Meditation & Diet?

Ponder the Puffy Clouds!

Lying on a beach, under the shade of a palm tree, cold one within reach … now that’s calm-inducing, stress-alleviating & the best kind of meditation, & medication, I can think of. Can’t do that, in Canada, during the Canadian winter, without some serious risk of frostbite!

But there must be an app for that, right?

I tried a few meditation apps & they just didn’t work for me. Worse, I actually found them stressful to listen to. First one I tried starts out counting a breath in on one, out on two, in on three & then this soothing voice tells me to carry on doing that up to twenty. On my own! Is she kidding me or what? Am I going at the right pace? Maybe she counts more quickly than I do? Will I get all my breaths in before she’s back with the next activity? What if she’s slower? Do I have to hold my breath ’til she catches up? OMG, I’m hyperventilating, this is driving me nuts!

I was a trembling wreck by the time I got to twenty. Enough of that nonsense, let’s try another one.

This time it’s a guy. Great voice. Calm, soothing, very relaxed & reassuring. We’re going to do this body thing, a routine that goes from the head to the toes. With some pretty peculiar internal organ stops along the way, I might add! But this turns out to be even more excruciating. First, he tells me to get comfortable & relax. Next he’s telling me it’s okay to move uncomfortable body parts. Pick one for cryin’ out loud! I know it’s really not okay though, & I’m just screwing up, am I not? And he’s just saying all that to make me feel better about it. Right out of the gate, he knows that I’m no Zen master & that I’ll almost certainly have to move. Maybe even all the time. That’s exactly what I did, of course. I just kept squirming. And I hated every second of that little medication exercise. Next!

Then I tried this one with an irritating little bell chime thing. I’m sure if you had a real bell, while sitting cross-legged in the Himalayas, it would work far better. You know what I mean, you’d have the right atmosphere for meditation all the way up there. With the monks & robes & whatnot. But the mind-numbing consistency of a mathematically accurate & repeatable digital ding just did my head in.

I know, I know … I’m probably doing it incorrectly. I know I should probably chill out & just try it again. But my heart rate is up, I’m sure my blood pressure is too, so I’m going to resort to something I have more practice with. Something I know works.

A slice of deep dish cheesecake. With a big blob of whipped cream.

And afterwards, when I’m cheesecake-calm, maybe I’ll try that meditation thing with the sound of the waves lapping on the beach. 😜😁

PS … Happy International Women’s Day to all the ladies out there. And to the National ladies too! 🤪😁

Results … Month #17

Results Month #17

Down 4.2 lbs for November! Woohoo!

Now this isn’t so much the result of me dedicating myself to a highly focused dietary plan, it just kinda, sorta, maybe happened because I occasionally paid attention to what was passing my lips! I still ate cookies, cakes & candy during the past month, just not with the same degree of carelessness that I had been doing. Believe me, this past month was a big improvement on the three months prior!

What happened this past month is that I started trying to figure things out, again. How did I abandon something that was working reasonably well, while allowing me to eat really well at the same time? I’ve come up with a couple of suspects that might be contributing to the derailment. One is the lack of a gallbladder. I seem to be avoiding the fatty cuts of meat that were once a staple of my weigh loss efforts. I’m just not as in love with bacon & pork belly as I once was. I even trimmed the band of fat from a rib steak one night … what is wrong with me!?! Funny enough, while I’m avoiding all the fatty meat, the lack of a gallbladder is not stopping me heaping heavy cream over some decadent brownie dessert!

OMG … Am I turning vegetarian or something!?!

The other suspect is my routine, or rather the lack of one. I am a creature of habit & I like a good solid routine to help me get things done. I’ve made a few changes to what was a well-developed routine & I’ve had some other changes imposed on my schedule. I haven’t quite adapted to the new arrangement yet & I need to take a look at how to get that new routine bedded in properly. On top of that, I quit smoking about three or four dozen times over recent months. I’m not kidding, I’d quit for a day or two here & there, and then go back to smoking again. Another major routine disruptor. It’s important to disrupt bad patterns in order to lose weight, but I need to replace them with good, repetitive, habituated patterns to make the alternatives stick. Despite how I like to think of myself as this free-spirited & adventurous being, I still need to get stuff done, and routine, habits, & consistency are important for getting things done. Including weight loss!

I’m sorry, I went on a bit there. But that’s all really more a pep talk for myself, as I head into December … drooling about Christmas cake, Christmas pudding, that turkey & ham dinner, bubble & squeak afterwards, turkey sandwiches, chocolates, whipped cream with an infusion of Irish cream liqueur, & on it goes!

I know the January 1st weigh-in is going to be fun! Wish me luck!

And just in case my new routine doesn’t embrace another post between now & January, I’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. And if you don’t celebrate Christmas, may whatever light that lights your way, shine more brightly for you as we close out the old year & look forward to a new one. Peace, love, happiness & all that nice mushy stuff to you & all those you hold dear!

I Love Yogurt … Who Knew!

I Love Yogurt … Who Knew!instant pot yogurt

I made my first batch of yogurt in my new Instant Pot® & it was so ridiculously good, I just can’t believe it! Check out the pic of that spoon standing upright in it. It is firm, with a really smooth texture, and it tastes so creamy that it’s hard to believe that it doesn’t contain any added flavouring. It is just the Natrel® 10%, with a couple of tablespoons of plain Balkan yougurt, a 6% fat version, as a starter. It may be the best yogurt I’ve ever tasted. I have taste-tested it with some skinny people, and even they like it!

This was done with what is known in Instant Pot® circles as the “No Boil” or “Cold Start” method of yogurt making. For this method apparently, the primary ingredient, the milk or cream, must be of the ultra-filtered or UHT pasteurised variety. Without boiling, the potential for bad bugs to flourish is higher in regular milks. The No Boil process, on the other hand, is the simplest thing I’ve ever done. Toss the milk in the pot. Add the couple of tablespoons of starter yogurt and blend this with the milk. Put the lid on & press the Yogurt button. The pot does its thing for 8 hours. You then remove the pot liner & stick it in the fridge to set. For this little effort, I just can’t believe the result.

Not everything has turned out so wonderfully well, on the first attempt, in my new pot. But this one is a winner. And, along with this yogurt being so good, it ticks many of the boxes I want ticked from a dietary standpoint too. It is deliciously higher in fat than most store bought versions. The 10% cream does have a few additives but I’ve regularly consumed far more processed products than this. Though I’m not lactose intolerant, it being lactose free should cut down a bit on the carb content. And it’s a very neat way to get some protein when you’re more in the mood for dessert than dinner. I’ll be adding some fruit & a little shaved dark chocolate to a big bowl of this for something positively decadent.

For taste, this outcome is a gourmand’s delight. Now I must see if I can replicate the amazing result, but with less expensive ingredients! Along the way, I will have to test drive the boil & cool method with regular milk (full fat, of course!) too.

Watch this space, I’m sure I’ll have some entertaining disasters to add to the list of Instant Pot® success stories along the way! 🙂

Natrel® is a registered trademark of Agropur, Instant Pot® is a trademark of Instant Brands Inc.

Why Do I Eat Cheesecake?

Why Do I Eat Cheesecake?Cheesecakes

Because my daughter makes the best cheesecake. And I mean the best cheesecake. She reduces the sugar content in her recipe, just to appease me. But then she adds white chocolate chips (those little blobs of synthetic whiteness are probably about 90% sugar!) & the base is made from those very famous cookies. You know the ones, the two dark biscuits with that creamy white center. Some folk like to dunk them in milk. I don’t want to say the name in case I trigger a snack-attack for anyone!

Anyhoo, these single-serve (hah!) cheesecakes are to die for. And when my daughter makes ’em … I eat ’em!

Knowing I wouldn’t be able to resist, I decided, well before the olfactory symphony came wafting from the kitchen, to limit myself to just two. I had been eating really well prior to this latest round of baking. I was at a point where I was losing weight gradually. I was not feeling hungry. I was enjoying a designer binge here & there. The very occasional intermittent fast, mostly just skipping breakfast & lunch, was easy. Everything was puttering along beautifully. And then came the cheesecakes. I didn’t have just two, I had three. What can I say, you can barely pack three into a bowl but they look so nice fighting for space there. Naturally, I poured about half a cup of heavy cream over them. Maybe a little more than that. But it’s only to blunt the insulin response, you know!

That was three days ago. And it’s only today that I’m getting back to feeling as safe & as well as I know I can feel on my new diet. During that time, I had to cram a bunch of safe starch (potatoes!) into my face. Along with cream-covered fruit & nut desserts. Anything to avoid the potential of eating something worse. Needless to say, the scale doesn’t hide the truth from me.

On the bright side, though, I am developing some really good strategies for avoiding falling off the dietary cliff. You know, like the times when you have just one cookie. Followed by the rest of the pack. And then you’re suddenly calling for pizza delivery. And yes, please, I’ll take the two bonus one-liter bottles of pop for a dollar! We need strategies for handling such urges & mine seem to be working well at the moment.

In real life, there will always be those times when we will consciously, deliberately, eat something not quite right for us. And if that’s the case, we need to know how to survive those occasions.

So why did I really eat the cheesecake?

While I really love my daughter’s cheesecake … I love my daughter even more!

 

No Fails with a Fast!

No Fails with a Fast!

Coffee

Imagine you’re on a ketogenic diet. You have just one little cookie. You feel like a failure, don’t you. You’ve hit reset. It’s just a big No-No. The ketones immediately run & hide. It’s over. The cycle is done for. Finished. Let’s start again next Monday.

The great thing with intermittent fasting is that it’s impossible to fail. There aren’t as many fasting programs out as there are diets but there’s enough variety that just about everyone can find one that suits. I embrace them all. Going for a 48 hour fast, but you decide to eat lunch the 2nd day? Congrats! You’ve just successfully completed a 42 hour fast instead. Enjoy your lunch!

Fasting, an ancient practice, is the new diet du jour. And there might be something to it. I’m trying to get my head around something more than a one day fast. My ideal one day fast is spending a total wake cycle without food. Though I do add a little heavy cream (35%) to my coffee, I limits my fluids to coffee, tea & water. Since I’m well practiced at not eating breakfast, I won’t have breakfast next morning either. That really turns my one day fast into a 42 hour fast. If I make it to dinner time, I’ve accomplished a 48 hour fast. Bonus points!

The worst case scenario is that you finish dinner at 7pm today. Then you have breakfast at 7am tomorrow. Congratulations again … you’ve completed a 12 hour fast. While doing this every day probably won’t contribute a lot to weight loss, at least we haven’t destroyed a diet “prescription” that we’ve given ourselves. There’s no feeling of having to binge for the rest of the week, while we wait for Monday to roll around before we begin again. You can always start the next fast right away, immediately following breakfast. Or you can go through to dinner time & start over then. The whole diet isn’t shot. There are no big regrets. And you haven’t lost the “rest of the week”. It’s still there to be taken advantage of. When you’re ready.

About the only thing that does mess with my head, while running my infrequent fasting routines, is the scale. I know, I know, we should only weight ourselves once a week. Forget that, I’m on the scale at least twice a day! And that can sometimes show unpredictable results. I don’t have a scale that is calibrated to a standard or anything but it seems pretty repeatable when I load up a heavy weight on it. It’s on a hard, even floor. I’ve even positioned it far away from the vent, so that heating & cooling draughts don’t influence the outcome. Despite that care & attention, it sometimes says that I didn’t lose any weight after a fast day. But then it surprises me with a loss a feast day. What is that about!?!

This is not a consistent thing. I’m really not sure why some fasts give me an immediate result, while others don’t. And why would a feast day, sometimes a pretty wicked one, give me a pleasant surprise?

I don’t know the answer &, frankly, I don’t care too much. I enjoy the pleasant surprises every now & again. The message is to not give up on your fasting regimen too soon. Let your scale play it’s little games & see if the results work this way for you.