Sunday, January 25, 2009

I Am Your Disease...

I am Your Disease

I hate meetings.
I hate your higher power.
I hate anyone who has a program.

To all who come in contact with me,
I wish you suffering and death.

Allow me to introduce myself...
I am the disease of addiction.

Alcoholism, drugs and eating disorders.
I am cunning, baffling and powerful. Thats me!

I've killed millions and enjoyed doing it.
I love to catch you by surprise.
I love pretending I'm your friend and lover.
I've given you comfort.
Wasn't I there when you were lonely?

When you wanted to die, didn't you call on me?

I love to make you hurt.
I love to make you cry. Better yet...
I love it when I make you so numb,
You can't hurt and you can't cry.
You feel nothing at all.

I give you instant gratification.
All I ask for in return is long term suffering.
I've always been there for you.

When things were going right, you invited me back.
You said you didn't deserve to be happy.
I agreed with you.
Together we were able to destroy your life.

People don't take me seriously.
They take strokes seriously.
They take heart attacks seriously.
Even diabetes, they take seriously.
Yet, without my help, these things wouldn't be possible.

I'm such a hated disease, yet I don't come uninvited.
You choose to have me.
Many have chosen me, instead of love and peace.

I hate all of you who work a 12step program.
Your program, your meetings, and your higher power weaken me.
I can't function in the manner I am accustomed to.

I am your disease.
For now I must lie here quietly.
You don't see me, but I'm growing more powerful everyday.

When you settle for mere existence, I thrive.
When you feel fully alive, I weaken.
But I'm always here waiting for you.

Until we meet again,
I wish you continued suffering and death.

Author Unknown

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Recipe: Lea's Apple Crisp

This is one of those let's-indulge-a-craving sort of recipes... It is a comfort food around our house. Thankfully it at least has some redeeming qualities... I mean, apples are fruit, right?? LOL


6-8 tart apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (such as Granny Smith)
2-3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/4 cup granulated Splenda

teaspoon cinnamon
teaspoon ground nutmeg

OR 2 teaspoons apple pie spice

Put apple slices in bottom of an 8 x 8 baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Sprinkle Splenda and spices over apples. Pour melted butter over them and sort of toss all with a spoon to coat the apple slices.

Prepare topping (see below) an sprinkle over top of apples. Bake at 350 till golden brown (30 to 40 minutes usually).

1 cup oats (rolled is better, any will work)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated Splenda
1 cup self rising flour
1/2 cup melted butter or margarine

NOTE--In topping, you can use other flour! If you have a preferred replacement, go with that. I've used almond flour with some baking soda, baking powder, and salt mixed in...

As I said in the beginning, we only do this once in a while. I canned several quarts of apple slices last summer, so I can drain a jar of apples and dump them into the baking pan and go from there... Easy, peasy! LOL It feels like cheating now (not having to peel, core, etc), but it sure didn't when I was getting all those bushels of apples ready to can!

Friday, January 23, 2009

2 more days for Kay's $10 special!!

New Kay's Products--$10 only through Sunday!
Just a reminder that the 4 new
Kay's Naturals products are only on sale thru this coming Sunday!!

Get a case of these 4 new items for just $10 each. Normally, $15 (with a suggested retail price of $19) for a case of 12 bags. That is a wonderful savings and a great time to try these new items!

The new items include:
hazelnut sweet protein chips
almond delight protein crisps
original flavor protein pretzels
sweet BBQ snack mix

And, don't forget that 20% discount code! You can save 20% off of your Kay's Naturals orders by using the discount code minichallenge when you go to checkout!

Mine will hopefully arrive today while I'm at work... I hope to let you know what I think of them this weekend!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Review: Tumaro's Low in Carbs Multi-Grain Tortillas

I've tried to find a good, low carb tortilla in my area as sooooo many of the ones you guys try and love are just not available here in the boonies of wild, wonderful West Virginia. This one I found in a Kroger's store about 45 miles from home. And, I remember thinking that MY Kroger's store closer to home would have them too. Kroger's is Kroger's, right? WRONG! So, anyway, I bought a package of these:

Multi Grain (Award Winning)
A delicious way to get a
boost of fiber in your diet.

They are light and yummy. I used them for quesadillas with the Mexican Beef recipe I posted a bit back and some shredded Mexican blend cheese. I used them for sandwich wraps. I loved them no matter what I did with them.

There are 10 of the 8" size in the package. They were about $2.99 for the package. And, the nutritional info...WOW!

Nutrition Facts

Dietary Labeling
Certified Kosher
Serving size: 1 tortilla
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat25
Amount Per Serving and/or % Daily Value*
Total Fat2.5g (4%)
Saturated Fat0g (0%)
Trans Fat0g
Cholesterol0mg (0%)
Sodium115mg (5%)
Total Carbohydrate13g (4%)
Dietary Fiber8g (31%)
Amount Per Serving and/or % Daily Value*
Vitamin A0%
Vitamin C0%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower based on your calorie needs.

Safety Information
Allergen Information: Contains wheat, soy, almond meal, sesame seed flour. Made on equipment shared with wheat, soy, almond meal, sesame flour.

Water, Oat Fiber, Whole Wheat Flour, Soy Bean Flour, Wheat Gluten, Canola Oil, Aluminum Free Baking Powder (Sodium Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Corn Starch, Monocalcium Phosphate), Calcium Propionate (Used to Maintain Freshness), Lecithin, Mono-diglycerides (Derived From Plant Sources), Salt, Sesame Seed Flour, Almond Meal, Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum, Fumaric Acid (Used to Maintain Freshness), Potassium Sorbate (Used to Maintain Freshness), Sodium Metabisulfite (Used to Maintain Freshness).

Heating: Bend bag to loosen and separate flatbreads. Heat them individually in a skillet or pan for 10-15 seconds on each side to warm and soften. Flatbreads may also be wrapped in a moist paper towel and heated in a microwave for 20 seconds. For freshness, keep flatbreads refrigerated after opening. How to fold a wrap: Place fillings in the center of the wrap. Fold the bottom side of the wrap. Fold the left side over then wrap to the right. Enjoy the great taste of a delicious wrap. After opening, keep refrigerated for freshness.

They have FIVE net carbs and only 13 total carbs... Many tortillas have 20 or more total carbs. 7 grams of protein in a little 8" tortilla is nothing to sneeze at either! They are multi grain, so the carbs are complex for the most part. They include ingredients like oat flour, soy flour, sesame seed flour, and almond meal. They also come in Green Onion, Garden Vegetable, and Salsa flavors, but Kroger's did not have those...just the multi-grain version. Amazon carries this company's (Tumaro's) products too. They sell cases of 6 packs of 10 for less than $20 with free shipping on orders over $25.

Product Name: Tumaro's Low in Carbs 8" Multi-Grain Tortillas

Product Type (meal replacement, protein bar, snack, etc):
bread substitute

Where Can I Get/Find It? Krogers and some other grocers... See their site for a list!

Cost: pack of 10 is about $3.00

Pros: whole grain, low in carbs, taste great!

Cons: For me, finding them will be worrisome... I may end up approaching my Kroger's manager and asking them to order me a case. Otherwise, I'll have to bite the bullet and go the Amazon route!

Overall Rating: Yeah Baby! These will definitely be back in my cupboard!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Gut Microbes Shift with Obesity, Upended by Gastric Bypass

Gut Microbes Shift with Obesity, Upended by Gastric Bypass

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The microbes living in our guts are linked — and could potentially contribute — to our weight. And these microbial communities are overhauled following gastric bypass surgery-assisted weight loss, according to a new study scheduled to appear online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Using a combination of Sanger and Roche 454 sequencing technology, a team of researchers from Arizona State University, Arizona's Mayo Clinic, and the University of Arizona assessed the gut microbes of nine individuals who were either normal weight, obese, or had lost weight following Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery.

The team found that gastric bypass surgery was linked to a dramatic shift in individuals' gut microbes. They also detected an intriguing pattern in the microbial community within obese subjects: these individuals harbored a combination of hydrogen-producing and -consuming microbes that researchers say may ramp up the amount of energy harvested from their food.

By understanding such shifts, the team hopes to come up with new obesity treatments as well as markers to predict who is at risk of becoming obese.

Roughly four million Americans are affected by obesity and about 300,000 die from obesity-related conditions annually. Although increased food energy intake and a lack of physical activity are partly to blame, the authors noted, systems governing the body's energy balance could also be a factor.

Roux-en-Y and other bariatric surgeries are the most effective obesity treatments available to date. By bypassing part of the stomach and small intestine, the surgery limits the amount and type of food an individual can eat.

Such procedures are associated with a certain degree of nutrient malabsorption, changes in stomach acid exposure, and other gastrointestinal changes that could potentially alter the gut microbial community.

In an effort to understand these changes, the researchers used a combination of Sanger and Roche 454 sequencing to amplify and sequence microbial 16S sequences from stool samples taken from nine adults: three who were normal weight, three who were classified as morbidly obese, and three who had undergone gastric bypass surgery between eight and 15 months prior to the study.

Using massively parallel sequencing on the V6 hypervariable region of the 16S rRNA gene, the team generated 184,094 high-quality reads — an average of 20,455 reads per individual tested. These reads represented sequence from between 419 and 575 phylotypes.

Despite the diverse microbial communities and inter-personal differences within each trio of individuals, the researchers found groups of microbes that clustered together depending on weight or bypass surgery.

Whereas Firmicutes were the most common type of bacteria in normal weight and morbidly obese individuals, Gammaproteobacteria were dominant in the guts of those who'd had gastric bypass. These individuals also had more Enterobacteriaceae and Fusobacteriaceae and fewer bacteria from the order Clostridia.

"The large bacterial population shift seen in the post-gastric-bypass individuals may reflect the double impact of the gut alteration caused by the surgical procedure and the consequent changes in food ingestion and digestion," the authors wrote.

Because patients who've had gastric bypass surgery have a shorter gastrointestinal tract, lead author Husen Zhang, a post-doctoral researcher at ASU's Biodesign Institute, told GenomeWeb Daily News, they also have a higher concentration of oxygen in their gut. Not surprisingly then, he said the team found more facultative anaerobes — microbes that are capable of using oxygen — in that the guts of those who'd had the surgery.

Still, the researchers cautioned, more research is needed to determine the implications of this new microbial consortium. "The drastic change may or may not reflect a deficiency in beneficial microbes," Zhang said. "Maybe these patients need some kind of supplement."

The team also detected differences in the microbes found in the guts of the morbidly obese. While individuals from the normal weight and gastric bypass groups carried hordes of bacteria from the Verrucomicrobia phylum, for example, obese individuals did not. Instead, obese individuals often carried bacteria from the Prevotellaceae, a type of Bacteroidetes.

Both sequencing and quantitative real-time PCR indicated that the three obese subjects tested also carried microbes that produce or use hydrogen — including hydrogen-producing bacteria from the Prevotellaceae family and hydrogen-consuming Archaea.

Based on these results, the researchers speculated that there is teamwork taking place between the bacteria and archaea living in the guts of the obese. And, Zhang said, he and his team suspect that this cooperation may increase the amount of energy that obese individuals extract from food.

The researchers don't know yet whether this microbial community causes — or is a consequence of — obesity, senior author Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown, a researcher at ASU's Biodesign Institute, told GenomeWeb. But if the team can verify that gut microbes contribute to weight problems, she said, it may be possible to develop new microbe-based obesity treatments.

And although physicians and researchers don't need a marker for morbid obesity itself, Krajmalnik-Brown added, the archaeal-bacterial community associated with obesity may eventually help to distinguish individuals who are at increased risk of becoming obese.

Next, the team plans to do similar studies in larger groups of individuals over time, to determine, for example, how gut microbes vary during weight-loss programs or before and after bypass surgery.

Before I _______, I will ________

Another great bit from a group I am part of...

Before I ____________, I will first ___________

I will first have a large glass of water then ask myself,"Am I really hungry? Or am I _________?" Try either chewing a piece of fruit flavored sugar free gum or drinking a 20 oz bottle of water.

I will do 10 (or as many as possible push-ups)

I will do 15 (or as many as possible) jumping jacks

I will walk for 5,10,15 minutes.

I will clean something

I will eat something that will bless my body (fruit or vegetable)

I will do one of my favorite things (read for 15minutes, internet for 15 minutes, garden, scrapbooking, chase
kids (grandkids) around, crayon or watercolor, write in my journal, sing loudly off key "Hooray for Baggy
Panties!"(ok, you get the picture)

I will"... practice the three Ds when we wanted to eat between meals....
DRINK(sound familiar?), DIVERT (do something to take your mind off food --walk or read or DO something), and DELAY (wait fifteen minutes -- if you are still hungry, you probably need some food to fuel your body)"

I will brush my teeth (When you crave a dessert or sweet treat, try brushing your teeth. Something about the act of brushing and the minty flavor of toothpaste is supposed to tell you that it's not time to eat – plus candy or chocolate or whatever it is you want to snack on won't taste half as good with that minty flavor in your mouth!)

I will change my attitude...I was scared to give up sweets because I was QUITTING something. But I turned the negative of quitting into a positive. I am ADDING the habit of having one dessert per week.

I will not buy treats (they are too tempting and my family gets enough other places without needing them at home), when I am winding my day down I will make myself a large cup of herbal tea. It takes me a while to drink it (because it is hot), I am getting flavor in my mouth (I now have a huge stash of tea varieties), and it counts toward my water consumption. I have found that I really look forward to sipping my tea, and I can watch some TV or read a book and not feel guilty that I am consuming mindless calories.

I will have a piece of paper on my refrigerator and every time I have a craving, I write it down. The deal is that on Sunday I can pick one thing from the list to eat in moderation IF I STILL WANT IT. I usually find that after a few hours the thrill is gone, and I can make a reasonable decision for a treat on Sunday. It's funny, but most of the time once I write the craving on the paper I can usually forget about it.

I will plan which days I would have a dessert. I am trying to focus on asking myself which dessert do I want to have on Saturday instead of focusing on what I am saying no to at the moment.

Is there a basketball hoop at the White House? There may be soon!

According to a WebMD article, the Obamas are very big on fitness and exercise. And, apparently the Commander in Chief's favorite workout is basketball...

The Obamas: First Couple of Fitness

Will the exercise program of Barack and Michelle Obama inspire Americans?
By Kathleen Doheny
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

The Obamas are making history, not just as the first African-American president and first lady, but perhaps also as the fittest first couple ever.

That role model, in turn, may inspire millions of sedentary Americans to get moving, exercise and preventive health experts hope.

Both the new president and first lady are regular exercisers, managing to squeeze in workouts despite their hectic schedules. It's difficult not to admire their dedication. When in Chicago, the new first lady was said to begin her day with a 4:30 a.m. gym workout.

Instead of kicking back and getting some extra sleep the day after he won the election, Obama showed up at his gym at 7 a.m. for a workout. The new president's washboard abs -- snapped by photographers during his Hawaii vacation -- rival that of a 30-something leading man in Hollywood.

Comparisons aside, it's clear that exercise is serious business for the Obamas -- and more about maintaining health and mental acuity than looking good.

"Barack is almost religious about getting in his workouts," says Alan S. King, a close friend of Obama's and an attorney at Drinker Biddle & Reath in Chicago. "He values his workout time as time to think and relieve stress. I'd say he's also driven by the fact that he wants to be fit and healthy to be around for Michelle and the girls [daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7]."

Obama Exercise Program: The Routine

The new president's workout program would put many men half his age to shame. Obama, 47, combines his love of basketball with treadmill workouts and weight training, say those who have observed his workouts or played hoops with him.

Obama told Men's Health magazine in its November issue that his typical routine includes working out for 45 minutes, six days a week, including cardiac-strengthening routines and weight lifting. That's in addition to his famous basketball games -- played whenever possible and always on election days.

"He alternates days between strength and cardio training and gets in as much basketball as his schedule permits,'' King tells WebMD.

Irene Trantas, a master trainer at the Philadelphia Sports Club at Rodin, observed Obama work out on three different occasions when he stopped in while on the road. "You could definitely tell he has a routine, he works out, and he is familiar with the routine," she tells WebMD. During his stops there, he combined a treadmill run and elliptical trainer with weight training, including the chest press, overhead press, leg press and other conditioning exercises, she says. "He is strong."

Obama Exercise Program: What Keeps Them Moving?

By now, workouts have become an ingrained habit for both Barack and Michelle Obama, says Jim Cauley, a political consultant in Louisville, Ky., who managed Obama's 2004 U.S. Senate campaign.

During that campaign, Cauley says, "Everybody fought for his time. [But] he was adamant he got his workout time."

Even when the schedule was jam-packed. "His logic was always, 'The rest of my time will be more productive if you give me my workout time,'" Cauley tells WebMD. "I never worked out with him, but I can speak to his need for it."

The workout time got penned in, more often than not. "When he had a big moment in the campaign -- like a debate -- we always gave him time," Cauley says. "It was almost part of the debate preparation."

He kept up that same routine during his presidential bid and after he won the election. Last month, it was reported that he had gone to the gym for 90 minutes a day for at least 48 days straight.

Besides using fitness to stay in shape and help clear his head, Cauley thinks Obama saw it as valuable "alone" time, especially after he gave up driving himself to campaign events. "He had less time to himself," he says of those days after he had a driver. He thinks that made the workouts, especially the solo ones, even more precious.

The same seems true for the new first lady, Cauley says. "She used to get up early" to work out, he says. "The two of them are pretty methodical and very into working out." According to press reports, she gets in 90-minute workouts three times a week.

Obama Exercise Program: Obsessive or Not?

While some may wonder if the new president is a bit obsessive about his fitness, exercise experts say he's anything but, noting that he is following exercise guidelines.

Under current guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, adult Americans should strive for two and a half hours a week of moderate aerobic physical activity, and kids should get an hour or more of physical activity a day. The workouts should include not only cardio strengthening routines such as running, hiking, or brisk walking but also strength training for adults (such as weight lifting) and muscle strengthening for kids (such as rope climbing).

Less than 65% of adult Americans met those guidelines in 2007, according to a report published in December 2008 in the CDC's Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report.

Calling the Obamas' exercise program excessive is incorrect, says Angela Smith, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon at Children's Hospital, Philadelphia, and past president of the American College of Sports Medicine. She points out they both do a mix of activities. They not only follow the recommendations for the suggested time, but have well-rounded routines including cardio and strength training.

"If someone is doing push-ups for 90 minutes a day, that's excessive," she says.

"I think he has a really good exercise program, one we should all be on," says William O. Roberts, MD, professor of family medicine at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, of the new president's routine. Roberts, a member of the American College of Sports Medicine, considers exercise as medicine in his practice.

"It's the cheapest, easiest thing to do [to improve health]," he says.

Following the exercise guidelines produces not only health benefits but other advantages, especially for high-powered people, says Gregg Miele, a Beverly Hills, Calif., personal trainer who has worked for singer Mary J. Blige and numerous other entertainment industry people. "I've worked with an artist who wrote his music in his head when he ran," Miele says. He suspects that Obama uses his workout time to problem-solve as well.

Obama Exercise Program: Will Their Fitness Habit Rub Off?

Colleagues who work out with Obama say his enthusiasm helps get them revved up about exercise, too.

"His dedication to it has inspired me," says King, the Chicago lawyer who often shoots hoops with Obama, "and hopefully his example will inspire many Americans to pay great attention to their health and fitness."

Exercise experts are hopeful that will be the case, too.

"Like it or not, they are going to be role models," says Angela Smith. "The Obamas have an incredible opportunity to influence fitness among adults and children." A good thing, she says, given the obesity epidemic among U.S. youths.

At the very least, observing the first couple's fitness routine may put the time crunch dilemma into perspective for the rest of us, others say. That Obama kept up the exercise routine throughout the grueling campaign is impressive, says Jeannie Moloo, RD, a Sacramento, Calif., dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

Seeing the first couple manage to squeeze in exercise will be a wake-up call, she predicts. "It will make the rest of us wake up and say we don't have much room for excuses as far as the time factor goes."

Miele agrees. People may look at the ability of the Obamas to fit in workouts, consider how much less stressful their life is in comparison to the leader of the free world and his wife, and conclude: "Maybe I could find the time, too."

Obama Exercise Program: No Role Model Is Perfect

Part of the Obama appeal, say the experts, may be that they are not perfect role models. The new president has been known to sneak a cigarette or two, a bad habit he says he will give up.

"He's got to get that cigarette out of his mouth," says Roberts.

He's been seen eating a cheeseburger or two, although his post-workout snack has been described as trail mix washed down by organic tea.

If Moloo were counseling Obama, she would suggest he eat plenty of antioxidant-rich foods to counteract the tobacco use.

As for the cheeseburgers? In moderation, they're fine, she says.

Hunger Control: Women the Weaker Sex?

From WebMD

Hunger Control: Women the Weaker Sex?

Women Less Able to Suppress Food Desire, Study Suggests
By Daniel J. DeNoon
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Jan. 20, 2009 -- Hungry women can't control their desire for food as well as hungry men can, a brain imaging study suggests.

The finding may explain why women are more prone to emotional eating and why women are less likely than men to lose weight while dieting.

"Women have a much stronger reaction to food, such that whether they try to inhibit their desire or not, they have stronger signal [in the part of the brain that controls hunger perception and desire to eat]," study leader Gene-Jack Wang, MD, tells WebMD.

Wang, chairman of the medical department of Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton in N.Y., and colleagues have been using state-of-the-art brain imaging to learn which parts of the brain are involved in eating behaviors.

They have previously shown that obese people are less able than others to sense when their stomachs are full. Recently, they have looked at what happens in the brain when a hungry person gets to see, smell, and taste -- but not eat -- favorite foods.

In some of these studies, they saw very strong signals in parts of the brain involved in emotional regulation and motivation. But in other studies, the signals weren't so strong. Wang suspected this might be because of differences between how men and women react to food.

So they tested 13 women and 10 men with PET brain scans. To make sure they were hungry, study participants fasted for 18 hours before scanning. And to make sure they were tempted, the researchers made the participants' favorite foods: bacon/egg/cheese sandwiches, cinnamon buns, pizza, cheeseburgers, fried chicken, lasagna, barbecued ribs, ice cream, brownies, and chocolate cake.

During scanning, participants were able to see and smell the food. They even got tastes, applied to their tongues with a cotton swab. To make sure they stayed tempted, researchers brought them new hot food every four minutes.

But subjects didn't get to eat until the 30-minute scans were completed, and only after they completed a quiz on their feelings of hunger, desire for food, and alertness.

Before their second round of scans, participants were asked to practice ignoring the food or shifting their thoughts away from it. During this phase of scanning, they were asked "to inhibit their desire for food and suppress their feelings of hunger."

That worked pretty well for the men. Their brain scans showed much less hunger-related activity when they tried to suppress their desire for food.

That didn't happen for the women, at least not as a group. Although some women were better than some men at suppressing food desire, overall the women's brains showed just as much hunger-related activity when they tried to hold down their desire.

Are the findings plausible? WebMD asked Rexford S. Ahima, MD, PhD, director of the obesity center at the University of Pennsylvania's Institute for Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism. Ahima is an expert in the brain circuits responsible for feeding behavior and body weight regulation.

"More and more we see there is a structural basis for why we eat the way we do. Maybe our brains are hardwired to predetermine the way we eat," Ahima says. "The interesting thing about the Wang study is that when they present food to people and ask them to consciously inhibit the urge to eat, men are better able to do it than women."

Ahima notes that the study only shows men to be better at inhibiting their brains' response to food. But can men really resist emotional eating better than women can? That, he says, will have to be tested directly.

Sex Hormones May Affect Hunger

Why do men's and women's brains respond differently? Wang and Ahima suspect that female sex hormones play a major role.

"There is a link between female hormones tending to promote weight gain and overeating," Ahima says. "There are some women who tend to binge eat in synch with their menstrual cycles. And look at pregnancy -- it makes some women overeat, but some do not. So while there may be overall differences in terms of gender, this may differ for individuals."

Wang suggests that women may have evolved to seek food more avidly than men do.

"There could be evolutionary needs for that, because women have a very important mission: They have to carry the baby," Wang says. "And for most of human history, you could never get enough food to eat. Now that's no longer a problem in developed countries -- but now this brain circuit is a problem when we are surrounded by attractive, high-calorie foods."

The solution, Wang says, is for people who find themselves unable to control their eating to keep filling, low-calorie foods close at hand.

"Our lifestyle now is so much different from that of our grandparents," Wang says. "Our jobs and our living status is very stressful. So when we see food we eat it, because we want to do something to compensate for our problems. Inhibition control is very important -- but if you can't have it, surround yourself with nutritious foods."

Wang's study appears in the Jan. 15 early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Biggest Loser update...

Some weeks, you can see it coming... You know what is going to be the outcome before it happens. THIS week was NOT one of those weeks! I honestly figured it was going to be Joelle going home! And, when it came down to it, the two below the yellow line were Joelle (silver team) and Damien (red team). Joelle had been asked point blank "do you want to be here in the house?" and she stalled and couldn't answer. The answer was obviously NO. She did not want to be there and this last two weeks made that clear. Damien very clearly wants to be there and has been working hard to bring his partner/fiance back after next week. But, when they went to vote, some of them still voted for Damien. It was a tie. And, as he had the lowest weight loss percentage for the week, he got the boot. In their clips of him and his fiance and how they are doing so far, he and she both looked great! They were having their engagement announcement pics taken and they looked healthy and very happy. I bet they make one heck of a showing at the finale!

New Kay's Products--$10 only through Sunday!

Just a reminder that the 4 new Kay's Naturals products are only on sale thru this coming Sunday!! Get a case of these 4 new items for just $10 each. Normally, $15 (with a suggested retail price of $19) for a case of 12 bags. That is a wonderful savings and a great time to try these new items!

The new items include:
hazelnut sweet protein chips
almond delight protein crisps
original flavor protein pretzels
sweet BBQ snack mix

And, don't forget that 20% discount code! You can save 20% off of your Kay's Naturals orders by using the discount code minichallenge when you go to checkout!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Stalls--How they work... What can you do??

In a current discussion over in the OH mini-challenge group, we're discussing stalls and what causes them and what you can do about them. I dug up this older post of mine from our YahooGroup and thought I'd share it here since it wasn't already here!

This is one of the truths of WLS journeys... You have the surgery and leave the hospital expecting to just melt away the pounds. Well, sometimes exactly that happens. But, not usually. Most of us experience several stalls along the way. Some lose slower just because they started out lighter and had less to lose. Others lose slowly despite starting at 300+ pounds. There is just no way to predict how you'll lose. It is, for this very reason, SO important that you measure your body! I just wish I'd measured before surgery so I knew where I truly started out. I had already lost 40 pounds by the time I measured! Who knows how many inches 40 pounds on a 410 pound body could have been!

You lose weight sort of like descending a stairway in a skyscraper...
You go down a couple of flights and then you hit a landing where you turn and prepare to go down some more. At some landings, there are doors to leave the stairway and stray from your path. The trick is knowing that you don't have to go through that door and that by just staying on the path, things will continue as they are supposed to. Many people hit a stall (or landing!) and just because they are not losing weight, they let their eating habits stray a bit and maybe eat things that they shouldn't and thereby stall even longer. Those that stick to their plan and don't stray eventually pick up and take off on the losing again. Too often though, someone who is at a stall takes the time to start logging their food/water/protein info and finds that part of the stall is their own fault! They are not eating enough or are eating too much of things they shouldn't. They are often not getting in enough liquids and protein each day. Then, when they adjust for those things, the losing takes off again!

For me, I lost 24 pounds preop on a 1000 calorie/100 carb diet to shrink my liver. I was not required to lose even one pound, but I wasn't allowed to gain even one pound either or they cancel your surgery and put you on a diet! How's THAT for incentive to do your best? So, 24 pounds down by surgery day put me at 386. I left the hospital at 391 thanks to IV fluids. Even starting out that heavy, at 2 mos postop, I was only down 40 more pounds and I stalled for two weeks. I did what SO many do--I freaked out! What if that was it? What if I never lost another pound? OMG!! Then, all of a sudden, I lost 5 pounds and it started again. By 4 mos out, I was down 100 pounds. Then I stalled for THREE weeks! And this continued. I would lose for a couple of weeks and then stall for a couple. By 7 mos out, I was losing only 4 to 8 pounds in an average month and some months lost only the week after my period. BUT, I lost 100 pounds in 2006 and 105 in 2007. I hope to lose at least 20 in 2008 and STAY at 185ish with no true hope of plastics to take care of this excess skin. If at some point in the future I can manage some plastics, I may eventually see a weight closer to the "normal" range for me (122 to 159 is the normal BMI for me). But, I'll be happy--truly happy--at any weight that starts with a ONE!

FOLLOW-UP, Jan 2009:
The above post was written in January 2008. I hoped to lose 20 pounds in 2008. I did not. I am still, all these many months later, maintaining between 202 and 207. Am I okay with it? Yes and no... Yes, if I can stay at this weight range for the rest of my life (without plastics), and not do so via vigorous diet methods, then I am happy. I look and feel TONS better! But, if I am unable to maintain and stay here for the long haul, then I am not sure what I'll do. I wonder at times if my stoma isn't stretched as I know I can eat more than I expected to be able to... But, I"ve not pursued that in any way at all either. I eat sensibly. I get my protein and liquids in. I'm not doing a huge amount of exercise. Some days, I must admit that I didn't exercise at all other than taking the stairs and parking farther out, etc. But, even when I do pursue a period of regular exercise, it seems to make no real difference and I seem to stay in this same old weight range. I go as high as 212 to 214 once in a while the week before my period, so I know that it is probably water weight and munchies that I can try and blame on good ole' aunt flow. But, I also know that the munchies thing is in my control too. It seems that the weight just suddenly disappears a couple days after my period ends though, so I've not really stressed over it either. What can I do? Not much other than sticking to the rules for the most part. What should I do? Kick my own ass in gear and start exercising regularly and being religious about my daily food plan. Will I? Probably not.... And, I blame part of this complacency on the fact that I can maintain by just doing what I am doing... Ugh! I hope it lasts!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Recipe: Butter Pecan Cookies with Protein

This recipe is a revision of my oatmeal/choco chip/pecan cookies with protein. (click that to see that recipe!) Both recipes are a revised version of Quaker's Vanishing Oatmeal Cookies recipe that is found on the inside of the lid of a tub of Quaker oats! These butter pecan cookies are yummo and NO one can tell they are not a sugary cookie! Granted, they are not sugar free, but they are lower sugar and totally yummy!

Butter Pecan Cookies with Protein
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) margarine (I use light Blue Bonnet)

3/4 cup brown sugar (not Splenda brown sugar, just brown sugar--I've already changed it!)
1 1/2 cups granulated Splenda
3 eggs OR 3/4 cup egg substitute
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour
2 scoops Unjury unflavored protein powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 to 1 tsp salt
4 cups oats
11 oz bag butterscotch baking chips OR 1 cup butterscotch chips and 1 cup chocolate chips
6 oz bag chopped pecans (about 1 1/2 cups)

Blend the margarine, brown sugar and the Splenda. Then add the eggs and vanilla and mix again. In a separate bowl, combine the flours, protein powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix those really well and then add to the wet mixture. Mix well. Then stir in the baking chips and nuts. Once those are well distributed, add the oats but add like 3 cups and then add more till you get a nice thick mix that isn't terribly wet. It usually takes 4 cups, but I've used as little as 3 1/2.

These bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes. Store in cookie jar, tin, or just a rubbermaid or tupperware bowl with lid. This recipe makes about 40-48 large cookies (2 1/2 to 3" in diameter). Each cookie is about 150 calories, 18 carbs (2 fiber) and about 4 grams of protein when computed using pecans as the nuts.

NOTE: If you choose to make these cookies withOUT the protein powder, you must add in 1/2 cup of flour (of your choice) to make this recipe work! If you don't have the almond flour, you can use another flour (spelt, whole wheat, etc) or use another scoop of protein powder and 1/4 cup more all purpose flour.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tips for Limiting Desserts/Sweets/Treats

Tips for Limiting Desserts

· When you have a sweet craving, try either chewing a piece of fruit flavored sugar free gum or drinking a 20 oz bottle of water.

· I was scared to give up sweets because I was QUITTING something. But I turned the negative of quitting into a positive. I am ADDING the habit of having one dessert per week.

· When you crave a dessert or sweet treat, try brushing your teeth. Something about the act of brushing and the minty flavor of toothpaste is supposed to tell you that it's not time to eat – plus candy or chocolate or whatever it is you want to snack on won't taste half as good with that minty flavor in your mouth!

· Besides not buying treats (they are too tempting and my family gets enough other places without needing them at home), when I am winding my day down I will make myself a large cup of herbal tea. It takes me a while to drink it (because it is hot), I am getting flavor in my mouth (I now have a huge stash of tea varieties), and it counts toward my water consumption. I have found that I really look forward to sipping my tea, and I can watch some TV or read a book and not feel guilty that I am consuming mindless calories.

· I have a piece of paper on my refrigerator and every time I have a craving, I write it down. The deal is that on Sunday I can pick one thing from the list to eat in moderation IF I STILL WANT IT. I usually find that after a few hours the thrill is gone, and I can make a reasonable decision for a treat on Sunday. It's funny, but most of the time once I write the craving on the paper I can usually forget about it.

· What helped me is that I planned which days I would have a dessert. I am trying to focus on asking myself which dessert do I want to have on Saturday instead of focusing on what I am saying no to at the moment.

· Remember the Three Ds: DRINK (preferably water); DIVERT (take your mind off food); and DELAY (wait 15 minutes).

Compiled by member of the YahooGroup NoExcuseWorkOutSupport

Join NoExcuseWorkOutSupport Now!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Kay's Naturals--4 brand new products--$10/case!

Kay's Naturals just introduced 4 brand NEW products! All 4 are gluten-free too! They include the following:
BBQ flavor snack mix
original protein pretzels
almond protein chips
hazelnut protein chips

AND, to kick off the addition of these yummy new products, they are offering them all for $10 per case of 12 bags! No coupons or codes are necessary! Just click over and order those babies!

Don't forget that you can get 20% off of Kay's products using the discount code minichallenge during checkout!

Snacking, carbs, and more...

I actually had this post written and was in the process of posting it when my connection hiccuped and it was lost entirely! SO, we'll start again! LOL Well, not really laughing if you know what I mean... Grrrrr!

Over on the OH mini-challenge group, we've been chatting about some things we'd like to do better at... One of those things is snacking. But, we must remember that all "snacks" are not true "snacking" as when it is a part of a daily eating plan, it isn't a bad thing! If you plan your day so that you are eating 3 "meals" and 2 or 3 "snacks," then your snack is not what we are talking about. What we are struggling with is that dreaded snacking/munching/grazing that so many of us (postop or not!) fall into in those inactive hours before bedtime each evening. You crash on the couch to watch your favorite TV show or you snuggle up in a cozy chair to read a few pages of that book you're reading and as you sit there, you suddenly find that you are hungry. Now you are not usually truly "hungry" in the my-body-needs-nourishment sense of the word. It is more a struggle with head hunger and old habits... Many people (overweight, skinny, old, young, ANYONE) get in the habit of having something to munch on while doing these relaxed activities... We get out a box of cookies and pour a nice cold glass of milk while watching a movie. We munch on nuts or crackers (or both!) while reading that suspense story. It is easy to make a habit of these things. Then, when we are trying to lose weight, we have to deal with those habits and whether we are eating because we truly need food OR because we just want to... For some, it IS true hunger. Perhaps they need to build a healthy, solid snack into their eating plan to compensate for a long period of time between dinner and bedtime. For others, it is just that powerful head hunger that screams at you to GO get those crackers! GO get that glass of milk and cookies. It is what we do when we do this activity! You work so hard to change those habits and replace them with something healthy. And, for some folks that will be harder than others and they'll need to replace or change the activity itself and not just address the hunger issues. Maybe instead of sitting and watching TV, they plug a few minutes of cardio into their evening. Watch TV from the treadmill or the ab lounger instead of the couch! Go for a walk around the neighborhood instead of reading... You get the point here! GO and DO something instead of sitting there letting your brain tell you to eat! Otherwise, make sure you have some solid snack foods in the house to grab when these cravings hit! Carrot sticks and yogurt dip... Chopped up pieces of a protein bar (instead of those cookies!)... Soy crisps and bean dip instead of potato chips and ranch dip... Beef jerky, nuts, etc. There are healthy choices out there. You just have to plan to keep those items and make them readily available!

Carbs... That is another topic lately. We asked the group what carbs they eat. We did not mean to ask how many carbs they eat as in 50 grams per day or whatever. We meant what foods, specifically, do they allow themself where carbohydrates are concerned. In general, folks tell you things like veggies, fruits and beans. BUT, there are far too many of us who've let the OTHER carbs sneak back into our diet and, for some of us, it is even on a daily basis... What did you eat too much of before you began your journey to a healthy weight? Was it pasta? Were you a big bread eater? Did you have a deadly sweet tooth? Have these items found their way back into your postop life to the point of what you think of as "excess" of what they should be?

The biggest problem with carbs is that carbs beget carbs. The more carbs you eat, the more you crave them. And, don't forget that when the body processes the carbs into glycogen, it stores the glycogen in water. This means that for every 300 or so grams of carbs you eat and your body stores, you also gain 3 to 5 pounds of water weight... This is why you can see a very rapid weight loss of 3 to 5 pounds in just a day or two of carb-purging! Your body burns those glycogen stores and the water goes with it!

So, what is a "healthy" carb? The only good carb is a complex carb. For breads, tortillas, crackers and such, be sure to seek out the best whole-grain version you can find and look for low-carb options. Look for breads and tortillas with added fiber--the fiber carbs don't count! Same goes for pasta--find a good whole-wheat product such as the Barilla Plus pastas or Dreamfields... Both are available locally at Krogers stores and many other grocery chains.

If you must eat chips, go for things like soy crisps and protein enriched chips such as the protein chips from Kay's Naturals. And don't forget that 20% discount either! Kay's will give you 20% off all items ordered if you use the code minichallenge during checkout!

Veggies--there are better choices there too... Broccoli, squash, brussel sprouts, artichokes, asparagus, leeks, etc., are better choices than things like peas, corn and carrots. If you just can't live without your potatoes, consider sweet potatoes.

Fruits--The thing you've got to remember with fruits is that they are full of sugar. Yes, it is NATURAL sugar, but it is sugar just the same. Be very careful! Eat small portions till you know you can handle the particular fruit. I know that the first time I tried pineapple after my WLS, I dumped and I dumped HARD! But, now--2+ years later, I can eat them with no issues... Orange juice (even fresh squeezed) will send me over the dumping edge in a heartbeat, but I can eat a nice, large Navel orange or other piece of citrus fruit with no issues. Trial and error...

Beans, legumes, and nuts are other complex carb foods. They are healthy and usually full of fiber. They can be fatty foods too though, so some folks will dump from the fat content. This makes them another food to start carefully and watch for reactions.

The best advice I can give you on diet is to write it down. If you can't put your finger on where the problem may lie, the best tactic to take is to journal everything you put in your mouth for at least a week. You can be shocked to find out that you are eating a lot more (or less) than you thought. And don't forget that too little food can stall your weight loss just as quick and easy as too much food or the wrong kinds of food! If you are active and burning calories while not eating enough, your body will rebel and hold on to every little morsel you give it sometimes!

One habit at a time...

One habit at a time... That is the subject of the most recent newsletter from Calorie Count. They talk about working on keeping those New Year's resolutions and how tough it can be to stick it out for the whole year. The biggest point they make is that perhaps working on ALL of your resolutions at one time is not the best or most successful way to go about it. Perhaps you should work on changing ONE habit at a time. For example, if you resolved to lose weight and quit smoking, trying to do both at the same time (or at least trying to start both at the same time) will probably not work well. Whereas if you work on one for a while before attempting to start the other, you may have better luck in the end on accomplishing both.

If your goal is to exercise more often and lose more weight, perhaps work on building the better exercise habits before you begin to address your diet and food habits to address the weight loss goals. Get the exercise plan put firmly in place and THEN look more closely at your diet and eating habits. With the exercise system worked out, the results of adjustments to your diet will be seen much more quickly! And, you won't have reason to say "maybe if I were exercising more..." as that will already be taken care of! Then, you can focus more on the quality of your diet, journaling what you eat, and getting to the root of any dietary issues you need to address...

Lane Bryant Cheque--$50 off, free shipping on orders over $100

I will start sharing these here since so many folks never sign up for their coupon emails... Lane Bryant's most recent $50 gift cheque is up! CLICK HERE to go to their site and print one! It is good for $50 off of a $150 order, $25 off of a $75 order or $75 off of a $225 order.

They also have a special going on right now that gives you free shipping off of a $100 order. For that special, use promo code 006955823 during checkout!

Friday, January 9, 2009

One for the Girls... LOL

One for the girls

Now I lay me down to sleep I pray the Lord
my shape to keep.

Please no wrinkles, Please no bags

And please lift my butt before it sags.

Please no age spots, Please no gray

And as for my belly, Please take it away.

Please keep me healthy, Please keep me young,

And thank you Dear Lord, For all that you've done.

Five tips for a woman....
It is important that a man helps you around the house and has a job.
It is important that a man makes you laugh
It is important to find a man you can count on and doesn't lie to You.
It is important that a man loves you and spoils you.
It is important that these four men don't know each other!

Foot Note:
One saggy boob said to the other saggy boob:
'If we don't get some support soon, people will think we're nuts'

*Send this to five bright, funny women you know and make their day!!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

New Season of The Biggest Loser

Tuesday night, NBC aired the first show of the newest season of The Biggest Loser. This year's format is a bit different. They started out as couples--husband/wife, brothers, friends, etc. But, not only did they vote a couple off this week, but they also sent home half of all the other teams. Each team sent a member home and if the member who remained on campus is still there after 30 days, then that home-bound member gets to return. So, the folks who remained on campus are working their butts off (literally) in order to bring their partner back... Could be interesting!

I also read that one member of the brown team had RNY surgery but gained all his weight back.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Special from$10 off $75 order


From emailed special:

Save Ten dollars, get back on track!

The BE protein train leaves on January 5… do you have what you need for a protein decarb? Do you have what it takes? Let’s rock this program and lose weight together. Watch this week’s email for your FREE downloadable Food Journal.

Just go to our website (, add a minimum of $75 worth of product to your shopping bag , then use code BACKONTRACK (in the “Apply Coupon” block) to take TEN DOLLARS off your $75 order!

It’s Easy!

See you on the BE protein train!

Ten dollar discount valid with minimum $75 order. Offer ends Monday January 5, 2009 - Internet and phone orders only, not valid on prior purchases. To receive discount, you must enter coupon code during checkout.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Chike Nutrition special for Jan/Feb--Buy One/Get one at 50% off!

Just clicked over to the Chike site and saw that they have a New Year's special running! Buy one 3 lb container and get the second at 50% off! What a bargain!! Discount code is save50 to get the 50% off your second container. I've tried their chocolate and their vanilla and both were yummy! If you haven't tried their products yet, this would be a great time to do so. If you have and liked them, this would be a great time to stock up! Flavors available include: chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, banana, and orange cream!
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