Rhododendron Garden 2012

We take an annual spring trip to a lovely, local rhododendron garden. Here are a few photos from this year’s visit.

Grain Free Sugar Free Day 19

An unexpected bonus of my diet is that my fingernails have become amazingly strong and long! Just more evidence that my body likes what I’m doing. I have also had so much energy…which I definitely need at this busy stage of life. Every day I look forward to going for a walk. Yesterday, I knew that my schedule would not allow going for a walk by myself after T got home from work, so I made the kids go on a 2-mile “rain walk” (it was pouring down rain!) around a fitness trail with me (I did let the girls ride in the double stroller for part of the time, and when everybody started to get cranky, I bribed them  with the prospect of scrambled eggs and hot cocoa for lunch if they refrained from complaining the rest of the way). Anyway, I got some exercise in, and so did the kids.

Grain Free Sugar Free Day 17

Last night I made “lasagna,” with sliced eggplant instead of lasagna noodles. T and I thought it was great. The kids weren’t fans of the eggplant, but maybe it’s an acquired taste. I was pleased with how it turned out, since the last time I made a similar dish with eggplant, it turned out runny and watery. This time, I salted the sliced eggplant rounds, let them sit for a few hours, then rinsed them and patted them dry really well with paper towels. I broiled them on a greased baking sheet for about 5 minutes on each side. Preparing the eggplant this way really helped the “lasagna” to be nice and thick, instead of watery.

Even though I overindulged a little at dinner, I still didn’t feel bloated and tired afterward, the way I know I would have if the lasagna had been made with noodles.

Using vegetables as substitutes for wheat is becoming more intuitive and fun for me. I can see myself doing this long-term. I’ve been trying to reduce the amount of wheat my kids eat, too, so instead of giving them graham crackers for a snack, for example, I’ve been giving them apple slices and cheese.

Grain Free Sugar Free Day 14

I have lost thirteen pounds in fourteen days. I’m pretty happy with that, and I am fairly confident that I will reach (maybe exceed?) my goal of losing twenty pounds in sixty days. I know the rate of weight loss is fast, too fast to sustain over a long period of time, but I think it’s normal to lose quite a bit of weight at the beginning of a diet, especially if you are significantly overweight to start (which I was/am, at least according to typical BMI charts). I know that at least several pounds of the weight lost was probably water weight, because for the first couple of days after going low-carb, I had to pee, like, every twenty minutes. Sorry if that’s TMI, but I figure anyone reading a weight loss post wants to know about the nitty-gritty details. I’m drinking a lot of water and still eating plenty of calories. I don’t have time to mess with counting calories, but I estimate that I’m probably eating around 1600-1900 a day. I’m still nursing my almost-two-year-old occasionally, so I know she’s taking at least some of those calories.

My cravings for junk food are finally subsiding, and bread and crackers don’t tempt me. I’m feeling too good without them to want them. I downloaded an audiobook from the library called Wheat Belly, and it is helpful in understanding why so many people these days, myself included, have a hard time digesting wheat. The book is full of case studies of people who cut wheat out of their diet and have had amazing results: weight loss, improved moods and ability to concentrate, more energy, etc.

Grain Free Sugar Free Day 10

I’m still having some cravings (mostly for chocolate…it’s hard having my kids’ Easter candy around without being able to have any!), but I’ve been eating a ton of vegetables. I even tried an artichoke for the first time the other day, and it was very good, although it seemed like a lot of work!

Even though I’m eating fewer carbs, I think I’ve upped my fat intake to compensate. I have lost a few pounds, though, so I’ll keep doing what I’m doing and see what happens.

Grain Free Sugar Free Day 8

I tried the SweetLeaf English Toffee stevia drops in a latte yesterday when we were travelling for Easter. They are pretty good, and I really have no complaints with them other than that they didn’t make my drink taste like a mocha, which is the coffee drink that I normally order from coffee shops and/or make myself at home. I think the drops do come in chocolate, so maybe I’ll try chocolate sometime (in a looooooong time, when these English Toffee ones run out–I ordered two bottles because they did not cost much more than one bottle). I’m not really sure exactly what real English toffee tastes like, but the drops give things a sort of salted caramel flavor. I’m pretty sure they’re all-natural, but I’m not sure what the salted caramel flavor is extracted from, which is slightly puzzling/troubling, but at least the drops are better than sugar. That’s what I’m telling myself, anyway.

We went to my grandma’s/parent’s/brother’s house (they all live together at present) for Easter dinner yesterday. I had ham and asparagus and fruit salad and passed on all the starchy things. I was a little disappointed to not be able to have my mom’s yummy frozen strawberry pie, but I was glad after dinner that I had stuck to my grain-free sugar-free plan.

Grain Free Sugar Free Day 4

I was super busy working on homework for my class tonight, so I didn’t get a chance to go for a walk, but I ate well. I find I’m really craving something hard and salty and crunchy, like crackers, but I am continuing to appreciate the lack of bloated crampiness that usually occurs after I eat wheat. This grain-free, sugar-free thing is challenging, but I’m really going to do it for 60 days. I’ve told people about it and posted on Facebook, so I have some additional accountability and motivation.

Grain Free Sugar Free Day 3

I felt really good today and had a lot of energy. I took a 45 minute walk. I like the feeling of not being bloated from eating grains, especially wheat. I remember that from a few years ago when I went through a gluten-free stint. My jeans that were getting too tight are starting to feel more comfortable. I’m hoping that by the end of 60 days, they will be too loose and I’ll be able to fit back into some jeans I haven’t been able to wear since Baby #3.

GFSF Day 2

I had eggs and veggies for breakfast, a chicken sausage with salad for lunch, and a kale and asparagus omelet for dinner (and a bit of pineapple for dessert). I had a cheese stick for a morning snack, celery with peanut butter for an afternoon snack, and of course, my daily mocha sweetened with stevia.

I walked for about 45 min.

It’s kind of hard to make food for my family that I am avoiding myself, and I found myself craving the crackers the kids had for a snack (and the few chocolate chips I gave them for going right to sleep at naptime–yes, I bribe my children to take a nap), but I’m hoping the cravings will lessen over time.

I ordered some SweetLeaf English Toffee stevia drops recently, and they came today. I haven’t tried them yet, but they had good reviews on Amazon, and I’m hoping they will taste good in coffee . I got them mainly because I won’t be able to get mochas from coffee shops for the next 60 days, since they have sugar in them and I try to avoid artificial sweeteners. Anyhow, now I can get a plain latte and doctor it up with my stevia drops. I will also probably use them on the nights that I have class and want to drink the provided coffee. If only coffee was provided for my 8:30 Saturday morning math class when we all reaaaaaalllly need it.

Grain-Free and Sugar-Free for 60 Days: Day 1

The scale has been going the wrong direction lately, so in an effort to reverse that trend, I’m going grain/starch-free (no bread, rice, corn, potatoes, pasta, etc.) and sugar-free for 60 days. Starting today. I’m also planning to do my best to take a walk daily.

For breakfast, I had 2 eggs fried in a tiny bit of butter (too tiny…they stuck to the “nonstick” pan) and a big heap of sauteed cauliflower, red peppers, and mushrooms). For lunch, I had salad topped with a can of tuna mixed with a tablespoon of low-fat mayo.

I weighed myself and took my measurements today. At the end of 60 days, I’ll report on the weight/inches lost. I’m hoping to be down 20 pounds in 60 days. I don’t know if that’s unrealistic, but I’m just going to cut out grains and sugars and see what happens.

For dinner, I had one all-natural beef hot dog without the bun, roasted zucchini, and a grapefruit. I took a walk before dinner.