April's CR Diary

A diary of a 30 year old woman following CRON, or Caloric Restriction with Optimal Nutrition, for health and life extension.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Wednesday, June 30 -- 800 today?

No, I'm not turning 800! I'm thinking of trying to hit 800 calories for the next three days. I've been thinking about it ever since I read that Liza May eats 800/day. I don't want to do it for too long if it makes my weight crash... there's a lot of discussion in Walford's book about how too fast weight loss actually is a negative for lifespan because it releases fat stored pesticides and toxins into your bloodstream faster than you can detox them. But I want to see what 800 feels like. So I'll give it a try!

11 am -- just ate my 11 am hard boiled egg. That's about 100 calories... they're big eggs. 700 to go!

Just back from lunch... the 800 cal thing is going fine so far. Lunch was my delicious Breakstone cottage cheese pack, full fat, 110 calories, with a salad made up of about 1 cup lettuce (10 cals) topped with fat free dressing (20 cals) and a side of broccoli (about 50 cals at most). I drank water with lunch, then my co-worker and I went for iced coffee, which I drink black, no sugar. Now it's time for some more water... very hot outside today (though of course my office is over air-conditioned. At about 290 calories right now. No problem... got my fat free yougurt in the fridge and some delicous Jersey blueberries to snack on later in the afternoon.

I think my friends really appreciate that I'm not longer chatting them up about CR and food choices. Now that I have my blog, I can devote my chatting time to topics like the war in Iraq and other things over which I have no control.

Afternoon snack... time for Stoneyfield Farm organic yougurt with fresh Jersey blueberries! You know you want some even as you are reading this. Yum yum yum! 80 calories per cup of fresh blueberries, so I measured out a cup. 130 for the yougurt. A great source of antioxidents, and very filling and satisfying. 500 even for the day so far! I've still got 300 left! I think I can do this.

4:30 and I'm a little hungry. Just made plans to pick up salad veggies and make a big salad to have for dinner with my mom, who has just returned from a long trip. As a Weight Watcher, she's very friendly to healthy meals. I'll stop by the store on my way home (I get to leave early tonight... well, after only eight hours of work like a normal person as opposed to the more customary 12.) Of course, I still have work to do at home after dinner, but I won't bore you with the details. Suffice it to say that I will have dinner at home tonight, something that almost never happens.

June 29th, dinner -- adventure at the Mexican place

Okay, so for today I will keep all my food and comments in the same entry. But I thought last night should have its own since it was so typical of what happens on CR when you go out to eat, or to anyone on anything but the SAD (Standard American Diet.)

So my friend and I went to this delicious Mexican place near my work that usually offers lots of healthy salads and fish dishes. I was planning to eat the salmon salad (yes, I eat fish now, mostly after following the posts of people like Michael Rae who advocate for a diet higher in fat and protein, Zone-ish. I can't bring myself to eat meat, and even getting the fish down is a challenge because it reminds me so much of what I feed my cats. But I try.) So I had already planned what to get, and figured I could take some of the huge salmon piece they serve home to my cats if I didn't want to eat it all. We got there and decided to eat on the patio, which is gorgeous this time of year, and according to city ordinance, you have to order entrees if you're on the patio. I thought this would be no problem because the salmon salad has been a special on the menu for weeks,and I've ordered it at lunch. Sure enough, it is only a lunch special. And no, I could not order a salad with grilled shrimp or anything of the sort because they did not count as entrees! So I scanned the menu, decided to order the grilled salmon "catch of the day", which came with rice that I did not eat and sauteed veggies that I picked at. I ate about 2/3 of a piece of fish that I'd guess was about 6 - 7 ounces, so I'm counting it at around 300 calories. I took the rest home to some happy kitties! No wonder I think fish is cat food... they love it! I drank a glass of chardonnay, another 100 calories-ish there, but I still managed to stay under 1100 for the day, and I felt good. My friend, whom I hadn't seen in months, was intrigued by the CR idea and was very supportive, even when I was in intense negotiations with the waitress about what to eat.

If anyone knows of a good online calorie counter, let me know. I've been using the one on myfoodbuddy.com, and it gave me the 150 for 3 oz of salmon that I used to calculate my dinner. But I'm not sure I trust it.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

marinated veggies -- add 200

afternoon snack:

steamed broccoli, chopped red pepper and chopped tomatoes fresh from the farmers' market, marinated in white balsamic vinegar and cabernet vinegar. a few little green olives thrown in. a little vague on the calorie count on this but I'll give it a 200. Total so far: 590. Gotta be careful at dinner.

Just read that Michael Rae eats 1100 a day, and Liza May eats 800. I am so going to get my calorie count down, once my weight stabilizes.

Lunch -- Tuesday, June 29 -- toasted walnut recipe

Wow, this is a great way to talk about my CR without having to bore my friends to tears.

Lunch: outside on the cafeteria terrace with co-workers. We have a great office cafeteria where they don't mind if you bring food from home, so the bringers can eat with the buyers. My office eats together most every day. I have a wonderful system figured out. I bring veggies to top my salad, then I buy just lettuce from the cafeteria salad bar, so that I spend less than $1 on the overpriced salad bar but I still get fresh, crisp lettuce. Today I just ate my lettuce (not much, about 10 calories) with some fat free Italian dressing (20 cals), then I ate my cottage cheese package (110 cals) with salt and pepper, and a fruit salad with a slice of honey dew, some purple grapes, and a slice of watermelon. I would guess that the fruit salad was about 150 cals since it was very small and mostly water. I drank water with lunch. I often drink my TAB at lunch, but since I had one this morning, I wasn't craving the Totally Artificial Beverage. Since I didn't eat my marinated veggie mix, I have that for later.

My co-workers are all used to my eating habits and are generally supportive. It helps that I'm mostly working with men right now. Oddly enough, I find men much more accepting of CR than women. Women tend to act like eating less means you're sick. I think they also get mad when they see someone else exercising more self-discipline. My one female co-worker has great eating habits and is beautiful and thin so she is not freaked out at all by my healthy eating. Today, the printer we use to print our literature stopped by and brought a giant box of sugary muffins... Boston Creme and such. My female colleague said to me, "I imagine that to someone on CR, those look like tree bark would look to an average person. Not part of your food universe."

I'm lucky that I'm not tempted by sweets. My mother was into Weight Watchers as I was growing up, so we never had junk in the house. I've never seen her eat cake... she says "It just doesn't speak to me." I have seen her chat with key lime pie, but always in moderation! For her birthday this year, I made her a "cake" of my fresh basil and toasted walnut pesto. It is one of my favorite recipes. If you have a food processor, try it yourself:
a bunch of two of fresh basil, washed
two or three cloves of garlic
the fresh juice of one lemon
extra virgin olive oil
walnuts, toasted (you can do this in the oven but I toast them in the wok)
salt to taste

blend these in the food processor until you like the texture... I like mine creamy. Vary the proportions of the ingredients as you like. I never measure these things. It's amazing served on bread, crackers, pasta... these days, I love it on cut up veggies. If you want to be fancy for a party, toast some thinly sliced French bread rounds, smear on the pesto, and top with a pitted kalamata olive or a grape tomato. Serve on a pretty tray for a fancy looking snack!
You can also use a can of artichoke hearts, packed in water, for a totally different but amazing spread. I discovered this one time when I could not find basil anywhere in Greensboro, NC.

Okay, enough for now. Back to work. Calories so far today:

egg - 100
cottage cheese -- 110
fruit salad -- 150
lettuce with fat free dressing -- 30

total so far: 390

See, CR is easy! I'm saving up for tonight, when I'm meeting a friend for dinner. I will definitely be having a glass of wine, and probably a substantial salad of some kind.


Ate a nice hard boiled egg. Adding eggs back into my diet has been a major shift for me. As I mentioned earlier, I was vegan for five years. I was a hardcore follower of Dean Ornish, in part because I have a history of heart disease in my family. I am a very good vegan cook, and I've always eaten a ton of fresh vegetables and fruits. But I think I would have a hard time doing CR without eggs and dairy. The addition of a daily egg and a daily cottage cheese and/or yougurt has greatly increased the satisfaction I get from my diet. I am eating a higher percentage of fat than I did when I was vegan, but fewer total calories. Most of the cutback has been in grains and beans.

I didn't get to be a size eight by being a vegan though... that happened when I ate restaurant food (both high in fat and carbs, for a combined 2000+ calories a day) while having way too much fun going out with my friends. Too many nachos and margaritas... a diet that all the experts, Sears to McDougall, would frown upon. I feel much healhier now!

Tuesday, June 29

Office day. All office, all the time.

I don't eat breakfast. I find it makes me hungrier to eat breakfast, so I don't. I woke up this morning and had my typical 1 liter bottle of water. Then I drank a TAB... yes, they still make TAB, that soda that your mother used to drink before they decided it caused cancer. I usually get a Starbucks Iced Coffee on the way into work (not shaken, not sweetened), but today I was running late so I skipped it. Then at the office I grabbed an iced coffee. I caffeine load in the am. I am about to eat my hard boiled cage free egg. That'll be about 100 calories. I have a delicious broccoli, red pepper and tomato salad, marinated in cabernet vinegar and white balsamic vinegar to have with lunch. If you haven't tried white balsamic, you must. It's milder than regular, you can get it at Trader Joe's. I love vinegar. I could put it on most anything.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Welcome to my CR blog!

I just got this idea from Mary Robinson, and it struck me as a great way to keep track of my food choices, and also to inspire helpful comments and criticism from others who do CR. I am a member of the CR Society, and I started doing CR on March 26, 2004. I am a lacto-ovo vegetarian, having recently started eating eggs and dairy again after five years of veganism. I try to hit between 1000 - 1100 calories per day, but what I find usually happens is that I stay under 1000 most of the week and then go over on the weekends, usually as a result of having too much fun! I have lost 17 pounds since I started CR, and I'm quite happy with my size. Size 4 is good, size 2 will be fine, but if I have to start shopping in the children's department, I'll have to think about the quality of life issue.

My favorite food is tomatoes, and I eat them every day. Lately I've started to eat these delicious little Breakstone Cottage Cheese packs, 110 calories for the full-fat version (90 for the lowfat and the difference in taste is worth the 20 calories.) I also eat a lot of cage free, vegetarian fed eggs, hard boiled. I used to eat a great deal of rice and beans, but I eat less of that now that I'm doing CR.

So we'll see how this goes!