CategoryHealthy Living

Yogurt

We are absolutely loving yogurt around here lately. Well, we always love it, but it’s been a long time since I’ve made any. With the diet changes we started implementing this week, I decided that having plain yogurt in the house was a good idea again.

The recipe I followed is at A Year of Slow Cooking. I’ve made it before, using a heating pad, but thought I’d try the crockpot method this time. What a difference – it is so sweet it doesn’t need sweetener in it at all if you’re going to eat it plain.

We’ve been making it into breakfast smoothies. We have a mini blender (a Magic Bullet knock-off we found at Aldi), so we just throw a handful of frozen fruit in the cup, pour yogurt over it, add some ice to make it thicker, and blend. Some fruit has needed a tiny bit of sweetener, but not all that we’ve tried.

I’ve made a half gallon at a time. Milk dropped to $2.09 a gallon at Aldi, so a whole gallon of yogurt at that price is wonderful! The sad thing is I already made a second half-gallon of yogurt, and it will probably be gone by Monday or Tuesday if we eat it as fast as we ate the last batch. It sure is good though!

PCOS ramblings

In the future, don’t be surprised if you see more blogging about pcos around here. I’ve been reading more lately about it, and am learning some really interesting things.

The books have been from a variety of sources, but it seems that regardless of where I read, the basic principles are the same. Reduce or eliminate refined, white carbohydrates, and increase vegetables and protein. Exercise.

Some of that is probably obvious, but it’s things that I’m hoping to implement more and more. It’s been almost two months since I lost the baby (I can’t believe it’s next week already) and I still have not cycled again yet. I know that often the first cycle post-miscarriage is strange, but I REALLY do not want to go back to irregular cycles. That’s not just so we can conceive again someday (though that would be great) – it’s more because I feel so much healthier and my pcos is so much more under control when the cycles are regular.

Time will tell, but in the meantime, I’ll be doing what I can to help things along. Right now, I’m right at 9 pounds above my pre-Caleb weight. The first thing I’m going to do is change the diet back. I’ve been dragging my feet because I don’t want to diet; I want to make lifestyle changes. I want the changes to be things I can do for life. But I haven’t done anything because I don’t want to give up the sweets.

Hmm. Maybe that’s the problem right there.

At any rate, I’ll be working hard (again) to get this pcos under control. Just don’t be surprised if you see more blog posts about it in the future.

Our tastes have changed

The other day Stephen made some biscuits. He was trying to conserve the wheat flour that we had in the house, so he used all white flour.

The biscuits didn’t taste good. Sure, they were soft, moist, and flaky – everything a good biscuit should be – but we didn’t like them.

He’s been making them with wheat flour for so long (he uses half wheat and half white, if I remember correctly) that we now like those better than the all white flour ones.

He was going to make some for breakfast this morning, until we remembered that we need to get milk. Oops.

Funny how tastes change. I never thought we’d prefer wheat baked goods over white, but we do.

Back to Phase 1

So the fun begins again. Stephen and I have gone back to South Beach – well, more officially this time. We’ve been eating somewhat Phase 3-ish, but haven’t been as strict as we could have been.

Then I spoke with my gyn on Tuesday. This pcos is something else. If things aren’t back to “normal” in two months, my doctor wants to put me on a medication that’s a potential abortifacient. I’m not exactly ok with that. . .so I decided to do what I could to help things along.

One thing that really helps keep my pcos in check is weight loss. Right now I’m still 15 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight. I guess that’s not bad, but I really want to be at least back to where I was. Then I’d like to lose another 15-20 pounds. . .maybe. . .I haven’t decided on a final weight yet. I have a target number in my head, but am not sure if that’s realistic or not. We’ll see.

So today we started Phase 1. We didn’t follow the phases exactly the first time around, but now I’m going to try to stick with them to try and jump start things. Since moving back here (and it’s been a year and a half now), my sugar cravings have returned. It would be great if those would go away again – and quickly!

Today’s officially Day 1 of Phase 1. Here goes!

Down 4

We were at my mother in law’s house yesterday, so I took the opportunity to weigh myself.

I am down 4 pounds. That made me very happy. I’ve been working really hard at trying to make sure the carbs we eat are healthy ones. Well, not just carbs, but everything in general. It’s good to see an improvement.

Overall, we’ve been eating TONS of fresh veggies. That is one of the things I LOVE about summer. I love how available produce is. Our garden is doing GREAT (Thank You, Lord!), and I’ve been doing a lot of research about the best ways to preserve what’s growing out there. It would be wonderful to have a good bit of veggies put aside for this winter.

I’ve also been reading Nourishing Traditions. It’s an interesting book, though it’s much more technical than I anticipated when I requested it from the library. Heh, for that matter, it’s a lot longer too. :O) But that’s ok. The only problem is I’m on page 47 and it’s due back on Tuesday. There are 674 pages, or something like that, and no renewals because I got it through interlibrary loan. Hmph. I’m really not sure what I think of it – some parts of it make sense to me, but I’m not 100% convinced about all of it yet. We’ll see. I told Stephen that the first part is so informative that it’d be worth keeping it in the house, just for the intro. It is on my Amazon wish list now. . .but it might be a while before I end up getting it.

A realization

Stephen and I had an interesting discussion last night about weight. Mine, to be specific.

I’m in the time frame right now where everybody’s understanding that I’m still above where I’d like to be. Really, C is only 4 months old. Some friends have told me to not worry about my weight just yet, that I’ve got time.

Well, I understand that – children are only little once. I’m not disregarding that in any way. But I’m overweight and am not liking that AT ALL. Even little changes now (like becoming more active) would help immensely, even if the weight doesn’t melt off like it did before.

It’s been a year and a half since my weight loss journey began again. I lost 40 pounds in college and put it all back on again once I got married. I had been on the birth control pill to regulate my cycles, and went off it right before we got married. The first three-four months I was off it I gained back all I had lost and then some. I learned that it was a hormone problem (PCOS) that kept me from losing weight as easily.

Well, ok, that, and way too much candy and soda from the vending machines at work. But I don’t work there anymore so THAT problem is solved. Now if the self-control issue were as easy to solve!

Anyway, October of ’06 I saw my new gyn who told me to start exercising (30 min a day EVERY day) and to eliminate white carbs (bread, pasta, etc.). I did. I started losing weight pretty quickly. I was looking great and feeling even better.

Then last June (a year ago yesterday, actually), I did a home pregnancy test to prove to myself that I really wasn’t pregnant. I thought I’d just been imagining symptoms but to my complete shock, I really was pregnant! After almost 6 years of infertility – we were thrilled! Still are, actually.

Well, I loosened up on my eating during the pregnancy because I figured I needed to eat more carbs than I had been. I loosened up too much, and found out later that how I was eating had been just fine.

The last trimester alone I gained 20 pounds. Oops. I had wanted to gain no more than thirty pounds total – but ended up gaining 40. I guess that’s not insanely horrible, but going over that 200 mark again was terrifying.

Then C was born, and I lost 20 pounds in the first few weeks. That made me really happy. But as a nursing mother, I was trying to figure out what in the world I was supposed to be eating, and how that compared to how I need to eat to lose weight.

In trying to figure out how to eat, I’ve gained back 8 or 9 of those pounds, trying to find that balance. I thought I was eating too little for a while, so I upped my intake. But I can feel the difference in my clothes. They’re getting snugger. Yuck.

Granted, I am back into my pre-pregnancy skirts, most of them, anyway. I’m thankful for that. But they’re pretty tight, and not comfortable.

So I’m putting it all out here on the blog, lol. Maybe by posting that I’m working on it will help motivate me more. The tight waistbands of my skirts and the closet full of beautiful dress clothes that are just a size too small should be motivation enough, but hey. More can’t hurt, right?

I’m going to start exercising again and see how much that helps. I’m afraid that without the metformin I won’t be able to lose weight, but then again, if I’m not insulin resistant anymore, maybe I don’t need it for weight loss either.

So, my dear blog readers, here I go. . .

My bloodwork results

I finally got in touch with my doctor’s office this week regarding my bloodwork. Everything came back normal. I was absolutely shocked! I asked her for the specific numbers because I just couldn’t believe the test came back normal. The nurse told me that sometimes weight loss is enough to reverse insulin resistance, and apparently that is true with me. I still have some post-baby weight to lose, but apparently I lost enough before the pregnancy to do what was needed.

They’re not putting me back on the metformin as there’s no need for it now. That seems so strange to say now, after being on it for so long.

So now I just need to keep this weight off. I wasn’t done losing weight when I became pregnant, even though I had lost right at 60 pounds already. As of right now, I still have about 30 pounds I’d like to lose.

The adventure begins again. . .

Coupons and eating healthy

Over and over I hear people say that they can’t use coupons because they try to “eat healthy” and there aren’t coupons available for healthy foods.

Au contraire.

We’re in the process of trying to get back to eating healthier like we were right before we moved back to the Carolinas. It’s not like we started eating horribly, just not as healthy as we like to. When God provides food for you, you don’t sit there and gripe because the bread products are white bread instead of whole wheat or because the veggies are canned and not fresh. You take what God gives and thank Him for it. Stephen recently got a pay increase to cover the cost of his gas though, so our grocery budget just got a little bigger. Praise the Lord!

So. Back to couponing. One local grocery chain just held a triple coupon promotion. I went every single day. Each trip I made I saved $20 to $30 on my final ticket – each time saving more than I spent.

The things that I bought were things I would have bought anyway. I went through my grocery list and looked for corresponding coupons. We eat tuna fish every week, so when I discovered that there were coupons for tuna, and that the tuna would be free, I made sure to use as many tuna coupons as I could each trip. This store has a limit of three identical coupons per trip, so I just got 3 pouches of tuna each time I went. Sure, I didn’t get 47 free things like I’ve heard of other couponers doing (they must be doing other sales – that wouldn’t be possible with this one. . .but that’s beside the point), but the ones I did get for free leave me that much extra in my grocery budget.

Other things I was able to get were rice, sour cream, and frozen veggies. The store had the Bird’s Eye Steamfresh veggies on sale, and combining the sale price with the coupons made each package about $.50 each (I had a couple different coupons). That’s roughly the price of canned vegetables. We like fresh better but usually buy canned because they’re cheaper. I chose broccoli and mixed veggies because they were cheaper than the green beans. Another nice thing about them was the bags contain more vegetables than one can usually contains. Especially if you consider the liquid that’s added to canned veggies (comparing a 16oz bag to a can).

Each triples sale I try to stock up on Splenda. I realize there’s quite a bit of controversy out there about the use of artificial sweeteners, but we are careful with the amounts we use so quite frankly, I’m not going to stress out about it. We use them in moderation. Usually I can get a box of packets or cafe sticks for around $.50. That sure beats paying the usual price of $2.79 or so. One of my trips they were out of the smallest boxes (the ones closest to free) so I got the 100 count boxes. They were roughly $2.50 after coupons, but even buying generic or at Aldi a box the same size costs over $3.50. So it’s still a savings for our grocery budget.

Some of the things I usually get are “splurge” items. We cook probably 90% of our food from scratch. But if I can get both a cake mix and a can of frosting for $1.34, I’ll get them. No, cake isn’t exactly the healthiest of foods, but S has a birthday 3 weeks from today. I can’t make it for scratch for that, and since I’ll be making a cake then anyway, it’s worth it. I also like to keep a few mixes in the house for when I need something quickly. That’s not that often, but it’s nice to have them.

I was also able to get some coupons for bagged lettuce, but the store I went to for triples doesn’t carry that brand. Hopefully one of the other area stores that doubles coupons on a regular basis (most around here do) will have them on sale soon. I know they carry that brand – I’ve seen it before. The coupons don’t expire for a while so I’ve got plenty of time to use them.

Yes, there are fewer coupons for produce, meat, and healthier foods. But they are out there – you just have to look for them.

Another thing I do is use coupons for toiletries. By buying our toiletries very cheap (or getting them for free), I have more to spend on groceries. I haven’t bought toothpaste in at least six months – by combining coupons with sales I’ve been able to get it for free. That works for me! I do the same thing with everything we use. I look for coupons for items we use and then look for those things to go on sale.

Really, I guess it’s all about being on the lookout for good sales and being able to combine coupons with those sales. I don’t spend a huge amount of time on it (triples takes me quite a bit of time, but it’s worth it), but the time it does take is well spent. I have the time to take the time, and our bank balance reflects that.

No-Crust Chocolate Cheesecake

No-Crust Chocolate Cheesecake

3/8 cup semisweet chocolate chips — melted
8 ounces lowfat cream cheese — softened
1/4 cup Splenda granular (or 6 packets of Splenda)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Line a mini loaf pan with foil. If you have it, use non-stick foil. I didn’t, so I just greased the foil instead.

Mix together the cream cheese and the chocolate chips. Beat well. Add Splenda and vanilla. Add egg.

Pour batter into the loaf pan. Place the loaf pan in a larger pan (I used an 8×8 pan), and fill the larger pan with enough water to come halfway up the side of the mini pan.

Bake at 325 for 30 minutes. Remove from water bath and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until cold – about three hours.

To serve, remove cheesecake from pan by lifting up the foil. Serves 4.

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 226 Calories; 16g Fat (61.5% calories from fat); 8g Protein; 14g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 85mg Cholesterol; 414mg Sodium.

Exchanges: 1 Lean Meat; 2 1/2 Fat; 1 Other Carbohydrates.

Experimenting with a recipe

Tonight we’re having a healthy special dinner. We’re having sirloin steak (which is marinading at the moment), mashed sweet potatoes, green beans, and chocolate cheesecake.

The cheesecake is my experiment. I found this recipe for Chocolate Cheesecake For Two this afternoon, and decided to adapt it just a little bit. Well, actually, I combined it with the Philly 3-step cheesecake recipe you can find at kraftfoods.com. If it turns out well (looks and smells good), I’ll post the recipe.

Actually, now that I think about it, I guess I used both recipes as a starting point and went from there – because I made quite a few changes. One of the big changes I made was making it with Splenda instead so that it can be no sugar added (since there’s sugar in the chocolate chips). The batter tasted pretty good, so I’m guessing that it’s a keeper. Hoping, anyway.

If it turns out well, I’ll post the recipe here. If not, well, it won’t be the first time that an experiment has had less than stellar results, lol!