Monday, January 16, 2012

Rock that Body~the benefits of Exercise

Let's face it~there aren't many of us that started off our weight loss journey saying, "oh yeah, I can't wait to exercise!" If you did I say kudos to you! But me~hell no! I did a bit of walking but didn't feel comfortable doing much of anything til I had dropped my first 50lbs. And let me tell you waiting til I was "comfortable" is one of my biggest regrets.

So why is exercise so important after bariatric surgery? Before I answer that I have a question for you. Did you really have a procedure to alter your body and think you only had to commit to half of the process? Exercise and moving your body is a significant portion of the overall process and here is why
  • When you lose weight quickly you lose muscle. Muscle gauges and controls your metabolism!
  • Exercise boosts your metabolism! #1 reason to exercise!
Exercise is critically important since your body's natural tendency is to slow down your metabolism when you lose weight. By continuing to exercise and keep your metabolism higher you body will burn calories at a faster rate even while your body is at rest! Who doesn't want to be burning some calories while they watch their favorite tv show or even while they sleep!? Are you convinced yet ? No huh?

Other benefits of exercise include:
  • Increased immunity
  • Increased flexibility, strength and balance.
  • Decrease of stress and depression
  • Improved heart health including blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol.
  • Reduces risk of breast and colon cancer.
  • Reduces risk of diabetes.
And if you are like many bariatric patients you either experienced some of the above adversely or have family members who did/do. So you ready to get started yet?

The key to starting a good exercise plan is:
  1. Begin slowly-walking is the best activity you can begin with and work your way up. This is especially good for those who have been sedentary for a prolonged period.
  2. Set realistic goals for yourself. No one is asking you to go out tomorrow and run a 5K. If you walked 20 minutes today, try 25 tomorrow and so on. By the end of the week asses those goals and make new ones.
  3. Reward yourself! And I don't mean with a trip to Froyo (oops I said that out loud! Sorry I was speaking more or less to myself there!) If you can consistently workout for one month-go get yourself a massage or a mani/pedi or new walking shoes.
  4. Stay Healthy. Muscles you've never used will be sore. Deal with it! But pain is not acceptable. Stop what you are doing and consult a physician if you feel pain in your joints or ankles.
  5. Keep hydrated. As a WLS patient you always have a water bottle near. Drink it. It is especially important before, during and after. You need to remember to replace the fluid you lost by sweating.
  6. What's the first rule of Bariatric Surgery? PROTEIN first! Make sure you get the recommended amount in to help build muscles and keep your energy levels higher.
As I said previously I started working out ONLY (oh how I detest this word) after I lost my first 50lbs. And the world of fitness classes opened up my eyes to all that was possible. Hello Zumba and Muscleworks. My advice to you is find something you love to do! I became so addicted to Zumba I would drive all over town to find classes to attend. At one point I was going 5 days a week! Excessive? Maybe but it got my body moving! Remember that the "rules" state, 30 minutes a day or 210 a week? A one hour class 4x a week brings you well over your 210 a week!

There are many "superstars" in the WLS community and they all have one thing in common~THEY EXERCISE and move their bodies well over 30 minutes a day and 210 a week. They are consistent with their workouts and they make their workouts and themselves a priority. Someone once commented to me "yeah but they are all runners!" Not true! One of those "superstars" lost 112lbs in less then one year shaking and shimmying in Zumba. She found her passion and made it work for her. The same as the ones that run. They are passionate about what they do! Period end of story!

So here is my overall advice:
  1. Move you body!
  2. Properly fuel your body!
  3. Find an exercise that you love and makes you happy!
  4. Push yourself out of your comfort zone! Challenge yourself often!
  5. Change your routine often for proper muscle confusion. Every 6-8 weeks is appropriate.
  6. Set goals both big & small.
  7. Reward yourself! A new pair of shoes-new exercise dvd-new dumbbells, etc.

    She started over 400lbs~she never gave up and is down 120lbs in 7months! She may not come in first place but she sure as hell is lapping everyone who's ass is firmly still placed on the couch!
    Some run, some walk! The point is that we move our butts even in 25 degree cold weather!
    Frozen Buns Run - St. Louis, January 2012
    Santa Dash 5K - St. Charles, MO, December 2011
    Temps that morning - 17 degrees!
    Jingle Bell 5K - November 2011
    Walk from Obesity 5k~October 2011, St. Charles, MO
    Familes Roc for Ovarian Cancer 5K - September 2011, Forest Park, St. Louis, MO

No matter what you do~enjoy it and make it rain sweat!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Goals & Why it's Important to have them!

Happy New Year Friends!

As 2011 came to a close I was forced to reflect on the events of the past year. 2011 for me was a year of TRANSITION! Many changes occurred this year. It was truly a year of the good, the bad and the ugly. And my weight loss journey fell into the bad & the ugly category!

I wish I could say that my weight loss this year ended with a tremendous loss but unfortunately I ended the year with a 10lb gain. I could list excuses for that gain but 2012 for me is about positivity, goals, accomplishments and remembering what it means to give back to the community that has given me so much. And where the giving starts is right here.

So let's talk about goals and why they are important in your weight loss journey and the way to go about setting them. First let me share mine with you!

Pam's 12 goals for 2012
  1. I will break into Onderland and stay there by March 1st
  2. I will get down to 165lbs by 12/31/12
  3. I will take up morning spin class 3x a week
  4. I will run a 10K in the spring either in March or April
  5. I will run a 1/2 marathon in the Fall. October 21st St. Louis Rock n Roll.
  6. I will try 3 new fitness classes that I've never done before
  7. I will participate in 2 Adventure Club outings a month
  8. I will exercise 450 minutes a week
  9. I will strength train 3x a week
  10. I will start and finish the P90x program
  11. I will do a Warrior Dash in either June or September of 2012
  12. I will continue to work on my Emotional Eating by continuing the Shrink Yourself program.
Do you have goals you're going after this year? Here are the 5 golden rules to setting your goals.
  1. Set goals that motivate you.
  2. Make sure they are SMART goals; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant & Time Bound.
  3. Put it in writing. This makes them real and tangible. Use the word will to affirm you "will" get it done.
  4. Make an action plan. Don't be so focused on the end result that you forget our plan of action.
  5. Stick with it! Goal setting is ongoing not just a means to an end.
So what are SMART goals?
  • Specific, clear and well defined
  • Measurable meaning you outline the precise amounts and dates you want to accomplish things. This is to measure your degree of success.
  • Attainable meaning you need to make sure these are possible. If you set something that there is no way in hell you'll achieve you could derail your success. However, don't set goals that are too easy. Always push yourself out of your comfort zone!
  • Relevant meaning is should be relevant to the direction you see your life going.
  • Time Bound meaning your goals must have a deadline. This will help you know when you can celebrate your success. Seeing that looming date will increase your desire to stick with it so you can attain that goal.
So share with me your goals for the coming year and how you are going to go about achieving them!

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Power of Protein

I'm going to start off with saying that this is not the Atkins diet nor in MY OPINION should you follow the Atkins perscription. I believe a body in balance is more important. But protein is a powerful weapon in the fight against obesity! And in most of the cases, those who have had WLS are told that the key to your weight loss is PROTEIN! There's a reason one of the biggest rules to follow is: PROTEIN FIRST!

Top reasons you should be enjoying protein include:
  1. Protein provides greater satisfaction
  2. Less hunger after a protein rich meal
  3. Combined with exercise it will enhance fat loss & helps to maintain lean muscle tissue
  4. Diets in which 60% is lean protein show a reduction in Blood Pressure, LDL levels (bad cholesterol) and Triglycerides
So before you go out gnawing on a T-bone steak, remember that not all protein is created equal. You will still want to look for lean cuts of meats. Always chose nutrient rich foods that are lower in fats & calories.

So how many grams of protein should you be eating? Some experts recommend you should eat between 0.5-1.0 grams per body weight. And some of you just said *&%# I can't eat that much! Well, they (not me) say to eat toward the high end if you are heavily active and on the lower end if you are trying to lose weight. For me at my current weight and multiplying by the lower number, it is perfect. But most of you SHOULD have received guidelines from your surgeons on the optimal amount of protein to consume. My nutritionist gave me the guidelines of minimum 50-65 for women and 60-75 for men. Of course to lose weight you will need to consume a little more than the minimum requirements.

So where do we get our proteins from? And how do you take in that much? It really isn't as complicated as most think it is. PROMISE! What foods will help you whittle your waist while providing a high protein punch?
  1. Skinless white chicken breast (3oz-25g)
  2. Turkey (3oz-25g)
  3. Seafood (between 30-30g depending on your choice of fish)
  4. Low fat Dairy (8-22g depending on your choices)
  5. Lean Beef (3oz-25g)
  6. Lean Bison (3oz-40g)
  7. Lean Pork Tenderloin (3oz-24g)
Look for foods that provide 1-3 grams of fat per 50 calories when choosing your protein source.

So how should you break it down daily to maximize the benefits? Donald Layman, PhD, a professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois states that you should aim for at least 30 grams at breakfast. After fasting all night your body is running on empty and may start drawing on muscle tissue for fuel if you don't replenish it's protein stores first thing in the morning. Other studies have found that a protein rich breakfast can regulate your appetite for the remainder of the day! I'm hearing the groans from many of you and seeing the thought bubbles above your head! I know many of us can't eat first thing in the morning. I say to you-where there's a will, there's a way! Here is how I make is happen in the morning. I drink a 16oz cup of tea on the way to work and sometimes when I get to work I need another cup of it. Then I'm ready for breakfast. My choices range from scrambled eggs with cheese mixed with ground turkey w/taco seasoning (33g protein) or Greek yogurt w/ teaspoon of Peanut Butter (or 2 tbsp Peanut Flour 25g protein). Lunches run along the lines of salads w/ either chicken, salmon or shrimp in them. Or I make taco salad w/ ground turkey. My salads always have about 25-30 grams of protein. Other favorites are Chili or if I go out to lunch with friends it is a Chicken Burrito Bowl from Chipotle. Again all around 25-30 grams of protein. Dinner for me usually is FISH! I love fish and Barramundi is my favorite. Halibut is another favorite! I enjoy my fish with different salsas on top! Delicious! Or I make a mean stir fry with shrimp & scallops too! For sides I usually have quinoa or risotto and veggies. Eat your quinoa and you'll get even more protein.

So what about protein on the go or for snacking?  Most of us like veggies and dip right? How about making that dip with plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream? I mix Lipton Vegetable soup mix with plain Oikos Greek Yogurt and I'm satisfied and it's a protein boost! Friends of mine mix the dry ranch dressing mix with their Greek yogurt and enjoy it as a dip also. So what else is there?
  1. Turkey Jerky (most are 80 cals/11-13 protein)
  2. Light String cheese (60 cals/8 protein
  3. Turkey Sticks (45 cals/ 4 protein -eat two!)
  4. Roasted Soy Nuts (1/4 cup 17 grams of protein-nice change from almonds)
So basically you should break up your day into :
  • Breakfast 20-30 grams
  • Lunch 20-30 grams
  • Dinner 15-25
  • Snacks 5-10
And what about those protein bars and drinks? The advice given to me by my nutritionist was always to make sure that they are 200 calories or less, 15 grams of protein or more and less than 12 grams of sugar. She suggested we stay away from protein drinks (accept for post banding beginning stages and preop) unless you are having difficulty getting protein thru solid foods. I try to stick to this rule unless I need a drink to refuel me after a workout and I won't be having a meal for awhile or if Banderella is tight as can be and no solids are going down.

So remember, the moment you eat that protein it starts working on your waistline. It takes your body more time to digest, metabolize and use it which means your body burns more calories processing it! It also takes longer to leave your stomach (not pouch) so you feel fuller longer. So enjoy protein at every meal and watch the pounds drop off!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

What motivates you?

So many times I people say to me, "gosh I wish I had your motivation" or they ask where I get my motivation! Well my motivation comes from the strong desire to stay alive. Having been diagnosed with ovarian cancer 15 yrs ago and going thru many recurrences and struggling to stay alive. In 2007 my doctors told me that I only 12-18 months to live and right then and there I decided to choose life! Can I say to you that immediately I jumped on the bandwagon of weight loss. NO! But I started making small changes and finding out what I could do differently to impact my cancer journey. Not only my own health motivated me to get healthy but that of my family members. I watched my brother have numerous heart attacks and had watched my grandparents and parents suffer from all the comorbidities of being obese. Yet I followed their paths! Wake up call peeps! I didn't have to suffer the same fate as them! We all have choices!

So this weekend take a moment and sit with your thoughts and ask, why did I set our on this journey? What prompted me to make a change? Odds are it was more than simple poundage! Dig deep! Get in touch with the feelings that you are afraid to let see the light of day. Believe me, once they are out, they can no longer control you. Write a list of reasons you want to continue to get healthy. Then next to the same list, write the excuses you give yourself daily. Now which list do you think will help your goals come to fruition!? After that is said and done, write yourself a list of ways you are going to help yourself get to the end of the rainbow. Remember people, this is not a race but a journey of self discovery. It has been 27 months since I turned towards a more healthy lifestyle and on that journey I've discovered many things about myself. Some good, some not so good! But the fact is, I'm continuing to grow as an individual and I finally like who I am!

Enjoying a Jilly's Cupcake for my 15 yr cancerversary
 So you want to know what motivated my morning run? This...........

Now it's time for you to decide what's going to motivate you to move forward and grab your goals!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Are you journaling your food?

No matter what kind of diet or other form of weight loss you choose, statistics show that having and using a food journal is one of THE MOST important tools to success! Studies show that those who keep a record of what food goes into their mouth on a daily basis lose twice as much as those that do not! Twice as much! Things that make you go hmmmmmmm......................

So why is that?
  1. When tracking your food, you never underestimate the amount of food you are eating!
  2. It can help you to pinpoint a trigger food or if there is a time of day that you are most susceptible for snacking. This can help you to adjust your meal plans to ward off those times.
  3. Journaling can also help balance the nutrients you are taking in. Whether you are tracking your carbs, trying to stay under a certain gram of sugars or have to up your iron. If you are writing it down, you will be more successful in keeping track of those types of things.
  4. It can help you see where those added calories are creeping into your diet! Could it be the salad dressing you are eating? Those crackers you had with your tuna?
  5. Most importantly, it keeps your accountable for your choices!
So by journaling your food what do I mean? Journaling your food can be as simple as writing down what you eat on a post it daily; writing it in your day planner; carrying around an actual food journal or using one of the many online food journals available. What you use is a personal choice and one you must be comfortable with.

So what have I used? Or rather, what haven't I used. Being 2 1/2 yrs out almost, I've moved around and used many different things! In the beginning it was the post it or writing it in my actual journal. Then I started using What is nice about an online site is that you can meet new people who have a shared goal and compare notes! And boy does that keep you accountable!

So these days, I've started using I love this site. My nutrionist recommended we use it. My favorite part of this site is at the end of the day when you are finished you click a button and it says, "if everyday was like today, you would weigh XXX" Oh the joy in seeing a smaller number! And I've now got lots of support group friends and others to help me stay accountable!

So my questions isn't "what are you using?" but rather, "why are you not journaling?"

Thursday, June 30, 2011

It's all about the RULES

Remember as kids when we thought, "the hell with rules" or "rules were made to be broken"? Well in the land of WLS rules are given to us for a reason.

  1. They Work
  2. They Work
  3. They Work
I received a nice booklet from Allergan at my preop appointment and there in those pages were Allergan's Rules for Success! Now I know each doctor's office may or may not tweak these rules to their own specifications, but the rules were created for a reason. And that reason is easy, SUCCESS!
  1. Eat three small meals a day
  2. Eat slowly and chew thoroughly. As my nutrionist told me, cut it up as small as the tip of your pinky and chew it til it is paste like consistency. After you swallow that food, count to fifty before the next bite goes in your mouth. Remember, it takes your brain 20 minutes before it gets the signal from your stomach that you are full. Put your fork down between bites and enjoy the flavors of your meal.
  3. Stop eating as soon as you feel full. Do you know your soft stop? If you are eating and being mindful while you eat you will notice that your body responds in certain ways to let you know-NO MORE! Be it a hiccup, watery eyes, sneeze, runny nose or even something simple as a sigh. It's there, pay attention. Mine has changed in the two yrs since being banded. In the beginning it was a hiccup, that progressed to watery eyes and today it is a big sigh!
  4. DO NOT drink while eating. Most surgeons recommend you stop drinking 30 minutes prior and don't begin again until 30 minutes after. Set a timer! The timer on my cell phone is one of the most used things on there! Those closest to me all know what the timer means and often yell at me to start drinking up when the little song chimes.
  5. Do not eat between meals. Oh how I wish I could report that I follow this rule but it isn't always the case. Mine you, there are days when I can and do, but not often. We are works in progress!
  6. Only good quality foods. The most important, PROTEIN FIRST! For each of us I guess this rule can be interrupted a number of other ways too. For me personally it means organic whole foods with little chemical ingrediants. And I try to really watch my sugar intake.
  7. Avoid fiberous food. Most fiberous foods are difficult for me. When my band is looser I can eat asparagus. Most of the time no. Sometimes I have issues with certain fruits also. It is just a matter of how well I follow rule #2 I guess.
  8. Drink plenty of fluids. And by fluids a big part of that should be WATER. I try to make half of my intake a day strictly water with nothing added. 64 ounces or 8-8oz. glasses is the golden rule. Me, I am between 96-128 a day. I feel better when I'm closer to the 128 and especially in the summer. My intake includes, water, decaffeinated green tea, diet snapple iced tea and vitaminwater zero.
  9. Drink only low calorie liquids. Often when we are tight we opt for liquids and most often those liquids are higher in calorie and offer no nutrional value. Be careful of drinking regular vitaminwater or FUZE. Often these drink labels might look acceptable, but if you read serving sizes there are 2 servings in each bottle and what you thought was only 120 calories turns into 240. And for me 240 calories is breakfast!
  10. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day. I'm throwing in or 210 minutes a week. Break it up however you need to. For those of you that hit it hard in the gym like myself and many others I know 210 minutes is 2 or 3 days worth. I think the 30 minutes a day rule is to get those who previous led a sedentary lifestyle to get into a routine with exercise. My routine is 5 days a week, usually 60-90 minutes and cardio 3 days and strength training 2 days. Usually I do cardio on my strength days too. It varies!
So why did I choose to write about the rules. Well I belong to various support groups on facebook and throughout the internet and just in the last two weeks I've been reading all these post about people struggling and I always reply with "are you following the rules"? Sometimes I hear a hemming and hawing and sometimes I get a reply of "what rules"? That is the reply that blows my mind! I sit staring at the screen and wondering if they really did the research before they had their surgery and what kind of a surgeon they have. And then I thank my lucky stars for being blessed with the most amazing surgeon and bariatric team at MyNewSelf Bariatrics in St. Louis. There was nothing that wasn't gone over with me prior to my surgery. Sites were suggested to me to read thru and I was encouraged to ask questions. Low and behold a the pre op appointment with my surgeon I was handed the Allergan book called the Lap band system information for patients. It explaines how the surgery would be performed and there were the lovely little rules on page 11. And of course, my nutrionist Jessie sent me home with my surgeon's rules that were the same as Allergans, just expanded upon some.

But let me say this, for all outward appearances, I have been on program and doing great. Here is the truth, I hadn't lost weight in a very long time. Inches yes, but my scale wasn't moving. Well at least in the down direction. I saw it move up poundage too many days to count. In January I was ready to break through and be at my lowest weight ever and then life happened. Slowly but surely the pounds started to creep back on. Those smaller size pants that I enjoyed buying were getting tight in the waist. I told myself I was retaining water. The only thing I was retaining was ice cream and Peanut M&M's. Oh and those new Cadbury chocolate covered cookies I discovered. Whatever you do, don't try them! 11 cookies are 160 calories and 2 protien. But gaurenteed you won't stop at 11! Well, maybe you will, but I'm a binge eater and once I start, there is no stopping til the bag is empty. I justify it by telling myself that I have to eat it all so they aren't in the house to tempt me the next day! Logical? Nope, not in the least! But remember I justify Peanut M&M's by telling myself they aren't so bad because they have 5 protein in that bag! Logical? Again, nope! On the days I wasn't binging on Ben & Jerry's Americone Ice Cream and Peanut M&M's I was on plan and exercising. But soon Ben & Jerry were visiting too often! So what did I do~besides reach out to friends and ask for help? I started following those 10 little rules right up top! You bet and you will never guess what happend!

5 lbs in one week!

I could not even believe the scale myself. I think I got on and off of it 3 or 4 times. I got ready for work and I got on it again just to make sure I wasn't half asleep the first time. It has now been 10 days of being strick with the rules and I'm happy to say down 7.5 lbs. The last time I dropped 5 lbs in a week was probably week 12 of banded life. Certainly not in the last year! So what am I doing? It started with upping my water intake and making more of my fluid intake pure water and less Diet Snapple. Then I kicked the sugar to the curb. And of course when you kick the sugar cravings, your carbs automatically go down. Now I'm not telling you I'm extreme low carbing, but when I eat on plan, my carbs tend to be lower than 100. My carbs mostly come from fruits and vegetables and whole grains. And I'm trying to keep my protein between 75-85 grams a day. Often people ask me how I do that and it really isn't difficult. You need to break it down by meal. I usually take in around 25 for breakfast, 30 for lunch and another 25 or so for dinner. And if I'm eating a snack, it has to have around 10 grams of protein to really be worth it and satisfying.

So if you are struggling, remember THE RULES! They are meant to help you succeed and not to torture you. Follow them and reap the benefits. And as a friend asked one day, "what grade would you give yourself each day on each of the rules?" If you aren't giving yourself an A+, remember that you have the next day and the one after that to improve. Try it, what have you got to lose except pounds : )

Monday, May 30, 2011

Recipe Madnesssssssssss

A lot of people ask me for recipes for the things I make. And let me be honest here, I either get recipes from various sites, or I've taken my mom's old recipes and tweaked them to be wls friendly or frankly, I make a lot of shit up myself! Years of watching my grandma and my mom cook has taught me all about trial and error. Heck if it turns out crappy, feed it to the dog or the men in your house. They'll eat anything! That being said, here are a few of the recipes for items I love to make.

Portabella Pizza

1 large 3oz portabella mushroom cap
1/4 cup of your favorite marinara or pizza sauce
1/4 cup of your favorite cheese (I use an Italian cheese blend)
Fresh garlic or garlic powder
Italian seasoning
Optional ingredients:
Turkey pepperoni
Italian sausage (turkey or other)
Black olives

Wipe cap off all dirt and clean out the gills inside. Depending on the thickness of the mushroom cap, I sometimes cook the cap for 5-7 prior to adding toppings. If you do this pre toppings, after taking cap out of the oven, pat dry to remove excess moisture.

Once cap is cleaned and precooked, add your toppings into the hallowed out portion I begin with my favorite marinara. Don't laugh, but mine is a garlic-mushroom blend sauce. Then I add garlic powder and my Italian seasoning and whatever other items I'm going to add. Then on top of all of that is the cheese and it is ready to bake.

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees. If you haven't precooked the cap, do so for 10-12 minutes. If precooked only until your cheese is melted and browned.

When done, enjoy!

This mushroom cap includes ground turkey sausage!

Cheesy Eggs & Turkey

2 eggs or 1/2 cup of liquid eggs
2 oz of ground turkey
Taco seasoning
Laughing cow cheese of choice (or other favorite cheese)
Non stick cooking spray

In a non stick pan sprayed with cooking spray, scrambled your eggs and set aside in a bowl. Next take your ground turkey and crumble and cook up adding taco seasoning while cooking. During this process add your cheese. Transfer to the egg mixture in bowl and stir together. If adding laughing cow cheese wedges, I wait until mixture is together in bowl and throw them in and they melt quickly enough. This breakfast meal is packed with protein. For a full southwestern feel, top with your favorite salsa.

Buffalo Chicken Burgers

2 lbs ground chicken
1/4 cup buffalo wing sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt or Mrs. Dash
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

Mix ground chicken, buffalo wing , salt/Mrs. Dash and blue cheese into patties and grill. Yes, it will be a little bit messy. I make mine on the George Foreman grill so the juices flow into the grease container. When finished grilling enjoy on your favorite bagel thins or if you are able, buns. Me, I cut the burgers up in small pieces and mix my buffalo sauce with some Bolthouse Farms blue cheese dressing and dip my chicken in. These are sooo damn good that I made them every damn weekend for a month.

White Chicken Chili
4 skinless chicken breasts (been using canned lately)
2 15oz cans of Great Northern Beans (undrained)
1 onion cut up in small pieces
1 Pkg McCormick White Chicken Chili seasoning Mix
1 1/2 cups of chicken broth
1 tbls minced garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 whole cloves
I first browned the garlic and onion while I cooked up the chicken breasts. After the breasts were through cooking I diced the chicken. I added the chicken broth to the onion and garlic mixture and added the spices, undrained cans of beans and cooked chicken and let it simmer.

Can leave out the chili powder and substitute 1/2 teaspoon of paprika instead if needed to not be soo darn hot!

This time I used Brooks Great Northern/Pinto beans mix. It is low sodium too. Trying to take all the sodium out. As I said, I used canned chicken this time, because I didn't get to Aldi today for chicken breasts and its what I had in the house. Works just as well. I usually use two cans and crumble it up and it looks like shredded chicken in there!

I hope you have enjoyed the recipes I've shared I hope to share more in the future as I go along! I did not share calories and protein for each recipe because if you are like me, you are going to tweak this recipe(s) to fit your own need and likes and your numbers what be the same as mine. Rest assured all that I've shared is low in calories and high in protein, because frankly, that's how I roll!