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Monday, August 29, 2011

The Day I Realized Things Had to Change

Today is my baby's birthday. He is 7 (7!) and so no, he isn't a baby any more. Two years ago was an important milestone for me...

His 5th birthday was THE DAY. The day I realized I needed to make a change in my life. We were having several families over for the party. We were new to the area, and these were new friends, or even people I barely knew. It was all about my boy and the party that day, but right before everyone was due I went to change into nice clothing. And I discovered that absolutely nothing fit. At first I thought, maybe I'd accidently washed my shorts in hot water. But then ALL my other shorts were too tight. I finally got a pair buttoned and pulled out a XL blousey shirt that should cover the bulge above the shorts.... but it didn't. It just clung to me. Ugh. I felt bad too.  I went to bed with a full stomach most nights and couldn't sleep. I felt uncomfortable, irritated and terminally in a bad mood, which is not the norm for me. But it was the new norm.

That day, after cleaning up after the party and everything was done, I got on the scales. I was very surprised to see that I was just under 200 lbs. I knew, in that moment, I had to decide. Was I going to do something? Was I going to do what it took to fix this? Or was I just going to let myself go and be done with this battle. It was a choice and I realized it was time to decide. It was up to me. No one else could fix this for me. Two years ago today I realized things had to change... and they did.

Today I am more than 50 lbs lighter (about what my 7 year old weighs!). But more importantly, I feel happy and comfortable in my skin. I sleep through the night and I recognize that woman in the mirror again. Those XLs have been replaced with S/Ms. My skin is clear, my moods are less erratic. I don't have stomach aches and I know my body so much better. But I still remember that feeling that day, the feeling of hopelessness. Like I wanted to make a change, but I had no idea of how to change. For me the answer was the Belly Fat Cure and even though I am not a diabetic, realizing sugar was a real problem for me.

Have you had that day? Did you make that change?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Deviled Egg Perfection

Jorge is always posting photos of local San Diego restaurants with unfamilar food. A common one is spiced up deviled eggs. From a restaurant. Yes, that's right. Apparently some cool restaurants are serving up deviled eggs, who knew?

While I have a complete aversion to eggs in the morning I love me a boiled egg later in the day. So in the very uncool, but totally local restaurant known as My Kitchen I like to whip up a spicy deviled egg that is Belly Good on the Belly Fat Cure. I make these up and keep them in refrigerator for a quick snack mid afternoon. Depending on the condiments you use, the recipe should be a true 0/0. They are also great for a party!

So here is my spicy deviled egg:
6 eggs, boiled
6 slices of jalapeno (these are from a jar)
1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
3 Tbs Pickle Juice
1 Tbs Mustard (I like spicy mustard like grey poupon)
Cayenne pepper, paprika or chili powder

Let the eggs cool and peel. Fresher eggs are more difficult to peel. Rinse the peeled eggs to get off any little pieces of shell. Cut eggs in half lengthwise and pop out the yolks into a bowl. Add the mustard, mayo and pickle juice and mix well. Neatly scoop the yolk mixture back into the egg halves. Cut the jalapeno slices in half and place on top of the deviled eggs. Sprinkle with the cayenne just before serving.

I've read that adding a tbs of vinegar to the pot after they are done boiling and are cooling, it will help with peeling. Haven't tried that yet though! Also if you want to get all fancy pants with your deviled eggs (and really, who doesn't), put the yolk mixture in your cake icing bag with a nice tip and pipe them back into the egg halves. Several friends are raising chickens and I'm really looking forward to buying eggs from them as soon as the hens are laying. They are well loved, truly free range chickens!

Do you have a tasty take on Deviled Eggs or another fun recipe for eggs?!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Product Review: Snapea Crisps

I love these little Snapea Crisps for a snack in place of chips. My teenage nieces visited recently and they fell in love with them too. In fact my picky eater elementary school age boys love them! Win-win-win... wait, then there is none left for me! In my house the Vegan Husband also loves these... Anyways, I find them in the produce section as they seem to market them as a salad topper. I eat them as a chip replacement. Salty, crunchy and the first ingredient is peas! Again, I feel like we are all winning with these little green things.

Snapeas Crisps have 15 grams carbs, <1 gram sugar and 3 grams of fiber for about 22 pieces. That is a Belly Fat Cure S/C Value of 0/1. Honestly, I usually split a bag of these with kids or some else and call it 1/1. It also has 4 grams of protein and contains iron and calcium, so even though its not as good as eating actual peas, I feel okay about it. I'm pretending like these are actually contributing to good health, but I think they are a better choice than potato chips for me and my family.

Do you have a favorite snack that fits into Jorge Cruise's Belly Fat Cure or other low sugar/carb diets? I'd love for you share you snack ideas here! If you would like to a product review of something I haven't covered, please email me HERE or leave a comment with your contact info.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sneaky Foods

Just last night I was at the grocery store shopping for Apple Juice for my boys. They don't normally drink apple juice, but honestly they are looking mighty skinny to me lately. I figured apple juice is better than milk or sodas, they both like it and I can cut it with water to control the sugar content. I was THRILLED to find a "Low Sugar" option and put it in my cart. But as I started to walk away, I thought "Hmmm, HOW does it only have 6 grams of sugar and carbs when all the others have like 28?". And boom! right there on the label I see the Splenda logo. I'm a serious label checker, read the labels like my life depends on it (it does, actually) and I missed it! Aargh!

When this happens to me I feel tricked and misled to by the product. At least that juice had the Splenda logo on the front, but usually you have to read the fine print label to figure this out. And that is a huge pet peeve to me. I'd say 99.9% of all the products that people suggest to me on the Belly Fat Cure have artificial sweeteners in them, and the person didn't realize it.

Why, WHY, do some breads, tortillas, cereal and yogurts have artificial sweeteners in them? Shouldn't only candy have it? Surprisingly it is very common in these products and the first tip off is the word "Sugar Free". If the the nutritional label looks too good to be true... it most likely is. Another big tip off is very high fiber, yet it is low in carbs. These items have the artificial sweeteners like Splenda/Sucralose, Aspartame, Saccharin.

Are you annoyed that Jorge Cruise seems to be in cahoots with certain products that he recommends? Why does he only recommend a handful of products and not others? I thought that too, in the beginning. But then I realized there truly are so few products that have less than 5 grams of sugar AND are free of artificial sweeteners. I am now thankful that he points us in the right direction and that is why I take the time review products I find too.

These are my hall of shame products that fooled me once and taught me to read every single label:

Admittedly, it is hard to figure out what is in these products. Some of the ingredients lists are HUGE! Others, like the pudding, have allowed sugar alcohols listed first and then have an artificial sweetener listed also. Don't stop reading when you see the allowed sugar... keep on reading! For instance I wanted to include a Sara Lee Bread (other than the obvious Sugar Free bread they have) on the list that I knew had artificial sweeteners, but had trouble figuring which of their breads did or didn't have them.

I understand these sweeteners are FDA approved, of course. But I would like clearer labeling where we can see artificial ingredients quickly and easily. I truly believe that eliminating artificial sweeteners from my diet has been a key to getting all my weight off, and keeping it off for a year now. (Read more on my thoughts on this HERE)

Do you have a product that tricked you too? One you really thought would work on the Belly Fat Cure, read the label and thought it was all good? Please share!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Flaxseed and Why it is so Great

One of the biggest and most important things I've learned from the Belly Fat Cure is the importance of Flaxseed in my diet. Whole seeds, ground and oil forms are all important and play a different roll. In my class with Jorge Cruise he talked a lot about including flaxseed in our diet. Reading about diet and talking with other women my age since that class, I have found ways to include this important seed in my diet.

Benefits of Flaxseed
What is SO darn great about flaxseed in its many forms? It is high in fatty acids, anti-inflammatories and antioxidants. All things our bodies really need, especially as we age, but we never seem to get enough of. Reports say that flaxseed oil contains hormone-balancing lignans and plant estrogens (also know as phytoestrogens) that help with a myriad of problems. The ones that most interest me are those associated with PMS and Menopause. At 42 I am feeling the mind (and body) numbing affects of both (yea me!).

I would love to see Jorge share more of this information with his readers through his Facebook page. Just google the benefits of flaxseed and you can see it claims to improve symptoms of gout, constipation, acne, eczema, gallstones, rosacea, brittle nails, dry hair, lupus, fiber cystic breasts, cold sore, hemmoroids and that is just the start of the list! Other reported benefits of flaxseed oil include decreased swelling and inflammation in the prostate glad and lowering LDL (the bad cholesterol). All really impressive and enough reasons to find ways to include it in any diet.

Flaxseed oil can go rancid very quickly if not stored in the refrigerator. The oil is highly unsaturated and should come in a dark container and purchased in the refrigerated section. I found flaxseed oil's price to be very high in the beginning, but now I look at it as a vitamin or supplement and it seems more reasonable. Whole flaxseeds have a long shelf life and can be ground at home for different recipes.

I try to use a combination of whole flaxseed, ground flaxseed and flaxseed oil in my diet each day. Each form contains different nutrients. My morning cereal is Uncle Sam's is loaded with whole flaxseed and it helps me get my minimum of 25 grams of fiber each day. I sprinkle ground flaxseed on meals that are low in fiber (like an omelet, or tuna salad). It also works as a great egg substitute for Vegan meals for the Husband. In the morning I take 2 Tbs of flaxseed oil to get a good dose of the Omega 3s, hoping it will combat my hot flashes.

Vegan Waffles (from the Husband)
Flax meal - this is the egg substitute
4 Tbsp flax seed meal
3/4 Cup water
Mix and set aside for ~10mins or until slurry is gelatinous like an egg. Microwave briefly to accelerate process.
Dry ingredients
1 c whole grain spelt flour (can be found at Whole Foods)
1 tsp baking powder
⅛ tsp ground cinnamon
Wet ingredients
1 c Unsweetened original almond nut milk
2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
splash of vanilla
• Mix all dry in bowl
• Mix all wet ingredients except flax slurry in separate bowl
• Mix wet into dry and mix just until combined
• Gently, but quickly fold in flax slurry
• Pour batter into heated waffle iron and cook according to waffle iron

Total cooking time may be up to twice as long when compared with regular waffles. Recommended: 7mins. For the Belly Fat Cure have 1/4 of the mixture to stay within the 5/2 S/C Value per meal. In maintenance I have these on weekend mornings.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Other Hobbies

Seems like dieting has become a hobby for me. Actually it's just writing about dieting that is the hobby. But this summer I found the time and inspiration to get back to an old actual hobby - refinishing furniture! My mom has said for years "Amber you need a hobby" to which I have responded "I have a hobby, two of them in fact" and point to my boys.

I LOVE taking something old and ugly and making it pretty again. I also LOVE saving money and finding a deal. Right out of college, completely broke in a new city, I was even known to take a few things from dumpsters. That's right! I am also living in a rented house, so I can't exactly paint the walls, put up new curtains or truly redo a room. That limits my creativity in a lot of ways, until this summer...

The Chair
I picked this chair up at an estate sale 2 years ago for $20. I was waiting for inspiration, knowledge and time. I  have reupholstered a fews homemade benches and my dining room chairs, but never a REAL upholstery project. 

The REDO: First I researched how I should do this, reading blogs and trying to find how-to videos on youtube. It seemed taking the chair apart was the most important thing and you will learn how it is put together from that. That was the worst, pulling all those tacks and staples out. I used the old fabric to cut out my new pattern and bought new batting. I stapled down the seat first, then the front of the chair back. Then the hard part! I sewed a welting/cording thing and stapled it down with ply-grip along the back of the back. Then I lined up the fabric, stuffed it in the ply-grip, rubber hammered it down and was done. I painted and antiqued the chairs legs a pretty white too. I had swore hands and blisters from this project. I learned a lot and its not perfect, but it is pretty. I won't do another upholstery project for a while!

The Ruffled Lamp
This is a $20 lamp I got from Target many years ago. It is made from paper and my boys knocked it over several times and the paper kept ripping at the bottom.

The REDO: I took an favorite old sheet in a putty color and ripped it into strips of fabric. Then I ran them through the sewing machine, right down the middle of each strip. If you don't run back over the ends you can then "ruffle" the fabric by gently pulling on a loose end. After I had it ruffled, I hot glued it all around the paper shade. The hot glue gun rocks! I love the warmness the lamp puts out now.

The Dresser
Strangely we do not have a single dresser in our home. We have moved a few times in the last 3 years and the idea of moving a big heavy dresser convinced us to sell what we had before the 1st move. We now use baskets and shelves for our folded clothing. But that was getting messy and I've been dying to try a new painting method using Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint. All I need was a piece of furniture to try it on. A neighbor had this dresser that even the local charities refused to pick up, so I was in business!

The REDO: The beauty of Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint is that there is no sanding or priming! W00t! So I did 2 coats of Aubusson Blue, distressed and waxed first with clear wax then some antiquing with dark wax. I also took off all the hardware and spray painted it Oil Rubbed Bronze. I needed the dresser to be a little taller (my bedroom TV is going to set on top of it) so I talked the Husband into attaching some 2x4's to the legs. This turned out beautiful!

The Bar Stools
This was a really easy project. I bought these barstools 15 years ago and for a long time they were in storage in our basement. But living in smaller rental homes now, we use them every day and they were looking pretty bad. 

The REDO: I spray painted them white after I cleaned them really well. Then I used Google Images to search for Flour de Lis, found one I liked, increased it's size, printed it and cut it out. I put it on the stool and traced around it. I then used a light blue paint and tiny paint brush to fill it in. I then dry brushed the top of the stool with white paint to make the stencil be more subtle.

The Bookshelf
Also 15 years old, it was a tired old oak and the top had stains on it. My boys needed better toy storage and this was just collecting dust, so I decided to put it to use!

The REDO: I sanded and primed the bookshelf first. I used Martha Stewart's Marigold paint and then antiqued with a watered down brown paint (that you put on, then wipe off, several times) until I got the desired look. I need to put a poly finish on it, because I can tell the boys will be rough with it already! But I LOVE the color pop. I printed off some cute fabric swaps images from Google Images and glued them old coffee cans for colorful storage on the shelves.

So see, I do things other than yack about the Belly Fat Cure all the time! ;-) Next up I'm redoing my dining room table and chairs, and a desk I got for $15 at a garage sale. Did you do anything fun this summer or have a neat hobby?!

I'm linking up to Mom Three Boys.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Jorge Cruise's Free Menu and Evening Carb Swaps

Jorge Cruise has a brand new download available for his email subscribers! It is the Belly Fat Cure Free Menu with Evening Carb Swaps. I really think this is the best thing to come from the Belly Fat Cure team since the release of the book. There is good information, with consistent suggestions and a little bit of new information. It is a good supplement to the book, or you could use it on its own.  

The Evening Swaps is 16 page PDF document that begins with a letter from Jorge.  It talks a lot about the evening snacks and goes into detail about "free" meals (those that are 0/0 S/C), but breakfast is the only "free" meal mentioned. It also has a few recipes, complete with nice photos. There are two sample menus that include 3 meals and 2 snacks. It finishes up with a tease about an online class that will be offered in the Fall.

But I will say, the thing is a little confusing. The idea of  "free" treats and meals, combined with snack cards that you cut out seemed a little weird. The snack card section totally reminded me of Richard Simmons old Deal-a-Meal (Sister M did this diet in the 80s and loved it!) and seems like a half implemented idea. Is this about Free Menus and meals, evening snacks or this new card system? And by FREE MENU does he mean money free or S/C free? Maybe I'm way overthinking this, but it does have some good information. My other peeve is that the menu is pretty much void of fiber! I'd be surprised if you get 5 grams for the day (instead of the 25 you need) if you followed the menu exactly. I also learned Jorge is into reality TV, who knew?

If you are having trouble finding the Evening Carb Swaps System (cuz I know you are!), go to Jorge's Facebook page and click on WELCOME in the top right-hand corner of the screen HERE. There you will need to enter you email address (it needs to be a valid email that you can respond to). Once you confirm the email you will be directed to the PDF document that you can download to your computer. The Italian Meals are still available HERE.

I think it is definitely worth a download for new and experienced Belly Fat Cure dieters.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Kindle Version of the Belly Fat Cure by Jorge Cruise

I love the idea of having The Belly Fat Cure on the Kindle App for my Android phone or my tablet, so I can look info up whenever I need! However, I had heard from many people that the Kindle version has a few problems. Namely that the text is too small to read in certain sections and cannot be zoomed in on or magnified. Charts, menus and even photos appear to be affected, but not the regular text in the first few chapters. In some places I have read these sections are completely unreadable.

I have also seen complaints that it does not provide actual HTML links when they appear in the book. If you are looking for the printable BFC Planner it is available HERE.

For more information online about the Belly Fat Cure you can read the BFC FAQ HERE. I have also seen reference to contacting Hay House publishing if you have a problem with this book, at this number customer service number 800-654-512 and this WEBSITE. I would highly encourage you to send a message if you bought the Kindle book and have a problem. I sent them a question about the issue myself, but got no response.

I am still on vacation in the Tulsa and the Ozarks and it is sweltering hot. In fact, hot doesn't do it justice. It feels like the inside of an oven. The boys and I tried cooking an egg on the sidewalk however, and it didn't work at all! But I would love to hear your experiences with the Kindle version of the Belly Fat Cure, especially on different devices likes the Nook and iPhone/Android Apps. Was it readable, would you recommend it to others?