foodfoodbodybody

eat, move, think, feel

This Dairyholic/Grainaholic’s Month of Paleo March 5, 2015

Today marks my 30th day of eating Paleo. Woo!!! I’ve had a lot of surprises this month. Here’s my recap.

First, I learned to love a lot of things I either never liked before, or had never given much of a try. But given that I was someone who used to go through more than a quart of half-and-half a week (NO KIDDING), I had to figure some things out.

First off, was dealing with what to put in my coffee and tea. I tried coconut milk and almond milk. They were unacceptable. (in my drinks) Finally, I realized that all the joy had been sucked out of my caffeinated beverages, so I might as well just stop drinking them. The result? Not so much of a problem. I just stopped. Now, when I wake up in the morning, I just eat FOOD. And have some water. It’s fine. I’ve adjusted. Weirdly, I notice that I am, overall, MUCH MORE ALERT than when I was drinking caffeine. So there’s that. I realized that my coffee-and-tea drinking was a habit. A nice one. But it didn’t kill me to just switch to water. If you had told me this any time in the past few decades, I would not have believed it. I miss the ritual of coffee, the smell of it, the nice way that a warm mug feels in my hands. But I’ve survived that.
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Then, the issue of actual “drinking” milk. I was also a big fan of drinking a glass of milk, like, for pleasure. Lo and behold, I discovered that I also liked goat milk, which apparently some people on Paleo (or is it primal?) enjoy. I did feel a little cheatish though, in addition to feeling like Heidi, enjoying her grandfather’s goats’ milk up in the Alps. I tried a few almond milks. BLECH. Then, something in the super-fancy packaging of this Pop & Bottle brand caught my eye one day when I was at the little market near my office. Yeah, this tiny little 10 oz bottle cost $6.00. But I decided to try it, and YUM. I mean, YUM. I just hope I can figure out a way to replicate it. I’ll just save it as a special treat though, since I’m not eating desserts or drinking alcohol.

Oh, yeah?! What about dessert?? Well, I did indulge in birthday cake (twice!) during the month. The first time, I was pretty sure I would die if I didn’t get to have a piece. So after much agonizing, I did. It was delicious. The second time, at the end of week 3, I figured I would enjoy another piece for dear Mr McBody’s birthday. Totally different experience. I could TELL that it was “good,” ie. high-quality, but it just didn’t have that same delicious sensation. I had a couple of forkfuls and then left it. I developed a real fondness for eating fresh raspberries with coconut cream when I wanted dessert. But the need for daily desserts really reduced drastically.

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One of the best results, ever.

One of the very best things, though, has been the impressive reduction in my blood sugars. This number on the left is really the lowest I have ever seen it, since I began testing it in 2009. This was pretty dramatic.

I went to see my new doctor yesterday and had all my labs drawn. EVERYthing was in normal range, and especially my cholesterol and lipids were stellar. So there’s that.

But… how WAS it?! It wasn’t all easy. The first week was tough. After around 2-3 weeks, most of my craving for particular foods went away. But it was replaced by a strange sadness, like a mourning of the relationship I used to have with food. Which was, in many ways, like a love affair. I LOVED cheese. I LOVED certain kinds of desserts, and bread, and butter and so many delicious things.

The 30 Days are over. So now what? Well, yesterday I gave myself some sourdough bread with some real butter on it. It was… meh. I mean, I could’ve taken or left it. Today, I had a slice of homemade veggie pizza. Now that? That was pretty darn good.

Since starting on February 1st, I’m down more than ten pounds. This feels good. I’ve been trying to shed these pounds for the good part of a year, and this is the first time I’ve seen a steady decrease on a consistent basis in a long time. So I’m going to keep going. I might have a few non-Paleo treats once or twice a week, but I’m not going back to my pre-Paleo days.

This major re-setting of my food intake has been pretty dramatic. I’ve never eliminated so many different food groups ALL AT ONCE before. I learned that it didn’t kill me. Maybe quite the opposite. I’m feeling pretty alive.

 

Goodbye (sort of), Foodie McBody June 6, 2014

Foodie McBody

Foodie McBody

I just did a little thing that felt like such a BIG thing. I changed my Twitter handle, which has been @foodiemcbody forever. But for the last six months or a year I’ve felt like so much MORE than Foodie McBody. Many people I interact with now, in the writing world and beyond, don’t recognize or know Foodie.

It makes me feel really emotional to make this change. I first took on the name Foodie McBody as an anonymous name when I started this blog. Because I was ashamed of who I was. I was diabetic and overweight and unfit and desperate. I wanted to reach out for community and help, but I was embarrassed to be in the world as ME, Susan Ito. And that’s how Foodie came about.

When I started feeling better about myself, I shed that anonymity. For a long time I was really proud to be Foodie McBody. And I still am. But I’m more than that now. I’m a writer, a memoirist, a physical therapist, a teacher. Sometimes those selves fit with Foodie, and sometimes they don’t.

Last weekend I took a fabulous food-writing class at the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. We were visited by guest speaker Virginia Miller, who blogs over at The Perfect Spot and also writes for Zagat. (!) I realized in that moment that FoodFoodBodyBody has been and is a food blog. And the writing that I did that day could live here. It was a huge sigh of happiness, the recognition that I could integrate these parts of myself.

For a long time I believed that my fitness stole my writing, and then that my writing could steal my fitness. All of it takes time, after all. Following my injury and surgery in the fall, I’ve definitely been more in the writing world. Trying to find that balance again. But I have deep love for the Foodie McBody part of myself, and deep love for my writing life. @thesusanito is an attempt to bring it all together in one self. I hope those of you who met me as Foodie will continue to be my wonderful healthy community, and those who never knew Foodie will learn about who that part of me is/was.

Did you ever feel like your identity was fragmented? What have you done to bring it all together?

 

 

Grateful. November 29, 2013

a new day

a new day

Yesterday was Thanksgiving day, and I had a lot to be thankful for. Just a few weeks prior, I thought I might have to bail on the holiday altogether, as I had been bailing on many things right and left since September. But thanks to my successful surgery and my gradual recovery, I had a wonderful day that managed to keep the majority of beloved traditions intact.

For the past four years, I have been participating in our local Weight Watchers 5k Turkey “Trot” (mostly a walk, although I did partially jog it a few times). This is something I really did not want to miss; starting the day out with some good company and activity. I had missed my WW members so much and I was hoping to see some of them there.

so excited to see many of my WW members

so excited to see many of my WW members

Hooray! Quite a few of them were there and it was great to walk along the shoreline with them. Pretty soon, though, I was feeling like “whew you guys are walking awfully fast!” and I fell back to the group behind them, and then behind them, and I was walking slower and slower and then I felt my gas tank start to sputter. I knew I had to turn around to the start point. I didn’t  measure the distance but I was guessing it was maybe half – like a mile and a half? The last few blocks back to my car felt like forever. I waited to meet up with them coming back the other way and got to see the fabulous Julie, who has been generously and enthusiastically holding down my meeting for me in my absence. I am forever grateful for HER for giving my members consistency while I’ve been away.

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It was tiring, but I was really really happy to have gone, and to be out there on the shore at sunrise. It felt like the beginning of a new day.

The triple challenge for drive-walk-drive, from 6:30am-9:00am pretty much took the stuffing out of me. I went home, gave instructions for various food preps, and took to my bed for several hours. Whew.

Right before dinner, we had a little holiday card family photo shoot.

intergenerational beauty and silliness

intergenerational beauty and silliness

the guys took care of the bird

the guys took care of the bird

My family has been amazing. A billion more gratitude points for them. They lifted all the heavy pots and pans, reached into high cabinets, chopped and prepped and stirred and did everything that I couldn’t. It all came together into a beautiful meal.

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my plate

my plate

After dinner, I needed another very big lie-down. The one task I had taken on was the Making of the Pan Gravy, and standing over the stove with my neck bent over the pan didn’t prove to be very comfortable in the long run. I was incredibly grateful (AGAIN) to everyone for doing ALL of the cleanup while I took some medication and lay on the couch.

dessert buffet!

dessert buffet!

Round 3 of Thanksgiving tradition: dessert and games! We had good friends come and join us for the grand finale of the evening. We have been playing games after Thanksgiving dinner for as long as I can remember, and it always ends in great hilarity. This time we played the old chaotic game of Pit, and then moved on to Balderdash so that all 14 of us could participate. We were laughing so hard we were wiping tears. Good times.

PIT!

PIT!

By ten o’clock another wave of major droopiness was setting in. But that was fine. All of the major holiday traditions had taken place: turkey trot, family photo shoot, dinner, friends and games. I managed to get through out with several big rest breaks and not a whole lot of pain. Considering where I was just four weeks ago, this was nothing short of a miracle.

super thankful for him

super thankful for him

Today is rest day.

 

 

MindMindBodyBody July 12, 2013

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It is amazing how things have a way of coming together, all at once somehow. It is a strange and wonderful story. Back in the beginning of May, I was in a kind of bleak place. My hip was hurting. I had not been able to exercise the way I wanted to. My weight was bumping up and up.

Then I got the dreaded email from the Powers That Be at Weight Watchers. Because you know, they keep an eye on these things. We staff members have to weight in once a month and show that we are either in compliance with the Staff Agreement (that we will be within 2 lbs of our goal weight), or that we have an Active Plan in mind to get back there. It was just a form letter. It wasn’t aimed only at me, but I took it absolutely to heart. I was utterly disappointed with myself and for the first time in four years, I felt hopeless. I went into this whole spiral of: I am a failure. I am a a fraud. How can I be standing up in front of people when I have let myself down so terribly?

I got that email about an hour before my regular WW meeting. I broke down in the parking lot and cried. I texted another leader friend intending to beg her to cover for me. No way could I go in there. But she didn’t answer back, she didn’t answer and finally it was time to go and I had to just suck it up and go in there. I bumped into a member who greeted me so enthusiastically. If only she knew, I thought. We walked over to the center and there was already a long line of people waiting to get in. “Look at all the people!” she said. “They’re all here for YOU.” Which made me feel even worse. My eyes filled up again and I thought about quitting. For good.

I went up to the leader area to prepare for the meeting. I noticed that the new Routine of the Month was: Mindful Eating, aka Eating Without Distraction. I laughed out loud. This is my favorite topic. This is the thing I am the most passionate about. I laughed. I told myself, all right, I will hang in there for this month and THEN if it still feels miserable, I will quit. I started the meeting and it was just awesome. As they mostly are. I love my members so much.

That next week, I took part in a one-day meditation retreat which was part of an eight week series I have been taking in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. (MSBR) It included an hourlong mindful lunch. I have had previous experiences of mindful eating practice, but it was before I was involved with Weight Watchers. I have also READ about mindful eating a LOT (love the book Savor) but I had not really practiced it in a formal way. So this was, like perfect timing: to have this experience smack in the middle of Mindful Eating month.

It was an astounding, beautiful, altering experience. First, we did the Raisin Exercise as a warm-up. Then we all went into various corners and spots of our own to eat and experience our own lunches. We were instructed not to make eye contact or try to communicate via hand gestures with anyone else. To see what it was like to eat WITH other people, but not in a social way. Interesting. I had brought a sandwich I’d make that morning, a bag of fruit, two little cookies and a bottle of sparkly water. I took it all out and laid it out on a napkin. I took off my glasses and held each piece of food up to my eyes, up close.

The raspberries blew my mind.

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Seriously. The way they had openings like little mouths. The teeny-tiny hairs. The puffy red bubbles. They were so luscious and somehow tender like tiny baby somethings. I was overwhelmed by affection and appreciation for them. Sweet little raspberries! Then I turned to the blueberries. I had never really given much thought to how blueberries looked up close. But they were like little grandmothers. Kind of drier, and a little more wrinkly (which I didn’t expect). The colors were muted and they didn’t have the same baby-like quality as the raspberries. They also tasted so very much themselves.
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The sandwich was another story altogether. I remembered when I was looking at it, how I really don’t like to eat the crusts of the sandwich. But it felt like a virtuous thing to do, to not “waste” food. I thought about why I don’t like the crust. Because it doesn’t have any of the yummy filling or flavor. It’s just… plain bread. It’s dry. There’s no goodness inside of it. So during my Mindful Lunch I paused and made the choice to leave the crusts behind. I didn’t need to eat them. And that felt just right.

It took me an hour to eat a lunch that would normally be snarfed up in about ten minutes. I made many, many decisions during this hour. What next? How much? More? What does it taste like? How hungry or satisfied or full am I NOW? What else is going on? How’s the weather? What’s that sound? It was really one of the most memorable meals I have ever experienced.

I felt changed.

As soon as I got home I emailed my awesome Territory Manager at WW. I told him I had an idea: to bring Mindful Eating practice to our Weight Watchers members. After all, it’s one of our new core Routines. How awesome would it be to invite members to actually practice something, instead of just talking about it? He was in. He was so supportive and excited. The first Mindful Eating session (which I had limited to 20 members) sold out and was held about a month ago.

I loved sharing this experience in this way. I am so grateful to our local WW administration for allowing me to expand the experiences we offer our members. The feedback was so good.

“A calming, conscious eating practice.” ”

A very uplifting experience.” ”

A quiet reflection, a safe space.”

“The food tasted better!”

“A chance to stop and savor our food.”

It made me so happy. And guess what? That month of focusing on Mindful Eating brought me easily, painlessly, calmly back to my goal weight.  BOOM. :-)

The first event was such a success, I’m offering it again this month at our Emeryville Center. Bay Area peeps, it’s free and open to the public, NOT JUST Weight Watchers members. But all participants need to register HERE (free of charge) to get in, because spaces ARE limited. I’d love for this one to fill up too. (click on image below for details, click on link in previous sentence to register)

MINDFUL EMERYVILLE  copyI am so grateful and kind of amazed at the course of events that have conspired since that day I sat in my car crying, ready to quit. I had no idea what changes would occur, how serendipitous it all would be, but for all of it, I am so very happy.

 

Who Likes Popchips? We Love Popchips! Giveaway Time!! October 6, 2012

Filed under: Fitbloggin',food,giveaway,good things,recipes — Susan @ 12:55 pm

Gettin’ our silly rockstar on at the Popchips booth: with Tracy and Patty

Popchips always has a great presence at Fitbloggin and this year they were out with their silly photo booth which was lots of fun. They also had many samples of their tasty new Tortilla Popchips (yum!) for us to try. I loved the Chili Limon ones.

Anyway, the generous Popchips people have offered up a CASE (12 packs!!) of these yummy snacks for one of my blog readers, as well as provided some delicious recipes to share that have particular “pairings” with the various new flavors.

Do you want a case of Popchips coming to your house? I bet you do!! So get on it! The deadline is this Wednesday, October 10th at 3:00pm PST.

All you need to do to be eligible to win is:

  • “Like” Popchips on Facebook.
  • “Like” ME on Facebook! (what, you don’t already??)
  • Leave a comment here telling me which new flavor of Popchips you’re most excited to try, and what you’ll pair them with. (be creative)

And for everyone — Popchips has teamed up with chef Aaron Sanchez to share these recipes.

My favorite was the ceviche with the Chili Limon chips. Doesn’t this look good???


Ceviche with chili limón tortilla popchips

 Usually the fish in a ceviche is trimmed into large chunks, but for scooping up this tangy-sweet version with brightly flavored and spicy chili limón tortilla popchips, I’ve trimmed the fish into small cubes, 1/4- to 1/2-inch in size. The result not only makes a ceviche that’s perfect for scooping, but also a speedy version that “cooks” in the fresh lime juice in less than an hour.

Makes 6 servings

1 pound fresh halibut filets (or any firm-fleshed white fish, such as haddock, red snapper or sea bass), diced into 1/2-inch cubes

1 cup fresh lime juice (from approximately 8 to 10 limes)

1 fresh red Serrano chili, seeds discarded, chili thinly sliced

1 teaspoon salt

1 small mango, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1 scallion, white and green parts thinly sliced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1. In a medium-sized glass bowl, combine the fish with the lime juice, Serrano and salt. Cover and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours. The fish cubes will “cook” in the lime juice until they are opaque.

2. Half an hour before serving, stir the mango, scallion, cilantro and olive oil into the ceviche. Cover and refrigerate 20 minutes to let the flavors meld. Serve with chili limón tortilla popchips for scooping up the ceviche.

Grilled Chicken Cemitas and Garlic-Chipotle Love with salsa tortilla popchips

These sandwiches are like Mexican subs—overstuffed with all sorts of goodness, bursting with flavor, and topped with a mind-blowingly delicious sauce of roasted garlic pureed with smoky chipotles. Have a lot of napkins on hand! salsa tortilla popchips bring a crispy counterpoint to all the juicy sandwich fillings and a bright flavor that can withstand everything going on inside that bun.

Makes 4 servings

For the Chipotle Love Sauce:
1 cup of canola oil
12 garlic cloves
3 tablespoon chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
zest of one lime
2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Cemitas:
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1 ripe Haas avocado
Juice of 1 lime
4 cemita rolls or hamburger rolls with sesame seeds
Olive oil
1 cup refried beans, warmed (from 1 15-ounce can)
8 ounces Oaxaca or mozzarella cheese, grated
Sliced ripe tomato
Thinly sliced lettuce
Fresh cilantro leaves

1. Make the Chipotle Love:  In a dry medium heavy nonreactive sauce pot place oil and garlic cloves and cover with foil and place in 300 degree oven for 45 minutes till garlic has browned and become soft. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Then place remaining ingredients and cooled garlic oil mix in a food processor and puree till a smooth paste.

2. Prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill with the lid down for 10 minutes on high.

3. Split each chicken breast in half horizontally and lay each piece between two pieces of plastic wrap. Pound each breast half until it’s one-quarter inch thick (if you don’t have a meat pounder, use the bottom of a small saucepan). Sprinkle each piece with salt, pepper and cumin on each side.

4. Mash the avocado with the lime juice and season with salt, and warm the refried beans on the stovetop or in the microwave.

5. Grill the chicken breasts for 4 to 5 minutes, turning once. Set aside and keep warm. Split the buns and brush lightly with olive oil. Grill, cut sides down, until just golden brown, about a minute.

6. To assemble each sandwich, spread the bottom half of each toasted roll with a quarter of the mashed avocado. Top with a chicken breast, then spoon on a quarter of the refried beans. Divide the cheese among the sandwiches, and top with tomato, lettuce and a sprinkle of cilantro. Drizzle on a generous amount of Chipotle Love and top with the remaining bun half. Cut each sandwich in half before serving.

 

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And the winner is….Suz!! Congrats, Suz. Please email me your postal address so I can let the Popchips folks now. Thanks everyone for participating!

 

Kickin’ In Year 52, Triathlon Style! August 16, 2011

I have to say, I had a pretty awesome birthday on Sunday. I got up at 6am, even did my 750 words, then dressed, had my pre-workout whole wheat English muffin with peanut butter and went to pick up Lily. We were going for our first long bike ride + run workout. I have to say, I was nervous. This was my first team bike ride and even though I’d done some biking on my own, it was all pretty much on trails. It’s the TRAFFIC I was worried about.

Team in Training is very spirit oriented, very rah-rah. Which sometimes can be annoying but with TNT I don’t mind it at all. In fact, I really appreciate it. This week’s Spirit Challenge was to wear weird and crazy socks. I had bought some pink flame socks to go with my new bike shoes, but Lily came through with some rocking matching animal print socks which she gave me in the car. She is the greatest.

rockin' the crazy socks

We got out to Shadow Cliffs in Pleasanton and met up with the team. Guess how many other people were wearing crazy socks?? Not very many! So we won!!!!! We got some awesome TNT purple swag. Then our team mentor asked how many of us had not skipped a workout. Was I the only one to raise my hand? Really? I was presented with the golden sparkly cowboy/girl hat of fame!! WOW! Too much!!

mentor Annika giving me the hat!

This was all very fun and distracting but I knew that the actual bike ride was coming up. NERVOUS. I immediately placed myself in the “Developing” group (the beginner group). They had us ride around the parking lot a couple times. Well, that was fine. Then we headed up a hill out of the park and across a four-lane road, and… we were ON THE ROAD! Cars were zipping by. We were in a bike line. It was flat. For the first few minutes I was having an out-of-body experience as the cars whooshed by. But then I just kept watching the bike in front of me, pedal pedal pedal. I started to realize that it was not so bad. (whew!)

Our Developing ride was supposed to be 50 minutes- 25 minutes out and 25 back. But it ended up being much longer. There were some slightly scary moments – when we had to ride in the MIDDLE OF THE ROAD because we were going straight, and there was a right-hand turn lane; when the “bike lane” ended and there were just cars (parked) and cars (moving) on both sides; when we came to a narrow curving overpass thing with basically NO shoulder and NO bike lane, and a few hills where my rubbery legs kept slipping off the pedals (toe clips being installed today!!). But I managed to deal with all of it without melting down or falling off or getting injured. Team mentor Karla who was bringing up the rear kept saying encouraging things to me, like, “You are so much better than you think!” and “You so got this!” etc. I couldn’t believe she was actually saying those words to me.

And one guy zipped by (not our team) and yelled out, “Nice socks!!!!!!” Hahaha.

After the ride (13.5 miles, 80 minutes!) we tried to quickly transition into running shoes and just take off for a “brief” 15-20 minute run. OMG. That was one of the most PAINFUL runs of my life. Ever. My calves and feet were SCREAMING and had no desire to run. Or even walk. Hobble maybe? I pretty much walk/hobbled/ jogged at a ridiculous pace. I couldn’t believe how jellified and also petrified and painful my lower extremities were. It was not a pleasant run. All I could think of was, I am going to do 6 miles of this?? NO WAY.

Thank goodness it was a short run. I got back to the picnic tables and pretty much collapsed. Happily, I was revived by birthday cupcakes! How sweet is that! Annika made them (with purple icing, natch) for me and Art, whose birthday was this week also. What an awesome team!

Truly though, NOTHING was a better birthday present than surviving that bike ride. Even enjoying more than half of it. And the nervous parts weren’t wildly, horribly debilitating. It was like butterflies in the stomach, not like panic attack level. So that was a huge victory. A great present. An enormous breakthrough.

I got home and had a wonderful birthday NAP. Zzzzzzzz.

Then cake and presents with my lovely family! Junior is away so it was Mister, Mom and Juniorette. We had an incredibly delicious cheesecake.

One of my favorite presents was this little kit which basically starts as a bunch of colored straws with holes in them…

Which you cut up and then follow numerical directions and they turn into… pig and chicken robots holding fish! WHAT!! Could there be anything cuter or more clever? I don’t think so. This was hands down one of my favorite gifts EVER.

After all the festivities, I got to go to San Francisco and have a girlfriend birthday dinner with one of my best buddies. It was sooooooo great.

Lobster salad!

It was really an extraordinary, wonderful day which made me feel very grateful and happy to be alive. I am a bazillion times healthier (and undoubtedly happier) than I was at 42, and I’m looking forward to more.

 

Review: Blue Bunny Frozen Mini Treats July 14, 2011

Filed under: diabetes,food,review — Susan @ 1:36 am

Once again I was contacted by the kind folks at Blue Bunny to see if I’d want to try out their new Sweet Freedom sugar free, snack size yummy treats. I did not say no!

They arrived in a carton of dry ice. Sadly, Juniorette was not here to play with it and conduct science experiments to her heart’s delight like last time. This time, we have learned to actually read the instructions and Let the Product Thaw For One Hour before consuming. (last time we almost broke our teeth!)

These little products, a mini ice cream cone and a mini ice cream sandwich (chocolate and vanilla) were tested by me, my mother and Mr. McBody. My personal favorite was the ice cream sandwich. I am a BIG fan of ice cream sandwiches of all kinds, but the very small portion size really won me over. It’s just two or three bites. One, it’s cute, and two, it doesn’t do too much damage. Also, the sugar free aspect is a winner for me. Combination of that AND the small portion kept my blood sugar from getting whacky. NICE COMBO.

Mom loved the little ice cream cones. “So cuuuute!” she said. I saw her going back for seconds. :-)

Bottom line: Thumbs up (paws up?) for the Blue Bunny. I actually liked these treats more than the original ones. I recommend!

 

 
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