Monday, May 23

The 17 Day Diet: Day 9 Review

I started the 17 day diet May 14th after reading through the book and reflecting on the diet quite a bit.  I’ve never been on a formal diet before, where I follow rules and such, so I’m a complete newbie at it.  Deciding to go on a diet was a big decision for me.  I don’t really like the idea of diets in general.  The reason I went with this one was because it promoted whole foods and healthy eating rather than eating whatever you want within a certain “points” or calorie scale.  So far here are my thoughts, my apologies in advance, it is long, but I wanted to give a full review :)
1-      The 17 days thing is misleading, I was very disappointed to read that really, that is just one phase.  There are 4 total phases, phase 1 and 2 everyone must do and phase 4 is more about the lifestyle.  So really, I committed myself to 34 days.

2- The diet is do-able, but it isn’t as easy as they’d like to make it sound.  I was already on the track to eating only non-processed sugars and am not a huge carb person.  So for me it wasn’t huge leaps and bounds from my every day diet. 

Dairy- I have found it difficult to cut most cheeses and dairy.  I couldn’t find the acidophilus milk, although I tried to find it at several health foods stores.  There is one more for me to try, but in the mean time I bought fat free milk to put in my tea, scrambled eggs and protein shakes.  I’ll try almond milk (which is preferred over milk) if I cant find acidophilus milk when I'm out of the milk I have now.  To be honest, I would like more of an explanation in the book of why milk is completely avoided.  I bought kefir and was sorely disappointed, it has a very bitter taste.  I have used them in shakes (1c kefir, 1 c frozen blueberries, 1 scoop protein powder) where the taste didn’t bother me, that is the only way I’ve been able to incorporate it into my diet.  I already eat a lot of Greek yogurt, so I’ve kept that and it has helped.

Sugar/sweeteners- the book suggests using sugar substitutes like Truvia.  Personally, I do not eat sugar substitutes.  Not even the ones that “come from nature.”  White sugar from the grocery store also comes from natural origins, but that doesn’t make it good for you.  Before this diet I was weaning myself off of sugar, but was still using about ½ tablespoon in the morning with my huge cup of tea.  I’ve stopped putting sugar in my tea and to be honest, I don’t miss it.  This has shocked me.

Fruit- The 2 servings of fruit before 2 has been a do-able component of this diet, no problems here!

Carbohydrates-  One of the hardest parts of this diet has been not eating my oatmeal for breakfast.  My whole life I’ve eaten oatmeal for breakfast, I’d say 75% of the time.  I love oatmeal.  Thankfully, in the next part I can eat oatmeal every other day (I think, don’t quote me on that one until day 18).

Protein- For some reason getting enough protein has been hard for me.  I don’t think it really has to do with the diet, I'm working on it this week!
Veggies- I like veggies, but wouldn’t consider myself a veggie lover.  I got a steamer to help me with the vegetable portion of this diet.  I’m doing ok, but will continue to do better this week.  Just getting in the mindset of packing veggies for snacks while I'm out is probably my biggest challenge here.

Travel- This weekend I traveled to see friends for 2 days.  Eating out was difficult.  Plain and simple, it is not easy to find things on the menu.  I packed my Playmate for the trip which helped immensely, but it required quite a bit of planning.  All together I didn’t totally fail this weekend, but it was hard.  It was also the first time I’d had something fried in weeks, my body really didn’t like it and I barely ate dinner because my stomach was rejecting it.

Alcohol- Im a wine and beer enthusiast.  How do I put this without sounding badly?  My social engagements usually revolve around a glass of wine on the back porch.  Me and {E} have a book of beers from around the world.  When we find and try a new beer from our book we make notes about it in our book.  My family drinks wine, our extended family drinks, my friends all drink.  Alcohol is something I’ve realized is immersed in my culture.  The wine on the back porch was not at all hard to give up, but the general absence of alcohol has been.  For instance, this weekend I was celebrating one of my best friend’s upcoming wedding.  It was a girls weekend, a time for celebrating, hence a time for a cute margarita.  I broke the no alcohol rule.  The good news is that after the month of dieting, alcohol in the form of a glass of wine is acceptable on a normal basis.  I am very much looking forward to this. 

Headaches- I had headaches about the same time of day for days 2, 3 and 4.  I practically never get headaches and nothing else was out of the normal so I attribute them to the diet.  They weren’t anything serious, I think my body was just letting me know it was a bit stressed with the change in food.

Exercise- The exercise is not at all difficult for me, and I do well over the 17 minutes required daily.  Just walking the dog daily requires me to be walking for 30 minutes.  I am trying to incorporate more strength training to help me get toned.

Results… what everyone cares about.  Before I left for the weekend I’d lost 5 pounds, which was at Day 6.  After the weekend I had gained 1.5 pounds back, so at Day 8 I'm 3.5 pounds under.  I'm just going to put it out there because it was something I wondered while reading the review.  People said they would lose 10, 15 or 20 pounds the first 17 days, but they gave no reference.  If I lost 20 pounds I'm pretty sure I’d be having an intervention from my loved ones.  My starting weight was 134 pounds.  I’m 5’6” and have a small to medium frame.  My general goal isn’t about loosing weight, I want to get more toned.  I am not a perfectionist, I'm not trying to starve myself, I just want to feel more comfortable in my body.  Even at 3.5 pounds down I feel much leaner.  I started trying to eat healthier and exercise a couple months ago, but only lost 3 pounds over the course of a couple months, mainly because I did eat very healthy most of the time, but when I slipped I really slipped.

If you have any questions or comments I’d love to hear them!  I’ll continue to give feedback as the diet progresses!

Tuesday, May 17

Not-So-Healthy Granola

I started the "17 Day Diet" on Sunday and have been doing very well.  The diet isn't far from my normal diet, but it is cutting out sugar and complex carbohydrates for 17 days.  One of the difficulties I've had is that my body is metabolizing the food so quickly that I am hungry very quickly.  So today I packed some Cauliflower Crust Pizza (I will blog about this soon!), an apple, a cup of grapes, and marinara, spinach and mushrooms to go on my pizza.  For 8 hours I thought I'd be ok, but I thought wrong.  Sitting at my desk I was so hungry I resorted to {dun, dun, dunnnn} the vending machine.  Trying to make a healthy choice I picked a Nature Valley Oats N' Honey granola bar, "100% natural."  While I imagine that this probably was the best choice out of what was available, I was a little disappointed to see the ingredients list.

#1- Whole Grain Oats- Makes me happy, whole grains are great!
#2... Sugar! 
Next was canola oil, followed by yellow corn flour before we finally get to honey.

I am really taken aback by this.  There are only 12 grams of sugar for the snack, which is equivalent to 3 teaspoons or 1 tablespoon.  Even before my diet I have tried to remove processed sugar from my diet.  I've also made a vow after becoming educated about the corn industry in the US to reduce the amount of corn I consume as much as possible.  Whole corn does not have the nutritional benefits other vegetables has and has been broken down, stripped and modified so much to fit into so many foods today.  I'll go into detail about this soon!

What foods have you found that have a high amount of sugar that you though was so very healthy for you?

I think they should change the name to Nature Valley Oats N' Sugar.  I'll contact their marketing team and see what they think :)

Friday, May 13

Black Bean Chili; Easy, Organic and Inexpensive

Didn't know those three words could describe one meal?  Using the base of the black bean chili recipe from All Recipies, I have made my own take on black bean chili.  I wish I had a picture, but honestly, a picture does not do it justice.  It isn't the prettiest looking meal, but it is very good, inexpensive and easy-peasy.

Ingredients list with my adjustments:
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground turkey (I don't always use a full pound)
  • 3 (15 ounce) cans black beans, undrained (I buy beans in a bag, $1.99 for a 1lb of organic black beans at Whole Foods as apposed to 3 cans @1.29)
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (2 cans instead of 1)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (can use balsamic vinegar)
How I do it:

The night before, when I'm getting ready to go to bed I boil 6 cups of water, after the water boils I turn off the heat.  I then put 2 cups of black beans from the bag into the water and cover.  I let this sit overnight, in the morning I drain it all, rinse it and add it to the crock pot.  I cup up the ground turkey and pour that in.  Then add the rest of the ingredients.  Set the crock pot to cook at medium for 8 hours and *tada* delicious black bean chili when I get home.  I top mine with plain Greek yogurt, avocado, shredded cheese and serve over some brown rice.  This makes a huge batch because it is so filling, but it is easily freezed. 

Do you have a favorite crock pot recipe you'd like to share?  If you try this let me know what adjustments you make and what you think!

Wednesday, May 11


This week is my two year anniversary from graduating from college.  Coming soon is my two year anniversary working full time at the Corporate Colony.  I have been reflecting on what I expected as a new graduate and how those expectations have changed as I've made my way through the last couple years.  I call it the "Corporate Colony" because not long after I started working there on my way home I stared at all of the red brake lights for what looked like miles in front of me.  I got the sense that we were all worker ants or bees, coming to the colony every day, and leaving in the fashion ants do; in a slow line, one following the next until they diverge to place they find food.  Then its the same slow route back.  I digress.  To take you back to two years ago, I had given up the better part of a social life to finish a challenging degree.  I quite honestly did something I never thought I'd be able to do.  That gave me the confidence to go forward knowing I was strong, smart and resilient.  However, in the process I gave up a lot, I worked 20-30 hours a week, managed copious amounts of work and tried to keep my sanity along the way (I don't think I would've gotten through it without wine nights with friends and constant encouragement from my loved ones).  I thought I would easily find balance in my life now that I was starting to only work 9-5.  I was excited to design hardware, it was creative, it was rewarding to see something I'd made in my mind come back to me in a polished, working part.  There was a lot I didn't see though.  I now know this is something I could've only learned through experience, but wanted to share.  I've come a long way in two years!

I've learned that an education is one of the most precious gifts that is not valued enough, it is one of the only things in life that can not be taken away from you.  I think that as I get older my appreciation for education will only grow.  I owe a huge thank you to my parents for giving me the means, financial and emotional, for my education; I will never be able to repay them for that opportunity.

I don't like sitting in front of a computer all day.  I'm extremely social, but for some reason I didn't think that it would bother me to design CAD day in and day out.  I've realized I need much more social interaction to feel connected to what Im doing and accountable for doing my best.

I've learned that my job environment has more to do with job satisfaction than I would've ever imagined.  Do I feel safe?  Is it clean?  What is the lighting like?  I never would’ve guessed that this would be so important to me, but it grates my nerves daily that my workplace is severely lacking ergonomics and these basics.

Success can not be defined for me by someone else, it is deeply personal.  While I thought of success in such a straightforward way before, I’ve realized I don’t consider success to always be getting the big promotion.  I’ve realized success isn’t even entirely related to my job.  There are a lot of ways I measure my success, but my goals are different from the next persons.  And, that is ok.

I've learned that being fulfilled is worth more than spending money at the mall.  I don’t discount that money is extremely important, without it we can not live.  I have a sincere gratitude for the job I’ve had and the salary that has afforded me to live well.  But, money is not a motivator for me.  Sacrificing my free time for a bonus isn’t something that interests me.  Coming from the girl that lived off of $800/month my last year of school I thought money would change everything, and while it changed a lot, Im still me (my family has a word for it… cheap).  So for me, money is a way of living, not something to live for.

Im really interested to hear others' reflections on what differences others have had with their perceived values were before starting and how those evolved as they gained experience.  Have you had a similar or different experience?

Tuesday, May 10

And we're back...

Im back from my hiatus.  I started feeling as though my blog was something I was “reporting” into, something that had to fit the mold to what was expected of me.  I was getting questions about my “theme” or focus.  These questions left me conflicted, basically because I can not put anything in my life into a little neat package and leave it at that.  Im messy, everything bleeds into the next in my life.  I want to be real, to discuss what is on my mind.  While I’ll focus on health and fitness because it is something that is deeply part of my life, this isn’t a “health and fitness blog.”  Are you confused yet?

The last year and a half of my life has been, well interesting to say the least.  Six months after graduating college and accepting what I expected to be my dream job I settled into a townhouse and surprisingly started dating an amazing man, who happens to be in the military.  Apparently the consensus between my friends was that I would be single for quite a while longer.  I was happy with my independence, they could see that and thought I’d do nothing to give that up.  Then I met a cute boy at a bar who made my heart stop when I saw his smile.  I was pretty much done from there. 

Then came my job woes.  The honeymoon of my “fancy” corporate job quickly faded away, to my dismay.  Truth be told, I was shocked.  This was what I worked five years in undergrad for, I was doing exactly what I though I’d want to do forever.  Since then I’ve discovered that there are many, many reasons that all attribute to the complete dissatisfaction with my career. 

On top of all of this, the military has made my life, well, challenging.  {E} got his final station location to be where he’s been stationed for the last two years.  We’re currently exactly 90 miles apart.  While it is not bad, we’re both over the long distance commute and ready to start a normal life together.  In the current arrangement we’ll be apart for yet another two and a half years.  We’re working to change that.

So, basically this will be a blog about a young lady in her mid-twenties trying to figure it out.  In the middle I will post about the things that keep my sane, the things I love and hopefully share a lot of smiles and good times.

I would love feedback, please email or comment :)