Willpower -versus- Pill-Power

I know, even though I need to lose weight, my appetite is relatively controlled with simple willpower. Many times, I just get busy doing something and forget that I was hungry.

But, it’s not that way for everyone.

Since the fen-phen side effects became a public issue in the 1990’s, there was a very dry spell for weight loss drugs. And rightly so. “Dying to be thin” should only be a saying, not a reality.

In 1997 the FDA approved Orlistat for prescription use, then in 2007 it approved a lower dosage version for OTC use.

Alli became a best seller, but the side effects (and the commercials!) were pretty bad. Does anyone really want to have the potential for explosive diarrhea? The horror stories on the internet about the whens and wheres were pretty detailed!

More are available through prescription now:

Orlistat (Xenical), lorcaserin (Belviq), phentermine-topiramate (Qsymia), naltrexone-bupropion (Contrave) and liraglutide (Saxenda) are approved for long-term use.

They all have good and bad effects, and individually we have to decide what’s best for us.

Contrave is being heavily marketed on television, especially  during the peak “womens” times: soap operas and talk shows. There are no men in the commercials, which kind of leads one to believe that ONLY women have weight issues. But that’s a topic for another day.

“The most common side effects of CONTRAVE include nausea, constipation, headache, vomiting, dizziness, trouble sleeping, dry mouth, and diarrhea.”

Well, that would cause me to lose weight. Kind of reminds me of the time I had bad oysters…

What bothers me is this: “CONTRAVE is believed to work on two important areas of the brain—your hunger center and your reward system—to reduce hunger and help control cravings”

and this: “The exact neurochemical effects of CONTRAVE leading to weight loss are not fully understood.”

I’m sure this is really a disclaimer on many prescription drugs, but that also tells me that these manufacturers may not have all the data for long term effects (back to fen-phen again).

The decision is intensely personal. “You do you”. But be fully aware and read all the data before hopping on the pill-power band wagon.

Obviously, if one thing worked for every person, the diet industry wouldn’t be a $60 billion dollar a year business(US news Jan 2013 data).

It’s never as simple as “I have no willpower”. Health, age, physical abilities, metabolism, stress, medical conditions.. so many things can prevent us from losing weight on our own.

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Out Of the Fire A Phoenix Rises!

Ok dramatic title but I posted about the impending closing of the lowcarbfriends.com site, which is very sad for anyone that’s been a member for long.

But, out of that sadness, a new phoenix has arisen, thanks to lowcarbfriends member “Bonnie”. She graciously, undaunted by the task, has created LCNeighborhood.

While the name is LC for Low Carb, much like lowcarbfriends, the site is all inclusive of any plan you happen to be on or are thinking about trying.

At the moment, the site is completely free but you can donate via paypal or other methods, if you choose to, there’s no requirement and there are no restrictions if you do not.

Many of us had thought to migrate to an existing site, and that will work for some, but their rules are much stricter than LCF, and they are pretty much hard-core low-carb only, so a lot of us that don’t stick to strict low-carb felt pretty much like we did not fit in.

Additionally, that site is old, almost as old as lowcarbfriends, and very outdated. I think many of us are surprised it’s still open given the climate of social media, reddit and newer bulletin board formats.

While there are no “rules” on LCNeighborhood yet, I’m sure that there will probably be at some time.

Product Review: Dash Rapid Egg Cooker

Our home was built in the 1940’s.

It’s small and has the typical “galley” style kitchen: long and narrow, with limited counter top space and storage.

So I have to be cautious about kitchen gadgets that take up any space. I rarely will buy into a “1 trick pony” type gadget.

However…

The Dash Rapid Egg Cooker (linked for your convenience if you want to see what I’m talking about) is one that I can recommend with more-or-less a glowing 2-thumbs up.

It’s small. If you take 2 typical Corelle cereal bowls and stack them so it forms an egg, that’s about the size of this cooker.

To be honest, when I got it I thought there was no way 6 eggs would fit in that sucker. But they do, and easily.

The good:

  • rapid cooking for 6 eggs. 7 if you don’t use the central stem that’s removable for storage.
  • It does a great job on soft, medium or hard cooked eggs.
  • It’s a no brainer: you get a little measuring cup that you fill to the lines indicated for the doneness of egg you want and let it do the thinking.
  • Very small footprint.
  • Storage is easy: take out the central stem and everything fits neatly inside, clamp down the lid and it’s ready to sock away until you need it again.
  • Holds 6 (or 7) small to large eggs.
  • It comes with an “omelet” pan and a little poaching egg pan.

The not so good:

  • The alarm is obnoxiously loud. Do NOT leave it unattended unless you want a good scare when  it finishes cooking.
  • It won’t hold 6 extra large or jumbo eggs, though you can fit 3 or 4 extra large in it.
  • The dome does have a steam vent that does burn you (lol).
  • You have to poke a hole in the eggs before cooking them, which isn’t a problem since the poker is on the underside of the measuring cup that comes with it, but if you have fragile eggs, you’re probably going to end up breaking some trying to pierce them.
  • The omelet pan is small-ish. I can fit 2 beaten medium eggs, 1T crumbled bacon and 1T shredded cheese in it, but that’s getting it pretty full and you will need to put in additional water to make sure it cooks through.
  • The poaching pan is helpful, but it also doesn’t hold larger eggs.
  • Did I mention the alarm is obnoxiously loud?

So anyway, that’s my take on this gadget.

If I’m only going to need 4-6 eggs, this is hands-down the fastest (11 minutes total for hard boiled eggs)way and easiest cleanup of any method. I still use my Instant Pot for larger numbers of eggs.

One food safety note: while a hard boiled egg will stay safe to eat, in the shell, for about a week refrigerated, a soft or medium egg is only safe for about 1 day, 2 maximum, since the yolk is not heated enough to kill bacteria.

What I do is put my 6 eggs on to cook, then take 2 out at the 7 minute mark for a medium/soft yolk, and eat those right away, and let the other 4 eggs finish cooking to hard boiled.

Another tip: if you get tired of hard boiled eggs, try adding a flavored finishing salt like a Truffle Salt or, my new favorite, a Blue Cheese Salt . There are also seasonings, like this Bagel Spice  one that give your boring eggs a real kick in flavor.

Just remember: a little goes a long way on these flavored salts!

**I am only linking to amazon to show the items, I do not get paid for linking content!

Product Review: Teami Skinny Blend

Ok, it’s not what I was expecting as a tea.

It’s grassy, really earthy tasting.

If you don’t like flax taste, you probably won’t like this either.

This is the link to my “share and get a discount” thing. I usually don’t do that, but if you try it fine, if not, no loss lol.

The ingredients are:

Yerba Mate, Oolong Tea, Jiao Guam, Lotus Leaf, Lime Leaf Extract, Ginger Root, Rhubarb Root. CONTAINS PLANT BASED CAFFEINE.

The site says you can get 3 steeps out of 1 teaspoon of the leaves, and it’s technically true, but obviously the 3rd steep is pretty weak tasting.

After trying it for a  few days, I will say I’ve noticed a decrease in appetite and a decrease in water retention and bloating, in spite of eating beans and other foods that usually cause bloating.

It also doesn’t cause intestinal distress, cramping and um.. explosive bathroom issues like many senna based teas.

I LOVE the tumbler though. If you don’t buy the tea, try to find a tumbler like this that’s got an inner tea strainer. You can use this for any loose-leaf tea and it’s great.

One drawback is that the flippy cap drink thing part (I’m sure that’s a technical term :p ) doesn’t open flat, so you can’t really just tip it back and guzzle it.

All in all, I like this tea, grassy taste and all, but honestly you can probably buy the loose leaf of each ingredient and make your own for less than the $30 a month price tag of this one.

If you’re in the market and don’t mind spending the $$, give it a try.

 

The End Of An Era: Low Carb Friends Will Be No More

As of June 1, 2018, the lowcarbfriend.com site will close it’s (cyber) doors after 19 years of service to the health and diet community.

Announcement of Closure

For a lot of people, this is an extremely tough time.

Many, like myself, have been a member there for a very, very long time.

I have been there, quite literally, since day 1 in August 1999 when it was the Atkins Friends forum.

In 2002 Netrition bought it and it rolled on with amazing success and numbers for nearly 2 decades.

With the popularity of social media, the bulletin board format has declined tremendously.

So it is with a heavy heart that I bid my farewell to a wonderful site filled with amazing people and a really caring staff of admins and owners who dedicated thousands of hours to making sure it was a safe and friendly place for people to “hang out” and get support.

 

Fat, Fiber or Protein: Which One Satiates You Most?

On low-carb, the mantra was “eat more fat, it keeps you full longer”.

On low(er) calorie it’s “eat more veggies, they keep you full longer”.

Both sides can agree quite often that, overall, none of us really get enough fiber.

I never found that to be true, for me. For me, it was protein. But that too comes with many warnings. Red meat is bad for you…; too much very lean meat is bad for you…; eggs are bad for you – no wait, they’re fine…

It can be a fine balancing act, somewhat akin to a circus performer, to find out what works for you as an individual.

For me, doing a hybrid low-carb/Weight Watchers, I’ve found that balance is somewhere between fiber and protein.

I am eating a lot more veggies, and more variety.

Squashes that I limited on low-carb alone are now filling a big part of my diet. Butternut and acorn squash, which I rejected on low-carb; more spaghetti squash than I was eating on low-carb.

Did you know that you can beat 1 egg with 3T pumpkin puree(technically a squash, according to a lot of nutrition sites) and 2T flax meal, microwave it and get a passable whatever? It’s not a cake, not a muffin, not a souffle… not sure what it is, but it’s good and it’s very filling. I top it with a poached egg and a little sugar free pancake syrup. My point is, for me, this gives me a good ratio of fiber and protein that really keeps me full. If I had this without the flax, I’d be starving in an hour.

The saying is “you do you”, which generally means: if it works for you, don’t worry about what anyone else thinks!

Happy April everyone 🙂

Protein Punch Overnight Oats

This is a WW friendly and Low-carb friendly version overnight oats.

On low-carb, we tend to avoid oats because they can be high in carbs and not very filling, or at least not satiating for long.

Adding the protein and fiber really helps combat that.

Protein Punch Overnight Oats

  • 2/3 cup old fashioned oats
  • carton(s)Premier Protein Caramel flavored high protein shake
  • 4fl oz plain unsweetened almond milk
  • 1cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt (added protein and cuts the sweetness of the shake)
  • Tbsp chia seeds
  • Divide all the ingredients into 2 equal servings.

  • Mix the chia and oatmeal into the bottom of the containers.

  • Mix the shake, almond milk and yogurt well, then pour 1/2 over each servings of the oat/chia mixture.

  • Stir well, wait 5 minutes and stir again, then refrigerate over night.

This makes 2 servings @ 6 WW points each.

Nutrition Facts
Servings 2.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 183
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5 g 8 %
Saturated Fat 1 g 5 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 15 mg 5 %
Sodium 271 mg 11 %
Potassium 422 mg 12 %
Total Carbohydrate 10 g 3 %
Dietary Fiber 6 g 25 %
Sugars 2 g
Protein 24 g 48 %
Vitamin A 16 %
Vitamin C 13 %
Calcium 54 %
Iron 20 %

Giving To Your Community

Dieting sometimes leaves us with an abundance of things.

Foods maybe we tried but don’t care for; clothes that are too big but in excellent condition.

Donating locally can help so many in our communities.

Consider donating clothing to a local shelter. Many cities have a special need for business attire, to help others get back on their feet.

Clothing for larger women and men can be difficult to come by, so as you’re losing weight, don’t hang onto those “just in case”. Aside from it giving you an excuse to re-gain, those clothes can really help someone else.

Food? Check your local food banks. Some accept perishables and some don’t.

One of our non-perishable ones sends out emails when there is a particularly good store sale going on. Kroger recently had 5 pound bags of flour for $1 a bag.

Did you “buy 1 get 1 free” and really not like whatever it was? Donate it!

Are you like me and are really, really (really) bad at organizing your pantry and find out you have 27 cans of green beans (no -really) and about 1/2 are going to expire in 2 months? Donate them!

I try to clean out my pantry every 3 months and “tried it, didn’t like it”, or “have a bunch of those” or “I’ll never use it in time” go straight to the food  bank.

It’s particularly important to donate things like gluten free or sugar free, since those special diets are often forgotten.

Our local perishable bank accepts frozen dinners, and they send out emails when stores have 10 pound bags of chicken leg quarters on sale for $.99 a pound. That $10 may mean nothing to you, but to a family that may be 4-6 meals.

So this is just a PSA: be kind to your community!

Product Review: Ninja Processor Spiralizer

I love it!

I did buy it as a best buy “deal of the day” so it was $20 less (and free shipping), and totally worth it.

The Ninja – Precision Processor™ 4-Cup Food Processor with Spiralizer is not a 1-trick-pony.

It’s a power spiralizer and a really good food processor.

It’s a small processor, just 4 cups, but for making hummus, pesto, salsa, chopping or pureeing, it really does a fantastic job.

There is also a dough blade, which is a plastic, non-sharp version of the double blade and it whips cream and eggs like a bandit!

Small size, too, so it doesn’t take up a lot of counter space.

I love that best buy has an excellent return policy, so if I hadn’t liked it, I could have returned it with no problems.

But I LOVE it.

There are 2 spiral disks: one standard or “spaghetti” and a thicker “fettuccine” one that does a great job on heavier veggies like butternut squash.

There’s a slight learning curve to the spiral part, but it’s not rocket science:)

There is maybe 1 minor drawback: for thinner vegetables, like skinny zucchini and even carrots, it’s a little difficult to get them to stay upright and not lean off to the side.

Overall I give this a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

 

 

 

Budgeting For A Healthy Meal Plan

I know this question gets asked a lot on most “diet” sites: How much do you spend on groceries?

We’re a family of 3, and on low-carb I spent nearly $200 a week, sometimes more depending on what was (or wasn’t) on special that week.

Here in Texas, beef is king lol. And, myself included, we love our steaks.

I am finding that this hybrid plan is much easier on the budget.

A pound of lean ground turkey can range from $2-$3 less per pound than the 85/15 beef I usually get.

Ribeyes can cost upwards of $8 a pound on sale, where lean sirloins can be half that.

I can buy 3 whole chickens for the cost of 2 “good” steaks.

Sirloin steaks fit easily into both low-carb and Weight Watchers.

Whole chickens: I get the breast meat and my husband and son love the leg quarters and wings.

The ground turkey is pretty much all mine lol. Neither of them really care for it. (Don’t tell them, I use it in casseroles and they can’t tell the difference as long as it’s browned really well.. shh!)

Frozen veggies makes for less waste. Same for frozen fruits, especially out of season ones.

I still use extra virgin olive oil, but I’m not using a quart a week anymore. That same bottle lasts me a month now.

I do buy a few things, like fat free Greek yogurt, 2% cheeses and things that I normally wouldn’t, but the overall savings is HUGE.

Meat is still the most costly part of the grocery bill, however using leaner proteins has cut my weekly bill to under $130 most weeks, which is a huge savings over the course of a year.