My Crappy Diet So Far 11-11-2014

Another missive from the trenches. Where was I?

Oh, yeah – November 8th – a Saturday. I spent a good part of the day cleaning up the house, and part of that was the fridge. My wife has a tendency to purchase greens for what ends up being a form of torture of vegetables as they slowly degrade into uselessness, only to be thrown away – an utterly pointless existence. One could argue that food that has died for us so that we can eat has participated in ‘the circle of life’ – but to be thrown in the trash seems a sin against existence itself.

I think this philosophical position is one of the reasons I’m fat.

Anyway, I found a bunch of vegetables well past their prime and decided to make a soup out of them. The sad and wilted made it into the soup – the fuzzy from mold were too far gone even for me and got discarded. I didn’t even recognize what the greens *were* – except for the fennel root.

They either came from our excellent Farmer’s Market or from Whole foods, so they were – at least at one time – high quality – whatever they were.

Everything got chopped with the care and precision of an axe murderer late for an appointment and placed in the crock pot with the leftover chicken broth and beef broth. I then topped the chopped up greens with some Trader Joe’s IQF (Individually Quick Frozen) chicken thighs. These are very handy to have around. As individual chunks of meat-ice, you just take what you need and don’t have to worry about defrosting as I believe that they squish them to be sorta flat – making cooking time from freezer to plate reasonable within the context of a busy modern life.

Some things about food processing technology are not bad ideas at all.

I had a cup of my zucchini noodles in cream cheese pasta sauce as my first meal of the day. This is really good stuff. Who would have thought cream cheese would make an ideal ingredient in a pasta sauce?

I also made another pot of coffee and had more – along with cream.

While cleaning the fridge I found 1/2 burrito left to perish as its guacamole faded to black – but I had found it behind another item on the top shelf before this descent into inedibility occurred. So I ate it – the first cheat of the day.

I need to learn to waste food. My family does it with nary a thought – which is why I always seem to be taking up the slack and eating leftovers I shouldn’t. The problem is – as parents of depression-era parents, I heard too many stories about not enough food to go around and I suppose it scarred me as I find the wasting of food to be as abhorrent a thought as eating a bowl of wiggly worms.

Given I can’t change anyone but myself, this is something I need to work on – but it’s very near the core of what I consider ‘sacred’ and someone once said that the closer you get to what people consider ‘sacred’ the closer you get to the irrational.

Anywho,  I ran out and got chicken breasts as dinner for the kids. I also got them canned corn.

As I did all of this it occurred to me that something was different: my energy level. I didn’t feel as fatigued as I normally did. I wanted to do more, and kept at the long list of chores rather than putting them off. Things I didn’t expect to get done got done.

After 4 or 5 hours of my decrepit greens and chicken crockpotting I took the chicken thighs out of the crockpot and hit the mix with the immersion blender to break up some of the larger chunks. It didn’t blend as nice as my kale soup but it did help kinda even out the hack job I had done on the veggies when I hacked them up.

I then took the chicken thighs, cut them into bite-sized chunks, and put them back into the soup to cook for another hour.

When the hour was done, I had a small bowl. It tasted…OK, I guess, but I had put no spices in. I thought to try salt but then thought: Lea & Perrins sauce.

Yummmmmm. I am such a slut for Lea & Perrins. It’s said that Worcestershire sauce stimulates the umami taste buds – the more recently discovered taste bud to join the sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. I believe the Japanese discovered umami in the 1980s, which is why it has a Japanesified name. English speakers sometimes refer to it as ‘savory’.

You know what else goes well with this kind of very thick soup with little broth? Sour cream. Put a spoonful on top, and the hot and cold, the differing textures, and the sourness of the cream increase the complexity and makes it quite enjoyable. I had a second cup while my kids had their chicken, potatoes and corn.

I also drank 2 liters of Orange soda – sugar-free of course.

Of course I then enjoyed some of their chicken and potatoes and corn. Not too much – at least for me, but I didn’t stop there. I had some grapes as well, and right before bed, a handful of dried fruit.

Sunday, November 9, 2014. Woah. Abrupt change in direction. The magic fairies that gave me progress despite my lax diet standards have abandoned me. I’m up to 238.4 with my blood glucose up to 122. I’m guessing the dried fruit drove up the blood glucose and I’m retaining a goodly portion of the 2 liters of orange soda from the night before, but we’ll never know for sure.

The body does what the body does.

I’d like to think that the past week was a ‘practice run’. I’ve ditched the alcohol habit. It wasn’t particularly bothersome, but I didn’t drink daily anyway – I just needed to break the habit of drink as a ‘reward for a stressful day’ – and *every day* was a stressful day in the past week so it was good practice under my belt. I’m feeling less sluggish and actually had an honest-to-goodness energy burst yesterday. I have plenty of the right foods in stock. My middle of the night GERD has disappeared and my Tums usage has gone way down.

And this post is *way* less grumpy than my last few.

I think I’m ready for a next step where I focus on two things:

  1. Eating all low carb (no cheats)
  2. Portion control

Both of these are a cakewalk during the day. I need to bring all my energies and focus on these items to the time period between 6pm and bed time.

Here’s an idea: perhaps I should attempt to go a week without eating after 6pm.

Logistically, I can do this. I can bring my pre-made dinner to work, eat it at my desk before I leave at 6, then only drink fluids at home.

But could I actually *do* this? This is a really big change in my habits. It’s a simple rule – no eating after 6pm – and I believe just this one rule would cause a dramatic change in my adherence to my low carb diet as well as weight loss. but my search-and-destroy approach toward food in the evenings is so powerful that I wonder if it’s possible. I’d be fighting a powerful force within myself and I might be asking too much.

How about this: change it to just ONE rule for the coming week – starting today:

No food after 6pm

Trying to do too much too fast is the trap of every dieter. I’ve been dieting since I was in 5th grade. Don’t try to undo everything at once – even two things at once.

So I’ll start with just one.

So I made sure I had a good meal – two hamburgers covered in melted cheese and Worcestershire sauce. While I waited for the burgers I had salami and cheese. I also had some slices of American cheese with tomatoes and mayo – one of my favorite weird eats – after the burgers.

At 5:57pm I had some crunchy chocolate chip cookies my daughter wanted during our stop at Trader Joe’s.

Then it was 6pm. No eating.

I was good until about 7pm. Then a mental inventory of the fridge began.

I sat back and had more orange soda.

I tried distracting myself, reading on my phone while my younger daughter binge-watched some Disney show on Netflix.

I would go a half hour, then the inventory would start.

Around 8:30pm, the ‘renegotiation’ began. Perhaps a better plan would be one more thing to eat just before bed – low carb, of course. don’t you think? Then an alternate voice started mentioning the leftover pasta. No, said the first voice: low carb or nothing.

Ultimately, I caved and had a small bowl of pasta. Seemed like a good idea at the time…

Ugh. Some force just refuses to let me get a *single day* of low carb under my belt!

I am going to explain it as a result of how far I had fallen. McDonald’s every day. Deli sandwiches at lunch.

Perhaps I just need to keep trying and failing until I stop failing. My only other option is to stop trying and I did that – it didn’t work out. I’m at a point where the easy way out isn’t even easy.

My last thought as I reread this post for spelling errors is: I write too damn much.

Monday, November 10, 2014 – I porked up some more and landed above 240 at 241.2. Given what I ate – and the liters of water I drank, I’m going to attribute much of this to water weight – though it still sucks.

To be continued…

Zucchini Pasta in Creamy Italian Sauce – and Gizmo Review

Gizmo with bit of zucchini left over. Bloody finger not shown.

I bought this thigamijig a few weeks ago while picking up pasta for the kids. I don’t remember what the darn thing is called as someone tossed the blister pack it came in, but it allows you to take a zucchini, twist it in this contraption and make zucchini noodles. This is one of those types of things you see advertised on infomercials where, if you act now, they send you Ginsu knives or something else you really don’t need but sounds cool.

It looked like a piece of crap. I bought it anyway.

The ‘why’ seems reasonable: I already have a mandoline, a kitchen device which allows you to create zucchini noodles, but mandolines is large, come in a box with multiple pieces, feels like work, and has caused blood loss as mandolines are designed so that the user slides their fingers towards razor-sharp knife surfaces.

This thing is small and can be tossed in a drawer. It just seemed like so much less of a commitment to use it.

Today I finally opened the package and tried it with the following impromptu recipe:

  • 1 medium zucchini, twisted into the gizmo to make noodley strips.
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 package of cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup pasta sauce
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • pinch or two of oregano

This took all of 5 minutes to make:

In a frying pan, I melted butter until it was close to burning, then turned down the heat. Next, I twisted the zucchini into noodles over the pan. Then I added the cream cheese and the pasta sauce and smushed the cream cheese until it melted. Next, I added parmesan cheese, oregano, and cayenne pepper. A few minutes of cooking – and more blood spilled by tempting fate and twisting the zucchini too far – and it was complete.

More sauce than noodles, the small amount of pasta sauce with the cream cheese made it look like a vodka sauce.

I went to eat it and my daughter wanted a taste. She loved it – so much to the point that I gave it to her and she finished it herself. She told me that it wasn’t good – it was excellent. I made a second batch – double the amount this time. While the twisting of the zucchini in the machine is simple, my hand started to get tired after the third zucchini, so while good for whipping up a quick dish for one, the mandoline still has its usefulness for larger volumes (and potential for greater blood loss).

My older daughter had some of the next batch, and while not effusive in her praise, did finish the bowl that she took.

the recipe is a keeper – and the gizmo isn’t such a piece of crap – though let’s see how long it lasts before it breaks.

Recipe: Fat Fast Scrambled Eggs

Something I whipped up with leftover eggs from Easter. We ‘blow out’ the insides so the kids would be able to keep the eggs and I had 6 leftover eggs. I also had some aging sour cream and a bit of cream cheese…sounded like a good fatty combo to me.

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

If making scrambled eggs is beyond you, put in a large skillet, melt the butter, pour in the remaining ingredients and keep pushing the mixture around until the cream cheese melts and the mixture loses its liquidity and become a fluffly, creamy solid.

I thought it tasted awesome, though my wife was initially put off by the ‘sour’ of the sour cream. I liked the tang, though.

It made 4 servings, each roughly 1 cup. The nutrition profile per serving is awesome for a fat fast:

Calories: 326
Fat: 27 grams (79%)
Carbs: 3.6
Protein: 12.5g

 

 

Fast and Fake Low Carb ‘Mashed Potatoes’ for Thanksgiving

I was going to forego mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving, but cleaning out the fridge to make room for the Thanksgiving turkey revealed an old head of cauliflower and some aged radishes. With 10 minutes of unattended cooking and 10 minutes of prep, using ingredients I had in the house, I had a decent mashed potato substitute for tomorrow.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, washed
  • 6 white radishes
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic puree
  • 4 ounces cream cheese

Directions 

Nuke the cauliflower and radishes in a 2 quart bowl in the microwave for 10 minutes with 2 tablespoons of water. When done, they should be soft. Add the cream cheese, garlic puree and green onion and hit it with the immersion blender, working the blender around until all of the radish and cauliflower are of a mashed-potato-ey consistency.

Done. The radishes worked out quite well, adding an additional bright flavor note, and the cream cheese makes it creamy – and it’s nutritious and low carb.

I won’t be feeling deprived tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving All.