Thursday, July 07, 2011
The Good: Cellulite is shrinking! In particular, there's a dimple on my thigh that is smoothing out. While I doubt that I will have the super smooth skin of my teenage years, at least it is improving with weight loss.
The Bad: Stretch marks are etching valleys on my thighs. I think the cellulite looks worse, so this is the lesser of the two.
The Ugly: Candida Strikes Back!!! Well I was wrong about no consequences from the rum punch and pina colada. I have a sinus infection, lung infection, and thrush with a vengeance. I've been coughing and hacking the worst phlegm. The cats are impressed by my hacking.
It surprises me that it took this long to get ill after having sugary drinks. Does the sugar persist in the blood that long? Is this die off part 2? I was really baffled what they are feeding on. Last night I woke up with the dreaded clogged ear. I'm so scared of an ear infection, I don't want to take antibiotics. That will set back everything. With a lot of yawning, I was able to temporary relieve some pressure.
To tackle this:
1. Get sudofed (the real stuff) today to try and open my blocked eustachian tube. I wish I could avoid this, but I have to force that eustachian tube open, or I will be in a worse situation.
2. No dairy or fruit. I'm was really confused on what is feeding the animals. I haven't been eating any sugar or carbs. Looking at my food log, the only sugars I've been eating are dairy and fruit. It's a very minor amount, but it seems to be enough to feed billions of fungus. It pains me to do so, but I will have to cut back on my dairy (except yogurt), cheeses, and even my beloved blueberries until I'm feeling better.
3. Hydrogen peroxide mouth rinse. I discovered hydrogen peroxide is deadly to candida - it kills them on contact. I made a simple mouth rinse of a capful of hydrogen peroxide and a glass of water. Swished in my mouth for about 20 seconds, then spit out. Rinsed thoroughly with water. This worked wonders on my oral thrush problem. Within an hour, my tongue was perfectly clear of infestation.
4. Salt water and vinegar gargle. Grandma's home remedy. I always use this whenever I get a sore throat before I try anything else. At the start of a cold, this is sometimes enough to stop the spread. Unfortunately, this is a persistent infection this time.
5. Salt water nasal flush. Trying to flush these jerks out of my sinuses.
6. Hot steam showers. Loosen the phlegm in my lungs so I can expel it easier. Did you know mucus color indicates what method your immune system uses to wrap up and destroy invaders? Well, at the moment I have all colors of the rainbow. Yeah, I said it was ugly.
7. Probiotics and vitamins. Only exception to the no dairy is yogurt. After decolonizing with rinses, I need to put good bacteria back in, or else I will be in this cycle again. Taking my vitamin C, zinc and magnesium pills to boost white blood cell production. Also taking a probiotic supplement. Fish oil is a natural anti-inflammatory. Omega-3s reduces the inflammatory effect when the immune system is activated, allowing white blood cells to do their job without being a bull in a china shop.
8. Water. Water is our body's main detoxifying defense. Low water means low ammunition. Dehydration is a big factor in delaying getting better, or ending up in a clinic.
9. Rest. Took yesterday and today off from work. Napping with the kitties. I'll have to work over the weekend instead.
I'm off to do remedy #6 and #9. Wish me luck!
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
The fiance and I have been at odds the past few months. I've done tons of research, and I've determined that low carb diets are not the dietary villians I've been lead to believe they are. A long time ago, I scoffed at Atkins because I didn't really understand it.
I am not following Atkins, but Protein Power. I've been trying to educate the fiance about it, but he doesn't have the time or inclination to do the research and reading I have done. Still trying to get him to watch "Fat Head" so he will get a cliff notes version. But our schedules had made it difficult.
This past weekend we came to a head. He said he didn't want his food cooked in oil. I told him if he didn't like my cooking, he could make his own food. Sorry, I take after my spunky German grandmother. He doesn't like it, he can cook for himself. I work a full time job like he does. I'm not a short order cook, and I don't have time to prepare two different meals.
Last night I ate my fabulous Thai coconut chicken. He prepared some kind of chicken stew thing. I could tell he was just dying of envy. Mine looked (and tasted) better than his. He took a bite of mine and resigned.
He told me that he doesn't want a high fat diet. He said he is fine with cutting down on carbs and sugar, but he doesn't want to eat high fat. So we have agreed to compromise and settle on the South Beach Diet. I'm ordering the book, and I will make meals according to SBD. SBD is a moderate fat, moderate protein, low carb, low sugar diet. I'm still following the principles of Protein Power, and South Beach will still fit in just fine.
I told him I just don't want to eat a high carb/low fat diet. I can compromise on moderate fat and protein. I recognize when it's time to negotiate. South Beach will still fit fine within my Protein Power plan, so I'm happy to work within those parameters for our evening meals. I have more individual control for my breakfast, lunch and snacks. I do not make his breakfasts or lunches, so he can also do his own thing.
Well, we'll do something South Beach-ish. I am NOT ever drinking skim milk again. Ever.
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
I'm coco for coconuts!
I used half a can of coconut milk for the almond milk coconut shake from yesterday. I used the rest of the coconut milk to make a Thai coconut chicken.
In a marinading dish, mix together the following:
1 cup of coconut milk (about half a can of coconut milk from a 400ml can).
1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp hot chili flakes (optional)
1 tsp soy sauce
Couple drops of Worcestershire sauce
Add 2 chicken quarters into the marinade dish. Cover the chicken thoroughly. Let marinate 4-8 hours.
8 hours later:
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 large clove of garlic, diced
Heat an oven safe saute pan over medium heat. Add coconut oil when pan is hot. Add onions and saute until soft and translucent. Add chicken thighs to the pan. Pour extra marinade over the top of the chicken. Add chopped garlic to the top.
Cover the pan and let simmer for about 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 350F. Transfer saute pan to oven. If you don't have an oven safe pan, transfer the chicken to a baking dish.
Bake in oven uncovered until chicken is browned, about 30-45 minutes.
Garlic Green Beans side dish:
85g cut green beans per serving
1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
1/2 tsp anchovy paste or 1 mashed whole anchovy
1 large clove garlic, sliced
In a small fry pan, heat oil over medium heat. When hot, add green beans to the pan. Stir until green beans become bright green and slightly soft. Add anchovy paste and stir until dissolved. Add garlic and stir until you can smell the garlic, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Put the chicken on the plate. Make sure to top the chicken with pieces of onion. Serve with a couple wedges of fresh lemons.
Tuesday, July 05, 2011
Just another idea on how to formulate a protein shake to your individual tastes and needs.
This is a protein shake using almond milk, coconut, and protein powder.
As with the other, I want as low sugar a shake as possible. If I lower sugar, I have to raise the fat content in order to get an appropriate calorie content. I do that with the coconut milk.
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
3.5 scoops protein powder
2 cups water
4 tablespoons heavy cream
I put it in a container for quick breakfast/snacks in the week.
If you used only almond milk, you'd have a very low fat drink, but you'd have to find another way to raise the calorie content. For my personal tastes, I prefer my other shake with the full can of coconut milk. This one tastes a bit chalky to me, which comes from the almond milk and the protein powder. The coconut milk flavor is a lot more muted, for those who weren't a fan of coconuts. I think it still tastes better than a Slim Fast. But it is another variation on how you can tweak things to your personal preferences. I tend not to make fruit smoothies because the fruit sugars can go stratospheric quickly. My main goal for this kind of shake is low sugar, high fat fuel.
Also, the coconut milk is strategic, not just for flavor. The medium chain triglycerides unique to coconut milk provides fuel that can be burned immediately, just like glucose, without the glucose side efffect. Which makes it ideal for my morning workout shake.
Tuesday, July 05, 2011
Americans get so few vacation days. My European friends are always trotting off to fabulous places for weeks at a time. I would love to go some place like Australian one day, but with only 10 days of vacation, it's so hard to think about. My fiance is British. We seem to always be at work, and his family and friends always seem to be on vacation. We can't visit them as often because we can't get the vacation days. We are meeting his brother in Mexico in August. We'll be staying 9 days (weekends included) and his brother will be staying 18 days. Maybe that is what makes Americans generally successful, but his family and friends seem generally happier.
My fiance and I try to make the most of long weekends like this past holiday to squeak in a mini holiday. It really does help with the stress, and even just 3 days getting away. We don't often have a destination in mind, just shop around for the best deals in the best locations and run with it. The past weekend, we got a great rate for Fort Lauderdale, FL. Priceline.com - it works! We got a 4 star hotel at Motel 6 prices. Packed our bags and my sunhat, and off to Florida we went!
We did the good old road trip. It is a long drive, but driving an economy car helps. The gas was still loads cheaper than two roundtrip tickets to Miami. I got a lot of reading done.
One of the ways we make long weekends affordable (and diet friendly) is by eating at grocery stores instead of restaurants. We might splurge on one night out dining, but the bulk of our meals generally comes from a Whole Foods buffet. There is a Whole Foods almost anywhere we go (except where we live, strangely enough). My typical Whole Foods breakfast is a hard boiled egg, a piece of cheese and fruit, and a cup of coffee which costs $5. Much better than a greasy spoon breakfast at Denny's, or a McDonald's.
I had a few indulgences while we were out in about. We went for a day out in Key West on Sunday, where I had a pina colada. It was too sweet for my tastes, but that is par for the course. On Sunday, I had a rum punch on a most gorgeous day in South Beach.
You would think that sugary beverages like pina colada and rum punch would be diet busters. But I used a few metabolic tricks.
Remember these two hormonal responses control weight gain and weight loss:
1) Insulin is released by the pancreas in the presence of carbohydrates or sugar.
2) Glucagon is released by the pancreas when protein is eaten.
Both hormones are present at all times. The dominance of insulin determines whether fat is stored, and the dominance of glucagon means fat is burned.
Since having a sugary alcoholic beverage like a pina colada or rum punch increases insulin because there is an excess of glucose, it is a 'burn it or store it' response. A lot of people go to the beach, plop down a towel and don't move for hours. After the cocktail, we went for a long walk on the beach. I paddled around in the sea. We walked some more. Walking on the sand is very refreshing, and it is great exercise for the legs. Walking through sand offers more resistant than walking on pavement. And it's just plain more fun.
In order to offset the insulin, I made sure to eat enough protein to stimulate glucagon. Glucagon is only released in the presence of protein. Low protein diets end up imbalancing in favor of too much insulin.
We stopped for a glass of wine and a charcutterie sausage and cheese board at a harborside restaurant. For dinner, I ate rotisserie chicken and a salad at the Whole Foods buffet. In the Keys, we stopped at a dockside, outdoor seafood restaurant where I had the most incredibly fresh peel and eat shrimp. This shrimp was firm and delicious - never been frozen. It was amazing.
The net effect was, there was no penalty for my pina colada and rum punch indulgences. I only had one of each, so I didn't go overboard. There was a table next to us where these 20 something girls were pushing large carafes of the rum punch. I could not drink 4 or 5 of those rum punches and still fit into the bathing suits they were wearing.
On the return trip home, we stopped at beach near St Augustine to enjoy a beach picnic lunch.
The result is, my metabolic manipulations worked. It seems I can have an occasional indulgence and not set myself back. After a few months experimentation, I have pretty good idea of how much I can eat, what I can eat, and how to maintain. I didn't lose, of course. But I didn't gain.
So now it is back to losing. I've learned a few new tricks from my readings that I hope will pan out. I've got 6 weeks left until Mexico. Knowing what I do now, I'm sure that I can maintain when we go. I just need to continue losing fat to a weight I want to maintain.
The biggest indication of my success at the moment is the ever growing population of stretch marks.
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