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

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Product Review: Epic gum

Epic Xylitol Gum, Spearmint, 60 PiecesThis is my favorite Low Sugar/Belly Fat Cure gum! Epic is made with Xylitol, which claims to be good for your teeth. Like Spry, which is easier to find in stores, Epic also has mints, toothpaste and dental rinses.

What makes Epic so special? It keeps its flavor much longer than the rest of the BFC Good gums (Xylichew comes in a close 2nd on this, Spry comes in dead last). I discovered Epic in a strange way. My Husband's company has it in gum machines all over the campus. I was a few months into the BFC when he mentioned that the free gum at work is good for your teeth. So I said "You mean with Xylitol?" Which Jorge had already filled us in on, and he said no, it was something else pronounced a different way. I tried the gum and liked but didn't know its whole story and S/C Value so I didn't have much. My Husband keeps a little bottle full of it in his pocket, he likes it so much. Then one day he saw someone refilling the machine and we looked it up. Sure enough, Amazon has!

Epic gum is 0grams Sugar/1gram Carbohydrates for an S/C value of 0/0 and you only need one piece, unlike with Spry. So if you have found Spry and found it unsatisfactory, give Epic a try! I have never seen Epic in store, only on Amazon.

Product Review: Xylichew Gum

Xylichew Sugar Free Chewing Gum, Cinnamon, 12-Count Packages (Pack of 24)This week over on Facebook Jorge Cruise recommended Spry gum, like he does in the Belly Fat Cure book. But I actually prefer Epic and Xylichew naturally sweetened gums over Spry. Why? Because they hold their flavor much longer than Spry.

Xylichew might get the reward for the worst named gum, but I really liked them. They have more flavors then the other Xylitol gums I have tried and did a really good job of holding the flavor.

I tried the Chocolate, Spearmint, Peppermint and Cinnamon. The Cinnamon was good, I could actually taste the Cinnamon oil. The Chocolate was also good and really unexpected! It tastes like an old fashioned Chocolate Chew. It held the flavor probably the least of the three. The Spearmint and Peppermint are my favorites and they kept their flavor the longest. I will be keeping these in my purse and car to reach for when I need something quick.

Xylitol is a Sugar Alcohol and is considered a Natural Sweetener. The gum has 1.6 grams of Carbohydrates, 0 grams Sugar and Fiber for an S/C Value of 0/0. It is a great way to keep your sweet tooth or hunger at bay. It is really inconvient to not just able to reach over in the checkout line at the grocery store and pickout a pack of gum! And while I have seen some big brands with Xylitol, they also all have Surcalose or Apartame too.

Both CarbSmart and Amazon carry Xylichew. I have yet to see it in stores, but if you have please let us know where.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Weigh in: Week 23 and Still Going Strong

This is my 23rd Week on the Belly Fat Cure and this week I lost 2 lbs. I think that is pretty great for being a zillion days into a diet! Plus I had a date night, concert, all day school fundraiser and Easter party all in the last few days that could have really tripped me up. That puts me at 153.5 and a total of 42.5 lbs lost.

On date night I had a glass of sake and sushi. I didn't overeat at all and stopped way before I felt full. We split a Hamachi Jalapano sashimi appetizer, Spider Roll and Chef's sushi special (which I think was only four pieces each). Then my Husband ordered a few more pieces for himself.  I find Sushi places in North Cali do their rolls with thinly sliced cucumber instead of white rice a lot, which is great for the BFC! At the concert I had one light beer. (The photo is from the concert, where I felt blissfully happy!) At the fundraiser I had a Kabob wrapped in what seemed like the Flat Out Bread and lots of water, and I didn't stop at the bake sale table. For the Easter brunch, I stuck with the veggie tray, deviled eggs and Salmon. They served Mimosa's and when I asked for it without they OJ, they said I must be a hard drinker. I didn't bother to explain the Low Sugar/Carb thing! Just pour me my drink already...

I was really proud of myself for staying true to the plan, and I didn't feel deprived at all. After this long on the Belly Fat Cure, my choices were really automatic. But I was worried about weigh in this week, as that is way more drinking and eating away from home then I usually do all week.  I purposely set weigh in on Monday mornings, to keep me true over the weekends. They can be the hardest time to stick with a diet plan. If you are having a really hard time on the weekends, I suggest moving your weigh in day to Mondays too. 

I also had a lot of stress this weekend: I dropped off my beloved Volvo at the dealer, with a bad transmission at 62k miles! Money and car problems really stress me out, and I am a stress eater. I am attempting to be zen about the whole thing and am trying to get Volvo North American to pay for it, as its a known problem with my year/model.

I am keeping up the high fiber intake and still eating the GG Crispbreads instead of bread. Here is a photo of Friday's (and lately typical) lunch: crispbreads, cream cheese, smoked salmon and a few raspberries. I sometimes substitute turkey & cheese on the crispbread instead of the salmon, and cottage cheese instead of the raspberries. This strategy is really working for me, so I'm sticking with it!

I still over eat sometimes, but it is with Good Belly products. Things that trip me up: Pirate Booty, Joseph's Sugar Free Cookies, dark chocolate, cheese (I love cheese). I always try and include it in my tracker for the day, so when I look back at the end of the week I'll know where I went wrong. Sometimes it is really hard to be honest about where I over ate, but having the ability to look back and re-evaluate really helps and I have learned that.

I hope you all had a great week on the the BFC or your other plans! Summer and all the clothing issues it brings are right around corner, use that as your motivation! 

Imagine Yourself Thin, Part 2

Back in November in my class with Jorge Cruise, he suggested we envision ourselves as already being at our goal weight. Really picture it, what do we look like, what are we wearing and doing. It was a visualization exercise, and I wasn't totally comfortable with it. I feel like I hadn't been happy with my looks in a long time, that I nolonger "looked like myself". Back then I wrote a blog entry where I envisioned myself looking like Star Jones. Mostly, I just liked the clothes she was wearing I think.

But there must have been a shift in my mentality lately. Somewhere in this weight loss process, my face changed... back to me. I recognize myself again, in photos and in the mirror, when I hadn't in a long time. So sorry Star, but I'm thinking more of Shikira's hips and her hips action lately!

My Belly Fat Cure needs to turn into a Hip and Butt Fat Cure right about now and I'm think Miss Shikira has just the moves and motivation to help that along! Come on, how does she do that?!

What about you? How do you picture yourself thin? Is it your "old self" a totally new self, or some crazy famous inspiration like mine?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sister M Weigh In: Wk 6

My Sister M is also doing Jorge Cruise's Belly Fat Cure, here is her weekly update: 

Yay – A solid 2 pounds down! I needed that!  And what a week of learning…once again.  And if you haven’t been getting the hint from Amber – here is the secret. FIBER.  I actual ran OUT of my benefiber packets but have had more fiber this week than ever.  The key is finding those high fiber foods and building each meal around them.  For breakfast – you can’t beat Uncle Sam!  10 gram of fiber and 38 carbs for a heaping ¾ cup!  Yah – it’s two full servings of carbs. EAT IT!  For lunch.. my newest craze? Bob’s Red Mill 13 Bean Mix. OMG. I used 2 cups of the beans, plus 1 carton of Chicken Broth and water to taste.  I added a ham hock for a smokey flavor and wow.  My six servings ending up being 37 carb with 10 grams of fiber with 2 ½ grams of sugars per bowl.  That was my lunch. Dinner was a high fiber/low carb pita with avocado and deli meat. I shot for 10 grams of fiber per meal and hit it. I even bought a jicama and shredded it to put in my pita. My snack? 2 Tbsp of Flax Seeds to crunch at my desk.  (Lots of water and iced tea to keep that fiber doing its job!)  And the GG Crispbreads came in, so I’m looking for ways to incorporate them

Here’s the deal. Yah, the fiber kept things moving along. But the big benefit is the  f u l l n e s s  the fiber is providing. I am no longer starving! I no longer eat incessantly. Those little magic cells at the top of your stomach that are supposed to signal your brain that you are full…they are finally working.  . With Amber’s success, I really think that fiber is the key.  I actually found myself surprised when my favorite TV show comes on and I didn’t need a pickle to nosh on. “No thanks – I’m still full from dinner.” That’s what skinny people say.

A special “shout out” to Sally and her husband. Your story is truly amazing. When we educate ourselves and find out about high sugar foods like skim milk and bananas and make the switch, we are taking control of our bodies;  making informed decisions instead of just letting life roll over us. Keep up the good work and let us know how your family is doing!

I’m keeping on the BEAN TRAIN this week so I’m hoping for another great week! This week’s song? The Soulwax Remix of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want!”  Enjoy!

From Amber: 

Great job Sister 2!! I think that puts her at 12 lbs total lost! I am so glad she is bringing her lunch to work! I think everyday having to face those temptations when eating out must be so hard. I think this is really important. We talked about it and she is going to try and repeat this week again, with basically the same foods. Who knows, she may get sick of it. But no reason to keep reinventing the wheel.

I really agree with the "feeling full factor" with the added fiber! I've got my Mom fully converted to BFC too, she was on Jenny Craig. All three of us are all about the fiber right now.  Funny too, both Sister M and I accidentally bought and ate Green & Black's 70% Dark Chocolate bars this week! The packaging is so similar, but that is so frustrating!


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Product Review: GG Scandinavian Bran Crispbread

GG Scandinavian Bran Crispbread, 3.5-Ounce Packages (Pack of 5)There are several things I just tolerate on the Belly Fat Cure (eggs, unsweetened almond milk, Uncle Sams) and there are few things I love (shakes, cheese and dark chocolate), but I really have to add these little GG Scandinavian Bran Crispbreads to the love column. I love them not because they taste so absolutely great, but because they just ARE so great. And not just for the BFC, but really truly any diet.

They seem like your typical Crispbread, a lot like Wasa or Melba Toast. But it is the Nutritional Facts on these that make them special. Why doesn't Jorge Cruise mention them in the book? Maybe because they are featured (actually required) in the F-Factor Diet book and he didn't want to copy that. Or maybe it is that he doesn't know about the "Elusive GG Crispbreads". If you are brand new to Low Sugar/Carbs you may not like these, but if you are well into and committed to the lifestyle I think you will appreciate them for all that they are. They are dry, so dress them up a bit. They are crunchy, but light (goodbye potato chip craving) and very best of all they leave you feeling full.

I eat  between 2-4 them for lunch, as a bread replacement. I load them up with turkey, avocado & cheese, tuna salad, hummus. Each cracker has 0g Sugar/7g Carbs/5g Fiber for an S/C Value of 0/1. They have totally set a new Low Sugar/Carb High Fiber standard for my diet and helped me get 40grams of Fiber in a day the last few weeks.

I called up the GG Headquarters and found out the product is imported from Norway. (So much for eating local and saving the planet, I've got weight to lose!) I asked for a list of retailers that sold them so I could pass that info along to you all, but unfortunately the list never arrived. If you have seen these in a store PLEASE leave a comment and tell us where! Whole Foods in the Northeast, NJ and NY apparently carry them, but the rest of us will have to order online. I asked the great folks over at CarbSmart for a way to let you all try these and they offered my readers a 10% discount on order $25 and up (good through 3/31). Enter the code 'AMBER' at checkout, and technically you can use the discount on any of their products.

Note: Be sure and increase your water intake when consuming more Fiber! I didn't the first few days and woke up noticeably dehydrated.

Disclaimer: This product was provided to me free of charge for the purpose of review, but that in no way effected my opinions

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Great Deal on Sobe

Target has a great deal on Sobe products, including the 0 Calorie Lifewater right now. They are buy 10 for $10 and receive a $5 Target gift card. This alone is a great deal, but if you are a coupon Maven then you can combine it with this coupon and get them for free!

I'm heading to Target tonight! Prices are good through 3/27 and sometimes they run low on product during these sales. Let me know if you score any too!

ps. Target also has a great selection of dark chocolates like Black & Greens, Lindt, and Ghirardelli 85% and higher.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Weigh in: Week 22 and The Fiber Connection

I am so excited that this week I have surpassed my original goal! I lost 1.5 lbs, for a total of 40.5 lbs. I have recently adjusted that goal for another 7 or so pounds, but still this feels like I have really accomplished something. I remember telling a friend in early November that I was going to lose 40 lbs and she sweetly said "They'll be nothing left of you". Well, there is plenty left of me, but I feel like I am really on the right track to my ideal weight.

I was trying to think of a way to celebrate, but it seems most rewards and celebrations center around food! For Christmas all I wanted was tickets to see John Mayer, and the concert is this weekend. So perfect timing for a real date night out with my (recently returned from afar) Husband.

Much like I felt enlightened 4 months ago about changing my diet to Low Sugar/Carb, I feel inspired right now by adding High Fiber to the equation. Jorge Cruise talks about fiber and says we should get at least 25grams of it per day on the Belly Fat Cure, but he leaves us wanting on how to actually do it. I track my fiber intake along with my Sugar/Carbs in my S/C Value Tracker and try to really pay attention to it. On a really good day I can get the 25grams. But with a few changes and just a few great products I was able to drastically change that and get in more then 40grams. This is real food mind you, not supplements. However just like with taking Fiber supplements you must significantly increase your water intake with a higher Fiber diet. I woke up a few days into this changed diet really dehydrated and completely parched.

I read that the average Amercian gets 15 grams of fiber a day, but I have to say, I seriously doubt that! I bet I was lucky to get 5-10 in before I started the Belly Fat Cure. The ADA states that we should have between 20-35grams of fiber and children should consume their age in fiber. For example, a 9 year old should have 9 grams of fiber.

Some high fiber foods are also a little high in Sugar/Carbs for BFC. I recommend adjusting the serving size to have a little less and keep it under 5/2 per meal. Here are the foods I have added to my diet the last two weeks that I think have made a difference.
I hope you also read my article for CarbSmart this week HERE, where I talk about the different types of fiber and how it changed my week. They are so awesome and have offered my readers 10% off orders $25 and up so you could try the GG Scandinavian Crispbreads too (you can use the discount on anything they sell actually!). Enter in promo code 'AMBER' at checkout at CarbSmart which is good thru 3/31.

I really want to thank my readers and your wonderful comments! I read them all, I read your tweets and your blogs too. I feel accountable to you all and this blog, not just to myself and that really helps. So, thank you!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Winner: Jay Robb Protein Giveaway

The winner of the Jay Robb Protein Powder Giveaway is Carbzilla! She was the 1st one to comment, but it was her blog post that Random.org picked as the winning entry. I expect a photo of her rockin' the bedazzled Jay Robb tank! ;-)

As promised, here are some of the best shakes from the giveaway:
Christy: Ive never tried mixing the whey & Amazing Grass! I can tell Christy is hardcore because she included the S/C Value!
Healthy PB & Whey Protein Shake (Delicious Too!)
1 c ice
3/4 c cold coffee (can substitute Almond Milk for Coffee, if desired)
2 T heavy cream
1 scoop Jay Robb Whey Protein Powder (chocolate or vanilla work equally well)
1 packet Purevia (0/2/0) (or Truevia (0/3/0)
1 sccop Amazing Grass Green SuperFood Chocolate Powder (0/4/2)
1 T peanut or almond butter (1/3/2)
1 T Flaxeed Oil
2 t Benefiber (0/4/3)

S/C/F = 2/1/7.5

Mike: I love a man with a recipe! Spinach AND Blueberries? I haven't tried that either.
My wife noticed the coconut milk from your video. I really prefer that to the unsweetened almond milk. I take , 1/4 cup of blueberries, some stevia-sweeteend vanilla protien powder I found at TJ's and 2 huge handfuls of spinach. Then I add in about a teaspoon of that Barleans lemon fish oil stuff that they sell at Costco that's sweetened w/ xylitol (and has no fish-taste whatsoever).

Mia - I love a Greek Frappe, so Ill have to try this.
I love Jay Robb chocolate mixed with instant Nescafe coffee, water and a splash of cream. Tastes life a yummy Greek Frappe.

Karen - This is actually my Mom! I converted her from Jenny Craig a few weeks ago and she is rocking the BFC now! I would love a PB shake, it sounds so good, but I have a nut allergy that leaves it out for me.
I found Maranatha Peanut butter with only ground roasted peanuts and sea salt. A serving for 2 tablespoons is 1 sugar, 3 fibers and 7 carbs. I mix one scoop chocolate Jay Robb Whey with 1 cup vanilla sugarless almond milk, 2 Tbls of Maranatha peanut butter and about a C of ice to blend to creamy. I have had it with and without sun crystals (2 packs) for 2 sugars. I do prefer the sweeter taste. Pour it up in a large glass with a big straw and Holy Cow, is it ever the greatest and so satisfying.

The Skinny on Fiber

Today I am blogging over at CarbSmart about fiber on the Belly Fat Cure. I hope you will take a minute to check it out HERE! I have been doing lots of research on fiber and high fiber products, and I really feel it is making a great difference at this stage in my weight loss.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sister M Weigh In: Wk7

My Sister M has recently began her journey on the Belly Fat Cure. To read all about her and her story, click HERE:

Ok down 1 ½ boxes of butter (1 ½ pounds). So while it’s been slow going, it has been steady! So yay for the turtle, right?  I’ve ordered my GG Crispbreads and am patiently awaiting. My husband actually had his first colonoscopy yesterday and had a DEEP colon cleansing.  I attempted to support him with a liquid diet on Thursday, but fell a bit short with my string cheese and handful of pork rinds.  So now, I realize I have this fear of being hungry. Note: Swanson’s organic low sodium vegetable broth tastes AWFUL.  But it really made the chicken broth taste wonderful!!

We’ve got a blizzard forecasted in the Midwest today, and I am fighting the urge to cook up batches of homemade chicken and noodles.  I actually got out and walked 1 mile both Tuesday and Wednesday this week and was not sore afterwards.  My hip flexors hurt during the walk and then my lower back would start freezing up from hunching over. So I decided to lean back (into the pain) and suck in my stomach and it helped!  Being obese is soooo…inconvenient.  I look forward to the days of pain-free walking. I’m going to ride the exercise bike today and tomorrow

I’ve got all the ingredients to make Jorge’s brownies, but Amber’s afraid for me.  If I DO make them, I will cut them in portions and FREEZE all but one serving….I promise!  You know, at the very least, the walking helped me by investing more blood, sweat and tears into my weight loss.  I worked hard to burn those 150 calories and I wasn’t about to throw it away. Do you find that exercising helps you buy investing more, or makes your more hungry?

From Amber: 
Congrats Sister M on the 1.5 lbs this week! That is great!! Keep up the good work! We were both so busy this week we barely spoke. But I am all over those GG Crispbreads too! Maybe we will split a case of them! Did you track your food intake finally? Next I think you should post a few days with your weigh in. 

I don't think she should make the brownies just to have around. Maybe for her upcoming birthday instead of cake. I have seen so many people come and go on this diet, and my experience is that that people who make those brownies don't last on the plan. There is no nutritional value whatsoever in those brownies, and they are a trigger food for so many people, myself included. Have the shakes and approved chocolates in small quantities instead.

Have you all made the brownies? I won't link to them and wish I had never sent her the link! Bad, bad brownies....

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Show Me The Whey

It's pretty clear to me that you all know your way around a shake! The Belly Fat Cure has a whole section devoted to shakes, and they give us a great jumping off point. I used shakes in the first month to get me past my usual evening snack time. They are really filling, and I frequently share then with my husband or a friend. Lately I use them less often, and on occasion as a meal replacement.

Things to add to your shake:
Whey Protein Powder - Jay Robb is has the Belly Fat Cure seal of approval and honestly it seems to have the absolute best S/C Value out there. This week I MRM (Metabolic Response Modifiers) Whey also made with Stevia on sale at Whole Foods for $13. It is 1gram Sugar/1gram Carb.
Amazing Grass Green Superfood - I love the Chocolate version of this, but it is not for everyone (my kids cried when I had them taste it!) and is pricey. I luckily got it on sale for 1/2 price at Whole Foods. They aren't protein powders, but green shakes that get you 5 - 9 servings of fruit and veggies. I'll be reviewing it and having a giveaway in the weeks to come.
Flaxseed oil - For those good Omega-3 fatty acids, Barleans has some awesome flavored oils that I have not splurged for yet. I really want the Chocolate Raspberry Flaxseed oil!
Ground Flaxseed - Added fiber and  nutrients. I add these or Chia every time I make a shake.
Chia Seeds - Added fiber and nutrients. You will want to soak them for a few minutes before starting the blender.
Cinnamon - I love this in a shake! Here is my favorite shake recipe.
Peanut or Almond Butter - If you use the low sugar version it adds a lot of great flavor
Cream - Adds a little richness to the shake, or whip it up and add to the top
Unsweetened Almond Milk (USAM) - Comes in Original, Vanilla and Chocolate. Only one store sells it near me, so I stock up on this. (I have three in my cabinet right now!)
Unsweetened Coconut Milk - I prefer this to USAM sometimes, but it only comes refrigerated.
Flavored Teas - Brew it extra strong and let is cool first, the options are really endless with this.
Coffee - Recreate your favorite Starbucks drink. Use Decaf coffee for late afternoon or evening shakes and try freezing the coffee in ice cube trays for use in other shakes.
Green Veggies - I love the Bug Juice, it is make with water, not protein powder.
Nature's Hallow Preserves - Just a touch of these Xylitol sweetened yummies would be great I think!
Ice - To make it more like an ice cream/milkshake. It the beginning I used a lot of ice, not not much.

I personally don't add fruit or sweeteners to my shakes.  I will be adding back more fruit when I get to my goal weight, but I'd rather have them whole. I also don't add psyllium husks or Benefiber to shakes, because I think you need to take them more with water. But that is just me!

Here is one of Jorge's video's from over a year ago, when he was still developing the book. The protein powder he uses is called "Show Me The Whey", love that name! I think it is from Henry's Market. I think I will have this for lunch tomorrow with Uncle Sam's on top!

If you are having trouble finding a few of the items, like Chia, Barleans, Jay Robb, etc and are willing to mail order them, I have created an aStore at Amazon.com that has every item from the BFC in it! You can access it HERE.

Update: I had Jorge's shake from the video and it was GREAT! I loved the cereal in it! I didn't have chocolate whey powder, so I used: Chocolate USAM, Vanilla Whey Protein, Chia seeds, Flexseed oil, Ice, Uncle Sams.

Weigh in: Week 21

I hope you all are enjoying Shake Week! I got the idea when Jay Robb sent me the great giveaway (Don't forget to enter it HERE) and then last week when I realized I really needed to "shake up" my plan.  Change things up, do something unexpected. I love a good theme! So how did my change up work, you might ask? What did I actually shake up? Well somehow I shook off 2 lbs this week! I am at 157 lbs!! (In the prior three weeks I lost 1.5 lbs total) Now I am officially down 39 lbs. I have set my goal weight a 149.

Someone asked last week, so I'll give all my stats: I am 40yrs old, 5'4", stay at home/never home mother of two boys (next yr I'll go back to work since my baby will be in fulltime school). I was always thin until... well, until I wasn't. I could blame the pregnancies, marriage, genes, my Mother. But really, I just learned to like food over the years.  When I started the Belly Fat Cure in October 2009 I was 196, my top weight as far as I know.

I went shopping "at the mall", as opposed to "at Target", for clothes this week. After hearing from a few friends, "Amber, you really need new pants" I went and got some. I was so surprised and so pleased to try on Size 8s! They aren't perfect, they are a little (maybe a lot in spots) tight. But they zipped and buttoned! They fit about the exact same as Size 14 fit me before I started the BFC. My goal is now to get to maintain at 149 lbs and wear Size 8 comfortably. I realize I am in the home stretch, but that it could take a while. And I'm okay with that.

But here is something about me I haven't mentioned yet; I am busty. I apologize to my male readers now, this topic will not be as interesting as it sounds! I really think that makes my weight higher than a women the same size/height as me. I have no idea by how much, but I'm certain it does. It's a family trait, all the women in my family are D cups from a young age. I'm not going to belly ache about it, since I know the grass is always greener (and the boobs are always better) on the other side.  In the past I have lost weight in the breast area first, and then it moved to other parts of my body. In fact last time I dieted, they got so flat and saggy it was... well, quite sad! They were like two sad tube socks with sand in the ends. But this time, while I have gone down a bra size (and two jogging bra sizes) it seems to be in proportion, and I am very happy about that!

The big change I made last week was in my fiber intake. I was a one women fiber inhaler! I was getting about 40grams of fiber a day. And no, I wasn't downing Benefiber shots all day either. Next week I really want to talk about fiber in length, because it is a key to the Belly Fat Cure that isn't really discussed in detail. Here are a few of my days. (You can download the Tracker here

As you can see, the big deal breaker was the Scandinavian Crispbreads that CarbSmart sent me to try. They are a lot like Wasa Crispbreads, but have 5 grams fiber per little cracker and only 7 grams of Carbs. So I loaded them up with protein and had them for lunch every day. I'm trying to get a deal for my readers on them, but in the meantime you can find them here at CarbSmart. I have never seen them in stores, but I'm thinking of giving up bread completely for a while and going with them! Seriously, I'm in love with these little things!

Be thinking about your fiber this week and where you can increase it. I hope you all had a great week too!

* That should say "2 tsp" next to the Benefiber, not Tbsp.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Product Review: Jay Robb Whey Protein Powder

Jay Robb Whey Protein Powders have come in very useful on the Belly Fat Cure. They are featured in Jorge Cruise's Carb Swapping book and one of a few products to get his "Seal of Approval". In the beginning, I used the shakes to fight my evening snack attack. It was tasty and filling. I like both the Strawberry and Vanilla. I find the Vanilla more versatile if you can only just get one. Sister M prefers the Chocolate.

At the beginning of the diet, I resisted Jorge's product endorsements. I thought he was just trying to sell us something, and initially I was annoyed with that. So I bought GNC protein powders instead, yes because they were on sale. Several weeks later Jorge mentioned WHY he recommended Jay Robb over other brands, because it is one of only a few that uses Stevia. Hmmm, then what does my brand use?! Sure enough, after vigerous label reading, I find Sucralose. A big No-No on the BFC.

Moral to this story: I have learned that when Jorge recommends a brand, use it. Oh, and read every last label! (While researching this post I found that Jay Robb has an amino acid called Apartamine. For a minute I totally freaked out thinking it was Aspartame, however it is not... back to calm). There are very few protein powders currently on the market that have a great S/C Value and do not use artificial sweeteners.

The trick on the Belly Fat Cure is to not make the shakes with milk or fruit juice, but with teas, unsweetened almond milk (USAM) or unsweetened coconut milk instead. By itself Jay Robb Whey Protein is 0 gram Sugar,1 gram Carbohydrates and 0 grams of Fiber for an S/C Value of 0/0. Be sure and add in the information for your liquid to come up with the total S/C Value, but if you used my suggestions above it should still be an 0/0. I also add in Ground Flax Seed or Chia Seeds to give a Fiber umph (I'm all about the fiber right now!).

You can find Jay Robb at most health food stores, GNC, Vitamin Cottage, Whole Foods and Amazon. They may seem expensive at around $20+ for 12ozs, but you get at least 12 shakes from that. (I always mix mine with less then the the recommended scoop, since I'm always trying to save a nickle.) Jay Robb also has Egg and Rice protein powders, along with the Whey protein. There S/C Value is okay, but not quite as good, so watch out for that when you are shopping.

Amazon has a great deal on Jay Robb right now, $21.29 with free shipping. That is better a better price then I have seen in local stores!

Don't forget to enter the fun giveaway that Jay Robb is giveway to Me & Jorge readers this week!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Giveaway: Jay Robb

Shakes are a great snack or meal replacement on the Belly Fat Cure. Can't find Clemmy's Ice Cream, whip up a shake with extra ice and you are set! They are yummy, filling, and good for you. That is one reason this week is Shake Week here at Me & Jorge!

I love a good giveaway, its a great way to try a product you might not otherwise. I hope you all have been enjoying the giveaways! Jorge Cruise has given Jay Robb Whey Protein Shakes his Belly Fat Cure Seal of Approval primarily because it is made with Stevia and has a great S/C Value (Hello, 0/0). This week they have provided me with a really fun giveaway for my readers.

The giveaway includes:
  • 2 packets each of: Tropical Dreamsicle, Pinacolda, Strawberry, Chocolate, Vanilla Whey Protein shakes.
  • 1 packet each of Vanilla, Strawberry, Chocolate Egg Protein shakes
  • 1 packet each of Vanilla, Strawberry, Chocolate Brown Rice Protein shakes.
  • 3 Jay Robb Protein Bars (not really BFC friendly)
  • Shaker Bottle
  • Large reusable shoulder shopping bag 
  • Bedazzled black tank top with Jay Robb printed on it!

How to Enter:
1. Leave one comment to this posting. In the comment tell me about your favorite BFC shake
2. No Anonymous entries please, so I can correctly identify the winner. If you don't check back to Me & Jorge often, please leave enough info so I can contact you!
3. US addresses only

Bonus Entries:
Blog: If you have your own blog, introduce your readers to this giveaway with a blog post and link back here. Leave me a comment to let me know. I super appreciate these and will give you 5 entries for it!
RSS: Subscribe to my RSS or Reader feed, leave a comment to let me know. 
Twitter: After you leave a comment for Rule #1, do not leave comment telling me you have tweeted. I'll see them! Daily entries accepted by tweeting the phrase
"Shake up the Belly Fat Cure with @meandjorge & @jayrobbtalk http://bit.ly/d0qqHJ #BFC"

Entries will be accepted until Monday 3/22/10 at 10pm

Good Luck and Thank You to the folks at Jay Robb for sponsoring!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Shake Week!

Okay, I'm going to "Shake" things up a little this week, my 21st Week on Jorge Cruise's Belly Fat Cure Diet Plan! This will be "Shake Week"! Kind of like Shark Week, but no Jaws jokes or scary stuff. And no, as my brother asked, it does not mean I am only eating shakes all week. What kind of diet does he think I'm on anyways? lol!

We are going to talk about all the great shakes on the BFC during Shake Week. Im kicking it off Monday with a really fun giveaway that the folks at Jay Robb provided. I'll also be reviewing protein powders, "things I put in my shake" and sharing my favorite shake recipes from the book and ones I just plain made up. I really want to encourage you all to share you favorites and failures too. I'll pick the a few of the best comments here and turn them into their own blog post at the end of the week called "Readers Favorite Shakes".

I hope this sounds fun to you all too! Dieting can be a real bore, so I thought this would shake things up a bit! (I know, its a great theme, right? teeheehee)

I'll start with my own "Shake Failure" story: Sister M got this brilliant, or so it seemed, idea to mix in unsweetened Kool-Aid with everything BFC related. We both started experimenting and I loved the idea of a Cherry Vanilla Shake. Pre-BFC I loved a Dairy Queen Chocolate Covered Cherry Blizzard, oh gawd. So I found a little packet of Cherry Kool-Aid and added it to a Vanilla Jay Robb. I looked at the packet quickly and there was only a tiny amount of powder in it, so I put the whole little packet in and turned on the blender. Quickly it turned bright pink and I could just smell screamed "Kool-Aid!". I pulled the packet out of the trash and realized it was to make a whole gallon of Kool-Aid. I sipped a bit and it was so disgusting and sweet (why?), I could actually taste it for days afterwards! Of course I took a photo, because that is what diet bloggers do, and I thought it would be SO good I'd have to share it with you all! NOT! Sadly the pink doesn't really come through in the photo like it did in person. Sister M and I slowed down our Kool-Aid experiments after that...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sister M Weigh In: Wk 5

From my Sister M:

Ok… I’m refusing to use the “j” word (as in "just"), so here goes: I lost a pound!  Let’s talk positive.  I did a lot a pre-planning this week. I brought a big bucket-o-spring greens into work, along with chix breast that I grilled and froze and fixed a beautiful salad every day for lunch. I received my box of Doctor’s CarbRite Frosted Cinnamon Bun Bars and was set for breakfast all week (yummy with 21 grams of protein and zero sugar!)  Thursday night we went out to eat at a great Tex Mex place for a birthday party. I snuck in celery to dip into my ¼ cup of salsa, ordered a great tilapia filet covered in cheese and mushrooms with steamed veggies and rice. I gave my son half the rice and ate half of what I had left (about ½ cup). So I had MANY successes away from the scales.  I’m living a life-style that is maintainable and comfortable for me; even last night at my son’s band banquet.  Easy-peasy choices there.  Green beans, chicken and steak and a plop of mashed potatoes. I passed on the rolls, brought 2 packets of stevia..one for my iced tea and one for my coffee.  I did take one bite of the flourless chocolate cake that was delivered in front of me.

Amber told me she had 41 grams of fiber yesterday and I realized that when I don’t track, I don’t realize the fiber I’m missing out on. I’ve got the S/C values down, but really need to concentrate on the fiber. I think that’s a HUGE part of Amber’s success. We are going to have a contest to see who can fit the most fiber in (and I told her vodka and flaxseed shots don’t count!) for the day.  She’s found these obscenely great crackers (GG Scandinavian Bran Crispbread) with a nearly 1:1 carb to fiber ratio. I’m going to order today! Until then, I’m on fiber patrol. Have a great week and thanks again to everyone’s comments and support! How much fiber can YOU fit in today?

From Amber
A pound is a pound, so I think that is great! This week 1 lb is my goal. However my sister is not tracking her food intake, which I still do at week 21. Every single meal, every single day. To go from Atkins, where its pretty much all the protein and fats you want and 0 carbs, to allowing carbs in specific amounts is really hard. I got her to commit to tracking this week. I think it is a critical key of the Belly Fat Cure and in class Jorge stressed tracking and keeping a food log time and again. Whether you do it with the super simple dot system in the book or use my S/C Value Tracker, you need to track.

I'd love to hear from you all, how you do record your food intake and count your S/C Values?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Product Review: Joseph's Sugar Free Cookies

Joseph's Sugar Free Chocolate Chip Cookies, 11 oz bagsLooking for a snack on the Belly Fat Cure? Joseph's Sugar Free cookies are a great little snack that don't taste at all like "diet food" and have Jorge's Belly Fat Cure Seal of Approval. In fact my favorite, Chocolate Chip, tastes TOO good! Founder Joseph Semiprevino was diagnosed with diabetes at a young age and developed the first ever sugar free ice cream a few years later.

There are 12 different flavors of Joseph's Sugar Free Cookies. They come in a bag of about 44 small cookies. I have tried the Chocolate Chip, Lemon, Almond and Chocolate Walnut. Sister M has likes the Peanut Butter, but we both agree Chocolate Chip is the best. For example, the bag of Chocolate Chip is empty after a few weeks. Chocolate Walnut is still more then half full after a few months. But that is just my personal taste!

Each flavor of cookie is a little different, but typically four cookies make up a 1 Serving with 0 grams Sugar/14 grams Carbs/1 gram Fiber for an S/C Value of 0/1. They are sweetened with Maltitol, which is a Sugar Alcohol. Many people find their stomachs do not react well to large amounts of Maltitol. Typically, I don't eat or like Maltitol products, but these I loved!

Joseph's Sugar Free cookies can be hard to locate. The "Diabetic Section" of my regular grocery store has a few of the flavors and several people have found them at Dollar Tree and other $1 stores. Some Whole Food's apparently also carry them. Joseph's also has Sugar Free Peanut Butter, Syrups and sweeteners. They can be found at both CarbSmart and Amazon.

Joseph himself has offered a discount to Me & Jorge readers! If you order directly from their website you can enter in the discount code of "JC" for $3 off orders of $20 or more. UPDATE: The Code is working now! You also get FREE shipping, so its a good deal!

Disclaimer: I received a package of this product free of charge for the purpose of review. It did not, in any way, effect the outcome of my review.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Shopping Lists

Over on twitter this week, Kristen who also blogs, asked me a question that I decided to turn into a quick post! I have a Trader Joe's just down the road, so I go there a lot. I find it so reasonably priced too! There is a Whole Foods to not far off, but it is so pricey, I don't like to go too often. I go to Costco probably once a month, it also has lots of Non-BFC for my kids lunch boxes.

I listed here the items I regularly get for the BFC at these great stores. In the comments please let us all know what you would add to the list!

Trader Joes:
TJs Dark Chocolate Lovers Bar
Simply Lite Chocolate (Maltitol sweetened)
Unsweetened Almond Milk Vanilla
Sprouted Flaxseed Bread (3/1 for two slices!)
Whole Wheat Pita
Trader Giottos Three Cheese Pasta Pomodoro Sauce
Cottage Cheese
Sunflower seeds (shelled)
Uncles Sams cereal
TJs Mini Shredded Wheat cereal
Think Thin Bites
Dark Chocolate Altoids

Whole Foods:
So Delicious Coconut Milk
Unsweetened Almond Milk - they have all the flavors regular, vanilla & chocolate
Tempt Unsweetened Hemp Milk
So Delicious Coconut Unsweetened Kefir Original Flavor (Drinking yogurt)
Amazing Grass Green Superfood Chocolate
Jay Robb Whey Protein
Barleans Flaxseed oils (essential Women's Chocolate Raspberry if you can find it)
Chia Seeds
Green & Black's 85% Dark Chocolate & other dark chocolates
Stevia Sodas: Zevia, Steaz 0 Calorie, Blue Sky Free,
Think Thin Bites
Waters: Metro Mint,  Hint Waters
Stevia Sweeteners
Sweet Riot
Chocolate Teas
Ezekiel Breads, muffins and cereals
Wasa Crackers

Costco: Jorge loves Costco for BFC Foods too

SoBe Lifewater 0 Calorie (new at Costco, Yippie!)
La Tortilla Factory Smart & Delicious tortillas
Baby Bel cheese
String cheese
Flat Out Bread (I've never found it at my Costco, but rumor is its there!)
Benefiber (I finally broke down & bought the GIANT container)
Fiber Con type pills
Rotesseri Chicken
Spinach leaves & other green veggies
Pruvia - Stevia Sweetener
Vitamin Water Zero
Thin Buns (hamburger buns)

SoBe Lifewater 0 Calorie
Vitamin Water Zero
Unsweetened Almond Milk
Dark Chocolates (they usually have several varieties)

Vitamin Shoppe:
Jay Robb Whey Protein
Ultimate 12/12 Probiotic
Spry Gum and mints

Amazon pretty much has every product from Jorge Cruise's Belly Fat Cure book! Surprisingly they sometimes have a better price then local stores and have reasonable shipping (or even free!). I will be ordering my Jay Robb & probiotics through here from now on, instead of getting them at Vitamin Shoppe. I went through the entire book added each item to an Amazon aStore here so they are easy for you to find.

CarbSmart is also a great resource. They have a whole section of BFC foods that I personally went through and made sure are either in the book or are artificial sweetener free and have great S/C Values. They have a few really hard to find items and currently I am loving these super high fiber crispbreads they carry. CarbSmart's Belly Fat Cure selection can be found here.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Weigh in: Week 20, Bring on the Butt and Hip Fat Cure

Okay, I'm stuck! Its official, I've hit a plateau. Week 20's weigh in is registering 0 lbs lost. I am still at 159, a whole 3 lbs from my goal weight. And really, what I need now is more of a Butt and Thigh Fat Cure than a Belly Fat one. Move on down now... your work here is just about done...

(Photos are 11/16/09 182 lbs, 1/19/10 169 lbs, 3/8/10 159 lbs. Sorry my 5 yr old is my camera man!)

Its frustrating because my goal weight doesn't actually mean anything real. Its just some number I picked, 40 lbs less than I weighed before. But apparently my body is familiar with that number, and would rather stay where it is. Its fighting me! "No Amber, let's just stay here for a bit. This weight is fine..." Ummm, no.

I have decided two things after my weigh in: 1) I want 149 to be my new goal weigh 2) I want to wear a size 8. I have no idea if those two things are compatible, but it means 10 more pounds and one more size.

So I'm going to mix things up a bit. I think I need to confuse my body and make it forget this is Amber's (relatively) old and (moderately) overweight body. No, this is a body of a person who her respects herself and works hard. You're expecting that oatmeal in the morning, aren't you? Tough. How about a little late after noon dark chocolate? Nope. Craving a few too many slices of that great Costco cheese that could just go on being sliced forever? Forget about it.

I'm going to have Mini Shredded Wheat or Uncle Sams for breakfast with my Coffee and Benefiber. I have my cereal dry, nothing added. For lunch, I am loving these Scandinavian Crispbreads that are super high in fiber (I got them from CarbSmart) loaded up with protein. For dinner, Ill have green veggies like spinach, zucchini and asparagus with a lean protein. Snack will be Amazing Grass, Jay Robb shakes or Bug Juice. I'm going back to the basics and I'm all about the fiber. Meal skipping is not allowed. If I really feel like a want to skip I'll make Bug Juice instead (that'll teach me).

I'd like to up my exercise, but honestly I don't have time for that. For the last two weeks I have power walked/jogged 18 miles each week. That pretty much takes all the time I have while my little one is in Kindergarten. And seriously, if that isn't melting off the pounds, I don't know what will! When my Husband finally returns from his endless business trip (I really do have a Husband... somewhere) I will add in an early evening run once a week to all this. Where I just run, no walking when it gets hard. (My Husband is going to owe me loads of "me time" when he gets back!) But apparently this isn't helping me lose weight and I am sure it is converting some of my fat to muscle, which weighs more than fat. But I'm at the stage where I enjoy the exercise now, and it has taken since August to feel that. Sometimes when I'm running in the hills I start laughing to myself... yes, its me... running, and loving it! THAT folks, is funny!

So here is to next week! I hope you all did great this week. Hearing about all your wonderful losses keeps me motivated and positive on the BFC! I'd love to hear how you all pick your goal weight, I've had a lot of trouble with this part of dieting!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Product Review: Wasa Crispbread

I discovered Wasa crispbreads several years ago when I did the Weight Watchers Core Plan (WW did away with that diet plan!). But I fell in love with these little cracker/breads and was thrilled to see that they fit into the Belly Fat Cure and Low Sugar diets perfectly!

Honestly, first taste might remind you of cardboard. They are really crunchy! But keep an open mind and these will become a diet staple. That crunch now satisfies a need that only potato chips could before. The most obvious use is as a "cheese delivery system", but you can do so much more: Spread on almond butter or low sugar peanut butter, scoop tuna salad on top, or make a turkey cheese sandwich. My favorite is to spread on cream cheese and top with smoked salmon. If I had capers that would be perfect!

There are several different varities of Wasa available and they have slightly varying S/C counts. The Fiber Crispbread has the best S/C of the bunch at 0grams Sugar/7grams Carbohydrates/2grams Fiber for an S/C of 0/1. The others have just a little more Carbs, but still are at just 1 Carb serving for one. I frequently have two of these for lunch, with a high protein topping served open faced, cottage cheese on the side sprinkled with ground flaxseed. They are pretty readily available at chain grocery stores (in the cracker aisle, kind of hidden), Amazon.com and at Carbsmart.com.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Winner of Zevia Give Away!

I plugged all the numbers into Random.org and I have three winners of the Zevia soda giveaway!

Winner #1: Karen said... I have been doing the BFC for about 2 months and I'm loving it. I used to get tons of headaches and migraines. Since cutting out sugar, they have almost been completely eliminated. Hallelujah! I would love to try these sodas and see if they leave me headache free. (there were a few Karen's who entered, but Im looking for this specific Karen!)

Winner #2: @siennastaffie

Winner #3: @dietdeb

Please contact me ASAP by emailing me here. First one to contact me gets the case, the other two get the six packs. I'd love to hear from you all which one is your favorite after having tried them!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Sister M Weigh In: Wk4

From Sister M: 

TGIF!  4 weeks into BFC and I’m down 9 pounds total. That’s 3 pounds for this week! My husband and I are going on our first cruise for our 30th Anniversary and I am going to lose 30 pounds by the time we board the ship!  I have 65 days left to lose another 21 pounds. Of course, I have many more steps to reach my actual goal.  I think for now, 30 pound chunks will serve me well.  It’s hard to get lost in a sea of pounds when you have so much to lose. With my frame, I probably will want to lose between 120 and 150 pounds.  But I’m just thinking about the 30 for now.

I feel I’ve made great strides both on and off the scales this week. Had some good discussions with my sisters and brother this week about why I overeat. I have lived through decades of starving myself for most of the day and then hitting the pantry when I get home.  I pass a point of no return with my hunger. It’s like pain pills after you have surgery. We all know, that if you wait until you’re hurting to take the next dose, it’s probably too late. You take the pills at regular, prescribed intervals. So on BFC, I’m fueling my body at regular intervals. But after lunch (usually 11:30), if I don’t eat something by 4, a trigger is pulled. Even if I have a filling snack, I cannot reach a point of satiation and I want to eat until bedtime. Whether it’s mental or physical, or both; this is when the bad stuff generally happens.  Soooo, Amber suggested that I have a protein shake around 3.  I’ve done that the last three days and cannot tell you what a difference it makes. I’m using Unsweetened Chocolate Almond Milk (surprisingly good!) with Jay Robb’s Chocolate Whey powder (Amazon actually has a great price on this right now with .99 shipping!). I add a tbsp of crème and flaxseed oil, and a few drops of SweetLeaf Liquid Stevia Vanilla Crème and it’s very satisfying. I even froze it into ice cube trays to add when I blend to keep it rich and undiluted.

Thanks to everyone for their words of encouragement. Getting support from ANYONE helps.  And I love thinking about the “extraordinary things people are saying to me” during my journey. Have a great weekend!  - Sister M