decided I would get my money's worth so I loaded up.  Along with my coffee and cream (they had stevia in the raw!) 4 chicken and apple sausage links, 5 slices of thick cut bacon, scrambled eggs and a handful of pecans.  After breakfast we took a tour of Parker, the town where Matt grew up and visited his old homes.  We by chance ran into his best friend from childhood's mom and had a nice visit with her and her husband.

     For lunch, a grilled chicken Caesar Salad from Costco.  Yeah we are awesome.  We go to Costco on vacation (we needed bottled water).  For dinner, Red Robin.  I had a Guacamole Bacon Burger with no bun and broccoli on the side.  Daily carb total: 21.

   Day 3 I had coffee with cream and boiled eggs for breakfast (we went to Starbuck's for breakfast since the buffet was so expensive).  We went to the zoo after this.  It was really fun for everyone.












     For lunch we found this awesome place called "The Uber Sausage".  It was basically a shack on the side of the road.  It was amazing.  All their produce was organic and meats free-range.  They were a sandwich place but had the option to make any sandwich into a salad.  I had a Club.  Organic arugula with chicken apple sausage (my 2nd experience with it in 2 days!)  bacon, avocado and aioli.  ZOMG.
     After lunch we met up with my friend Breea from my online mommie's group.  We went to the Museum of Nature and Science.  They had some really cool stuff and it was really neat to meet one of my online friends in real life.

     We joined my friend and her hubby for dinner at a really cool place called the Berkshire Restaurant.  This was another place that really caters to paleo/gf etc.  I got duck breast with something called broccolini which is a mix of broccoli and asparagus, micro greens, and a hazelnut vinaigrette (no sugar).  Absolutely delicious. This place is known for specializing in pork and had bacon everything.  Even bacon doughnuts.  No I didn't eat any but we got one for the kids.  They weren't especially impressed.  Carb total for the day: 27 (18 net).

     Day 4 we went to IHOP for breakfast.  I did a "build your own" breakfast of bacon, sausage and fried eggs with coffee.  I was so stuffed I couldn't eat lunch.  I had a few pumpkin seeds for a snack.  BTW pumpkin seeds are awesome.  Low in carbs, packed with nutrients and just about every gas station has them.  
     
     After breakfast we went to Target to get sunscreen and some other necessities.  I also got a new swimsuit!  Isn't it cute?

     We took the kids to the children's museum and they had a wonderful time.  We've been to a number of children's museums on various trips and this though not the most awesome, had some pretty cool stuff like a "bubble room".  
Diana the firefighter
Firefighter Adrian

Big bubble!

He loved the trains.



Inside a bubble!





Going shopping.


     After the museum we decided to check out the mall.  The really expensive mall where stuff on clearance is $100.  As we were walking along a lady at a curling iron booth stopped us and offered to curl Diana's hair and straighten mine.  It was impressive but there is no way I could justify spending $300 on a curling iron and flat iron.  Diana was happy with her curls though.  

    We met up for dinner with one of Matt's old friends at Casa Bonita which is definitely an experience.  You wait in line and are given a limited option of food choices which are served kind of cafeteria style.  Given my limited options, I chose a taco salad and didn't eat the shell. The restaurant is known, not for their food, but for the show.  They have a pirate show, a 30 foot water fall, cliff divers, fire jugglers, a puppet show, a gift shop and arcade complete with ski-ball and 80's arcade games.  Matt had gone as a child and loved it.  The restaurant was also featured on an episode of "South Park" a few years back so I was curious to experience it.  Everyone had fun and the kids were enthralled.  Carb total for the day: 14



     Day 5 we did Village Inn for breakfast.  I again loaded up on bacon, sausage and a spinach and bacon omelet and was again too full for lunch.  We did have an early dinner though.  We went to a very cool place called Garbanzo's Mediterranean Grill who also offered organic/gf/free-range stuff (noticing a pattern here?  I did not realize this going in either.  Love Denver).  I tried my first Falafel before realizing it had beans in it.  They said no grains so I bit.  It was tasty but didn't need to load up on those.  I had a scrumptious Greek salad with steak.  I did indulge in 8 homemade potato chips.  Still paleo but not low-carb.  It was all good though as my carb total for the day was only 30 (24 net).

     After dinner we headed out of Denver and on to Colorado Springs.  We ate breakfast at the hotel and I had some breakfast ham and scrambled eggs.  We went on to Garden of the gods after breakfast.  At the beginning I was disappointed.  I was expecting a garden with flowers and this was definitely not that.  After experiencing it, I was not disappointed however.




















          After that we went to Steak 'n Shake for lunch.  California Steak-burger sans bun and a side salad.


   
     We discovered Colorado Springs had a Whole Foods so we took a trip there and I found some Fage Total full fat greek yogurt!  I was so excited as I have been looking for it for like 3 years and finally found some.  Most stores carry Fage but it is always non-fat or 2%.  Bleh.  I mixed it up with some coconut oil and stevia and it was awesome!


     We enjoyed a nice afternoon, strolling through downtown Colorado Springs.  We found a cool used book store, along with a toy store, a spice shop, and even gasp, a candy store!  I got a sugar free almond butter crunch and it was soooo good.  

     For dinner we took the kids to Cici's Pizza.  It used to be a family favorite when we lived in GA.  Back then I would eat to my heart's content and then bolus 25 units to cover the hundreds of carbs I was eating.  Not this time.  Get this.  Cici's offers a low-carb bowl!  How cool is that?  A bowl with toppings, cheese and sauce.  That's all you want anyway right?  The crust just holds all the yummy stuff.  Carb total for the day: 29



     On the last day we ate breakfast at the hotel.  Had sausage patties with cream cheese on top, an omelet with American cheese and coffee with cream.  

     We were on the road for lunch.  I just grabbed some stuff from a gas station.  More coffee, some pumpkin seeds that I barely touched because they were so salty and an Atkins bar.  Not my proudest moment.  I rail and preach about the evils of Atkins bars.  They are full of crap and keep you from breaking the sugar/grain addiction.  It was convenient and available at the gas station so I ate it.  By dinner time we were pulling into El Paso and it was storming so we stopped at Golden Corrall.  Being a buffet of course I stuffed myself.  Sirloin steak, Bourbon street chicken, Chipotle chicken, cottage cheese, egg salad, sugar free jello and sugar free blueberry pie.  Total carbs for the day:27.

     So there ya go.  7 days and I never went over my 30g max.  I got to eat yummy delicious food and didn't go off plan (not badly anyhow).  We had an awesome vacation and I can't wait to go back!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

High Fat Experiment

     Last week I made a low carb cheesecake.  At the end of the day, I had gone way over on calories and my carb count was close to 20.  I almost threw it away so I wouldn't be tempted to eat more but a friend suggested  I just spend the next day eating it and eat only the cheesecake and bacon.  I did this and the next day I was down 2lb.  This past weekend I ate a lot of restaurant food (went to NM with Matt) and was up a couple lb.  I decided to repeat this "experiment".  This time with low-carb key lime pie.  The recipe which can be found here http://allrecipes.com/recipe/key-lime-pie---low-carb-version/ is as follows:


1 c ground pecans
3 tbsp melted butter
2 packets Splenda
1/2 tsp coconut extract (I used coconut oil instead)
1/2 c heavy cream
2 packets Splenda
1(6 oz) Lime flavor Jello
1/3 c boiling water
1/3 c cold water
2 packs cream cheese, cut into pieces & softened
1/2 tsp coconut extract
2 tbsp ground pecans

1) In med. bowl mix together 1 cup ground pecans, butter, 2 packets Splenda, 1/2 tsp coconut extract. Press firmly in bottom & up the sides of an 8 inch pie plate. Refrigerate until firm.2) In small bowl, whip the heavy cream w/ 2 pks Splenda until soft peaks form. Set aside.3) In a large bowl w/ high sides, mix the gelatin w/ boiling water until dissolved. Then stir in cold water. With mixer, slowly beat in cream cheese, after all is added stir in remaining 1/2 tsp coconut extract & beat at Hi speed until smooth. Carefully fold in whipped cream. Use spatula to scrape mixture into pie pan & spread around. Sprinkle remaining 2 tbsp nuts on top. Refrigerate several hours or overnight to allow gelatin to set.



I ate the Key Lime Pie, bacon and chicken thighs yesterday.  Here is my My Fitness Pal food diary from yesterday.



I had 2208 calories, 9g of carbs, 213g of fat,  and 48g of protein.  You would think I'd gain huh?  This morning I was down 3.6 lb!  Same results twice.  I am now calling this a correction day.  Pretty cool huh?




Thursday, May 9, 2013

Update

     The water is finally coming off!  I'm down 4lb from the 6 I was up which puts me at 1.4lb below my LIW (lowest injecting weight) so I feel better.  I was getting worried for a minute.  I know a lot of people gain some of the weight back at this point but I'm still being pretty strict.  I'm giving myself more freedom with dairy on the weekends as well as allowing myself nuts/nut flours on the weekend as well.  I've continued having Bulletproof coffee for breakfast (and lunch sometimes as well) and sticking to a meat and veggie or eggs for dinner.

     At this point my BMI is at 21.9 which is in the "healthy" category but I was curious about my body fat percentage, since I've heard this is a better indicator of health than standard BMI.  I have a body fat scale but it seems to be unreliable so I ordered a pair of calipers from Amazon.  While I was waiting for them to arrive I was looking at calculators online.  Matt suggested I use the Army body fat calculator http://www.armyprt.com/apft/online-apft-and-body-fat-calculator.shtml  It's a nifty little gadget.  You enter your gender, age, height, weight and measurements of your waist, hip and neck and it gives you a body fat estimate.  Mine was 22%.  Yesterday the calipers arrived and I followed the directions exactly.  I also got 22% with them.  This puts me in a fitness range!  I find this quite amusing as I never exercise.  My measurements are the same.

     So at this point, every single health marker I can think of is great.  My cholesterol is wonderful, my bp is good (on the low side as opposed to being on BP meds before going Primal) I still want to get an NMR Particle Profile or VAP test to test my LDL particle size.  That will be the final "neener neener neener" to all the low carb naysayers.  I'm hoping to get it soon.  In the past my doctor has poo-pooed it saying it is unnecessary, it won't change the treatment outcome (they just give you statins) it is expensive and insurance companies won't pay for it.  Well I've been researching it and it looks like most insurance companies DO cover it now and it only costs around $40.  The only things that need improvement now are my immune system, (I'm still catching every bug it seems) and my Vitamin D3 level which has remained on the low side despite 3 years of supplementing which I suppose it understandable since I never go outside.

     I actually found my measurements from 2009 when I started considering making changes.


Weight:  200
Waist-36 (eeeek!)
Bust-39
Hips-44
Thighs-25
Calf-15
Arm-13

A year later after losing 55lb my measurements were:

Waist-27
Bust-35
Hips-38
Thighs-21
Calf-15
Arm-12

Now almost 3 years later they are:

Waist-26
Bust-32
Hips-39
Thighs-20
Calf-13
Arm-12

This means I am smaller than I was before I got pregnant with Adrian.  I have lost a total of 30 inches!  How are people still disbelieving?