Chocolate Mutiny

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Chocolate had always been my achilles heal. I didn’t even discriminate. Chocolate can be in cookies, cakes, cupcakes, candy bars, cake pops, I don’t care.  I want it. Half a year ago I decided to detox from sugar all together and quit cold turkey. I had no choice. I was an addict, and there was no limiting myself. Once I had sugar, it was on. One time my daughter and I made chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing from a box. I don’t know what happened. Maybe I blacked out, because in an hour’s time, half of them were gone. After some detective work we came to the conclusion that I was the perpetrator. Yep it was that bad.

After the initial melt down of detox, the cravings were manageable. I really don’t crave sugar that much anymore. That’s both good and bad. I used sugar and chocolate as a reward and crutch, and now it’s kind of sad because what do I do now? I have to find a new way to reward myself or deal with stress, but that’s a whole other blog post.

So, today when I walked into the Randalls grocery store, I was surprised when my thoughts instantly darted to the idea of getting a chocolate iced donut. Now where did that come from? You might say to yourself, “If I’m going to eat those calories I’m getting a real donut from Shipley’s or Krispy Kreme. Might as well do it right.” Oh no my friend. Try one from Randall’s if you have one near by. You will be shocked. That’s where it’s at.

Thankfully, after peering longingly into the donut case – it was really getting kind of creepy from an outsider’s point of view- I walked away. In my infinite wisdom, I rationalized with myself. If I was going to be bad, then how could I still have chocolate, but minimize the damage? Great thinking! My brain is learning to think myself out of unhealthy situations. I hadn’t had a chocolate cake pop from Starbucks in forever, and I know they are 160 calories, so why not do that? Score! So I go up the elevator – yep lucky me there’s a Starbucks right upstairs- and asked for a chocolate cake pop. Guess what? They were out!! I was horrified. After all of that? Wow. I was speechless. The barista tried to help me by telling me they still had birthday cake pops available. But you know that feeling when you have your mouth ready for something and you can’t have it? Where nothing else is good enough? Once the shock subsided, and I was able to speak again, I kindly told her no thank you.

In the end it was for the best. I’ll take it as a win, even though the forces around me were what saved me from myself, and not me doing it.

I used to love chocolate iced donuts so much that I can tell you from looking at this picture from google images, that this fine specimen, is from Krispy Kreme.

BPPV Strikes Again

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Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is to me what kryptonite is to Super Man.  A decade ago when I was training for the MS150 I fell off my bike and hit my head really hard. I spent the next 9 months trying to find a doctor that could cure the horrible spinning vertigo I was experiencing every time I looked up or bent down. And this isn’t just being off balance, this is the world is spinning and you can’t see anything dizziness. Needless to say it I didn’t get to do the MS150 that year, or the next. This website http://www.dizzyfix.com/bppv does an excellent job explaining what BPPV is.

After 9 months of seeing doctors, and trying things that didn’t work, I finally found a specialist who put me through a bunch of tests, and did a maneuver on me called the Epley Maneuver. The night of the maneuver I had to sleep with a neck brace sitting up, and then for two weeks I couldn’t bend over, look up, jump or run, or sleep on the “bad side”.  Surgery had a 50/50 chance of making me deaf without the guarantee of it never happening again. So over the years, BPPV has struck like a snake numerous times, so many times that I don’t go to the doctor anymore, I just flip myself (if you check out the Epley Maneuver you will know why I call it that)

The last time it happened was four years ago. I was feeling so good… until yesterday. I was on the mat doing my core workout and the world suddenly spun out of control. I realized, with tears in my eyes, that it was happening to me again. After four years! There was nothing else I could do but flip myself to ease some of the vertigo. This is very discouraging, especially because I’m not going to be able to follow through with the whole procedure after the flip (due to my extra workload at home) and it will affect my ability to do my workouts that have been SOOO helpful in my weight loss and building strength. I’ve lost 15 pounds do far! I’ve made so much progress and I keep asking myself, “Why Now?” But I refuse to give up. At least I know what to do.

With BPPV doing simple things like walking, being under fluorescent lights (can’t ever go into Walmart),  mowing the yard (vibrations from the motor) and riding my bike become challenging and sometimes nauseating.  I mentioned earlier that I won’t be able to finish the last part of the process that ensures a more stable result after the flip. The part where you don’t bend, look up, jump around, run or do anything else that could knock the rock lose is bound to happen with my current schedule and extra workload at home. I’ll have to wait until a later time when I can finish the process. Until then I guess I just keep flipping. For some reason that last sentence brings to mind the song Dory sang during the movie Finding Nemo. Just keep swimming swimming swimming…

BPPV has been a part of my life for over a decade, so this is nothing new, but still frustrating. But I’m not going to give up. Working out will be more difficult and uncomfortable but it’s going to happen. Nothing is stopping me!

I was going to put an educational picture of an ear here, but a picture of Dory seemed more fun.

ElliptiGO

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What is an ElliptiGO? Is it some kind of food? Not this time. I’ve been on a foodie review kick lately so I understand if that’s the first thing that comes to mind. I’ll give you a couple of  hints. It’s a tool you use for exercise, it rides the streets (manned by a human) and it’s a cross between an Elliptical trainer like the ones you see in a gym and a bicycle.

This morning as I was taking out the trash, one of my new jobs since my hubby had knee surgery, and a man on an ElliptiGO stopped to ask me a question. He’s been riding in our neighborhood for years, and it seems like he’s ALWAYS out there. Not matter what time it is. I’ve never talked to him before, mostly because I know that once you are in your groove riding, you kind of want to keep going. He asked about a kid in our neighborhood that was giving him some trouble every time he passed by on that street, so I took the opportunity to ask him about the bike.

I’ve never seen one an organized bike ride out in the flats or the hills, but after looking this one up on the web on the ElliptiGO website, I found out that the Long-Stride is made so that it can go up hills. He said the price is kind of steep. This model is $2,500.00.  Well maybe not too shocked. My road bike cost me $1,000.00 but I’ve had that bike for 10 years and this guy has had his for at least that long. I believe if you are going to use it, then invest in something that will last. He even told me that the next time he sees me, go ahead and flag him down and he’ll let me try it out. Whhhattt?? OMG that would be awesome! When I get to test drive it I’ll write up a review.

Another interesting thing he said to me was that it doesn’t matter how much you exercise, or in his case ride, nothing helps you lose weight if you have a bad diet. Hmmm….this sounds like something my boss told me a few blog posts back. My boss is a runner and he said something to the effect of, “You can’t outrun a bad diet.” I have to admit that over the years I wondered…how does he keep the weight on when he rides all freakin day? He said years ago he was riding 25 miles and still weighed 300 pounds. He still had some powerful great looking legs i must say. Today he just rides 14 miles a day. Again   JUST 14 miles you say?? But he looks much healthier now that’s he’s also watching his diet. I’m so glad he stopped by and we talked after all these years of passing each other by on our bikes and merely waving.

Hopefully, crossing my fingers, I will be posting a review on the EllptiGO from the driver’s seat soon.

Ride Well and Prosper!

Where to Breakfast?

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Over the past couple of months I really haven’t been eating out in order to watch what I’m eating and to keep the calories down, and it has paid off. With Ten pounds gone and more to go, one of my next steps is to go out and eat responsibly.  Now that I have my mission, where does one go to breakfast? Armed with my daughter in tow we were determined to make this happen.

Years back restaraunts started posting the calories in their food and posting them online, which helps a lot in making good decisions BEFORE you even get there. Of course you have to pay attention to the number of servings the posted calories are for. I’ve caught this a few times where I was excited that the meal would be just 300 calories but when I checked the servings it was for two. Not cool. To make our challenge even more challenging, my daughter eats gluten free.

We both set out the night before, checking restaurant near by that had the calories posted, and also had gluten free options. Lucky for us we live near an area called The Woodlands and there are a bunch of healthy options in that area. After about thirty minutes we decided on a restaurant called Another Broken Egg Cafe. They have a section called Sensible Selections. The first column is calories and the second one is fat calories. They had several other columns for nutrition as well.

The Skinny Omelette was a contestant, but I could’t get over the idea of having asparagus in my omelette so I chose the Monterey Omelette. This was pretty high on the calorie count. Breakfast is 300 calories for me, and morning snack is 200, so I could combine those two to get 500 calories, but I had to alter this breakfast to get there. This omelette, as posted on their website, comes with the following:

MONTEREY OMELETTE

Egg white omelette filled with baked chicken, avocados, onions, green chilies and tomatoes. Topped with Monterey Jack cheese and green onions. Served with an English muffin, fresh fruit and salsa.

Putting my thinking cap on I requested that they omit the chicken (probably saved me 100 calories) and decided not to eat the english muffin (another 100 calories)and eat just some of the fruit. The waitress was more than happy to accommodate and even swapped out the english muffin for fruit for my daughter’s decadent Cajun Louisiana Crawfish Skillet meal. She was on a gluten free quest, not for calories. It was her free meal of the week.

The meal and service were amazing and we decided that this will be our breakfast place to go once a month where we can both enjoy meals that will be on our new eating plan. As it turns out I was only able to finish half of the omelet, didn’t eat the muffin and ate just a few pieces of fruit.

There were several wins here. I had a nice breakfast and was able to stop myself when I was full. From a very early age I had been programmed to eat everything on my plate otherwise I’d be wasting food. As an adult I hated wasting money on food not eaten and would eat it all for money sake. Peer pressure eating has always been an issue for me too. If my eating mate decides on a stack of pancakes with bacon and hash browns then dangit I wanted it too. I did not do this here either, and believe me when I say my daughter’s meal was decadent. I was also able to hit my calorie goal, focus more on the atmosphere and enjoy the company of my wonderful daughter.

Another Broken Egg  Café is definitely a winner and will be repeated often. Great healthy-minded restaurants. who are willing to accommodate different people’s diet needs are out there, and if you live in The Woodland’s Texas, then you are really lucky!

Eat Well and Prosper!

Hello Fresh Country Gravy Pork Chops

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Last night I prepared the Country Gravy Pork Chops meal from Hello Fresh. This is my second attempt at preparing the meal plans from Hello Fresh, and I’m happy to say that this time the food tasted really good. I halfway wish I had chosen this one to start out with.

My previous post Hello Fresh Lemony Shrimp  reviewed the packaging and delivery so I’m going to jump right in on the food portion since the packaging is the same.

Directions–  This time the directions felt a bit more intuitive and flowed together pretty nicely. I did skip around to try to save some time, but wound up finishing in 30 minutes as the directions stated. I’d give this set of directions 4 stars. It was easy to follow, and I liked that the meal was cooked in one pan, keeping the dirty dish count low. Below is a picture of their plating of the meal, along with the direction sheet.

 

Flavor– I was impressed with the flavor and texture of this meal and I’m going to go ahead and give this portion of the review 5 stars. The flavor packet that you mix in with the flour for frying (in olive oil) really gave the meat a nice flavor, and the crust was so crunchy, and didn’t slip off the meat like some breading does on fried foods. The taste of the collard greens tasted really good mixed in with the potatoes and it was easy to try to mimic the plating to make the meal look fancy.

Nutrition– Again I had to change some things up to make the portion a reasonable size for someone trying to eat right and keep the calories low. 660 calories is really high for me, trying to stay in the 400 to 500 calories range for dinner. For fairness sake, the name of the meal does say Country Gravy Pork Chops, which screams, “I’m not healthy! Stay away!” But a girl can do her best to alter things and still eat yummy food. Who wants to eat salad all the time? So to keep the calorie count low this is what i did:

Each pork chop weighed in at 6 ounces (according to healthy sites and my nutritionist a healthy portion is 4 ounces or the size of a deck of cards) so I cut off some of it.

I only used half of the potatoes. I saved the other half to use with eggs for breakfast so that wasn’t wasted.

I just drizzled on some of gravy to get a taste of it and wound up using just 1/4 of the gravy per serving.

This meal had you frying and covering everything in olive oil. Sure, olive oil is still better for you than many of the other oils, but the amount in this one was excessive. I limited my use of it.

Knowing what I already knew about the lack of flavor from the previous meal I did add more salt to this one. Bad I know, but I did it anyway.

For the nutrition portion of the review, out of the box without my meddling with it, I’d give this one 3 stars. It does have some healthy veggies in there.

My overall experience with this meal was very positive. If I get the chance to order it again, I will. Below is a picture of their plating and mine. This one looks better than the first one I tried.

Eat well and prosper!

 

Hello Fresh Lemony Shrimp Review

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Last night I prepared our first Hello Fresh meal, the Lemony Shrimp Risotto. If the meal prepared by me turned out to be half as yummy as the picture sent in the package then we were in for a real treat. I’m going to separate the review into categories to try to cover all of the things that were important to me.

Packaging– Just how did Hello Fresh Manage to mail all of the these ingredients and keep them cool and fresh? I give Hello Fresh 5 stars in this department. The cardboard box was thick, the insides were insulated in a thick silver material, there were two large freeze packs at the bottom and when I opened it up all of the ingredients were cool. When it was delivered the temperature outside was 90 degrees.

The package we ordered contained three meals. The meat was below the freeze packs and each meal’s other ingredients were packaged in separate recyclable bags clearly labeled with the name of the meal.

Ingredients – How fresh are the ingredients? Again I give Hello Fresh 5 stars. I couldn’t be happier. Unfortunately I forgot to put the shrimp in this picture.

Directions– Were they easy to follow? I would say yes, but in this department I would give Hello Fresh 4 stars. They sent a nice sheet with instructions that have pictures, and an estimate on how long it should take to make. This meal’s estimate was 45 minutes. The reason I give it four stars is because the rossitto could have done with one cup less water and I chopped all the veggies first to try to save time. This meal actually took me an hour because I was trying to figure out how to fix the issue with too much water in the rossitto.

Flavor– How did the end product taste? I had heard from reviews that meals from Hello Fresh were bland and needed adjusting. In this department, for this meal at least, I would agree and give Hello Fresh 2 stars. I really don’t like giving such a low rating, but the texture of the end product was that of porridge, and from their picture I can tell they grilled the shrimp, but the recipe had you put the shrimp right into the risotto to cook it. The recipe also said to put in the whole unstripped branches of the thyme and they said that a few leaves will come free. All of the leaves came free, which I don’t mind, but I wasn’t able to retrieve all of the stems and had to fish the ones I had missed out of my food while eating. The recipe also called for a few squeezes of the lemon, but due to the bland taste I squeezed the whole lemon in there and still ended up with just a hint of lemon flavor.

Nutrition– Was the meal healthy? For this category I would give Hello Fresh 4 stars. They sent a sheet for all of the meals offered that week which included their calories and other information. I had hoped Hello Fresh would have been lower in calories than Blue Apron, but they turned out to be pretty close to each other. The plan we chose was for 2 servings a meal, but this meal turned out to be 3 servings. This is nice if you want to take left overs to lunch the next day, but if you aren’t into left overs then this was a waste of food. Thinking positively, by taking out the extra serving, it was easy to transform this meal into an appropriate calorie count for the meal.

Overall the experience was a positive one. No shopping, no meal planning, just take out the bag and directions for that meal and get started. This was also my first time making rossitto, so perhaps the mishap with the texture was partly my fault. I’ll be making another meal tonight and will keep my mind open.

Before I go, here is a side by side picture of their picture of how the meal looks, and what it looked like after I prepared it.

The Woodlands Farmer’s Market

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When my sister and I were young, our grandparents took us up to Temple Texas pretty often. This was where our great grandparents lived where they had a farm. In the mornings we picked black eyes peas, green beans, potatoes, corn and many other vegetables, and when the hot afternoon came we would sit in the shade and snap green beans and shell peas. Back then we didn’t have tablets or video games, we wanted to be outside and actually enjoyed being put to work.

Before long we grew up and technology  and careers creeped into our lives making free time limited. As a result we started eating processed foods, TV dinners and fast food because it was convenient, but definitely not good for us. The chemicals, artificial colors and flavors, and preservatives could fill another blog post. Eventually after reading the labels and researching the effects I decided I wanted to eat more healthy. It’s been at least two years that I’ve been going to the Woodlands Farmer’s Market and I’ve realized recently that I rarely eat those processed and artificial foods anymore.

This morning I visited the market and gathered up some of my favorite things. At the top left is my favorite green sauce from Pain Train Salsa Directly below the purple cabbage are some turkey sticks from K-9 Campus Cafe for the doggies. The vegetables are from Atkinson Farms, the eggs from Tejas Heritage Farm, and the bread which is for our dinner tonight, is from a vendor that I’m so sorry I don’t know the name of. All I know is that she’s my first stop, because if you aren’t fast enough, you don’t get the good pastries, breads and danishes, and today I missed out on the herb bread. When I was sad that I had been too late, she asked what I was using it for, and suggested the sour dough bread. I do have garlic infused olive oil so this should do the trick.

I enjoy eating healthy and also support local farms. If you are local to the area you should visit this market.

Eat well and Prosper!