More Food Journaling 12-07-08

Had 3 eggs in a tablespoon of butter around 10am. I was hungry maybe an hour and a half later, so I had some cream cheese mixed with pumpkin and Splenda as a spread on low carb bread, then some of the cranberry sauce I made as the ‘jelly’. I really like the cranberry sauce. Boil cranberries in just enough water to cover until they burst open, then add Splenda to taste. I probably put 8 packets of Splenda in the last batch. It’s low carb, fresh made, and full of antioxidants. 

I could probably live without store-made zero calorie FrankenJellies.

Went shopping, and when I came home I was famished. I ate 3 slices of cheese with mayo and bread, and a ham sandwich. Couldn’t help myself. At this particular instant, there was NO indication that the Irvingia was diminishing my appetite. 

What I have noticed is being unusually thirsty. I am not usually guzzling down glasses of liquids, but when I came home, I couldn’t wait to have a drink of seltzer – I used some Crystal Light on ice – and drank at least 16 oz. very quickly – then had more.

I was in a funk the first half of the day. Maybe it was because I had a Christmas party to go to and I had no nice clothes. My nice clothes are all too small – and the ones that I do fit in just barely fit. It is a bummer of awesome proportions to buy clothes when you have clothes that would be just fine – if you could fit in them.

This means that I bought a pair of 36 waist pants for the first time in years. This really scares me, as I believe that not having ‘fat pants’ is, right now, a key to keeping myself at least at the weight I’m managing at presently.

This – along with a disastrous shopping trip with a toddler on the verge of a meltdown and a general anxiety that I normally have about parties, kept the stress hormone flowing today.

I whipped together a recipe for the Greek Pork & Tomatoes I made the other day – this time in the crock pot. All I did was put the contents listed above in the crockpot, set it for high for 8 hours, and went to take a nap because I was exhausted – and had a late night party to go to.

I took my nightly Irvingia right before I left for the party. I also weighed myself – 207.0.

The party turned out to be the high point of the day. Nice people and a relaxed atmosphere.

I had a rum and Diet Coke, then some champagne.

For eats I had some meat balls – maybe six. A little later I had some of the pastries, a small roast beef sandwich 
(with the bread),  and maybe a chip or two as they sat in front of me on a table.

The scale reported 209.8 in the morning – not unexpected, but not welcome, either.

Day 23: Yada Yada

Breakfast was an Atkins bar.

Lunch was a healthy portion of that London broil soup, which held me until close to 8pm, when I had a few of PF Changs Northern Style Ribs as takeout. They are very low carb. I also had 2 hot dogs on low carb bread – and a lot of the 4C Drink mix – I was quite thirsty when I got home.

I also weighed myself when I got home – 204.6 – that’s 4.2 lbs less than I was in the morning.

Why I would fluctuate so much in 12 hours, I don’t know, but at least it was in the right direction.

I watch the evening weight, but I’m a sponge most evenings – everything eaten shows on the scale. I don’t obsess about it – it just is.

This morning I’m 206.8, which is down 2 lbs from yesterday and 7.2 down from the start.

And this morning is Election Day in the US. If you can vote – vote. 

If you live outside the US, say a little prayer that we pick the right guy – I know I am.

Day 22: Crock Pot London Broil

I mentioned food boredom in yesterday’s posting, but what I didn’t mention – and haven’t talked about as of yet – was how I spent my summer and fall regarding diet. I didn’t post much, but I was busy experimenting with the notion of eating simpler, more raw foods – nothing wacky, like the raw liver recommended by the Weston Price Foundation, but more raw vegetables. It was about this time I wrote about food as a utility, and thought I might be able to change my relationship to food to a simpler one – healthier, closer to nature.

What I realized is that it’s too late for me – I am a product of a world that has fed me engineered food – engineered to be more enticing than mankind has ever known – and I am never going to be free of this.

I tried for a while, but there was always a backlash. I couldn’t do it for extended periods. It was a good experiment – I did learn that I can ‘go native’ if I have to without feeling deprived, but I also realized that Atkins, and their emphasis on both wholesome low carb meals – and their line of manufactured crap food like shakes and candy bars – actually got it right. 

When you gotta have some crap food – make it Atkins crap food. I doubt that you’ll ever see that tagline on one of their products, but it’s true, and actually complementary to their line of products – which I’ve concluded I need when I’m itching for junk.

I think I would not have binged on candy two nights in a row if I had some Atkins bars handy. Even if I had eaten more than one, I wouldn’t have put on the amount of weight I did.

Today, to fight the food boredom, I went out and bought london broil. I think the rest of the Italian stew will get tossed, and so too the salmon chowder. Both deserve another chance – with refinements to their recipes – but I needed something new. I think part of my problem is I cook on the weekends, usually, and try to eat the same thing for a few days. I’ve got to come up with a better system.

I decided to prepare the london broil in the crock pot. I never had one of these as a kid, and I’ve probably used the one I have maybe 20 times, so most things are still an experiment. I’ve created some things that were really bad – there’s some science, or at least craftsmanship to prepping something for an unattend cruise in a pot for 8 hours, and I an still getting the hang of it.

I chopped up peppers, 2 hot peppers, 2 stalks of celery, on small summer squash, fresh mushrooms, and onion, and 4 cloves of garlic. I mixed these up and put 1/2 on the bottom of the pot. 

I browned both london broils, and placed the fist one on my layer of veggies, then put a second layer of veggies, and put the second london broil in. It just fit in my large oval pot. I then added a cup of water with a tablespoon of ‘Better than Bullion’ – a black tar that reconstitutes in boiling water to beef broth.

I set the pot for about 6 hours on high.

When done, the meat was very tender – it fell apart much in the way my Mom’s beef stew came out. I put a little on some low carb bread with butter, and it was heaven.

The soup was also good – a cup was very filling.

I more or less picked on this – as meat on low carb bread with butter – and as a meat soup – for most of the day. The evening was a hot dog on half a slice of bread with cheese.

Then, to ruin the day, I had some of the nice italian bread, and a few cookies leftover from Halloween.

Weight? 208.8 – up 0.8 for the day. Not much, but then again, just how rapidly can a human body accumulate weight?

Down 5.2 lbs. from the beginning. I can take some solace in that, but not much.

In the survey from the other day, I asked the question: What single one personality trait do you think has helped you maintain your weight loss?

The answers:

  • perseverence
  • OCD tendencies
  • obsession
  • conscientious… trying to stay healthy for my family
  • bah… not having time to eat?
  • Obstinate
  • determed
  • the fear of dying of complications of diabeties as some family members have
  • Intelligence
  • determination
  • Perfectionism
  • Determination, keep on keep’n on
  • can’t stand sugar
  • Fear. Deathly afraid of getting diabetes
  • The fact that my favorite foods are meats, poultry, fish, salads and green veggies. I’ve never been too excited about sweets and breads
  • persistency
  • The need that my husband and I have to track things. Accountability is probably key for us
  • pride
  • Fear of dying early

Do you see a pattern here?

Day 14: A Kitchen Experiment…and a Baguette

I wanted something Italian, and I wanted to buy some chicken – and do it in the crock pot. Chicken Caccitore seemed to fit the bill.

As usual, I found a recipe, then threw it away and came up with my own version:

  • 4 chicken leg quarters
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 2 small yellow squash
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • tub of fresh mushrooms
  • oregano
  • salt 
  • pepper
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • small can tomato paste
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • can of pizza sauce (usually much lower in carbs than jarred sauces, for some reason – mine was 4 grams of carbs)
Chopped the veggies large and threw them in the pot with the chicken broth and oregano. Then I laid this chicken on this, and smeared the tomato paste on the legs, then sprinkled on the crushed garlic. An hour later I put the pizza sauce on top. 
Cook on high for about 4-1/2 hours.
It came out good, though way too ‘soupy’. I ladeled out a quart of liquid into a container and set it aside – there – that’s better.
 I had some of the broth as brunch and it made a nice tomato soup – and a bowl of the stuff later, covered in melted mozzarella cheese and parm, was good as well.
But not great.
Why? I thought of a number of reasons:
  • The recipe actually sucks – and I can’t bring myself to admit it.
  • The meat falls off the bone in this recipe and you have to fish through the stuff to pick them all out – and you don’t get every last bone and piece of grizzle.
  • I want pasta with Italian flavors, dammit!
  • Just not in the mood for chicken.
  • My wife brought in a baguette and it distracted me the entire day.
I think it was the last one. My wife brought a baguette back from the farmer’s market. Known as ‘french bread’, this stuff is high on the list of Best Bread Ever. Rip off a hunk, smear with some salted butter, and you have a meal.
My wife and older daughter went out for the afternoon and I stayed with my 2-year-old. She’s a great Kid, and I like cartoons, so we make a great pair. 
But the entire time, the baguette sat right next to my ‘Italian Stew’. Looking all tasty. 
Ugh, I was tempted…but then I had a bowl of the Italian stew. I also had an open-faced cream cheese and 0 cal jelly on a slice of the low carb bread, as well as a cheese, lettuce, mayo open-faced sandwich as well. I also had some cream, and a few glasses of the 4C Splenda-containing-rug-staining electric red fruit punch.
The baguette was under constant threat, but it made it through the day untouched. The pity of it is that, if my family follows their past behavior: they won’t even eat the damn thing! It will sit until hard and useless, except as a club. A baguette has to be eaten as soon as possible – and not after the first day.
I held out little hope in the scale department, and I was right: I’m 207 – 1 lb. up from yesterday and 7 lbs. down from the start. 
After a cheat, if I keep the carbs real low, I can cancel out the bad day totally, but the low carb bread and the tomatoes probably made the carb count higher than necessary.
I actually don’t feel that bad about it, because I feel better about adhering to my committment than my concern for the scale numbers: if I can keep to my low carb eating regimen, the weight will come off, eventually.

Recipe – Crock Pot Pork Shoulder

This is from a recipe lifted from As simple as their recipe was, it wasn’t simple enough for me – and they are certainly fat phobic – which I am not.

Important to note: make sure the pork shoulder you buy fits in the crock pot! I have the larger, oval version and it barely fit with the top not quite touching the rim. My suggestion is to go for the smaller sizes.

The modified recipe was as follows:

1 pork shoulder
2 cups red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Lea & Perrins Sauce
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons thyme
6 tablespoons brown mustard
6 shakes of Tabasco sauce

I put the shoulder in, poured the ingredients mixed in a separate bowl over the top, and put the crock pot on high at about 11am, figuring 8 hours will give me our evening meal.

After about 2 hours, the top began to bulge – I suppose the meat expanded? As a crock pot doesn’t do it’s magic with the top off, I had to jerk around with the loin to make it fit. After dealing with the top issue, it was ok for a few more hours until the juices began to overflow. I took out 8 ladles of the stuff and the rest of the cooking was uneventful.

I let it cook for 9 hours. The pork came out fall-off-the-bone tender and with a mild flavor – not what I’d expected with the ingredients, which mellowed considerably in the long cook time.

The ‘soup’ left by this cooking, with the pork fat, the vinegar, and the hot pepper,  makes a fine hot and sour soup.

OK for induction.

Recipe – World’s Easiest Low Carb Crock Pot Chicken

It doesn’t get any easier than this. Or cheaper.

  • 4 to 5 lbs chicken quarters (I paid $.59/lb – $3.00 total)
  • 1/2 bottle Ken’s Italian Dressing (the 1g carb per serving variety)
  • 1 can chicken broth

In a large crockpot, place the chicken, pour in the can of broth, then cover the chicken with the dressing. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. That’s it.

I added some pepper and a few tablespoons of butter, but it was totally unnecessary in my opinion.

The chicken came out fall-off-the-bone tender and juicy. The chicken can be eaten with the soup as a chicken soup, the meat can be put over a salad, or eaten plain. It’s not ‘finger food’ so use a fork.

Total prep time was 5 minutes. Maybe less. Total cost was maybe $4.00 for a massive amount of chicken.

Who said Atkins is expensive?

UPDATE: A day later and it’s almost gone. Everyone liked this one.