** Amber's Belly Fat Cure Shopping List - Download or Print HERE **

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Eating Out on the Belly Fat Cure

Months ago I ate out with a group of women all on Jorge Cruise's Belly Fat Cure. As we looked at the menu one person said "Don't judge me for what I'm about to order". I was WAY too busy judging myself at the time to judge her food choices. I barely noticed what she ordered, but it registered that she continually tried to get the rest of us to try the bread. Later as she enjoyed dessert, while the rest of us had a cup of coffee, she had the gall to say "This diet is impossible to do when you eat out". Impossible, as in it can't be done? Or impossible as in "it's impossible to control myself"?

Eating out is difficult on any diet. Diets that require you to know the nutritional values of the food are even more so. The good news that is that new laws require restaurants to display more nutritional information, they bad news it that it doesn't apply to everyone (only chains with more than 20 restaurants need to comply). By 2011 movie theaters and even vending machines must list their nutritional facts! Knowing the carb and sugar content of the food you eat will get even easier.

Honestly, I avoided eating out at the beginning of the diet. Or if I did, I got a "Protein Style Burger" (burger loaded up with lettuce, no bun) and side salad. I was very strict on the plan and did not want to stray for even one meal. But I know some people eat out much more often and want to know they can make good choices. My favorite meal to eat out now is at Sam's Chowder House in Half Moon Bay: Prosciutto wrapped shrimp over sauteed spinach.

Here are some tips on following the Belly Fat Cure even while eating out:
1. Keep It Simple - Pick your protein first and then load up the rest of your plate with green veggies. If it doesn't come with green veggies, ask to substitute. Avoid grains (breads), sauces, anything breaded - keep it simple.

2. Get the Facts - Ask your server for the nutritional facts list before you order. Better yet, check the website before you leave the house and know the good choices. Jorge Cruise's Carb Counting book offers lots of restaurant info and is less then $8 on Amazon. Even McDonalds has the Nutritional Facts printed on the bottom of the tray liner

3. Skip the Alcohol - Or if you must, choose wisely and have only one. A light beer or white wine are great choices, but cocktails are loaded with sugar thanks to the fruit juice. I had to kiss favorite Apple Martini goodbye with the Belly Fat Cure, but I don't really miss it now.

4. Substitute or Get it on the Side - Ask to have salad dressing on the side always and if it is a sweet dressing substitute it for another. Italian dressings are usually a good choice, but others like Ranch, are completely hit or miss with their sugar content. Even though mashed potatoes are allowed on the plan, they are allowed in very limited quantity, so substitute them for whatever the fresh green veggie is.

5. Avoid Places - Whether it is chips & salsa at Mexican restaurants or pasta & bread at Italian, if you will be too tempted, make it easy on yourself and avoid those types of places for now. I avoid Panera, since I used to stop off and get a cinnamon chip scone and green iced tea (comes loaded with sugar) after I dropped my son off for Preschool. The temptation is just too great there for me personally.

Whatever you do, don't make excuses like the women at the beginning of this story. You can do this diet AND eat out, you just have to want it bad enough! Happy New Year BFCers! Here is to a healthy and happy 2011!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas on a Diet

This is my 2nd Christmas on the Belly Fat Cure and I am so excited and pleased with my progress. This is the first holiday season in years that I haven't been upset by my weight and embarrassed by our family holiday photo.

A little advice for my BFC friends for the next two weeks is to keep your goal in mind. Don't let cravings get the best of you and remember to fill up on proteins and green veggies. If you do that, I promise you will be less tempted by all the sweets. If you do give in, don't beat yourself up! Remember it is a process and start the next meal/day fresh. (Don't try and eat less the next day to make up for the overeating, remember on the BFC it is all about the sugar/carbs you intake in one sitting that matter)

I hope you all have a great holiday season, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Put yourself first and know that you CAN do this...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Belly Fat Cure Maintenance and the Holidays

I haven't been blogging much lately, been so busy with visitors and life. I had family in town for an extended visit over Thanksgiving. We ate out much more than usual, and I had more carbs at each meal then normal. I even had a "real" dessert for the first time in over a year. I got a small Honey Lavender Gellatto downtown and shared it with my Husband. I felt weird about it, but it was a one-off thing.  I am a binge eater, so I need to be careful not to start that habit up again. But I feel really in control and satisfied with my food. After 14 months on the Belly Fat Cure diet, that is amazing. It speaks volumes about this plan.

I am also training for my first Half Marathon in early February. It has me running three times a week on a training schedule. I thought my body was done changing, but it's not. I think I am really close to my ideal weight for my age and body type. So the exercise is reshaping what I have a bit. It is NOT lowering my weight though, I am maintaining at 145. But I am tightening up all over. I don't get on the scales much, and just go by the fit of my clothing. I was able to wear a new dress to the Hubby's work holiday party last night, and it was a SMALL! That concept is so CRAZY to me, it doesn't seem real. It has a lot of draping on it, so maybe it was very forgiving. I can't explain how nice it was to not feel selfconscience all night (or like a sausage encased in Spanx).  I forgot to take a photo but here is the dress (on sale at Anthropologie - my favorite store!)

As a 41 year old women who as been overweight for about 10 years, my body needed a lot of work. My upper arms are still a problem area, and I don't think running will ever help with that. But the rest of my body really seems to be responding. Even my biceps, I guess from pumping my arms while running? I still have thick thighs and calves, but they feel more muscular now. I don't workout at all, other than running outside. As the rainy season hits Northern California, I may have to figure out an indoor workout for a few months. I don't have a gym membership or a treadmill.

This time of year I notice so many people abandon their diets and tend to get negative about these issues. Maybe it is frustration with so much else going on. But stay strong and keep your goals in mind! If you can survive eating right through the next month, you are golden. Remember you DESERVE to have the body you desire. You are not depriving yourself of foods, but are giving yourself the gift of a new body. Dramatically lowering your sugar and limiting your carb intake really is a long term plan you can do!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Me and the Half Marathon

Over a year ago when I began dieting, I also set a fitness goal for myself. I set the weight loss and fitness as separate, because in my mind they were related but so different. But really they worked together to get me to my goals. By losing weight, I could actually start running instead of just walking. As I lost weight, I noticed my feet hurt a lot worse as I exercised. By exercising I tightened up all lose skin created from losing weight. So it was a win/win situation. I also loved how my long walks/runs let me clear my head and process my emotions. Friends kept encouraging me to register for a big race to help motivate me, but I resisted. Then one day I realized I could actually do this!

Initially I set my exercise goal to run a 5K in 2010. I did that back in May, and I didn't do too great. Turns out the the first few miles are the hardest for me and I don't enjoy that part of the race at all. I enjoy my long run days because I really exhaust my body, and it is something that I never imagined I could do. I have signed up for the Kaiser Permenente San Fransisco Half Marathon. It runs 13 miles through Golden Gate and along the Great Highway. I a using a traditional Half Marathon training schedule, where I run one short (3 mile) and one long (9 miles) and one short run that increases in length by 10% each week. I can't run the big hill part of my long run, but other than that I'm pretty okay.

I have two big fears for the Half Marathon are injury and weather. I got a great pair of running shoes that is supposed to take care of most knee problems. But I still have to be careful, because of my age. I also run on trails mostly and sometimes fall. I fell recently, sliding and then falling right on my knee cap. I'm afraid I'll do all this work and then get injured and not be able to do the race. And then there is San Fransisco weather! An early February morning could mean freezing rain OR 70 degrees and sun (much less likely). Not sure I can handle freezing rain! I have been upgrading my running gear from the Target workout section to Lululemon and a little better quality for winter. But Im a little scared...

Have you set a fitness goal along side your weight loss goal? Do you keep them separate?

I can't stress enough the role music plays in this. When I'm having a hard time, huffing and puffing my way through a section of trail, the right song can come on and turn everything around. A little Blue's Traveler's The Mountain Wins Again, Florence and the Machine ("run for children, your sisters and brothers") the same music that might get you dancing or tapping your foot. I recently saw Robyn in concert and LOVE her! Her album is on sale at Amazon right and would make a great gift to yourself if you like that kind of pop music. Since I got rid of my iPhone and have an Android now, I use Amazon for all my music.


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Celestial Seasonings Holiday Teas

I know I write about tea quite a bit, but I feel like they are a huge help on the Belly Fat Cure. Maybe I should change the name to Me & Tea? It's not so much that I LOVE teas, it is that they are perfect for a low sugar diet... or probably any diet. I started having them when I didn't have any Carb or Sugar servings left in the evening and couldn't have any dark chocolate. So I searched for something that was sweet and free! Celestial Seasonings has some great Holiday Teas I wanted to share with you. They are only out in stores between now and mid-January and my local Safeway had them on sale 2 boxes for $5, but Amazon has a good price too. They are available in most stores that carry Celestial Seasonings tea, but you may not be able to find all the varieties. Stock up now before they are gone for the season!

If they teas don't hit the spot, try adding a little Stevia sweetener or even a little bit of cream. It can make a huge difference and really bring out the flavors.

Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride Holiday Tea by Celestial Seasonings - 1 BoxSugar Cookie Sleigh Ride - I discovered this tea last year and was really sorry I didn't stock up for the whole year. A little bit of sweetness really brings out the cookie flavor. Imagine you are eating raw cookie dough, an awful old habit, and you will get the idea. It does smell better than it tastes, but it is still a nice nightly treat.

Celestial Seasonings Holiday Teas Candy Cane Lane Decaffeinated Green Holiday Tea 20 tea bags (Pack of 5)Candy Cane Lane - Craving a candy cane or peppermint stick? This tea will really hit the spot! Its a new favorite of mine and gets double points since it is a green tea and decaffeinated. Perfect for an evening warm up. Even though this is a green tea, I don't taste anything that would lead me to think that, so don't let that turn you off.

Gingerbread Spice ** Seasonal item ** - 20 - BagGingerbread Spice - This tea smells so wonderful and spicy. Like you have something baking in the kitchen. This tea I like with a little cream. I'd love to find a way to use this tea in my oatmeal or Jay Robb shake. Maybe Christmas morning while the family is having Egg Nog (I do miss Egg Nog) I'll have a Gingerbread Shake. Just use the cooled down tea instead of Unsweetened Almond Milk!

Two other holiday teas to try are Nutcracker Sweet and Sugar Plum Spice. I haven't tired them yet as my tea cabinet is completely full. But they look like great Decaf no sugar options! Let me know if you have tried any of these and what you liked. I had family in town for Thanksgiving and we had these teas everyday!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Food Rules: An Eater's Manual by Michael Pollen

The Husband's work is really health conscience and puts a lot of thought into what they serve their employees. Recently he came home with a copy of Michael Pollen's food rules, which I've been wanting to read.

The book is literally what the title says, rules for eating food. It contains 64 rules in all and I love that the last rule is "Break the rules every once in awhile"! (Not everyday, mind you) Last April I attended a conference that Jorge Cruise held to introduce the Belly Fat Cure Fast Track and he had a Dr. there that said some of our foods more closely resembled plastic, than actual food. That really hit home with me when I thought about. Since starting on Jorge's plan I have been much more conscience about the quality of my family's food. At first it was Sugar/Carbs/Sugar/Carbs, but then it was more.

Food Rules is a great way to concentrate on real, healthy food for your family without having to know any of the science behind it. Rules like "If it came from a Plant eat it. If was made in a Plant don't" or "if a 3rd grader can't read the list of ingredients, don't eat it". Really good, simple advice. Since I have a 3rd grader, my kids got a kick out of this one! They weren't as happy about the rule that said to not eat cereal that changes the color of the milk though. Sure, a lot of it is just common sense. But we could all use a good plainspoken reminder sometimes.

Michael Pollen is also the author of The Omnivores Dilemma and In Defense of Food, which are also on my reading list. You can pick up Food Rules at Amazon for as little as $3 which a great for a useful reminder about how we should be fueling our bodies.food rules


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Vanilla Teas

I'm a big tea lover and Fall and Winter are the perfect times to warm up with a nice cup in the evening. I have also found having a tea in the evening is the perfect way to may me feel full and even satisfy my sweet tooth. In the past I have written about Chocolate Teas, which I absolutely love, but there aren't many decaf options for the evening. So this post is all about Vanilla Teas!

Think of these teas as your after dinner dessert. Have them alone or with a square of dark chocolate. I brew a small pot and add 1 packet of a stevia sweetener to the whole pot. Then add a small amount of cream to my tea cup and pour. I think this is much nicer then just microwaving a cup and sticking a tea bag in. You will be surprised at how it will warm your whole body, and make you feel full guilt free.

These three vanilla teas in Decaf form are my favorite options for a cold evening:

Davidson's Coconut Vanilla - This is a wonderful dessert tea, definitely my favorite! I have found Davidson's teas at Whole Foods and few other specialty stores.

Celestial Seasonings Sweet Coconut Thai - I didn't really like this tea at first. I shared the first pot with my Mom and she liked it right away. It had more of a Chai flavor then I expected, but it grew on me and I love it now.

Stash Vanilla Nut Creme Tea - The truth is, as a brand I don't love Stash.  The flavors doesn't always match the scent and that puts me off. But they are very inexpensive, easy to find and I wanted to give you easy to find alternatives. If this is only Vanilla Tea you can find, give it a try.

Do you have a favorite dessert tea?


Thursday, November 4, 2010

GOOP and the Rising Popularity of Low Sugar Diets

A while back I subscribed to GOOP, which is actress and health nut Gwyneth Paltrow's blog. She sends out her blog in Newsletter form broken up into groups of DO, SEE, BE, GET, MAKE and GO topics. She often gives advices on travel and food, apparently she is a real foodie. Today I was surprised to see GOOP's DO newsletter dedicated to Overcoming Sugar Addiction, with Gwyneth's own input and an article written by Dr. Frank Lipman.

Turns out Gwynnie and Jorge Cruise are thinking on the same lines! I thought it was really important with right up front addressing sugary foods as addictive. It goes on to support this claim and mention many similarities that Jorge mentioned in our online class. The article recommends eating whole foods low in sugar and eliminating artificial sweeteners, although it does suggest using fruit to curb sweet cravings. There are several supplement recommendations, including L-Glutamine. While the article did not give any specific guidelines for how much sugar was considered "too much" I found it a great introduction to a low sugar lifestyle.

The Belly Fat Cure is the only low sugar book I've found that actually sets limits in the grams of sugar we should have. All other articles and books I've seen are very vague on the details of how much is too much. But it is very interesting to see more and more information on low sugar diets and their benefits. Just think, Low Sugar could be mainstream one day soon!

As a low sugar dieter for more than a year now, I found the article very useful. I think a newbie would really get a lot out of it too. You can check out the full article HERE and GOOP in general HERE. Her newsletter is also very useful if you plan on antiquing in Paris or are having dinner in Italian country side (she knows just the pace to go)...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Weigh In: Week 52 and Holding

Who stays on a diet for a year? I've never heard of such a ludicrous thing. If a diet really worked, then you'd do it for a few months, lose all your weight and be done with it. Well, that's what I thought.... but now I know better. For a diet to really, actually work it has to be more than that. It has to become a lifestyle, a Way of Eating (WOE). 

So here I am at my 1 year mark on Jorge Cruise's Belly Fat Cure. I lost 53 lbs, from 196 to 143 lbs. I lost 9 inches off my waist. Went from a size 14/16 to 6/8 and XL/L to S/M. (I used to always be paranoid that I'd leave the house in a new pair of pants with the 14 14 14 14 14 14 tape still down the leg for the world to see.) I am wearing the same workout top in all my photos,it apparently has lots of stretch to it. But I went from XL running shorts to Medium and these are Small. 

I had to buy new everything; from underwear, bras, jeans, shorts, tops, sweaters, swimsuit, pajamas, coat. Everything single thing except socks! Turns out 50 lbs is quite a difference on 5'4" body. I didn't buy much clothing during the process, I had old size 12s in my closet from years ago to get me through the months that I needed them. But mostly I just held out and let my clothing get really really baggy. I wanted to buy better clothing this time around, not just junk. I knew size 8 was my goal weight so when I got there I went shopping! I'll admit at first it was fun, shopping for new  smaller clothes. But then is was a huge pain in the ass! But sometimes I would have to laugh in the dressing room, because I couldn't believe things fit. Honestly, I deserved that since I've cried in the dressing room more then once when I couldn't get things past my knees.

I haven't lost that much weight since the last time I posted pictures (Week 30), the last several months have just been maintenance. I feel like I have toned up quite a bit though and I have set a goal for myself to run a Half Marathon (Kaiser Permanente San Fransisco in February is looking good to me). A year ago I was walking 3 miles twice a week. Now I try to do between 9-18 miles a week and try to run most of it. As you can tell from the photos I've lost a lot of weight in my rear and I attribute some of that to the running. But I believe 80% of my weight loss is the diet. The running has just toned what I had left.

You can follow my weekly weigh-ins over the year (that eventually became monthly and then periodic weigh ins as I got to my goal) HERE. I never intended to post photos of myself... never. In fact my starting photo is after I've been on the plan for about 6 weeks and already lost quite a bit. But post photos, I did! They are embarrassing to see and I'm nost sure I'll leave them up here forever either. I have to say the photos help SO MUCH. Even tonight after taking these last photos, I look at them and can see the huge difference. I can't always see the difference just looking down at myself. So take photos of yourself regularly, we need that reminder. 

I followed the book 100% and did not deviate, make excuses, or come up with my own alternative plan. Some of the things I do and blog about I got from my 12 week class that I took with Jorge. It cost me $400, and I think I got my money's worth ;-) He periodically has these classes, but they are not always the same in duration, motivation, etc. I took from the class want I wanted, and that is a huge part of my success.

I want to say congratulations to my fellow BFC Classmates who I started this journey with and a handful of us stuck it out together. They have meant the world to me this year, and will be life long friends. Love you guys! Thanks for reading and commenting. This is just the beginning of our journey, not the end...


Monday, October 25, 2010

Product Review: 34 Degrees Crackers

34 Degrees Rosemary Crispbread, 4.5-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 6 )There are lots of good cracker toppings allowed on the Belly Fat Cure plan, but very little room left for the actual crackers themselves! 34 Degrees Crispbreads are the best crackers I have found for a low carb diet. They are super thin and perfect for loading up on great cheeses, spreads and dips or any party foods. Mostly I try to use sliced vegetables (zucchini or cucumbers) for these things, but these are a great option.

1 serving consists of 19 crackers for 25 grams carbs, 1 gram sugar and 1 gram fiber (servings size varies between the flavors).  34 Degree Crackers are available in a vareity of flavors including Whole Wheat, Lemon Zest, Rosemary, Cracker Pepper, Sesame and Natural. Rosemary is my favorite. I have found them at Whole Foods, Safeway and thankfully Amazon.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Halloween Candy: A Fair Trade

We love Halloween in my family, but I don't like all the Halloween candy in our house. It isn't good for the kids and it is a temptation for me. I think the whole Candy Witch or Great Pumpkin idea is over the top: Put out your candy and it's replaced with a toy. My kids have enough toys and a birthday is just around the corner.

I read about an idea at Stephmodo, one of my favorite blogs, to trade candy for coupons. The coupon ideas were so sweet and family oriented I decided to do this myself! They are things that the kids love, but we never do enough of (a few are are just straight up bribes to get rid of the candy though). They don't all the candy, but most of it. I made most be a 5 candy trade and a couple 10 candies.

Our Coupons are:
1 Silly Bandz
Stay Up Late 30 Minutes
1 Hot Chocolate
In n Out For Dinner
Trip to the Yogurt Shop
Hot Tub Afternoon
Daddy Cleans the Playroom
1 Lunchables for School Lunch
Family Game Night with Popcorn
Family Movie Night - DVD & Popcorn
Mom Does Bedtime Reading
Mom Cleans Your Bedroom
School Lunch With Mom
Lunch at Dad's Work

Last year when I told the boys we would be doing this they were so excited. I was thinking through the ideas as I told them, and when I got to "Daddy will clean the playroom" they went crazy!! "Daddy!?!" The idea was ludicrous apparently. Mind you, Daddy was in Moscow at the moment and had no idea of this plan. So I knew it was a hit and I'd get all their candy in the end. Hahaha! (Daddy on the other hand, was not thrilled. But that coupon finally came out he did clean the playroom.)

I just thought this was a great way to sneak in quality family time AND get rid of your candy. I once overheard them plotting to give me only "bad candy" or try and trade empty wrappers, but over all it was a big success. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Halloween on a Diet

Halloween officially kicks off the holiday season, making it even MORE difficult to stay on a diet. I wrote about getting through Halloween last year, when I had just started dieting. I was really determined to get through it without binge eating those tiny chocolate bars, and I made it through! Last year I didn't buy any candy to hand out and we spent the whole evening out with the kids Trick or Treating. I plan on doing that again. That solves problem #1 - Candy I Buy.

Last year I read about letting your kids trade candy for other things and my family ended up loving this idea. That solves problem #2 - Candy The Kids Get. I will write about it here later in the week, it is a really fun family-centered idea. I want to be just as determined this year to stay away from the candy as I was when I just started dieting. 85% Dark Chocolate Bars and Chocolate Teas will be the keys for me when a craving hits.

Most importantly, don't buy those bags of candy! Don't have them in your house. For me, that is key. If there really is no way to avoid them in the house, try one of these ideas:
  • Don't buy candy at all - spend the evening going house to house with your kids.
  • Buy candy you don't like or are allergic to .
  • Wait and buy it early evening on Halloween - the less time it is in the house, the less damage it can do.
  • Great alternative to candy this year was passing out Silly Bandz. This is such an excellent idea and your house would be more popular than then house with Full Size Snickers Bars! Amazon has a great deal on them, but Target, Walgreens, Walmart and everyone else carries them too. Best part is, you can't eat them!
  • Have a low sugar treat in the house you can eat when/if the cravings come.
This year we are planning on doing a Star Wars family theme. Yes, that's right... we all dress up! That is us two years ago. My costume is a twin flat sheet I sewed up for Princess Leia. I will have to take it in a bit this year and my hair is much shorter, so not sure how I'm going to do the buns. My youngest was Han Solo. He had a black wig and I taught him to say "I know" when I said "I love you".

How are you planning to survive Halloween on a low sugar plan?


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Food Addiction

I always enjoy reading Dr. Mark Hyman's articles at the Huffington Post. This week he wrote about American's addiction to food, and again I could really relate. The article Food Addiction: Could it Explain Why 70% of Americans Are Fat? even goes so far as to compare our obsession with high sugar and fat foods with serious drug addiction. Awhile back I called myself a Carboholic, only half tongue in cheek, but this article helps me understand the link even better.

In summary, it talks about how we overeat, even though the end results puts us on outs with society and causes self loathing. Multiple attempts to correct the behavior and frequent relapses are another common thread. It also says we develop a tolerance for sugar and need to increase the intake in order to get the same effects.  He also quotes a study that talks about the withdrawal symptoms from sugar, which all of us experienced the first week on the Belly Fat Cure. A quick read of Jorge Cruise's Facebook page any day and you will see a dozen newcomers complaining of headaches and dizziness. If you stick with it, they quickly go away. Much like the detoxifying affects drug addicts experience. But most shocking, it says brain imaging PET scans show sugar works on the brain the same as heroin.  It is an excellent read, but a little long. I hope you will check it out!

These are are few of the books quoted in the study. I'm putting these on my library list and hope they will help me better understand my body in weight loss maintenance:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Product Review: Jennie's Macaroons Unsweetened Coconut

Jorge Cruise features Jennie's Coconut Macaroons in the Belly Fat Cure book. I found them to be a nice sweet little snack or dessert, even if you are not a macaroon fan. They are regular sized macaroons and very moist. They were sweeter than I expected, but no too sweet. The package comes with 10 macaroons, or 5 servings. They are a nice way to end a light meal, or have with a cup of tea. They are also perfect to serve at a party!

They are sweetened with Matlitol, which can upset some people's stomachs if you over eat. Maltitol is a Sugar Alcohol and considered a natural sweetener. They have 1gram Sugar/13grams Carbs/1gram Fiber for 2 macaroons for an S/C Value of 1/1. Almost all the Carbohydrates come from the Sugar Alcohol. They are also Lactose and Gluten Free. I loved the fact that they are made with only three ingredients: Unsweetened Sulfate Free coconut, maltitol, egg whites.

They also come in Chocolate and Carob flavors, which I have not tried or looked at the Nutrition Facts for, so I'm not sure if that are Belly Good.  I would put them right up there with the Joseph's Sugar Free Cookies, as great BFC snacks. They can be hard to find, but I got mine at CarbSmart, which also sells through Amazon. If you have found them at a retailer, please leave a comment and let us all know where.

Disclaimer: This product was provided to me free of charge. That in no way effected my opinions on this product.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Book Review: The F Factor Diet

The F-Factor Diet: Discover the Secret to Permanent Weight LossWhile I strictly follow the Belly Fat Cure by Jorge Cruise for my weight loss, sometimes I find holes in the plan. One big hole for me was FIBER, and the F-Factor Diet by Tanya Zuckerbrot was a big help. It is only $10 on Amazon and a good resource for anyone eating a low sugar/high fiber diet.

The F Factor Diet book is a great book, one where I gleaned several ideas that I used on my weight loss journey. The "F" stands for FIBER and I found it at exactly at the time I needed it. I used the book to find good low sugar/high fiber sources. I was introduced to the wonderful GG Crispbreads through her book and CarbSmart. She suggests using them everyday, and getting 45 grams of fiber or more. I'd have to have a delivery truck constantly backed up to my house to bring in all the GG Crispbreads I need on the F Factor Diet!

I also enjoy her website "Skinny in the City" where she has a guest blogger who is documenting her experience on the plan. I offered to do something very similar for Jorge when I started, but they didn't take me up on it ;-) But it is a real person, not Tanya herself, talking about her experiences and struggles on the plan. She also has lots of recipes and ideas there.

My one problem with her book is that she includes items with artificial sweeteners, like Sucralose and Aspartame, in many recipes. Honestly it is sometimes the only way to get recipes to be low in sugar, but I don't use them and feel very strongly about that. She allows more fruit than the BFC and doesn't give a specific number of carbs/sugar we can have. But it is a great supplement to any low sugar diet plan. I frequently read other diet books to glean new information and help me get over hurdles. You can check out a preview at Google Books to get an idea if fits into your plan too.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Weigh In: Month 11 and Maintenance

Aren't diets supposed to get easier? Isn't anything you do day after day, week after week, just supposed to become routine? I have to admit, I've had a pretty easy time of it for the last 11 months of weight loss. The plan I chose, Jorge Cruise's Belly Fat Cure, really clicked with me and I have been in the zone for almost a year. It isn't that my weight loss has stalled (which it has) or that I've gained a little back (3 lbs to be exact). It is that I expected this to be the easy part... I expected to coast by on maintenance.

Tanya Zuckerman's book The F Factor Diet talks a lot about how the Maintenance Phase of a diet is actually the toughest part. Maintaining your weight is more difficult than losing weight? Sounds crazy, right? But if you think about it, it could take a while to lose weight. Six months, a year or longer? That is a long time. But we have to maintain that weight FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES. It also asks the question "How many times have you lost the weight?" For me, I've never lost all the weight before, but I've gotten half way there twice before this. Then she asks "How many times have you kept it off?" Well, none or else I wouldn't be reading this diet book.

Just yesterday picking up the Husband's granola, I saw a brand next to it that looked perfect for the BFC. I read the label, ingredients and decided to buy it. I even opened it in the car and ate a handful since I'd missed lunch. It was so good, I had a few more handfuls throughout the day amazed that it was low in sugar. I ever reread the ingredients. But the Husband took one look at the package and pointed out it had 10 sugars per 1/2 Cup, not the 5 I thought I had read. D'oh!

So where do I go from here? For now I am just chugging along, doing the Belly Fat Cure exactly as I did all along. Maybe I should start tracking again, maybe I should change things up a little. I think mostly I am feeling lots of stress right now that have nothing to do with my diet. When I am stressed I turn to food, and so that is the problem.

How do you handle maintenance and stress on a diet? I'd love your input!


Monday, October 4, 2010

Product Reivew: Virgil's Diet Black Cherry Cream Soda

Virgil's Diet Black Cherry Cream Soda - 4 per packBeing a former Coke Zero addict, I am always on the lookout for Soda's that are low in sugar/carbs and are made without artificial sweeteners. A BFC Buddy mentioned last year that their favorite Diet Virgil's was made with Stevia, but it has taken me months to locate some! I finally found it at a local gourmet grocery store, and thankfully Amazon.com has it too (of course)!

Up until now, if I haven't really loved a product, I tend to just not mention it. But I didn't love this stuff. It was actually TOO sweet for me, almost like cough syrup. I shared it with my BFC Buddy Dave and he agreed, too sweet. I decided to go ahead and review it, since it is a great option on the Belly Fat Cure, and different strokes for different folks. That could also just be a characteristic of Cream Sodas, which I'm not sure I've had before. I didn't hate it, I just didn't love it either. Transitioning from sugared and regular diet sodas is really difficult, I know that, so I wanted to introduce this product to my readers any way. If you are early in the transition off of sugar, you may like this one more. I would love you hear your option on Virgil's Diet Soda and where you found it!

Virgil's Diet Black Cherry Cream Soda has an unbeatable S/C Value of 0/0, with 0grams Sugar/2 grams Carbs. Those 2 grams of Carbs come from Sugar Alcohol Xylitol that is used to sweeten it, along with Stevia. It is marketed as a Supplement and has just a handful of ingredients in it. This soda is pretty pricey, I thought, but its good for a treat every now and then.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Belly Fat Cure for Kids

I really wish Jorge would come out for a program for children on the Belly Fat Cure. Childhood Obesity is a national epidemic, and sometimes parents just don't know the right choices to make. Until he does, here is my take on it.

I have two sons, 6 and 8, both thin. But hey, they are related to me, so their future with weight could be a problem. Aside from avoiding being overweight, I want them to be healthy, diabetes and disease free and full of energy. They are both picky eaters, but picky about different things. I do not stick to the BFC 15/6 S/C Value rules exactly for the kids, but I stay pretty close for most meals.  I don't track their food intake or keep a daily total.

There are also exceptions to everything I am about to say. Dad makes great pizza and pancakes on the weekends and we don't have limits on that. We don't serve syrup with the pancakes anymore, but they can have semi-sweet chocolate chips on them (which is a TON less sugar). A new favorite family game is guessing how much sugar something new has in it, and we have all gotten pretty good at it! It is all about being aware, not being super strict or denying favorite foods.

Basics - These are things that kids eat daily. Choose these three foods wisely and half your battle is already won.
Low Carb/Sugar Breads - Just by changing the bread your child eats will make a big difference. Turkey/Ham & Cheese sandwiches, PB&J, Grilled Cheese, even French Toast are all good options with the right bread. You can go from lots of sugar and fiberless carbs to soem excellent choices really easily. (Click HERE for several bread options on the Belly Fat Cure)

Low Sugar Cereals - Some of the options are very kid friendly, like Corn Flakes, Cheerios and Shredded Wheat. Of course these are great for breakfast, but also perfect for an afternoon snack. I put a baggy with dry cereal in the kids backpack just in case they get hungry and they love it now.  (Click HERE for complete Belly Fat cure cereal list and review)

Milk - Lots of kids drink milk, and this one is really tough. I tried moving them both to the Unsweetened Almond Milk and was resoundly unsuccessful (tears were involved). So here is what I did: My son who has a lactose problem went from regular sweetened/flavored soy to unsweetened soy for cereal & drinking. My son who loves milk gets a glass a day, instead of the probably 3 a day he used to get. It was a bit of an issue with his morning cereal at first. We talked about it, they agreed, understanding WHY we were doing it. When I cook, I use the unsweetened almond or soy and they don't know I switched it on them. (Click HERE for a complete list of milk options on the Belly Fat Cure)

Snacks and Sides - Supplement the Basics with smart sides and snacks. These will keep your kids feeling fully and satisfied. Concentrate on what they CAN have instead of the things you are eliminating from their diet.
Sunflower Seeds - I prefer them hulled, but kids have fun spitting out the hulls!

Celery - Plain or with cream cheese, a low sugar peanut butter, or a sugar free ranch dressing to dip in. My boys have a plain stick of celery with most every dinner. They hated it at first, now they just eat it.

Cucumbers - Try using them sliced for dips instead of crackers or chips.

Cheese Sticks - Excellent low sugar snacks. We also do the BabyBel cheese, and just cubed cheddar. The kids often steal my cheese snack on outings and Mom is left snackless.

Nuts - My family loves nuts, all different kinds. Some are lower in sugar/carb than others, but as a group any are a better choice then chips or cookies. For me (the former obese family member) I stick with Almonds, Macadamia and Soy nuts because I have to be more careful. But for them all nuts are good nuts.

Pretzels - We like the Wheat & Honey Braided stix which are surprisingly low in sugar/carbs.

Goldfish - Jorge recommends these in the Belly Fat Cure book and this is what my kids get in their school bags.

Pirate's Booty - The whole family loves this low sugar snack.... Mom loves it a little too much. Its a better choice then chips, but watch the serving size.

Dry Cereal - To avoid the high sugar content of milk, the kids have high fiber/low sugar cereal dry now as a snack. Shredded Wheat is a family favorite, eaten with your hands!

Cottage Cheese - Check the labels to find one with less sugar. My big chain carries a brand with 2 sugars which is perfect.

Meals - Take the items above and combine them for smarter meals that will leave them feeling full and satisfied. If dinner is filling, them won't be looking for junk food throughout the day. It may take a little while as you break the old habits, but stick with it and it will work.
Scrambled Eggs & Bacon - Perfect low sugar way to start the day.

Oatmeal - REAL (not those instant packets) oatmeal, made with water (or unsweetened soy/almond/rice/coconut milk) and cinnamon. Cinnamon is key, as it brings out a sweetness. If you need more flavor try a few berries, Nature's Hallow preserves or pumpkin.

Grilled Chicken - We traded in the Chicken Nuggets for simple grilled chicken, even my picky eater loves it.

Tacos - Taco shells are surprisingly low in sugar/carbs. Many brands you can have 3 tacos and stay within one serving. Use either ground hamburger or ground turkey and all your usual toppings: cheese, lettuce, guacamole and a small amount of sour cream and salsa.

Quesadillas - Same concept as the tacos. Most tortillas are good on the Belly Fat Cure, but choose the highest fiber count you can find, that your kids will also eat. Watch out for the Mission brand of tortillas. They *appear* to have a great S/C Value but actually have Sucralose (artificial sweeteners), which you want to avoid. La Tortilla Factory's Smart & Delicious are the best option and are available nationally.

Pasta - Smaller servings and those made with whole wheat pasta are best. Serve them with a green veggie and you are set! Jorge has a great Mac & Cheese recipe in the book.

Rice Cakes - These are great in the lunch box and for snack. Low sugar peanut butter or cream cheese are great on top, or just plain. They also have cheddar and other flavors if the kids find the taste boring.

Turkey Rollups - This works with any lunch meat and is really simple, perfect for the lunch box too. Just lay out a the slice, include a piece of cheese in the middle if they like that, and roll. Stick it with a toothpick to include in the lunch box.

What to avoid? This is just a partial list and please remember I am not a Doctor, Nurse or Dietitian. I'm just a Mom trying to get my family healthy. So make sure you check with your family Doctor about your children's dietary needs.
Sugar Alcohols - My understanding is that children should not have sugar alcohols (Xylitol, Maltitol, -tols in general) due to possible laxative effects. I don't give them to my boys at all.

Too Much Fiber - I have read childern should have roughly the grams of fiber equal to their age. If they are currently low of fiber, slowly increase their fiber intake. A drastic change can cause an upset stomach and constipation.  I added fiber to the boys by diet switching out their bread, tortillas and cereals.

Fruit Juice - If you really want your kids to have the benefits of fruit, then give them whole fruit and the kinds with lots of fiber. Skip the juice or if you insist, then water it down to 1/2 water and 1/2 juice. But when they pass out the juice boxes after soccer, I don't freak out. I am fine with that as one small serving.

Candy/Cookies/Sweets - My kids are not totally deprived, but they know the sugar content of these things. They have dessert each day, but just one serving. If I take them out for ice cream I get them them a single scoop of the "kid's cone" which is usually smaller. If you make sure they are full with good healthy foods, they won't want to binge on the bad stuff. Make it be the cherry on top of your nutritious meal!

Artificial Sweeteners - I completely 100%  avoid these in my children's diet. Most everything that says "Sugar Free" or "Diet" on the packaging have these, plus tons of other foods. I am militant on this in our house now and the following are not allowed: Sucralose (Splenda), Saccharin, Aspartame.

Soda - My boys became obsessed with soda back in the days when I used to chug Coke Zero. They WANTED it and I would say no 90% of the time. Realizing what a bad influence I was becoming to them actually helped me kick the soda habit. I do allow them to have Root Beer when we eat out, but we only eat out about twice a month now. I like to make it a choice too, "You can have a soda OR dessert, but not both". It is so common in our culture to have sodas, so I don't want to make it totally off limits or they will want it more. This is still a work in progress.

I will be writing more about the Belly Fat Cure for children and I would love your input. As I have said, the BFC is a way of life for me now and I can't in good conscience let my boys eat the things we all used to eat. Have you put your children on the plan too?

Monday, September 27, 2010

True Lemon, True Lime, True Orange Review

True Lemon, True Lime & True Orange Assorted ~ Bulk 192 Packets
First, I have to reveal I have Citrus Tree envy. I recently moved to California and I am envious of my neighbors that have overloaded Lemon and Orange trees! Whenever I am invited over to pick a bag full, I run, not walk with a huge smile on my face.

I have been wanting to try the True Lemon products for many months, since they were featured in Jorge Cruise's Belly Fat Cure book and in the online class I took with him. But I couldn't find any place local that carried them. I was thrilled when I they were mailing free product samples on their website, but disappointed when they never arrived. But alas, CarbSmart saved the day! (They currently have a deal for $2 off per box, and check out their coupon page for more savings)

What did I like best? I loved that they are available in little packets, just like a sweetener, that I can carry in my purse. One packet is said to be equal to one citrus wedge. I love that they are pure juice concentrate with nothing added. I am not a huge Orange Juice drinker, but I have missed that on a low sugar diet plan. Now I'm not going to say True Orange tastes like OJ, but it was a good substitute for someone who has been off sugar for a long time.

Their boxes and website also have some food recipes. I tried a True Lime Shrimp marinade recipe and it was really good!  There is a survey on their website that says "9 out of 10 people prefer True Lemon over actual citrus". That seems crazy to me! I'd much rather have the real, fresh thing. But I can't carry it around in my purse, so I'll settle for True Lemon.

The site for free samples is still up, so you may want to give it a try and see if they ship yours! They also have a product called True Raspberry Lemonade, which I sounds fabulous, but have yet to try.


Disclaimer: This product was provided to me free of charge for the purpose of review. It in no way affected my opinions or the outcome of this review!