Thursday, September 25, 2008
So…we have been baptized by fire this week…
Scene from a confession…
It was early evening on a Friday night. Jenna and Katie were exhausted from a long day of work and still needed to stop by the grocery store to pick up a few groceries to make their special treat dinner. They wandered silently through the grocery store, letting an awkwardness quietly build between them. The two roommates were rarely apart and were quick to share every detail of their lives with each other. There was something hidden in the silence, something both of them feared to say to the other.
They checked out and walked to the car. They silently bundled their groceries into the back seat and Jenna responsibly returned their cart to its home. They paused at the doors, Katie at the driver, Jenna at the passenger and their eyes locked - the unsaid still hanging like a tightrope between them. Jenna timidly caved first, “I have to confess, I ate a cheez-it!” Katie breathed a sigh of relief and said quickly, never breaking her gaze from Jenna’s, “I have to confess, I ate a cheez-it too.” They both smiled and shared a silent moment only the very deepest friendships understand; a moment that said their covenant for these forty days was not broken and the other was forgiven.
The scene above is the event as it actually happened. Remember the treat I mentioned giving my dogs when they come inside from the back yard? Well, Jenna and I both absentmindedly popped a Cheez-It in our mouths, at different points in the week, after administering the treat to our pups. It wasn’t conscience, something we both do out of habit. After the cheez-it incident, oh, what a sad story! The sweet Cheez-It lullaby sung to me and called after me all week long - along with many others - this was my food craving week, for sure! To top it all off - I taught a cooking school Saturday and Jenna and I worked a bridal show on Sunday (right next to a caterer with yummy pork crostini and gorgonzola & walnut bruschetta, a cake company, and the famous Doubletree Hotel cookies - my fav!). Almost too much for the juice fast girls to endure…almost…
A Note from Katie:
So, this week went well in the weight loss department - I am down another 6 lbs, bringing my total weight loss to 19.8 in three weeks - woo hoo! That's not without saying that this week has been very difficult for me. I had a lot of food cravings this week: macaroni and cheese, sushi, chocolate covered almonds - just to name a few. Besides the cheez it incident - I was able to overcome - and that wasn't really an issue of self control, but more of not being aware of what I was doing. Being healthy - body, mind, & spirit is worth way more to me than a peanut butter cookie EVER will be. I had many obstacles to overcome this week - cooking school, dinner training classes, bridal show, numerous dinner invites - just to name a few. For the first time in my life, I was given the opportunity to exercise my practically non-existent self control skills. The best way to develop a skill is to place yourself in situations where you can practice using that skill - I guess I can check off self control form my "virtues to acquire" list now - so, that's definitely some good news!
This week, we experimented with some juice and puree vegetable soups - we were surprised to find out we could only drink about ½ cup to 1 cup of soup before feeling very, very full. Good news - that means our stomachs have shrunk to a normal size. Yippee! Keep reading for Jenna's update and our favorite soups of the week
Katie's Quote of the Week: "Such a small thing to keep from my destiny." ~ Pastor T.D. Jakes
A Note from Jenna:
So-this was also my week of food craving-and let me just say, when it hit, it hit hard! I have of course wanted food from the beginning, but on this past Thursday my craving kicked into high gear. I am working on my Master's degree in Biblical Studies right now and when I was in class on Thursday night, as my teachers were talking, I could not even concentrate, I just kept thinking: "I want macaroni and cheese - and a chicken quesadilla- oh, and a hamburger - really anything solid that is not good for me sounds sooooooo great." By the end of my fantasy foodcapade, class was over and I had no idea what I supposedly just learned. Let me also explain that I am a preschool teacher and every single day my kids bring in their snacks and lunches. I have to watch them eat while I sip my yummy juice. They bring in turkey sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, and my favorites, as you know, Cheez Its. Really though, many of the juices we are drinking taste great, but I'm really looking forward to the day when they are complimented by some solid food.
So, Katie may have mentioned this, but this past Sunday was our half way mark. Katie and I celebrated this day by working at a bridal show, surrounded by caterers, cake companies, and yes, the coveted Double Tree Hotel cookies. Every time the caterer next to us lifted the lid on his food, we were able to smell a tantalizing whiff of food. To our surprise, with each other's support, we made it through without a problem. We just kept reminding ourselves that we only have 2 weeks and 4 days left. We can do this and we will do this!
Jenna's Quote of the Week: "Each time I crave macaroni and cheese, I just tell my body that it has 25 years of mac & cheese all stored up in there, so, it can feast on that for a few more weeks." ~ Jenna Blais, Day 15.
FOOD CRAVINGS 101 (http://www.annecollins.com/we
A food craving is more than a preference for particular foods, or an impulse to buy certain snacks. A food craving is an insistent desire for a type of food (eg. candy, pizza) which we often go to some lengths to satisfy.
Cravings for high-sugar or high fat foods are especially distracting for anyone on a calorie-controlled diet or who is struggling with a weight problem. Fortunately, with a little forethought and planning, it is not too difficult to curb such cravings, although the more support you can get when doing this, the better.
The general consensus among most doctors and dietitians is that cravings stem from a complex combination of emotional, hormonal and biochemical factors. Blood sugar imbalance is seen as the foundation for most cravings, but emotional and hormnal factors are also contributory factors. A small number of cravings can be the result of a food allergy - we crave the very food to which we are allergic! - and a few people still believe that we crave certain foods because our body is "telling us" to remedy a specific nutritional deficiency, although in view of the fact that most of our cravings tend to be for less healthy high-sugar or high-fat foods, this view is now less popular.
The most common emotional or psychological triggers for food cravings include: stress, depression, boredom and a general need for comfort. In severe cases, cravings can lead to binge eating and other types of eating disorders. If your yearning for certain foods is causing episodes of uncontrolled bingeing, you must seek help from your doctor.
The fact that the strongest food cravings occur in the week prior to menstruation, or during pregnancy, suggests that hormonal swings have an influence on this type of urge to eat. Also, it's interesting that men - who typically are less affected by hormone imbalance than women - tend to develop fewer cravings.
Low Blood Sugar (Blood Glucose)
A major trigger for food cravings is low blood sugar. This is typically caused by lack of food as a result of going too long between meals/snacks, or following very low calorie diets.
Blood Sugar Imbalance
Studies indicate that people with cravings, especially regular dieters, often have an underlying blood sugar imbalance: meaning, their blood sugar levels fluctuate too much because they eat too much of the wrong type of carbohydrate. Fluctuations in blood sugar can cause cravings, water retention, excessive thirst and mood swings.
How To Reduce Your Food Cravings
Although there is no one-size-fits-all remedy for controlling cravings, most of these urges to eat can be reduced by stabilizing your blood sugar levels. To achieve this, try these healthy eating tips.
1. Eat At Regular Intervals During The Day
If you skip meals (eg. breakfast) or go too long without eating, your blood sugar levels will fall too low, which is a perfect recipe for food cravings, overeating and even binges. Allowing 3-4 hours between meals/snacks is a sensible maximum for women, although 3 hours is better. Men typically can safely wait 4-5 hours. And you don't need to eat much: even a single oat-cake can be enough between meals to keep eating urges at bay. As well as maintaining stable blood glucose levels, regular eating helps your metabolism to burn calories at an efficient rate. Finally, studies show that regular eating helps to reduce cravings associated with Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS).
2. Do Not Reduce Your Calorie Intake Below A Safe Level
Diets containing fewer than 800 calories a day should ONLY be followed under medical supervision. Weight loss diets with fewer than 1000 calories are not recommended and even those with 1100 calories should only be followed for a short period of time (eg. 14-days). If you want to lose weight, aim for a minimum of 1200 calories, and choose nutrient-dense foods (with high nutritional content) rather than empty-calorie foods/drinks (eg. candy, ice-cream, regular sodas, alcohol).
3. Choose Low-GI Carbs For Optimum Blood Sugar Control
During digestion, the carbohydrate in our food is converted to glucose and then absorbed into the bloodstream to provide energy. Unfortunately, certain types of refined carbohydrate (those with a high-GI value) are absorbed too quickly and raise blood sugar levels too high causing what's known as a "sugar-spike". This in turn causes the body to "overreact" and depress blood glucose levels below normal. This yo-yo effect causes all sorts of problems for our mood and appetite, and is a perfect recipe for cravings. To avoid these problems your daily diet should include more low-GI carbs and fewer high-GI ones. Eating less high-GI carbohydrate definitely helps to reduce cravings for sweet things. Here are some specific tips.
~Reduce your intake of refined white flour, heavily processed or high sugar foods.Examples include: fluffy white breads/bread snacks, regular sodas, most regular breakfast cereal, sweets, candy, cookies and cakes.
~Increase your intake of high-fiber foods and whole grains.Good food choices include: (1) vegetables, beans and fruit. Note: although fruit contains fruit-sugar, it comes wrapped in fiber which makes it perfectly acceptable when eaten in the form of whole fruit. Fruit juice has a higher GI-value because it contains very little fiber but all of the sugar. (2) whole grain cereals, such as oats, rye, basmati or brown rice, pasta and whole wheat breads/bread snacks.
4. Too Much Added Sugar or Salt Can Make Cravings Worse
If "healthy" foods like fruit, vegetables, beans and oats seem too bland to you, chances are your diet includes too many additives, like sugar or salt. Typically, the biggest culprits are processed or refined foods (eg. canned soup, breakfast cereal, soy sauce, candy, sweets, cakes, cookies, ice cream, regular soda). Since overconsumption of these foods can aggravate cravings, it makes sense to reduce your intake. At the same time, do not add extra sugar or salt to the food on your plate.
5. Reduce Your Intake of Drinks That Act As Stimulants
According to some experts, stimulants (eg. sugar, caffeine in tea/coffee, caffeinated soft drinks) can cause fluctuations in blood sugar, and thus should be avoided or at least consumed in moderation. Switch to herbal teas, spring water and diluted pure fruit juices.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH BISQUE
UTENSILS: Food Processor or Blender, Juicer, paring knife, 8" Chef Knife, 6 qt Roaster
(Note: all vegetables should be organic)
1 Large Butternut Squash, peeled & cubed
2 Golden Yukon Potatoes, peeled & cubed
1 Sweet Potato, peeled & cubed
½ Small Sweet Onion, sliced
1 Red Delicious Apple, peeled, seeded, and cubed
3 Garlic Cloves
½ Stalk of Celery
2 Sweet Potatoes
1 Butternut Squash
1 Red Delicious Apple
1 Handful Parsley
1 tsp Organic Black Pepper
1 packet no sodium loose Chicken Bouillon (or 2 depending on your tastes)
1 Bay Leaf
2 Cans Coconut Milk, drained (coconut meat removed)
Prepare all of your vegetables that need to be cooked and place in the 6 qt with ¼ cup of water. Cover, whistle open, and cook on Medium heat. When the whistle sounds, close the whistle and turn the burner down to low. Allow to cook 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are very soft. (Note, these are instructions meant for waterless cookware; if you do not have waterless cookware, submerge vegetables in water to cook - cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour until all vegetables are very soft)
Juice all of the vegetables in the juicing section.
Place the cooked vegetables in a food processor and puree. (Note: if you do not have waterless cookware, reserve the vegetable stock for use later)
Place the juice, drained coconut milk, and pureed vegetables back into the 6 qt. Add the spices and stir well. Add water until the soup is your desired consistency. Add seasoning to taste.. (Note: If you do not have waterless cookware, use the reserved vegetable stock instead of water)
Bring to a simmer on medium heat. Cover, whistle turned to "V" for vent, and reduce temperature to low. Cook for 30 minutes and serve.