Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A whole month without nada....

not one drop, tipple, pint, shot, shooter - nothing.  I have stayed booze less for the entire month of March.  I am sure my liver feels better.  I know my joints do.  His Lordship wanted to know if he should leave time in the schedule tomorrow so he can take me to a bar to get hammered!  But since I am still in the zone, I will have to pass on that.  A 4oz pour a red wine with 1 oz of cheese is all I am allowed unless I want to drink all my carbs - that does not sound to appealing to me!


Recently I found myself in possession of a beautiful bunch of local Austin beets. I love that they were grown in a local garden with all the good local dirt.

Beets are a super detox food. It must be all that red "dye" they contain. But they also come in yellow varieties that aren't quite as heavy. And it's not just the bulb, but the leaves, too. In fact, native peoples started by eating the leaves not the bulbs. So you see the entire plant is just lovely. Dr. Mercola published a special post just on beets. Here's what he says:

1. Lower Your Blood Pressure
Drinking beet juice may help to lower blood pressure in a matter of hours. One study found that drinking one glass of beet juice lowered systolic blood pressure by an average of 4-5 points.3
The benefit likely comes from the naturally occurring nitrates in beets, which are converted into nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide, in turn, helps to relax and dilate your blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure.
2. Boost Your Stamina
If you need a boost to make it through your next workout, beet juice may again prove valuable. Those who drank beet juice prior to exercise were able to exercise for up to 16 percent longer.4 The benefit is thought to also be related to nitrates turning into nitric oxide, which may reduce the oxygen cost of low-intensity exercise as well as enhance tolerance to high-intensity exercise.
3. Fight Inflammation
Beets are a unique source of betaine, a nutrient that helps protects cells, proteins, and enzymes from environmental stress. It's also known to help fight inflammation, protect internal organs, improve vascular risk factors, enhance performance, and likely help prevent numerous chronic diseases.5 As reported by the World's Healthiest Foods:6
"[Betaine's]… presence in our diet has been associated with lower levels of several inflammatory markers, including C reactive protein, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor alpha. As a group, the anti-inflammatory molecules found in beets may eventually be shown to provide cardiovascular benefits in large-scale human studies, as well as anti-inflammatory benefits for other body systems."
4. Anti-Cancer Properties
The powerful phytonutrients that give beets their deep crimson color may help to ward off cancer. Research has shown that beetroot extract reduced multi-organ tumor formations in various animal models when administered in drinking water, for instance, while beetroot extract is also being studied for use in treating human pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancers.7
5. Rich in Valuable Nutrients and Fiber
Beets are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas). Beets also contain the B vitamin folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects.
6. Detoxification Support
The betalin pigments in beets support your body's Phase 2 detoxification process, which is when broken down toxins are bound to other molecules so they can be excreted from your body. Traditionally, beets are valued for their support in detoxification and helping to purify your blood and your liver.
Read the entire article here: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/01/25/beets-health-benefits.aspx

And the result is an easy beet salad. They're especially good with some feta cheese and lemon juice. If using greens do grate some fresh beets on the salad too!


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Spicy Shrimp Noodle Soup

This is a recipe I got out of cooking light magazine a few years ago.  It is a yummy light soup that is low in calories and huge in flavors.  Neale and I both love this with a salad.

Spicy Shrimp Noodle Soup


4 cups unsalted beef broth (I use my homemade broth but store brought works too).
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 tbsp. sambal oelek (chili sauce)
1 teas. fish sauce
1 teas. soy sauce
2 cinnamon sticks
1 8oz clam juice
 1 tbsp. minced ginger
1 star anise
 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 cups fresh shitake mushrooms
 4 ounces noodles - we use buckwheat but you can use rice or soba - any oriental noodle
1/2 bean sprouts - I like fresh but had to settle for canned this time
1/2 cup diagonally cut green onions
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
12 small fresh basil leaves
The juice of 1 lime

Combine first 10 ingredients in a large saucepan (through the star anise). Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add mushrooms and simmer another 5. 

Add noodles and boil in the soup until soft.  Add shrimp, green onion, and bean sprouts, cook about 30 seconds and turn off heat. Discard the anise and the cinnamon sticks.  Add the cilantro, basil, and lime juice.  Serve.

 So since I am in the zone and cannot eat the noodles, I opted to add bok choy and wakame sea vegetables for carbs.  I added the those when I added the noodles to his Lordships. Mine looked like this:

Monday, March 23, 2015

Good Monday Morning...

Hello - hope you had a good weekend! Are you still booze less? Well, if not, climb back on that wagon.  Don't let one tipple ruin a perfectly good month of no drinking.

I had a lovely meal with friends Sat. and came out of the zone.  It was worth it because there was homemade mushroom shallot ravioli involved.  Plus for dessert, there were chocolate soufflĂ©s'.
But, as Barry Sears, said, you are only as good as your last and next zone meal.  So Sunday morning it was right back on the zone with no ill effects.

Monday morning weigh in has me at 128 lbs. after 3 weeks in the zone.  That 6 1/2 pounds lighter and the muffin top is now a mini muffin top.  My reward at the end of March will be a new bathing suit so the hubby and I can go to the hot springs.  Still not confident enough in the body to go to the clothing optional hot springs though! That's a joke - I wouldn't go anyway.  Plus, his Lordship wouldn't be caught dead there.

So hope everything is going well.  Making some Jeanne inspired bone broth in the slow cooker for Thai shrimp soup Wednesday night.  Got to go do some Kripalu yoga.  Bye!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Hanging in the zone...

So I am pretty pumped about living in the zone and I wanted to share - plus Terri asked of a little more detail on how it works.  So here it is in a nutshell:

3 meals a day and 2 snacks a day
Each meal contains 21 grams of protein, 27 grams of carbs and 9 grams of fat
Each snack contains 7 grams of protein, 9 grams of carbs and 3 grams of fat

If you want large meals - you eat lean meat, low fat dairy and veggies with a limited amount of fruit.  If you want tiny meals, you can eat anything you want - you just won't get a lot of it.

I avoid grains, bread, rice, pasta etc. because with only 27 grams of carbs, you only get a tiny serving and it uses all your carbs so you can't have any veggies and fruits.

I am usually over on the fat about 3 to 6 grams as it is impossible to make most meals taste decent with less - stick however, with monosaturated fats that contain omega 3s - olive oil, avocado oil, nuts, seeds, avacados.

The two types of grain you can have, in limited quantities are barley and steel cut oats.

Here are some websites with more information:


Why I am so pumped is that in two weeks, all the inflammation I have been living with for 2 years is gone. My elbows, knees and hips do not ache any more.  I climbed part of the Barr Trail today (3 1/2 miles up the mountain) and my knees felt great.  I must be doing some right. I am sleeping better and have tons of energy for exercise.  Plus, I fart less and am losing weight.  I don't know if I am ever coming out of the zone.

I got these out of the library - they will give you all you need to get into the zone

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Thoughts on Thursday Morning

I went for run #3 last night after work but before dinner.  It hurt (of course) but felt better than run #1, so that's progress.  The best thing about this run was passing a work colleague, an older woman (maybe early 60's) also out running.  It's been a long time since our paths last crossed.  She looked so fit and energenic in her running togs.  She told me she started running when she was 56 and has finished 4 marathons and numerous shorter runs.  She told me to keep at it, it would get better and the benefits were numerous.  So with that additional inspiration, I went on my way. 

Anyway, got on the scale this morning.  No weight has been lost at all - in fact, it was higher (scale must be broken).  HOWEVER, clothes are looser, I have a lot more energy and am actually sleeping a bit.

I think a big part of this is getting out at lunch and walking the dog.  Andy has been working this week (yes, Lady M, you read that correctly) and the pup needs a walk at lunch.  So instead of sleeping at my desk, I run home and take him on a quick walk.  It's easy to get to 10,000 steps when this is part of the routine. 

So, back to my thoughts this morning.  My joints are achy these days, especially the knees.  But they hurt much worse when I don't workout at all.  In January (no workouts), it was hard to get out of bed in the morning, the joints were so stiff.  Bottom line - I think it hurts worse to rust out than to keep moving.  So I plan to keep moving.

Have a great day, Sistas!!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Monday morning weigh in.....

Drum roll please.....after one week in the zone, my weight is:

130 and 1/4! Yes - I can actually fit in my jeans!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Lamb Wraps

Here is a recipe for Jackie - oh so yummy and will keep you in the zone.
Ground Lamb Wraps
1 medium onion, chopped fine
4 clove of garlic pressed or minced
1 lb. ground lamb
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 diced cucumber
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lemon
Head of butter lettuce
Salt and Pepper
Small container Greek yogurt
minced onion
minced cucumber
finely chopped mint
small clove garlic through a press
salt and pepper
Separate the Boston lettuce into leaves and wash and dry. Mix the Tzatziki together. SautĂ© the onion and lamb in a pan until the lamb no longer pink - discard the excess fat. Add peas, salt and pepper and cook 2-3 minutes.  Add cucumbers, all the herbs and lemon juice.  Cook another 2-3 minutes. 

Put some Tzatziki on a lettuce leaf, add a spoonful of lamb, roll up and eat.  We had this with a big salad on the side - with lots of yummy toppers. I allowed myself 3 of these (about 3 oz. of meat) but since you had that run this morning you might be able to have 4 oz.!

I just hope I can walk tomorrow....

The weather is decent this morning.  Finally time to stop procrastinating and get out on the road for a run.  Do I take the dog or no??  Decided not to, he can be very distracting and likes to stop short on you - could be dangerous.  So I laced up the shoes and off I went to the sound of Dan the Man barking madly from the house.

This goal of mine is inspired by Ms. Lynne Hahn.  We're friends on FB.  She is my age (ok, 6 months younger) but she looks 10 years younger.  She's a runner and recently bumped up her running.  She's doing an event each month this year - long events like half marathons and running relays.  She will sometimes post pictures and videos from her events online.  She's always got a big smile on her face and a great attitude.  It makes me want to get the hell out of my chair and join her - so here I go.

So the run - well, it hurt like hell.  My breathing was fine and the basement workouts are paying off.  But my old nemesis - the shins - returned immediately.  Let's not leave out the hips who made their displeasure felt at this new activity.  But the mindset was good - I CAN DO THIS.  And if the mind is determined, the body will usually follow.  I ran for a mile with only one stop at the half.  Pretty good for me.  The plan is to run one mile every other day for 2 weeks and then bump it up to 2, then 3 to be ready to go by April.

But I don't plan to stop there.  Disney Half Marathon in 2 years...who's going with me?  (Haha, bold words from a woman who seriously only has a 50/50 chance of being a able to walk tomorrow!)

Friday, March 6, 2015

My new favorite kitchen tool

We have a kitchen shop going out of business in Manitou.  As the bargain hunters we are, Neale and I stopped by to see if there was anything we needed.  I was thrilled to find one of these.  I have seen Peggy K. and Nirmala use these on their cooking shows and was hoping to get one.  It is an incredibly handy tool to pick up all those little bits that I chop on my cutting board.  It can also separate the bits.  It is much easier than pick them up with than with a knife or my fingers and I drop a whole lot less on the floor.

Who wants one as a gift???

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Good Evening,
I wanted to share this good webinar series... The Healthy Gut Summit. This is a worthwhile presentation, good general health info! xoxo


Bone Broth and Cabbage Soup

Hello Sistas, 
One of my new culinary techniques is to make a bone broth. This week I used a prime rib bone, garlic and shallot to make a salty, yummy, nourishing beef broth. It's chilly and wet this week, and it tasted so good. Low cal too. Then, I decided to add 1/2 head of cabbage for a super low-cal soup. I'm guessing it's no more than 100 calories for a large bowl. 

I'm very admiring of both of your exercise programs. I'm a lump, but you've inspired me to work out for the past 3 days. Yay!

Alan Sugar's Little Fork Diet

I remember seeing this on Graham Norton ages ago and thought I would try it.  Since Monday, I have been eating all my meals with a little fork.  It helps to slow me down so I get full and don't finish my meal wishing I had more to eat.  Here is a picture of my little fork compared to a regular fork.
Here is my zone diet plan for March 6th.  Jackie, you should try my eggs for breakfast this weekend.  They are absolutely delicious.

Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs
1/4 large avocado
Health drink

1 apple
1 turkey meatball
A few walnuts

Big salad with 3 oz  baked pesto chicken topper

Tomatillo chicken
Big Salad

1 square of chocolate with 1/2 teas. peanut butter
1 oz monksfish

Water, water, water, water, and herbal tea

Let me know if you need that egg recipe!!!!!! It's the bomb.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Up early to exercise

So this research study fascinates me.  It basically says that if one exercises before one eats, the body burns more calories.  So this morning at 4 am when I was having my typical brush with insomnia, I thought "lets get up and try it".  So I did weights, pilates, a little stretching - hope it helps.  I do not think it would be wise to go hiking before breakfast here - there are mountain lions you know.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Zone day 2

So I have almost made it through day two but the witching hour is upon me - that time around 6 pm when I want a beer with my hubby.  Stay strong - mantra - no booze, no booze, no booze.  Time for some herbal relaxation tea.

So the diet today was/is

1 egg and 1 egg white omelet with a topper of 4 shrimp, bell peppers, a shitake mushroom, fresh basil, fresh oregano, garlic and red onion

16 oz. health drink - cherries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, 1/8 mango, 2 inches of banana, fresh turmeric, 1 brazil nut, 1/4 scoop of hemps seeds, 1 cup of raw spinach and water

3 turkey meatballs with mushrooms leftover from dinner
1 cup homemade chicken/purple barley/veggie soup

Apple with 1/2 oz. of cheese
1/2 oz. of beef jerky

Ancho chili rubbed flank steak - 3 oz.
1/2 c fresh garden peas - boiled
1/2 c cooked crimini and shitake mushrooms
Spinach salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions with tbsp. homemade dressing

2 squares girdelli 70% chocolate with 1 tsp. peanut butter

Exercise was a bit of a let down as I intended to ride Casper but the arena footing is still trashed due to all this snow and ice.  Did 30 minutes of yoga, 15 minutes of weights, 20 minutes of pilates but whimped on my hike due to more snow (which is falling as I type this).

This has to be the most boring post - sorry.  It helps to write it down.  It keeps me honest. Thank you for putting up with me.  How is your diet going today?
Poor Casper is the most neglected pony ever.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Jackie's new Workout

Amy Dixon/Paul Katami  - Double Down

Ok, Lady M - Here's a review of my new workout.  A little history - about a year ago, I stumbled onto Amy Dixon and her Breathless Body workouts.  I really enjoyed #1 but #2 left me cold so I never ordered 3.  Anyway, I was a bit hesitant to order this, although it got some great reviews.  I’ve done it several times now and here’s my assessment.

Instructors – I like Amy Dixon from her BB #1 and she is the same here.  Motivational without being cheesy, easy to listen to, easy to look at.  Paul Katami is the same, if anything he is more comfortable than Amy in this one.  So that’s a huge plus for me – instructors I can deal with over and over and over again.  And there are no annoying, distracting extras in the background. 

Routine – This is an interesting routine and it goes fast – one strength for 2 minutes and one cardio for two minutes with small breaks in between, repeated 8 times.  During each strength and cardio set, the exercise gets progressively harder (that's where the double down comes in). And it does get pretty hard, but not impossible.  The key is that you are going by the clock, not the number of reps.  If the exercise is challenging for you, modify it, slow it way down or go back to the previous exercise.  If you can only do a few reps, that’s ok – just do your best.  I like that.

Movements – These are designed to get you moving again, very important for us over 50’s, returning mobility to the body.  You just don’t realize how stiff you are getting until you try to do a Burpie – go on, Lady M, try it right now.  But unlike other workouts designed by youngsters for youngsters, I can get through this one without hurting myself.  The combo of strength moves and cardio is just right for me.  I finished this one exhausted but exhilarated, always a good thing.

I've been doing this workout and BB#1 3-4 times a week plus the exercise bike to get myself ready to run as soon as it warms up a bit.  The goal is to run a 5k at the end of April (wow, that's coming up fast ).  I’ve walked 5ks and half run a few but I’ve always wanted to make it through running strong the whole way.  I figure if I can make it through this workout, I can run 3 miles.  We shall see....

1st day in the zone

Step 1 - Weigh myself
Hmmm - how many ounces can I lose if I take of my pjs, and evacuate my orifices?  The answer is not much.  So starting weight this AM is 134 lbs - that's the baseline.

Step 2 - Come up with a zone breakfast
I didn't plan well for breakfast and lunch - just for dinner.  So I have come up with 16 oz of health drink with about 15 carbs and 4 fats and a concoction of tuna, hardboiled eggs, hummus, celery, bell pepper and green onion for 21 protein, 15 carbs and 5 more fats. Drink water

Step 3 -
Exercise -  Do some yoga. Drink water

Step 4 - Get out of this house and away from the kitchen until lunch when I can have some shrimp lettuce wraps and another health drink and drink water

Step 5 - Go take a hike and away from the kitchen again until dinner whereupon I will make Turkey meatballs with mushrooms and spinach over spaghetti squash.  Drink water

Ok that is the plan for the day - wish me luck


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Big changes in March

So despite my best efforts of the last two months, I have not lost a pound.  I am working out a lot and hard, really pushing my limits.  But my body seems complacent to stay the heaviest it has ever been in my life outside of pregnancy.  I cannot seem to shake this stability.

So March brings THE DIET!  Yes I must force my fat cell into submission.  They can no longer hang around on my love handles - they must be burned for fuel.
The plumbishness must go

So I have chosen my old standby "The Zone" by Barry Sears.  This is a diet whereupon one balances the carbs, fats and proteins to keep the blood sugar from spiking and no it is not just about eating bacon not bread.  It is a piece of lean meat and lots and lots of lower carb veggies.

I have reserved three books from the library to help in this diet quest and will begin tomorrow.  My goal is not too lofty - just 10 pounds.  My love handles and belly.  But the biggest kick is no booze - this brings me to my next goal "THE BOOZE FREE MONTH".

Yes unfortunately research shows that giving booze up for a whole month has amazing health benefits. It lowers all the stress factors associated with the liver etc.  So wish me luck - this is gonna be way harder than the diet!