Monday, February 28, 2011

Days 42 and 43

DAY 42

I'm traveling for work so I'm not really able to make my own foods.  Before I left I had a whole wheat english muffin with peanut butter and bananas.  Then I grabbed a coffee in the airport and was on my way.  For lunch I had a chicken salad sandwich on some dark bread that I think was pumpernickel.  A coworked presented me with a mint chocolate chip cupcake his wife had made and I couldn't really turn it down.  It was delicious.  I can't believe I've had 3 cupcakes this week.  That is so not allowed.  Shucks. 
Dinner was a t-k-y sandwich from PotBellys in the airport.  But I added mayo.  And an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie.  Hey, I'm traveling, so it's ok, right?
Sorry this isn't exciting.  Not many options when I can't make my own meals!

DAY 43

Breakfast today was just a whole wheat English muffin with a light cheese spread.  After a morning meeting I got a skinny caramel macchiato.  No surprise there.  For lunch we went to an asian restaurant and I got a little bento box.  In my bento box was edamame, 2 steamed chicken dumplings, a seared tuna/avocado sandwich and an almond cookie.  It was delicious.  I wish the sandwich wasn't on a white bread-roll though.  After another meeting we headed back to the airport and I had just enough time to grab a mexican "low carb" salad for the plane.  Overall I wasn't the best eater, and I really really miss my kitchen.

Sorry this is the most boring post ever!

Days 39, 40 and 41

DAY 39

Today I started feeling better. For breakfast I had a few whole wheat crackers.  For lunch I had a half of a grilled brie panini sandwich.  Not the best, but I was so excited because I was finally able to keep food down!  This was just in time because my brother Jason and his wife Bethany were coming to visit!  (Yes, they brought their dog Bryn).  Bethany really wanted to try one of my healthy meals for dinner, so MJ and I decided to invite over my cousin Jamie and MJ's brother for  a big dinner.  We made healthy chicken "fried" rice (Day 5 Dinner) and it was a big hit!  However, cooking for 6 people requires a LOT more food and wok space than cooking for 2.  I had to use two different pans just to fit all the food and use a big bowl to mix it all.  I also served a salad with asian noodles, mandarin oranges and a sesame/ginger dressing to start.  I intended to make a healthy salad dressing, but picked the easier, ready-made version because cooking the "fried" rice took so much longer than I thought it would.  Regardless of the time and the small-pan problem, the "fried" rice was a big success!  I think it would be nice to have a whole asian themed dinner party - there are a lot of different options in the cook book that could be used as salads and appetizers and side dishes.  I'll be sure to post about it if I decide to throw such a party.

After dinner everyone had some drinks.  Since I was newly recovered from being sick, I stuck to water and had a little bit of Sangria.  

Jason also introduced me to Reese's Mini Peanut Butter Cups.  They are delicious and I hate him for brining an open bag of delicious chocolate into my life.  And I love him for it.  You should NOT try these unless you have a big group of people who can eat them so you don't eat the whole bag!!!

DAY 40

MJ and I took off from work to spend the day with Jason and Bethany.  For breakfast, I decided to try out out the pancake recipe in the cookbook.  

The pancakes are essentially made from oats and whole wheat flour.  We all agreed that they tasted like Matzah or Matzah Brei, and not like pancakes.  But they were okay.  And they were pretty filling, especially when you eat them with fruit.  MJ told me he would eat them if I made them again.  We'll see if that every happens.

We were out for lunch and ended up getting deli sandwiches.  I had turkey with an avocado spread, lettuce and tomatoes.  And mayonnaise.  I couldn't resist my old bad habits.  Shame on me.

And then we got cupcakes.  Shame on me again.  I had a fabulous fabulous red velvet cupcake.  It was worth every calorie!  

Before dinner we had some drinks - I made "margaritas" by using beer, limeaid and tequila.  They are delicious and so easy to make!  You should definitely try it out!  

For dinner we met one of Bethany's friends at an asian restaurant.  I had three pieces of sushi, a steamed chicken dumpling and a pad thai noodle dish.  And 2 saki bombs!  So fun!  So not part of my healthy life style!  Good thing I lost so much weight when I was sick!  This is just part of my recovery, right?

When we went to the bars after dinner I stuck with my vodka gimlet.  Yum!  I missed you vodka gimlet!

DAY 41

Bethany and Jason are leaving today.  Maybe then I'll get back to my meal plan.  I still have to finish Week 3 and then get through all of Week 4!  I never would have guessed it would take me so long to eat 28 days of meals!  

For breakfast I had a whole wheat English muffin with peanut butter and a glass of low-fat milk.  For lunch we went out an I had 3/4 of a personal sized Papa John's pizza.  Luckily MJ ate my last little slice so I didn't have to eat the whole thing!  Then I said goodbye to Jason and Bethany and little Bryn and decided it was time to get back to clean eating!  But not after getting a skinny caramel macchiato from starbucks.  Only 140 calories!

MJ and I went to the grocery store to re-stock on fresh produce and natural foods.  As luck would have it, the grocery store is out of our beloved almond butter!! They only had the salted version available.  MJ and I decided not to "risk" trying the salted version because we're sure we will like it more than the unsalted kind we usually get and then we'll never go back to the "healthier" kind.  So we must be patient.  If they don't have the almond butter back by the end of the week we'll probably have to get some brand name kind.  I'll keep you posted.

For dinner we decided to make the Eggplant, Kale Penne Pasta with Pine Nuts and Feta (Dinner on Day 13).  Low and behold, the grocery store didn't have any eggplant.  Kinda difficult to make an eggplant dish without an eggplant.  We replaced the eggplant with onions and mushrooms.  The meal still came out pretty good, but I prefer the eggplant version.

For dessert I had a left over peanut butter chip cupcake. So delicious!!  For the next two days I'll be traveling for work.  Then I PROMISE to go back to the meal plans!  

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Days 32 through 38 (Ski Trip)

Have you missed me, avid readers?  I am back from my ski trip with the Jordans and had an amazing time skiing for four days.  Unfortunately on the last day I started to feel sick and have been home with a fever and sore throat since we returned.  And no appetite.   But first, the ski trip.

I tried to eat balanced meals, but really didn't try that hard beyond breakfast.  Every morning I had a whole wheat english muffin with peanut butter and bananas.  Sometimes I also had Cheerios.  Once a hard boiled egg.  Every day while skiing I ate one or two balance bars/Luna bars.  For lunch I tried to eat protein - turkey, chicken, etc.  I usually also got french fries and a cookie.  I drank a lot of hot chocolate.  For dinners I was pretty good - one night I had shrimp and risotto, one night I had seared tuna, the next night pizza, and then the last night french onion soup (I ordered salmon also but really didn't eat it because I wasn't feeling well). 

I brought some Chewy Mocha Brownie Cookies for the Jordans and they were a big hit.  

My new ski pants were also a big hit.  They fly never fell down.  The snaps never unsnapped.  I love my new ski pants.  

I was very interested to see my fitbit stats when I got home.  I don't think it is completely accurate tracking skiing because you're not really taking "steps" and I never changed the time zone, but it was still really interesting to see:

Day 32 (traveling): 6,761 steps (2.91 miles), 1947 calories burned, active score: 631
Day 33 (skiing): 11,962 steps (5.15 miles), 2312 calories burned, active score: 1020
Day 34 (skiing): 13,836 steps (5.96 miles), 2381 calories burned, active score: 1039
Day 35 (skiing): 13,507 steps (5.82 miles), 2483 calories burned, active score: 1201
Day 36 (skiing and sick): 10,013 steps (4.31 miles), 2237 calories burned, active score: 940.
Day 37 (traveling and sick): 4,330 steps (1.86 miles), 1178 calories burned, active score: 451.
Day 38 (sick): 1,698 steps (.73 miles), 1494 calories burned, active score: 218.

As you can tell, I've really gone downhill since I stop skiing downhill and starting feeling downhill.  I'm also completely lost my appetite and can't keep any food down.  I weighed myself today and I'm down another 2 pounds.  I don't know how much is from my active days skiing and how much is from my sick days.    Hopefully I will start feeling better now and then I can get back on track in eating world.

Until then it's more tea and nyquil for me.  

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I Can't Zip My Ski Pants, Round 2

The time has come the walrus said, to talk to many things.  Of shoes and ships and sealing wax of cabbages and kings, and why the sea is boiling hot and whether Julie will fit into her ski pants.

Julie v. Ski Pants
Round 2

It's been 31 days, 6 pounds (I weighed in this morning and I'm down another pound!), and a lot of missed chocolate chip cookies.  I put the pants on the bed and just stared at them.  You don't own me.  I've got you beat. I think. 

Today I am leaving for a ski trip with the Jordan family.  The last thing I need is for Michael Jordan's mom to see that my fly is down.  Constantly.  Prior to today, I made the executive decision to buy another pair of ski pants.  I couldn't stand the thought of failure of myself losing weight or the failure of my fly remaining in the upright and locked position.

I already knew I was going to take the new ski pants with me today.  Totally not worth the risk of bringing along the old pair with fake hope that they fit.  But it was still necessary to see if I could have gotten away with wearing my old pair.

So here I am.  Ready to test my fate/fat. I gather up the courage to put them on.  One leg.  Two legs.  I pull them up, adjust the waist, zip the fly and close the snaps at the top.  They are tight, but they are closed.

MJ gives me an approving nod of encouragement.  I hold my breath and squat down as far as I can go, waiting for the "popping" noise of my snaps coming open and my zipper flying down.  But no noise comes.  I look down and my zipper is totally secure.  I squat down again.  Nothing.  Then I smile and start twisting about, sitting all the way down on the ground and then back up again.  Eventually my zipper slid down a quarter of the way, but my snaps remained loyal to me and stayed put.  

I gave MJ a hug and kicked off the ski pants - probably never to wear again.  I did it!  I totally did it!  BUT, I'm not done.  I still have 7 more pounds to go to get to my goal weight and then why stop when I'm doing so well already!?  Rest assured, avid readers, the blog will go on.  The meal plans will keep coming.  

However, for the next 4 days, I'll be off on a ski trip with the Jordans.  I've already decided that because I will be burning so many calories when skiing, I will not be watching what I eat as much as I do on less active days.  I will actually need to eat more to have enough energy while I'm skiing.  When I get back I'll report all my fitbit stats and let you know how much I ate/gained/or loss.  And if my new ski pants turn out to be a flop!

Week 3, Monday (Day 31)

Over 1,000 hits!!  Thank you for everyone who is reading this!  Please feel free to leave comments, questions and ideas!

Breakfast: Egg Sandwich (3 egg whites, 1 slice part-skim mozzarella on a whole wheat English muffin); 1/2 grapefruit
For some reason I just hated this meal.  I know I've liked it in the past but the eggs came out horribly and there were far too many of them for my little English muffin.  And we all know how much I love grapefruit.  Epic fail.

Snack 1: 1 oz raw, unsalted cashews
Fail again.  If you peeked ahead, you'll see that the editors have me eating cashews the same day as they have me eating cashew butter.  I'm cashewed out and say no way.

Lunch: 1 whole-wheat wrap with 2 tbsp unsalted natural cashew butter and 1 small sliced banana, 3/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt with 1/2 cup blueberries
I was going to just replace the cashew butter with almond butter since I'm such a  huge fan of almond butter now, but I decided to be brave and try it out.  The first lick was horrible.  I didn't like the taste or the aftertaste.  I went ahead and put it on the wrap and it was actually a good meal.  I was shocked because this "lunch" sounds more like a breakfast or a snack.  I ended up eating my yogurt and blueberries hours later because the lunch was actually a pretty filling lunch.

Snack 2: 3/4 cup low-fat greek yogurt, 1 tbsp cocoa powder, 1 cup sliced strawberries
Alright what's the deal?  Two cashew meals in one day and two yogurt meals in one day?  Despite the fact that chocolate and strawberries sound delicious, I eat a hardboiled egg with 2 RyKrisp crackers.  Sue me.

Dinner: 5 oz baked salmon, 10 spears steamed asparagus, 1 medium baked sweet potato.
MJ made dinner!  This is such a user friendly meal I couldn't resist putting him in charge.  He baked everything in the oven.  When it was done we decided to whip up some orange glaze (from Day 11) and it was delicious!  And then MJ did dinner.  He's definitely a keeper. 

I forgot to say that my parents sent me chocolate for Valentines Day.  Yesterday I brought them over to a friend's place and we ate some of them.  I had three, which adds up to 140 calories.  Totally worth it.  Happy Valentine's Day!

Fitbit Stats: I didn't do that well in fitbit stats today because I was being so productive at work.  Doesn't it suck that the more productive you are mentally the less you are able to be "productive" physically?  I ended up doing a workout video on demand because I had practically no steps in my day.  My end totals were 2170 Calories burned, 8641 steps taken (4.26 miles) and 94% sleep efficiency.  The jury is still out on whether that's legit.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Week 3, Sunday (Day 30)

Today I had more readers in Canada than I did in the United States.  Perhaps I should start using more Canadian friendly language, eh?  
We've also expanded to Israel.  Shalom.

Breakfast: Strawberry, Chocolate Shake; 1 banana
Although Michael Jordan is not the weight gaining king, he is the reigning smoothie making champion of the household and was nice enough to whip up a yummy smoothie for me before work.  I saved my banana for a later snack, but Probably would have liked it more in the smoothie with strawberries for a snack. Oh well, you live and you learn.

Snack 1: 1 cup chopped cooked butternut squash, 1 tbsp chopped walnuts, 1/2 tsp sucanat, dash of cinnamon
Hmm.  I bought this butternut squash like you told me to, but it's not cooked.  And you're not telling me how to cook it.  I check the index.  There are two other butternut squash references in this Clean Eating cookbook.  One for a soup and one for a side dish.  Perfect.  It says bake the pieces in the oven for 30 minutes, turning half way.  Done.  But why do I have to put so much effort in to find that on my own?  Come on editors.

But YAY delicious snack.  The butternut squash was yummy and sweet with the sugar and cinnamon.  The walnuts were a nice touch.  I will definitely be adding this to my favorites list.  

Lunch: 5 whole wheat crackers dipped in leftover Spicy Black Bean Hummus (from Day 29); 1 cup low-sodium lentil soup; 1 orange
This is one of the few times where you actually eat your leftovers, and I am thrilled that I don't have 16 extra servings of bean dip sitting in my fridge.  Kudos, Editors.  
I find the thought of lentil soup slightly repulsive, so I picked a different type of low-sodium soup (chicken noodle) that was only 70 calories.  I will have to explore the healthy aisle of the grocery store to see if they have better, natural, healthy options.
My clementine had seeds, but you can't win em all, eh?

Snack 2: Mini Yogurt Parfait (8 oz low-fat greek yogurt, 1/2 sliced banana, 3/4 cup Post Shredded Wheat Spoon Size Original cereal)
This snack was very fun to make - and it came out pretty so I took a picture!

 Once again, I replaced the Shredded Wheat cereal with the Nature's Path Optimum cereal and swapped out the banana for some blueberries.  I mean, I already ate a banana for breakfast.  Two in one day is kind of overkill.  If I make this again I will try to get the layers of yogurt, fruit and cereal more evenly.

Dinner: 4 oz broiled cod (replaced with tilapia), 1 cup summer squash or zucchini, steamed; 1 white potato, sliced and baked

I have to be honest when I say this dish was prettier than it tasted.  Not that it tasted bad, but it was just regular old plain Jane in terms of flavor.  I used ketchup but MJ said it didn't really need anything.  What a sweet guy.  And a liar.  I did really enjoy the "potato chips" and will probably make them again.  As per usual, the meal plan didn't tell me a temperature for the potatoes or how long they needed to bake.  As per usual, I figured it out on my own.  Next time I would probably use one yellow squash and one green zucchini for more color.  Overall, a pretty successful day in the eating world.

Fitbit Stats: 1881 calories burned, 6,245 steps taken (2.69 miles traveled).  Boo not getting to 10,000 steps.  I'll have to walk more tomorrow to make up for it. I did figure out how to change my sleep monitor to "sensitive," so instead of sleeping for 7+ hours last night, I apparently only slept for 4 hours and 30 minutes (60% efficiency rate).  I really don't know if this makes sense either, but I was pretty tired today.  Guess I should hit the hay to optimize my sleep!

Chewy Mocha Brownie Cookies

Since I'm almost out of Almond Butter Cookies, it was time to try a new, healthy cookie to test!  I found this recipe in the "3 Books in 1" cookbook.  This was in the 200 Calorie Desserts section, page 128.

The recipe is very easy - flour, baking soda, margarine, sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, brown sugar, coffee granules, reduced-fat buttermilk, vanilla and powdered sugar to sprinkle on top.  I went ahead and used whole wheat flour and all-natural cane sugar - can't tell the difference!  

The cookies came out so well!  Each cookie is only 71 calories!  I'm definitely going to keep these around for those days when I'm craving chocolate!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Week 3, Saturday (Day 29)

Wow!  My blog audience has spread to Australia, Russia and Singapore!  This is unbelievable.  I'm so curious how people outside of the United States happen across my blog.  Please feel free to share!

Today we did our Monday morning weigh in.  After 4 weeks, I'm happy to report that I'm down 5 pounds and only 8 pounds away from my ideal goal weight!  As for Michael Jordan?  He's exactly where he started.  It's unreal.  He must have an amazing metabolism because he's eating so much more than me and not gaining a thing.  Sigh.  At least I'm on my way down, and not up!

Breakfast: 1.25 cups post shredded wheat spoon size original cereal with 3/4 cup low-fat milk; 1 orange
My grocery store didn't have the specific type of Post cereal that I was supposed to buy, and while MJ and I debated between the remaining options, we decided the best choice was really for me to eat the cereal they made me eat a half a cup of on Week 3 Wednesday so we didn't waste any food.  So I ended up eating Nature's Path Optimum Blueberry and Cinnamon Cereal.  It was really good.  I threw in fresh blueberries for good measure.  When I finished my bowl, the milk was a purple/blue color from the blueberries.  I remember seeing bowls full of chocolate milk or cinnamon when I was little.  Blue is a much healthy color.  

Snack 1: 2.5 Tbsp Spicy Black Bean Hummus; 5 Whole wheat crackers
The editors give you a recipe for an easy black bean dip to make.  I didn't want to waste time pureeing it, so I just smashed up the beans with a fork and called it a day.  The dip was okay.  I would consider making it again, but some avocado would surely make it taste better.

Lunch: Thai Ground Turkey Burgers (served with lettuce wraps, 1/4 cup chopped mango, lime juice, 2 tsp chopped almonds and cilantro); 1 apple
This was a pretty fun lunch - the mango was a nice touch to the ground turkey.  I probably should have seasoned the meat more because I really didn't get an asian "thai" taste.  I'd eat these again though.

Snack 2: 10 grapes, 1 handful unsalted almonds
I ate my cocoa almonds when I got home from work and then started baking for MJ for Valentine's day.  I was so distracted making healthy cookies that I forgot to eat my grapes!  Oh well.

Dinner was supposed to be some boring, plain meal.  That's why I picked today to coincide with Valentine's Day!  MJ did some research and found a healthy restaurant that doesn't use extra salt, sugar or butter.  The menu has a lot of fat free items, items under 100, 200 and 500 calories and low fat items.  We decided to try everything that sounded interesting (after all, this is a Valentine's Day celebration, not a day to starve).  
First we ordered healthy drinks:
I ordered the green one.  I thought it would taste like sprite but it tasted like cucumber.  MJ ordered the orange one, it tasted like oranges and carrots.  We switched immediately.  We also decided we hated them both.  At least they were all natural and under 140 calories!

For dinner we got an Asian pizza, a California wrap, an Apple Sweet Potato, and 3 sliders: bison, turkey, and chicken.  We liked the bison one and agreed that the turkey and chicken were nothing special.  They left out ingredients on both our pizza and wrap, so we were a little disappointed and didn't get the full effect of our meal.  I'm thinking about leaving a complaint online.  In the end, I'm glad we tried this place and I think we'd only go back for the sliders or a different kind of pizza.  MJ really liked the sweet potato though.  

When we got home we each had a Chewy Mocha Brownie Cookie and a big glass of milk!  Happy Valentine's Day!

FITBIT Totals for the Day: Today I burned 2148 calories, walked 10,135 steps (4.36 miles).  When I was walking to work my fitbit display wasn't working.  I had to reset it when I got home.  All the data was there, but I'm nervous that I'm already having problems with it.  The fitbit says I also had 91% sleep efficiency.  Apparently I woke up 23 times during the night.  Here's my sleep chart:
What do you think?  Is this totally bogus? I definitely woke up a lot in my sleep and it doesn't feel like I was 91% efficient.  

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Days 27 and 28

DAY 27

My friends Desire and Tiffany were visiting from out of town, so I kicked MJ out of the house for some girl time and decided not to eat a set day's meal plan, but still try to eat healthy!

For breakfast, I ate 2 egg whites with cheddar cheese and some left over mushrooms, onions, and peppers in a whole wheat wrap from yesterday's breakfast with Sophia.  

We sat around talking and drinking Sangria with apple slices.  It was deliciously unhealthy.  For my morning snack, I ate a slice of whole wheat bread with almond butter.  I made Desire and Tiffany try the almond butter as well on those yummy whole wheat crackers that taste like shortbread cookies.  They both really liked it.  Tiffany even made me take her to the grocery store so she could buy my same type of almond butter and the yummy Carr's crackers.  I highly suggest you do the same:

The we headed out on the town to get some manis and pedis.  My favorite salon serves wine and/or champagne while you get pampered, so we definitely indulged in a few free glasses of wine.  

For lunch, we went to a well-known restaurant that's a great place to take out of town guests.  I made the smart choice and had a Tuna (sushi grade) and Avocado Salad (fresh tuna pan-seared and served rare with a seaweed salad, sliced avocado, edamame, cucumber, tomatoes and mixed greens with a wasabi-honey dressing on the side).  The salad was delicious and felt very healthy, yet filling.   
We also got chocolate raspberry martinis.  They were delicious and felt very un-healthy, yet delightful.

We then did some sightseeing and decided to walk back to my house when we were done.  I didn't realize it at the time, but I got pretty good exercise (according to my fitbit). 

For dinner, I cooked whole wheat pasta, chicken and broccoli for Tiffany and Desire.  A simple, healthy meal that was very filling.  

After dinner I made Desire try an almond butter cookie.  She said it was great and tasted just like a chocolate chip cookie!  I only have 2 cookies left in the freezer - I guess it's time to try another type of healthy cookie!

We went to Michael Vick's house after dinner.  That also included some walking and I accidentally ate a half slice of pizza hut pizza.  It was probably 1000 calories worth.  Actually, my fitbit calorie tracker tells me it was only 140 calories.  Not that bad for a late night snack!  That makes me feel much better, but it was still a bad choice.

FITBIT Totals for the Day: 2225 Calories burned, 11,219 steps taken, 4.83 miles traveled.  I didn't go through to put my calorie intake in yet.  I think it might be too hard to figure out how many calories my lunch was, but minus the alcohol, I think I ate about 1300 calories.  
I also had 96% sleep efficiency.  Apparently I woke up 11 times in my sleep (Friday night).  I'm not sure how accurate this is.  The fitbit comes with a wrist band to wear on your non-dominant hand while you are sleeping and I believe that it tracks your motion and how much you roll around in your sleep.  

DAY 28

I really cannot believe I'm completing 4 weeks of healthy, clean eating.  I'm so impressed with myself.  

Because I didn't get a chance to go shopping, I had another day of making up my own meal plan.  For breakfast, I ate a whole wheat English muffing with natural peanut butter.  An easy, simple, classic breakfast.

I ate a 100 calorie pack of cheese as my morning snack.  Later on in the day I had a slice of whole wheat bread with almond butter.  

I was very tired and got a 140 calorie grande skinny caramel macchiatto at Starbucks.  It was wonderful.  And it was free.  

My day sounds boring, so far, but I made a delicious dinner that both MJ and I really loved.  It was the Thai-Style Chicken & Noodles (whole wheat linguine, chicken, red and green peppers with a peanut sauce).  The actually recipe calls for tofu, but Mr. Jordan nicely asked me to make it chicken instead.  It was incredibly simple to make and came out delicious.  The peanut sauce that was really yummy.  Can you tell I liked this meal a lot?

This picture isn't a full serving because I like to fill my plate less and go back for seconds.  Tricking my mind into thinking I'm eating more works like a charm!!

FITBIT Totals for the Day: Last night I had 95% sleep efficiency and woke up 10 times in less than 6 hours.  Allegedly.  I'm really not sure I believe that my sleep is being track accurately.  So far today I've walked 10,071 steps, which is 4.34 miles.  It also says I burned 2,174 calories, which is impressing since it says I have over 10 hours of "sedentary" time.  I also ate about 1800 calories, assuming everything was portioned out and measured correctly.
Loving this fitbit!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Week 3, Friday (Day 26)

Today is my first day trying out my new fitbit and I'm very excited to see how active I really am.

Breakfast: 1/2 cup low fat ricotta cheese pureed with 1/4 cup 1% cottage cheese and 1 tsp Sucanat; top with 1/2 cup fresh cherries and 1/2 tsp sesame seeds
How gross does this sound?  Seriously I can't imagine eating any of these foods together!  I opt to skip this entire gross meal, and instead invite my friend Sophia over for breakfast.  Sophia has been a great influence on me - she's been eating healthy for years and always has great, all-natural snacks with her at work.  I made egg white omelettes with some mozzarella and cheddar cheese, served with sauteed onions, peppers, and mushrooms.  This was much yummier than chunky cottage cheese covered with cherries and sesame seeds!

Snack 1: 1 cup low fat milk, 1 hardboiled egg, 8 whole-wheat crackers
I don't really consider milk a snack, but drinking a whole cup is always enjoyable, so I'm not going to complain.  I only ended up eating 4 whole wheat crackers - 2 of the rykrisp kind and 2 of the yummier shortbread kind.  I was glad to see that we made the hardboiled eggs correctly.  I guess Michael Vick is a good teacher.

Lunch: 4 ounces cooked tilipia topped with 1 boiled potato, 1 cup cooked green beans, 3/4 cup cooked artichoke hearts, 1 tbls chopped onion, 2 tsp red wine vinegar and 1 tsp evoo
I changed up this lunch a little just based on what was easy and convenient.  I ended up eating the tilapia, 1/2 a potato, and 6 ounces of broccoli that I had leftover.  I probably made this meal healthier (and definitely made this meal easier) than the editors suggested.  

Snack 2: 1 low-fat string cheese, 8 carrot sticks
I only had the cheese stick.  Good as usual.

Dinner: Roasted sliced eggplant (6 ounces), 1 tbsp broken walnuts, 1 small diced tomato and 1 crushed clove of garlic with 1 cup cooked whole wheat spaghetti and 1 tbsp parmesan cheese
Delicious dinner!  It's supposed to come with 3 cups of sauteed spinach, but we didn't have any left and I don't think the meal needed any for more substance.  It was great and very easy to make.  I will probably repeat the walnut/tomato sauce often.

The best part of my day was checking my active status on my fitbit!  My fitbit told me that today I ate 1440 calories and burned 2441 calories.  I walked 11,650 steps, which equates to 5.43 miles.  I attribute most of my steps to an African dance class that I took at the gym.  It feels great getting such high numbers on my first day of using the fitbit!  I hope I can keep it up!

Week 3, Thursday (Day 25)

25 days in!  I can't believe I've been committed for this long. Michael Jordan asked me if I thought I would still be following the meal plan were it not for this blog.  I think my honest answer is no. I would have given up.  I would have done some of the snacks and eventually forgotten.  Maybe tried some of the recipes but really not cared.  I would have eaten a LOT of cookies.  But here we are on day 25 and I'm still going strong.  Thank you, chickpeasandcottagecheese blog.  

Breakfast: 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1 cup low-fat milk, 1/2 cup dried apricots - halved, 1 small sliced banana
Oatmeal is MJ's speciality.  Kinda pathetic, right?  I mean..... thanks babe!  MJ made me my 1/2 cup of oatmeal and I probably ate about half of the dried apricots.  They made the oaty-mush taste much better.  1 cup of milk is AMAZING.  I love that they allowed me to drink so much milk today!  I brought my banana to work and ate it as an early morning snack.  Based on what was on today's menu, I thought for sure I would starve.  

Snack 1: 2 clementines, 5 carrot sticks, 1 handful unsalted almonds
I only ended up eating 1 clementine today based on the timing of all my meetings.  I forgot to bring the carrot sticks to work, and then forgot to eat them when I got home, but I really don't think 5 carrot sticks would have changed anything about my day.  I did eat 12 cocoa almonds.  I'm almost done with the container!  Thank you Bethany and Jason!!

Lunch: 1 cups low-sodium tomato soup, 1 cup chopped apple with 1 oz walnuts
I can honestly say I've never purchased or chosen to eat tomato soup before, but I like it.  I chose the healthiest looking can that was about 1 serving size.  I ate my almonds at about the same time, which reminded me or a butternut squash type soup.  I also didn't chop my apple because who wants to waste their time with that?  I ate it whole.  

Snack 2: 2 stalks celery with 2 tbsp peanut butter and 1 oz raisins
Yuck.  No celery or raisins for this girl.  I replaced this snack with 1 slice of whole wheat bread and almond butter.  Major upgrade.  By far my favorite snack.  

Dinner: DELICIOUS Steak Salad (1/2 cup of: red beans, whole kernal corn, chopped tomatoes, chopped cucumber, and sliced carrots, 4 oz steak, 3 cups lettuce; dressing: 1 tsp evoo, 2 tsp red wine vinegar, 1 tbsp organic sweet relish)
This salad was amazing, and filling, and so easy to make.  And it was beautiful:

MJ said we should add this meal to our list of favorites.  Neither of us were able to finish our salads - they were so filling!  I also want to add this to a list of meals that are so easy, a boy can make them.  I think I will add new sections of my blog to keep track of things like that.  What do you think?

After dinner I met up with some coworkers and ordered my standard vodka gimlet.  Overall, I thought today's meal plan would be awful, but I was pleasantly surprised that everything was pretty good.  You won this one, Clean Eating Editors.


I got a fitbit!!! 

What's a fitbit?  

It's a small device, similar to a pedometer, that not only tracks the number of steps your take, but also the number of calories you burn and tracks your sleep (how many times you wake up in the middle of the night).  

The fitbit is tiny and can be worn on your belt, pocket, or even in your bra!  All the information gathered by the fitbit gets automatically uploaded to my computer, which tracks it on the fitbit website for me.  This feature can be private or shared with other fitbit users.  You can learn more about the fitbit by visiting their website:

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Week 3, Wednesday (Day 24)

I'm back on the meal plans and ready to start my third week of listening to "The Best of Clean Eating" cookbook editors tell me what to eat!

Shout out to whoever is reading my blog in Ireland!  My blog has reached over 700 hits!  Thanks for the support!!

Breakfast: 1 toasted whole wheat wrap with 2 tbsp natural peanut butter and 1 small sliced banana
Instead of toasting this whole wheat tortilla, I microwaved it for 10 seconds - just like my mom used to do for me to make wraps for lunch.  It tasted the same and is much simpler than toasting a big tortilla.  By the way, editors, what size tortilla should I be eating?  Large? Medium? Small?  I picked medium, but I really wish you'd specify.   You're so particular about everything else and I really think size does matter.  Julie: 1.  Clean Eating Editors: 0.
Also, I added 3/4 cup skim milk.  Because I seriously don't think peanut butter can be eaten in any other way.  By the way, I bought these great measuring glasses to make measuring liquids and random conversions easier.  It makes my life more enjoyable and I highly recommend them.  I wish they came in more colors and designs.

Snack 1: Roasted Red Pepper & White Bean Hummus with Crudités
HAHA what a FUNNY joke!!!!! Make my own hummus with a recipe that serves 16.  SIXTEEN!?!?! I'm just one person and I'm not wasting my precious time blending up some beans for 15 imaginary friends.  You know what I am doing?  Taking one of the travel-sized 2 ounce hummus packs in my fridge and 10 stupid snap peas.  TAKE THAT!  Julie: 2.  Clean Eating Editors: 0.

Lunch: Tofu Salad (5 oz tofu, 1/4 cup brown rice, 1/4 cup unsalted sunflower seeds, 1 cup spinach, 1/2 cup chopped red peppers, 2 tbls shredded low-fat jalapeno cheese, 2 tbls balsamic vinegar and 1/2 tsp evoo)
This salad was actually pretty fabulous, besides the fact that the lid wasn't closed tightly and my lunch box now wreaks of balsamic vinegar.  I used a 1 ounce pepper jack cheese stick which nicely equates to 2 tablespoons.  Cooking up the tofu was fast and easy.  I bought microwavable brown rice so I only took up 3 minutes in the morning making rice instead of the typical 40!  The bag makes 1.25 cups, and I only needed a quarter so there's plenty left over for another meal later this week.  Julie: 3.  Clean Eating Editors: 0.

Snack 2: 1/2 cup dried apricots, halved, mixed with 1/2 cup Nature's Path Optimum Banana Almond Cereal
Holy super specific menu item.  I was shocked to see that my grocery store actually had Nature's Path Optimum Cereal, but only in the blueberry cinnamon flavor.  I decided that was really close enough, and then decided it was taste delicious with some of the leftover FRESH blueberries that I had.  Boy was I right.  This might be one of my favorite snacks, even though I totally changed what they told me to eat.  Julie: 4.  Clean Eating Editors: 0.

Dinner: Zucchini Pasta (3 oz chicken, 1 sliced zucchini, 1 diced onion, 1 minced clove garlic, 1 tsp olive oil with 1 cup cooked whole wheat pasta, shredded basil)
This dinner was so easy, even MJ could make it.  But I made the mistake of measuring out the cup of pasta uncooked instead of cooked, and only now realized that it called for 1 cup of COOKED pasta.  Huge difference.  Major fail on my part.  How much uncooked pasta equates to 1 cup of cooked pasta?  Does anyone know that conversion?  Julie: 4.  Clean Eating Editors: 1. (Luckily I went to the gym so maybe I burned off my extra pasta calories).

So I guess I win today 4:1.  Not sure if there's a prize for finding problems with the meal plan that I'm choosing to follow.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Day 23

I was too tired to go to the grocery store last night, so it's another day of leftovers today!  I'm amazed at how much less money I've been spending on food since I'm just eating everything in the house.  

For breakfast I went with the traditional whole wheat English muffin with natural peanut butter and a sliced banana.  Because I get to make my own rules, I also had 3/4 cup of low fat milk.  Peanut butter is meant to go with milk.    Otherwise you end up like that old "Got Milk" Commercial.  

For my snacks today I packed an apple and a slice of whole wheat bread with almond butter.  I really like almond butter.  These two snacks held me over for a super late lunch - I didn't eat until 2:30pm and I wasn't even hungry yet!  I also had a meeting at Starbucks and got a Grande Skinny Caramel Macchiato, which claims to be 140 calories.  Not horrible for a grande drink.

I met up with Michael Vick's wife for lunch.  We went to Au Bon Pain, which is nice enough to list the calories on their menu, but not nice enough to have very healthy options.  I opt for a Thai Peanut Chicken Salad with the Thai Peanut Dressing on the side.  The menu tells me the meal was 360 calories, but looking it up online now, I see that the whole salad was 200 calories and the dressing was 160.  I barely used any dressing and didn't finish my salad, so I feel really great knowing I made the healthy choice today!  

My afternoon snack was 1 low-fat cheese stick.  Fun.

For dinner, MJ and I ate left over whole grain spaghetti with spinach and turkey meatballs.  It reheated very well and there's still some left over for a small lunch!  

We went to the store to get some more foods for the Week 3 meal plan.  There are some really really really strange meals coming up, so I hope you are excited to read about them!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Week 2, Thursday (Day 22)

I cannot believe I've been eating healthy (relatively) for three weeks now.  I eagerly jump on the scale and see no chance.  Darn.  I blame the Superbowl brownies.  I'm not sure if my lack of weight change is reflective of the whole week or just pigging out at the Superbowl.  At least the number didn't go up, right?

Breakfast: 1 whole wheat tortilla with 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter and 1 sliced banana
I thought this breakfast was going to be strange, but it was actually delicious and very filling.  I think I might even like it better than the English muffin version, but they are both pretty good.  Both would be better if I could have milk!

Snack 1: 1 low-fat string cheese, 1/2 grapefruit
I actually ate grapefruit!  And hated it!  It was so sour - why do people like that?  I ate my string cheese and replaced the grapefruit with an apple when I got home.  That sure was a lot of hype just to hate grapefruit.

Lunch: Turkey Salad (3 slices of deli turkey, salad greens, 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes, 1/2 cup white beans, balsamic vinegar, mustard, evoo)
Ugh.  We didn't have any tomatoes left and I ate the white beans over the weekend, so I replaced them with chickpeas.  Which essentially meant I had lettuce, turkey meat, and chickpeas.  Pathetic.  And not tasty.  

Snack 2: 1 cup low fat greek yogurt with 1 tsp pure maple syrup and 1/2 cup blueberries
Yay I finally get to eat blueberries!  For some unknown reason, blueberries have been missing from the meal plan, and I LOVE blueberries.  I didn't even add the maple syrup because the blueberries were sweet enough!  

Between snack 2 and dinner, I did an on demand work out video.  I chose "6 pack in 6 weeks" with Jillian Michaels.  She kicked my butt.  And my abs.  I am definitely going to be sore tomorrow.

Dinner: Turkey Meatballs with whole wheat spaghetti and spinach. 
What a great, filling meal.  The meatball recipe wasn't that different than my family's recipe, but I actually like my family's recipe more, so I would replace that part if I made this again.  I also made the meatballs twice as small as they say to so that each serving felt larger (10 meatballs instead of 5).  The recipe called for some ricotta sauce, but MJ and I decided to just use a little tomato sauce instead.  MJ really enjoyed it and we have plenty of leftovers to eat tomorrow!

Well now I have finally completed 2 weeks of meal plans, even though it took me 3 weeks to do it!  I will probably have another day of left overs tomorrow and then get started with Week 3!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Days 20 and 21

I was off of the meal plans this weekend because I had a lot of leftovers to eat.  I was also conducting interviews all weekend, so I was not home for any meal except dinner.

DAY 20

On Friday night I threw all of my "to go" snacks into a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY bag.  It is not my birthday, not even close.  I just needed a good sized bag to carry all my snacks.  The unintended effect of using a happy birthday bag is that I was really happy when I saw it.  Perhaps subconsciously my brain associated birthdays with good things and so my snacks became good things.

For breakfast Saturday morning I had a whole wheat English muffin with natural peanut butter and a gulp of milk.  I would have had more than just a gulp of milk, but that's all that MJ left for me in the gallon.  I sent him out to buy more.  

When I arrived at the office for interviews, I saw that my team had brought a coffee pot, donuts and munchkins.  Sigh.  When they passed around the donuts, I declined and took out my apple.    Throughout the course of the interviews, I ate:
• 1 low-fat cheese stick
• 1 apple
• 10 snap peas with 2 oz hummus
• 1 whole wheat cracker with spreadable cheese
• 1 cup of coffee (half and half, no sugar)
• 1 almond butter cookie
• 1 glass orange juice
• 4 munchkins

I just found the Dunkin Donuts Nutritional Information and discovered that I ate 215 calories of munchkins.  Oh nooooo!  I had no idea they were that bad for you.  But I am SO glad I didn't have a full donut.  Those things are horrible! And delicious.  But horrible.  

For lunch, I made a salad with red leaf lettuce, white beans, 1/2 avocado, 1/2 cup edamame and 1 hard boiled egg.  The salad was actually very filling and I wasn't even able to finish it.   In the future I would add balsamic vinegar and tomatoes.  My coworkers complimented my salad and my snack bag.  The person who brought the donuts indicated that he would bring healthier snacks for me the next day.

When I got back home I made tilapia with sauteed broccoli and part-skim mozzarella cheese.   The meal was really easy and I had a lot of broccoli left over, so I wasn't hungry enough to eat any carbs.  Which is good because I had 4 munchkins.  

DAY 21

Today was another day of interviews.  For breakfast I cooked up 2 egg whites with mushrooms, low-fat cheddar cheese, 1/2 whole wheat English muffin; 6 ounces orange juice.  I still had that half of an English muffin left over from the time the Clean Eating editors only let me eat half of one.  I love mushrooms and wish they were in more of the meals.  

When I arrived at the interviews, my coworker presented me with a container of sliced strawberries he brought for my healthier alternative to donuts.  I was very appreciative.   During the interviews I ate:
• some sliced strawberries
• 1/2 cup granola
• 10 snap peas with 2 oz hummus
• 100 calorie bag of cheese
• 2 cups coffee (with half and half and 1 splenda each) 
• 2 munchkins (95 calories).
I didn't know yet that the munchkins were that bad for me since I just looked them up now, but luckily I picked less than 100 calories worth of fat.  

For lunch, I had a veggie burger with low-fat mozzarella cheese, 1/2 avocado and lettuce on whole wheat bread.  This made one of my coworkers question whether I was a vegetarian.  I'm not, but I really enjoy veggie burgers.  

Now for the bad part of my day.  Superbowl Sunday. 
We went to MJ's friend's house for the game.  I knew there would be a lot of unhealthy choices there, so I made my all-natural guacamole, which was devoured by the group by the end of the 1st quarter.  I personally ate:
• about 15 blue chips and guacamole, with a little bit of a bean dip
• crab dip served on 3 little toasted bread slices
• 2 beef sliders (no buns) with roasted onions and 1 scoop of mashed potatoes
• 2 brownies
• 1/2 piece of funfetti cake
• 1 light beer (No one noticed I only had one beer the entire game, and I didn't even finish it!)

Sigh.  I was doing well till the brownies came out.  I probably should have passed on dessert but I didn't want to.  Maybe I was rewarding myself for 3 weeks of eating healthy.  Or maybe I was celebrating the Packers' victory.  Or I just really, really, really love chocolate.  I felt bad until one of MJ's friend picked up the remaining tray of brownies and ate them like a slice of pizza.  Always good to keep someone around who will eat more than your daily serving of calories in one sitting.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Day 18 (Week 2, Wednesday) and Day 19

MJ informed me that I forgot to mention that while I was eating my mushroom asparagus risotto, he and his friend Michael Vick were eating 12 inch subs from one of my favorite (not healthy) sandwich places.  I tried to block this incident from my memory.  Like the plate full of fresh chocolate chip cookies.  I'm trying to be strong-willed against bad foods.  So far, so good.


Breakfast: Breakfast Burrito (1 whole wheat tortilla with 4 scrambled egg whites, 1/2 oz cheddar cheese, 1/2 red and 1/2 green pepper); 6 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
This is one of my favorite breakfasts, especially since all my veggies were already cut up in my "Wednesday" bag.  But I can't possibly eat 4 egg whites in one sitting, so I cut it down to 2.  Today my wrap totally fell apart but still tasted very good.  I'd probably replace some of the peppers with onions next time.  And what's a "burrito" without some avocado?  I make a mental note to switch this up next time.
There is no way I'm squeezing my own orange juice.  The effort to results ratio is totally not in my favor.  Instead, I bought a small single-size container of all-natural orange juice.  I drank my 6 ounces (aka 3 gulps).  I'm not sure what to do with the rest of the carton.  Glad I didn't buy a full-sized one!

When I got to work, I made the necessary decision anyone facing 6 hours of meetings would do to survive: purchased coffee.  I got the smallest size and used skim milk and splenda.  I don't think the Clean Eating editors sanction the use of splenda, but I thought they would prefer the healthier "sugar" even if it was a substitute.  I wish the coffee shop had that flavored fat-free half and half so I wouldn't have needed any sugar at all.

Snack 1: Chocolate Smoothie (1 cup low fat milk, 1/4 cup chocolate protein powder, 1/2 cup frozen strawberries, 5 ice cubes); 1 handful of unsalted almonds
I look ahead at breakfast and see that there is no possible way on earth to make a smoothie at work in a blender!!!  I don't know how this could possibly be appropriate, so I improvise.  MJ makes me a "chocolate milk" for breakfast using some milk and chocolate protein powder.  It was very good.  I sure do miss chocolate milk.  I packed a container with plain yogurt and 5 frozen strawberries for work, but it tasted bad by the time I ate it at work (yes, I kept it in the fridge the whole time, Mom) so I threw it out.  Yuck.

I did eat the unsalted almonds.  And by unsalted almonds I mean 12 cocoa almonds.  Actually 11.  I let my friend Charlotte try one.  She's the one on the 1034 calorie diet.  I hope that one almond didn't push her over her measly calorie limit.  Charlotte informed me that because she lost two pounds, she is now only allowed to eat 1008 calories.  This cannot be a healthy diet.  I need to start carrying sugary snacks to revive Charlotte when she passes out from malnourishment.

Lunch: French Tuna Salad (green beans, 1 hard boiled egg, sliced radishes, tuna, red onion, red pepper, red leaf lettuce and 1 yukon potato)
This lunch may take the crown for most awkward meal ever.  It was so bad that someone even said to me "what the heck are you eating?!" 
First of all, this salad to forever to prep.  I had to hard boil eggs (BIG shout out to Michael Vick for this guidance on boiling eggs.  Now can you teach MJ how to peel them?!)  I also had to boil a potato.  The cookbook says it would be ready in 15 minutes and it wasn't close.  I let it cook for 25 and the middle was definitely still hard.  I also had to steam the green beans.  Then I had to cut slice and measure everything else.  Huge time commitment.
Second, the dressing had 1239081 ingredient.  It served 4 and only had 1/4 tsp of some ingredients which is a huge pain in my butt.  Essentially the dressing was red wine vinegar and dijon mustard. 
Third, the salad was ridiculous.  It didn't taste good and I only really ate the egg and the tuna.  Huge disappointment.  I ate my cashews early.

Snack 2: 1/2 grapefruit, 15 unsalted raw cashews
Okay I know you're not going to believe me, but I actually brought the grapefruit to work, already cut in half, and brought a spoon.  But I never ate it. I guess I have some mental block.  It's back in my fridge.  I'll probably throw it out soon.

Instead, when I got home I ate some whole wheat bread with almond butter.  When MJ got home, he ate finished the entire container of almond butter.  There go my snacks for the next few days!

Dinner: Boring Chicken, Boring sweet potato, Boring broccoli.
Boring, boring, boring.  Plain, plain, plain.
I purposely picked to eat Wednesday's meal today because I knew I was meeting my friends from high school out for dinner and didn't mind replacing this boring, plain meal.
Instead, we went out for Mexican.  Shocking, right?  I got to the restaurant first - mainly because I like getting to places early, but also because I wanted to really check out the menu and see what non-fried options I had.  While I was waiting, I also googled the calorie contents of Mexican drinks - Margaritas, Sangria, and Beer.  They are all bad.  I drank water.
I ended up ordering a grilled chicken fajita and only eating one of the little tortillas that came with it.  I ate the rest of the grilled chicken and veggies "a la carte," if you will. Oh yea, I ate about 10 chips with salsa.  But I let my friends finish the rest.  No one notice that I wasn't eating the chips or drinking.  Score one for me!

After dinner some co-workers were meeting up for drinks, so I met them for my standard vodka gimlet.  A few other women there were mentioning that they too were trying to watch their weight - one ordered water (cue pregnancy comments) and the other ordered vodka with diet coke.  I told her how fabulous vodka gimlets were and I think she's hooked now.  

DAY 19

Today was another day of leftovers!  My friend invited me over for breakfast.  I call her my Fairy Blog Mother because she told me to start "tweeting" when I made new posts so my "loyal fans" could follow.  I feel like a caveman trying to use twitter.  It's not as easy as Geico.

For breakfast, my fairy blog mother served 1 egg on a toasted whole wheat English muffin with some low-fat cheddar cheese.  It was delicious and I hope to convince her to cook for me more often!   I also had a cup of coffee because she had brewed some Dunkin' Donuts Hazlenut coffee and I couldn't resist the smell of it.  Two coffees in two days?  What's happened to me?!  This time, I only used 1% milk and no sugar (or splenda).  
We headed off to work and I went to a class during gym again.  For lunch I had a veggie burger with low-fat mozzarella cheese, 1/2 avocado and 2 slices red leaf lettuce on whole wheat bread.  So good!  I think veggie burgers are my new favorites.  I bought the morning star kind.  I'll have to check the box and make sure to buy the same kind each time at the store.

For dinner I ate the left over risotto with 3 ounces of shrimp.  It was just the right portion size and was a pretty good combo.  

My snacks today weren't at any particular time, so I saved them for the end.  I ate:
• a handful of cocoa almonds
• 1 low-fat cheese stick
• 2 almond butter cookies.

I know, I know.  What is wrong with me?  I'm not supposed to be eating those! But I went to the gym and I feel justified.  I also really didn't eat that many calories today.  But I'm sure I had more than Charlotte did.  Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, Charlotte.  

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