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Friday, April 27, 2012

Sanjay Gupta's Sugar Report

Dr. Sanjay Gupta did a special on 60 Minutes on sugar recently. I thought this was great for many reasons. For me, it 100% backs up Jorge Cruise's Belly Fat Cure. You don't often see this in the mainstream media, and he does a great job of keeping it simple yet getting the message across. I've tried to include all the segments available from 60 Minutes and it is well worth your time to check out and share with friends and family curious about whether sugar is making them fat.

Main segment:

Interview with Sanjay Gupta on the segment:

How sugar TURNS to fat:

How fructose makes us fat:

Calories are not all equal:

Sugary drinks versus actual fruit:

Some people love Dr. Oz, but Dr. Sanjay Gupta is my favorite TV Doctor :) I have his first-ever fiction novel on my summer reading list too!

I wanted to say a super special thanks to all you who left comments for my sister. She wrote a little about the problems she is experiencing on her weight loss journey, but her body is truly revolting against the changes she is making. I did not experience ANY of these problems she has while losing weight, in fact my body felt better by week 2. All of the comments have meant a lot to her and keep her going on tough days! So thank you and XOXO from me to you for that gift to her. Her next weigh in is just right around the corner.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Vacation and Oprah

Me on Napili Beach
We had a wonderful time in Maui last week. We did part of the time in a simple beach front condo on a quiet bay and then last part at a big resort. One of the biggest perks of living in California is cheap airfare to Hawaii! Costs me less to fly there than to visit my family in Tulsa. I took that bikini, but I don't claim to look great in it. Weirdly, my stomach isn't my problem area, it is still my thighs. I sat in the shade and read Vanity Fair cover to cover (I love VF!), Eighteen Acres and the 4th book in the Game of Thrones series. I really love to read, but never find more than a few  minutes at a time to do it. So that was a big treat for me. We got in some really great snorkeling at the reef right on the beach and saw huge sea turtles pretty much every day. We took a whale watching boat trip, but could see the humpbacks just as good right from our beach! That was my favorite part. I did some standup paddle boarding and my boys did surfing lessons again. We played a big Phase 10 tourney and I was really impressed that my 7 yr old kept up with us. Overall it was a great family trip and I feel very fortunate.

Honestly, I used to obsess over food on vacation, because I can't eat in private on a trip. It would make me nervous thinking of meals, and I'd constantly be thinking about when I could eat next and wonder if that would satisfy me. But all that is gone... truly gone.

Favorite Dinner on Vacay: Filet and Scallops
That said, I did not stay grain-free on the trip. We enjoyed trying the local Hawaiian beers (and then trying them again!) I have been on maintenance for over 18 months, and I was not as strict with myself as I usually am. I stayed true to the Belly Fat Cure, aside for the alcohol. Mostly I didn't plan well and Maui's food options are very expensive and limited. But I think I'll be able to jump right back on the Fast Track and grain-free band wagon. I think it was a good time to take a little break from grain-free (I'm at about the six month mark with grain-free and was feeling a little constrained right before the trip).

I'd like to work on my arms before summer. They are kind of huge and I can preform tricks with them that make my kids laugh. Most of the time I can hide the flab, but I guess I could work on them too, right? Shut up or put up is my new motto for my arms :)

I am watching Oprah's Lifeclass tonight with Deepak and Perez Hilton. I LOVE Oprah and was able to attend one of her Lifeclass tours in person in Denver a few years ago. And I have secretly been a Perez fan for years, even back when he was mean and snarky. If you aren't familiar with Perez, he is a celebrity blogger who has lost nearly 80 lbs and really transformed himself, heart and body.  I admire when a person stands up and says "I'm sorry, I was wrong". That takes a lot of courage. I really recommend watching this episode. I have let negative thoughts run my life in the past and as part of the process when losing my weight, I learned to ignore them until they died away. I know some think overweight people reward themselves with food, I see maybe I was actually punishing myself with food in the past. Watch the show if you have time.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Guest Post: MiniChick's Bread Pudding

I'm on Spring Break this week with the family, but I asked my BFC blogging buddy MiniChick to guest with one of my favorite variations of the Minute Muffin. Please take a minute to check out her lovely blog, she is also grain-free and gluten-free.

Oh my gosh, this is soooo good!!! The credit goes entirely to my sister. I told her about these muffins, and the next time I talked with her she told me that she made it this way and how good it was. What a great idea! 

Make the muffin as usual (I made the cinnamon version), but cook it in a bowl instead of a coffee cup. After you take it out of the microwave, pour 1/2 C. coconut milk (or almond milk) over the top of it. Let it sit a minute or two so it can seep down throughout the entire muffin. In the second picture you can see how the milk has seeped through to the bottom of the bowl. The muffin does not become mushy; it maintains it's shape and texture, it's just milky goodness moist. :) I took a scoop out of it so you could see what I mean.

 I was very surprised at how much the muffin was able to expand in the bowl; it almost completely filled the bowl! It was twice the size of the coffee cup version, and so much fluffier because of that. Whether I make a bread pudding out of it, or not, I'm making my muffin in a bowl from now on. If yours doesn't seem to get as fluffy try using 1/8 tsp. of baking soda, 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar, and 1/2 tsp. lemon juice instead of the baking powder. I haven't been using baking powder because it has cornstarch in it; maybe the baking soda and lemon juice creates more rising power. It's worth a try.

 Also, I wanted to let you know that I'm continuing to add ideas for variations of the coconut muffin in the comment section of that post. So, check there periodically to see what new ideas are there, and to add your own ongoing ideas for this wonderfully versatile muffin. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Recipe: Mini Cheese Cakes

 I am so thrilled to have found a new Belly Fat Cure dessert! These Mini Cheesecakes are made in ice cube trays and even though they look totally decadent, they are allowed!  I originally found this on Pinterest and knew it was a keeper. 

Mini Cheesecakes Recipe
* 1/4 Cup Cream cheese
* 1/4 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
* Stevia Sweetener to taste (optional)

Chocolate Shell:
* 1/3 Cup Raw Cacao or Cocao
* 3/4 Cup Coconut Oil

Mix together the Chocolate and Coconut Oil for the outer shell. I don't have a food processor so so I had to mixed it by hand, which took serious elbow grease. I also used Raw Cacao, which I love! Spray the ice cube tray with cooking oil or coat with extra coconut oil. Press chocolate shell it into the bottom and sides of ice cube tray. Reserve a small amount to cover the tops later. 

Mix together the Greek Yogurt and Cream Cheese, add stevia if you need it a bit sweeter are are just transitioning to a low sugar diet. Then spoon it into the chocolate coated ice cube tray. Keep it level, don't mound up the filling. cover with the top with the remaining chocolate.  Freeze for at least an hour before serving, but let them sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes before eating. The frozen yogurt gets really hard.

The original recipe had about a 1/2 tsp of stevia per ice cube, I left that out. This made my Mini Cheesecakes very tart, so I served them over a Tblsp of Nature's Hallow Jam which made it perfect for me.  Check out the original recipe and decide how sweet you want your's to be. I recommend some for the cream cheese/yogurt mixture but skipping it for the chocolate shell. The entire mixture has about 23 grams of carbohydrates (mostly in the cocoa from it's fiber) and 5 grams of sugar, without adding Stevia or the Jam. I would recommend a serving of 2 for an S/C Value of about 1/1 with the Jam like I had them.

 I tweeted a photo of this Belly Fat Cure and Fast Track good dessert and got this response! :)
We are off to Hawaii for a Spring Break trip, but I have a guest post and will try to check in if I can. I am packing ground flax seed to make the morning minute muffin for the days we are in the condo and I plan on being grain-free for this vacation.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Running Grain-Free

Exactly half way through the Half
Bright and early Easter morning I ran my 3rd Half Marathon in San Francisco.  If I told you it was the funnest thing I'd in a long time, would you think I was a running geek? I wish, but I'm just a jogger who has a bit of the 1/2 Bug.

About half the race I kept pace with a friend, who was kind enough to take a photo of me at 6.5 miles with San Francisco and the Golden Gate bridge in the back ground. We had just ran over the bridge and were about to do a loop and run back.

Mile 5 - How beautiful is THAT?
I am really proud that I train for these races, and don't just go out on race day and torture myself. I follow a schedule that has me running 3xs a week for about 3 months before. An early week short 3-miler, midweek 3-5.5 hill run and then a long run that grows to 11 miles eventually at the end of the week (so you can rest a few days afterwards). Proper training can make the race day really enjoyable, and it really paid off this time. My only problem was almost brand new shoes that rubbed my big toe, but corrected my knee problems (w00t). But I finished strong, with a huge smile and my best time so far (2:18)! My next goal is to finish under 2:10.

I have run all the Half Marathons grain-free, but then I added some grains back the week before to lightly "carb load" (I went back to Jorge Cruise's Belly Fat Cure with 15/6 S/C Value the week before & after those races). But I have been grain-free for 6 months and I really WANTED to do it right this time. And who (I want to know WHO) says carb loading means grain loading? Carbs and grains are not synonymous, folks. Grains HAVE carbs, but they are not carbs.  Lots of other foods have much better carbs, so why not load up on them? I truly love being grain-free and I being able to put my body through those 13.1 miles, but I'm not willing to hurt my body to accomplish both. I want to do it right!
After the race - says it all

So I researched and here is what I did:
Pre Race - We've all heard you should eat copious amounts of pasta before a race. The reasoning is to build up the fuel in your muscles, but with research I found it is not just the night before that is important. It is a few days leading up to it that matter too. So I added back rice and potatoes, and had a small yam for lunch a few days before. I meant to have it for breakfast the day of also, but the last one was rotten. I had the minute muffin with an extra scoop of flax seed and blueberries instead. You supposedly need to replenish your muscles after the race too, so don't forget some after race splurges too. The yam has 40 grams of carbs but just a 1 gram of sugar - viola carb loading grain free. 

Home-made running aid
Supplements - Other runners swear by Gu and other running aids, but they are loaded with tons of sugar, artificial sweeteners and a bunch of chemicals that are infamous for causing Runner's Diarrhea. With the help of Mark Sisson's website I made my own and carried it in a tiny pocket in my running shorts. I had to modify it since I don't carry my own water. I mixed 2 tsp Blackstrap Molasses, 2 tsp local Honey, 1 tsp Sea Salt and at Mile 7 I sucked it down at a water station. You can read all about it on Mark's Daily Apple, but the point is to get glycogen/sugar directly to your muscles which at this point have used up their natural supply. If your run is less than 90 minutes, this should not be an issue. But how awesome would it be to make this into a chew or "hard candy" to better store and use during a run?

Water - I use 1 Nuun tablet with a full glass of water before my longer training runs and on race morning. I do this for electrolytes, which I often feel my body is low on. I also take water at basically all the water stations on the course. My friends run right past the table or grab one and keep running, Although I don't really want to, I do drink Gatorade on the course. I usually pass it up, but this time they were in half full tiny dixie cups and I thought what the hell. I used to be afraid it would upset my stomach, but no problems so far. I think I'll try running with my own water concoction in the future. That way I control when I get the water and what is in it. But all that sloshing around may be annoying.
My girlfriends and I after the race

Weight - Don't take up running Half Marathons to lose weight, you will be greatly disappointed. I won't call her out by name, but one of my running buddies weighs less than 100 lbs (yes, she is an adult and is just naturally tiny). Even she gains weight while training for a Half. The battery went out on my scale this week so I can't weigh, but I guarantee you my weight is up a few pounds and I have major water retention in my muscles after the race. Do a Half to feel great, tighten up and find out what your body is truly capable of, but not to lose weight. 

If you are even a little curious about running a Half, I'd really encourage you to grab a friend and do it! A girlfriend kept encouraging me to do one, and I thought she was nuts. Do the training (please, please do the training) and walk/run it if you have to. Pick a beautiful course that will keep you interested. Here is a directory of US 1/2s. Ask my husband, the first thing I said to him after this race was "That was SO fun!"

Read about my first Half Marathon (Golden Gate Park Kaiser Half) Here and my miserable 2nd Half HERE.  Please remember, this is what works for me. You should check with your Doctor before embarking on any new strenuous activities.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Belly Fat Cure and Cholesterol

The #1 claim you hear from low carb diet opponents is that all that meat, eggs and cheese will raise your cholesterol. But everything I have read said it's NOT the fat that makes you fat and causes high cholesterol. Instead it is sugar, that your body converts to fat, that is the culprit.

These are simply MY test results and I can only atest to my own results. I was a little worried, but for me this was proof in the pudding. I feel better, I look better - there is no argument with these two things. But now my test results are better too! 
These are my actual cholesterol test results from 1 week BEFORE I began the Belly Fat Cure in 2009 and then AFTER I had been on the plan consistently for 2.5 years. I have had intermittent periods where I also did grain-free (Paleo, except with limited dairy). Currently I have been grain-free, following Jorge Cruise's Fast Track diet plan, since October 2011.

Cholesterol Break Down:
LDL is your "Bad Cholesterol" and mine was okay before, not considered high. HDL is your "Good Cholesterol" and mine was a little low before and is now excellent. My triglycerids are the most impressive change. I guess they didn't test for VLDL before, so I only have the after number. I don't claim to be an expert at reading these tests, but from what I know, I think they look great! 

What I Eat: 
What I eat has evolved a bit. I am currently trying to maintain my weight loss and not gain anything back. If I lost a handful of pounds along with that, hurray for me! But my goal is to really maintain at my goal weight and figure out what my body really needs and truly rid myself of cravings and impulsive eating. Right now, that means no grains or legumes. But I lost my 53 lbs simply following the Belly Fat Cure 15/6 S/C Value rules.

Right now I am actually MORE strict in maintenance than I was in the losing phase... weird I know. The one thing I have learned is that it is all a process and I have learned so much about my body and how it reacts to food, that I made the decision to go grain-free for 1 year.

I have the Minute Muffin everyday for breakfast, along with coffee with either coconut butter or coconut oil. I recently cut out the cream in my morning coffee :( I often skip lunch depending on my schedule and have a spinach shake (water, soaked chia seeds, flax seed oil, handful of organic blueberries and a heaping handful of organic fresh spinach) with salami and cheese instead. But if I have time I will have yesterday's dinner leftovers, a friend egg or tuna/chicken salad with spinach. For dinner I will usually have beef, sometimes pork, lamb or fish with a vegetable. I love butternut squash, zucchini and cauliflower in the evening. After dinner I usually have a few squares of dark chocolate and a pot of unsweetened tea. 

If you have seen changes in your cholesterol on a low carb diet, or Jorge's plan, I'd love to hear about it too!

Monday, April 2, 2012

1 Year 100 Pounds: Month 3 Weigh In

Lions and tigers and bears!

Along this road I'm traveling, there are many hazards that I've had to bypass. March was an out-and-out breakdown! I have tried to keep my posts positive and stay excuse free, but Amber said I should share the negatives as well.

I spent one week one on crutches due to an old hip injury, the next week in a wheelchair from achilles tendonitis, the next partial week out of town for training and this last week flat on my back due to my blood pressure topping out at 198/116. My body is working against me! It was all I could do to not throw up my hands and give up on EVERYTHING!

But I didn't.

I kept plugging along and plugging along, knowing that no matter what was causing all this havoc, me minus pounds = less pain, less issues.

So - how'd I do?  I am down 9.2 pounds for that wretched month! Holy cow! That's 29.2 pounds since January 1st! With all that crap I went thru in March...how did I do it?

I had "that one thing" that Curly talks about in City Slickers. I stayed focused. I stayed in control of what I could control, even when it was hard. I didn't take one step into the kitchen for about 10 days so I could only eat what was brought to me, and I am the ONLY cook in the family. I had to get creative if I didn't want to survive on bunless McDoubles and side salads. I stayed positive. I asked for help from my husband and kids. I got through it.

I actually got a little whistle from a friend at work while I was walking into the office. She said, "there is definitely less of you!" I ask how she was doing on her diet and she told me she had a lot going on in her life and couldn't focus on her diet right now. I smiled and said, "Come see me later- I've got something to say about that."

The lesson here is NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS DURING YOUR JOURNEY, THERE ARE STILL THINGS YOU CAN CONTROL. You can still have diet success when everything around you crumbles.

It's my birthday tomorrow and I am looking forward to a more healthy April. I know that I can overcome anything and keep skipping down my yellow brick road towards the Emerald City! What potential excuse can you turn into a victory?

Sister M