Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What-We-Ate Wednesday . . .

Happy Leap Day!

Source

Here's a picture of me leaping. Ok, not really. It's just a picture of some random lady leaping. I was all out of green flowing fabric, and the Oklahoma landscape is not this pretty ever this time of the year. Also, I'm not nearly so graceful.

I'm thinking that maybe Leap Day is kind of like Friday the 13th because my cat is acting like a psycho - running through the house and meowing. Just now she climbed the window panes in my office.



You can see the crazy in her eyes.

We've been receiving lots of questions about what we are eating. So, I decide that today's post would be a "What-We-Ate Wednesday" post. Who knows? Maybe, we'll make it a reoccurring event - though I warn you, I have a very high tolerance for eating the same things over and over. "What-We-Ate Wednesday" could be a real snoozer after the first two weeks.

The day begins at 12:00:01 a.m. So, I shall start there.

At 12:00:01 a.m., I was in a blissful slumber dreaming of chocolate chip cookies with gestating Oreos tucked inside:

Bake These!

At 1:34:00 a.m., I woke up because Psycho Cat was nose-to-nose with me and was licking my chin. I couldn't fall back to sleep because I had just been sexually assaulted by a cat my shoulders and back were aching from my Body Combat class yesterday morning. I decided that I needed some Advil. That took me to the kitchen. After the Advil, I decided that I also needed a snack. I considered string cheese but decided that I didn't get my daily allowance of hummus yesterday and so this is what I chose instead:


34 Degrees Whole Wheat Cracker Crips
Sabra Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
2 Advil and Water
Obviously, I took this picture in the dark. Taking pictures of food in the middle of the night is completely normal, right? Absolutely. I'm sorry if you have to press your nose to the computer screen to see it but I like that it's dark. After all, I was wearing night vision goggles while I ate. 

At 5:00 a.m. and after a few more hours of sleep, I had some warm water mixed with an Arbonne Pomegranate Fizzy Tab before I went to the gym. After the gym, I made this beautiful concoction for breakfast:
One Whole Egg and Two Egg Whites
Zuchini, Yellow Pepper and Cherry Tomatos
Whole Wheat Toast with Almond Butter
Coffee with Coconut Milk
Seven miles outside of town, Elizabeth was also whipping up a whole egg and some egg white.  She scrambled them together with an assortment of sauteed veggies:




Riveting, right? Stop holding your breathe . . .

Because our lunches looked like this:


Jenni's Lunch:  Spinach and Mixed Greens Salad with Chicken,
Ham, Mushrooms and my own Red Wine Vinegar/Olive Oil Dressing
Sabra Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and 34 Degrees Cracker Crisps

Elizabeth's Lunch:  Mixed Greens with the Same Dressing
Progresso Soup and Saltines

At different points during the afternoon, we [separately] snacked on some air popped popcorn seasoned with silicon spray butter and jalapeƱo popcorn seasoning.

Elizabeth's Half-Eaten Bag
Mine was 3x this Full When I Started

Throughout the day, I sipped on some water with cucumber slices.

Note the Christmas Cup
Thank You, Tara
The weather was beautiful today, and I took my daughter to the park. The warm shining sun made me think of sweet, bubbly summer drinks. So, I answered the siren's call with a glass of soda water mixed with a splash of coconut water and sliced cucumbers. I wasn't the only one that liked it. Several gnats at the park took their final swim in my drink. I though about pitching it out, but I was thirsty. I figured the gnats were added fiber anyway - like flaxseed.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth had another afternoon snack:


Do you see a reoccurring hummus theme here? Yes, we are chickpea connesuirs.

While preparing my dinner, I used the new Rachel Ray knife that my mom gave me today.  It means serious business. 

Thank you to Emily
for taking pictures of me nearly
cutting off my fingers
Crazy Serious Knife



It is so menacing that Awesome Jeff wondered alloud why my mom was providing me with weaponry and questioned whether she still wants him around.

Our dinners included more roasted vegetables. Elizabeth mixed hers with eggs to create a stunning frittata:


Two Eggs and Two Egg Whites
Mixed With Roasted Vegetables and
Parmesan
Yes, That is Bacon Crowning the Veggies











I, on the others and, paired my veggies with a piece of tilapia topped with avocado. 
Tilapia with Avocado
Roasted Butternut Squash and Chickpeas
Roasted Cabbage
The cabbage maybe talking all night, but it was surprisingly sweet and tantalizing. I also paired my dinner with two glasses of merlot- equally tantalizing.

So there you have it folks! A whole day's worth of eating. It was delicious and nutritious and completely satisfying. And, for your further reading pleasure, here is our nutrition totals for the day:


Jenni's Day
Based on 1600 calories

Elizabeth's Day
Tell me, what did you eat today?

I hope you enjoyed the first installment of What-We-Ate Wednesday. Please come back tomorrow because one of my oldest and dearest friends, and a fellow Shortstacker, is writing a guest post. 

Peace, Love, and Cabbage Toots,

Jenni



Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Don't Hate the Playa . . .

Conversation with my dad last week:




Dad: What are you reading?
Me: Material about how to reduce sugar in your diet. It's supposed to make me a nicer person. I'm giving it up for Lent.
Dad: I didn't eat sugar all through your childhood.
Me: [arching eyebrows]
Dad: I eat a lot now, and I'm told that I'm actually nicer than I used to be.
Me:  I've heard that, too.  Don't stop eating the pie, Dad.

My Awesome Dad eating Chocolate Pie.
Thanks to my Sneaky Mom, he has no idea that
this picture was captured

The point is that this experiment is not for everyone. What I find as interesting as the experiment itself is the reaction I get when I tell people that I'm quitting sugar. They generally fall into one of three categories:

1. The most common reaction is "have you lost your eff'ing mind?" It's a friendly, fun reaction that involves some head shaking but no conveyance of ill will - no indication that you are going to be stabbing pins in the eyes of a mini voodoo Jenni later.

2.  The least common reaction is "damn Gina! you girls are smart!" It is said with exuberant acceptance and is sometimes accompanied by love and adoration. Of course, this is my favorite reaction. In my opinion, it's a "smarter than the average bear" reaction. I LIKE it.

Source

3.  Then, the most baffling reaction is pure, unadulterated hate. It's conveyed with slitted eyes, scrunched noses, and a clear desire to set my hair on fire.


What I'm still trying to figure out is why MY giving up sugar elicits such anger in anyone else:

Holy crap! It's not like we just took up dog fighting.
Michael Vick's Mugshot
I don't care what you are eating (okay, maybe I actually do want to know because I'm a total voyeur). But, I'm not one to judge. Eat whatever you like. Drink high fructose corn syrup straight from the bottle if you want.

I'm just saying that, for at least the next 40 days, I'm not going to operate on the "God made dirt and dirt won't hurt" principle. There are a lot of natural foods out there. Just because they are natural doesn't mean they are the BEST choice. After all, dirt IS digestible. If you want to serve up a big mud pie for dinner, get after it.  
Source
I just prefer not to follow my dinner with a de-worming pill, and I'd rather that my innards not start resembling the bottom of the fryer at McDonald's.
Source
Sure, it would be great if I end up looking better naked (says Awesome Jeff). But, it's not all about looks. It's also about me being healthier on the inside. So, let's be lovers, not fighters. Don't be hatin' on the experiment, or you might bring out the Bad Mother in me.
A big thank you to my running buddy,
Allison, for getting me this shirt
and a big thank you to Jill, fellow Team Shortstacker,
for playing photographer at 5:30 a.m.

We're not trying to change the world. We aren't asking anyone to join us on this quest to fructose freedom. We are simply documenting our journey for anyone who may be interested . . . mainly because we think some funny shit may happen along the way. We think we might have something of of great value to share with the world, and since we have our first Google follower (and 8 hits from Japan, and 15 hits from the U.K., and 1 hit from France) it's clear that the world has opened its arms to us.

[By the way: Robbie, you are our first official follower. Identify yourself and I'll send you a little "first follower" gift. Hint: It might be a Jenni Band that is similar to the headband I'm wearing in the picture immediately above.]

Peace out,

Jenni


Monday, February 27, 2012

Because It's Nasty

Along with our sugar addiction, Jenni and I also have another addiction --- texting. We are highly functioning textaholics. Though we don't see it as a problem, EZ-Go Joe and Grumpy Jeff think we have serious issues and are contemplating shipping us off to Betty Ford.

We are calling their bluff. They'd never let us go on vacation to rehab and leave all 6 kids behind. And so, we text on with a vengeance. We have actually discussed it with Grumpy Jeff, and he thinks that texting has decreased communications amongst friends. While it’s true that we might “talk” less, we subscribe to the theory that texting keeps us MORE plugged in to the daily minutia that fills our lives.

For example, cat locked in the refrigerator overnight . . . I need instant notification.


Severe case of baby doll constipation? . . . Jenni needs to know immediately about that. She might need to check the dolls in her house.
Little Lady giving her doll a suppository.
"She's gonna need a diaper."
Aside from sharing the daily lunacy that is our lives, we also use our texting addiction to try to stave off cravings from our sugar addiction and binge eating in general. We send out pleas for help.   When I'm cleaning up after dinner, I can't help myself.  Even after I've just had a delicious and filling dinner, I shovel in bite after bite of half-eaten kid food like I'm the garbage disposal. Jenni does the same. That's when texting comes in handy.  I might get a  text from Jenni that says, "should I eat this soggy, 20 minute old grilled cheese sandwich?"   And, I respond, "No!  You aren't hungry.  This is not the Great Depression! And, it's NASTY! "  Crisis averted. 

Certain foods are easy to classify as nasty.   For example, the rear-end of a piece of chicken that’s been pressed into the shape of a dinosaur . . . clearly NASTY.



Others are harder.  Cereal milk left in a bowl, sweetened to perfection . . . that's NA . . . wait, no it's not.  Its like sweet, sweet nectar.  I just drooled on my laptop keyboard thinking about it.  Not nasty . . . awesome.



A half-eaten peanut butter and honey sandwich . . . its not nasty either . . . it’s money. It’s delicious. It’s what I would stuff my face with for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if I thought it wouldn't turn me into this:


If I murder someone in a sugar withdrawal induced fit of rage, my last meal might very well be a peanut butter and honey sandwich. Or maybe peanut butter cookies.

www.bigoven.com
No, wait . . . peanut butter pie.   mmmmmmm pie. 

from www.verybestbaking.com

      No . . . I know.   Peanut butter cheesecake.

Ruggles Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake. Photo by GaylaJ
http://www.food.com/recipe/ruggles-reeses-peanut-butter-cup-cheesecake-114907

Sorry, where was I?  I got a little intoxicated by the prospect of a last meal on death row . . . you'd better stear clear of me tomorrow. 

But, herein lies the REAL challenge of this experiment.  The Sugar Goddess . . . she's amazing and I'll give credit where credit is due.  If her will power were a little Asian man, it would be Bruce Lee, kicking ass all over Hong Kong.  She's tough.  But, I'm also pretty sure she's childless.  Since I've gone FF, I've made 16.5 peanut butter and honey sandwiches.  I've baked cookies, muffins, and brownies.  I've doled out countless other delectable sweet treats to my kids (fattening their beaturiful teeny tiny livers *sign* -- they better watch out -- their detox is next).  But, the Sugar Goddess lives in a little FF bubble.  Her house is an asylum from the constant barrage of sugar that I face daily.

She buys and, more importantly, cooks only for herself. This morning I made blueberry
muffins for the kids. The batter was dripping down the side of the bowl.   I held strong though and didn't even take so much as a lick.  I handed out their warm blueberry muffins and whirled me up this gorgeous little Green Monster in my Magic Bullet.

Cucumber, Almond milk, spinach, baby food sweet potatoes

And, don't worry, mom, that's not all I had for breakfast.   I actually had 4x this amount of Green monster and scrambled eggs with zucchini, onion, venison sausage, and cheese.

If Jenni and I can do this, with ALL the temptation that surrounds us daily, I am going to strip the Sugar Goddess of her title.  I'm going to crown Jenni and I "The Sugar Goddesses."  Maybe, I'll throw in "badass" . . .  "The Badass Sugar Goddesses."  Yep, that's better.

Peace out,

Elizabeth



















Sunday, February 26, 2012

Salmonella Cookie Nuggets Not Welcome Here

I spend the weekdays regulating my food intake like a complete lunatic.   Every tidbit, every morsel that passes my lips is logged on The Pal (a.k.a myfitnesspal.com).  Then, on the weekends, I let 'er fly.  As a result, I spend a lot of time during the week planning my splurges, and a lot of time on the weekends bringing them to fruition.   Going into this first FF (fructose free) weekend, I knew that there was going to be a big hole in my heart and that the real test was upon me.

Source

Elizabeth and I frequently get the families together on Friday nights for play-time, dinner, and libations.  We alternate between houses  because with six kids between the ages of 2-8 it looks a lot like a daycare gone awry.  There is no way that we are taking six kids out to eat.  I'd rather have my head sewn to the carpet.

The kids get boring old kid food.  That's the easy part, and in my opinion, its nasty.  (You can look forward to a whole post on that within the next few days.)  

More thought goes into the grown-up food.  We've really been channeling our inner Julia Childs since we discovered pinterest.   This weekend, Elizabeth out did herself by preparing these rocking venizon-stuffed green peppers:


They were delicious.  I would love to share the recipe here, but she doesn't have one.  Sometimes you can't put magic on paper.

The culmination of Friday Night Dinner is dessert at the end. I look forward to to it all day - all week, really.  Usually, we do something like this:
Pumpkin Cookies from
 http://www.houseofhepworths.com

Or this:

Chocolate Cookie Dough Cupcake from
http://www.kevinandamanda.com

And, once we even did these Better-than-Sex Brownies:

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie n’ Oreo Fudge Brownie Bar from
http://www.kevinandamanda.com
This week, because we aren't partaking, we just made some shitty, pre-cut cookies out of a box for the kids.    But with deprivation in full swing, handing them over to the kids was really difficult:



And, for some crazy reason, Elizabeth didn't make the whole box.  There were four little raw cookie dough nuggets left over.  Now, the threat of a little salmonella poisoning isn't going to dissuade either one of us from eating raw cookie dough - even shitty little pre-cut boxed cookie dough. 

Under normal circumstances, we would have nodded to each other in complete agreement and said, "Just one won't hurt."  Then we would have seen who could eat fastest in order to get the remaining two.  On this night though, cookies weren't on the menu.  As I looked at Elizabeth, I could see that temptation was in full force.  It was in her eyes.  She looked like she was face-to-face with "her own personal brand of heroin."  Before her inner demons could take over, I squirted those little salmonella nuggets down with dish soap.  I thought she was going to dot my eye.

The rest of the weekend has been really good.  My running crew is in Fort Worth breaking hearts and records at the Cowtown Marathon.  Since our gym doesn't open until 9 a.m. on Saturdays, Elizabeth and I staged a little early-morning workout session in the living room gym at Casa de Moen.  It was freaking awesome, and I'm feeling what I call the "hurt of hotness" today.

We used the Nike Training Center app on my iPad as our trainer. She never yells at us and is always encouraging. I have to admit though that I have a negative gutteral reaction when she tells me to "dig deep."  The inner peace resonating from that lady leads me to believe that she was eating a ding dong when she recorded the message.



After some prodding, Awesome Jeff took  this photo for us even though Grumpy Jeff thought the whole scene was ridiculous.  To add to the festivity, my kids were running in and out, and the Tiny Princess (my three year old daughter) tried to workout with us. 

Tiny Princess does the Plank

Last night, Awesome Jeff and I went to a private party at a new bar that is opening in town.  According to my bill at the end of the night, I had six of these:

Picture from www.daretobedomestic.com

I wasn't feeling it though.  So, maybe the FF diet is turning me into some sort of alcohol-resistant super woman, which means I'm better equipped to hang out with this guy:



That's Awesome Jeff in the Robin suit.  He's going to be so happy that I put this up.

All in all, I feel like this experiment is brilliant.  I'm looking the naysayers in the eye and saying 'its all good.'  If you think I'm going to starve myself, you don't know me at all.  

I LOVE FOOD

I'm just replacing all of the sugar-laced things in my former diet with healthy fats, proteins, and veggies.  I feel good, and it's looking like I'm not destined for this after all:

Source
Happy Sunday, Y'all.

Jenni

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I'm Not Glowing

Some administrative business. My apologies for the length of my last post.    My husband told me that it was horrendously long and too sciencey. This is exactly what I was afraid of. You see, I used to think that blogging was for long-winded narcissists. But, I've come to really enjoy reading other people's blogs.  Maybe I'm just embracing the narcisstic windbag within.

With regard to my husband, I've decided that "The Grouch" doesn't thoroughly capture the multiplicity of his personality.  He really has two modes of operation.  So, I'm going to refer to him as "Awesome Jeff" and "Grumpy Jeff."  I think you'll understand.
Awesome Jeff in his father's day sunglasses
that one of the kids sat on
Grumpy Jeff after killing a rat with a vacuum














Now for the good stuff.  I've been fructose free for 72 hours or so.  I'm sure you are Jonesing to know how its been and what I've been eating.  Some thoughts:

Healthy Eating Ain't Cheap:
A certain amount of start-up funds are requried with all my little projects (i.e., knitting, sewing, reading, running, etc.). Start-up costs are incredibly hard for my Grumpy Jeff to bear. Whereas I can barely make it down my drive-way before I have figured out how to spend every last dollar in my wallet, Awesome Jeff can live all month on a twenty dollar bill.

On Wednesday, I went to our local health food store and spent $40 on a mere handful of items. None of the items purchased will benefit anyone else in the house . . . there has been a lot of nose-scrunching and Heisman-stancing toward the concoctions I've been creating with my new dinosaur kale and chia seeds.

Yesterday, I had to go to the real grocery store because the kids were out of their sugar-infested fruit snacks, and almost everything in the cabinets is on my "Hells No" list.   After two hours of browsing nutrition labels and getting excited over things like coconut oil, coconut water, and bison steak, I came in $5 over budget and that doesn't even include the $40 that I spent earlier in the week. Here's a sample of my purchases:
 

Looks nice and healthy and fructose free, doesn't it.  I saved some serious moolah on the Great Value brand items - probably close to $1.20.  Even when I'm trying to save money, I end up spending more. Maybe, because I buy things like this:



Impulse buys like these push Grumpy Jeff to the edge.

Where's that Healthy Glow?
Now that I'm eating all of this healthy food, I should be glowing like a pregnant lady.  I should be shining like a diamond, right?  A picture of health and loveliness.

Nope.  My bathroom reeks of asparagus (yes, I said bathroom...you know what I'm talking about), which I admit to thinking is funny (I have the sense of humor of a 12 year old boy).  And, horror of all horrors, I woke up with - not one - but two zits yesterday.  So now I also have the skin of a 12 year old boy.  I'm telling myself that my body is purging itself of the poisionous Twinkie toxins I ate last weekend. 

Clear Thinking
The Sugar Goddess says that reducing sugar brings a clarity of mind.  I have to admit I feel good.   It's only been two days, but I feel like I'm getting smarter by the minute.  I had a minor lapse today that involved me absentmindedly popping a grape in my mouth, but luckily I realized the error of my ways before I swallowed.  I blew that grape half-way across the kitchen, just barely missing my 3 year old daughter (who then picked it up and ate it).

I do have a teensy bit of a headache, and my vision is blurry.  Could just be that I'm hungover.  But I think that it has more to do with the fact that I forgot to put in my contacts, and I'm too lazy to rectify the situation.  As a testament to my increasing clarity, I didn't even come close to running my car into anything today. Winning!

I'm not sure that the lack of sugar is having the same effect on Elizabeth.  We got all the way through our workout yesterday morning before she figured out that she had her pants on inside out.


What's in my Belly:
Here is a sampling of the deliciousness that I've been producing in my kitchen.  All with no fructose or added sugars:
Thursday Dinner:  Giant Fried Egg (three whites
and one yolk), Mashed Sweet Potato, and
Sauteed Kale
Friday Lunch:  Salad with Chicken,
Cherry Tomatos, and Red Wine Vinegar Dressing,
Red Pepper Hummus, and Gluten-Free Crackers
Saturday Breakfast: 
Green Monster Smoothie with Cucumber,
 Gerber Baby Sweet Potatoes,
and Cocunut Milk



Peace out,

Jenni