Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What You Need To Know About Glycemic Index

I have been hearing a lot lately about the importance of the glycemic index of foods. Me, being the research-hoarder I am, began researching everything I could on the subject. And I found out some interesting information for sure - in fact, there are things about GI that I had no idea about - things that were REALLY surprising.

First of all, let me take a second to explain exactly what the term "glycemic index" means.

When you eat, glucose is digested and enters the blood stream. The glycemic index of a food is, basically, how slow or fast it raises your blood sugar. Foods with a lower GI raise your blood sugar slowly and steadily while higher GI foods raise it quicker. With that in mind, you might think that only high carb, high sugar foods would have a high GI and lower carb/sugar foods would have a low GI, right? WRONG! It was a shock at some of the GI counts of many foods!

For example, a snickers bar has a higher lower GI than rice! And pasta has a lower GI than pumpkin!
Why is this surprising? Well, obviously a snicker's bar is full of sugar and carbs. And pumpkin is a low-carb staple for many (including me!).

Other surprising facts, low-GI does NOT mean low carb - pasta, some breads, and vegetables such as peas and corn are all low GI, but notorious for being BIG no-no's for the low-carb crowd. Also, GI has NOTHING to do with the amount of fat or sodium in a food, and does't even really have much to do with the amount of sugar in an item.

So what does this mean?

If you are a diabetic, low GI foods are exactly what you need - they don't spike your blood sugar and will help you regulate your insulin levels.

If you are NOT a diabetic, sticking to a low GI diet won't hurt you either. That being said, it's not necessarily the way to go for weight loss either, since many of the "allowed" foods on a low GI diet include starchy fruits and vegetables and foods like white pasta (which has a lower GI than whole wheat pasta!!). Something else to consider is that a low-GI diet is NOT beneficial for someone that is eating gluten free as many of the gluten free staples (corn flour, rice, rice flour, etc) are high GI foods.

Of course, ANY diet can be modified to fit your individual needs. If need to eat gluten free and GI it AN be done. If you need to eat low carb and GI, it can be done too - quite easily in fact.

So, what do I plan to do with this information?
I plan on staying on my current low-carb plan until I get to my goal weight (140-150-ish), then I will move on to a low-GI diet while I'm in maintenance. I feel that, for me, it is a great way to go.

If you want more information on the glycemic index you can visit the following web sites:
The GI Diet
University of Sydney's Glycemic Index Site 
The Mayo Clinic's Glycemic Index Page

Monday, October 22, 2012

Menu Monday . . . Er . . . Maybe . . .

Let's just say that sticking with menus is NOT my forte.
Not at all.
Last week I had plans to do the 5 Day Pouch Test.
That didn't happen.
For one thing, I didn't have the grocery money to spend on my and my family 3-5 different meals a night.
(that one's a long story ...)
For another thing, for some reason I can't tolerate ANY protein shake - none of them.
(that's insanely frustrating)
In fact, last week didn't go as well food wise as I'd hoped.
But I did discover something.
Despite what I had told myself for years, I don't do well with carbs.
So I am going to be returning to a low-carb diet and STAYING with it. At least for the next 70 lbs or so.

Now as far as the menu thing goes:
While I love the idea of being accountable, I am not one to hold myself accountable very well. So I think that Menu Monday will be reduced down to Monday-Friday and dinner only - after all, dinner is usually the main meal for most families!

So here's this weeks Dinner Menu:

Monday: Cheesy Chicken Skillet, salad (recipe below!)
Tuesday: Crock Pot Pintos with Sausage
Wednesday: Chili
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Grilled Chicken and Veggies

Cheesy Chicken Skillet
4 Normal Servings
Per Serving (about 1 cup of food):
Calories: 200 

carbs: 16 
fat: 4 
protein: 24

Cooking Spray

1-9 oz or 2-4 oz chicken breasts, cut into bite size cubes
1/2 large onion (any color will work - whatever is your favorite)
1/2 bell pepper (again, whatever color is your favorite!)

1/4 c frozen peas
1 can low fat/low sodium cheddar cheese soup (I use Campbell's Healthy Request)
1/2 above can of low-fat milk (you can also use soy or almond milk - unflavored of course!)
1/4 c shredded low fat cheddar cheese

1 package Tofu Shirataki Noodles - Spaghetti Style, drained, rinsed, cooked according to package directions (hint - add some chicken base or a low sodium bullion cube to the water!), and cut up into 1-inch pieces
1 tsp salt free herb blend (I like Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb Seasoning)
couple of dashes of Worcestershire sauce

salt and pepper to taste

Spray a non stick pan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper then cook in the pan until browned, turning pieces frequently. Remove chicken from pan and add peppers and onions (you may add more cooking spray if needed).  Cook peppers and onions until soft and translucent. Return chicken to the pan. Add cheese soup and milk and stir well to combine. Add cheese and peas, mix well, and allow to return to temperature (it will get bubbly). Add seasonings and noodles and mix gently to combine. Turn off heat, cover, and allow to sit for 5 minutes (this allows the sauce to set up a little bit and also allows the flavors to meld together). Serve hot with a green salad!


Monday, October 15, 2012

Menu Monday!

Happy Monday everyone!! So, how did I do on my menu from last week? Some days better than others to be honest.

Monday I stuck with it pretty well - I did not eat the snacks though because I just wasn't hungry.
Tuesday was kind of a bust day - I found out the true meaning of the term "slider foods" - popcorn, goldfish, crackers . . . Not good for me.
Wednesday I went to the hospital to be with my mom as she underwent surgery to switch from the lap-band to the vertical sleeve, and hubby and I were baaaaaaad. We went to Long John Silver's (now to our credit - we NEVER, EVER eat fast food. EVER. This was a one-time-only treat and one that we won't be doing again for a while!)
Thursday I did a little better - I ended up eating lunch with my friends (it was healthy!) which was a lot of fun!
Friday the hubbs and I visited my sister and went to eat chinese food. I had won ton soup and a couple of egg rolls (and a mushroom. oh, and a bite of my husband's crab rangoon). I was actually pretty surprised that I could eat that much to tell you the truth!
Saturday ended up being a snack day - lots of cheese and grapes from Central Market (OMG - the BEST grapes on the PLANET!!)
Sunday was also a snacky kind of day - again lots of cheese, nuts and grapes (I kinda like days like that!!)

This week's menu is actually really simple. I will be doing a technique called the pouch test. The basics are this:
Days 1&2 Liquid Protein (full liquid diet)
Day 3 Soft Protein (mushies/pureed foods)
Day 4 Firm Protein (soft foods)
Day 5 Solid Protein (regular diet)

So this weeks menu will look like this:

Monday: Protein Shakes, water, crystal light/mio, pureed bean soups, pureed chili, etc.
Tuesday: Same as Monday
Wednesday: soft eggs, tuna, yogurt, cottage cheese
Thursday: hard boiled eggs, baked/grilled fish/shrimp, cheese, ground beef patties
Friday: Eggs, chicken (gonna try it!), steak, cheese, etc.

The reason I am doing this is because here lately I kind of feel like I'm eating too much. I know for sure I've discovered slider foods, and I don't want to get in the habit of eating these things on a regular basis. I think I may do this technique once every three months or so just to keep myself on track!

I will do an update on my You Tube page, so don't forget to visit me there!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Menu Monday - Bonus Recipe for Low-Carb Breakfast Casserole!

Alright! We're going to give this Menu Monday thing another go - hopefully it'll stick this week!
As always, the goal is for me to keep track of everything I eat through the week and post NEXT Monday how I did, along with the new menu for the week.

Legend: BFst = Breakfast, AMS = AM Snack, PMS = PM Snack, DIN = Dinner, BTS = Bedtime Snack

BFst - Berries w/yogurt and granola

AMS - Handful of nuts
Lunch - Butternut Squash Ravioli

PMS - Graham cracker w/ peanut butter
DIN - Chicken Tikka Masala w/ Tabbouli
BTS - S/F Ice Cream

BFst - yogurt w/ grape nuts
AMS - 1/2 protein bar

Lunch - Soup
PMS - Grapes and Cheese
DIN - Fajita Veggies w/ Black Bean Quinoa
BTS - popcorn

BFst : Scrambled Eggs
AMS : yogurt
Lunch: TBD (out day)
PMS : Nuts
DIN : Leftover Chili
BTS - S/F Ice Cream

BFst: Berries w/ yogurt and granola
AMS - Cheese and Nuts
Lunch: Butternut Squash Ravioli
PMS - 1/2 Protein Bar
DIN - Leftover Beans and Sausage
BTS - Popcorn

BFst: Waffle w/Peanut butter
AMS: Nuts
Lunch: TBD (out day)
PMS: Cheese and Crackers
DIN: Spaghetti Squash, Sausage and Peppers w/ Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce
BTS: yogurt

BFst: Cereal
AMS: Yogurt
Lunch: Soup
PMS: grapes and cheese
DIN: Sandwiches/Salads

BFst: Breakfast Casserole (recipe below)
AMS: Yogurt
Lunch: Soup
PMS: Nuts
DIN: Leftovers
BTS: Popcorn

Here's the recipe for breakfast casserole! It's an oldie but goodie, modified for a healthier lifestyle :-) I serve it with a side of fruit. For a different twist, you can also add sauteed veggies before adding the cheese. My husband and I like it like this, but the kids don't like the veggies so for the whole family I omit them. Enjoy!

Breakfast Casserole
6 regular servings (regular serving means for a person who has not had WLS. For WLS patients, this makes about 8-12 servings)

1 lb lean breakfast sausage

1/4 lb 75% low fat cheddar cheese, grated
6 eggs, beaten

3 T Fat Free half & half
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350
Spray an 8x8 glass baking dish with cooking spray
Press the sausage down into the pan, coming up the sides a bit (about 1/4 in). This will be your "crust".
Sprinkle the cheese on top of the sausage.
In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, half & half, and salt and pepper. Pour over sausage mixture.
Place baking dish on a sheet ban or cookie sheet to prevent spillage.

Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes or until no longer jiggly in the middle.

Friday, October 5, 2012

What To Do With All That Hair?!

First of all, I want to thank all of my wonderful SITStah's for making yesterday such a wonderful, fun and special day! I am so thankful to be a part of such a wonderful community dedicated to encouraging, uplifting  and supporting each other in the blogger world.

Alright, now that the mushy stuff is over . . .
I have a very interesting subject for today.

It's inevitable.
If you've had WLS, you're probably GOING to experience hair loss.
Mine has begun.
I wash my hair and come back with handfuls.
I brush my hair and my empty brush becomes full.
I continually find hair on my shoulders, back, chair, pillow . . .
It's a good thing I had more than enough to spare!

While it doesn't really BOTHER me so much, I do think it's been expedited a bit because of my almost-vegetarianism as of late. But I'm not overly worried. As I said, I have MORE than enough hair to go around. In fact, I've come up with some ideas of what to actually DO with some of this hair that has decided to make a mass prison break from my scalp!

What To Do With Lost Hair . . .

Make a doll wig.
Spin into yarn and make a hat.
Stuff a pillow.
Make a fake mustache and beard for Halloween.
Weave it into jewelry.
Glue it to your feet and dress up like a Halfling (Hobbit).
Spread it around your garden to deter pests.
Give it to Stewie Griffin so he can have "peuuuuubes . . ."

(That last one was courtesy my apparently twelve year old husband . . .)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Welcome SITStahs!!

Welcome Welcome WELCOME!!
I am SO excited you're here!
Here, let me show you around a bit . . .

I started this blog AAAAaaaall the way back in 2008 - you can read that first train wreck of a blog post here.

Before I continue, let me tell you about myself.

I have been overweight - okay, OBESE - almost my entire life. Food was my BFF - it was there when times were tough, when times were good, and when times were mediocre. When I got teased at school for being the fat girl, my favorite cookies were right there to hug and comfort me. THEY never teased me. By the time I graduated high school I was a whopping 210 lbs (give or take). But that's nothing . . .

Over the years I continued my unhealthy journey. By the time I had my first child I was 250. On my wedding day I was 270. And after the birth of my second child I was 310 lbs. That's when I made the decision that things were going to have to change and I joined Weight Watchers.

Unfortunatly, I am one of the small percentage of people that WW doesn't work for. I lost about 25 lbs and got stuck. I was at 285 for close to two years. NOTHING I did helped. Absolutely nothing. It was so frustrating. My weight was still high, my cholesterol was bad, my blood pressure and blood sugar were on the rise, and I was doing nothing but maintaining an unhealthy weight.

After much discussion with my doctor and husband and much prayer, I decided this year to have weight loss surgery (the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy). You can read all about that decision here and here.

Here I talk all about the good, the bad, and the mortifying. It's been a rough ride, but so far it's working - I've lost just over 50 lbs and feel and look better than I have in years. My ultimate goal is to reach 150 lbs or a size 10 - whichever comes first. I haven't been a size 10 in . . . well, EVER!

I hope you enjoy your visit to my little happy place on the internet! Thanks for visiting - hope to see you all soon!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Weekly Update Vlog: Accountability

I talk about accountability a LOT on this blog, and that's because I have my own personal issues with it! I have a hard time keeping myself accountable - as evident in the fact that I haven't blogged in a week and a half!! 

Remember last week's attempt at Menu Monday? Well, that didn't work out - at ALL. First off, I didn't stick to my menu. Second, I didn't follow through. Seriously, kids, I have issues.

Why is accountability important? Because without it, you have a lessened chance of long-term success. Holding yourself accountable means that you can go back and look at past mistakes to fix them, and not repeat them. Holding yourself accountable means that you are improving daily - training yourself, if you will, to a new, better, and more healthy lifestyle. And holding yourself accountable means that you are taking ownership for your own action and not blaming other people when you do something that sabotages your efforts.

As I say in my vlog: it is NOT easy always. But it is ALWAYS rewarding. 
Enjoy this week's update, and don't forget to like the video, subscribe to my You Tube page, and COMMENT! :-)