Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween and Eat to Live (Week 2)

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Happy Halloween, everyone!  I had kind of a laid back weekend but I also have some things to report as far as trying new workouts and recipes.  Since I activated my Groupon coupon for a 2 month gym membership last Saturday, I have tried 2 classes.  Last Tuesday, I went to a Boot Camp class.  I quickly realized why it was called Boot was HARD!!  But I felt really great after I was finished with the workout.  Plus, when I told the instructor I had never taken the class before, or any class for that matter, she acted like it might be too difficult for me.  I decided I would prove her wrong and I think I successfully did that by the end of the workout...yay!  A quick way to motivate me is to tell me I might not be capable!  I plan on going back tomorrow.  On Saturday, I took a Kickboxing class with the same instructor.  I think it should have been more appropriately named "arm boxing."  We did way more punches than kicks and I was fine with that.  My arms are one of my trouble zones and my goal is to tone them.  I loved Kickboxing and also plan to go back to it next week.  Plus, it got me up and around on Saturday and I was able to go to the farmers market (where it started snowing on me) right after my workout.  I still have yet to try Zumba and spinning.  They are on my list and hopefully I will get to try those soon. 

I made two new recipes this weekend:

Black Bean and Butternut Squash Burritos from Oh She Glows--the verdict.....EXCELLENT!  I loved the taste and the flavors.  I love butternut squash just about anyway you can make it. 

Impossible Vegan Pumpkin Pie from the Fat Free Vegan--the verdict....definitely tastier the next day after it was refrigerated.  I also made a few adjustments to this recipe because I didn't have Ener-G Egg Replacer and I didn't want to use sugar.  Instead, I used 1 TBSP of ground flax seed and about 7-8 dates (food processed with the other ingredients).  It turned out great and set up just fine. 

Eat to Live Week 2 Recap
-I didn't really lose any more weight....bummer!
-I decided I will have to not buy cashew butter anymore b/c it has become a trigger food.
-My blood pressure went back up again but it is still within a very healthy range.  (110/78 this week)
-I will need to limit myself to 2 bananas per day.....just like when I did Weight Watchers Points Plus, the amount of bananas I am eating would be considered "fruit abuse!" 
-I kind of had a snack attack binge last night after! 
-I am still hungry between breakfast and lunch but my hunger is still at a minimum between lunch and dinner.  For the most part, I am still keeping the mindless snacking to a minimum. 
-I have started allowing myself to drink a decaf soy Misto when I go by Starbucks.....could this have anything to do with my crazy snack attack last night?!  Something for me to think about......
-I guess that's about it for Week 2

Monday, October 24, 2011

Eat to Live Week 1 Recap and Enjoying the Fall

(I've been trying to get outside as much as possible lately to enjoy the beautiful fall scenery-above is a picture of trail that I go walking and jogging on.)

I am now halfway through week 2 of the Eat to Live program and I am still feeling great!  Here are my stats from week one:

-I lost 4.8 pounds (Note: You will not see this weight loss reflected in my ticker off to the side because I recently got back from a family trip where I gained quite a bit of weight.)
-My blood pressure dropped from 110/76 to 110/68

These are the only 2 measurable stats that I am keeping track of for the student's senior project.  I have compiled a list of other positives that I have noticed/experienced over the course of the first week and a half:

-Kicked my coffee/caffeine habit
-Stopped using stevia (I was using an insane amount of it)
-Started to get less hungry in between meals
-Pretty successful with eating dinner and a dessert then being finished for the day (I am able to stop eating rather than continuing to eat more food even though I’m not hungry)
-Discovered my pumpkin banana smoothie!
-Many of the recipes we cook are already appropriate for Eat to Live.

Here are some of the negatives that I have for the program:

-The first couple of days without coffee and snacking was ROUGH!
-I discovered cashew butter (this might end up being a food I cannot have in the house b/c it’s a little too indulgent and maybe a trigger food for me).
-I need to come up with more breakfast and dessert ideas.
-I am still struggling with not snacking at all-I have modified this a bit to snacking on just fruit when I feel hungry (even though Dr. Fuhrman says this is “toxic hunger”).
-The first week I took salads in my lunch everyday and it started getting old quick!  I made some hummus over the weekend to eat with raw veggies in hopes that it will mix things up a bit. 
-There's a lot of food prep involved in order to be satisfied with my meals.

Overall, the positive definitely outweigh the negative.  I am still just finding a groove and figuring things out.  Another positive for the week is that I activated my Groupon coupon for a 2 month gym membership.  I had been holding on to it for awhile to wait until my 5K was finished.  I did the 5K last weekend so now I am excited to take some classes and do some different types of exercise.  Also, the weather has been very pretty lately and I have been getting out and enjoying the fall leaves while they are still on the trees.  Here are a couple more pictures that I have taken with my phone camera:

I am going to try and enjoy this fall weather as much as I can before winter rolls in! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pumpkin Banana Smoothie

(Please excuse the camera phone picture-I was too lazy to use my nice camera!)

I have almost completed one full week of Dr. Fuhrman's Eat to Live Program.  I have been trying to follow the plan as closely as possible which has included giving up coffee, stevia, almost all processed foods and in between meal snacking.  Now that the caffeine is mostly (if not all) out of my system, I am starting to feel much better.  One thing that I have been trying to think about are creative dessert ideas.  When you can't use most sweeteners including stevia, that makes making desserts a little more difficult.  I have been making a lot of after dinner smoothies with frozen banana, cocoa and almond milk.  This is sweet enough that I don't need to sweeten it with any additional sweeteners.  However, I have found that when I do need to sweeten things a little bit, I can use dates.  I date has about 25 calories so they add up fast, but sometimes it takes just a couple of dates to sweeten something up just enough.  That's what I did with this pumpkin banana smoothie.  I made this last night and I thought it turned out great! 

Pumpkin Banana Smoothie
-1 very large frozen banana
-1/2 cup canned pumpkin
-2 dates (pitted)--Optional (After making this smoothie several times now, I've decided the dates or other sweetener is optional)
-1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (more or less to taste)
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 cup unsweetened nondairy milk (I used almond milk)

Put all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.  Serve immediately.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Eat to Live

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I know I have mentioned this several times on the blog, but ever since moving to Asheville, I have been struggling to lose weight.  In fact, I have been struggling not to gain weight.  Typically what happens is that I have a successful week, then I end up eating too much on the weekends.  The weekends in Asheville are usually full of festivals, trips to downtown and other things where I am surrounded by good vegan food.  This has been a struggle since July now.  I have been trying to get it in gear but I just haven’t been successful. 

Where I work, all of the seniors have to do a senior project in order to graduate.  One student is doing her project on the Eat to Live program and she sent out an e-mail asking if any faculty members would participate in the program for 6 weeks so she could keep track of our results.  I knew that Eat to Live was a vegan diet, I knew it was healthy and I had also seen Dr. Fuhrman interviewed in Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and Forks Over Knives.  Because I knew it was vegan and healthy, I decided that this would be the push I needed to get back on track.  Committing to 6 weeks will be a very good thing for me.  Plus, it really came at a perfect time.  I took a trip to see my family last weekend through the beginning part of this week and I knew that I would start Eat to Live as soon as I got back.  I could indulge at the Spiral Diner while I was in Dallas and enjoy some other treats while I was on vacation and then I knew I would have a fresh start with Eat to Live as soon as I got back. 

Also, I knew the plane rides to and from my parents’ house would give me the opportunity to read Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat to Live book.  I wanted to fully understand the program before I jumped in.  I am so glad that I did.  Reading the book from cover to cover gave me such a better understanding of the research and reasoning behind Dr. Fuhrman’s guidelines for the program.  For example, he explains true hunger vs. toxic hunger.  Toxic hunger is often felt due to the body withdrawing from caffeine, other substances, or even nutrient poor food.  He said that many overfed Americans may have never actually experienced true hunger.  I had never heard anything like this before.  Also, Dr. Fuhrman says that even alternative sweeteners such as stevia cause a person to overeat because the sweet taste from sweeteners encourages a person to crave more food.  Coffee and stevia…..two of my main staples.  I knew that starting the Eat to Live program would require some changes to my diet, for sure.  The main areas I knew I would have to work on were:

-Giving up caffeine
-Cutting out stevia
-No in between meal snacking

Other than that, I felt like Eat to Live wasn’t too far off from how I eat already.  But those 3 areas I needed to work on are MAJOR areas.   While I was at my parents’ I started to wean myself off of coffee.  Instead of drinking coffee right when I wake up, I decided to drink a cup later in the day.  I did this for about 3 days.  Yesterday was my first day completely caffeine free.  It was a little rough!  However, I am already feeling better today with just a minor headache.  I know it can take up to a week to completely detox my body off of caffeine so I am trying to be patient with this. 

Also, it was a little rough yesterday not snacking.  But I am trying to remember what Dr. Fuhrman says about toxic hunger and giving myself some time to get used to a different way of eating.  I think this will pass too with time. 

So far, I am feeling pretty optimistic about Eat to Live.  Because not many faculty members are participating, I feel really motivated to stick with it and be successful.  I want to provide reliable data for the student but I also want to work through the 6 weeks of the program and see how I feel.  I think it’s the motivation I need to truly get back on track.