Back in the game!

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I only lost 5 lbs in the last month, because I’ve been enjoying life a little too much on this diet. I hit that 250 lb mark and decided to have a little fun because that was my first goal, and I hit it much, much sooner than I ever hoped I would.

I did not go off the deep end, but the fat content of the food I was eating was high, and I was enjoying 12-14 or so ounces of meat a day instead of the 8-10. I stayed in ketosis, but my calories per day were edging up toward 1200, which as I’ve said before, is my “maintaining” calorie count. And I must admit my veggie intake went down a bit.

I had THE appointment with my heart surgeon on the 24th, and he said “let’s do it”. I will be making the actual scheduling in the coming week, and it will be sometime in October. This is because I have lots and lots of travel plans for the summer I refuse to miss out on.

What got me back on track with the diet was going to lunch AND dinner the day of the appointment - spent the day with my hubby. I ate BREAD at lunch… I make no excuses. I was doing a little panicking about the surgery, everything the doc told me would happen - it is open heart surgery after all…And I had some comfort food. All well and good, it wasn’t that much. Dinner … ugh!

Let me back up and say that again, my veggie intake had gone down… I wasn’t getting enough fiber lately, if you get my drift… Then I ate a HUGE dinner, and ate things I know threw me out of ketosis and I stuffed myself. I have not over eaten since starting this diet 4 months ago. Honestly, I have reasons it happened… I was totally starving by the time we got to the restaurant, it was a ‘grill your own meat’ thing and my hubby kept making me these really awesome little steakettes…. I ate potatoes… I went way off diet.

And I PAID for it! Gas cramps by the time I’m getting ready for bed, so sleep sucked all night. And then up in the morning with dry heaves. Oh yeah, I was in bad shape, at first thinking I got food poisoning. Nope, just too much food! And then ALL DAY the next day I felt like I’d been hit by a truck! I felt heavy and lethargic and just downright gross… And I know that’s from the carbs. And now, a day later, I have rib aches from the dry heaves. Oh yeah, so much fun.

See, I maintain I don’t feel guilt about eating off diet. But when I feel like this, I think, I KNOW, it was so not worth it! It was one day, but it got me back in the right frame of mind. 2 days now, I’m TOTALLY 100% back on IP plan, and I will stay there for the next 30 days until my brother’s wedding. That day all bets are off!

As of today, exactly 4 months on plan, I weigh 245 lbs. That’s a total loss of 37 lbs so far. I’m hoping to be down to 235 by the wedding.

My goal is to be down to 220 by the surgery (6 months from now) and I set the easy goal of only 25 lbs from now because this IS a summer of travel, and though I “plan” to stay OP, I am not 100% sure I can maintain it constantly. I’d like to be down to 200, but as long as I make 220, I will feel good. This is just reality in my mind. I learned my lesson on spring break. I know I can maintain while traveling, since I did that on spring break and was around really bad food. At least the traveling I will be doing this summer is to visit relatives, and they’ve all been WARNED not to get weird about my strange eating habits, and to not take any offence to me supplying most of my own food. Everyone I’m related to COOKS, but most of it isn’t stuff I should be eating…probably ever, let alone while trying to lose weight. I am SO going to miss my Aunt Millie’s pies!!!

Puree Soup

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One of my favorite soups growing up was my mother’s broccoli/cheese soup.

Since broccoli is higher in net carbs, I try to eat less of it than I’d like. I LOVE broccoli. And since you’re not supposed to eat cheese on IP… Well, I came up with a…wouldn’t call it a close second, because it really tastes nothing like my mother’s broccoli/cheese soup…but it’s got the same texture, and I really enjoy it.

I’ve made it a few times now with a few different ingredients, but this one’s the simplest, and to me, the tastiest.

1 head cauliflower
1 large onion
2 cups raw spinach (the more you add, the greener the soup)
1 quart beef broth

Chop up the onion and cauliflower and cook it till very very soft in the broth. Seasoned only with a little garlic powder and black pepper. Add in the spinach and when it’s done, pull from the stove. Either using a blender or an immersion blender, blend until smooth and creamy.

I top mine with about 1 tsp feta for just a little zip. I put cheddar on my daughter’s and she thought it was “the best!”

Without the cheese for a 2 cup serving: 56 calories; 4 protein; 1 fat; 11 carb; 3 fiber (8 net carbs)

Egg Drop Soup

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I am not going to post a picture, because there’s something unappealing about a picture of this dish, but it tastes soooo yummy I barely got any! My hubby was eating it constantly since I made it.

Super duper easy!

Cooked down bones of one chicken. Skim off any fat and remove bones. Add 2 Tblsp low sodium Better Than Bullion and fill the 6 qt pot about 2/3 full with additional water.

Thinly slice one whole onion. Dice up 1 head romaine. Slice a whole bunch of mushrooms (the more the better in our book!) Chop up a few sticks of celery. Cook this till veggies are tender.

Season carefully with pepper, garlic powder and soy sauce. Let this simmer for about 15 min so the flavors soak through.

Now, you can either use egg whites or whole eggs. I used whole eggs on this last batch. For 6 quarts, 3 large eggs is plenty.

Bring the soup to a softly rolling boil. Beat the eggs in a mug until they are smooth. I use my immersion blender. Then, gently, gently slowly pour the eggs into the boiling soup. The boiling will break up the egg and you have your egg “drops.” Let cook another 5 min or so, and serve. Keeps well in the fridge for a few days.

Rutabaga Beef Soup/Stew

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Okay, not sure this picture does it justice, but this is very yummy. For a 2 cup (very generous) serving, it comes out to (this is approximate depending on the veggies used) 130 calories; 11 protein; 3 fat; 15 carbs; 5 fiber (for 10 net carbs). This is a picture of my very full 6 quart stock pot. (12 servings!)

Either this is a veggie meal with extra protein, OR I use Nectar unflavored protein powder and turn it into my protein lunch. Sometimes if I’m in a hurry, I’ll use a packet of IP soup to add the protein, but that really changes the flavor, of course, and ups the sodium a LOT.

Of course, you can use any veggies you want that aren’t “illegal” on the diet.

For this particular pot, I used some marked-down beef ribs and cooked it down yesterday with just pepper and a dash of salt in the water. I let it sit overnight in the fridge and skimmed off the hardened fat this morning, so this is virtually fat-free. I de-boned the ribs and chopped up the meat and threw it back in the broth.

Put it back on the stove and start chopping up and throwing in veggies. For this pot, I used 1 - 28 oz can of diced (make sure it’s sugar free) tomatoes with juice, 1/2 a rutabaga (I use all the leftover veggies in the fridge), the center leafy parts of the celery stalks, a bunch of green onions (because I was out of regular onions), 1 head of romaine, and I had about a half of a big bag of spinach that was wilting, so I threw that in too. For seasoning I just added a bit more pepper (I love pepper) and a little bit of beef bullion because all the veggies tend to make the beefy flavor too light. Does not need extra salt, because the tomatoes had sodium. Then I put the lid on and set it to simmer and let it go for about 3 hours so all the flavors cook and the veggies (including the rutabaga) get nice and soft. Toward the end I use about 1 tsp of xanthan gum sprinkled very lightly over the top then mix it in so that it has a slightly thickened stew texture. Sometimes I just leave it as soup. Either way, this is not just a diet food, the hubby and kiddo love it too!

Milk Substitute at it’s BEST

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I’ve never been a big milk drinker on its own, but I love milk in my hot chocolate, and so many of the protein mixes would taste so much better if they were made with milk. Also, pouring water on my IP alternative cold cereal is just gross. Come on! Right?

So, as with everything else, I went in search of an alternative that’s low carb and lactose free. Though I’ve not followed the 100% lactose free on this diet (using some extra-sharp cheddar every now and then for flavor, and some feta on my salads or in my salad dressings) I try not to go overboard and keep it very small.

So, the first thing I tried was Almond Breeze. I of course got the unsweetened kind. The original tastes pretty nutty and nothing like milk. I used it in my coffee, and that was about it. Ten I tried the same brand of the unsweetened vanilla. It’s, again, very nutty, but then I’m thinking, what do I expect since it’s made of almonds, but the vanilla was pretty good when mixed in with the chocolate pudding or hot chocolate protein mixes. I couldn’t bring myself to put it on the cereal, though.

Well, last week I was in the health food section of the grocery store, going to buy another Almond Breeze, when I spotted Silk Pure Almond Unsweetened Vanilla in the cooler section. Hmmm. I’ve had Silk a time or two, and know it’s creamy, but that was long before I needed to stay away from milk products. Anyway, the Silk is 10 calories less per cup (a plus!) at only 30 calories for 8 oz. It is mostly fat (making it not IP compatible) but it only has 1 carb but also 1 fiber, meaning zero net carbs!

Ohhh it’s GOOOD! And it has the SAME amount of Calcium as a cup of skim milk!!!

I got it home and opened it and tried a taste. No, it’s not milk. But it’s not nutty either. It has a nice, light vanilla flavor that goes with everything! And this weekend, my breakfast treat was a bowl of IP cinnamon cereal with the Silk on it. YUM! Yum! YUM!

I have about a cup a day since I got it. 4 oz in my Nectar Vanilla Bean Torte and instant coffee lattes. 4 oz in my pudding/shakes. I add another 4 oz of ice water to both, but the Silk adds just the right creaminess that’s so good. And it makes the BEST IP alternative hot chocolates!

Since I live in Canada, I bought it here, but on my trip to Washington yesterday, I found it in a regular grocery store there, so it’s widely available.

Bella Vita Pasta Sauce

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I bought some Bella Vita Pasta Sauce from Netrition.com a few months ago, but really never got around to trying it. I was pretty sure it would taste like…you know… since almost everything else pre-made like it I’ve tried gagged me. (Walden Farms)

Last night I had a HUGE pasta craving. I made some Miracle Noodles with baked chicken breast chopped up, and used the Bella Vita on it.

YUM!!! The fat calories are high, but it’s low carb, which as you know is what I am more concerned with than fat, especially when giving in to a craving.

For 1/2 cup ( but I only used 1/4 of a cup for my 1 cup of noodles) 70 calories; 5g fat; 6g carbs; 2g fiber (4 net carbs).

I usually make my own homemade sauce, but I was in a “mood” yesterday and didn’t want to work. This was a GREAT tasting substitute for my homemade stuff.

Don’t Freeze Miracle Noodles

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I use a lot of Miracle Noodles and other Konjac noodles I get from the Asian market.

I found out today DO NOT FREEZE them.

I made a huge pot of chicken soup with the noodles a couple of weeks ago and froze half of it.

Today I thawed it and added some veggies. As I’m eating it, I’m trying to figure out what this hard stringy stuff is. It’s… I don’t even know how to explain it. Almost like jerky but very thin pieces. Shoelace leather?

I realized it was the konjac noodles. Not pleasant! Glad there were only a few in there.

Spinach Egg Bake (Because it’s not really quiche.)

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This is a recipe I found on the Atkins website when I was doing Atkins, so I tried to fix it to IP, but I will state right now there are non IP products (dairy) in it, and the fat is high, so if you’re a die hard IP follower, stop reading now. I don’t want to upset anyone. I had this for a treat, knowing it won’t throw me out of ketosis because the carbs are low. I only had one piece, and let the fam gobble the rest.

1 - 10 oz pkg frozen chopped spinach (squeezed dry)
1 bunch Swiss chard (or a second package of spinach
4 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 onion
1 Tblsp minced garlic
2 Tblsp olive oil (or a little less)
1 cup fat-free cottage cheese
1 cup egg whites
1 oz sharp chedder (shredded)
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
other seasonings such as rosemary, thyme, dill (to your preference)

In a large skillet or wok, cook onions, mushrooms and swiss chard in olive oil until everything is wilted.
Remove from pan and add the dried spinach.

Place in freezer to chill while you prepare eggs.

In mixing bowl add egg whites and cottage cheese, salt, pepper and seasonings.
Beat until slightly frothy and cottage cheese is smooth.

Add to the bowl of veggies and mix with a spatula. Scoop into 9×9 baking pan (well greased).

Bake about 35 min until set. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake another 10 min till cheese is melted. Drain any oil/water off and let set about 10 min before serving hot. Rewarms very well too!

Makes 6 good size servings. Each serving is aprox: 149 cal; 15 protein; 7 fat; 8 net carbs.

Mushroom Cheese Steak YUM!

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I wanted something different tonight. It was supposed to be family night out, but the kiddo had plans, so I pulled a 1 lb steak out of the freezer and tried to figure out what to do with it. I just stocked up on my veggies yesterday, so I have a lot…

This is sooo easy and the only real time consumption is slicing the meat and veggies. It went from raw to served in about a half hour. And it was a huge hit with the hubby too! He got a real bun. I ate mine on a portabella bun. And there’s enough left over that the kiddo can have one when she comes home if she wants :-)

Recipe:

1 lb beef - I used a bottom round steak
1 large sweet red pepper
1 large sweet green pepper
1 large onion
powdered beef bullion
garlic (minced or powder) to taste
black pepper to taste
1 slice of cheese per sandwich. (I used my Go Veggie! non dairy)

Slice meat into strips. Season with garlic and pepper. Fry in olive oil until lightly browned. Remove from pan and set aside.

Slice all veggies into strips. Fry in the pan with the meat juice and oil. Add more garlic and pepper. Sprinkle on a little bullion for extra flavor and mix in well. Cover and let “wilt” a bit.

When the veggies are as soft as you like them, throw the meat back in and stir it up until the meat is re-heated.

Serve on your choice of “bun” with one slice of your favorite cheese on top of the meat under the bun lid. YUM!

Served on portabella and eating 1/2 of the cooked meat:
Aproximately 500 cal. 50 protein. 18 fat. 19 carb. 10 fiber. (9 net carbs!)

Greek Salad Dressing

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I thought I’d post this recipe I came up with last week and LOVE LOVE LOVE. The hubby was pretty happy with it too. It’s not as “good” as the store bought stuff, but it takes away the craving. And I needed to change it up from my Dijon dressing I’d been eating for the last 6 weeks.

1 pk Good Seasons (or comparable) Salad Dressing Mix
1 Tblsp minced garlic (I use the kind you buy in a big jar, packed in water)
1 Tblsp dried oregano
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 Tblsp crumbled feta cheese
1/4 tsp xanthan or guar gum to thicken it a little

Mix up with an immersion blender until smooth then let set at least 2 hrs before serving for the flavors to blend well.

No, the feta is not IP, but one batch of dressing made over a dozen salads, so the amount you’re getting is negligible, and you could leave it out. But I like the little zip it gives.

Also, I’d prefer this made with red wine vinegar, but that’s not IP either.

This is a recipe I will make even after I’m off the diet.

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