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Friday, July 27, 2012

Recipe: Croque Madam

Our big trip this year was to Europe and I had planned to cheat a little on my diet and have a croissant or two. But in the end I left that to my boys (who ate enough croissants for the whole family) and instead splurged on the Croque Madam. My French is non-existent, but I'm pretty sure it means "crunchy lady". In reality it is a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, with a fried egg on top. It is supposed to be nice French cheese, like Gruyere. But really any cheese works.

When we returned from the trip, I got to thinking that the sandwich can actually FIT the Belly Fat Cure! Cheese, check. Ham, check. Egg, check. Bread...hmmm. Actually with the right bread this does work. I prefer Alvarada St Bakery Essential Flaxseed bread, which I get at Trader Joe's. 

To make one yourself, make a sandwich of your favorite cheese and ham (or turkey). Lightly butter the outside of the bread and grill. Separately, make a sideside up egg, and slide on top of your sandwich when cooked how you like it. A slightly runny yoke is how I like it. Serve it hot and eat with a knife and fork, with maybe a little side salad.

If you don't have a Trader Joe's near by, or your local store doesn't carry this exact bread don't worry. I have a whole list of other breads that work great on Jorge Cruise's plan! I am sure you local store carries one of them, or at least something with similar carbohydrates and sugar. If you find a new bread that fits the plan, leave a comment and let me know!

Grace Potter's Paris (Ooh la la) is one of my favorite run songs - if nobody else is around I sing it out loud on the trail and run a little faster. It's a good song to play as you grilled up your own Crunchy Lady.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Ah, Paris

View from the top of Sacre Coeur

Paris is a great walking city. There were long lines in Paris, and more Americans than I have ever encountered there. It was Bastille Day, a few days from the end of the Tour de France and a few weeks before the Olympics across the English Channel, so maybe that was why. Along with lots of walking, we climbed A LOT of stairs. Hundreds of steps, my 7 year old got a lot of joy out of counting them! My boys were awesome troopers on this trip.

When we were climbing to the 2nd floor of the Eiffel Tower it occurred to me there were no warnings, no "Don't take the stairs if you have a heart condition are pregnant, etc". My husband claims that is the French attitude... you want to climb then stairs? Then climb 'em. But the stairs at the Eiffel Tower were nice and wide, room for you to stand aside, take a break and be passed by others. But when we climbed to the top of Sacre Coeur, it was a tiny, winding dark stairs case. I got total vertigo, but my kids loved it and tromped ahead. The view rewarded us all. (That is the photo at top, with rain on its way behind the Eiffel Tower in the distance.)
Steamed Mussels
Except for breakfast, I found it very easy to stay on my diet. Load up on proteins, like steak, chicken or fish and avoid the carbs and starches. For lunch there was always a good filling salad choice. But I always chose a salad that is loaded up with some kind of protein/meat and healthy fats (avocado, eggs, olive oil, etc). That is key! Instead of splurging for a croissant as planned, I had a Croque Madam. It is a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, topped with a fried egg. While it's not ideal on the Belly Fat Cure, they are delish and not super crazy carb overloaded. Actually, with the right bread I might make one for lunch today...

Coffee? (apparently I forgot to brush my hair that day)
Do I look tired? This was our last full day and I was SO tired. Biggest lesson from this trip is that I need a great pair of ear plugs and I need to use them every night. I'm a real sensitive sleeper and I got very little sleep on this trip. Whether its the Disco across the alley, the Metro rumbling under the hotel, or the kids waking up at all hours due to jet lag. Coffee is my true friend, ha! It woke me up and made me feel satisfied while the kids scarfed down chocolate croissants. In Paris I ordered a Cafe Creme whenever we sat down and rested our feet for a bit.  It is supposed to be coffee with cream, but it could have just been milk. All the caffeine later in the day could have also kept me up at night, but I didn't really think about that until it was too late...qui vivra verra.

Next up I'll share our travels in the Netherlands and the island of Terschelling in the North Sea.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Me and Vacation

Me and Paris
We just returned from a two week trip to Europe, where were we traveled by planes, trains, automobiles, ferries, plus miles of biking and walking. The purpose was to visit my in-laws, which all live in the Netherlands, and we threw in a side trip to Paris. (Plus we got a bonus stop over in Iceland thanks to medical emergency on our flight...) We had a wonderful time, but got very (very) little sleep! 

I celebrated my birthday on the trip AND my two year anniversary of getting to my goal weight! That anniversary is very important to me. Lots of people lose their weight and we all know people who put it right back on. I am determined not to gain my weight back. I am a few pounds up right now, not at my lowest which is my goal for each anniversary. Keeping the weight off is hard work, work you do every meal, every day. But it is worth it, I promise you.

I hope you don't mind if I spend the next few posts on the trip! We did so much and visited great places. I had to eat at all those places and being on the plan so long made the choices very clear. I met up with a few family members who also do the plan, and it was clear (again) to me how confusing a low carb/low sugar diet really is to people.

We spent most of our time in Europe with the Hubby's family in Eastern Holland. My Mother in Law that also follows the Belly Fat Cure, and made me her version of the Minute Muffin for my birthday breakfast! Her flaxseeds were not ground at all and it turned out okay. She said they were ground, but it was more like the hull was broken on them. The Dutch have a million different types of dairy products and it took me a while to find with the eqivialiant of plain old cream for my coffee would be. They have something called Koffiemelk, like coffee milk, but it isn't quite right. I think it was actually evaporated milk, which has a lot of sugar, right? FYI, it is Slag Room in these tiny little yogurt like containers that is just like our cream. Not the already whipped Slag Room, which is just like our Whipped Cream. The Hubby's family, all serious coffee drinkers, thought I was a little weird for using the slag room unwhipped in my coffee.

Cheese Please! 
The kids and I at the market in the town square held twice a week. Can I tell you how glad I am that I follow a diet that allows cheese? My favorite is old Gouda, oude kaas. My Dutch is very bad and I make up meanings to help me remember a few words. The longer it's been layin' the better. In Dutch older cheese is belegen, pronounced "been layin". The longer it's been layen', the better. The Dutch are serious about cheese.

The look of pure joy on the boys' faces from the top of the Eiffel Tour as they look out over the (foggy) city of Paris was beautiful to me. The Hubby and I "fell in love" in Paris one Saturday afternoon 17 years ago, and it was so special to share the city with our children. They loved it! Only one of the elevators is working due to a techincal problem, so the line was hours long. We decided to take the stairs to the 2nd level and the lines for the elevator to the top were short from there. I would not have been able to walk all those stairs comfortably three years ago, but it was not problem now. My 7 year old (the blondie) counted 720 steps we climbed up... then later back down.

I wanted to thank Kellie for doing a guest post while I was gone! I hope she will do some more, she has done such an amazing job. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Belly Fat Cure and Chronic Disease

My name is Kellie and I was honored when Amber asked me to be a guest blogger on her blog!  It has been about two-and-a-half years since I started the BFC.  I regret not keeping track of an exact date, but for me, it has been a transition.  The BFC has been a very effective tool that has helped me get my weight under control and helped me cope with a chronic illness.  I truly believe that losing weight is not the only objective.  For some of us with chronic illness or diseases, it can be a way to transform overall health.  It does not always change everything and it certainly doesn’t happen fast, but it helps. I am absolutely certain that had I not been making changes and getting stronger in spite of the disease, I would not still be here.

Three years ago, I started having flares of ulcerative colitis.  It had been in remission for about 8 years and I was very surprised when it flared.  After such a long remission, I really thought it was gone.  Seeking answers, I read a book called “The Specific Carbohydrate Diet” by Elaine Gottschall.  The book is geared towards people that have colitis, Chron’s, Celiac, and intestinal issues.  I remember after reading the book, thinking to myself that there was no way on earth I could do it.  It seemed way, way too restrictive.  I set it aside and made a couple small changes, but did not embrace it fully.  I continued to struggle and even spent a week in the hospital.  Shortly after my hospitalization, I read about Jorge and the Belly Fat Cure.  Something about it really caught my attention and I bought the book.  I read the book in a day and it just clicked.  It made sense, and what Jorge said about sugar interested me.  Sugar, turns out, was one of the main components of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet as well.  The BFC was not as restrictive and it sounded easier for me to try.

Forever a skeptic, I made baby steps with changing my diet.  I noticed I started to feel a little better and I lost some weight, but something was missing still.  I actually found Amber’s blog and read about the upcoming Belly Fat Cure Fast Track program.  She had mentioned if you could not wait, to read a book called “The Primal Blueprint” by Mark Sisson.  I had a sense of what the Fast Track was and so I also read Mark Sisson’s book.  Talk about coming full circle.  Mark’s book and later the Fast Track, were almost identical to the Specific Carbohydrate book. 

I started following the Fast Track and my health improved along with losing weight effortlessly.  I had tried for years to lose weight and it just went up and down.  It took reading from several sources to get through my head what I needed to do to change.  I was very surprised at how easy it was.

Over the last couple of years, I have gradually made changes.  I think it is easy to get into the mindset of wanting immediate results and instant gratification.  Getting overwhelmed is common when trying to change everything at once.  The hardest part for me was realizing how long it took for my body to get so sick, it was chronic over years.  It has taken a long time to recover.  I still have a ways to go, but I feel better than I have in years.  For me, the BFC was not just about losing weight; it was about a journey to better health.  I have certainly had some bumps along the way.  This past December, things went downhill fast, they changed the diagnosis to a more-serious one of Chron’s disease, and I spent another week in the hospital.  I have not given up though and kept on with my quest towards better health.  Ongoing tweaking of the way I eat, along with supplements, and some modern medicine intervention, has made a huge difference.

For me, it truly has been a journey.  I have spent countless hours reading and learning as much as I can.  Sometimes, I think the proverbial kick in the butt or wake up call is what it truly takes.  I experienced very serious illness and discovered that if you are motivated and willing to help yourself, you can turn your health around!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


I am off for a few weeks on our big summer trip! We will be visiting my in laws in the Netherlands first and then we are off to Paris. I'm a total Francophile! I cannot get enough of France. Many years ago the hubby and I boarded an overnight train in Amsterdam as co-workers, only to emerge at Paris's Gare du Nord in love. Seriously. When people say "the French are rude" my comeback is "they've got nothing on the Dutch". My in laws excluded, of course. Europeans are different than Americans. They don't smile unnecessarily, tolerate mispronunciations of their language, waste their time on thank yous or waste their money on tips. The kids and I haven't been to Europe in many years, and they have cousins, aunts and uncles that they barely remember. Grandma (Omi) makes a regular trip to visit us, but things will be different on her home territory.

It will be very interesting to see how I can stay true to the Belly Fat Cure while in Europe. They don't list out Sugar separately from Carbohydrates on their food packaging. But on a positive note their food isn't as loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners there. In fact, some artificial sweeteners we have here are not even legal food additives there. Makes you think, right? My Mother in law follows the plan as closely as possible, so I'll follow her cue. Although I will splurge on a croissant or two where they look good. Otherwise it is all about the protein.

I have asked my BFC friends Kellie and Nicole to write guest posts for me while I'm gone. They have lost 68 lbs and 78 lbs respectively, so they are true weight loss superstars! They are both featured in Jorge Cruise's Belly Fat Cure Quick Meals book. Plus they are beautiful women with lots of great tips to share on how this did this!

My boys say "No you know you're French if you have a lot of oui oui". So I'm sure it will be a great trip! I'll post photos on twitter while I am gone, but I removed the Facebook app on my phone.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

1 Year 100 Pounds: Month 6 Weigh In

Hey everyone! We are in sunny California for a long awaited 2 week vacation. We're staying at a state RV park on the beach by El Segundo. And yes, I brought my scales with me. Ok, for the month of June, I am down 4.4 pounds. Below my needed 8.3 pounds but 
I am going to celebrate this loss. 

I am losing wait in vacation. I lost weight at Disneyland, Universal, and a 3 day car ride.  I sought out good food choices and won. Yes, I've got some catching up to do, but I feel confident that I can do it. 
The best thing that happened? I got to spend a couple if days with my baby sister! Here's a picture of us at Universal Studios. She has been a great source if support and inspiration for me. I didn't realize how much I missed her until I saw her and the boys walking down the path towards our camp site. Thanks Amber! You have a great vacation! I promise to keep up the weight loss while you're gone.

Sister M

From Amber:
I live in Northern California and she lives in Oklahoma. When I heard her family was going to be in LA for vacation, I threw my kids in the car and did the 6 hour drive down I5 to see them! It is only time will see each other this year :( I am so impressed she brought he scales on vacation! That is dedication, right? I am really, extremely proud of her for keeping this up for 6 months and keeping a positive attitude despite all the hurdles she has to overcome. My calculations put her at 45.2 lbs lost as far, which is AWESOME!

About 1 Year 100 Pounds: 1 Year 100 Pounds is written by my sister Misha who is on a journey to lose 100 lbs this year. She started Jan. 1 with a goal to lose about 8 lbs a month. Her issues with weight are very different than mine and she is 10 years older than me, but I thought my readers could really relate to her and she can definitely use the support. You can follow her weigh-ins and full story HERE