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!

Monday, May 23, 2011

All about Trader Joe's

I absolutely love shopping at Trader Joe's. I can always find new and interesting foods to eat and everything I find is band friendly!

In the store I frequent, which is 1/2 block from my office, as I walk in there is the cheese. Sweet glorious cheese! One of my downfalls. Yes, cheese is high in protein, but you can overdose on too much of a good thing! My new favorite is Blue Cheese. I usually just buy the Trader Joe brand. It is 100 calories for one ounce and 6 protein. I usually eat it in most salads I eat!

Another favorite that I found during lent was Saucy Scallops with mushrooms (150 cals/13 protein). I usually eat this over Trader Joe's Quinoa Duo w/ Vegetable Melange( 110 cals/3 protein - 1/2 cup) 

And when I'm in the mood for chicken, or rather should point out, when banderella let's me enjoy chicken, I've found this to be exceptional. I can get three meals out of this and each serving is 213 cals/21 protein.

Another two favorite chicken dishes are Greek Chicken with Orzo, Spinach & Feta yields 3 servings per container ( 310 cals/ 22 protein) 

Chicken Satay is 190 calories/23 protein for half a package. I use Trader Joe's Spicy Asian Peanut Dressing to dip my chicken satay in. Delicious. 2 Tbsp of dressing is 70 cals/1 protein.

Some other favorites from Trader Joe's include:
Turkey Bolognese
Trader Joe's Cranberry Walnut Gorgonzola Vinaigrette
Potato and Mushroom Medley
Riata dip
Trader Joe's brand Greek Yogurt with Honey
Peanut Flour (which many stores stopped carrying-my local store explained that they are shopping for a new vendor to supply this for them since it is a popular item in St. Louis. For now they have replaced it with Almond for now. But no need to worry, I cleared off the shelves in my local stores and have many bags to tide me over)

These are just a few items that tide me over on a monthly basis! Let me know what yours are!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

What are you Eating?

So many times I get asked the question as to what I'm eating or what I ate in the beginning. The beginning is simple! I ate mostly the same things. I don't know if it was fear to try other things or if it was just that those foods worked for me.

Since banderella is tight in the morning and diet coke for breakfast ws no longer an option, I usually started out with a large cup of hot tea. That would be followed by either a protein shake, protein bar or sometimes scrambled eggs & some bacon. Scrambled eggs didn't always go down well so that was only on a good day.

Lunch was always something simple. Since I was working in a hospital the first 9 months I was banded, it was usually something from the cafeteria. And the choices were, turkey burger, black bean burger, tuna fish and soup. Low and behold that is pretty much what I lived on for 9 months. It worked for me!

Dinner was usually the same thing. I lived on fish for the first year of banded life. Chicken and I were not friends during that time period and most other meats stuck big time.So dinner was usually Gorton's tilapia fillets w/ Old El Paso salsa on top and Green Giant Healthy Vision veggies! They were my staples! Oh and Campbell's Healthy Request Chicken Teriyaki soup (which you can't find anymore).

But being two years out, my horizons have expanded far and wide and I'm not afraid to try new food anymore! In fact, I love new foods. Always changing it up!So what are my favorites now? Let me show you in pictures!
I love cheese! And I love most flavors of the laughing cow cheese, but Blue Cheese if my favorite! 35 calories & 2 protein. I put cheese in everything!

White Chicken Chili! I love this stuff! It is so quick to make and filling as can be! I'll share the my favorite recipes in the next blog~promise!

Here is what I snack on! 45 cals/4 protein

My absolute favorite fish! 100 cals-40z/20 protien

160 calories/30 protein. I love these! Dip in your favorite dressing

216 calories/43 protein~less fat than ground beef & better for you!

Here are some of my favorites & staples in my diet! Tomorrow I'll share my favorite finds from Trader Joe's and some recipes from the food I eat!

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!

How important is it to preplan your meals and exercise? In my opinion it should be a priority for you! Statistics show that those who plan what they will eat and schedule exercise into their daily routine are more successful in their journey!

On a weekly basis I decide what I will eat for the coming week and plan my grocery shopping accordingly. On Sunday I will cook up breakfast and lunch items to take with me to work for the week. This way I won't be tempted to eat things that are not on plan.

For breakfast I will scramble some eggs and separate them in 1/2 cup containers for the week. Sometimes I mix the scrambled eggs with ground turkey and plan a protein packed breakfast.

For lunch, I mix up some tuna fish, grill some turkey burgers, mix up some salad or mix up some chicken. My favorite chicken recipe is canned chicken, Budweiser wing sauce, laughing cow blue cheese and throw it in the microwave for a minute. After heated up, I pour a little Bolthouse Farms Blue cheese dressing or Bolthouse Farms Ranch. As always, I usually have a few cans of a protein drink in the frig or a can of soup in my desk drawer. Always be prepared for those moments when you are tight and can't enjoy dense protein.

When it comes to dinner, I plan on paper what I'm going to have and know what back up items are in the frig or freezer in case I don't feel like eating the first item chosen.

As far as exercise goes, I know what time classes are at several gyms in my area. I go where my schedule dictates. And if I'm not feeling a class, I go to the park to run or workout at home or just hit the gym and enjoy some cardio on the treadmill or elliptical.

So are you planning ahead? If not, why not?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Regaining your mojo

Have you ever felt like giving up? Have you ever felt like nothing you ever did was good enough? Have you ever felt like this was just too damn hard?

I've been living in a self induced funk lately with not knowing how to pull myself out. Or rather sitting around waiting for someone else to pull me out I guess. There I was yesterday, sick again! Curled up in bed with my laptop, books, enough movies to last all day and my thoughts! And let me be perfectly honest, yesterday I ate like banderella was never placed around my stomach two years ago! Yesterday's go foods included, ice cream, almonds, jelly beans, chocolate & some popcorn. In between the grazing I squeezed in two actual meals. Not that I needed them. And today I woke up feeling nothing but guilt.

In my early twenties I went thru a bout with bulimia and yesterday was a perfect replica of a binge day. Only difference from then and today, A) no purging and B) quantities are much smaller. This morning many revelations showed up! As I sat with my journal writing out all that I was feeling, I started to list all the reasons I had lapband surgery in the first place. Then I listed all that I had learned. Then I listed all the things I still wanted to accomplish and then I needed to list an action plan of how I'd get there!

So where does it begin? Straight back to square one and the bandster rules we are all given in the beginning!
  1. No drinking with meals. Stop 30 minutes before you eat and begin again 30 minutes after you finish eating. This will keep your stomach fuller longer and help you not to graze so soon after eating, I set the timer on my phone to signal when I can start drinking again after a meal.
  2. 3 small meals a day. Protein first! And if needed 2 balanced snacks. But remember, if you find yourself eating snacks and your meals aren't keeping you full then you may need a fill.
  3. Small bites, eat slowly and chew thoroughly. Remember to chew your food until it is of a paste consistency. Once you swallow your food, put your fork down, count to 50 and then take another bite. Most stuck episodes are caused by too big of bites that are not chewed up enough before being swallowed and then followed by another bite in the same consistency! If you find yourself eating too big of bites, use a toddler spoon & fork. You'd be surprised how much it helps! WalMart has packages or disposable ones!
  4. Eat only good nutritious foods. Don't load up on sugar, fat & carb heavy foods. Make sure you are eating a balanced diet.
  5. Drink enough fluids throughout the day. 64oz minimum, more if you can. I try to drink a liter on the way to work, a liter at work and a liter on the way home or while I'm at the gym. If you are working out, you need to consume more to replace what you lose during sweating.
  6. EXERCISE~30 minutes a day 210/week. If you can't get 30 minutes in at once, break it up into three 10 minute session or two 15 minutes sessions. As you go on, you will be able to increase what you do. Set a goal and stick with it! Rule of thumb, always have your gym bag packed and ready to go and any time.
It felt good to type all that out and remind myself all the steps I need to take to get back to where I belong. Today I did a jog/walk for 30 minutes. Getting ready to go do some strength training for 30 minutes.

The best part of living banded life is that you can start over every time you fall because we have the rules of success at our finger tips. We just need to follow them! To those of you struggling, you are not alone! Each day is a new beginning and never be afraid to start again!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Are you getting your zzzzzzzz's

In this fast paced world today so many of us walk around sleep deprived. But what does that have to do with losing weight? Oh you would be surprised! Little did you know that how much sleep you get and even the quality of the sleep that it is, plays a significant part of your weight loss journey.  Ask yourself, have you ever had a day that no matter what you ate, you never felt full? Then ask yourself how many hours of sleep you had the night before and whether it was restorative sleep (i.e., sleep like a baby) or it was a restless night!

There are two pesky little hormones that create all the havoc. Leptin and Gherlin! Leptin is produced by the fat cells and sends a message to your brain signaling that you are full and thereby helping you loss weight. Gherlin on the other hand is a hormone secreted in your gastrointestinal tract that stimulates your appetite. These two hormones work together to balance your feelings of hunger and fullness. Studies have shown that when you are sleep deprived your levels of leptin decrease and your gherlin levels increase. And if you continually are not getting enough sleep for a longer period of time, you may find yourself craving more high carbohydrate rich foods. Just think, when you are feeling sluggish at work, what do you grab? Most people I know grab a cup of coffee (or several) or soda and what always comes with that? COMFORT FOOD! What is in that comfort food? CARBS & SUGAR! Those things may help you fight sleep, but they will not help you lose weight or keep the pounds off. And the cycle goes round and round!

So what can you do about it?
  1. Don't go to bed hungry! But at the same time, don't eat a big meal before going to bed.
  2. Exercise regularly! Most WLS patients know the rule, 30 minutes a day, 210 a week! But remember that some people are sensitive to working out too close to bedtime. Try to space your workout at least 2 hours prior to bed or it may disrupt your sleep. Always remember, no two people are alike so what works for one person doesn't work for the other. If it doesn't bother you working out close to bed, keep doing it. Those having issues, evaluate!
  3. Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol in the late afternoon and evening. I know, ha ha ha right. Try switching to decaf at around 2pm in the afternoon, it may help! 
  4. Create a relaxing environment in your bedroom! Make it as dark & quiet as possible. My sleep specialist says no TVs in the bedroom. He says it robs you of restorative sleep~but that is your call!
  5. And if you go to bed and can't sleep for 30 minutes or more, get up and leave the bedroom and involve yourself in an activity until you feel sleepy.
So why do I bring this up? In my quest to figure out why I'm stalled I started researching the correlation of sleep and weight gain. And there is all was in black and white for me! I was diagnosed with Narcolepsy in 2007 and put on medication to control things and initially it helped me start to lose weight because I was getting better sleep. But lately, I've been lucky if I get 4 hours a night and then it is waking up every hour. As a Narcoleptic, I am constantly in REM sleep and very seldom go in NREM which is the restorative phase of sleep. And that little monster gherlin has been wreaking havoc in my life lately! Today was an especially hard day where you wouldn't know that I even had a lapband around my stomach. You name it, I ate it with no issues! So tonight I am making it a point to get 8 hours of sleep and I'm going to see if there is a difference in my day tomorrow!

To those of you struggling in your journey, ask yourself, Am I getting more than 6 hours of sleep a night? And if so, is it a peaceful nights sleep?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

~Emotional Eating~

At yesterday's seminar, held at Des Peres hospital in conjunction with the My New Self Bariatric program, therapist Stephanie Timko led a seminar regarding this topic! Needless to say it was a packed house because I think it is something many of us deal with and part of the reason we put on the weight in the first place!

First off, here's a power statement for you: YOU CAN NOT CHANGE THE WAY YOU FEEL UNTIL YOU CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK!

Broken down, what does that mean; basically it means when you make one bad choice, don't think to yourself, screw it, the entire day is f'd up, I can just go ahead and eat whatever I want now! Come on admit it, that's exactly what goes thru your head! If not yours, that is my exact thought when I do it! Instead you need to remind yourself that it was one misstep and correct it next time.As Stephanie stated, it is not the event that brings on the negative emotions, it is your interpretation of the event itself!

So all that being said, how do you fix it? COGNITIVE RESTRUCTURING! You first have to change your thoughts before it becomes a negative behavior. I will tell you that this is an area I am struggling with and why I was excited about Stephanie's seminar. Beyond the fact that she has helped me tremendously and is an amazing behavioral therapist, she knows her stuff! My problem is what I stated above, I slip up once and I let the entire day go to pot! Anything from work stress, physical ailments, bad weather, you name it can trigger it in me! So here is what Stephanie recommended:
  1. Interpret the event
  2. Analyze your attitude towards the event
  3. Reframe the event (find the silver lining)
Example: You or someone else tells you that you are fill in the blank. Ask yourself where the proof of that is? The go about disproving the negativity of the statement. Then reframe the belief.

Remember that a negative emotion is a cute to stop & think! Stop & think before you react to the situation! If I did that, I wouldn't be running to find Peanut M&M's!

The number one reason for a relapse and weight gain is NEGATIVE EMOTIONS! Those negative emotional lead to negative behaviors which lead to the snowball effect and before we know it, the number on your scale goes up and your clothes get tighter! I'm over here with my hand high in the air saying "yep, I'm right there!" With starting a new job and trying to find my niche in a new environment and new industry the negative emotions have creeped back up! Who thought that after two years this would be an issue, but sorry to say I think until we learn to change the way we think, this could continue to be a problem for many of us ongoing!

So there are two words that need to come out of your vocabulary permanently: SHOULD & ONLY!  Should is a word that brings on negative connotations always. We use it toward others and ourselves and always in a negative way. It also brings on feelings of guilt when spoken! For instance: I should have gotten up and exercised this morning, I should have eaten breakfast at a decent time.  One of my favorite things Stephanie quips in support group is "Should, should, should! So how's that working for yah?" Instead of telling yourself what you should be doing it is time to tell yourself what you are going to do to fix it!

And on to my biggest pet peeve-the word ONLY! So many times I hear people say, "Well, I've only lost 40 pounds." Do you know what putting the word only in front of that did? It negated the fact that you lost 40 pounds. Or I hear I was only able to run 2 miles today. In my world that is reason to celebrate! Instead of putting that word in front of things when you are describing them, try celebrating all that you do! Keeping track of your NSVs (non-scale victories) will help you stay positive when you feel you've reached a plateau or you haven't seen your scale move in a long time! Sit and make a list of all the things that you are able to accomplish now that weren't possible before you started your journey! I guarantee that list will put a smile on your face! And make sure you are constantly adding to that list too! As you are continuing and growing so should that list!

I hope that the above is able to help those of you beginning your journey or struggling in your journey. I enjoyed our discussions around this topic very much and know that this is an area that I continue to work on! Share your thoughts and how you cope!