Friday, December 19, 2008

Not Recommended

Here is a recipe that I do not recommend making. I liked it well enough, but it really was not good enough to make again. No one took a second helping... It was just fine...

I changed the original recipe a lot, but interestingly, the calorie information was almost exactly the same. The fiber/cholesterol/fat was different- but calories were exactly the same.
Keep in mind though that this original recipe may be quite tasty, but since I did not have chipotle peppers I changed the flavors. It did not work... I should stick to science :)

My Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie

3 slices of bacon
1.2lbs Ground turkey breast meat
1/2c Chicken stock
1 medium sweet onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
4 pieces of celery, diced
2T dried cranberries (I wanted to use more but this is all I had)
1 can of white beans (drained and rinsed)
Salt/pepper/Cayenne to taste

2 large Yams (3lbs?), peeled and diced
1/2c brown sugar
3T butter


Begin boiling the yams/sweet potatoes (they need 20-30min?)

Pan fry the bacon until it is *almost* done
Remove bacon from pan and place on paper towels
Reserve fat and cook the ground turkey breast in bacon fat
Remove the ground meat and drain the fat
Add onions to pan cook for 5-10m
Add the rest of the veggies (excluding the beans) and stock and cook for 5m

Place veggies in bowl with ground meat, add beans and diced bacon and mix well
Add to casserole dish

Mash yams with sugar and butter and spread over top.
Bake for 15min covered and 10-15min uncovered in a 350 degree oven

Enjoy! Well kind of... :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Soul Food

My poor husband had his wisdom teeth extracted (all 4) on Friday. It was a terrible experience for him and I will not go into it here, needless to say he was on a liquid diet for the weekend. This left me feeling especially guilty eating around him- so I stuck to mostly cereal and whatever soups he ate. I bought some specialty soups from a local soup factory- the kind we would never buy under normal circumstances: potato and bacon, and New England clam and corn chowder- so bad for you, but when that is all you can eat you have to pack in the calories! Yesterday he was feeling a little better so I made mashed potatoes (2.5lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, 2T butter, 2oz cream cheese, and half a head of oven roasted garlic- mashed together: easy!) and Chili. This chili gets capitalized it is that good. I normally get sick of chili before we can finish the pot, with this chili that does not happen. I needed to really figure out exactly how many calories were in this recipe because I have been feeling guilty about estimating it as being equivalent as the beef chili in my PDA. So I plugged it into CRON-o-Meter and here is the chili you will thank me for (and it is better than the chili in my PDA!):

Sausage, Beef and Bean Chili- 12 servings

1lb of 95% Lean ground beef
1lb Hot Italian sausage (ground preferably out of casing)
1 Diced Onion
Chopped Adobo chilies or jalapenos (2) Optional
2 cups (1 can) pink beans
2 cans (15oz?) diced tomatoes
**dirty secret** 2-alarm Chili spice pack (purchased at supermarket)
6oz of beer
1c water

Brown meats, peppers and onions together
Once cooked add all the remaining ingredients and stew for 30min to 1hr
(I don't usually add the masa flour contained in the spice kit- I save it for my vegetarian chili!)

Calories: 200
Protein: 17g
Carbohydrates: 12g
Fat: 9g
Fiber: 2g
Vitamins/Minerals: 15%/20%

I totally want to know if any of you make this recipe- just to know if you love it as much as I do- so please- do tell!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thanksgiving Part 1

This edition will not include the turkey- that will have to be a TE guest written edition- since I had absolutely nothing to do with prepping or cooking the turkeys.

I also apologize ahead of time for any blatant grammatical errors and all lack of continuity. I am quite tired today- I was up a bunch of the night with a sick King pup. I am hoping he just got into something, his symptoms were similar to human flu/stomach bug symptoms- quite pleasant. Makes me appreciate all that my family and friends do even though they are up more nights with sick/young children.

Anyway- onto food!
First picture is the spread! On our menu:

  • Cranberry sauce:
1 12-oz bag of fresh cranberries
1c sugar
1c water
Lemon zest to taste
  • String Beans with butter and slivered almonds
  • Roasted Root Veggies (parsnips, turnips, butternut squash)
  • Creamy pearl onions (MomE's recipe)
  • Corn
  • Mashed potatoes (MomE's recipe)
  • Sweet Potato Casserole
  • Stuffing
  • Green Salad (MomB's contribution!)
  • Pies!!

This edition will include my two favorite items: The sweet potato cassarole and the stuffing!
I used to think I hated sweet potatoes, not anymore! They are one of my newest obsessions. I love love them! What could be better than sweet potatoes, pecans, and marshmallows (even though my marshmallows melted into the casserole since I cooked it covered)?!
And the recipe was from Cooking Light. I doubled it because 2.5lbs of potatoes is really only 2 sweet potatoes, and even though it says 16 servings, I knew better. So I figured a "real" estimate would be double the calories.

Tradiational Sweet Potato Casserole
Serves 16 (32 for nutritional info)


  • 5 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1.5 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows


Preheat oven to 375°.

Place the sweet potatoes in a Dutch oven, and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes or until very tender. Drain; cool slightly.

Place potatoes in a large bowl. Add sugar and next 3 ingredients (through vanilla). Mash sweet potato mixture with a potato masher. Fold in 1/4 cup pecans. Scrape potato mixture into an even layer in an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup pecans; top with marshmallows. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until golden.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 186 (27% from fat)

Fat: 5.5g (sat 2g,mono 2.3g,poly 0.9g)
Protein: 1.6g
Carbohydrate: 33.1g
Fiber: 2.5g
Cholesterol: 8mg
Iron: 0.7mg
Sodium: 272mg
Calcium: 23mg
Mom's Turkey Stuffing Recipe
(to be cooked outside the turkey!)
From Simply recipes
238 calories/serves 10

  • 1 loaf of day old French bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 10-12 cups)
  • 2 cups each, chopped onion and celery
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 1 green apple, peeled, cored, chopped
  • 3/4 cup of raisins
  • Several (5 to 10) chopped green olives (martini olives, the ones with the pimento)
  • Stock from the turkey giblets (1 cup to 2 cups) (can substitute chicken stock)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon ground sage (to taste)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)


1. If you haven't already made the stock, take the turkey giblets - heart and gizzard - and neck if you want, and put them in a small saucepan, cover with water and add a little salt. Bring to a simmer; simmer for about an hour, uncovered. Strain the stock into a container for use with the stuffing. Alternatively, you can use chicken stock or just plain water with this recipe.

2. Heat a large sauté pan on medium heat. Melt 3 Tbsp butter in the pan, add the bread cubes, and stir to coat the bread pieces with the melted butter. Then let them toast; only turn them when they have become a little browned on a side. Note, if you aren't working with somewhat dried-out day-old bread, lay the cubes of bread in a baking pan and put them in a hot oven for 10 minutes to dry them out first, before toasting them in butter on the stove top. The bread should be a little dry to begin with, or you'll end up with mushy stuffing.

3. In a large Dutch oven, sauté chopped onions and celery on medium high heat with the remaining 3 Tbsp butter until cooked through, about 5-10 minutes. Add the bread. Add cooked chopped walnuts. Add chopped green apple, currants, raisins, olives, parsley. Add one cup of the stock from cooking the turkey giblets or chicken stock (enough to keep the stuffing moist while you are cooking it). Add sage, poultry seasoning, salt & pepper.

4. Cover. Turn heat to low. Cook for an hour or until the apples are cooked through. (*Mine took 30min tops) Check every ten minutes or so and add water or stock as needed while cooking to keep the stuffing moist and keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Serves 8-10.

Monday, December 1, 2008

In preparation

TE and I had an amazing Thanksgiving holiday- he made a wonderful smoked turkey for both of our parents, and aunt and cousin. We had a great couple of days (we actually cooked for two straight days!) and I have a ton of photos and some great recipes to pass along.
I am still feeling lazy and not quite ready yet to relive it (for fear that I will want to eat it all again) so in the meantime I will share a cartoon TE cut out of his New Yorker magazine for me :)


Thursday, November 20, 2008


Today was my 9mo physical and it went well! I lost most of the weight gained (according to the study records- on my scale at home I know I lost it all) and everything else was normal (EKG, blood pressure, etc.).

I also got the results of my labeled water measurement taken at my 6mo physical. That is a test that measures exactly how many calories your body burns/consumes during a 2-week period. This test said that I was consuming 2070cal/day- 400 calories over what my prescription is...

I am still wrapping my head around what these results mean to me (both as a participant and as a scientist), and what I am going to take away from it- but here are some of my initial thoughts.

Maybe I should maybe be upset at this result- since it states that I am not following my CR diet as well as I should be- but there are a few things to note about this number. During this measurement I attended two weddings, flew to San Francisco, and ate more than I should have (and I recorded that). It was not a typical time for a measurement looking at how many calories I was consuming for the whole six-month period.

So I am not "really" upset at the fact that this number is high because it is probably an accurate reflection for that 2-week time. What I am upset about is how it will be used in the global data analysis of the study. I feel that this result will skew the conclusions that will be made or not made.... I am a better study participant than this number shows...

The test-coordinator assured me that at the 12mo mark there are more tests done that can assess my long-term "compliance" rather than this short-term assessment... I hope it falls in a more "typical" time frame.

This makes me think about the design of the study a bit. I heard that a few other participants were traveling during this time and maybe they also have "not typical" values being reflected in their results as well- so I wonder what should have been the priority: sampling at a "typical" time, or making sure everyone was tested at the same month/time enrolled in the study. The latter option was the priority and seems like the most unbiased method- it just complicates the data analysis...

I am going to read over some papers that talk about this assay (Doubly Labeled Water) to see if my biochemistry knowledge holds up (and if I can follow my carbons! Mel- I may need your help with this one!!) and maybe to see if I can understand how this raw number factors into the conclusions made from the pilot study of CALERIE.

I will keep you posted on my research...

They also told me I should exercise more. Apparently (this seemed backwards to me at first) if you are dieting and you loose weight it takes less effort (calories) to move the same amount than when you were heavier (OK). So to maintain the same "effort" (calories burned) as when I was heavier, I need to move more...

So for that I am going to start taking the stairs to my lab. There really is no excuse not to (my lab is on the 3rd floor) other than the fact that the stairs are in the most inconvenient part of the building... regardless- I will be taking the stairs!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Lost it

My diligence paid off!
I lost my 4.6ish pounds gained.
I am now below where I was when this chaos started- and just in time- my 9mo physical is tomorrow and I get to find out all the details from my 6mo physical.

I feel good about the loss of weight and getting back on track- but I have a confession: I can not take full responsibility. I have been less interested in eating recently because I have been completely and utterly distracted by my latest obsession: the HBO series True Blood. It is terrible- the last time I was this obsessed with a television show was one "winter-break" a long time ago when TE and I watched every episode of season 1 of "24." I was also this obsessed with the Wire... for sure :)

But anyway- we started watching the show last Monday on On Demand, and in the last week TE and I caught up (11 hours of TV!) to the episode that aired on Sunday- which much to my sadness, it was the 2nd to last episode of the season. This Sunday is the final episode of season 1.

Usually- I am so behind in TV shows (I still have not seen Lost, Six Feet Under, Heroes, Entourage, etc.) that I can watch multiple seasons until I am sick of it/the show ends- but now I have to sit, impatiently waiting for season 2 to be made and for season 1 to be released on DVD. I am not sure if I like this situation I have made for myself

Needless to say: obsessive distraction is very good for reducing appetite. And much more enjoyable for me than my typical appetite reducing behavior (severe anxiety)!
Now if only I could figure out how to become obsessively distracted with something productive- like starting to write the failed chapters of my thesis... ugh.

If only failed mouse projects were as exciting as murder mysteries and romance between a mortal and a vampire...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wow! Who Knew!?

So in all my efforts to be good at my CR, I mindlessly ate 4 doughnut holes that one of my co-workers brought in today. That is not the good part :)
Afterward I checked online for the calorie information (that is the good CR part), and get this: 4 chocolate cake doughnut holes have.... 300 (!!!) calories! Four! 300!
I am having a hard time getting over this. :)
That totally blew my day out of the water. Luckily this splurge was before I ate lunch and I still have vegetable soup on hand...
Well- lesson learned.
That will not happen again.
It is amazing now I that I know how many calories are in one of those buggers, they seem so much less appetizing...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Comeback Plan

In an effort to get back on track I reread some of the hand-outs I got from my counseling sessions. One of them was about lapses and relapses. They recommended a strategy for getting back on track to CR and I will outline it here:

1) Remind yourself of the reason you joined the study.
Lucky for me I saved everything and I have my top 3 reasons I joined the study from my first meeting: diet motivation, to become healthier and more aware of my dietary needs, and to help science.

2) Review your progress thus far.
I have lost 20+lbs, learned a ton about healthy eating choices, met some amazing people and found a new passion for my research life beyond my PhD.

3) Renew your commitment.
CR is the only diet that has been shown to increase health and longevity. And I now know how easily I can incorporate CR into a "normal" lifestyle- which means I know what I need to do to eat a restricted diet.

4) Use PDA daily.

5) Weigh and measure all foods.

6) Decrease calories for a few days to make up for the extra calories you ate.
Hmmm. I should do that. Today?

7) Set realistic and achievable goals.
I will plan at least 3 dinners/week, I will limit alcohol, and carry more healthy snacks with me.

8) Planning out what you will eat at your next meal and the following day.
Yes. This is important

9) Use prepackaged foods (frozen meals or meal replacements).
Amy's burrito for lunch anyone?!

10) Call your counselor or a friend for a pep talk to help you activate your plan to feel optimistic about your success.
Calling all friends!! :) Send your words of encouragement.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Well... Let's be honest...

OK. So I gained weight again.

0.6lbs... but still. It is not a loss.
It was not a perfect weigh in since I have been starving for the last 2 days (weather?) and I had to eat lunch before heading to the CALERIE site for my weigh-in/counseling session. There may have been some extra food/water weight that factored into this weigh-in. We can not be sure since I have been "afraid" of stepping on the scale this week. To remedy my irrational fear, I have made a schedule to weigh myself every other day for the next two weeks. Which will be timely, since in two weeks from today I will have my 9-month physical and I would like to be in a restricted state...

But needless to say- the CALERIE counselor was very supportive and helpful- despite my gain. They have never been negative, or reprimanding, or even terse. I do not think it would help matters if they were -- and it is probably better that they are not any of those things -- I just have to remind myself that these "slip-ups" are data as well as my CR data- and I am not really destroying their study by gaining weight...

What I am going to do new in the these upcoming weeks is actually plan out my dinner ahead of time (calories included) so that I do not go into dinner thinking "I have 600cal left for dinner, and this meal here is-- ohh-- about 600 calories." Then in reality it turns out to be 750 and I am over again for the day. That will involve some mental calculation, which for whatever reason I hate to do. There is something about seeing the numbers in black and white on my PDA that makes it real. I think though for life after CALERIE it will help me to be able to do more mental calculating.

I will also keep posting. I love all the support :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Great Day

Yesterday was a great day for Americans! I am so so happy today. This picture is one of TE's pumpkin creations- he is quite the talented pumpkin carver :)

Not only that, I get to report that my soup last night was great! All I added was some salt and hot sauce-- yum! I am not sure of the calories so I am guessing around 80/cup which is in-line with commercially available "healthy-vegetable" soups.

Tomorrow is the big weigh-in day... I think I may have lost 2 of the 3lbs gained, but since I have not been weighing myself regularly I am not positive about that.

I will keep you all posted on my progress tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day Intervention

It is election day here in the US! Everyone go out and vote if you have not already!

I have decided not to keep blogging about my daily foods this week. As a new intervention I made a big crock-pot of vegetable soup. We discussed at my last session that people who eat soup before a meal tend to eat less. I love soup, so this is something I am going to try this week. Hopefully. I have a lot of soup cooking at home- but I have no idea how it is going to turn out. I did not follow a recipe (vegetable soup, how hard could it be?!), I just threw any and all veggies I had into the crock pot with vegetable broth. What were the veggies I had on hand? Carrots, bok choy, peas, diced tomatoes, and a shallot. Mmm-mmm :) I will decide when I get home tonight what seasonings it needs (ginger? garlic? lime?) and hopefully it will be simple and yummy enough.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

This weekend

Howdy readers.

This weekend was baaad! Apparently the extra accountability has not helped. I only tallied my calories/food consumed from Friday evening through today- 10 minutes ago (at 10:30 on Sunday night). *Sorry CALERIE study coordinators!!!

First I will tell you a summary of what each day was like then I will discuss what I think I can do differently/what is going to be an ongoing problem...

Friday: ~1630 calories
What went wrong here... not calories, but quality of food/lack of making planned food decreased my satisfaction with my food and made me feel bad about my food choices.
The problem day began with the fact that I did not eat breakfast. I had a dentist appt and it did not go well, so by 7pm I had only eaten about 600 calories. My mouth pain was mostly gone and I was starving! Of course I had plans to make a yummy soup, watch a scary movie, and relax- but I needed to purchase the ingredients for the soup and it is always a bad idea to go to the supermarket when you are so so hungry. It was 8pm by the time I got home, so I did not feel like cooking for 2hrs before dinner would be ready, so TE and I ate Annie's Organic Mac&Cheese and garlic bread (where were the veggies?!). I ended the day 30 calories under, but it was bad food, and I am not sure about my recall...
Lesson: be realistic about cooking endeavors to cut down on the disappointment/satisfaction problem

Saturday: 2110 calories (!!)
Ugh. The major problem here was alcohol. If I had not had any, I would have been fine with the food calories. I did go hiking for 2+ hrs, but I doubt it burned the extra 600 calories I ate.
Lesson: Limit drinking calories. Go back to 1 or 2 drinks per day. Have lots of seltzer and diet sodas on hand.
Sunday: 2110 calories (!!)
Ugh. Ugh. Again alcohol calories along with not cooking for myself calories. TE and I ate a big breakfast and went out to run a bunch of errands- when we were finished we were both hungry and far from home. To avoid low blood sugar battles, we decided to stop and get a quick bite to eat. I snacked lightly while he ate lunch and I felt OK about it all until we went to our friend's house for dinner. With all the rushing around getting ready for dinner, I did not eat the yogurt and bran cereal as I had planned so I ate many more pre-dinner snacks than I would have liked. Again the calories add up much quicker than you think when alcohol (and cheese!) is involved. Next time I will bring a bottle of seltzer with me along with the bottle of wine...
Lesson: Remember to bring with me when out: granola bars, yogurt, water, peanut butter sandwiches, anything to keep hunger away while running errands/away from home.

Well- I guess I learned a lot. I wonder though, why now? Almost 9 months in and I am just now starting to have problems. Maybe it is the season: more dinner parties, irresistible baked items, and festive drinking. Or maybe the novelty is wearing off, or my motivation is waning, or I am acting overly confident, or maybe... it is just laziness. Whatever it is- I need to figure out how to beat it. How to overcome my mental block. I feel like if I can do that, my future success with CR, beyond this study, will be that much better.

Now how to ID the problem and fix it.... Last time it helped me to go through my folder of study hand-outs (I remember one that deals with problems on weekends), I think I will try that and also try to read more scientific papers showing the benefits of calorie restriction on health and aging.

And I will keep blogging this week. I need whatever help I can get!

Friday, October 31, 2008


Happy Halloween!
Sorry I did not post yesterday. KBW and I drank a bottle of wine and ate too much last night- so I fell asleep early :) (it was worth it though!)
Not a good CR day.
At first I thought I was only mildly over- but I was laying in bed wondering how I got this uncomfortably full feeling- so I was going over and over what I ate and trying to remember what I forgot to add into my PDA, then I remembered: salad!
Normally it would not have been that bad, but this is a good, calorie rich, salad :)
Here is my day

Thursday: 1987 (+317)

Breakfast: 370c
2- Kashi GoLean blueberry waffles
1.1T peanut butter
1T Apple butter
Skim milk

Lunch: 298
Turkey sandwich

Snack: 246c
Coffee with skim milk
Cookies and cream granola bar
1/4c Cottage cheese
Graham cracker

Dinner: 1073c (!!)
12oz red wine (!!)
Buffalo chicken sausage
Hot dog bun
1tsp light mayo
4T ketchup
1/2 bag of organic french fries (250cal!) baked in oven
1.5c Bibb lettuce/spinach mix
15g Pecans
1/2 small granny smith apple
1/4c sliced cucumber
0.3oz crumbled goat cheese
2T light dressing

I think today should be better, I had to go to the dentist (again!) for the permanent crown placement, but it did not fit to my dentist's liking, so I am numb and sore. Soft foods will be all I eat today...
Maybe tonight I will make a stew and TE and I will watch a scary movie!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Guest Writer Carl Tries Out CR For a Day

My friend Carl wanted to be supportive of my strict-counting week and decided to eat 1670 calories yesterday and I was thrilled to have a friend join me for a day in the CR quest!
He was hungry (as he reported to me) and most probably because he was at least 300 calories under an appropriate CR prescription for a man. Although- I do remember my first day, and it was miserable, even with a valid CR prescription. But regardless of any hunger induced misery, his insights were impressive and will truly help me stay motivated and focused on getting back on track. In addition to all of the factors that Carl lists as being critical in maintaining a CR diet, having an amazing support group of family and friends has really helped me with my success on CR.

If anyone is interested in estimating how many calories you burn in a day (either to eat close to that amount or figure out a CR prescription) here is a website that I found to be very close to my experimentally derived energy expenditure:

--First you need to figure out your BMR which is the calories you would burn if you stayed in bed all day.
--Then you take that number and multiply it by an "activity factor" based on how active you are, the number I got, when I started CR, was within 125 calories of my actual energy expenditure.

So without further ado, here is Carl's insight into a day in the life of CR!

I’ve known about the calorie restriction diet, through Liz, for some time now. I had always thought that it couldn't be that tough; it’s just counting and stopping when you reach your magic number. I couldn't be further from reality. At its core, CR is about counting numbers but that’s just one part of it. The other parts include strategy, willpower and sacrifice. Each of these elements builds of each other and feed back into one another. Strategy solidifies your willpower. Willpower enables you to make sacrifices. Sacrifices help you build and execute your strategy.

Strategy comes into play when planning out each meal and snack through the day. CR requires forward thinking about the choices you will make even 12 to 15 hours later. An example I ran into was if I wanted to have a beer or two with dinner. How will my food selections leading up until then affect if I can afford this in my CR count.

Willpower gives you the ability to stick to your CR plan throughout the day and resist the temptations that pop up. I was on the CR for one day and I had to remind myself multiples times that even the slightest indulgence can throw off my hard work and planning.

Sacrifice is when you must cut out some of your favorite items in order to stick to your CR plan. Leaving out the chips at lunch, a snack mid afternoon or a dessert after dinner can be a tough thing to do. Sometimes, the sacrifices that must be made can be the hardest part of calorie restriction.

My limited, first-hand experience with CR was an experience, one that led me to find that there is more to CR then just counting numbers. I give credit to all those that must strategize, sacrifice and maintain great willpower each and everyday for months and years while living a calorie restriction lifestyle.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cold body, warm belly!

It is very cold where I live... so I am going to try to consume a lot of warming foods today :)
I wonder how Carl is doing today!

Wednesday- 1660 (-10)

Breakfast: 370c
2- Kashi GoLean blueberry waffles
1.1T peanut butter
1T Apple butter
Skim milk

Lunch: 425c
Amy's cheese burrito
Kettle corn popcorn, 100cal pack

Snack: 475c
Organic yogurt
1/4c Bran buds
1- Fiber fruit leather
Mint tea
9 baby carrots
2T Sabra jalapeno hummus (so good!)
1 Hard boiled egg
1 slice of Kraft light cheese

Dinner: 414c
Quorn cranberry and goat cheese cutlet
A few sips of reduced sodium miso soup- which was terrible!! I should probably consume less salt... but I won't... yet :)
1 graham cracker (4 pieces)
1 piece of dark chocolate

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rainy Tuesday

I am working from home today. I have a ton of grading to do and I never seem to be that productive in lab during working hours (too much talking Liz...), so I decided that to be productive I would stay in with my minimal (blogging, facebook, etc.) distractions.

Tuesday - 1604cal (-66)
- 659c
Early CR breakfast omelet- this meal tastes like my early days of CR.
It must be the goat cheese/spinach combo. I need another healthy omelet...
3/4c Egg beaters
1 Large egg
1c spinach
1/2 of a sm/md tomato, chopped
2T crumbled goat cheese (~0.5oz)
2 pieces of reduced calorie wheat toast
1T Canoleo margarine
Garlic salt to taste
2/3c Orange juice
3c Coffee (ugh! staying home lets me drink way too much coffee!!)
1c Skim milk
1 block of dark chocolate

Lunch: 225c
Organic lowfat vanilla yogurt
1/4c Bran buds
2T dried cranberries

Dinner 1: 460c
2 slices of pizza at grad student meeting

Dinner 2: 260c
Lentil soup
Diced tomatoes
Sriracha sauce
8- shrimp
Lime juice

Monday, October 27, 2008


I am going to face the facts. I gained 3lbs. A real 3lbs.
And my eating/recording/weighing/measuring is not going well.
I need some extra motivation, so I am going to report all my foods for 7 days again. I enjoyed it last time and while it may not be the most exciting of topics, I need the extra accountability. For now I will not be doing the CRON-O-Meter nutritional analysis- maybe later in the week.
So here it goes again!

Monday- 1688cal (+18)
Breakfast: 433cal
Cranberry Nut Oatmeal:
1/2c dry old-fashioned oatmeal (cooked in water)
15g Pecans
20g dried cranberries
Cinnamon to taste
1T skim milk
1T real maple syrup
1.5c Coffee
.5c Skim milk

Lunch: 368c
1 Hamburger bun
2 Slices of FFree Turkey Breast
1 Slice of reduced fat Swiss cheese
1.5T Mustard
8 Baby carrots
1- Fiber fruit leather

Snack: 172c
1 Reduced fat Quaker peanut butter granola bar
1 Medium Apple

Dinner and Dessert: 715c
BLT with 4 slices of bacon
1c Tomato soup
1 Chocolate chip cookie (made by KBW, I have been savoring them!)
1c Skim milk
2T NesQuik Chocolate mix
1 marshmallow

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Single Girl Dinners

TE has been traveling for work every Tuesday to Wednesday- leaving me free to make whatever I want to eat on Tuesday nights. These dinners have ranged from practically nothing (cereal and junk food/snacks) to some pretty creative (so I think!) single serving meals! Here I will highlight some of my favorites!

1) Quorn cranberry and goat cheese cutlets. 280 calories and so yummy! This is exciting for me because TE has turned up his nose at most Quorn products (maybe from my overuse of these items when we were vegetarians) but I still love them.

2) This is my own, not-even-close-to-the-original-mee-rebus-but-still-yummy, creation. I will call it Liz Rebus. My favorite restaurant serves Malaysian food and I order this soup every time. It is heavenly. I do not live close enough to this restaurant, so this is what I make to tide me over between visits. *I have attempted in the past to make a "real" Mee Rebus Soup, but it was disastrous. Imagine soup all over the kitchen walls and floor, disastrous. This is good and easy enough :)

Liz Rebus
~300 calories

1oz spaghetti noodles (Ronzoni smart taste or Barilla plus)*Pictured meal does not include noodles
1 hard boiled egg
1/4c canned diced tomatoes with juice or salsa (whatever is available)
Lime juice
Garlic, spicy, chili sauce (sriracha)

3) Amy's/Trader Joes Roasted Vegetable Pizza. I love love this pizza. I almost prefer it to some of our local pizza places. Again- no meat means TE does not love this meal as much as I do. Two 270cal servings for dinner (if calories permit) and 1 serving leftover for lunch- perfection!
Last night my friend JT made me dinner (whole wheat spaghetti with organic meat sauce- Thank you J!!) so I did not have to cook for myself. I wonder if my dieting would be more or less difficult if I had to cook for myself alone every night.... I'd bet I would eat cookies or cookie dough more often :)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Chicken Cassoulet

After all those promises I failed to keep you all updated!
So the evening of Yom Kippur KBW made us a fabulous dinner Chicken Cassoulet- I devoured it and highly recommend it! That pan you see in the picture is 4 servings and a TON of food. A great meal and a large volume for big eaters like me!
She got the recipe from EW and here it is:
Cassoulet-Style Chicken Thighs (6 servings)
2- 15-ounce cans white beans, rinsed
3/4 cup fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs (see Tip)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat and cut into thirds (she used chicken breasts)
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup water
1/2 pound low-fat turkey kielbasa, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1. Put 1/2 cup beans in a small bowl and mash with a fork. Add the remaining beans and set aside.
2. Toss breadcrumbs with 1 tablespoon oil in a small bowl. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the breadcrumbs and cook, stirring often, until golden and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
3. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add chicken in a single layer and cook until browned, turning once, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
4. Add onion and garlic to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
Add rosemary, thyme and pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add wine, increase heat to high and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits, until the wine has reduced by about half, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add broth, water, kielbasa, the reserved beans and chicken; bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes.
Top with the toasted breadcrumbs and parsley (she put the pan under the broiler for 5min here)

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving: 370 calories; 13 g fat (3 g sat, 6 g mono); 68 mg cholesterol; 40 g carbohydrate; 29 g protein; 10 g fiber; 749 mg sodium.
Nutrition bonus: Fiber (41% daily value), Folate (37% dv), Iron (20% dv).
TIP: Tip: To make fresh breadcrumbs: Trim crusts from firm sandwich bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor into coarse crumbs. One slice of bread makes about 1/3 cup crumbs.
MAKE AHEAD TIP: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

ADF vs. Yom Kippur

I am fasting today for Yom Kippur. It is 5pm and even though I have consumed liquid calories today (2.5c skim milk) I feel like I can not focus, I do not want to move much, and thinking about work is making my head spin-- I can only manage 1 experiment today (I know I should not even be here). It is one that I frequently mess up so I need all the attention I can muster. These effects of fasting make me think about how people actually maintain an "alternate-day fasting diet."
The poll results are in and not surprisingly, CR is the big winner (I voted, so only 3 of you out there would do a CR diet and 1 ADF- the rest of you- not dieters, I understand).
The one thing that is nice thing about fasting today is that I now have ~1400 calories for dinner tonight. KBW is making a yummy Eating Well recipe, I am going to bring a vegetable/salad- so we will see how I feel after eating 1,000 calories in a small amount of time. Previously, when I have saved up serious calories for a big meal (amazing, all you can eat sushi) I have disappointed myself by not actually being able to eat much over 1,000cal in one sitting... I will have to work on that.
Upcoming posts: Single girl dinners, Cook's Illustrated Cheesecake (so so yum!), and my own recipe in progress: Paella stuffed peppers! Will catch up when brain resumes functioning :)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Diets for your health

It is time for another poll.

There is a bit of research coming out right now about the benefits of multiple diets on health and lifespan. People are skeptical about populations of people embracing any of them- so I am asking you- Which diet seems the most realistic? If you HAD to be on a diet which one would you prefer? Here are some descriptions of your choices:

Raw/Macrobiotic- not one that has been shown to increase lifespan, but it has minimal meat and dairy so could be closely related to veganism. From wikipedia: A macrobiotic diet (or macrobiotics), from the Greek "macro" (large, long) and "bios" (life), is a dietary regimen that involves eating grains as a staple food supplemented with other foodstuffs such as vegetables and beans, and avoiding the use of highly processed or refined foods. Macrobiotics also address the manner of eating, by recommending against overeating, and requiring that food be chewed thoroughly before swallowing.

Vegan Diet- No animal products of any kind. Again from wikipedia: Veganism is a diet and lifestyle that seeks to exclude the use of animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose.[1][2] Vegans endeavor not to use or consume animal products of any kind. Vegans eat a lower protein diet with most proteins coming from plant sources which has been shown to increase longevity in lab animals.

CR: Calorie Restriction- You know this one: Nothing is off-limits, just calories are carefully monitored to be less than your body burns daily.

Alternate Day Fasting (ADF)- This diet states that you eat minimally on one day (0-500 cal), then unlimited (up to double your daily requirement) on the next day. Some studies in lab animals have shown enhanced longevity effects with this diet- but I have not seen any commentary yet from people following this diet yet.

Feel free to comment on why or why not you would consider any of these diets, or why you would never diet :)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Birthday Cupcakes

We are celebrating my lab-mate's birthday today and I made cupcakes!
*I must get some additional use out of my new cupcake carrier*
She is a big fan of margaritas so we are having drinks and margarita cupcakes at work. These are not good CR foods but they are so cute, I had to boast. Here is the recipe:

Margarita Cupcakes
1 package (18.25 oz. white cake mix - no pudding in the mix)
1 can (10 oz.) frozen Margarita mix, thawed (undiluted)
3 egg whites
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line standard muffin pan with baking cups.
In large bowl, combine cake mix, Margarita mix, egg whites and vegetable oil using electric mixer.
Stir in lime zest; mix completely.
Fill prepared pans 2/3 full.
Bake 22-24 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean.
Cool in pan on cooling rack 5-8 minutes.
Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely.
Frost cooled cupcakes with icing and garnish, if desired, with a strawberry and/or lime twist,

Yield: Makes 24* cupcakes.
*I only got 18 out of the batter.

Key Lime Cream Cheese Icing
Makes 3c of Icing- I used about 2/3c to ice all 18 cupcakes
I did not want to calculate the calories in this... It can't be good...
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons key lime juice
1 teaspoon key lime zest or lemon zest
4-5 cups confectioners' sugar
Yield: Makes about 3 cups icing.
In large bowl, cream butter, cream cheese, juice and zest with electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Add 4 cups confectioners' sugar, one cup at a time; continue beating until light and fluffy.
If icing is too thin add additional confectioners' sugar 1 tablespoon at a time.

"Rim" the cupcakes with green sugar, and top off with a candy fruit slice (TE's idea inspired from all of our Ace of Cakes watching!)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Favorite Burger Recipe

Eating Well is one of my newest favorite magazines. At some point they published a summer BBQ edition, and we have loved one recipe in particular: The Smokey Bison Burger. Below is the recipe as I made it. You can find the original here
As you can appreciate- I do not follow instructions well- but lucky for me the end result is just as amazing as the original (I did follow the instructions the first time!)

Smoky Beef Burger
makes 4 burgers- 225c not including buns or toppings

1lb Ground Beef (93% lean)
1/2c Wild Rice (I get this from Trader Joes)
1/2 Shredded Reduced Fat Smoked Gouda
2T BBQ sauce
1T Paprika
2t Dijon Mustard
Salt and Pepper to taste

Kaiser Buns (4)
Sliced Tomato and Onion
Additional BBQ sauce for buns

Mix all ingredients together and form 4 burger patties
Grill to preferred doneness


*TE and I made these for my birthday camping trip this weekend and they were a hit!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Nearing 30

Well - I am turning 30 in the next few days. I do not feel strongly about it- which I guess is good... If this whole CR diet actually is slowing my aging process- I may not really be turning "biologically" 30 this week.

Things have been difficult with my CR diet recently. To be fair, I have met my goal of not gaining any weight throughout the wedding/vacation season-- and that is great! I have discovered that it really stresses me out to not have time to plan out my meals and not being able to control the things in my meals at restaurants. Since school started up again, I have been going "240" (a family term for crazy) with work, writing cover letters (I am applying for jobs/postdocs!!), fixing my CV, and trying to learn anatomy (the class I am teaching this semester). Not to mention my actual lab work that needs attention. So quality food prep and planning has been neglected at best.

It did not help that I also lost my PDA (where I record all my food). But luckily it was time for me to get a new phone-- so I got a new Palm Centro! It is so fun and cute! It will be my diet recorder, my phone, and also mp3 player since it takes 4G memory cards! And do not worry people out there who know me- I got the insurance!

So now that I have my new phone/PDA, classes are underway, and I am settling down from the initial shock of everything-- I can slowly start working back into my good study participant/dieter status.
I am now going to try to meet the following goals:

1) Eat out less
2) Make 1 new recipe/week

I have to start slow. The first goal is really what will help me get back to my good habits. It is really difficult to know what you are eating at restaurants, unless all you eat is salad and raw things... which I don't- at least not every time. Anyway- getting back on track. Weight loss/slow aging will be mine again!

Friday, September 12, 2008


I know I have been absent recently. The whole "back-to-school" chaos has pulled me in tornado-style. So for whoever is left out there- reading and checking up on me- I have a special treat for you.

You will thank me for this one.
I promise.

This is the recipe that will put you on par with brilliant chefs in your guests minds. I can not take credit for it, and I probably should not be disseminating the recipe to the public. But since I have so few readers- who will ever know?! It is TE and my favorite restaurant's recipe for steak tips. The chef's were kind enough to share it with our friends who were getting married out of town and wanted to serve this (their favorite dish) at their wedding.
That is how good this recipe is.
And now without further delay:

ST's Steak Tips
(serves 8)
(calories 575/serving)
(you could stretch it further though)

2- 8oz cans of pineapple juice
1- small handful (1/4c?) brown sugar
3-4oz Molasses
2-3 cloves minced garlic
2 oz soy sauce
2 oz Worcestershire sauce
2T Tabasco
2tsp salt
3/4c Canola Oil
3-4lbs Steak tips

Mix all ingredients together, except 1 can of pineapple juice (save it for the end) in a Pyrex dish
Lay the steak tips into the dish
Pour the remaining can of pineapple juice over the top

Let marinate for 1-2hrs
BBQ until preferred doneness
Serve with mashed potatoes (or cauliflower) and salad

** I want to add that the calorie info is calculated on consuming 1/8 of the marinade, which does not happen, so calories are actually less. Not sure how to calculate that...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wedding Food Pictures

Eating at weddings is not easy when trying to eat healthy. I usually manage this calorie overload by watching my alcohol consumption (planning ahead how many drinks I am going to have) and eating a little bit of everything. Tasting everything helps me feel like I am not missing out on anything, while not actually overdoing it. I will never know if my estimation of calories consumed at these weddings was accurate- but I did not gain any weight after either of them.

Here are 3 images taken from two different weddings TE and I attended this summer. The top two images are taken from the last wedding-- the first image is a seared halibut steak served with a corn risotto with a mango, red pepper, and tomato salsa- my order and the healthier option. It was very tasty. The middle image is of the smoked pork steak (TE's order) served on top of a polenta mash and mango. I usually do not love pork, but seriously, that pork was to.die.for. I was thankful I did not order it, because I would have eaten it all! The last image is the "salad" course at the first wedding of the summer. I put it on here because both "salads" served at the weddings were not very healthy. Thinking about the foods served at weddings in general got TE and me thinking about food expectations at these types of functions, specifically at our wedding.
We were fish-eating-vegetarians when we got married, so we did not want to serve our guests anything we did not eat. Our menu consisted of an amazingly rich wild mushroom "stew" (for lack of a better word), a tricolor tortellini with a red sauce (the three tortellinis each had a different filling but now I am drawing a blank), and a red snapper with a mango salsa. I remember one guest actually checked off each option on his response card- he thought he was choosing the red snapper as his main dish and a side of each "vegetable." We thought it was funny at the time- but now thinking back I wonder if any of our guests were disappointed with the choices. At the first wedding of the summer there was an excessive amount of food- if you happened to order the prime rib (we did), you were served at least 12oz of steak- plus a side of roasted zucchini and potatoes. It was overwhelming and I thought it was such a waste of food. No one could/should eat that much steak after all the appetizers, salad and drinks served-- and not that many people did finish their steak, so it really did go to waste.
I wondered what everyone else thought? Were they impressed? Would you have been? What if you went to a wedding and they served proper portion sizes? Or they only served vegetarian items? Would you feel a bit unsatisfied? What is it about the American culture that we feel the need to couple our celebrations (or holidays) with excessive food? I am not pointing fingers- when I host a party I serve an excessive amount of food- and anyone who has attended any of my Superbowl parties will agree! I wonder if I can incorporate any of my new CR habits into celebrations... probably not... I will probably serve just as much food, but maybe now I will have more healthy items so that the excessive eating will not be as damaging :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

6 months!

I am currently sitting in the clinical research lab in a room very similar to the one I was in when I found out I was going to be following a CR diet for 2 years-- 6 months ago. I am beginning the 6 month physical (it is 3wks long!) and I can not believe how fast time has gone... I have lost 16.3lbs and I love CR! Looking back at old posts, I was pretty skeptical/nervous about being on a diet and I would not say I am a perfect CR practitioner, but now I feel good that I know what I am eating and I love how I feel when I am eating well.
I hoped I could catch up on more blogging being stuck here for the day- but my faithful readers will have to wait. Tomorrow TE and I leave for sunny California for a wedding, but I shall return with more stories about how to diet (or not diet) while on vacation and at weddings!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Nice Surprise

Today my laboratory is going out to lunch to say goodbye to a visiting student- and we let him choose the restaurant. He chose Pizzeria Uno. I quietly cringed. Mostly because I am a closed-minded-snob and would never choose to eat at a big chain restaurant, but it was his choice I need to make the best of it. So I went online to see what my options would be for lunch.
I must say that I was very pleasantly surprised at the nutritional information section online! link
It is broken down into multiple different categories: Under 500 calories, High Fiber, Low Sodium... etc., and then again into menu categories.
Now I currently have a little cheat sheet in my pocket with the calorie information all written out for quite a few menu options I would be interested in eating.
My top contenders are:
French Onion Soup (285) with a house salad (120) or a house salad with grilled chicken (260)
Asian Chicken Salad (550)
Mahi Mahi with Mango Salsa (220) and veggie soup (135)
or share a flatbread pizza (405/half with 6g of fiber)

That will teach me to be closed-minded! I will let you know how I enjoy this lunch and what I decide!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Slacker Confessions

I am a slacker. On all fronts. School, food, life... I have emails I have not answered, work left partially completed, lists keeping me up at night... I could go on- but you get the idea. So what have I been doing with my time if not working, cooking and relaxing?

Going to concerts. Really. I went to 3 concerts, in 4 days, in 3 different (and not all neighboring) states. I am realizing that I need to eat better if I want to do that again...

I maintained my 1670 calorie prescription (mostly) but with the worst possible foods. This has left me feeling really really icky (stomach), my allergies are acting up (nose/eyes), and I generally feel gross. The next month is also going to be difficult (3 weddings), so I am starting to think about how I can make the best of it without going back down the gross food road... Any ideas for healthy road trip/eating on vacation tips?

While I am still here, I am going to have a much better menu, filled with fresh veggies and planned dinners. I am also going to have to work my butt off at my research before classes and teaching starts again!!

Also- I set a new goal for the second six months of my participation in the CALERIE study (can you believe I am almost at 6 months!?). I am going to make one new recipe every week until my 1 year anniversary.

I will publish each new recipe and keep you all posted on my progress!

Slacker Liz, be gone!

Monday, July 21, 2008

My Favorite "Diet" Foods

One (of the many) benefit(s) of being a part of this study is the personal attention that I get from the study dietitian. The last time I went through my diet foods with LR, I was eating mostly a low-fat diet with a 50:25:25 ratio of carbs: protein:fat.
To anyone out there wanting to taste what my life is like and try some of my favorite foods, I thought I would do a bit of promoting. Here are some of my favorite foods that help keep me happy on my CR diet: (in no particular order)

1) La Tortilla wraps. link Anywhere from 80-110 calories depending on size and 10-13g of fiber (!!) these are a must! I have been having a difficult time finding them recently but I think I have found one supermarket that usually has a few varieties on hand.

2) Weight Watchers Bagels. 150 calories, 9g fiber. The only thing that could make these better is a variety of flavors. Currently plain bagels are the only option. Also, I am always buying the last bag in the store... These are popular suckers. link

3) Fiber One granola bars. Oh heaven. I eat one a day. Everyday. 140 calories, 9g of fiber and now with two new flavors (Apple and Strawberry chocolate- both yum!) I do not go anywhere without a fiber one bar in my bag. link

4) Greek Yogurt. I usually get the flavored cups from Trader Joe's, but they are a bit more expensive than my typical organic Stonyfield Farms yogurt ($1.20/container vs. $0.89)... But they have way more protein (12-20g) than regular yogurt so it is all good. link

5) Cereal. Breakfast makes me happy and it usually involves cereal. Right now my favorites are Special K Red berries and Cheerios (multi-grain and the strawberry yogurt one). I also always mix them with fiber one cereal and slivered almonds. LR wanted me to try my cereal with walnuts for the omegas, but it is not the same- I do not like walnuts as much as I like almonds. Since the summer fruits abundant- blueberries have also been making a regular appearance with my cereal each morning. link

6) No Pudge Brownies. These brownies are not as good as non-diet brownies, I know. But they get the job done and you can make individual brownies from the mix. Mmm chocolate :) link

7) HungryGIRL OK not a food. But I get a ton of ideas from this website. My recent favorite was their list of 80 calorie snacks.

8) Kashi Blueberry Waffles. My second favorite breakfast. Two waffles (170 cal, 6g fiber), 1.1Tbsp of chunky peanut butter (now all natural!) and apple butter. Mmm. link

9) Seltzer. Usually citrus/lemon-lime flavored. TE and I drink about 2 liters/day. I also order seltzer and lime at bars to help space out my calorie filled alcoholic drinks.

10) Welch's fruit snacks. Gummy junk food, yes. But they are made with fruit juice and have vitamins in them- so not all bad. link

That is it for now. I am sure, now that I am writing this I will remember 10 more foods that I forgot, so I will save them for my next installment!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Halibut Recipe

This was a great dinner. TE and I both enjoyed it!
The original recipe is from Cooking Light, and the recipe below is how I made it...
Halibut in a Tomato-Shiitake Broth
Serves 2
400 cal/serving
4 oz Barilla Plus Spaghetti
1t olive oil
1t bottled minced garlic
1 2/3 cups bottled clam juice
2t red curry paste (I used a mild Indian curry paste instead)
1 pint thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps (about 3.5oz of mushrooms)
1 can of diced tomatoes, undrained
crushed red pepper
1lb halibut steak
2T jarred chopped basil
Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.
While noodles cook, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
Add garlic; cook 1 1/2 minutes or until tender, stirring constantly.
Add clam juice and curry paste, stirring with a whisk until smooth.
Add mushrooms, tomatoes, and pepper to pan; bring to a simmer.
Add fish
Cover and cook 5 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork (mine took about 15min).
Serve over noodles.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Weekend BBQs

This past weekend my friend hosted a BBQ at her house, and I jumped at the chance to make some new recipes! My personal favorite was the spicy peanut slaw, but everyone loved the corn salad- a recommendation from LR, the super-dietitian!

Here are the recipes
(Sorry for the crappy corn salad picture, that must have been taken after I had a beer or two... my critical assessment of photograph quality was amiss...)
Macque Choux ("Mock-Shoe")
Recipe from Eating Well, August 2008
Adjusted for how I made it, quantities doubled from original recipe
Serves 20 at about 1/2 cup each
95 calories/serving
1/2 of a large vidalia onion
1 Red bell pepper, diced
1T chopped jarred garlic
20oz Frozen sweet corn (recipe called for fresh corn, but my local market did not have any great looking ears... thus the corn was a bit more mushy than I would have liked)
1/3c water
2 Medium tomatoes, chopped
5 scallions, green parts sliced thinly
1tsp fresh chopped thyme
1tsp cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
Heat oil in pan, add onion and cook until onion softens (~2min)
Add bell pepper and garlic and cook another 2 min more
Add corn and water and cook until tender crisp (mine was never...) about 5 min more
Remove from heat, and stir in tomato scallions, thyme and cayenne.

Confetti Cabbage Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing
Cook's Illustrated
Again, estimated serving 20
68 calories/serving
32 oz shredded cabbage and carrots (Bagged variety. The chefs at CI would be very disappointed- there are explicit directions to slice fresh cabbage and add salt to wilt it for up to four hours...)
4T smooth peanut butter
2T Walnut oil
1T Canola oil
1T Toasted sesame oil (recipe called for all peanut oil- but I didn't have any... this seemed to work well enough
4T rice vinegar
2T soy sauce
2t honey
1t chopped garlic (jarred)
1.5in piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
1 Jalapeno chili
6 scallions, green and white parts sliced thinly
Salt to taste
Lime juice (1/2 lime)
1/2 lime for decoration
Dump bags of cabbage into bowl
Puree the remainder of ingredients in a food processor
Add dressing to cabbage, stir
Add lime juice, and lime
(so easy, right?!)


Monday, July 14, 2008

Vegetarian Diet vs. CR diet

I must apologize for my long absence. Things have been pretty boring and uninspiring recently. But boring and uninspiring be gone! From now on this blog is going to be filled with more interesting recipes, more diet commentary, and more updates on my progress- how much more exciting can you get?!

So to start off this exciting new trend, my sister asked a fabulous question on the last post and I think it deserves its own post.

...when you were a vegetarian for like 5 years, there were always things that
you couldn't eat that you wanted to but you never caved. How is it different
with CR, like knowing that you can eat whatever you want just in limited
I started eating a fish/vegetarian diet in 2001 and beginning this past winter I decided to eat meat again. The decision was made partly because if I remained a vegetarian throughout the study I would have had to eat the same meal every three days for the entire month of packaged foods, and partly because TE and I were feeling that our vegetarian diet was getting a bit monotonous and very unhealthy.

So back to the question: how is item restriction different from calorie restriction?
Very different!
Mostly because I still ate most of my favorite foods as a vegetarian (cheese, cookies, pizza, wine, etc.) and I could eat as much as I wanted. Dinner parties and restaurants were always a source of amazing food and drinks- and I never thought about quantity. Even though I avoided the meat options, there was always something just as good/satisfying to choose from. For example, my favorite restaurant has amazing steak tips (so everyone says), but my favorite entree, the macaroni and cheese, is so amazing I never felt like I was missing out by not eating the tips. Now on my CR diet, the tips may be the better choice...
Also, when I was a vegetarian and craving something meaty there were always fake meat products that satisfied my craving. In my seven years of living meat-free, I found the best veggie meatballs (Trader Joes), turkey/chicken products (Quorn), veggie burgers (boca), veggie sausage patties (Morningstar Farms)... and I could go on. I could eat almost anything I could think of- I rarely felt unsatisfied. And it is not that I feel particularly unsatisfied now- but there are times when I am eating such a great meal that I want to keep eating past the point of fullness or calorie restriction. It is unsatisfying to stop eating, and it is unsatisfying to knowingly go over my calorie prescription. But now when I chose to stop eating I have a team of people telling me constantly why that's the best choice. Hopefully after two years I will have built up enough good, healthy habits and a separation from my old "bad" ways so that I can make better decisions for myself alone. My preliminary success with CR can be attributed to the fact that I am not just doing this for myself. If I was the only person I had to answer to when faced with the "eat more" vs. "stop eating" decision, I would chose the "eat more" side every.single.time. That is why I knew if I was going to be successful on any diet, I needed a face, someone to keep me honest, someone to tell me I was doing well, how to be better, and charting my success along with me.

Blog posting helps too! Let me know what you would like to see more of here- Thank you for reading!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Vacation on a Diet

Last week I went on a week-long vacation. No cell phones, no internet, no supermarkets within 30min, no distractions- just pure, blissful relaxation. It was wonderful to be away.

How did I maintain CR while on vacation, you may be wondering? It was not easy.

My food recording has never been more difficult- even though I brought my digital scale and measuring cups. I have also not had that many days over my calorie prescription in one week since I began the study (4 days out of 6)... I could not plan meals as well as I do when I am home and when I did plan out my day to try to eat within my calorie prescription, I still ended up over. It was frustrating and not too fun or relaxing.

By the 3rd day of vacation I was feeling guilty- specifically for eating a piece of blueberry cobbler the night before, even though I knew when I ate it that it would put me well over my calories for the day. (BTW: it was totally worth it!)

Thankfully TE, my wonderful husband, helped me maintain perspective. He reminded me how well I had been doing before the vacation, and that if I am having a hard time maintaining the diet while on a vacation, that fact in itself is valuable information. At that point I decided I was not going to feel bad about what I was eating. I would record all the foods to my best knowledge, try to restrict calories when possible, and ultimately be honest with myself. He helped me remember something the diet counselor told me when we were talking about lapsing- the way you handle the lapse, mentally, determines how much damage it can cause and how easy it will be to recover from it.

I felt much better about the rest of my vacation after that realization- that is not to say it helped me stay under/at my prescription- but it helped me feel better about the situation. So in keeping with my honest approach of learning from my vacation lapse- I gained 2 lbs. That is 7,000 calories over what I burn (2226cal/day)- which if the weight gain is a true reflection of food consumed (and not something else like water weight) I ate a total of 10,336 extra calories while on vacation! Harsh.

On a positive note, I have been back for 2 full days and I have maintained my "pre-vacation" eating habits; staying at/under my calorie prescription, weighing and measuring everything, and eating healthy foods that keep me feeling satisfied. It is a vicious cycle: eating "bad" foods makes you want to eat more "bad" foods- break the cycle and making healthy food choices get easier.

It also helps that I don't make blueberry cobbler... :)

Monday, June 23, 2008


I guess I was trying to make up for my bad day on Saturday... a bit low on everything..

Sunday ~1100 calories

1c Puffins Cinnamon cereal (140)
Fiber One (30)
Almonds (80)
Milk (80)
*Had 18g of fiber, which kept me full and satisfied!

Dr. Weil's Chocolate Walnut Bar (190)- I bit into this and thought about spitting it out. But I was hungry, and I decided it was not so bad. But it tasted nothing like chocolate- I could not place the taste until I looked at the ingredient list. The number one ingredient= dates! If I thought about it as a date nut bar, it was great- it did not have enough of a chocolate flavor to pull off the name.

BBQ at MH and NW's - Chicken fajitas
2oz chicken (60)
La Tortilla wrap (90 cal 13g fiber!)
Guacamole (they now have 100 calorie packs of guac! How great is that?!) (100)
Grilled red and green peppers (15)
Grilled onions (10)
Salsa (10)
Arugula Salad
Sliced strawberries (10)
Blue Cheese (25)
Slivered Almonds (25)
Cucumbers (5)
Light Salad Dressing (40)

Skinny Cow Dips (80)
1/2 Cookie (I really need to get rid of these!) (50)


Nutrition Summary for June 22, 2008

General (77%)
Energy 1091.4 kcal 65%
Protein 60.7 g 121%
Carbs 142.1 g 109%
Fiber 38.4 g 154%
Fat 43.5 g 67%
Water 879.6 g 33%
Vitamins (70%)
Vitamin A 2395.5 IU 103%
Folate 171.7 µg 43%
B1 (Thiamine) 0.7 mg 62%
B2 (Riboflavin) 1.3 mg 119%
B3 (Niacin) 19.1 mg 136%
B5 (Pantothenic Acid) 3.4 mg 68%
B6 (Pyridoxine) 1.4 mg 111%
B12 (Cyanocobalamin) 2.4 µg 102%
Vitamin C 143.6 mg 191%
Vitamin D 0.0 IU 0%
Vitamin E 7.0 mg 47%
Vitamin K 23.3 µg 26%
Minerals (75%)
Calcium 879.4 mg 88%
Copper 0.8 mg 94%
Iron 9.1 mg 51%
Magnesium 221.2 mg 71%
Manganese 1.9 mg 107%
Phosphorus 898.5 mg 128%
Potassium 2058.1 mg 44%
Selenium 38.4 µg 70%
Sodium 785.7 mg 52%
Zinc 6.1 mg 76%
Lipids (50%)
Saturated 13.3 g 67%
Omega-3 0.5 g 47%
Omega-6 5.5 g 50%
Cholesterol 106.4 mg 35%

Sunday, June 22, 2008


It was not a good CR day. I over thought/planned for my evening and it backfired... This is also not a perfect CoM entry since many of my food items were not in CoM so I just approximated the closest food item rather than add all of them in to the program.

Saturday ~1900+ calories (eek!)

Weight Watchers Bagel (150)
Canoleo margarine (100)
2 Poached eggs (150)
Milk (25)
Cookie (100)

Not lunch and not eaten at lunch time... the beginning of the lesson
1 pack of Welch's fruit snacks (80)
1 Kashi strawberry cereal bar (110)

Pre-Dinner Meal: This was in preparation for dinner out. I was dizzy-hungry so I knew I needed to eat before I went out or else it would have been bad. I should have made this meal smaller in retrospect.
8 pieces of vegetable sushi (200?)
2T reduced sodium soy sauce and wasabi (20)
6 Vegetable pot stickers (150)

Paella (made by friends on grill) ~1cup (~350)
Meats included chicken breast, chicken chorizo, shrimp and clams.
Rice, green beans, and peas also in the recipe
+ the obligate olive oil to all recipes unknown (65)
6oz White wine (120)
1 Beck's Light (64)
1/2c Homegrown lettuce!
2T chopped grapefruit (9)
2T feta cheese (40)
1T Italian-type dressing (45)

Dessert: Should have passed on dessert...
Angel food cake (90)
Sliced Strawberries (50)
Whipped cream (75)

And there you have it... Not a good CR day. Lesson learned.
Nutrition Summary for June 21, 2008 (CoM)
General (87%)
Energy 1986.4 kcal 119%
Protein 80.1 g 160%
Carbs 159.5 g 123%
Fiber 19.3 g 77%
Fat 77.2 g 119%
Water 1142.6 g 42%
Vitamins (86%)
Vitamin A 3647.4 IU 156%
Folate 310.7 µg 78%
B1 (Thiamine) 1.6 mg 145%
B2 (Riboflavin) 2.2 mg 196%
B3 (Niacin) 24.2 mg 173%
B5 (Pantothenic Acid) 4.0 mg 80%
B6 (Pyridoxine) 2.0 mg 157%
B12 (Cyanocobalamin) 19.5 µg 812%
Vitamin C 186.5 mg 249%
Vitamin D 35.2 IU 18%
Vitamin E 35.4 mg 236%
Vitamin K 50.2 µg 56%
Minerals (82%)
Calcium 607.1 mg 61%
Copper 1.2 mg 128%
Iron 16.2 mg 90%
Magnesium 162.9 mg 53%
Manganese 1.5 mg 86%
Phosphorus 1063.3 mg 152%
Potassium 1721.2 mg 37%
Selenium 87.4 µg 159%
Sodium 3111.0 mg 207%
Zinc 7.2 mg 90%
Lipids (98%)
Saturated 21.6 g 108%
Omega-3 2.3 g 208%
Omega-6 10.3 g 94%
Cholesterol 621.4 mg 207%

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Friday ~1670cal

1/2c Egg beaters (60)
1 English muffin (100)
1/2 tsp Canoleo margarine
1 slice 2% kraft singles
Skim Milk

Spinach (1.5cups)
Baby Carrots
1/4c Shredded light cheese (80)
1/2 can solid white tuna in water (110)
Light dressing (80)
1 small peach
1/2 Peanut butter and jelly sandwich (200)
6-oz fat free fruit yogurt (120)
1 chewy 90 cal granola bar

Dinner: here is where the trouble set in. I had a wonderful evening planned catching up with college friends at a nice restaurant that has a patio and loves the King pup. I left work at 5:30 for a 6pm reservation- so I power walked the 1.5mile trek from work to the restaurant, with King in tow. I am not sure if it was the anxiety of being late, the salad with extra radishes for lunch, or both factors combined-- but I had a soul-crushing gas bubble lodged directly under my right lung for the entire dinner. I could barely concentrate on anything but how I was going to breathe without falling over in pain. Thus, the dinner ended early and KBW escorted me home to make sure I was OK once the gas-x took effect (Thanks K!). It did and I was restored back to normal by 9:30pm! At this point I was hungry. All I ate at the restaurant was a glass of red wine (6oz), maybe half an ounce of chicken, and a few pieces of broccoli and string beans. I was especially mindful of my food consumption during the day so that I could eat out and enjoy myself- so I consulted my pantry and decided that I had all the ingredients for homemade chocolate chip heath bar cookies (TE's favorite)!
I ate 3 cookies (~300cal) and a glass of milk (83c) for dinner and it was wonderful! The most difficult thing was not eating all the cookie dough!
Who would have thought you can do CR and eat cookies for dinner? Having days like this make it possible for me to do CR and enjoy it. I never feel like I am deprived. It is great :)

Nutrition Summary for June 20, 2008 (CoM)
General (81%)
Energy 1651.9 kcal 99%
Protein 106.3 g 231%
Carbs 178.8 g 138%
Fiber 16.1 g 64%
Fat 46.4 g 71%
Water 1381.8 g 51%
Vitamins (92%)
Vitamin A 10976.4 IU 470%
Folate 308.7 µg 77%
B1 (Thiamine) 1.0 mg 94%
B2 (Riboflavin) 2.3 mg 213%
B3 (Niacin) 21.3 mg 152%
B5 (Pantothenic Acid) 7.4 mg 148%
B6 (Pyridoxine) 1.4 mg 106%
B12 (Cyanocobalamin) 5.0 µg 210%
Vitamin C 68.7 mg 92%
Vitamin D 200.9 IU 100%
Vitamin E 6.3 mg 42%
Vitamin K 316.4 µg 352%
Minerals (93%)
Calcium 1523.4 mg 152%
Copper 1.1 mg 117%
Iron 11.2 mg 62%
Magnesium 349.5 mg 113%
Manganese 3.6 mg 197%
Phosphorus 2026.1 mg 289%
Potassium 3383.6 mg 72%
Selenium 173.9 µg 316%
Sodium 2760.9 mg 184%
Zinc 10.5 mg 131%
Lipids (69%)
Saturated 15.6 g 78%
Omega-3 1.6 g 147%
Omega-6 5.9 g 53%
Cholesterol 135.6 mg 45%

Friday, June 20, 2008


Let the unhealthy weekend begin! Haha, just kidding-- we will see how it goes knowing I have to tally everything for my readers :)

Thursday (~1670 cal)

My favorite breakfast (333)

My Favorite Lunch: Weight watchers bagel (150)
Smoked fat free turkey (60)
2% Fat American cheese (50)
Mustard (10)
2T spinach
Microwaved popcorn (100)

2 blocks of dark chocolate (40)
1 90 calorie granola bar
1 peach (50)
Greek Yogurt (120)

Dinner: Out at my apparently new favorite Thursday night dinner place... Portions estimated
Spicy Black Bean Burger (200)
1/2 roll (120)
1T guacamole (30)
Sliced tomatoes (3 small) (5)
French fries (1/2 small) (160)

Nutrition Summary for June 19, 2008 (CoM)
General (85%)
Energy 1664.2 kcal 100%
Protein 94.6 g 189%
Carbs 225.6 g 174%
Fiber 36.7 g 147%
Fat 50.5 g 78%
Water 889.9 g 33%
Vitamins (76%)
Vitamin A 3457.6 IU 148%
Folate 372.8 µg 93%
B1 (Thiamine) 12.6 mg 1147%
B2 (Riboflavin) 2.7 mg 245%
B3 (Niacin) 18.2 mg 130%
B5 (Pantothenic Acid) 2.4 mg 48%
B6 (Pyridoxine) 1.4 mg 106%
B12 (Cyanocobalamin) 4.2 µg 173%
Vitamin C 45.4 mg 61%
Vitamin D 3.4 IU 2%
Vitamin E 11.4 mg 76%
Vitamin K 32.0 µg 36%
Minerals (91%)
Calcium 1393.1 mg 139%
Copper 1.1 mg 120%
Iron 24.1 mg 134%
Magnesium 257.8 mg 83%
Manganese 2.2 mg 125%
Phosphorus 1571.9 mg 225%
Potassium 2660.0 mg 57%
Selenium 37.9 µg 69%
Sodium 3335.9 mg 222%
Zinc 9.8 mg 122%
Lipids (47%)
Saturated 13.8 g 69%
Omega-3 0.5 g 42%
Omega-6 5.7 g 52%
Cholesterol 79.7 mg 27%

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I am pretty curious how this day is going to turn out nutritionally... 2 pieces of pizza for lunch-- Hmmmm...

Breakfast: (333)
My favorite again (see Tuesday)

Radiation safety lunch= free pizza
2 small slices (420)

Greek Yogurt-Pomegranate (120)
Fiber Fruit Leather (60)
Quaker peanut butter- reduced sugar- granola bar (100)
Soy Smoked Sausage with mustard (140)

Goat Cheese and Grape Tomatoes with Pasta (300)
1.5c Spinach (10)
2T chopped baby carrots (7)
1 radish (1)
2T chopped cabbage (3)
1/4c Fat free cottage cheese (30)
Light Dressing (20)
3oz Red wine (70)

Nutrition Summary for June 18, 2008 (CoM)
General (88%)
Energy 1686.0 kcal 101%
Protein 81.4 g 163%
Carbs 208.0 g 160%
Fiber 32.7 g 131%
Fat 61.2 g 94%
Water 879.2 g 33%
Vitamins (84%)
Vitamin A 10356.9 IU 444%
Folate 497.9 µg 124%
B1 (Thiamine) 3.0 mg 275%
B2 (Riboflavin) 2.6 mg 240%
B3 (Niacin) 23.2 mg 165%
B5 (Pantothenic Acid) 1.9 mg 39%
B6 (Pyridoxine) 1.8 mg 141%
B12 (Cyanocobalamin) 5.4 µg 224%
Vitamin C 56.7 mg 76%
Vitamin D 0.0 IU 0%
Vitamin E 14.4 mg 96%
Vitamin K 245.1 µg 272%
Minerals (92%)
Calcium 1748.8 mg 175%
Copper 1.1 mg 122%
Iron 29.0 mg 161%
Magnesium 242.4 mg 78%
Manganese 3.0 mg 165%
Phosphorus 1158.8 mg 166%
Potassium 1996.2 mg 42%
Selenium 68.6 µg 125%
Sodium 2113.3 mg 141%
Zinc 7.8 mg 98%
Lipids (77%)
Saturated 16.6 g 83%
Omega-3 1.4 g 130%
Omega-6 12.6 g 114%
Cholesterol 69.3 mg 23%

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Tuesday was a great day. For music! The new Wolf Parade album came out and I am sitting here listening to it as I write this entry. It is good. And it reminds me that if I do not go get concert tickets soon, they will be sold out, and I will be sad. Alas, this has nothing to do with my daily food update. So here it is:

Breakfast: (my favorite breakfast)
1c Kellogg's Special K red berries (110)
1/4c Fiber One (30)
0.5oz slivered almonds (80)
10oz coffee
1c Skim Milk (80)

Leftover chicken- (130) on top of
2c mixed greens (10)
5 baby carrots (chopped) (14)
5 grape tomatoes (10)
1/2c cucumber slices (7)
Light Italian salad dressing (60)
100 calorie microwaved popcorn (100)

Greek yogurt (blueberry) (120)
Light string cheese (50)
Fiber fruit leather (60)
1/2 Large Banana (it was too mushy to finish...) (60)

Fish Tacos (I wanted to recreate my favorite dish from the best Mexican place here)
Red Snapper pan cooked with lemon juice, salt, and cooking spray (1oz= 25)
Marinated cabbage and radish (vinegar, water and 1/2tsp sugar) (3)
Corn tortilla (6in) (60)
Chipolte Sauce (3T fat free cottage cheese, 1T Chipolte salsa) (30)
Home-made corn chips!
2 corn tortillas sprayed with cooking spray and toasted (120)
3T guacamole (60)

1 orange (70)
1/2 mango (70)
5 blackberries (10)
1 Dixie-cup ice cream (100)


Nutrition Summary for June 17, 2008 (CoM)
General (83%)
Energy 1524.5 kcal 91%
Protein 91.9 g 184%
Carbs 228.7 g 176%
Fiber 40.6 g 162%
Fat 34.8 g 54%
Water 1369.4 g 51%
Vitamins (95%)
Vitamin A 12725.2 IU 545%
Folate 430.5 µg 108%
B1 (Thiamine) 1.5 mg 134%
B2 (Riboflavin) 2.5 mg 223%
B3 (Niacin) 31.2 mg 223%
B5 (Pantothenic Acid) 5.5 mg 110%
B6 (Pyridoxine) 2.9 mg 222%
B12 (Cyanocobalamin) 6.0 µg 249%
Vitamin C 171.0 mg 228%
Vitamin D 100.4 IU 50%
Minerals (97%)
Calcium 1093.5 mg 109%
Copper 1.2 mg 133%
Iron 17.7 mg 98%
Magnesium 415.9 mg 134%
Manganese 2.8 mg 154%
Phosphorus 1462.8 mg 209%
Potassium 3406.9 mg 72%
Selenium 59.4 µg 108%
Sodium 2630.3 mg 175%
Zinc 9.1 mg 114%
Lipids (47%)
Saturated 9.0 g 45%
Omega-3 0.6 g 52%
Omega-6 5.3 g 48%
Cholesterol 129.8 mg 43%