Saturday, July 28, 2012

Universe....are you listening?

You guys it's been a hell of a week.  Sunday morning I boarded a plane to DC (National Harbor Maryland to be exact) for the annual Ceridian Insights conference.  I don't go every year.  The last time was in 2010 in Miami.  This conference is always a nice mix of fun and education and I was really looking forward to five days of not having to look around my house and think about everything that needs to be painted, pulled, killed, weeded, mowed, mulched, fixed or replaced.

My plan was to enjoy an afternoon by the pool before the welcome reception Sunday night.  Instead, I took a nap.  But I did make it to the reception.  They provide drink tickets, I think to make sure we show up.  This strategy works.

Monday afternoon I was in my third training session of the day and I got a text from my dear friend and house/dog sitter, Dee..."Your door is locked to get in the house from the garage.  Any ideas how to get in?".


Six years ago I was in North Carolina with the ex boyfriend for a wedding and we got a panicked call from the next door neighbors who were tending to the dogs.  I had only given them the code for the garage, as we don't typically lock the door between the house and garage.  Well the garage code thingy wasn't working.  I don't remember how they got in, but I think my ex husband came over and helped them break in.

After that I stashed a set of spare keys where they would never be found unless you knew where they were (not that difficult on an acre and a half).  These keys open the back man-door to the garage.  Surely this will prevent this from ever happening again....

Or not...

So the garage door was open, rendering the spare keys which open the back man door useless.  I don't even think I HAVE a key to the door between the house & garage and the spare keys opened only the deadbolt to the front door, not the knob.  I, of course, have keys to the front door.  But I'm, yaknow, 400 miles away, and The Boy has no keys..he's 17 and I'm lucky he hasn't lost the garage door opener which is in his car.  A key wouldn't last ten minutes.


As convenient as it would have been for the NRPD to come over and break in for me on the basis of "Trust me, I live there", they were understandably reluctant.  They did, however, agree to see what they could do if The Boy was there with his driver's license proving that this was indeed his primary residence.

When I called The Boy I asked him to go over, explained all of the details including the fact that Dee was able to open the deadbolt on the front door but not the knob and he said "Oh that's no problem, I can get that open"

I didn't ask.

A few minutes later I had a text from Dee stating that The Boy got the front door open. I replied "I'm a little curious as to how he knows how to do that".  Her response "So was the police officer"


Thankfully the rest of the conference went off without a hitch.   I saw monuments, I learned a ton of stuff, I made a new friend, I won $64 in one of those phone booth full of flying money things, I made $50 giving my opinion of Ceridian on video, I had some really good meals (too many, too good, unfortunately), I walked my ass off (not literally, again unfortunately).

The trip home was brutal.  Long story short I got to the airport at 12:45 and didn't get home until 10:45.  We boarded, we deplaned, we waited, we watched the weather, and after hearing that several flights to Chicago and one flight to Cleveland was cancelled due to a really big storm, we were told to board.

I was less than confident in our chances of making it to Cleveland alive.

It was supposed to be a 1 hour & 20 minute flight, it took nearly 3 hours.  We mostly went around the storm.  We could see sunshine and clear skies on the left of the plane and big black clouds on the right.  It was freaky and scary and rough.  The pilot said it was the worse weather he had ever flown in.

It was not fun.  I prayed a lot.

Then, after four nights of very little sleep, seven hours at the airport in a terminal with malfunctioning air conditioning on a 100 degree day, I arrived at home and climbed into bed at 11:30, knowing I had to work the next morning...and got on the phone to receive what I saw coming a mile away.  The old "It's not you, it's me" conversation.

I'm awesome, you see.  He's just not ready for a serious relationship.


It's the right call.  Totally.  It sounds like completely overused BS, and he may THINK he's handing me BS (I don't think so..but I'm also fairly naive).  But it's the truth.  We're in very different places.  I'm six years out of my marriage, and well over a year out of my last serious relationship (which was long dead before he left)...he's less than a year out of his marriage.  So if he's just letting me down easy, he's doing a good job of it.

And it really looks like we may even pull off the whole friends thing...we'll see.

So now what?  Back to kissing frogs or a break from the whole dating thing?  Kinda both.  I think I'm going to stay off the online dating thing for a bit.  It's exhausting.  You really have to kiss A LOT of frogs to find someone with even any minimal amount of prince potential.  I honestly don't know any other way to date but maybe if I'm just open to the universe throwing a great guy at me it will happen on its own.

Universe....are you listening?

Maybe he's already here.

Today's lunch...PB & J, the healthy way.  Whole wheat bread, organic peanut butter, strawberry all-fruit.  I have a lot of making up to do after last week's food-fest.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Pretty Darn Good Imitation of a Chipotle Chicken Salad

Confession time.  Since I finished The Ultimate Reset I haven't done as well as I had hoped.  I have a firm grip on a couple of victories, being complete abstinence from Diet Coke and caffeinated coffee, and these were two of my favorite vices.  I have done what I feel to be a pretty good job of staying away from artificial sweeteners, largely due to cutting out Diet Coke but also because I haven't been making my beloved iced coffee every morning.  I've continued to have fruit smoothies for breakfast and have been very good about sticking to Shakeology with almond milk and PB2 for lunch...on the days I'm at work.

What about when I'm not at work?  Um.....look!  A squirrel!!!

One of the dinners I indulged in over the weekend, telling myself it's ok because the vegetables are organic and the chicken is farmed locally, was a chicken salad from Chipotle.  I seriously love this salad.  Now the Chipotle chicken salad is what you make of it, because you tell them what to put on it, but I like mine with corn, mild salsa, sour cream and guac.  Yes for the love of GOD I know guac is an extra charge....still they ask me.  EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

And they give you a TON of guac & sour cream (which is, of course, a big part of what makes it awesome).

This salad runs around $8 I think, which is crazy in my book.

So on my way home today I was trying to figure out what I was going to make for dinner.  I had asked The Boy to thaw out a couple of chicken breasts, thinking I'd make chicken sandwiches, but that wasn't sounding so good.  I knew I had leftover corn from last night's dinner in the fridge.....wait....corn.....hmmm...

A quick stop for guac and I was in business.

I started with this stuff....I LOVE this lettuce.

I get it at Aldi and I don't know if it's because it's little baby leaves or if it's because it's still on the head but it seems to stay fresh longer than most.  If you look real close you can see that it was "best if used by" day before yesterday (I'm eating alone here, don't judge me) but it still looked really nice.

Standing at my counter, I tried to remember the line behind the counter at Chipotle....what do they ask me first?  BEANS!!!

In the back of the cupboard I found a can of Goya black beans left over from The Reset.  No, they don't have the same spices as the Chipotle ones but they have the same protein, so I added about 1/3 of the can (good thing I sleep alone).  I threw on some shredded cheddar (yes Chipotle uses...I don't know?  Mozzarella?  Some sort of white cheese but I had cheddar GET OFF MY BACK I'm hungry!!), some Tostitos mild salsa, squirted on some guac (far less than Chipotle but still plenty), threw on some corn, chopped onion and sliced tomato and....wait...where's the chicken???

SOMEBODY forgot to thaw out the chicken.  I was not pleased.

I am immune to the sad eyes.

So I dug out some cooked chicken I had in the freezer. It wasn't as good.

But here is where I took a leap of faith.  I keep hearing about plain greek yogurt.  I had some during The Reset with fresh fruit and honey, but I keep hearing about it as a substitute for sour cream.  Now I LOOOOOVEEE sour cream.  But alas I had none, and that was intentional.  I had greek yogurt.

Now let me tell you I REALLY don't like yogurt.  I will use it in smoothies, or I will eat it if it's mixed with a toxic amount of sweetener (artificial or natural, matters not) and fruit or, better yet, whipped full of air and made to taste like some sort of pie, but to just put a few spoonfuls on this salad? I was seriously risking ruining the salad...and not even being able to blame it on The Boy's chicken amnesia.  Ugh...ok fine.  But it better be good.

And that left one final ingredient....vinaigrette.  

Chipotle has this awesome's a little spicy (which I could do without) a little sweet (which I love) I commenced to Googlin' and found this website...and adapted the recipe for what I had in the house, making a smaller batch in case it was gross.

Sorta Kinda Chipotle Dressing
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/6 cup agave nectar
1 t dijon mustard
1/4 t salt
1/4 t paprika
1/8 t garlic powder
a couple slivers of fresh onion
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Mix all but the olive oil in the blender until mixed (because of the fresh onion I put it on high for about 20 seconds), then add the olive oil on low.  It said to refrigerate an hour...I put it on my salad right out of the blender and it was really good.

It called for chipotle powder but I didn't have any and I don't like spicy anyway, and I didn't have any limes or lime juice.

So picture it with good chicken.

I cut and stirred and mushed it all up like I always do at Chipotle and yaknow what?  It was a pretty darn good imitation of a Chipotle chicken salad if I do say so myself.  The vinaigrette was really nice, just sweet enough without the kick that I could do without anyway, and dang if the yogurt didn't taste just like sour cream once it was mixed in with the guac & dressing and salsa & corn & stuff.  I don't know if I'm ready to go using it on a baked potato, but for this is it worked really well.

Now if I could only come up with a pretty darn good imitation of a McDonald's frappe without the caffeine and THAT would be something!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Life After The Ultimate Reset

You guys I went to bed last night feeling awful.  And I woke up during the night feeling just as bad.  But I got up feeling fine and I was careful not to screw it up.  I had a nice kiwi/orange/pear/cherry smoothie for breakfast, no time for a morning snack, Shakeology with half almond milk & half water/ice for lunch, oatmeal with natural peanut butter for afternoon snack, and a nice salad with VERY little grilled chicken and homemade creamy garlic dressing for dinner, followed by veggies and hummus for an evening snack.

Because I can, not because I have to.

And I feel good.  I was pretty hungry between breakfast and lunch but other than that I was fine.  But I also didn't work out.  I know I would have been hungrier if I had.

I had a brief period on my way home from getting my hair cut where I could have totally pulled into McDonald's and ordered a milk shake, but it passed.  

I got my bloodwork this morning and they are supposed to mail me my results, so in then next week or two I should know how much my cholesterol dropped.  I'm very interested in that.  When I went to pick up my order they tried to push cholesterol meds on me again.  Not havin' it.

The next few days are going to be extremely challenging foodwise.  Tomorrow is one of the two days a week when I force the boy to dine with me.  I bought steak before I started feeling truly horrible yesterday.  I really think the ickiness was more from the sugar and/or the dairy but I will still go very light on my portion tomorrow and have a side of veggies.  No potato, no bread.  Then Wednesday night there is a work dinner at a very nice local seafood place, Thursday we're having italian food brought in for lunch and then Thursday night is another work dinner at a very nice steak place.  Oh yeah and then Friday I think my guy and I are going out to dinner. 

Thank goodness for smoothies and Shakeology.  

But I need to keep reminding myself of two things:

1) None of these meals will be my 'last chance for good food', as I often convince myself is the case and...

2) I am not paying for any of this, so I can avoid the "If I have to pay for it I'm getting something I REALLY like" trap.  

It is not an opportunity to pig out and eat food that will put weight on me and leave me feeling like crap.  Instead, it is an opportunity to have HEALTHY food without the prep and cleanup.  

Yeah, that's the ticket.

One thing I do know is that I am EXHAUSTED.  I don't know if it's from being up late then getting up early to go to the bloodletting, if it's from yesterday's poor food choices or if it's from this gosh darned sore throat that is creeping up on me for the THIRD DAMN TIME in as many months...but I am fixin' to hit the sack.

In the morning, I shall lift weights.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Ultimate Reset Wrap-Up - Did I Always Feel Like Poo?

So I'm done.  21 days of clean eating.  21 days without refined sugar, caffeine or alcohol.  21 days without red meat. 19 days without chicken or fish.  14 days without dairy.  I feel very accomplished.  I'm proud of myself for sticking with it.

I've lost 14 lbs, 2 1/2 inches off my waist and a combined 7 1/4 inches all over.  I've gained a clearer complexion, increased energy, better sleep, increased mental clarity, better focus.  I've gained an appreciation for kale, collard greens, jicama, cumin, toasted sesame oil and coconut milk.  I've learned that I can exist on fruit and vegetables without being hungry or feeling deprived.  I've broken my addiction to caffeine and sugar.  And folks I was addicted.  BAD.

Today I met my cousin for breakfast.  For my first post-reset meal I had decaf coffee (I still like coffee but I have no desire to become addicted to caffeine again), a veggie & cheese omelet and I asked to replace my toast or biscuit choice with a potato pancake.  This place has AMAZING potato pancakes.  

I expected the omelet to either be out of this world amazing or repulsive.  It was neither.  It was good.  

I expected to feel crappy after eating it.  I did not.

So about an hour later, on my way out to visit my guy, I stopped & got a frappe.  I'm not gonna lie.  It made me a little queasy.

For an early dinner I got a steak salad from Panera.  And a flower cookie.  And I got A LOT queasy.

It was too much too soon.  But the thing is this would have been a very typical Sunday of eating for me a month ago.  Hell back in the day (a year ago) that veggie omelet would have been fried eggs and french toast and the steak salad would have been a big mac.  And I would have felt ....  well I was going to say I would have felt fine...but it would be more accurate to say I would have felt normal.

Tonight, even with a good six hours between me and any refined sugar, caffeine or red meat, even after a Shakeology to try to equalize things, I don't mind saying I feel like poo.  

Did I always feel like poo & didn't know it?

So the plan....fruit for breakfast.  I like it.  That's another thing I've gained from this.  I've dispelled the myth that I couldn't feel satisfied with fruit or that I would be hungry an hour later.  And it makes me I'm doing something good for myself.  I may add a little yogurt but it will be mostly fruit.

Shakeology for lunch.  I'm taking my shiny new (yet ugly green) Ninja to work and will have Shakeology with half water and half almond milk for lunch.  I will be able to accomplish things other than eating (like...yaknow...blogging, over lunch, what a concept) at lunchtime and won't have to be bothered with packing lunches.

I will go back to snacking.  I miss my afternoon oatmeal.  And I do get hungry in the afternoon.  If I feel like I need a morning snack it will be veggies and hummus.  Healthy snacks.  But that's never been a problem.  Daytime eating has never been a problem.

I will not pick up my two diet coke a day (at least) habit.  I have no desire.  I don't miss it, and I don't crave it.  I can't say I am going to completely stay away from artificial sweeteners, but they will not be a daily staple of my diet.  

And I will not start up my daily iced coffee habit again.  I missed it BAD when I started, but even with decaf coffee it's basically a big cup of chemicals and skim milk.  MAYBE, if I can find a way to make it without so many chemicals, I may have it as an occasional treat.  But I dumped my sugar free pudding mix (the secret ingredient) down the drain and will not buy more.

So that brings me to dinner.  I'm going to shoot for meat no more than three times a week.  That includes red meat, poultry and fish.  You guys for me this is HUGE.  I have always included some animal protein source with lunch and dinner.  But The Reset has shown me that I don't need it.  I like it, but I can't say I've really craved or missed it. I will absolutely incorporate some of the Reset recipes, but I hope to collect some more.  I've started perusing vegetarian and vegan websites.  

And if I snack in the evenings, it will be along the lines of what I snacked on during The Reset.  Jicama, baby carrots & hummus, an apple & peanut butter.

This will be more calories overall than I've had on The Reset, but having lost 14 lbs over 3 weeks is not a pace it would be wise to keep.  It's great for a cleanse and a jump start but to be honest I felt kind of weak yesterday working in the yard.  Yes the 97 degree heat had something to do with it but I think part of it was just too few calories.  They tell you not to exercise on The Reset for a reason.  

So I'm going to be working out.  I'm going to start Les Mills Pump again'm thinking Tuesday.  Tomorrow morning I have to go for bloodwork before work (to find out how much my cholesterol dropped) and I have a hair appointment in the evening (priorities people) so Tuesday morning I shall pump iron and earn those snacks and the occasional steak or chicken breast.

But now, I'm going to bed.  Because frankly, I still feel like poo.

To order The Ultimate Reset or any other Beachbody product, go HERE.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Ultimate Reset - Day 17...and 16, and umm..15 and....

Ok yeah I haven't blogged in a few days.  I've been super crazy busy but I haven't wavered in my resolve to see this through.  And trust me when I tell you that there were times when nothing would  have tasted better than a glass of wine instead of water, nothing would have felt better than to sit down and eat something someone else prepared, or something I just peeled open and nuked.  Heck just today, in the midst of a monsoon (well Ohio's version of one) everyone in the office decided to order pizza.  From my favorite pizza place.  But I ate my reset lunch.  So there.

Kicking this reset's ass, that's what I'm doing!

So backing up.  Some of what I've eaten the last few days, leaving out stuff I've already shown you..yaknow, fruit for breakfast every day, a few microgreen salads, they're delicious but you've seen all that so I haven't been taking pictures of everything anymore.

Day 14 I repeated day 13's dinner...because it was THAT good.  But I put the sauce on the squash after I cooked it, which was even better.

Acorn squash with garlic tahini filling.  This filling is amazing.  To think I almost didn't buy tahini because it's kind of pricey.  SO glad I did.

Tahini is our friend.  

Day 15 was weigh-in day.  Progress after two full weeks...ten pounds down!  Those are some amazing results for not working out at all and not starving myself.  At the end I'll measure, which should be very interesting.

Day 15's lunch was really good.  Asian cabbage salad & miso soup.

I felt like I should have been using chopsticks.

Dinner, by comparison, was fairly domestic.  Well mostly. Baked sweet potato, garlic veggies and quinoa.

Who knew sweet potato is good without 
a ton of brown sugar and marshmallows? 

Day 16 I made a try to be open-minded here

If you look closely you will see a kiwi.  With the skin on.  Yes, I was a little grossed out at first too but according to this article kiwi skin is not only edible but downright good for you.  This doesn't mean I'm about to just bite into one without peeling it, but mixed in with nectarines and some frozen cherries, it didn't taste fuzzy at all.

Yesterday's dinner, I'm not gonna lie, wasn't my favorite.  Curried cauliflower, lemon pepper kale and brown rice.  I went very easy on the curry because I had never had it before and it left the cauliflower a bit on the bland side.  But I went a little overboard on the lemon juice on the kale.  The rice was, well, it was rice.  Not awful by any means, and I ate it all, but just not the WOW dinner I've become used to.

And that brings us to today.  Whew.  All caught up

Breakfast was cherries, grapes and blueberries.  I really like this breakfast.  Really easy to eat on the run.  I didn't take a picture.

Lunch...I'll be honest I was not at all excited about this lunch. But oh my gosh it was awesome.  Super flavorful.  The combination of spices made the carrots more flavorful and satisfying than I could have ever imagined.  Will DEFINITELY make this again.

Moroccan carrot salad.  

Now one might think I would have learned a lesson with that one...the lesson being that even if a dish doesn't seem especially appealing, I should try it anyway because it might be amazing.

Yes one might think that, but one would be wrong.

Dinner tonight was supposed to be roasted squash, green beans with lemon and toasted millet.  All perfectly respectable dishes and probably quite easy since there are no sauces and very few spices, but I don't have to work tomorrow (ok..I don't have to GO TO THE OFFICE tomorrow) so I don't have to pack my lunch tonight, I have vowed to not work tonight, I had time to cook something a little more involved and felt like a little more flavor than roasted squash.  So I flipped ahead in the book and found THIS!!

Mediterranean Roasted Beets, 
Baked Tempeh, Coconut Collard Greens.

The coconut collard greens are by far my favorite reset recipe, and baked tempeh is probably my second favorite.  And the beets...they're pretty darn good, especially considering that I used to think I HATED beets.  One of the cool things about this program is that you can swap out any meal for the same meal within the same week.  So any dinner in week 3 can be swapped out for any other dinner in week 3.  So if there's something you're allergic to, something you can't find in the store, or something you absolutely, positively can't stomach even trying, you're covered.  

Crap, that reminds me, I still need to go find a goshdarned fennel bulb.


So that's what I've been eating.

I have started exercising a little bit.  First, in hopes of nudging my weight loss numbers a little higher for the third week, but also so it won't be a complete shock to my body when I start lifting weights again next week.  So I've been walking a little and doing a little yoga.  And it feels good to get moving.  Physically, I feel really good.  Light.  Smaller.  My stomach definitely seems smaller and my pants are big.

My skin is still pretty clear, and I'm hoping that trend continues.  Some people have reported rashes and breakouts in weeks 2 and 3 as the body gets rid of the toxins but I haven't experienced that, knock formica.

Mentally is where the big change has taken place in the past few days.  I'm clearer and far more focused.  At work I've been more productive than I've been in months, which is saying something because...not to toot my own horn but...I typically get a buttload done.  But I feel like I'm knocking projects off the list with increased speed and focus.  I'm not easily distracted.

Hey look, a chicken.

Tomorrow is 4th of July and I shall neither host nor attend a cookout.  I'm going to a baseball game in the evening with my guy and his kids and I will have neither peanuts nor crackerjack.  I will take water with me.  I will behave.

I see a light at the end of the tunnel.  It's the orange glow of a charcoal grill.  And there is a steak on it.  A small one.  Organic, grass fed beef.  With a side salad topped with homemade creamy garlic dressing.

And there is a glass of wine.

Monday, July 2, 2012


I'm still here.  Still doing the reset.  Still on track.  Just have NO FREEPING TIME.