Jan 222016
 
To health!

To health!

I completed the juice challenge! 5 days of nothing but juices. Generally, it went well! I was so busy making and drinking juices that I didn’t have much time to think about hunger or food. It was difficult to drink that much juice each day.

Each day was organized similarly: 1) drink lemon water, 2) make two juices for the day, divide each batch in half and drink 4 servings throughout the day, 3) have coconut water mid-morning 4) end each day with vegetable broth and the “pear pie” juice which is so sweet and delicious it tastes like a sinful dessert.

Each day started with warm lemon water.

Each day started with warm lemon water.

Each day ended with a Pear Pie smoothie which really tasted like a cookie.  The cinnamon was wonderful!

Each day ended with a Pear Pie smoothie which really tasted like a cookie. The cinnamon was wonderful!

Pear Pie Smoothie (I blended mine with frozen blueberries rather than juicing.)

Pear Pie Smoothie (I blended mine with frozen blueberries rather than juicing.)

Day One

Joe's "Mean Green" juice.  A classic.  I am probably the only one who is not crazy about this juice.  For a green juice, it isn't bad, just not my favorite.

Joe’s “Mean Green” juice. A classic. I am probably the only one who is not crazy about this juice. For a green juice, it isn’t bad, just not my favorite.

Ingredients for Sunny Citrus Beet Juice

Ingredients for Sunny Citrus Beet Juice

Sunny Citrus Beet juice.  I generally like purple juices.  This one wasn't bad but the grapefruit made it a bit sour for my taste.

Sunny Citrus Beet juice. I generally like purple juices. This one wasn’t bad but the grapefruit made it a bit sour for my taste.

Day Two

Ingredients for Morning Green Glory Juice.

Ingredients for Morning Green Glory Juice.

Morning Green Glory Juice.  This was my least favorite juice of the challenge.

Morning Green Glory Juice. This was my least favorite juice of the challenge.

Ingredients for Radiant AntiOxi Orange

Ingredients for Radiant AntiOxi Orange

The Radiant Anti Oxi Orange Juice to go (as I was on the way out the door to lessons for my kids).

The Radiant Anti Oxi Orange Juice to go (as I was on the way out the door to lessons for my kids).

Day Three

For this day, I got to test what this juice challenge would be like for someone with a full time job outside the home. We were spending the day skiing so I had to make all the juices the night before and store them in portable containers. It was a lot of work at night when I was tired but generally it worked out fine.

Ingredients for Carrot Apple Ginger juice, one of our family's favorites!!

Ingredients for Carrot Apple Ginger juice, one of our family’s favorites!!

Ingredients for Pear Power

Ingredients for Pear Power

Pear Power Juice, a curiously delicious mix of pears and basil....very gourmet!

Pear Power Juice, a curiously delicious mix of pears and basil….very gourmet!

Day Four

Ingredients for Chard Rock Cafe juice.

Ingredients for Chard Rock Cafe juice.

Chard Rock Cafe juice.  Not one of my favorites but the oregano was interesting to taste.

Chard Rock Cafe juice. Not one of my favorites but the oregano was interesting to taste.

Ingredients for Anti Aging Beet Grape

Ingredients for Anti Aging Beet Grape

Anti Aging Beet Grape Juice.  I liked it!  Sweet.

Anti Aging Beet Grape Juice. I liked it! Sweet.

Day Five

Ingredients for Calcium Rich Cucumber -- one of my favorite juices!

Ingredients for Calcium Rich Cucumber — one of my favorite juices!

I always make this one as a smoothie by blending the frozen pineapple rather than juicing it.

I always make this one as a smoothie by blending the frozen pineapple rather than juicing it.

Ingredients for Micronutrient Madness

Ingredients for Micronutrient Madness

Micronutrient Madness Juice.  You could probably make this more orange by peeling the cucumber before juicing.

Micronutrient Madness Juice. You could probably make this more orange by peeling the cucumber before juicing.

Unlike last time I did a juice cleanse, there was no nausea in the early days. I am not sure if that is a sign that I am getting healthier or if drinking electrolyte juices like coconut water and vegetable broth really makes a huge difference.

I lost a total of 7 pounds at the end of the juice cleanse, including 2 inches off my waist, which was a great reward for my efforts.

2016-01-15-juicechallenge-before-after

While juice cleansing may not be to everyone’s taste, there are a few things I learned from this experience:
1) Having a lot of water/fluid in your body really does decrease hunger.
2) It still continues to be a challenge to find time to cook healthy foods, whether juices or meals. No matter which healthy eating plan I try, I have to plan on at least 30-45 minutes per meal. Until there is an affordable fast food option for clean eating, I have to figure out how I can work more cooking time into my schedule.
3) Setting a good example for my children really did show results. When they saw me eating all this fresh produce, they were more tempted to try fruits and vegetables themselves. They discovered they liked Bolthouse Farms’ Amazing Mango juice, they juiced their own fresh orange juice and ate more butternut squash soup than I have ever seen them eat before.

Fresh squeezed orange juice!

Fresh squeezed orange juice!

My son began raiding the fridge for any products with sugar in them and decided he quite likes kefir!

My son began raiding the fridge for any products with sugar in them and decided he quite likes kefir!

Babies like Pear Pie smoothie too!

Babies like Pear Pie smoothie too!

We made this gluten free banana pumpkin bread.  The kids said it was not great but did eat it because it was the best "sweet" we had in the house.

We made this gluten free banana pumpkin bread. The kids said it was not great but did eat it because it was the best “sweet” we had in the house.

This child has never eaten so much butternut squash soup!

This child has never eaten so much butternut squash soup!

I wish I could say the juice cleansing was sustainable and I continued to juice and eat healthy after it ended. Unfortunately, once the restrictions were gone, it was back to feasting as usual! It is very hard to “juice” in the cold of winter. I think my best bet at this point is to try to plan out a week of soups. If I am following a prewritten plan, I seem to do much better than just winging it and “trying” to eat healthy.

So now for this weekend’s challenge…..a blizzard! I am finding it hard to take seriously all the snow drama. It is so over the top!

2016-01-20-snowdrama

2016-01-20-nbcsnow

2016-01-20-washpost-snowdrama

Sorry folks....all that's left is the skim milk and the fancy organic stuff.

Sorry folks….all that’s left is the skim milk and the fancy organic stuff.

Maybe this storm really will give us two feet of snow. Maybe it will paralyze everything for a week. But maybe it will also be less than predicted. Maybe we will be fine.

Let’s hope! Be warm and stay safe to those affected!

 Posted by on January 22, 2016 General Tagged with: , , , , ,
Jan 112016
 
A grocery cart of healthy food to shop our way into 2016!

A grocery cart of healthy food to shop our way into 2016!

We had a marvelous Christmas and enjoyed ourselves immensely . . . perhaps too immensely. The scale is now telling me that I have gone a little too far with my celebrations and it is time to make some changes.

I had a good experience with Joe Cross’ juice cleanse program 2 years ago and have been following the Reboot with Joe blog ever since. Joe has a team of professional nutritionists who post just about every day with a juice or healthy meal recipe or dieting and exercise advice and motivation.

Joe’s team posted recently that they were offering a free 5-Day Juice Challenge Program. Sign up began in December. So far, I am very impressed with the organization of their program. They started sending emails weeks ago just to fire people up a little, introduce the recipes and the juice regimen so people could get used to it. They sent out a condensed grocery shopping list this week too which was so helpful! You were supposed to be eating clean up to this point, with less sugar and refined carbs but I just couldn’t make myself do that so I am going in “dirty.”

I am the only one in my household properly doing the juice challenge. I am attempting to put my children on a healthier diet for these 5 days, dairy-free, gluten free, low to no added sugar, etc. So far, they have a good attitude about it. It’s only 5 days. But they are making plans for what they want to eat come Saturday!

As with any dietary change, the first step is . . . organization! It was time to clean out the fridge. I purposely went light on the grocery shopping for the last week so the fridge started to get leaner. Yesterday, I went through it properly, making meals out of usable leftovers, throwing away spoiled food, washing down the shelves, etc. It took some time but it is SO much easier to start a new cooking regimen when you know exactly what it in the fridge, especially when it is going to be jammed with fresh produce.

Fridge before and after packing with fresh produce.

Fridge before and after packing with fresh produce.

I then went grocery shopping. I was surprised to learn that we have slowly adjusted our diets after all the dieting experiments I have done. We aren’t perfect by any means but we actually had some of the fruits and vegetables on hand that we needed for this challenge! Below is our grocery cost for this juice challenge.

My grocery shopping bill for the juice challenge.

Another organization step key for any diet changes is to remember to weigh in! This is for motivation. Take an accurate weight and measurements and take a photo of yourself in a close-fitting outfit. The hardest part of dieting is always the “maintenance” phase afterward. A good before and after set is a helpful motivator to remember what works for you.

So, here we go! If you are joining in the juice challenge, juice on! Good health to you in 2016!

 Posted by on January 11, 2016 General Tagged with: , , , ,
Apr 232014
 

46 days of clean eating.

46 days of clean eating.

Perhaps you suspected my lack of posting was due to a sugar coma after eating only “clean” healthy foods for the 46 days before Easter. I certainly did my share of feasting on Easter and will tell you about our celebration in the next post. But first, I need to wrap up how the clean eating project ended.

I last left you 48 hours before Easter feeling quite hungry. It was a struggle right up to the end.

Day 45

The huevos rancheros version of the egg white omelet.

The huevos rancheros version of the egg white omelet.

My favorite . . . the pumpkin pie shake.

My favorite . . . the pumpkin pie shake.

I was lucky to have a playdate with a wonderful friend (and loyal blog reader) to look forward to this afternoon. We had a perfect Virginia spring day and picnicked outside as we chatted nonstop and watched our collective seven children play. It was too much fun!

Some of the beautiful blossoms we enjoyed.

Some of the beautiful blossoms we enjoyed.

Lunch: packed the quinoa and butternut squash.

Lunch: packed the quinoa and butternut squash.

Afternoon snack of apples and peanut butter.

Afternoon snack of apples and peanut butter.

I made a few treats to share with my friend: the Almond Butter Cookies with Maldon Salt and "Bummer Bars."  My husband said the cookies tasted a bit like spackle but everyone ate several of them (since we had not had homemade cookies in 45 days).  I ate leftover bits of the bummer bars and they are just like a granola bar but lighter and crispier.

I made a few treats to share with my friend: the Almond Butter Cookies with Maldon Salt and “Bummer Bars.” My husband said the cookies tasted a bit like spackle but everyone ate several of them (since we had not had homemade cookies in 45 days). I ate leftover bits of the bummer bars and they are just like a granola bar but lighter and crispier.

My son was thrilled to eat the almond butter cookies and had at least 5!

My son was thrilled to eat the almond butter cookies and had at least 5!

My friend shared with me her healthier version of a granola bar. While she added in yummy things like chocolate pieces she also whispered out of earshot of the children that they also had wheat germ and whole wheat flour. The children all loved them!

Dinner: Imperious sweet potato chili and a salad of kale and carrots with Gwyneth's parsley dressing.

Dinner: Imperious sweet potato chili and a salad of kale and carrots with Gwyneth’s parsley dressing.

Day 46

This was the last day!! I started off the morning doing my final weigh-in of the diet.

2014-04-19-weigh-inresults-week7

I can’t quite explain to you how someone gains half a pound and loses one inch at the same time. Since I was officially underweight by this point I wasn’t upset at all by the half pound gain.

Next, I had my blood drawn to do a little scientific analysis on whether this diet has provable health benefits.

Ouch!  Suffering for the cause of science.

Ouch! Suffering for the cause of science.

Then, it was time to do something a little fun and frivolous. With all the weight I had lost, my clothes were fitting a bit looser and I wanted to know what clothing size I was. So I stopped by the local K-Mart to try on some clothes. I couldn’t find clothes small enough in the women’s department (perhaps they sell out quickly of their smaller sizes?) so I ended up in the juniors department.

This was the smallest size of jeans they carried in the juniors department . . .  and they fit!

This was the smallest size of jeans they carried in the juniors department . . . and they fit!

I promised my husband that I would not buy any tiny jeans as he thought I was getting a bit too skinny (and I agreed). So, we left picking up a great clearance deal on pajamas for my daughters.

It was good to have a positive lift to start the afternoon, however, as I spent the entire rest of the day in the kitchen cooking delicious things for Easter while fasting.

My fasting salad: salmon, avocado, black bean.

My fasting salad: salmon, avocado, black bean.

At the end of the day, I took my “after” photo to compare where I was when I started this project.

2014-04-19-afterpicture

2014-04-19-weigh-inresults-final

The obligatory before and after shot.

The obligatory before and after shot.

So, when I first looked at my before and after shots, I was underwhelmed. All that effort for not that much difference! Perhaps I am too generous with my appearance, but I don’t think that anyone viewing these two photos side by side would think, “Wow! She looks so much thinner in the after.” I think I look almost the same.

After scrutiny of the photos (as one can only do with one’s own photos), I would say that you can see a slimming of the arms, the hips and the upper thighs. The pictures that show the biggest difference, however, are the ones from behind! (I am too vain to share these with you so you’ll just have to trust me on this.) I apparently carry a lot of weight on my back and behind.

This rear-view phenomenon was something I remember noticing last year as well. When I first started exercising, I was surprised as to why it took so long to see results from the front. In my case, my body was hard at work getting rid of a lot of back fat and only when it exhausted that effort did I start to see progress in the front view and in particular the waist. It took months. So if you are losing inches but you just don’t see it when you look in the mirror, it may be that your rear view is improving first.

I also took some close-up photos of my face to compare before and after as I have read that eliminating sugar from your diet has a marvelous anti-aging effect diminishing wrinkles and age spots. I feel like my skin does look better now and that some of my freckles and lighter lines have disappeared but when I look at the photographic evidence you really can’t tell anything at all. The only major difference is that I appear to have lost some fat in my eyelids! In the after photos, my eyes look a bit more prominent.

In the end, am I glad I did this diet? Yes, definitely! It was nice to lose some weight for spring and summer but really the benefit to me of this diet has nothing to do with appearance. I really needed to work on limiting my sugar intake and eating more fruits and vegetables. I also needed to learn how to fast for my 5-2 fasting plan without carb-binging the next day. I feel I have made significant progress on both fronts.

Last week, I finally learned to like the taste of kale which is a milestone achievement! I have eaten more vegetables in the last 46 days than I probably ate all of last year. I learned about the benefits of juicing and now use my juicer at least every other day. I also love Joe Cross’ Reboot newsletter which you can subscribe to for free for great clean eating and juicing recipes. I used over a liter of olive oil as well! (I always wondered when I saw those huge gallon bottles of olive oil in Mediterranean and Italian restaurants whether that was a lifetime supply. Now I am tempted to find one of those for myself.)

I also have learned how to cook so many more things and in a much healthier way. I now have enough knowledge and confidence to experiment with clean eating in my own recipes. The other day, I took one of my children’s favorite recipes, their Grandma’s chicken soup and made two small tweaks to make it a clean eating recipe (swapping the butter for olive oil and the pasta for brown rice). It did give it a slightly different flavor but everyone enjoyed it!

The "clean" version of a family favorite recipe for chicken soup.

The “clean” version of a family favorite recipe for chicken soup.

I thank you for patiently joining me on this dieting journey. If you have been reading this whole time, you probably feel like you have been on a diet too!

If you are jealous of my results, I urge you not to be. There is probably an 80% chance that I will gain all this weight back by spring of next year and have to repeat my spring weight loss diet all over again. None of us gets off easy when it comes to weight loss and weight maintenance. It all takes an incredible amount of hard work. Even though my spring diets may seem like a pointless exercise, I do find that each year I get just slightly better at curbing my cravings and sticking to my exercise plan.

I read this great quote recently about body image and appearance that I think sums up perfectly how I feel about this clean eating program.

“Dr. Evelyn Attia, the director at Columbia Center for Eating Disorders, . . . suggests that the best option [to promote the message that there are lots of healthy bodies and lots of healthy definitions of beauty] is for women to get to ‘a place of neutrality’ when it comes to body image, which means neither extreme satisfaction or dissatisfaction with one’s body but a form of acceptance that size and shape isn’t the end all be all of success and happiness.”

–Ashley Ross, “Even Mindy Kaling Can’t Win the Body-Image Wars,” Time, April 14, 2014.

I hope you have learned along with me and have some ideas that you can use in your own health and weight goals.

Apr 182014
 
It seems I am not the only Fredericksburg fan of "It's All Good."  Look who is featured prominently on the library cookbook display!

It seems I am not the only Fredericksburg fan of “It’s All Good.” Look who is featured prominently on the library cookbook display!

You would think that with just two days left to go, this would be the easiest part of my Lenten healthy eating plan, but it’s not. This week has been one of the toughest of the whole diet. It may be because I am looking forward to the end of this experiment and all the delicious treats that will come with it. It may be because last week I was fasting and juice fasting for most of the week and my body would like some calories to recover from that shock. It may be because I am just burned out after 40 days of intense cooking. And finally, it may be because I have to prepare for the second biggest holiday of the year with no carbs to help me out.

I gave myself a break from exercise this week as I have just too much else going on. I also have been sneaking a few extra tastes and portions into my meals as I just feel so incredibly hungry.

My husband has also started to express concern over my weight loss. “Do I look anorexic?” I asked. He paused for a while and then said, “I wouldn’t lose any more weight.” So, I seem to have reached a Rachel Frederickson-like point. However, like Rachel Frederickson, I just want to finish this project and then will engage in some chocolate therapy. With just two days to go, I just have to hang in there a little bit longer.

Day 41

Starting the day with the body builder smoothie.

Starting the day with the body builder smoothie.

The spinach muschroom egg white omelet (with black beans because I was hungry).

The spinach muschroom egg white omelet (with black beans because I was hungry).

For a present for a visiting family member, I made  "Dark Chocolate Bark with Almonds, Coconut and Sea Salt."  My husband wants me to make this again for us.

For a present for a visiting family member, I made “Dark Chocolate Bark with Almonds, Coconut and Sea Salt.” My husband wants me to make this again for us.

Spent the afternoon admiring the cherry blossoms near the Potomac.

Spent the afternoon admiring the cherry blossoms near the Potomac.

It was a beautiful day.  Warm but very windy.

It was a beautiful day. Warm but very windy.

Arriving home, I used up some vegetables for a version of the "Sunset Juice" by Joe Cross.

Arriving home, I used up some vegetables for a version of the “Sunset Juice” by Joe Cross.

Sunset juice.

Sunset juice.

Healthy Tuna Salad on greens.

Healthy Tuna Salad on greens.

Chicken and White Bean Chili.

Chicken and White Bean Chili.

Day 42

Another spinach mushroom omelet for breakfast.  Spinach for breakfast is delicious and really does give you a boost of energy.

Another spinach mushroom omelet for breakfast. Spinach for breakfast is delicious and really does give you a boost of energy.

Avocado cacao smoothie.

Avocado cacao smoothie.

Healthy tuna salad over greens.

Healthy tuna salad over greens.

As luck would have it, that afternoon, we had a power outage lasting about 3 hours. It was not until after 6:30 p.m. that I could get into the kitchen to start my dinner. I was starving!

Meanwhile, my husband went out and picked up Little Caesar’s pizza for himself and the children. While they sat enjoying their meal, I was hard at work in the kitchen slicing vegetables and cooking my next meal. This was hard to bear. It made me think about how hard it is for “slow food” to compete with “fast food.” Sure, slow food tastes great and is very good for you but that convenience factor is such a treat. It’s nice to have someone else do the cooking rather than having to do it all yourself.

While waiting for the power to come back on, I treated myself to two apples and an extra generous scoop of almond butter.  One of the apples turned brown immediately after slicing.  If you experience this, throw the apple out.  It was mushy and tasteless (but of course I ate it anyway!).

While waiting for the power to come back on, I treated myself to two apples and an extra generous scoop of almond butter. One of the apples turned brown immediately after slicing. If you experience this, throw the apple out. It was mushy and tasteless (but of course I ate it anyway!).

Lately, my kitchen is not only overrun with produce for my recipes but also plant experiments for our homeschool science curriculum.  We germinated some cucumber seeds.  It is really thrilling to see a small plant emerge from just a seed wrapped in a wet paper towel!  What a miracle of life!

Lately, my kitchen is not only overrun with produce for my recipes but also plant experiments for our homeschool science curriculum. We germinated some cucumber seeds. It is really thrilling to see a small plant emerge from just a seed wrapped in a wet paper towel! What a miracle of life!

I needed some more salad dressing so I made the "Parsley Dressing," (which also helped me to use up leftover parsley from the juice cleanse.

I needed some more salad dressing so I made the “Parsley Dressing,” (which also helped me to use up leftover parsley from the juice cleanse.

Dinner: the imperious "Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili" and greens with parsley dressing.

Dinner: the imperious “Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili” and greens with parsley dressing.

Day 43

Wednesday was a fasting day, which was horrible hunger-wise but a nice rest from cooking.

Fasting salad: salmon, avocado and black bean.

Fasting salad: salmon, avocado and black bean.

Day 44

Resurrecting the huevos rancheros egg white omelet.  I have given up on having my omelets not stick to my pan.  It only works once right after the pan is seasoned.  I try to get them out as complete as I can but sometimes they are a bit like scrambled eggs.  A nonstick omelet pan is probably the solution.

Resurrecting the huevos rancheros egg white omelet. I have given up on having my omelets not stick to my pan. It only works once right after the pan is seasoned. I try to get them out as complete as I can but sometimes they are a bit like scrambled eggs. A nonstick omelet pan is probably the solution.

Turning to the sweet potato shake to curb the hunger pangs.  Strangely, it didn't have the same effect this time.

Turning to the sweet potato shake to curb the hunger pangs. Strangely, it didn’t have the same effect this time.

The imperious sweet potato chili and salad with parsley dressing.

The imperious sweet potato chili and salad with parsley dressing.

My son LOVES the sweet potato chili!  He licked his plate clean and asked for more!

My son LOVES the sweet potato chili! He licked his plate clean and asked for more!

Snack of apples and almond butter.  I went with two apples this time because they were both small.

Snack of apples and almond butter. I went with two apples this time because they were both small.

Dinner: leftover chicken and white bean chili and salad with parsley dressing.  As proof that men do like Gwyneth's food, my husband said that I could make this chili any time!

Dinner: leftover chicken and white bean chili and salad with parsley dressing. As proof that men do like Gwyneth’s food, my husband said that I could make this chili any time!

Nutritional News

  • Is Your Diet Making You Mad? – This article introduced me to the word “hangry” meaning the anger brought on by hunger and lack of carbs. It also quotes Dr. Drew Ramsey, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University “[L]imiting carbs impedes the brain’s ability to synthesize mood-boosting serotonin. Sugar also stimulates areas in the brain that are linked with pleasure and addiction, . . . preliminary research demonstrates that a withdrawal from sugar has similar symptoms to those of an addict withdrawing from heroin.” Boy, doesn’t that feel true!
  • Married couples who diet more likely to argue, study finds – And this article adds scientific proof to the “hangry” pheneomenon, indicating that people are less able to control their anger when their blood sugar is lower. Fortunately, there have been no arguments in my household but this week in particular, everyone has noticed that my typically endless patience is a lot less endless.
  • Simon Schama’s History of the Jews – In the “food for the soul” category, I encourage you to watch Simon Schama’s “The Story of the Jews” on PBS. We are huge fans of Simon Schama and I was thrilled to see he had a new documentary out. In the way only he can do, he effortlessly walks you through centuries of history, highlighting key points and characters in a most fascinating way. I learned a lot from watching this and I liked seeing how personal the subject was to him.
  • And along the same lines some wonderful healthy Passover recipes here.

  • GOOP CEO Quits After Paltrow’s Uncoupling – It continues to be a challenging year for Gwyneth Paltrow who now must find a new CEO for GOOP. I have enjoyed the GOOP newsletter and wonder how it will change when the writers will be based on Los Angeles rather than London.

48 hours and counting!

Apr 142014
 

It’s been a long, difficult week but there is just one week left to go on my Lenten clean eating diet! This past week, counting the juice fast, I had 5 fasting days and only 2 normal eating days. Amazingly, I didn’t feel completely drained from all of this but at certain points hungry for sure!

Day 37

The next day after the 3-day juice cleanse was a fasting day.

Fasting salad of grilled salmon and greens with carrot ginger juice.

Fasting salad of grilled salmon and greens with carrot ginger juice.

Day 38

Finally, it was a normal eating day!

The first thing I wanted?  The pumpkin pie shake of course!  Creamy, sweet and packed with protein.

The first thing I wanted? The pumpkin pie shake of course! Creamy, sweet and packed with protein.

Breakfast: the huevos rancheros egg white omelet with black beans.

Breakfast: the huevos rancheros egg white omelet with black beans.

I had to do a lot of cooking today as I didn't have any leftovers ready to eat.  Lunch was the butternut squash quinoa--another of my favorites.

I had to do a lot of cooking today as I didn’t have any leftovers ready to eat. Lunch was the butternut squash quinoa–another of my favorites.

For dinner, I tried the Italian-style meatballs.  My only problem with them was that because Gwyneth does everything gluten free there are no breadcrumbs in them and therefore it was hard to get them to keep their shape.  They ended up more like small turkey patties than meatballs but they were tasty and delicious.

For dinner, I tried the Italian-style meatballs. My only problem with them was that because Gwyneth does everything gluten free there are no breadcrumbs in them and therefore it was hard to get them to keep their shape. They ended up more like small turkey patties than meatballs but they were tasty and delicious.

My dinner: serving the meatballs with Gwyneth's tomato sauce over polenta/grits.

My dinner: serving the meatballs with Gwyneth’s tomato sauce over polenta/grits.

This was the first dinner where we all ate Gwyneth food!  For my children, I served the meatballs over gluten free pasta.  Everyone thought it was delicious (but who doesn't like spaghetti and meatballs?).

This was the first dinner where we all ate Gwyneth food! For my children, I served the meatballs over gluten free pasta. Everyone thought it was delicious (but who doesn’t like spaghetti and meatballs?).

Capping off the night with the "Sunset Juice" from the juice cleanse.

Capping off the night with the “Sunset Juice” from the juice cleanse.

Day 39

Breakfast: leftover meatballs and polenta.

Breakfast: leftover meatballs and polenta.

Using up some of the leftover produce from the juice fast in a pear-greens juice recipe from Joe Cross' website.

Using up some of the leftover produce from the juice fast in a pear-greens juice recipe from Joe Cross’ website.

The pear and greens juice.  Delicious!

The pear and greens juice. Delicious!

Sweet quinoa with bananas and dates.

Sweet quinoa with bananas and dates.

Snack: an apple with a generous scoop of almond butter.

Snack: an apple with a generous scoop of almond butter.

Dinner: leftover quinoa with butternut squash.

Dinner: leftover quinoa with butternut squash.

Day 40

Today was a fasting day. My husband joined me in the effort.

His and hers fasting salads.  Chicken with black beans and salsa (his with cheese).

His and hers fasting salads. Chicken with black beans and salsa (his with cheese).

I asked my husband if he wanted to try some carrot, pear ginger juice with me.  I was surprised when he agreed!  He agreed that this juice is "Good!"

I asked my husband if he wanted to try some carrot, pear ginger juice with me. I was surprised when he agreed! He agreed that this juice is “Good!”

Today was also a weigh-in day.

Weigh-in results Day 40.

With 5 fasting days in the week, these results don’t surprise me. I am now about 8 pounds under my goal weight. I am not worried about wasting away to nothing, however, because this week I also had to sort out all the Easter candy I purchased and plan the recipes for our Easter celebration. We will be eating well come Sunday and for me it will be all guilt free. I am sure I am going to bounce up again after the diet is over so being a bit under right now is OK with me.

Fortunately, I have just 6 days to go. This is going to be a tough week to get through on a diet. Preparing for major holidays is always major stress. There is so much to do on top of all the everyday stuff. This past week I also calculated that we need to double up on our homeschool math lessons to try to finish the textbooks by June so I have to devote more time there as well. My default is to up my sugar content on such weeks but that is not an option this week. It is a learning experience to cope with all this stress in new ways.

One of the Easter Bunny's many tasks: washing out the plastic egg collection and playing a huge game of memory to put them all back together.

One of the Easter Bunny’s many tasks: washing out the plastic egg collection and playing a huge game of memory to put them all back together.

Easter sewing in progress.

Easter sewing in progress.

Nutritional News

  • Why it’s so hard to stay slim – This was a fascinating article about weight maintenance from a Norwegian nutritionist. She claims that even after you have done all the hard work to lose your excess weight, you need to essentially stay on a diet constantly or your body is going to bounce right back. When commenting on a study of Americans who managed to maintain their weight loss, she observed, ““They ate low-fat foods. The kept track of their calories and stuck to diets of about 1,300 calories for women and 1,700 calories for men. They ate breakfast but stuck to a rather limited variety of foods, also during weekends.” Those low calorie counts were a bit shocking but it is probably close to what I am eating now on this diet. According to the Web MD BMI calculator, I need to eat about 1730 to maintain my weight loss. Curiously, however, when I plug in the figures for 5 pounds heavier or 5 pounds lighter, the difference is only about 60 calories in either direction! That means if I overeat by as little as 60 calories per day, I would see a weight gain of 5 pounds! I am still trying to make sense of all of this weight maintenance information. Still, it gives further proof as to why weight maintenance is so challenging.

May this be a great week for all of us!