Sunday, May 3, 2015

Bright Line Eating

I just finished a 10 week bootcamp on “Bright Line Eating”.  The program was nominally 8 weeks, but Susan Peirce Thompson, the leader of the program, gave us a bonus 2 weeks free at the end, with more coaching calls and video modules.  It was great. I love the very supportive atmosphere of the group. And the program curriculum was excellent.  I’m on day 68 of following the plan exactly, which is a miracle.  The “bright lines” that you follow are 1) no flour, 2) no sugar, 3) 3 meals a day (no snacking) and 4) quantities (weighed and measured). Susan offers several food plans to choose from, e.g., for weight loss or maintenance, and for meat eaters and vegans; or you can modify them to follow your favorite program.  I was able to mesh her plan with Dr. Fuhrman’s 6-week plan (from Eat to Live) perfectly.  

Here is my tracked weight from the last 5 years:

I logged my weight whenever I started a diet and was using cronometer to track calories, so that’s why there are several downward trends followed by gaps.  Unfortunately every time I started a diet, I was heavier than the last time!  I ate mostly Whole Foods Plant Based (WFPB) during that time but I overate, and I also went off plan more and more frequently as time went on.  When I went off plan (eating vegan junk food mostly), I would want to eat everything that had been forbidden to me—my favorite vegan cookies, and salty, oily entrees—before going back on plan.  Boy did I feel awful doing that since I’m not used to any added salt, oil and sugar.  So, no wonder I gained weight. 

I’m so happy that Bright Line Eating (BLE) has worked for me (so far!).  I find it easy and I really enjoy the food.  All the popular leaders in the WFPB community say you don’t need to count calories or weigh and measure food to lose weight.  So several people I know have had negative reactions to the “weighing and measuring” of BLE, more so than the "no flour" and "no sugar," which surprised me.  I find the weighing and measuring easy-peasy:  You just weigh groups of foods, like your protein source, your cooked veggies, your salad and your fruit.  Sure, it feels silly to put back 1/4 oz of broccoli, but it’s also easy and involves no decisions or willpower, and that’s one of the big reason this program works.

I still have 10 lbs I’d like to lose, and I’m not ready to strike out on my own, so I’m planning to join the next bootcamp starting in June.  I’m hoping to get to my goal weight in July.  This and my exercise classes should increase my chances that I can do my dream backpacking trip in the Fall.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

potato fries and ketchup/BBQ sauce

I posted yesterday about making a new batch of ketchup/BBQ sauce.  So today I enjoyed potato fries with that.  It's very simple:  take a baked potato, slice and season it, and broil for 8-10 minutes.  I got this idea from Jeff Novick's Burgers and Fries DVD.

I chose different spices for each slice:

Here are the potato "fries":

I had them with steamed broccoli.  It was delicious.

chickpeas and bananas

It is a great day when I have some cooked chickpeas and a ripe banana and that happened yesterday, so I had chickpeas, banana and cinnamon for dinner (with steamed broccoli on the side).  It probably sounds crazy but I enjoy it as a treat.

Friday, February 13, 2015

ketchup/BBQ sauce

This is very similar to my recent ketchup recipe only it doesn't use dates, is easier to make, and has a little barbecue flavor.  If you want it sweeter, which is more traditional, add some dates when you blend it up.  I just find that overpowers the taste of my potatoes, which have their own luscious flavors and sweetness.  I added a little smoky flavor to this which is why its kind of a mix between ketchup and BBQ sauce.

Ingredients (I include exact amounts for no important reason, just because I measured them):

1 onion (159 g), cut into medium pieces (no need to chop finely as everything gets blended)
1 medium apple, peeled, sliced (151 g)
3 cloves garlic, peeled (21 g)
3 carrots, cut into medium pieces (197 g)
1 red bell pepper (148 g)
2 16-oz cans tomatoes
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp liquid smoke
chipotle powder to taste (I just use a sprinkle)

Strain the tomatoes and use the liquid for steaming.  Steam the onion, apple, garlic, carrots, bell pepper in the InstantPot (or any pressure cooker) for 3 minutes then let it slow-release.  Or steam on the stove for 20-30 minutes until the veggies are soft.

Combine everything in the blender including the steaming water.  I poured this into 6 1-cup bowls, froze 5, and am saving one for tomorrow when I make potato fries.  yum.

I make each bowl last for 2 servings of potato fries, so that's a whopping 36 calories per serving.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Freshening up lettuce

I learned this from a produce guy at the grocery store.  In Wisconsin in winter, our lettuce from California can use a little sprucing up.  I slice off the bottom (1/2" maybe?) of the lettuce head and put it in a bowl with water just to cover the bottom, cover with a plastic bag and refrigerate.  One day later, the lettuce head is considerably larger and the leaves are crispy!  Can you tell which is which from these pictures?

Food logs feb. 3 and 4

Yesterday's food was
Breakfast at 9 am before heading off to teach a class:  banana.  I wasn't hungry but knew I would be later.  snacked on carrots while fixing lunch
Lunch at noon:  baked sweet potato, big salad (lettuce, red bell pepper, flax and sunflower seed, 1/2 grapefruit, d'angou pear vinegar and 1 T blueberry juice)
Dinner:  greens from yesterday mixed with lentils from a few days ago;  big salad--same as lunch

Today's food is
Breakfast:  snacking on carrots and apple skins and raw cabbage while fixing food (and peeling apples obviously)
Lunch:  I took a baked potato, cut it up into pieces, tossed with smoked paprika, broiled in the oven for about 8 minutes, and added a serving of the lentils from a few days ago.  The potatoes smelled like barbecue as they toasted.  Pretty yummy for a quick meal!  See pictures.  Oh, then a big salad (lettuce, red bell pepper, flax and sunflower seed, 1 small orange, d'angou pear vinegar and 2 T blueberry juice).

Dinner will be:  chickpeas and banana and cinnamon (try it and see what you think!); cooked cabbage and apple.

1) I had to move my exercise time to attending a 4 pm class instead of 7:30 am like before.  This will take discipline but I just have to treat it like a religious requirement and the habit will take effect.  An unexpected benefit of this is that I won't be snacking in the afternoon because I don't like to exercise on a full stomach.  To fit my schedule and desires, I will extend my eating window to 10 hours.  I like eating something around 9-10 am, and dinner will be closer to 6 pm now and that's fine.
2) The co-op has had good bananas lately so I couldn't resist getting a few more.  That's why I cooked up the chickpeas because that's a nice treat to me, chickpeas and bananas.  I cooked up 1/2 lb of chickpeas and divided into 4 portions to go with my 4 bananas.
3) I cooked up 2 apples and a small head of cabbage and some cinnamon in the instant pot pressure cooker (1 minute then slow release--actually this overcooked it a bit, so either do 2 minutes and quick pressure release or 1 minute and maybe wait a few minutes and then release--but it's still good, hard to ruin it).  I put this into 3 bowls for the next few days.
4) I'm eating more beans than usual.  Normally I would just have 1 serving but I wanted the chickpeas and bananas, and the lentils are still hanging around.
5) I'm thinking next week I will make beans and rice of some sort.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

a different soup every day

Today I made a sort of "soup base" that I can season differently on each day to make a different topping.  I thought that would be a fun thing to do this week.  I cooked up 1/2 lb of lentils (black beluga from, a chopped onion, minced garlic, 1 Tbsp coconut aminos, a large peeled carrot--not chopped or cut--and strained liquid from 2 pints of tomatoes.  I put these in the instant pot pressure cooker and cooked for 8 minutes.  Then I took out the carrot and blended it with the tomatoes and 1 date, and added that back into the "soup"  (more like lentils and sauce).  So that is now my lentils and sauce base.  I dished this out into 7 1-cup bowls to eat this week and season however I want:  chili, Indian, curry, Italian, etc.

For my main meal around 1 pm, I seasoned one dish of the lentils with chili powder, cumin powder, smoked paprika and cilantro, and poured that over a baked potato.  It was delicious!

Other food today was
Breakfast:  cooked broccoli and cauliflower, raw carrots

Dinner:  I was going to make my usual salad.  Then I made some salsa for my partner to have during the Superbowl.  This was a pint of tomatoes with juice drained, a small chopped carrot, a portion of a red bell pepper, very little onion and garlic, a couple of slices of an orange and lime, all blended in a blender, with some cilantro added afterwards.  I didn't have any fresh cilantro so made use of some dried.

It tasted good so I decided to just dip my romaine lettuce leaves in that for my salad.  That was good.

I also ate the rest of the orange, it was a small cara-cara navel and tasted good.

I also finished off the broccoli and cauliflower and ate more raw carrots.  Dessert was some frozen banana slices and cherries.  This tastes like ice cream to me.  It was so good I had to have another bowl of frozen bananas and pomegranate seeds.