Sunday, September 10, 2017

No Sugar Update and Other Stuff

Hi All,

I just wanted to touch base and tell you how the "no sugar" lifestyle is going.  I'm not going to say it has been easy or that I am doing things perfectly, but I am monitoring myself more and I feel better already.  It isn't as hard for me to give up bread carbs as it is to go without sugar.  I don't know why that is, but I think they call it addiction for a reason.  It is hard to give up sugar!  Anyway, I find that I am relying on natural sugars from fruits and veggies to tame my cravings.  I did address that in my previous post and I decided to do fruits in moderation, and not cut them out altogether.  Any hoo, Audra and I did a quick stop at Target today to get her snacks for the week.  These are a couple of items she picked up and I think they signify that autumn is in the air!!

On the other hand, I will not be indulging in the deliciousness of fall.  I am going to give you an awesome recipe that I made this evening.  Don't judge it until you try it.  I made this up and my family loves it!  Audra had already eaten a complete dinner when I pulled this out of the oven.  She ate again.  I don't know where the girl puts all the food.

Assemble the ingredients:
Half of a package of Lipton Onion Soup Mix (dry)
1 8oz can of crushed pineapple with juice drained
1 splash soy sauce (told you I made it up)
1 pkg Jennie-O Ground Turkey Breast
1/2 white onion diced
1 Log Fresh Mozzarella (this one had some kind of spices and oil packed in it)
2 slices white bread soaked in a couple tablespoons milk (I used gluten free, but you don't have to)
1 Pkg large mushroom caps (2 per package)
** I only bought one package of mushroom caps because I figured Audra would want hers on a bun or bread.  I was wrong, she ate the mushroom one.  She commented that she doesn't even like mushrooms and it was delicious.  

I mixed all the ingredients in a bowl, leaving the mozzarella out so I could top the meat with it later and melt it.  If you chunked it and put it in the meat, it would be delicious too.

Then form into meatloaf, burgers and/or top mushroom caps.

Bake 350 degrees for 20 minutes, then I topped with a red bell pepper that I wanted to use up and cheese.  Let it melt for another 5-7 minutes.  I couldn't get them to stop eating the meat.  I really wanted to save it for leftovers because we have a busy week coming up.  I think I will name the meal "Hawaiian Turkey Burgers."

I also made roasted sweet potatoes and carrots and steamed some broccoli.  Here are my lunches for the week and Audra's dinner for tomorrow night.  Voila!! Yum!!

Here is a shout out to all of our friends in Florida.  I know they are getting hit with the hurricane as I type this post and am thankful to hear that Irma may be losing some of her punch.  Let's keep praying for Florida and our friends in Mexico who withstood a devastating earthquake this week.

Have a great week.  Let's try to have a complete week without a major weather event!!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Blame It On the Eclipse

Hi All,

    Sadly the devastation of Hurricane Harvey has impacted areas from Galveston to Houston. Dallas is 250 to 300 miles north of the Houston area, so our weather was not impacted by the storm. We got some rain last weekend, but that has been typical this summer. The rainfall in our area is up, but we are not in danger of flooding, thankfully.  Donations to benefit storm victims can be made through reputable organizations such as Red Cross and Walmart.  We received a donation bag in the mail to give used household items for the cause and our school district is collecting items as well. The Dallas area is a safe haven for some of the Houstonians fleeing the devastation.   We will see more people moving into the area soon because Houston is mandatorily evacuating the flood areas and cutting electrical power, making it impossible for homeowners to stay.  Keep Harvey victims in your prayers.

     Did you see the eclipse?  I am blaming all of the crazy weather (and a lot of other weird things) on the eclipse.  I wonder if it is a real phenomenon to have a hurricane, or significant weather event, after a lunar eclipse.  The internet says there should be no noticeable weather impact on earth, but areas that have the total eclipse may notice a slight weather impact.  No examples were sited, but it seems a little more than coincidental that a category 4 hurricane hits the coast immediately following an eclipse.  

Like father, like daughter.  Isn't my dad adorable!!!

I saw this funny quote from Facebook the other day, and it really resonated with me.

     Now you can add the "threat" of a gas shortage to the list too!  It's been impossible to find gas stations with gas, so I have resorted to using the app called "Gas Buddy."  It shows gas stations in your zip code that are stocked.  You just need to pray that they don't run out before you get there.  It took us 45 minutes to actually get to the pump after finding a station with gas.  The media and transportation commissioner assure us that there is not a gas shortage.  There has been a slight panic of a shortage, so everyone is demanding gas at the same time, causing gas to run dry.  It's been crazy around here!!!

     My car, a 2012 Buick Enclave, has been having mechanical problems for a while.  Motor mount problems have plagued the car causing a clunking noise in the front end.  The problem is that two motor mounts, which appear to be the screws holding the motor in place, failed and were replaced. Then I noticed the clunking again and, low and behold, the other mounts gave way!!  Then the air conditioning stopped working.  It was blowing hot air.  Here in Texas, that is a really bad thing. It was quickly fixed, but within a couple of months, it was blowing hot air again.  Well, it turns out to be another problem with the air handler.  Big Tex decided to buy the expensive extended warranty, to the tune of $2,500, to cover the cost of repairs for the next five years. When I picked up the car from the service department this week, the clerk cheerfully said that the cost of the repair was $1,100, but my cost was only the $100 deductible.  I am usually courteous to people, but I embarrassed my daughter and made a comment about the quality of the Buick product.  Maybe we expect a lot from our cars, but I feel like a four year old car should be in good working condition.

    The air conditioning in the house failed downstairs recently, the refrigerator in the garage, and the clothes dryer all broke this week as well.  I was driving John's car over the weekend and the vent was blowing hot air.  I texted him to let him know something was going on.  I told him I would try not to break anything else until he got home.

     We decided not to replace the garage refrigerator right now.  The unfortunate thing about that failure was that we lost a bunch of food I had just bought at Cosco.  Sadly, the milk and all of the overflow items I store out there were lost.  I also need to be conscious not to overbuy at the store now because we have limited space in the inside fridge.

     I bought a Samsung dryer to replace the broken one.  I have never owned a Samsung appliance and have read awesome reviews online about the model I bought.  I really wanted a matching LG dryer to the washer we have, but the reviews weren't great for that model.  The worst was the claim that the machine had something inside that would tear clothes.  This happened in another machine we had, so I steered clear of that whole mess.

     Happy Labor Day!!  Stay tuned for my second installment of the home tour and a post about what I did over the long weekend while the rest of the family was in Chicago.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

No More Sugar

     Funny I would write this post is on the heels of my Puppy Chow post, but I am ridding myself of sugar starting today.  Sugar is counterproductive for digestion and overall health.  I have been a "sugar addict" most of my life and have known for a while that I need to detox.  My motivation is to decrease inflammation, balance digestion and regain energy levels.  I had a great summer, but am paying the price for overindulgence.  Lately I have let bad habits creep into my routine by overindulging in dessert, cookies and candy.  I am eating something sweet after every meal!

     Eliminating sugar and processed foods is considered a low-carb diet.  I envied people who could eliminate one thing, like soda, and transform their whole metabolism.  I always considered myself a healthy eater, so I never thought I had anything to cut out.  Now I realize I do have one thing needing to be eliminated.  Sugar!! It's time to "get real" and face the fact that sugar is not my friend.

     I am a faithful goal setter and have been making a bunch of professional goals for myself and my students.  So, I need to make some health goals too!  I've broken down my goal into some manageable steps that are outlined below.  You can click on the links if you want to get more information about fiber and healthy fats.  An undertaking like this is not just about elimination of sugar, but finding replacement foods to keep me satisfied.  Developing replacement behaviors will ensure habits will be changed with long term success.

  1. Eat more fiber.
  2. Include more protein.
  3. Eat more healthy fats.
  4. Add fermented foods to diet daily.  These foods aid in digestion and have detoxifying properties that can help heal the gut.
  5. Read ingredient labels carefully when grocery shopping.  (Sugar is hard to identify on the ingredient labels because it can have up to 60 alternate names.) 
  6. Meal prep on Sunday for a successful week.  I will post weekly meal plans to share my week ahead.  
  7. Sweat every day.
     I plan on take some help from other bloggers who have already done all the hard work of testing the recipes and planning balanced sugar free menus. I'm not too proud to take help from others.  Most of my recipes will come from Skinny Taste because these recipes are easy and don't have a lot of ingredients.  All of the recipes I selected for week 1 are low carb and can be prepared in 30 minutes or less.  

     I anticipate that breakfast is going to be a hard meal for me to prepare.  I usually don't pre-plan breakfast.  I buy a couple boxes of cereal and grab whatever appeals to me in the moment. Incorporating more protein and healthy fats into my breakfast meal will be a huge challenge and will force me to get creative.  I usually take left over dinner to work for lunch the next day. Provided I make dinners that follows the plan, then lunch should be a cinch. 

     Consuming more fermented foods will be unusual for me because I hate, hate, hate anything sour tasting.  As luck would have it, Costco is carrying a new product called Kombucha Fermented Tea that packs a punch of fermentation in a small shot.   It will be easy to drink a couple of times a day if I can get beyond the weird taste.  It is also naturally sparkling due to the fermentation process that it goes through.  I tried a sample and it reminded me of taking a shot of cider vinegar, which I have heard also has amazing health benefits.  I need to look into the sugar content on this product before I commit.  Other sources of fermentation are tempeh, miso, sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir and kombucha.  I do take probiotics and digestive enzymes daily and I love these products I have delivered from Plexus.  

     I am defining the kind of sugar I am eliminating because this will keep me accountable.  For the next 30 days, I will eliminate refined sugar, the white stuff, and will avoid processed foods containing the refined stuff (including corn syrup and anything in that category).  I will allow some natural carbs like fruit, honey, stevia and agave in moderation.  A friend sweetens her coffee with honey.  I think I will give that a try.  I want to ultimately develop a pallet that tastes the natural sweetness in things like almonds.  The only way I have accomplished this in the past is to not eat anything super sweet for a little while, even if it is natural.  Bottom line, I don't want to overindulge in anything sweet tasting so I can recalibrate my taste buds. 

     This is my meal plan for the coming week.  I am making extra protein with dinner meals to have left overs for lunch.  I am making a double recipe of the Chipotle Chicken meal, so we can have it one other night over a salad or wrapped in tortillas. These three breakfast meals will be repeated all week for ease and convenience.

Breakfast Quinoa Bowl
Avocado Toast
Hard boiled Eggs with Turkey Breakfast Sausage

I will take leftovers from dinner the night before most days.
I also bought a 1/2 pound of deli turkey meat and will make meat and cheese
rollups for snacks and lunch if I get bored with leftovers.

Beef and Cabbage Soup
Grilled Salmon with Veggies

Wish me luck! I would love to hear your comments and please post links to your favorite sugar free recipes.