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Monday, May 30, 2011

Dark Chocolate Review Part 3

Who knew that on a diet I'd be writing so much about chocolate bars? That, my friends, is the beauty of a low sugar diet plan like the Belly Fat Cure! I have Dark Chocolate pretty much every night. Sometimes it is just a single square. Other nights, tougher nights, it is a whole serving.

Most Dark Chocolates that have 80% or high Cacao are allowed, since they are typical  low in carbohydrates and have 5 grams or less of sugar. Dark Chocolate is also allowed on the Fast Track also, just make it a half serving size.

Some of these bars listed here are hard to find, see my previous Dark Chocolate reviews (Part 1 and Part 2) to get a complete picture of the chocolate you could be eating! In the past year I have reviewed over a dozen different chocolate bars, and yet, there are still more! A few of these are a little higher in sugar, so adjust the serving size so you don't go over 5grams for this snack. My favorite of all the Dark Chocolates is Ghirardelli 86% Midnight Reverie, which I review in Part 1. It is the easiest to find (Thank you Target and Lucky's grocery) and I can usually get it 2 for $5.

Valrhona Noir Extra Amer 85% - This is a wonderful dark chocolate bar that is now available at Trader Joes for $2.99. It has a very dark taste and very little sweetness to it. If you are just getting used to dark chocolates, this may be a little too bitter. If you are a conessour, you will love it!It has 5grams sugar/15grams carbs for an an S/C Value of 5/1 with 6 grams of fiber.
Alter Eco Dark Blackout 85% Chocolate Bar, 3.5-Ounce Bars (Pack of 4)

Alter Eco Dark Blackout 85%- My Sister M bought this for me and it is really good! We even shared it with other sister, who is not on a low sugar diet, and she liked it too. It is very smooth and creamy. She couldn't remember where she bought it, but eventually found it at Whole Foods. If is 6 grams sugar/14grams carbs for an S/C Value of 6/1 with 5 grams of fiber.

Madecasse 80% Cocoa - The Husband put these bars from Madagascar in my Christmas stocking, says he found them at a food fair at work. These aren't my favorite, but the Husband really likes them. There was a taste that I didn't recognize in it, even though it simply cocoa, sugar, cocoa butter. I love this company, though. They have a great story and Fair Trade product. 7 grams sugar/15 carbs S/C Value: 7/1 for half the bar. It claims 1 gram of fiber.

Organic Panama Extra Dark Chocolate - This 80% fairly traded chocolate from Equal Exchange has to be one of my new favorites! It is really smooth and doesn't have any after tastes. I found mine at Whole Foods. It has 7 grams sugar/15 grams carbs for an S/C Value of 7/2 for 1/3 of the bar.
Dove Dark Chocolate Sugar Free Chocolate Creme Candy, 3.4-Ounce Packages (Pack of 6)

Dove Sugar Free - These taste much sweeter than the other bars because it is sweetened with the sugar alcohol Maltitol. Long time readers of my blog will know that Maltitol causes an upset stomach in many, including myself. So this is not a favorite. But it is a good transition into the real deal dark chocolates as you lose the taste for sugar. I found these at Walmart.

I would love to hear which is your favorite Dark Chocolate bar on the Belly Fat Cure or any other low sugar plan!


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Probiotics on a Diet

Natural Factors Ultimate Probiotic 12/12 Formula Veg-Capsules, 60-CountProbiotics are live microorganisms that live in our digestive track. They are considered "good bacteria" and aid in the digestive process. It is thought that antibiotics, poor diet and artificial sweeteners (such as Sucralose/Splenda) kill this bacteria and that can interfere with weight loss.

Jorge Cruise recommended them in the class I took on the Belly Fat Cure in 2009. I thought I had never heard of probiotics, but once I researched them I realized I had. My youngest son used to get an upset stomach on antibiotics for chronic ear infections. He was prescribed liquid Acidophilous which I got from the pharmacy. I also found a section about Probiotics in an old Atkins book. I now see them as a cure all for many of our stomach problems.

Do you have to take them forever? Maybe, depends on your diet. It is completely possible to get enough probiotics without taking the pills, but it can be complex on a low sugar diet. Several foods that boast probiotics are diary products that are also high in sugar. A few examples of products you can have: certain sauerkraut, fermented vegetables and soy bean products, yogurt, kefir, kombutcha drinks.

There are tons of different probiotics pills sold at stores. You want one that has the most strains (different types of probiotics that have all those latin names listed on the back) and the most live organisms (measured in the millions/billions). Pick one with at least 12 different strains, but notice most brands only have only Lactobacillus Acidophils. Most quality brands will need to be refrigerated. Jorge Cruise recommended Natural Factors Ultimate Probiotic 12/12 and that is what I use. I get it on Amazon and at Vitamin Cottage. It has 12 strains and I give it credit for changing my digestive system.

Prebiotics are green vegetables that the probiotics feed on to stay alive. The Bug Juice recipe is a great Prebiotic. Once you have replenished your gut bacteria and are feeding it well, the flora and fauna of your digestive system should reward you. Less acid reflex, upset stomach, more regular and evenly sized bowel movements. Even less cold or canker sores and yeast infections should be an end result.

I found some good books on the topic too, if you are interested in learning more about it!  It is actually really interesting stuff!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Keep Calm and Carry On Dieting

Last week was a very weird week for me, hence no personalized post. I had a nice family belated-birthday party for the Hubby over the weekend, where we made seaweed soup, homemade sushi, drank sake from wooden boxes and had an Angry Birds Cake (complete with Pig cupcakes). I was really proud of not having any cake, but letting everyone enjoy theirs.

Then week was so busy that I kept forgetting to weigh in the morning. And then I broke out in horrible acne and was completely hormonally unhappy. So that explained the cookie eating depression from last week, it was just hormones taking control of my mind and mouth. Once I realized that, it was much easier to rein it in and take control. When I did get on the scale it was mid-day and said something insanely scary and I decided to just ignore it!

So, the super busy week went by and I had my eating under control. I even went through some sugar withdrawls again after all the cookies, not fun. But I had the weekend to myself, the Hubby and boys were off camping. I was really scared that I would not eat right when I was all alone. That I might go buy a huge bag of Dorritos, sit on my couch and watch Game of Thrones in the dark all weekend. I could feel that I wanted that a little bit.

A few things kept me from doing that:
#1 This Blog. I could not come back here and report that I did that. I couldn't. 
#2 The Month of No Excuses Challenge. I actually woke up one morning thinking "that was an idiotic idea, challenging a bunch of people to diet with me for a month. Now I can't quit". Cuz I wanted to quit. But now I've drug a bunch of others into this, including my Sister M, and I can't quit.  
#3 Where the Hell Would that Get Me? It would get me right back in Size 16 jeans. And I don't like those jeans. In fact, I freaking hate those jeans. I threw those jeans out. 

So I didn't do it!!! I ate right! I did the right thing, and it was actually pretty easy! And it FELT good! I looked that temptation in the eyes, I and said "No, no thanks". I kept calm, and I carried on.  w00t! The scales, however, are not participating in this celebration. They have been anywhere from 149.5 to 153 in the last week. Today, my official weigh in day, they say 151 and I accept that. (Next week they better say 149 though)

I hope you are doing GREAT! Leave a comment and tell me how it is going. Thank you for being here for me and all your encouragement over the last 18 or so months. I used all the goodwill this week and it really helped!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Belly Fat Cure iPhone App

This week we finally have a Belly Fat Cure iPhone App! It is $4.99 and tracks your daily food consumption and S/C Values. It is an electronic version of the planner that Jorge Cruise provides in the book. Here is my review:

Pros: This is a professionally done app, very pretty and nicely made. It is a product of Oceanhouse Media which has made iPhone apps for several of Hay House Publishings authors. The graphics are great and it is very visually appealing.

Along with tracking your S/C Values and food log, it also tracks your waist circumference and weight (and has nice graphs to show your progress). There are some quotes from Jorge, sample menus and information from the Sugar and Carb Counter book. It has 7,500 foods already entered, but you can add your own too.

There are several things that I really like about the app. Like that it includes fiber grams in the foods list and carbohydrate grams, not just the Carb Serving. I also like that it has a Quantity, as it makes tracking and entry easier. I also like that it has so much information about the diet and isn't "just a tracker' and is really almost a digital version of the counter book. Plus, did I mention that it is pretty? Cuz it is.

Cons:  The app is preloaded with all the foods from the Belly Fat Cure Sugar and Carb Counter book. However both list foods that contain artificial sweeteners, which ARE NOT ALLOWED on the plan, yet they are listed as if they do. One of the promotional photos of the app even features Dannon Light & Fit Vanilla Yogurt. Ugh. It is also missing all the great recipes from the original Belly Fat Cure book, which I think should have been included in the list of foods. Wouldn't it be great to just enter Great Ground Beef Tacos from page 195?

It is also pretty difficult to enter in your daily food intake. There is no search for the foods, instead you have to drill down through the types of foods. You can only enter your data from your iPhone/iPad, there is no web entry/interface (but that is common with many apps).

And lastly, I don't believe it counts your Carb Servings correctly. Which is really unfortunate as that is the most confusing part of the BFC plan. This is due to the error that the app just totals your daily intake, instead of meal totals. For the record, you mark off you Carb Servings per meal and DO NOT rollover the extra grams to use later. Using this app would allow you more carbs than if you tracked manually. Makes you wonder if they had anyone who actually DOES the diet test the app. Simply adding a meal category would solve the only real problems with the app. (I could be wrong about this, since I only had a short time to test it. Let me know in the comments if this is the case, as I'd love to wrong about this.)

All that said, I think it is worth the $4.99 for iPad/iPhone for Belly Fat Cure dieters. Oceanhouse Media informs me there are no current plans for an Android version of the app. Personally I would use the app just for simplicity's sake, with hopes they would correct the Carb Serving error.

If the price is too steep, the Cons are too many or you don't have an iOS device (Like me! I had a borrow a friends iPhone to review it), you can download the extra paper trackers from the book HERE.  Or you can use my spreadsheet for free  (I spent a lot of time making sure it tracks your S/C Value per meal, along with daily totals) I'd love to hear what you all think of the app. We have waited so long for it, after all!

Update 5/19/11 3pm: This App has just been pulled from the AppStore. According to Oceanhouse PR "This App required modifications to it's features". Hopefully they are fixing the issues I mentioned!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Product Review: Kaia Foods Kale Chips

Kaia Foods Chili Lime Kale Chips ( 24/1 OZ)
I found an interesting new snack I wanted to share. The Vegan Hubby showed up with these KAle Chips that he got a food fair. They are basic dehydrated Kale leaves that are fined chopped, then pressed back together with various spices. They are more like little Kale Crackers. They come in several flavors including Chili Line, Salt and Vinegar, Cheesy and BBQ.

I thought they were really tasty and was happy to see that Amazon and Whole Foods carries them in several flavors. I tasted the Chili Lime and would highly recommend them. But please remember, that I have been off sugar for awhile and these are a health food. If you were eating Snicker earlier today, you may not like these!

These have 9g of Carbohydrates, 4g of Fiber and 0 Sugar for 1/2 the package. That is an S/C Value of 0/1 for the whole package (or half, either way). They are basic dehydrated Kale leaves that are fined chopped, then pressed back together with various spices.

Recently I made a homemade version of Kale Chips. You can see that recipe HERE, they are extremely easy to make and inexpensive. The fact that I would even consider making an oven full of Kale Chips is a little absurd!  You can find Kaia products limited locally at these stores.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Finding Respect in a Cookie

Okay, so week two of this May Challenge has been a total challenge for me! If I make dieting look easy, well this week has been HARD. I'm not going to make any excuses, but will just say I have been so busy lately and it just caught up with me. I was juggling a dozen things, so proud of myself for doing it all and then boom! It all fell on the floor and shattered.  I let my refrigerator and pantry get low on the right foods, I let myself get frustrated with small things (my 3rd graders damn book report) and I over committed myself across the board. I set myself for failure basically.

Last night my 6 yr old was crying in bed. I went to comfort him (he almost never cries) and he told me "I don't get any respect in this family". Really, my tiny little Rodney Dangerfield? No respect huh? Boy, I could have told a story about how I feel the same, but instead I asked what would make him feel like he was being respected. He said "a cookie".  When I was done I said to the Hubby (who has been MIA for over a week and just got home that night), I want a cookie, I went and ate two cookies (we had only found the cookie hiding place a few hours before). Then I went to bed sad and feeling worthless. Stepped on the scale this morning to see my weight back up 2 lbs. I know two cookies doesn't explain 2 lbs, but it does show my mindset and lack of willpower. There has been small things, the wrong crackers, a few chips, there was a jelly bean incident and it all adds up. Or could be that I'm hormonal and that explains EVERYTHING! That is probably it.

The best part of this week has been my Sister M. I hope she doesn't mind me telling the world that she lost an amazing 7.5 lbs this. It is her first week back on the Belly Fat Cure after a year of not dieting. W00t! She read my blog post last week, and right there on the spot decided to start. That is a HUGE thing for her. So proud! She is my inspiration now.

My weigh in is Monday mornings. I do that to really help keep me true over the weekends. I'll post a chart so you can see how my weight fluctuated this week. I'm really hoping it will go back down by then :( If you struggled this week, leave a comment and us know how you overcame it. Inspire me, I need it!

 I'm making an Angry Birds cake today, but I won't eat any of it. The Hubby was gone for his birthday and was part of that big announcement this week (you can now play Angry Birds right from you computer! Click here to do it!) so we thought this would be fun. I'm also making a Japanese themed sushi meal for the dinner. I've never done that, so it should be interesting!

Monday, May 9, 2011

May Challenge: Week 2

WooHoo, I am so happy to be on a diet! (No, really. I'm serious.) I immediately felt good at the beginning of the week. I was up earlier in the morning and happier with all the members of my family. I tried picturing myself at my goal weight, and having a little extra room in my jeans. My weight was all over the board this week, especially after the big Relay Race last weekend, but I ended up down 2 lbs!

I feel like I had a fabulous week diet wise. But, I had so much going on: my Mother-in-law is here for her annual visit from the Netherlands, Mother's Day (Happy belated Mother's Day to all my readers!), my kids are suddenly those over booked crazy kids (how did that happen?),  The Hubby's birthday and I had my first ever (but certainly not last) Girls Getaway Weekend in Sonoma.

So clearly it wasn't easy, I was just DETERMINED. I thought I was doing the BFC at about 90% and wouldn't have much trouble just doubling down and sticking with 5/2 S/C per meal and 15/6 for the day again. I started using my tracker for the first time in a year and BOY OH BOY! I was over on carb servings and up to 14 grams of sugar the first two days, even though I was being very careful! (Even though I was over on carb servings, my carb grams never went over 100) A few times I wanted a little more to eat at night, but I didn't have any carb servings left for dark chocolate :( I made Vanilla or Chocolate tea every night and that really helped. And one night, I just plain went to bed early. I can't raid the ridge from bed, can I? I made up my mind I am going to get these extra pounds off, and I am.

You can tell from the above list of everything going on last week, that I had a lot of excuses not to diet. There was one for every day of the week! I turned down copious amounts of wine (did I mention the MIL and Sonama?!), desserts, fruits and breads. Sometimes I felt a little bad, "No, I cannot split that cinnamon roll with you, but feel free to order it anyways". I really started seeing sugar and sweets as arsenic to me. "Yes, I think that chocolate croissant looks really good, buuuuut it just might kill me in the long run. So, no thanks". That is what I said in my head, at least.  What I really said was "I'll have decaf coffee with cream for dessert." May is NO EXCUSES MONTH, and it was almost freeing to just be able to say "No Thanks!" so easily. I didn't even have to think about it. Do I want some of that? No, no I don't actually.

I am feeling so grateful right now.  Grateful for my readers and all their support. Grateful for my family and friends. Grateful for the the knowledge to cure my obesity. The funny thing about the last statement is that, I just started thinking about my new lifestyle as a "cure" last week. Only typing it just now, did I realize the name of the diet plan I follow like a mini-religion is called The Belly Fat Cure. I really don't like the name of this diet at all. I picture tons of stomach cellulite every time I say it! But oh well... it works even with a bad name.

I hope you take some time today to feel grateful too, regardless of what is going on in your life. Leave a comment and let me know how your weigh in and week went! If you are struggling a bit, just remember to make no excuses this month. Start the next meal fresh and forgive yourself for any indulgences. I mentioned my Sister M in the last post. If you read the comments, you will see she started the BFC that day!! I am so proud and excited for her! I swore to her, deciding to commit to a diet was the very hardest part. Its a long road, but she CAN do it.

This is one of the Mother's Day cards I got this weekend. I LOVE that it says "My Mother Looks Good in Running Clothes", seriously the most beautiful thing anyone has ever said to me! And "My Mother Goes Crazy for Chocolate Chip Cookies", which is sadly true and I've had to confess to my boys. (The Hubby and kids have been instructed to hide the box. Which really sucks for the kids when we can't find them and Dad works late!) The funniest was "My Mother Makes Great Bacon" (they love that I make bacon occasionally on this diet!) and apparently I am always Cooking (it sure as hell feels that way). And finally, I am so pleased my son doesn't think I yell (I grew up in a yelling house and hated that). I laughed so hard when I read this card that I nearly cried.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

May Challenge: Week 1

I am so truly excited to have so many readers joining me in my Weight Loss Challenge this month! It is going to be so much easier to do with friends. If you are doing the BFC, I encourage you to use my S/C Value Tracker. I am using it again and surprised when everything adds up! Oops, I had 5 crackers and 2 squares of chocolate. And I forgot about that yogurt for breakfast. Those little things add up! I am making a few changes to tracker too, like adding calories since many people seem to want to see that. (I don't count calories, just sugar, carb, fiber). As you can see, I went over with carb servings and was very close on sugar on the first day I tracked. But it is great, beacause it points out things I didn't notice. For starters, I clearly needed a more filling lunch so I wouldn't need that big snack. The chips should not have been eaten at all (Damn you potato chips and your crunchy goodness)!

I'm pretty hard on myself, although I'm better since I hit 40. But I am mad (MAD!) when I see very recent photos and I can see those extra pounds in my hips and thighs. Everyone keeps telling me I look fine, except my Sister M who always tells the truth about this ugly stuff. I should take a new photo for my timeline, because I don't think I look like that end photo right now.

Speaking of my Sister M, I am desperately trying to get her to join me this month. She has been off the diet wagon for about a year now, and I am worried about her. Not worried about her being overweight, but about how her weight is effecting her life and health. I've been trying to get her to see it as a disease, like alcohol addiction. Some of us, our bodies convert carbs and sugar into fat at a higher rate. We have raised insulin levels and that causes us to crave empty carbs. We can eat endless amounts of those empty carbs, trying to get that "full" feeling. But it never happens... until you feel sick a while later. I think she doesn't want to start another diet, because she has failed so many times. Why start another one, when you know you will fail again? So this month I want to be a good example to her, show her it is possible to cure yourself of obesity despite your gene pool. I KNOW she can do this too, if she would only put herself first and surrender fully to the Belly Fat Cure plan. (She has written here on my blog several times, you can read more HERE. She is my Awesome older sister.)

For myself, I am trying to picture the end result and keep a positive attitude. I know I can get this 9.5 lbs off, it is just a matter of time. I know I can control my eating and not feel deprived. I know that feeling a little room in my size 8 jeans is going to feel SO much better than those chips are going to taste. I know I can do this, and so can you all!

Leave me a note about how the first few days have been. Has it been easy or a real challenge? If you have already cheated, just move on and start today fresh! We have the whole month of May to get this right.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May Weight Loss Challenge

I just had one of the most amazing times of my life this weekend! I was miles outside my comfort zone and signed up for The California Relay. 12 women took turns running 194 miles from Calistoga to Santa Cruz, and I had a blast doing it! How crazy is that!? I really learned a lot about overcoming fear with the whole event.

I was nervous about spending that much intimate time with several women I don't know well, plus very nervous about the long distance running. I have been out of shape since my 1/2 Marathon a few months ago, and I've put on 9.5 lbs. Like an old lady, I fell during my night time run. Bruised my legs up a little and scraped up a knee. I am more embarrassed than hurt though. But it was really, the BEST time I've had in a long time. When you push your self and go outside the normal, you do get rewarded. Remember that!

Now I am ready to tackle those 9 1/2 lbs, which I can really feel and see in photos of myself. Who's with me? So what is "the challenge"? The challenge is to stick to your diet plan, whether it is BFC, WW, Jenny Craig or whatever. Just stick with it for the month of May. This is a NO EXCUSE month, regardless of what you have going on. Will you lose all the weight you need in May? No, but you will be well on your way!

So many of you have said the timing is perfect for this and want to join in. Everything is funner with a friend! Whether it is the last few pounds, a few added back on, or you are just beginning your journey - you can do this. Leave a comment, tell us all what your goal is and how you aren't going to let anything stand in your way in the month of May (not even a Mother's Day Brunch!) My goal is 5 lbs and I'm going to do it by sticking with the Belly Fat Cure max of 5/2 S/C per meal and 15/6 max per day. I'm going to picture a thinner, more healthy me when I feel temptations. And know it really is worth it to skip them.

This is a photo of me from Saturday afternoon. I had just run 6.7 miles through the town of Petaluma, CA and then up a huge hill and back down. I love this photo, because for some reason I am smiling (10 minutes before that I thought I might die, it was really hard) and my team mate is congratulating me before she takes off on her long run.  Please remember, I was a total coach potato 18 months ago.