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

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Belly Fat Cure Italian Meals with Jorge Cruise

Jorge Cruise has a new download available! If you join his Email Club you get a link to download a brand new document that he says he created from his recent trip to Italy. The new document is called Jorge Cruise's Belly Fat Cure Italian Meals. It is basically a two-day menu plan with three new recipes from his trip. Plus a little information the Belly Fat Cure, a commitment contract and a letter from Jorge. Not anything new or groundbreaking, but a few new fresh ideas for the plan.

Right after reconfirming my Email Club membership, I receieved an offer to get the complete audio book of the Belly Fat Cure and a new video interview with Dr. Northrup if I shared Jorge's information with three friends.

If you would like to get the new Belly Fat Cure Italian Menus, click HERE and enter your email address. It must be valid email and you will need to respond to a confirmation email first. If you are having trouble finding the menu signup on Facebook or do not have a Facebook account then click HERE. If none of those work (which they are not right now) you can also go directly there with this DIRECT LINK.

For those of you just finding my blog, I hope you will click the FOLLOW button on the top right! And be sure and enter the GIVEAWAY for Nuun Electrolyte Hydration tablets!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Help Me Win Some Zevia!

The new flavors of Grape and Dr. Zevia (like Dr. Pepper) are a popular pool side snack on a hot afternoon this summer. My oldest son will say "Is it time for a little Z?" and we split the can three ways. A few weeks back Zevia started a Facebook contest where each day you were to post a photo of Zevia with something that used the "letter of the day" kind of thing. We won "W" and a 6 pack of Zevia for our photo "Zevia on the Water" and I've been entered to win the grand prize!

The grand prize is a 6 month supply of Zevia, so I'm all over that! If you could take a minute to LIKE my photo on Facebook, I would really appreciate it. The person with the most LIKES wins. While you are on Zevia's FB page, be sure and click on the COUPON link to get a $1 off your next six-pack.

Many thanks! And of course I will blog about all the things I make with my sodas. I already have Popsicle recipe ideas, but am looking at more cocktails and a coconut limeade next!

VOTE HERE through June 30, 2011. You can vote once each day!

UPDATE: Thank you all so much for voting, I won 3rd place and a ton of Zevia! Look for upcoming recipes and ideas with all those cans in use!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Recipe: Avocado Chocolate Pudding

Okay, I know, I know.... this sounds disgusting. Why would I make this? After a year on the Belly Fat Cure, I'd like to try something different. I have lost the taste for sugar and don't need everything to be sweet. There are several sugar free pudding on the market, but every last one of them has artificial sweeteners in them (even those made with sugar alcohols also have artificial sweeteners). I tried making my kids low-sugar pudding by using once Unsweetened Almond Milk once, but it never set up right.

The Husband kept talking about a Vegan Pudding made with Avocado that he has at work and finally brought one home for me to have a long time ago. It was fine, but I didn't give it much thought. It was made with Agave and it just occurred to me that this could fit right into a BFC, Fast Track and Paleo diet with a few modifications. So here goes my version of Avocado Chocolate Pudding that is also low in sugar!

Avocado Chocolate Pudding:
  • 1 Ripe Avocado
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • 1 or 2 packet of stevia sweetener - I use Sun Crystals
  • Cinnamon - a couple of shakes
  • Water - just a little to make it smooth
  • Vanilla Extract - just a little
I added this all to my little Cuisinart and blended it until it was smooth as pudding.  Texture is everything with this! I added a tiny bit of water to help with blending. The consistency and color should be exactly like pudding. Let it cool in the refrigerator before eating (this is really important for the taste, let it cool all the way through). This isn't perfect and could use a little something, not sure what. Maybe a little more sweetener? Or a better quality Cocoa? (I have purchased raw cacao and will try it with that next time) I will say, I licked the mixing bowl clean, cheated and put more in my cup than I did in the Hubby's, and licked my bowl clean.... so it was actually pretty good from my point of view.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this! Remember to blend until the texture is exactly like pudding and cool it afterwards.

Friday, June 24, 2011


Q: Is Splenda/Sucralose really all that bad for you?
A: Okay, this is a question I see a lot. Dieters are very resistant to giving up this artificial sweetener, but Jorge says you need to give it up. I LOVED my Splenda, bought it by the box at Costco. Costco box, folks. I only gave it up because I paid for a class with Jorge Cruise and was determined to get my money out of it, fully intending on adding back diet soda and Splenda at the end of the class. But I did my own research and have now banned it from my house. Bottom line: It is an ARTIFICIAL sweetener, made from chemicals in a lab. Livestrong has a good, brief, unbiased review on this topic that mirrors my thoughts on Splenda. Read it HERE. This seems to be the biggest point of disagreement among BFC dieters.

Q: Can't I just have 120 grams of carbohydrates and forget this weird Carb Serving thing?
A: No you can't, because it is not about your total intake for the day, but your intake per meal. It is what you are putting in your stomach to process at once and how that affects your blood sugar and insulin levels. Jorge does not emphasize this enough, but it is KEY to the plan. If you would like to limit your carbs to no more than 40 grams per meal, then that does work.

Q: Can I really do this plan and not exercise?
A: I did exercise, but I honestly think that it didn't help with my weight loss. I was not doing it for weight loss either, I was doing it for health in general. It did help me tone my body as I went. As you start to lose weight and feel better, I bet you will want to get out a little and move more too. It is good for the soul and helps clear my head! I also think it might make me appear to weigh a little less than the scale says, especially in my face. I swear the day after a run my face looks slimmer, like I pumped all the excess liquid out of it.

Q: Aren't you hungry on the Belly Fat Cure?
A: I do get hungry, but almost always it is just before mealtime. Hungry is when your stomach growls and you have actual hunger pains. If you are hungry you need more protein, fat and high fiber green vegetables. I did, and still do sometimes, feel cravings or longing for foods I used to binge on. But that is not hunger, it is habit. A long learned habit that I see myself breaking away from everyday.

Q: Can you eat "bad carbs" as long as you count them?
A: Yes, you can eat anything that fits 5/2 per meal with a 15/6 S/C Value max per day that does not have artificial sweeteners in it. Pretty cool, right? You will probably need to switch to higher fiber, more complex carbs though as the weight loss slows down. I also found certain foods that are allowed were trigger foods for me, and I needed to avoid them (Hello, evil chips). Especially if I was eating alone. So while you CAN do it, I really would not recommend it.

Q: Can I do this and train for a triathlon, half marathon, etc?
A: I have to say I used to find this question ridiculous and it strangely gets asked all the time. What overweight person is doing that kind of exercise? Turns out, me! I did train for my 13 mile half marathon and then the California Relay while doing the Belly Fat Cure Fast Track. But I did notice that when I regularly exercised for more than an hour (or 7+ miles) my body was not happy. I had muscle aches that I specifically did not have before. I think I had began to burn my muscle, instead of fat or carbs. Thankfully that was at the end of my training, and I added back grains. Starting a few days before the race and after, I did not watch my carb/sugar intake, to help my muscles repair. I also researched running supplements and found Nuun was a great no sugar alternative that quenched my thirst and has electrolytes. (Review and giveaway with Nuun coming soon!)

Q: I'm afraid of certain foods, especially those with sugar. Is it okay to have them?
A: Stay away from foods that are too tempting even if they are officially allowed on the plan, that is my advice. I am afraid of several foods myself, as funny as that sounds. Apparently they still hold a certain mysterious power over me. Food issues go deep... tackle them when you are feeling strong enough.

I'd love my readers answers to these same questions, so use the comments section to give your .02! If you have a question that I might be able to help with, please send me a email HERE.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ask Me a Question

I get tons of questions from people about the Belly Fat Cure diet. Frankly, this plan is a little confusing in the beginning, maybe because it is so different from other diets. The whole reason for my blog is to share what I have learned and what has been successful for me. I'd like to start a series of Q&A posts, dedicated just to readers questions.

I read all my comments here (no matter how old the post is), but I know not everyone is comfortable with doing that. So leave me comments with questions here on this post OR email questions to me HERE. I will answer them in upcoming blog posts, to the best of my ability. And when I can't answer them, my awesome readers can help me out!

BTW I am SO loving an occasional So Delicious Mini Vanilla Bar this summer! Super yummy and it has FIBER!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Summer Lovin

I finally lost the 5 lbs I set out to lose in the May Challenge, so that puts me at 148. I haven't really changed anything, just staying consistent. I did change my lunches and have started having a turkey & cheese sandwich for lunch every day. I use Orawheat Light Bread and dijon mustard for an S/C Value of 3/1. Usually I have something that is less of a real meal, and this seemed like too many carbs and sugar to me. But it has me feeling more satisfied in the middle of the day and I find that I am reaching for snacks much, much less.

I have been really motivated by a few of my readers recently! You may have heard that Jorge Cruise has a new Belly Fat Cure book in the works. Well it turns out a few of my readers (you guys!) will likely be featured in it! It is so cool and motivating to me to see other people's success. We all need a reminder that it works, for different ages, body types and different stages of life. Seeing their Before/After photos and reading their stories, knowing they are real people who did this, was something I really needed right now. Strangely I needed a reminder that it is not just a fluke that this plan works for me ;-) Weird, right?

This weekend a really good friend moved away, all the way back to England. As an adult, I find it really difficult to make new friends, so this has me down a bit. I moved across the country just a few years ago, so somehow I think this is karma paying me back.  She is also my only friend who does the Belly Fat Cure full on, so we were always talking about it, our weight loss and new foods and recipes. I will really miss her!

I home school my kids over the summer (don't worry, they have TONS of fun too), so I am really busy with that. My goal is to be present for them, and be in the moment. We are looking forward to taking a trip to Tulsa to see family and having a few visitors here in California. I also arranged to have a babysitter one evening a week, so the Hubby and I can have a date night. Nothing fancy, just time alone, one on one. I've worked a lot my myself the last 18 months, and it's always all about my kids. I think my marriage now needs some high priority attention too

I still have 5 more lbs that I gained back to work on, but I'm feeling very confident about them. I know my mind is in the right place, I have the knowledge and the desire to get to where I want. It is just a matter of time! I am not able to run much at all in the summer, maybe once a week or even less. So I am getting very little exercise right now. But I want to run the San Jose Rock n' Roll Half Marathon in October, so I'll need to keep that in mind.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Vitamin Water Zero

Glaceau Vitamin Water Nutrient Enhanced Water Beverage ZERO, Go-Go Mixed Berry, 20 oz (Pack of 24)Vitamin Water Zero is an excellent choice on the Belly Fat Cure. In fact Jorge Cruise posts about it often on his facebook page. When the book originally came out Vitamin Water was made with artificial sweeteners and did not belong on the plan, which explains why it is not in the original book. But in the past year they have changed the ingredients to include Stevia and Erythritol (a sugar alcohol).

The best thing about this product is that is it widely available, at movie theaters, Starbucks, most grocery stores and gas stations. Costco even sells a big variety pack. So if you really need a low sugar treat, you can always find it! Vitamin Water Zero has 0 grams sugar/4 grams for a a little less than half the bottle. That is an S/C Value of 0/0, but if you were to drink the whole bottle it would be 0/1.

There are several different flavors available, I have only tried a few. My favorite is XXX which has acia, blueberry pomegrante flavors and contains antioxidants, it says. I didn't really like the Rise, which was a bit like Orange Juice. I used it in Mimosa's for a recent brunch. Be sure and pick the ZERO variety, instead of the regular which is loaded with sugar. And be sure and count they carbs if you drink more than half the bottle. I save these for a special treat or when I really need something sweet. If you are having these daily and your weight loss has stalled, I would recommend cutting back on these to one a week.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

In Defense of the Belly Fat Cure

The other day a girlfriend said to me "Amber, are you still on that extreme diet?" I said yes, but I didn't think it was extreme at all. To which she replied "It sounds extreme to me!"  That, plus a lot of comments I see in response to Jorge's appearance on Rachael Ray really makes me think. And some of it gets under my skin. I see "This is a gimmick", "You can't just eliminate one thing", "It's too extreme", "It's Atkins, repackaged".

Not that it needs it, because the proof is in the pudding, but I'm going to take a moment to defend Jorge Cruise's Belly Fat Cure.

First of all, it is not a gimmick. Can Jorge himself come off as gimmicky? Sure. Despite how I named my blog, the diet isn't about him. A gimmick is a trick, something with short term results that are later reversed. This is not a gimmick diet. It is real plan that allows for 3 meals a day and snacking. It lets you have alcohol and even chocolate, if you plan for it. It lets you eat out and cook at home. You can fulfill all your nutritional requirements and still limit your sugar and carb intake. I have thrown out an entire closet full of size 16 clothing and replaced with size 8s. That is not a gimmick.

You are not eliminating sugar on the Belly Fat Cure, you are LIMITING sugar. Other diets limit calories and fat, this one limits sugar. Most nutritional guides and restaurants do not even list the amount of sugar in their food, so this is different. But it is based on newer research and studies that say our bodies convert sugar into fat and THAT is what makes us fat. Not calories and fat digested, but sugar. So you can have some sugar, just not a lot.

There is one thing you do eliminate on the plan, and that is ARTIFICIAL sweeteners. You can have none, zero, zilch. Not allowed. This is a really strange concept for dieters, since we have relied heavily on our "diet" drinks and foods for so long. But it is key on the Belly Fat Cure. If you do everything else on the plan, but leave in artificial sweeteners (such as Sucralose/Splenda, Saccharin, Aspartame) then you will crave foods that are sweet. You will never lose the taste for sugar and expect sweetness in your foods. This is all very subtle and you don't even realize that this is happening.  That is the simple version, as I now believe that artificial sweeteners are actually very harmful to us in so many ways. So to artificial sweeteners, I say good riddance!

Sure it is a low carb diet, but it isn't Atkins. No offense to Atkins at all. For induction on Atkins (the losing stage) you get a max of 20 grams of carbs a day, I forget the number of sugars, but I think the goal is zero. You can also subtract things like sugar alcohols and fiber from your carb count. It's mostly meat and cheese baby, meat and cheese! Plus Atkins dieters rely heavily on artificial sweeteners. I think of the Belly Fat Cure as more of a low sugar, moderate carb plan. On the BFC we get tons of green veggies and limited fruit (hello little berry), along with the meat and cheese. You can have up to 120 grams of carbs a day, limiting each meal to no more than 40 grams. It concentrates on what you have in each meal, as your body processes the food and how that affects your insulin levels, not so much on an end of day total.

Extreme implies that it is far beyond the norm, and I see that point. We have never been told to limit our sugars before. How much sugar is too much or too little? The FDA doesn't have a recommended daily value even. Jorge, and many others, have suggested it is lobbied against it by the food industry. But if it were too extreme then I (and many, many others) would not be able to eat this way for over 18 months. It would be a quick fix diet and that is not the case. For me, this diet is not extreme at all. I make different choices now, low sugar choices. I can eat out at any restaurant you pick and find something that fits in perfectly.

This is feedback I get from friends and family all the time, even though they see the results in me. Change is scary and doing something different the Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig or the standard calories in/calories burned goes against so much of what we thought we knew about dieting. That is my .02 and how I see it. Do you get the same push back from others on this plan, or have the same worries you have seen addressed here?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Rachael Ray Show - Weight Loss Wonders Repeat

The episode of Rachael Ray that I appeared on with Jorge Cruise is on today in reruns! If you didn't get a chance to watch it before, then here it is. They did not post the section with me on it on Youtube (or anywhere) so this is the only time to see it. Plus there are lots of great weight loss stories from other guests who lost huge amounts of weight.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

May Challenge

I'm a little bummed about my own results on the May Challenge. It is the first time since I started the Belly Fat Cur,e about 18 months ago, that I haven't any huge success. So I'm baffled. I lost 2 lbs, which as all dieters know could just be a simple scale fluctuation. My goal was 5 lbs in May with another 5 lbs in June, to get me back to a little lower than my maintenance weight.

So here is what I have figured out for ME: The Belly Fat Cure works wonders on my Obese and Overweight body (as determined by all those weight charts). But once I am out of those categories and into the Normal range at all, I have to do something a little different. The last two times I got below this weight I did the Fast Track plan, which is basically the Belly Fat Cure with no grains at all, plus a few other omissions. I do really light grains as it is. I don't eat bread or pasta pretty much at all, only really high fiber cereal, crackers and tortillas. I probably have them for 2 of my 3 meals, sometimes just for 1 meal. Right now, I'm just not sure I am willing to eliminate them all together.

The good news is, 150 lbs isn't a bad weight for me. Those size 8 skinny jeans don't fit as well, but I can get them on. It is also easier to run when I am a little bit lighter. But I don't want to squabble over a few pounds. This is about being healthy and preventing diabetes, not getting skinny.

I also suffer from a weird mental picture of myself. I cannot look at a single photo right now without judging every fault. I need to work on that, and I realize it is more about ME and less about MY WEIGHT. So I think once my head is in the right place, then my weight just follows (when I am also eating right). So I'm going to work on getting back into the right mental space. I know I have said it before, but it is true. Maintenance is extremely difficult. For me, more difficult than trying to lose weight. It is a "forever" thing, not just an until I get X amount off.

Here is my musical inspiration, Ingrid Michaelson and Take Me the Way I Am. It could be a ballad for the Husband.

Friday, June 3, 2011

So Delicious Ice Cream Minis

I have been looking for a low sugar ice cream like this for over an year! I was SO thrilled to find the So Delicious Dairy Free Coconut Milk Vanilla Bar Minis in the freezer at my local Whole Foods. Yippie!

They have a pretty strong coconut flavor and a bit of texture, that I liked. I had my 6 year old try them with me, and he liked them too (he is VERY picky).

One bars has 1 gram of sugar and 17 grams of carbs. And get this... 7 grams of fiber! Cha-Ching. That gives it an S/C Value of 1/1, perfect for dessert. How does it get its sugar count so low without using artificial sweeteners? It relies on Sugar Alcohols, specifically erythritol, and stevia.

I encourage you to research sugar alcohols on your own by reading more on them. HERE is a good place to start and remember they can upset your stomach and even stall weight loss in many people. However Jorge Cruise encourages their use on the Belly Fat Cure diet plan. I, myself, have sugar alcohols only in very limited amounts (ie. once a week or less).

Turtle Mountain, the creators of So Delicious products, have a store locator on their site. But they have several different products, so you aren't guaranteed that they will have this ice cream. They also have a Fudge Bar version of the Minis with an even better S/C Value and a few other ice creams I will be reviewing later. Be sure and check each product's nutrition label and pick their NO SUGAR ADDED options.

Review of So Delicous Unsweetened Coconut Milk