Monday, July 18, 2011
I love chocolate. I've lived the last 6 years without sweets like cakes, cookies and pies. The one sweet indulgence I refuse to live without is chocolate. I eat mostly dark chocolates. I think dark chocolates have a complexity that I have learned to appreciate. When we go to ice cream parlors, I'll treat myself to two or three chocolate truffles.
Now I've found a new chocolate treat that simply feels like cheating. It's called "Sinless Raw Chocolate". It's not only sinless, it's simply heavenly.
It uses a natural zero calorie sweetener call erythritol. It occurs naturally in small quantities in many kinds of fruits. There is an extraction process, but there is no heat involved, so it is considered a raw food. It has been used in Japan and other Asian countries for decades. It is also a vegan chocolate.
There are about 136 calories per bar, mostly from the cacao butter.
Erythritol is a better type of sugar alcohol that does not raise insulin or blood sugar. It is absorbed by the body, but passes through urine unchanged. Most sugar alcohols pass through the intestines, where they can cause gastric upset.
Erythritol and xylitol sugar alcohols cannot be metabolized by bacteria that cause tooth cavities. Interestingly, it actually "starves" them.
How does it taste? It tastes just like sugar. I'm serious. It has zero bitter aftertaste. Stevia can have a bitter aftertaste. There is a very small amount of stevia in the ingredients, but you can't taste it. Sinless Raw Chocolate tastes decadent. It is so good.
They have 6 different flavors: Original, Almond, Coconut, Peppermint, Cherry and Orange. Which is my favorite? You can't ask me that. It's not fair. It's like asking me who is my favorite niece. I love them all equally.
It is a local brand to Charleston, SC. We only found it by chance when we were visiting Charleston. We were at a Whole Foods where they happened to be doing a demo. If you live near Charleston, you are a lucky bunch. Check their website for locations where to get it. If you aren't near the Charleston area, you'll have to order it from them. If it's your first time trying it, I recommend getting the 6 variety pack so you can try all the flavors.
Even though it's sinless, it is not calorie free, so try not to eat them all at once!
Friday, July 15, 2011
From yesterday's blog, I reported that I have gained about 5.59lbs of muscle in 2 months. I have not done a lot of heavy weight lifting, I've just done my normal activities.
I should note that this result is not typical. The reason that I am putting muscle on so rapidly is because my body remembers. I programmed my body to build this muscle at an earlier point in my life.
I had not always been overweight. I was pretty active with soccer and martial arts in my late teens and early twenties. I fell in love with martial arts in college. This is probably where I built the bulk of my muscle. I trained an hour or more, five days a week. I was pretty ripped.
In my late twenties, I stopped practicing martial arts and started eating a horrible diet. My body atrophied. Muscle disappeared, fat took over. I became obese.
When I started dieting, I was still eating the wrong things. I was eating way too little protein. 30-40g of protein is half of what I need for a strong body.
When I started eating 60-100g of protein per day, my body reactivated. With some resistance workouts, my body has responded very rapidly. It remembers how to build the muscle structure for my activities. This has been very rapid, and very atypical. It is only happening seemingly effortlessly because I have built this muscle before. My body is just rebuilding the structure I used to have.
If you have ever been athletic or fit at any time in your past, your body probably remembers, too. It will rebuild your athletic structure quickly with the right stimulus (nutrition and exertion). However, this also works in the reverse. If you have ever been obese or very overweight, your body also remembers how to restore your fat cells. And it will happen just as rapidly.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Yesterday morning I hit my original goal weight I set 4 years ago - 125.0lbs!
I didn't log it yesterday because I wanted to wait until today in case it was a fluke. This morning also 125.0! YAY
Goal weight accomplished!
Here was my progression. Sorry for the messy layout, best I can do with the Spark blog.
Waist: 33 inches
Hips 40.5 inches
Lean Mass: unknown
Weight: 134.4 lbs
Waist: 31 inches
Hips 40 inches
Lean mass: 86.14lbs
Weight: 131.7 lbs
Waist: 30 inches
Hips: 40 inches
Lean Mass: 86.64lbs
Weight: 129.5 lbs
Waist: 29 inches
Hips: 39 inches
Lean Mass: 88.1lbs (--- Muscle increase! ---)
Weight: 125 lbs (--- 10 pounds down! ---)
Waist: 28 inches (--- 5 inches down! ---)
Hips: 37.5 inches (--- 3 inches down! ---)
Bodyfat: 26.6% (9.12% down! ---)
Lean Mass: 91.75 (--- 5.59lbs gain! Even more muscle?! ---)
I'm stunned! After being stalled for so long, this feels surreal!
Well, now this is goal weight #1. I clocked my bodyfat at 26.6%, so I am on the high side of normal. I'm going to see if I can keep going!
My new goal #2 is roughly 22-24% bodyfat. Or 112-114lbs. Though if I keep putting on muscle at the rate I have been, my weight goal might change! I'm mostly concentrating on the bodyfat percentage for that reason.
My fiance is nearing 40, and he is concerned about the fat. He's not quite so willing to take a leap like I have. So we have compromised on South Beach-ish meals for our evening supper. I say South Beach-ish because I have made a few modifications to the South Beach recipes. I will not use fat-free sour cream, fat-free cream cheese, skim milk or lite coconut milk. I use the full fat versions. There really isn't a lot of difference with my cooking style versus South Beach other than that. One of the things we got into a big argument about is he said he didn't want me bathing foods in fat, which is ridiculous. I prefer to grill or bake almost all my food. I do not deep fry, I have never deep fried anything. I use a little bit of oil in my pans to keep food from sticking. I do not shallow fry or other. He has a tendency to over-exaggerate reality. (A rather annoying trait he inherited from my future mother in law!)
I managed to convince him to drop most of the carbs, so he isn't eating as much bread and crackers as he was before. So a week on the South Beach-ish diet, fiance has lost a pound.
At the moment, I am very low carb, about 30-40g per day. I've been keeping my sugars extremely low while fighting off my sinus infection. Don't want to feed the microbes. Microbes love sugar. So I am almost ketogenic. I've been losing fat even though I haven't been exercising much due to the sinus infection. As you can see from my stats, it hasn't consumed my muscle. I've been keeping protein and vegetable intake high, and very low sugar fruits. I've lost about 2 lbs of fat and probably water loss due to clearing inflammation, even while sick. Doesn't seem to have harmed my immune system any, I am almost fully recovered from my sinus infection. The key was keeping my sugars extremely low, lots of rest, and a probiotic/herbal treatment. I didn't have to take a single antibiotic, for probably the first time ever.
It is interesting to me to see how effective a low carb diet is compared to a standard low calorie diet. If my man were eating the same diet as me, he would probably be losing about 3-4lbs per week, almost double my rate. Men have a biologic advantage with increased testosterone and muscle mass when it comes to losing fat. Despite his biologic advantage, my diet advantage appears to indicate he is losing fat at a rate half of my rate. But if he's happy, that's good enough. I'm just thrilled he isn't eating so much bread and crackers.
We are on our way!
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
I didn't use to like grapefruits. I thought they were too sour. If I ate them, I would usually coat them with brown sugar or honey.
Over the years, I've adjusted my palate to less sugar. I eat refined sugars once in a blue moon. I use stevia as a zero calorie sweetener, but I still don't use it that often.
I used to eat a lot of oranges, but the high sugar content in oranges is causing me problems. I'm having to keep my sugar content very low at the moment. I've recently learned that the sweetness in oranges is much higher than it was 30 years ago. Modern oranges have been bred to have even more sugar.
Since I don't consume much sugar, my sweet tooth has disappeared. I've switched to eating grapefruits. Since my sugar palate is much lower than it used to be, I eat them raw, without brown sugar or honey. They taste mildly sweet to me, the way I like it.
Grapefruits have vitamin C and folate benefits, just like oranges. The sugar content is considerably less. Some varieties of grapefruit do have a small amount of sugar in them. A navel orange has about 18g carbs and 12g of sugar. A low sugar grapefruit variety has 9g carbs and near 0g of sugar. An orange's glycemic index is 44, whereas a grapefruit is 25.
It has lycopene, like tomatoes. There is also a potential anti aging agent called spermidine. Spermidine is necessary for cell growth and maturation. Spermidine levels fall as we age. Studies on mice showed they lived longer when fed medium amounts of spermidine.
There is a lot of hype about grapefruits being a magic 'zero calorie' food, which will help you lose weight. I think it helps lose weight because it is low sugar. Provided the brown sugar or honey are skipped.
Monday, July 11, 2011
I just read this testimonial on Mark's Daily Apple and I had to write.
This story sounds so much like mine, my pulse quickened. I read it thinking, "Dude! I know exactly what you're saying!"
His before and after picture. Umm...WOW. Hottie!!!! Average Joe to Heeeeeeellooooo!
Two months ago, I got fed up. For 4 years, I followed a healthy diet and had absolutely nothing to show for it. I started at 135 4 years ago, July 2007. In May 2011, I was still 135.
It was ridiculous. I combed through my extensive food logs, looking for the answer. Low fat? Check. Whole grains? Check. No junk food? Check. Homemade meals? Check. No processed foods? Check.
I got a lot of advice from experts and well meaning people, telling me to be patient and stick with the plan.
4 years? No. I was done.
It was excruciatingly unfair. I ate healthy. I kayak, bike, hike, dive, swim, rollerblade - almost anything outdoors, I do. I worked out diligently 30-60 minutes at the gym 5 days a week.
So why did I look like a couch potato?
My last doctor's physical said I was in exemplary health. My doctor said I had the heart stats of an athlete.
So why didn't I look like an athlete?
Maybe if I had been inactive and eaten a bad diet, I would never have questioned it. But I was doing everything right on paper, and not even an iota of change. No, something was wrong.
Some friends and acquaintances said if I was healthy, why worry about a few extra pounds? Being healthy is all that matters.
Two months ago in May, I said, so what? It is vain. I own it. I want it. I want the rocking bikini body.
I bought a bikini that I intend to wear for a vacation in Mexico in another month.
I put it on, and I was angry. I looked terrible. All the hard work eating right, tracking calories, exercising, and I still looked like a freaking blob.
This bikini kicked my butt in gear. It is vanity. I admit it. Vanity drove me to look for another answer. I want to look great in it. I make no excuses, or apologies.
If someone ran into me on the street looking like this 2 months ago, they'd think I just needed to eat better and exercise more, and maybe I'd look a little better.
2 months ago, I got fed up. I got angry that the experts seemed to be accusing me of not following it correctly. "You're exercising too much." "You're exercising too little." "Are you sure you're staying within your calorie range and not cheating?"
I had done what they asked. I even defended it to others as the right way.
I got to thinking that maybe my diet was still my problem, even though I was following the advice.
I found the paleo diet, then Protein Power. They both said that grains and starchy carbs were the problem. They said dietary fat was not the problem.
I took a leap of faith and decided to try an experiment on myself. I would ignore the experts and try it.
I first took a very tentative toe dip. From my food logs, I was eating about 160-200g carbs per day. I decided to cut my carbs in half to 80g-100g per day. I limited my grain or starch portion to dinner only. I didn't want to give up yummy bread, potatoes and rice entirely. I ate mostly vegetables and fruit for carbs.
I figured if there was anything to this theory, I should see something happen. If not, then I figured no harm would come from a one or two week experiment.
Oh boy did something happen. There was definitely movement on my scale, body measurements, and the way my clothes fit.
At that point, I was willing to ditch the bread, potatoes, and rice to once a week, rather than once per day.
I am on week 12 of when I started seriously tracking my stats so I could nail down what was going on. I am on week 8 since I changed my diet to a low carb paleo type diet.
Here is an example of the result so far.
There is muscle definition starting to show up, and the "overhang" from my arms are shrinking.
I have done no extra weight lifting or strength training other than my normal routines I have always done. That muscle has always been there from all my activities like kayaking and swimming. You just couldn't see it because of all the fat.
So now I can see my muscles emerging. It is energizing. The athlete body that I have always wanted has actually always been there. I just needed the right key to unlock it.
I ain't stopping now. My body is telling me I am doing the right thing, not the experts.
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