Last Days of Summer

My boyfriend and I have been prepping for three big events: 1) his 30th birthday, 2) a big final recital for our students, which was held at my undergraduate college and 3) moving on September 1st. SO, with that said things have been seriously sad in the food department and we’re surviving on Trader Joe’s frozen pizzas and bags of marshmallows (I wish I was kidding). Despite losing 10 pounds in May & June, I’ve pretty much given up on any form of tracking my food or attending Weight Watchers meetings this month; exercise is entirely out of the question and cooking is my last priority. These things should be the most important priority in theory, but with so much going on it has all gone on the back burner. It took all of my energy to make a simple baked mac & cheese, BBQ chicken and some frozen vegetables a couple weeks ago, and since then it’s been bagels, doughnuts, boba drinks and an endless line of no-nutrition, surgery snacks. And exercise? Totally nonexistent aside from packing boxes and painting the new place.

Once we get into our new apartment, I am going to be completely revitalizing our eating. First, we will have a GAS STOVE! Whoopie! Second, we will be living close to ¬†a couple renowned farmer’s markets. Third, our schedules will start getting into a groove with me going back to grad school and the boyfriend teaching.

I’m SO happy with our new apartment and am so ready for the move in two days. We can’t believe we found a place that actually met all our criteria: gas oven, 2 bedrooms, hardwood/ bamboo floors, ~900 sq feet of space, safe & suburban setting but 30-40 minutes from downtown LA, UCLA, Orange County, etc., laundry hook-ups, garage parking, ample storage, tons of closet space, in a triplex (as opposed to an apartment complex) AND it’s in our price range. Needless to say we are thrilled.

The only slight problem is that despite having a huge kitchen, the cabinets are kind of ugly and there actually isn’t that much counter & storage space. So, we’re going to purchase one of these babies ASAP:

Once we’re settled-in, I’ll start my regular food posts again. Check out this crazy rainbow I saw while driving on the 55 two days ago! It was actually a double-rainbow at one point, and you can kind of make it out in the second and third pictures. Anyhow, happy end-of-summer!

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South Beach Diet Unmystified

I’ve been a true South Beach advocate since I first tried the diet and lifestyle back in 2005. I’ve never liked the idea of diets, which in my mind always equate to temporary, cosmetic fixes that require you to either compulsively count “points,” “calories” and/or eliminate whole food groups, i.e. low-carb-high-fat diets or high-carb-low-fat ones. Aside from the South Beach Diet, I’ve never found a way of eating that I could sustain and implement over a long period of time. I’ve watched family members and friends yo-yo diet or get weight-loss surgeries with temporary success and even yours truly has tried some outrageous quick fixes, including veganism, SlimQuick, Weight Watchers, Atkins and calorie-counting.

Disclaimer: I realize witnessing a diet is a little like witnessing a religion, so take everything I say as it is: an opinion. If you are one of those rare individuals that has found incredible long-term success, mental health and happiness by eliminating whole food groups, having your stomach stapled or consuming nothing but grapefruits and cabbage, good for you! They haven’t worked for me, which is why I’m writing this! ūüôā

The South Beach Diet, is based on some pretty common-sense principles. Eat good, fiber-dense carbs, healthy fats, low-fat dairy, tons of vegetables and implement sensible snacking to maintain blood sugar levels. Its about permanent lifestyle changes, not a quick fix. It’s both about the quality of food and the quantity. You should also be active, do interval training and some form of core conditioning and strength training throughout the week.

The diet is broken up into three phases, the first one being the strictest and meant to catalyze weight loss and eliminate cravings. Weight loss is slow after the initial phase, which is good in my opinion since it will be a more stable and maintainable weight loss. The only reason I did not “stick” to this way of eating back in 2005 is because wasn’t ready to accept life-long change in my eating and wasn’t committed for the right reasons. It’s really hard to accept that weight loss and overall good health takes permanent, constant small changes over a long period of time. It’s hard to accept that you can never go back to eating “whatever you want” after you achieve your ideal weight. You need to be changing for the right reasons as well. While “looking good” is a motivator for most of us, feeling good and achieving life-long health should be the main catalyst.

If you want some more info and a detailed list of foods you can eat and how the diet works specifically visit the South Beach Diet Forum, or you can buy the book!

So far, I’ve lost 6 pounds in the past few weeks, with a goal of 70 total to lose. Seems like a lot of weight for the average Joe, but 70 for me is probably equivalent to 35-40 for the average 5’4″ female. Anyhow, my doctor spelled it out plainly for me when I visited her in January. She said, “Since you were overweight as a child, you have a 70% chance of being overweight throughout adulthood. Since your parents are overweight, that means you’ll have an 80% chance. With diabetes, heart disease and cancers running in your genetics, you need to eat like you have a disease.” That was enough of a motivator for me.

Later tonight I’ll post a few recipes to show what types of (delicious) foods I’ve been able to concoct, including a recipe for these tasty stuffed mushrooms!

Off to Pilates!






MIA

I know I’ve been doing a hopeless job with the food blog.¬† I’m taking a leave of absence until I have my life back during Spring Break.¬† I’m currently experiencing the traditional period of overeating, binging on sweets and sitting on my rump (consequent weight gain) that comes with Finals and week 10.

We’ll see what the damage is next Friday…..

Veggies Schmegies

I do not want to be eating a big bowl of arugala, green onions, snap peas and broccoli right now… I want to dig into the tart frozen yogurt from TJs in my freezer. ¬†But I didn’t get my full 4 1/2 cups of vegetables today and I only got four hours of sleep last night, so my body is craving carbs and sugar. ¬†*sigh* ¬†The past few days have not been necessarily easy. ¬†Southbeach works because it forces you to combine vegetables, lean proteins, legumes and beans and non-fat dairy in such a combination and serving amount that your physical cravings for sweets and refined carbs go away. ¬†I’m supposed to have vegetables at every meal, and small snacks every one-two hours after my larger meals. ¬†It WORKS– when I actually follow that model. ¬†It’s not always easy to whip up a salad in the AM or have time to make delicious vegetable recipes. ¬†In fact, most of my childhood memories of vegetables involve the words “creamed” and “cheesy.” ¬†I don’t really know many delicious, healthy and easy vegetable recipes. ¬†(I do want to try “mashed potatoes” with cauliflower though– my stepmom used to make them and they are actually delicious.) ¬†I suppose this should be by goal for the weekend… ¬†construct and cook some delicious vegetables, especially vegetable dishes that work for breakfast. ¬†It’s not easy to wake up and have an onion or broccoli be the first thing to hit your palate. ¬†SouthBeach recommends drinking a V8 vegetable juice in the morning, but there are limits to what I’m willing to eat… and vegetable JUICE is one of them.

When I hit Phase II in a week, I may start making a spinach, arugala, green apple, cucumber juice, but unless it has some semblance of sweetness, I simply cannot do it.

Tomorrow I’m getting up early and walking and then weighing in! ¬†Let’s see if this shit is working.

Let me print my menu for today, so I keep myself accountable.

BREAKFAST
“Waffles”– 1/4 c. ricotta, 2 eggs, vanilla, Splenda, baking powder, Agave Syrup.
Coffee with non-fat half-and-half & Splenda

SNACK
15 almonds

LUNCH
1 cup left-over stir-fry from last night (vegetables, tofu, Soyaki sauce)
1/2 c. left-over daal (lentils, vegetables) 

SNACK
2 servings of no sugar added, carb-free dark chocolate from TJ’s(EEK– prbably around 200 calories… way over my limit)
2 TBSP frozen Cool Whip 

DINNER
Salad: 2 cups arugala, 2 TBSP Goddess dressing, broccoli, 1/4 c. green onions, cauliflower, cucumbers, snappeas

I did “okay” today. ¬†The spacing of meals and snacks needs to be better, and I cannot have sugar-free chocolate as a snack. ¬†It’s a treat.

Phase I: Day 7

WOO! ¬†I can’t believe I’ve stuck to this for seven days now… insane. ¬†My cravings are taken care of (for the most part– read below re: waffle) and I hopefully lost some weight this week. ¬†We will see tomorrow. ¬†I realize that being on SouthBeach makes my life a LOT easier, mainly because I do not have the choice anymore. ¬†I go out and there are no longer 10 minute dilemmas between the “good” me and “bad” me over whether or not I should get orange chicken for lunch, or order a grande caramel frappacino with extra whipped cream, or snack on gummy bears. ¬†It’s nice not having to think about it, and truthfully, I would rather have this peace of mind than a croissant.¬†

Today I officially grew exhausted with eggs and a salad for breakfast, so I attempted to make “Mock Waffles.” ¬†Kind of gross, kind of delightful. ¬†My taste buds liked it, but they are getting to be very undiscriminating, so you probably shouldn’t trust anything I write in regards to taste ever again. ¬†

The recipe calls for skim ricotta, 2 eggs, 1/2 tsp. baking powder, cinnamon to taste, 1 tbsp. Splenda and VOILA. ¬†Mix together and dump it into a waffle maker. ¬†No these are not “fluffly” but they are a lot healthier and lighter. I topped it with Earth Balance and Agave sweetener… pretty good. ¬†Anyhow, tomorrow I’ll weigh in and report my progress… I’m hoping that since the start of January I’ve lost around 6-7lbs and since last week, I’m hoping that I lost 3-4 of those. ¬†Be back tomorrow.

Mission Statement of Food Blog: Food

I’ve had a lot of blogs in the past– blogs about gossip, the mundane happenings of my life, blogs that were private but then discovered, blogs that are still private and yet to be discovered– but this one is different. ¬†“How so?” you’re probably (not) thinking. ¬†“What’s going to prevent this from becoming yet another pathetic blog in which you complain about your life and say things like “hey guys [to my nonexistant readers] I’ve been away for a while– life’s been CRAZY!” ¬†Because, this blog is going to be about:

FOOD

And my relationship with it. ¬†And since food is always in my life (except when I tried the Master Cleanse on Monday– more on that later) I’m hoping there won’t be a lack of things to discuss.¬†

Topics I’m looking to cover:

My failed cooking attempts, and not-so-failed cooking attempts
Food reviews of Trader Joes
Restaraunt reviews— finally learning how to properly spell “restaurant”
How food makes me feel bad about myself 
How food makes me feel WONDERFUL
Diets– let’s test-run them all!!!!
Eating phases that all my friends and family are used to hearing about (the vegan one, the SouthBeach one, the low-calorie one, the one where I eat everything)
Weight loss— what other people have to say about it and me!
My favorite recipes
And on a serious note: getting all these critics out of my head and on paper.

I warn everyone who might read this– you’re about to enter a dark, but hopefully comic world of food. ¬†Be aware that I will often contradict myself (i.e. Cleanse on Monday, baking 7 layer bars on Thursday), will go through many phases and will often post uncomfortable thoughts, but hopefully those that are relatable. ¬†This is going to be my therapy session– but it won’t cost $60/hr.