Monday, February 28, 2011

Oh, by the way

Elizabeth did try to eat clean for about 2 days before flying, and while the flights were a bit odd for her, she managed them fine and - and this is amazing! - woke up on Friday in New Orleans without the tilting sensation that had been her "good days" companion since just after New Years.  She was feeling good the whole time we were there - but had a sensation of something being a bit off as we got to the airport to leave - and a combination of Meclizine and TV on her second flight (she had a connection to get home) made it, in her words, "good" - not survivable, but apparently the best of the 4 flights she had to take over the weekend.

I don't know what to attribute it to because we threw a lot at her over the past few weeks, including a really helpful acupuncture session on Wednesday, but she got it to go away for at least a while.  Progress!

Monday after our weekend in New Orleans


First off, let me just say that we had a fantastic time and partied like it was nearly Lent.  I'm just a bit (!) stiff and achy as a result - partly from throwing on Saturday and partly from the dancing at the after-party, I think.

Second, I never managed to eat either beignets or King Cake, oddly enough.  We did run into bread pudding several times, and I had a lot of Jambalaya and some Red Beans, and Lee and Elizabeth had a breakfast of biscuits and gravy on Saturday that were worth every bit of the cheat - no fake ingredients there!

New Orleans is a food paradise.  I don't think we had a bad meal.  And I'm willing to bet real money that the hash browns I ate at Saturday's breakfast were cooked in animal fat of some sort - they were amazing!  I had a couple of seafood omelets (shrimp and crawfish), some cold shrimp and crab salad, a perfectly cooked filet with two amazing sauces (must learn to make real Bearnaise!), stuffed eggplants, as well as the aforementioned Jambalaya and Red Beans.

Hardly any snacking - we had no time!  More drinking than a typical weekend, but not a binge.  And it was nice to take our high-altitude red blood cell count down to sea level and drink - I had two beers in rapid succession at the after-party without really noticing either one, except as thirst-quenchers.

Yesterday was a complete garbage food day, though.  My sole eating up to 7:30 pm consisted of a donut (raised, glazed), two glasses of orange juice, a bag of airline honey peanuts, and a bag of airline crackers (which were pretty tasty, actually, tho' made of nasty stuff).  Once I got home I had some cheese, and, I'm sorry to say, some potato chips.

So, after all that, and with a lot of swelling to go along with the muscle stiffness?  143.6 this morning.  I may not be done - I'm expecting a mild rise tomorrow as well - but really, that's not all that bad, for such a carb-laden weekend.  I loaded up on the salmon oil today to help with the swelling.

Both Lee and Elizabeth mentioned their approximate weight loss on this way of eating over the weekend, and between the three of us, we've lost 120 pounds.  That's an entire person (well, a skinny one).  Crazy!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day Off Number 1 (aka Thursday, I'm pretty sure)

Had to report a new milestone.  When I stepped on the scale at 6 am today, it told me that, since the cruise 11 months ago (roughly), I have lost 50 POUNDS!  141.4 this morning, to be more specific.  My mind is boggling.  This was never even a goal when I started changing the way we ate, after the cruise, after Easter, and after Lee came back from the doctor with a diagnosis of early Metabolic Syndrome.  I'm nearly speechless.  But I will add, that the goals I did have, have all been achieved in spades - we are much healthier than we were a year ago - more energy, more ability to roll with the punches, really.

On the Elizabeth front, it occurs to me this morning that migraine is an inflammatory sort of thing, and she might benefit mightily from the bona-fide anti-inflammatory diet - the one Lee's brother is nominally on for RA (he cheats a lot).  I think I'll urge her to eat more fish, which she likes, fortunately, and really avoid seed oils and grains, as a part of removing the triggers.  I may even go look for that book in a bookstore this morning.

50 pounds.  Fifty.  One half of one hundred.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Or maybe, Duh:

Next up - humans?  (Okay, I'm dreaming...)

Positively creepy commercial

I think I saw this over the weekend. 

Kid picks up package of Coffee Mate or something like it (that's what it looked like to me, anyway), and asks parent, "What is Non-Dairy Creamer?" 

Parent starts reading ingredients out loud and has an epiphany of sorts - That's. Not. Natural.

Switch to pitch for new product - some sort of dairy-based creamer - packaged, apparently manufactured, and obviously, marketed.  Not cream, though.

I can't recall the name of the product, fortunately. 

The alternative to non-dairy creamer is, surprisingly, CREAM!!!  How hard is this, anyway? 



I'm checking carefully to see that I label the days correctly this week.  Today, especially, since I'm dragging.  I think peri-menopause is catching up at last - I've spent the past two weeks sleeping at the wrong temperature - either drenched with sweat, or freezing, trying to un-drench.  It's not horrible, but it is making a good night's sleep a rare jewel.  I wish there was a switch one could just turn off somewhere, but I guess this is sort of part of life.  Wonder if paleo-era women went through this, or if it's somehow related to neolithic practices of some sort?  Practices I could drop, perhaps.

I ended up not wanting to cook last night, so I ate some cheese spread on pecans and called it dinner.  It wasn't really, but when it's just me and the freaked-out dogs (they hate it when one of us isn't home), I get uninspired pretty quickly.  As I was this morning - having fallen asleep at last around 5 am, I finally felt like getting out of bed around 6:15, so I skipped breakfast and will just IF today.  Don't need it for weight control, but I'm just not into eating this morning.  I may get lunch, if the mood strikes me.  I'm back at 141.6 this morning; not too surprising, really.  Probably a good thing to be at a low point going in to our weekend Mardi Gras-ing.

I got a book on migraine control for Elizabeth, that has a very paleo-like diet in it (he doesn't rule out flour or sugar as dietary triggers, but strict paleo would pretty much eliminate all of them).  Between us, I think she and I have read every internet article on Meniere's and Migraine-Associated Vertigo, and, in our humble don't-even-play-a-doctor-on-TV, opinion, she is suffering from the latter, no matter what her doctor says (apparently, the former).  I advised her to eat very clean between now and getting on the plane tomorrow, to see if that helps her get through the flight and back on her feet after, since the book indicated that food triggers can persist for several days and that flying can be an additional trigger, and the whole managing migraines thing is about keeping the cumulative triggers below one's tolerance threshold.  Made sense to her, so I think she will be eating "ingredients" today and tomorrow - identifiable whole foods, basically.  Maybe it will help; it certainly can't hurt.

Had something funny happen yesterday.  I had bought a case of Girl Scout cookies for charity from the daughter of a co-worker, pleading our diet as a reason that I didn't get any for us.  She felt so bad that I'd paid all that money with no cookies to show for it, that she brought me some gluten-free cookies (ginger snaps) and crackers yesterday, so I'd have something.  I haven't tried any of them yet - they were uniformly 20+ grams of carbs per serving.  But gluten-free!  I'll hold them in reserve in case I need something crunchy that coconut chips won't satisfy, I guess - and eat partial servings.

Lee agreed with me on the 72-oz steak challenge, but he didn't get into Amarillo until around 10 pm local time, so it wouldn't have been practical.  Maybe one day we'll IF, leave early from the house, and try it as a dinner option (what weird vacations we have!).

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


It is, really.  I checked. 

Holiday yesterday, so I spent the day around the house, puttering.  And eating - at the end of the day, I classified it as a "crap eating day", which isn't so great considering we're on the brink of a "moderate cheat weekend" (these terms sound like they should be copyrighted or something).  But this morning, the scale told me I was at 142.2 - nearly a pound down from yesterday, I believe.  So then I started going over what I'd eaten yesterday.
  • No breakfast, but a couple of cups of tea with heavy cream
  • Several forays into the cheese - cheddar and gruyere, I believe
  • Some walnuts
  • Some Trader Joe's dark chocolate almonds - maybe 5 of them
  • A bag of Boy Scout popcorn (aha!  crap!)
  • About 3 triangles of Toblerone (Valentines candy - but more crap, because it's extremely sweet)
  • Flank steak marinated in red wine and olive oil and herbs
  • Southern-style green beans with bacon
  • A glass of white Bordeaux (I think)
Just so we're clear - that day's eating registered with me as "crap".  And I start thinking back - a year ago, what would a "crap eating day" include?
  • Chips
  • Cookies
  • Crackers
  • Cheese
  • Drinks with sugar
  • Toast and butter (maybe even jelly) - breakfast on non-work days used to be 4-6 slices of "wheat" toast
  • Popcorn
  • Fruit (to convince myself it wasn't all crap)
  • Caramel dip (to make the fruit taste better)
  • regular meals involving sandwiches and pasta, no doubt
By comparison, yesterday was extremely nutritious - and obviously, not fattening.  Talk about the world turned upside down!

The flank steak was very good - we have traded out our giant 3 burner grill with side burner thingie for a very small, portable Weber gas grill - suitable for tailgating, but it can be hooked up to a full-size propane tank, which is what we have done.  It works really well (of course, it's new, and the burners haven't been exposed to a couple of winters around here).  I used a marinade recipe from one of the big Williams-Sonoma cookbooks - this one was for Meat, Pork, and Poultry.  Lots of good stuff in there - most of it paleo, more or less, or easily adapted.

Lee's on the road today, heading to New Orleans.  I will probably have leftovers for dinner tonight - might try pan-searing the remaining flank steak slices in a bit of butter and adding some sauteed mushrooms.  He says he can eat lunch by "drinking" a cup of Wendy's chili - um, okay.  Not perfectly paleo, since it has beans, but probably the least offensive eat-while-driving option they offer (sorry, but you'd need a fork to eat a bunless Single).  He's hoping to make Amarillo - but probably well after dinner or I'd point him toward the 72-oz free steak offer - these days, we might just manage such a thing.  Maybe.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday - holiday warning

I will now mix up the day for every day this week, since I'm off work today.  So be it.  It's a 2-day workweek.  That should limit the scope a bit.  We're headed to New Orleans on Thursday for a weekend of participating in a Mardi Gras krewe.  And I am declaring it - now - a moderate cheat weekend.  Because I want beignets and King Cake.  Not sure if there's anything else I would cheat for - I think I can nosh on shrimp and things without violating most Paleo principles (okay, maybe red beans and rice.  And Jambalaya).  Like I said, a moderate cheat weekend.  I hope Elizabeth can eat beignets and King Cake without any problems - she seems to be the most gluten sensitive of the three of us.  I guess she gets the little one, right?

We had a belated Valentine's Day dinner on Saturday at a steakhouse near here - escargot, prime rib and mashed potatoes, and a raspberry souffle.  Delicious - and I pretty much cleaned my plate (not all the fat on the prime rib, though - a Paleo hurdle I just can't seem to get over).  The souffle was, I think, flourless, but it did not stint on the sugar - man, was that thing sweet!  The two of us weren't able to finish it, which was probably a good thing!

I know I was below 143 on Friday; by yesterday morning I was at 143.6, but had a breakfast-snacks-dinner day and am back at 143.0 this morning.  I may IF today; I haven't had breakfast yet and am not particularly hungry.  Flank steak marinated in something for dinner (which reminds me, I'd best go get one out of the freezer.

Saw a commercial last night reminding everyone to eat their "heart-healthy whole grains".  Including the ones in Lucky Charms.  Comment would be superfluous.

Friday, February 18, 2011


It had better be, that's all I can say.  We feed our dogs raw bones as a way of increasing the percentage of their diet that is actually what they're supposed to eat, and they've just finished some.  Unfortunately, Roscoe hoovers his in like he's never had food before in his life, and usually ends up mildly sick from them.  As he did at 4:30 this morning.  It's a sound guaranteed to wake anyone instantly.  Lee jumped out of bed to deal with it (i.e., get the dog outside, quickly) and promptly got leg cramps.  He also found that he'd lost a pound and a half overnight - so either he got past a set-point stall, or his metabolism has healed enough for him to be losing again, or something.  That's all good.

I'm down to 142.6 again this morning - not too surprised by that.  Although, thinking back, when I started "dieting" last April, I had a goal of getting down to 160.  Nice to have glided right through that and past it by nearly 20 pounds, without any particular effort.  I'm there, Lee's below 200 consistently and taking all his pants back in for another round or alterations, and Elizabeth's at 153 and trying to stem the losses (she's having vertigo problems that may or may not be Meniere's syndrome - that's what her doctor is treating her for at the moment - but whatever it is, it's diminished her appetite a lot).  With her, I'm extremely glad that we got rid of gluten; she had digestive problems in High School that were almost certainly wheat-related and it's implicated in so many auto-immune disorders, Meniere's possibly being one of them.

I had the mini-meatloaves for dinner, followed by various quantities of cheese, chocolate, coconut, and nuts - stressy evening led to snacking a lot.  But all good stuff, obviously.  The mini-meatloaves were great - they heated up and were still juicy and tender.  I'm quite impressed with the potato starch panade there.  Basically, all I did was to follow the Joy of Cooking meatloaf recipe, but mix a tablespoon or so of potato starch in with the egg before adding any of the other ingredients.  Then I cooked them in a muffin tin - don't remember for how long, and I may have used a probe thermometer to get to a medium-rare temperature or something.  Froze up two batches of four, and now, one of them is gone.

Three day weekend ahead, followed by two days of work and our trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras.  I haven't really given a lot of thought to how we might eat there - probably in part because I have a strong hankering for a beignet or two, and some King Cake, and neither of those is remotely part of our way of eating.  Between that, and the likelihood of copious adult beverages, and the fact that New Orleans is a food town, it may end up being a cheat weekend.  A few things in moderation, as a treat, with the bulk of our intake being meat-oriented.  We'll do our best, but I'm thinking it won't be strictly paleo all 3 days.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I'm nearly 90% certain it's Thursday

Ugh - delete one workday and everything goes to crap.  When the radio went off this morning, I had to think hard to figure out why it wasn't playing the Friday bumper music - it took several minutes to come to the realization that it was because it's not Friday.  Consulting my watch and calendar in tandem, I'm assured it's Thursday.  Not that I wouldn't rather have it be Friday, but given that I thought yesterday was Tuesday...

I got so bored yesterday mid-day that I went down to the machines in search of not one, but two bags of trail mix.  And they were out.  I don't know if that was good or bad; I bought potato chips and peanuts instead.  The salt tasted good, but I was hungry for chocolate - food of the bored, apparently.  Dinner was beef-vegetable soup and a salad with cheese and salami in it, followed by the chocolate and coconut milk semi-pudding stuff I'd made on Tuesday night.  I liked it okay, but using the very dark chocolate caused the texture to be very grainy, and Lee actually put Splenda in his; it was too bitter for him.  So next time, I'll go with the chocolate chips, maybe. 

144.2 this morning - a decent enough weight.  My feet were pretty swollen when I got home last night - not sure why - and I think I'm still a bit water-logged.  I'm on my own for dinner tonight - not sure what I'm going to have, although I'm leaning toward thawing out some of the mini-meatloaves I made a while back.  I think we're out of bacon (oh, the horror!), or I'd make some Southern-style green beans in the pressure cooker to go with them.  Our pressure cooker is immense - wonder if they make them any smaller?  A quick google reveals that 4-qt seems to be the smallest, and I think that's what I have.  Bother.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Getting the headlines right would help, too!

Man, you skip work on a Monday and the rest of the week is just confusing.  Of course today is Wednesday.  Not Tuesday again.  I know that because we watched NCIS last night on CBS, not on a USA marathon or something.  Sheesh!


You know, I really should try to come up with cleverer headlines, but the date was redundant, and at least "Tuesday" adds information to what the blog already displays. 

Um, okay.  Nothing to add to that.

Much of the weight yesterday was water, and I have disposed of nearly 2 pounds of it since then - back down to 144.4 this morning, and that after chips and salsa at dinner last night.  We opted for Mexican, and I was good about the entree - had carne asada with guacamole and pico de gallo - but I do love crispy corn chips and salsa.  And Lee ordered some additional guacamole, which was an added enticement.  We no longer go past the first basket of chips anywhere, but we don't exactly avoid them, either.  Grain food, certainly, but gluten-free.  Almost certainly cooked in franken-oils, though.

Over the weekend, I had some sweet potato fries with a lunch, and they were simply beyond wonderful.  Little paleo donut substitutes.  Still fried in seed oil, I'm sure.  So I'm thinking that I could slice up a sweet potato fairly thin and saute or fry it in bacon grease and get something nearly as tasty (maybe more tasty) but slightly healthier.  Worth a try.  And, after reading Melissa McEwan's posting on yams yesterday, I think I'll stick with the local sweet potatoes, peeled, rather than trying to find a true African variety.

We used up the coconut milk in the fridge making something like this yesterday - haven't had it yet, and after jiggling one of the cups in the fridge, I'm thinking it should have had more chocolate in it - it's still pretty mobile this morning.  I think it's going to taste pretty good, though.  We made ours with half of a Lindt 85% bar rather than chocolate chips, and I didn't add the cinnamon or the rum.  Pure chocolate and coconut.

Tonight, we're having some soup I made and froze during Lee's last foray to Phoenix - beef with carrots and mushrooms and onions, from a Cook's Illustrated recipe.  Speaking of which, I got the new issue yesterday and a lot of the recipes in it are either Paleo as-is, or can be made to be Paleo with a minor adjustment (ghee or olive oil instead of "vegetable" oil, for example).  I doubt they did it on purpose, but I'm grateful.

In about a month, it will be time to start planting out veg in the garden for the summer.  I'm feeling mildly hopeful that the raspberries survived, and hoping that the strawberries did (I didn't cover them, so they got the brunt of the -12 or whatever it was a few weeks ago).  And, if the raspberries haven't crowded them out, we may have pickable asparagus this year.  I think I'll put in rather a lot of leafy greens, to see how far we can go with salads and stuff this summer - maybe some cookable ones as well, like chard (again - only this year, we'll actually try eating it!).  Tomatoes and cukes, of course, but I think I'll buy zucchini and eggplants this year, rather than grow them.  But I think I will skip green beans, and maybe peas, since both are legumes.  We aren't putting in a lot of effort toward eating seasonally, but I think we'll be moving that way over the next year or so - that seems to me a very "paleo" concept.

Lee's been saving egg cartons so we can try out the egg vendor down the road from us.  I'm hopeful that their hens are allowed out to eat grass and bugs, although at this part of the year, I don't know where they'd get either.  We've been getting very orange eggs from Costco lately, from a local mostly-free-range vendor that is at least certified humane, although they swear their hens are fed a 100% vegetarian diet (which is stupid, given that the hens will eat mice and frogs if they can get them).  Anyway, we're going to give it a look, and if it doesn't work out, we'll go back to the Costco ones.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tuesday (I think, anyway)

Got back from San Diego about 10:30 last night - but that was just to the airport.  Finally crashed about 11:45, I think - the alarm went off roughly 2 seconds after that, by my reckoning.  So I'm a bit washed out this morning.  That said, the tea and heavy cream did seem to help this morning - more than it did last week.  And I did sleep heavily for the not-quite-six hours I got.

Apparently, I did not eat as well as I'd hoped over the weekend - more starch than I should have had, I think.  Can I argue that it was in a good cause - keeping leg cramps at bay while I was away from the coconut water supplies?  Probably not.  I'm at 146.2 this morning - partly water, I'm sure, since I could feel the bottom of my arches touch the floor when I took my shoes off last night.  Planes seem to do that to me.  As for my eating, I think I did fairly well - sweet potato fries with lunch on Sunday, potatoes au gratin with dinner that night (very good, but probably insulinogenic), also a bit of bread.  A Wendy's frosty mid-morning yesterday, and chips and salsa and guac and rice and beans for dinner last night (Chili's - must stop eating there!!!).  So I am fairly sure I can account for all 4 pounds.  No leg cramps, though!

I think I posted over the weekend about the strength gains I saw - I was really quite impressed with them.  And on the way back from the airport, Lee mentioned that while he hasn't seen much weight loss recently beyond what it took to get below 200, his waist has shrunk - he was trying on pants yesterday evening and ended up in an inch smaller size than he expected.  So it's working for him - just in a different way. 

Over the weekend, I was helping my folks clean out the house of my grandmother's cousin, who died recently of metastasized lung cancer.  He was 80, I believe, so it was not an untimely death, but as I was cleaning, I found that his recycling bin (2 weeks' worth, if I understood the instructions on his garage wall, and a full-sized lidded container) was chock-full of apple juice cans.  Unless my parents went on an apple juice dumping binge, that was a lot of sugar for him to have consumed, and I can't help wondering if it was feeding the cancer and making it worse.  Maybe the chemo made it hard for anything else to taste okay, but it was very striking to see all those cans.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Day 2 in San Diego. We got the work done on the house this morning, which means my folks can go home Tuesday. Noticed something yesterday. We were carrying boxes of books out of a used bookstore, and I was able to carry them with my left arm alone. I don't always think about the "free-inside" benefits of eating this way, but I am definitely stronger than I used to be.

Another observation - I did a lot of trim painting yesterday and toward evening, my right shoulder was killing me. I begged some fish oil from my mom, took 2 before bed, and woke up pain-free there and in my thumb joints. I suppose there could be some other cause, but I'm grateful, regardless.

Been eating pretty well, so far. Omelets and/or eggs with meat for breakfast, meat with veg for lunch and dinner. I've had no trouble finding something to eat. Well, except at the motel - the complimentary breakfast on offer was nothing but grains in various forms. Skipped that, obviously. And I've had good energy and endurance, and slept like a whole pile of rocks last night.

One other observation. California may have happy cows, but their output isn't available for use in coffee. The "cream" on the table is routinely fake stuff. Not the case in Colorado. Wonder why?

Friday, February 11, 2011


This week was pretty short and event-filled (probably the latter is the cause of the former, but, whatever).  I'm flying to San Diego tonight for 2 days of painting and cleaning out a house to sell as part of an estate, and 1 day of the funeral.  Seems a bit frivolous to worry about eating problems, but given my reaction to egg rolls last weekend, I probably at least need to be alert to keeping the gluten down.

We had burger patties with sauteed mushrooms and a red wine and beef stock reduction sauce for dinner last night - and green beans.  And I snacked on cheese - we had a wedge of aged gouda that I cut up - it's bloody marvelous!  I had a glass of coconut water for a nightcap, because I could feel the leg cramps looming, and for once, it held them off.  I would have slept quite well indeed but for the stupid dogs, who needed - REALLY needed - to get up at 1:30 am for some reason.  We put them off, and they subsided for about an hour, but at 2:30 am, having been awake the whole time, I got up and let them out.  And then tried to get back to sleep, with rather mixed success.  So I feel a bit washed out this morning - hollow-tired and achy.  I had two cups of tea with cream in hopes that Diesel #2 would do something, but so far, not so much.

142.2 this morning - a couple of days of eating pretty clean and I'm right back down there.  Still looking for the balance point where I can stay more or less in one place, weight-wise.  For what it's worth, I seem to be seeing more of my abdominal muscles these days - mostly just below the ribcage, and only when I'm not trying to see them - tightening them up makes the definition go away - so it might be something else going on. 

Read a review of a play in the paper this morning - the woman who wrote the Vagina Monologues has a new play about how she hates her stomach, apparently bitching about our "notions" of female beauty.  Sorry sweetheart, the definition of female beauty is built into our genes, as a mechanism to ensure that the species survives and thrives ("beautiful" implies "healthy"), and not everyone gets to be beautiful.  Life is not fair.  And yet, people pay to go see things like this.  Other people.  Not me.  Blecch.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Despite an incredibly stressful day, and a 4-hour meeting at which the only sustenance offered was cookies and candy (I had none of either), I managed to eat pretty well yesterday.  I had a pound (most of it, anyway) of turkey at the local BBQ place, with mustard BBQ sauce, and about 3 of the dark chocolate and coconut candies I made over the weekend.  And the usual breakfast of bacon and eggs, of course.  I'm just glad I was able to keep the carbs down this time.

144.2 this morning - down, but not a lot.  No real idea why it was slow, but as I've seen before, things tend to lag a bit with me.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wednesday Hell.  Negative 9 this morning again, traffic slower than going backwards, the sun up in a sky so clear it made your eyes water, and Denver still hadn't plowed a big chunk of the roads to my office.  I'm walking over the compacted snow that the businesses haven't even tried to scrape off their sidewalks, despite city ordinances, wondering how on earth early man survived weather like this.  We have no fur, and our feet are tender - it makes no sense that we were supposed to live in this climate. 

I am in a bad mood.  Weight up - no surprise, really; we went for Mexican last night, including chips, and I had enchiladas with corn tortillas.  144.4 this morning - not a huge gain, but taking the long view, I'm up 3 pounds from Saturday morning.  I'm stress-eating these days, which is not helping one bit.  With my parents mired in estate settlement for a distant cousin out in California and needing help on site (flying out this weekend to spend 2 days painting and go to the funeral), my daughter in another state fighting vertigo issues, and the weather here being oh-so-wintry, I've just had it.  Oh, and I have a 4-hour meeting this afternoon with people who drive me stark mad on a good day.  My every atom is screaming at me to run away and join a circus, preferably in Florida or something.

I guess tonight, I cut up a few more blocks of cheese into bite sized pieces (not, mind you, the nasty raw-milk one we tried on Sunday afternoon - it was disgusting) and try to keep to them, rather than going for chips or nuts.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday with snow

Seems to be becoming a bit of a theme around here.  If it's Tuesday in Denver, the weather is miserable.  I'd be open to breaking the streak.

144.0 this morning - don't know if that's carryover or to do with my eating some of the potatoes at dinner last night.  We went to Olive Garden, and I had the steak Toscana - not bad, but it came with fried potatoes, and I had about half of them.  I'm a little concerned that for me, carbs=weight gain, in nearly all cases.  I don't think it's a good idea to eat zero-carb for life, although I suppose I could.  But I seem to be a bit stuck - zero or very low carb causes weight loss, some carb above that causes weight gain.  I haven't found the balance point yet.

Made something pretty boffo later in the evening.  A handful of frozen berries in a glass, covered barely with coconut milk, and hit with an immersion blender.  Strawberry for me, blueberry for Lee.  We both went for a spatula to clean out the glass, so I'd say it was a success all around.  Unfortunately, I seem to have a mental block about opening coconut milk cans - that's the second one I managed to open upside down.  More problematic with the full-fat version than with the low-fat - there was a big clump of solids at the top, with liquid below.  So, I learned something - shake the be-jeebers out of a can of full-fat coconut milk before opening, and then open it on the end that the can says to open.  And make some more of that stuff with the berries.

Monday, February 7, 2011

And Monday again

Actually, it feels like Monday squared, or cubed.  I sat down abruptly on a kitchen chair yesterday morning and muscles on both shoulders knotted up simultaneously, leaving me with a caught feeling when I try to move my head into a full-upright position.  It's not excruciatingly painful, but very wearying, and definitely interfered with sleep last night.

I think on Saturday morning, I was at 141.6 - a new low for me.  Loss accompanied by the usual leg cramps - I have a spot in my left calf that is still very sore from them.  We ate Chinese for dinner on Saturday, and like an idiot, I had 2 egg rolls and some teriyaki steak appetizer strips, rather than an actual entree.  Note to self: Egg rolls bad.  I think I can say that I'm officially gluten-sensitive.  And in addition, the carbs gained me about a pound overnight.

Yesterday, being Superbowl day, we did snack and watch TV.  I had some cashews, lots of cheese, and made my remaining 90% cacao bar and some dried coconut into more of the paleo-ish "candy" we had before Christmas.  It was okay, but very not sweet - this lot of coconut is less sweet than the last so it didn't help the chocolate much.  I'm thinking of sprinkling them with sea salt to see if that helps - I think it will.  Anyway, lots of food, and I ended up this morning at 143.4 or 6.  Whatever.  It'll go away in a couple of days unless I get on a starch bender.

Pretty good dinner last night - put a top sirloin roast (at about 2" thick, it was too bit to be a steak) in the crock pot with beef broth, soy sauce (more wheat - oops), molasses (not much), a can of chopped tomatoes, a bell pepper, half a large onion, and about 1/2 pound of mushrooms.  The meat fell into two roughly-equal pieces while cooking for about 6 hours, so we each had one piece and a bunch of the other stuff.  I thickened the sauce with a slurry of 2 tablespoons of potato starch with cold water - didn't use all of it, either.  It tasted really good (though next time, I won't use anywhere near as much molasses - maybe even swap it for red wine), but there were way more onions than any of the other veg, and I ate enough of them to upset my stomach overnight. 

Interesting random reading over the weekend.  Because it's been cold, I indulged in my yearly reading of Laura Ingalls Wilder's The Long Winter, and had in addition, picked up Elisabeth Hasselbeck's book about gluten-free eating.  Both of them prompted thinking about diet, interestingly.  Toward the end of the long winter of 1881/2 (I think), the entire Ingalls family, having been reduced to subsisting on whole grain sourdough wheat bread and nothing else, was getting un-hungry, sleepy, and stupid.  They'd had potatoes for about half the winter and were doing okay while they lasted, but once it came down to nothing but wheat to eat, their metabolisms obviously shut completely down.  Seems right in line with Taubes' argument that the mechanism that makes one fat (carb-heavy diets and the insulin response) also makes one less likely to exercise.  Not that they were fat at that point; just trying to hold on to enough to survive, I think.  Hasselbeck's book was basically annoying.  I found myself saying (silently) "Hey, but...!" on nearly every page.  Maybe I'm over-simplifying, but if you need to eat gluten-free, your best bet is to buy raw ingredients (meat and vegetables and fruit) and turn them into meals yourself.  She had all these lists of ingredients to watch for when reading boxes of convenience food, and all this advice about cooking for one gluten-free member of a family when everyone else was still eating gluten.  Given that the stuff is, at best, and anti-nutrient, and at worst, a toxin, why is she feeding it to her kids?  And why is she going to all the trouble of finding gluten-free fake food-like substances in order to keep having penne, for example?  I don't know - we had it pretty easy with transitioning off the SAD, I guess - and without her incentive, since none of the three of us has full-blown celiac.  Maybe other people are just wedded to their original menus and cannot envision eating any other way.  It just seemed way too complicated a message for advice that really is pretty simple: You don't need "heart-healthy grains".  Stop eating them, and stop eating things that contain them.

Friday, February 4, 2011


After some contemplation, I think I over-onioned the soup in last night's recipe - it lent a rather lingering flavor to life last night.  However, a regular breakfast, a couple of hunks of walnut mid-day (all I had left - and none today, which could get dicey), and that soup and some cheese and chocolates in the evening, resulted in another half pound gone - 142.4 this morning (with the scale indecisive between that and 142.2 for quite a while).  I also did my body fat measurements and it looks like much of the loss was fat - I'm at 23.5% fat and around 109 pounds of lean mass, which is consistent with the last time I measured. 

This time of year, with the nasty cold temps we've been having this week, especially, I rather miss that fat.  It's a little chilly being thin - not that I'd trade it, really.

Slept wretchedly last night - one bounding-out-of-bed leg cramp and a trip to the fridge for coconut water, and just general restlessness.  I think the coconut water minimized the cramping, but couldn't eliminate it altogether.

We have a Super Bowl party to go to on Sunday, bringing snacks and drinks.  I'm thinking meat of some sort - whether mini hot dogs or meatballs or a beef stick, I don't know - and maybe some hard cider and beer.  Gotta give that some thought.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Not Bad!

I started out to make tomato soup from scratch this evening.  And I guess I really should have checked for a can of tomatoes before starting.  However, of such mistakes are new recipes created.  No canned tomatoes, but I did find a can of Ro-Tel.  So I made Cream of Ro-Tel soup for dinner, roughly this way:
  • 1 tsp Ghee
  • 1 can of Ro-Tel Original tomatoes and green chiles - 10 oz
  • about 1 Tbsp dehydrated onion
  • about 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
  • about 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • about 1/2 tsp green chile seasoning
  • about 1/4 cup heavy cream
Mix everything except the cream in a saucepan over medium heat, until it just starts to boil (really, simmer).  Add the cream, and use an immersion blender, food processor, or regular blender to puree the lot.  

Mine made about 1-1/2 generous servings (I ate all of them), especially after I threw a handful of Mexican blend shredded cheese on it and stirred it in.  It wasn't bad at all - I picked a rather larger saucepan (4 qt) than I needed, which made immersion blending very messy and not at all thorough, so mine had a fairly chunky texture.  It was pretty spicy, but very tasty.  I would do that again!


And the corn chips blew away with the wind...  I'm at 143.0 today - a new low.  I figure it'll settle one of these days, but I have some clothes I'd still like to wear more flatteringly (if that makes sense).  I have, however, been rather favorably impressed by my appearance in the underwear equivalent of a tankini just now - because of the cold, I've been adding a layer of silk to my clothing, and with a silk tank added, I look pretty good - the last remnants of subcutaneous abdominal fat are pretty subtle in that garb.  I don't know if a 49 year old belongs in a bikini, no matter how thin she might be, but come warmer weather (come quickly, please!!!), I will need a new swimsuit, and am thinking that a tankini might be the ticket.

Lee has seen 197 since his breakthrough - I don't ask him for daily updates, so I don't know if that's the current figure or not.  And Elizabeth's weight continues to drop - though more because of inadvertent IFing than anything - with her vertigo, she has very little appetite right now and has to force herself to eat.  But she's looking quite good these days.

I saw yesterday on the Hunter-Gatherer site that the Green Bay quarterback is reading The Paleo Diet - the book/website that started this odyssey for me.  I was going to root for them anyway; this just bolsters my resolve. 

Dr. Kurt Harris has some great posts on macronutrients on his PaNu blog right now - his discussion of carbohydrate quality and how the atomic structure affects our bodies is very thought-provoking.  We do eat some starchy carbs - potatoes and sweet potatoes, mostly, with occasional corn and rice thrown in - and after reading his article, I'm thinking that's probably okay.  I'm really glad he's back to active posting - I think his writing may have been the most influential for how we ended up eating.  Good stuff - not lockstep with either Paleo or Low-Carb, but really looking at the effects of various dietary choices on our health.  Combine his stuff with Taubes and you have an incredible one-two punch.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


In Phoenix and basically offline yesterday.  Always fun, trying to fly anywhere in winter - even being on the western edge of that gargantuan storm was a bit much.  But, surprisingly, my flight there was only about 1/2 hour late, even with lining up to de-ice, and my flight back was early arriving, and very empty, to boot.  Pity, that - I would have been TOTALLY OKAY with a cancellation - twist my arm, I guess I'll stay in 63-degree Phoenix instead of returning immediately to 9-below-zero Denver.  Oh, well.

One somewhat humorous note from the trip there.  I sit in aisle seats on planes so that I have at least one arm rest, guaranteed, and the option to stick my feet in the aisle if the legroom is scanty.  I'd picked an aisle seat, and another woman had picked a window seat, and the flight out wasn't full.  But our row was.  Toward the end of boarding, a rather large man indicated he wanted to sit in the middle seat, and as he was getting settled, remarked that he'd picked our row because we were "the smallest people on the flight", and he needed the extra room.  And then asked if he could leave the armrest up on my side.  Sheesh!  I don't think that I lost 48-odd pounds so that I could better accommodate overweight airline passengers.  And I fought mightily the urge to explain to him that he could fix things by cutting back on the starchy, sugary, food choices.  Not surprisingly, he had a Coke during the flight (not a "diet").  Also not too surprisingly, he was from Seattle - where I saw the largest people I've ever seen last fall.  I was a mite annoyed by the episode at the time, but looking back, I guess it's a compliment of sorts.

I saw 143.2 yesterday - I didn't quite do a fast all day Monday; had some cheese and nuts after arriving in Phoenix.  I actually ate 3 meals yesterday - mostly-naked tacos from Chipotle for lunch (had the barbacoa, which was tasty but who knows what the sauce was), and some soup and a salad (and some of Elizabeth's chips-and-salsa) for dinner at the airport Chili's.  So at home this morning, I was at 143.8, which still isn't bad.  Worthy of being asked to give up a portion of my plane seat to a larger passenger, anyway.