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.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

This Time I Really Think I'm In Love

Great song by John Cougar, before he became John Cougar Mellancamp, long before he became John Mellancamp, which is what I suppose he was in the first place, before he picked a bizarre stage name evocative of large cats.

And the title of today's post because it's what I was listening to as I made my brewers yeast treat last night. I'd have to say, in as much as one can have strong feelings about a food (and if you're reading this, you do), brewers yeast is the new love of my life.

Now anyone who has been following the blog for awhile knows that I go through these phases. I get crazy about a food, thinking it solves my nutritional problems, and then I find out there's something wrong with it. My most successful long term relationship has been with eggwhites, which happily provided 29 grams of protein this morning and 140 calories as my breakfast.

I'll admit, I opened the can of Lewis Labs brewers yeast with a touch of trepidation. First, it's the kind of can on which I have frequently cut my finger. Second, how would it taste? Would it make my cat sneeze?

I decided the safest thing to do would be to make a cup of vegetable broth (30 cals) and stir it up in there. If I didn't like it, I could either chug it or pour it out, but not much food would be wasted, and not many calories either.

So I mixed a tablespoon, which is half a serving and 58 calories, into my veggie broth.

And I loved it! It tastes a lot like miso soup, which is one of my favorites. It's a high sodium way to ingest brewers yeast, but it was a good start, and I am a fan of hot, savory salty things, so I really enjoyed it.

Drank my brewers yeast soup, drank my Walford sized glass of red wine, talked on the phone about some work stuff, read a little with the cat (the cat as you know loves to read, and also loves to eat paper.) Fell asleep on the couch for about half an hour, woke up really hungry.

So I ate about 70 calories of baby carrots (judging by the estimates on the bag) covered with 60 calories worth of olive oil, lemon herb flavor, with red wine vinegar, for a total of 130 calories. It's times like that when I'm glad I don't have grape nuts in the house. Besides, I needed to eat something orange to maintain my red hair. Everyone knows that red heads have special nutritional needs.

Total for yesterday, 907. And while the nutrition would be even better had I eaten a whole, not half, serving of brewers yeast, it looks really good. Yea!

Today I woke up feeling great, and as I had hoped, I was hungry! Eating very little at night really helps me sleep. I ate my eggwhites for breakfast. Today I have events all over the eastern part of the state, so lots of running hither and thither as usual. This is why it's good that my car gets great gas mileage, in addition to all the environmental factors. VLC is riding with me to one event, then we are going to stop by my apartment (which as you know is right next to the office, where we have to end up) for lunch. I have some gorgeous crowns of broccoli, grape tomatoes, red pepper, the usual. We can steam them up fast, eat a healthy lunch, and save money by not going out for lunch, and due to the convenient location of my apartment, take no more time than we would if we stopped for lunch while on the road. That's why I moved here.

Then tonight we have the fundraiser... we've already discussed our vegetable tray strategy. It's great to have a co-worker who is so CR friendly. It really makes life easier when you spend a lot of time with someone who also seeks out healthy food and can appreciate a really good eggwhite omlet.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Hello, Brewers Yeast

Wow! Just finished entering my food for the day in DWIDP, and thought just for kicks I'd throw in a serving of brewers yeast. Wow! It's amazing what it did to my nutrient totals! I'm going to go home and play with it! I hear you can't just eat it off the spoon. I wonder how it would taste in the cream of broccoli soup...

Also just discovered another nutrition program online that I think may be free. Just what I need... new nutrition toys. I must tear myself away from the computer before I start to act like those people who are addicted to free cell. I was never a video game player at all, but playing with nutritional software is quite compelling once you get into it.

I really have to go home. I have dishes to unpack!

Still Full From the Pizza, I Guess

Today has been a light day in terms of food. I wasn't hungry for breakfast (what else is new?) and was so busy running around unloading cars that I didn't eat. Ran home to meet Patty at my apartment for the drive to Scranton, and ate a quick bite, just yogurt with garlic powder and salt, no time to chop red pepper or juice lemon. 120 cals on that, but some good protein and calcium. Drove to Scranton, did quick event, drove home. Ate about an ounce of cheese in the car that Patty had packed with her... it was very yummy. About 1 ounce, 114 calories and 7.1 g protein, according to DWIDP. Got home and had invited Patty and her husband for dinner, but she wasn't feeling well so she declined. Was finally hungry so scrambled up my usual cup of eggwhites (140) and ate with a pint of grape tomatoes (90) and a little salad of spinach (about 20) covered with 1 tablespoon olive oil (120), lemon flavored kind, plus some red wine vinegar (0). All very good. That's 604 so far for the day, and it's late so aside from my little glass of red wine, with which I will probably settle down when I go back home, I may not eat anything else. Some days I'm hungry... some days I'm not. As I've said before, I hate to force myself to eat when I'm not hungry, so I usually don't.

Tomorrow will be another day of running hither and thither, and I'm hoping that if I don't eat much tonight I'll be hungry for my eggwhites for breakfast. Then I'll tupperware up some yogurt red pepper treat, and perhaps some veggies. I have broccoli, carrots and something else but I forget what at home. I could stir fry a nice veggie dish with some oil in the wok and tupperware it for tomorrow. I have to be at an event at 12 noon that's about an hour away, so I suspect I'll eat a tiny snack beforehand and then eat more late in the afternoon. Tomorrow night, I'm going to a political fundraiser cocktail party, so that will probably provide my glass of red wine and hopefully some vegetable trays. Note that there's never a line at the vegetable tray the way there is at the junk-wrapped-in-bacon station. The only people fighting over the veggies are me and VLC, and we know that there are enough vegetables on the tray that we can each have exactly the ones we want without ever fighting. Nothing more embarassing than watching two skinny girls fight over a carrot.

The Bread Machine Doesn't Want to Go to Scranton

Anyone who has been following the blog for awhile knows that I'm pretty good about blogging every day, and if I know I'm going to be away, I warn you, so that you won't be waiting around on pins and needles, wondering if I managed to avoid high carb crap for another day.

So you may have been concerned when a) I did not blog b) you heard about the hurricane generating serious storms in Philadelphia.

Actually, that level of attention to detail would be more than I would expect of my readers... except for family members who are too busy dealing with the hurricanes pelting them in Florida to check the blog. But if you were worried, I apologize.

The hurricane got us bad yesterday. I had taken the day off from work to move the remaining stuff (did I mention that the first set of movers left a ton of stuff in the old apartment? Long story.) The movers got to my old place at about four, running late because it was raining cats and dogs. They loaded up the stuff, and took some stuff over to my mother's office at Drexel. One thing that has made the move confusing is that my mom and I have exchanged a lot of furniture, so things were going from my place to her place, from my place to her office, etc. She moved to a bigger place and I moved to a smaller one (one bedroom instead of two, which I don't really need) so she took a lot of our stuff. We live in the same town... after living across the country from each other for twelve years, we decided that we like being close together, so she got a job near me, and now we can happily exchange vegetables and watch each others cats. I really enjoy living in a very sparsely furnished environment, so I was happy to be rid of many objects. So anyway, the movers set out, my mom set out to meet them at her office, they unloaded there, I sat in traffic for two hours due to flooding, and the poor movers sat in traffic for FOUR hours! Poor dears. The expressway, I - 76, was finally closed, so I had to direct both my mom and the movers through back roads. I had to call a friend for help with some of it, even though I'm very good with ways around Schukyll traffic (two years of the darned expressway and I'm still not sure how to spell it). My plan was to go by the grocery store, grab some veggies to steam up for me and my mom, and order pizzas for the movers. But the traffic was so bad even in my little town that going to the grocery store was impossible. Meanwhile, the pizza place wasn't delivering, so I stopped by (it is right across the road from my apartment) and picked up two large pizzas and some sodas for the guys. The only thing they had that was remotely edible for me was a garden salad, so I ordered it, took the food home, lit all my pumpkin scented Halloween candles, and waited for the poor movers to show up.

Eventually, I fed them, they were very happy, and we gave them huge tips. AL guys can eat a lot! I guess that's good, since you need someone to move your heavy stuff. All I had eaten so far that day was:

eggwhite scramble 140
yogurt with red pepper concoction 180 (no cucumber, too watery)
iced latte with skim (80, check out protein and calcium)
some spinach leaves with 120 of olive oil and vinegar

So I was really hungry! I ate my garden salad with 120 of olive oil and some vinegar. Eventually, while they were moving, I ate a slice of pizza. Walford is saying that a slice of pizza with cheese is only 140, but I was assuming it was at least 250. Anyway, not the best of all possible choices, but I had almost no food in the house, having planned on going to the grocery store. At least the day was good on protein, calcium, and olive oil. Gotta deal with the flax oil question. MR says to eat it with balsamic vinegar as a salad dressing. Now I have to go get some balsamic vinegar, which I would have happily done had I been able to get to the store.

Last night was also a two glass of red wine night, Walford sized, (85 cals), one while I was waiting for the movers to show up and then one with my mom afterwards. The entire day is coming in at 1080 if you count the slice of pizza as 250. I just can't believe it would be less. Perhaps it was more. Thoughts? I'll look it up in some other databases when I have more time.

Meanwhile, this morning I had to go over to my mother's house to unload some stuff from my car that belonged to her. She has temporary custody of our bread machine... I don't see myself making too much bread, in these days of eating very few grains, but it would still be a fun thing to do when non-CR company is coming over. I am finding that throwing a CR friendly meal over bread, pasta or rice is a great way to deal with the AL of the world. But it doesn't stop me from mentally planning amazing dinner parties for all my CR friends! Imagine... a dinner party with no grains! Anyway, this afternoon I am driving to Scranton with the secretary/treasurer of my union, known to my cat as "Aunt Patty." She's awesome and gave me the inspiration for my yogurt concoction with one of her delicious plain yogurt and dill cucumber salads. Hence today's title... I had to get the bread machine, etc. out of the car so that Patty could fit in the car. The Geo Prizm is small, but I love it because it gets great gas mileage.

So I'm sorry I didn't blog yesterday but I hope my dedicated readers will forgive me, since I was stuck in a hurricane until 10:30 pm, and as all are aware, I have no internet access at home.

The day before was good. You read about what I ate at work, and then for dinner I had a spinach salad with tomatoes and an olive oil and vinegar dressing, 1 tablespoon for about 120 calories. Back to my traditional Walford sized glass of red wine. It's my big high carb indulgence, please be patient with me. Maybe once AOR ships its resveratrol supplement I'll mend my ways.

And I know, the pizza was stupid. I need to keep emergency food in my house for severe weather. I'll get to work on that.

More soon.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Hey Brittney! You Say You Wanna Lose Control

I can not possibly be blamed for the fact that every time I think about the Zone, I get that Madonna and Brittney Spears song in my head, the one that talks about getting in the zone. Especially since Madonna herself was in the Zone for quite awhile. Remember that era? So I've been singing that song in my head since yesterday when I accidentally mixed a Zone friendly snack.

Last night's dinner was amazing... I'm so sad Mary couldn't make it in from DC. Sounds like her husband cooked a fabulous family lunch though!

I absolutely adore my gas stove. I had never had one before, and it really changes what I can do in the kitchen. I minced two giant cloves of garlic, sauteed them in a tablespoon of garlic olive oil, then added three small diced red peppers and sauteed them, adding another tbsp olive oil so that they got very soft and floppy. Then I added a pint of grape tomatoes, sizzling them until many of them popped, creating a nice juicy broth. One more tbsp olive oil. Finally, I added the asparagi, chopped into bite sized pieces, and stirred them up with a dash of salt and pepper and some of this Mrs. Dash tomato basil garlic no salt spice mix. My dinner company was running late, so I got to stir the veggies a very long time, which I think added to their flavor. I served them over a bed of fresh spinach, and the hot vegetables just lightly steamed the spinach on their way to the table. Serving hot vegetables on a bed of greens is a great way to make an ordinary CR dinner seem fancy. It is also something you could do when you're having non-CR company over and want to serve their food over rice or pasta but want to have yours on something CR friendly. On the side I served a half cup of eggwhites for each of us and some fresh steamed brussels sprouts. The dinner was a little too low in protein to be in the Zone, but it had 230 calories of olive oil per person. The rest of the dinner: 90 on the tomatoes, about 90 total on the red pepper (they were small), about 50 in the asparagi, maybe 10 each on the spinach, about 30 on the sprouts. Add that up and divide it by two: 120, plus 70 cals of eggwhites. 420 calories per person at dinner, most of it oil.

I may be going overboard on this fat thing... I am feeling a touch of panic. But when I do the numbers, the 230 in the dinner oil plus the 60 in the teaspoon of olive oil dressing I mixed into my yogurt earlier in the day is still just under the approx 300 cals I should be getting from fat if I'm going to get Zonish ratios out of 1000. This may still just be a pipe dream, but I made an effort. Of course, my total cals for the day were low, due to the previous evening's indulgence. No glass of wine, but I did have two soothing cups of peppermint herbal tea. Celestial Seasonings, reminds me of my childhood.

I also decorated my apartment for Halloween. Ornamental gourds, mini pumpkins, a spooky cat candle with green eyes that light up, little floating pumpkin scented candles floating in a pumpkin shaped bowl from Williams Sonoma (product placement, and thanks Dad and Marianne for the bowl!) The only thing that's missing is that I need to hang my purple bat lights, but I need the help of a tall person to do that, and my tall people weren't available. The apartment is way cute and pumpkin scented now. It's almost time to make my world famous pumpkin soup!

Today I have packed: eggwhite scramble (I really wasn't hungry this morning -- still stuffed from last night's ultra-satisfying meal), plain non-fat yogurt with red peppper and cucumber chopped into it, seasoned with fresh lemon juice and a dash of garlic powder, and some more olive oil dressing to put on my lunch time greens. I stupidly ran out the door without my spinach, so romaine from the cafeteria will have to do for lunch. No doubt I was being stupid because I didn't eat breakfast. If I eat my eggwhites, yogurt, and greens with olive oil dressing, I will be about in the Zone for lunch (I think). Maybe I'll try it. That's a lot of food for one meal though, and a lot of protein to absorb at once, though no more I suppose than the morning eggwhites plus skim milk combo I ate most of last week.

Will she stay in the Zone? Will she be attacked by a flying bagel? Tune in next time to find out.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

It's Been Six Months. She Hasn't Shut Up Once.

Great line from The Tubes' song, "Talk To Ya Later," which is on the same album as the best Tubes song of all time, "She's A Beauty."

And the title of this post because today is my six month CRON anniversary! Or should I call it my six month birthday? I've noticed that a lot of CRON folk call the day they started CRON their CRON birthday, and it makes sense because CRON definitely gives you the feeling of being reborn.

Just to recap, since I began on March 26, 2004, I have:

-- Lost 29 pounds

-- Gone from eating fewer than 30 grams of protein a day to eating 60 - 70

-- Confronted my fat phobia and purchased and consumed both olive and canola oils

-- Experienced remarkable, shocking effects on my moods, including a near cessation of all anxiety, unless I go over my calorie target for several days in a row

-- Learned the difference between nutritional yeast and brewer's yeast

-- Memorized large chunks of the CR Society's archives

-- Met lots of wonderful new friends!

Not bad in the "What has CR done for me lately?" department!

Meanwhile, yesterday's clubbing adventure was fun. We all met up at the apartment of College Friend Who Used to Date My College Roommate and Now Works For a Very Big Financial Group. His apartment is a block from Penn Station, which is convenient since I took the train in (no one with serious life extension ambitions would drive in Manhattan.) He lives on the 20th floor, and the view was beautiful. Guests arrived, and an informal dinner of pizza and tacos was served. I ate a lot --- had my "dinner out going over target" day yesterday. Two slices of pizza, three vegetarian tacos (in my defense, they were small), and a slice of this heavenly cake that CFWUTDMCRNWFAVBFG made fromhis mother's German recipe. It consisted mostly of "nut meat" which even we vegetarians can eat: hazelnuts and walnuts mixed with eggs and sugar formed the cake, and the frosting had hazelnut, cocoa, sugar, butter, and eggs. I figured at least the nuts were good for me. Drank two glasses of red wine with dinner. Felt extremely stuffed.

Then everyone went out clubbing. For the first time, I felt like I was wearing the right thing in NYC because for my 30th, Myrna bought me a pair of those tight jeans that all the women are wearing out these days, and I was wearing it with a bright purple shirt that was slightly shiny and a pair of heels (I actually almost always wear shoes with some kind of heel... when you're 5' 2" and want to be able to talk to people who are six feet tall without having to ask them to (literally, not figuratively) pick you up, you really have to wear heels.) All the other women were wearing almost the exact same outfit, some variety in the color shirt, including the two extremely thin twin women who are both corporate attorneys and gorgeous... the kind of woman I now look at and think, "Wow, if you ate 1000 - 1200 calories a day, you'd look terrible. Poor dears!" And then I thank the Gods for my figure's ability to hold its curves on a low calorie diet! Who would have thunk it... my slow (I prefer "efficient") metabolism is a blessing!

I drank vodka with cranberry and caught up with old friends of Myrna's whom I hadn't seen in ages. It's funny... there's a group of Myrna's friends who really didn't see each other for about eight years, and now that she's bringing us all to each others' 30th birthday parties, we're seeing quite a lot of each other. It's fun to catch up. I was exhausted and took a little nap in the cab between bars. College Roommate and I cut out a little early to crash out, but as always, I was up at 5:30 and caught the 6:14 train out of the city.

By 8:07 am I was at the Whole Foods in Marlton, New Jersey (near where I used to live... I took the train from a station near my old place because I had to be over there cleaning and moving stuff) reading the labels on Brewers' Yeast.

I've decided to cut out my Grape Nuts... they are messing with my Zen. I think they have bad blood sugar effects (no kidding) and I eat them in a way that reminds me too much of my high carb days... quickly, kinda snarfing. I don't need that in my life right now, so I gave the half finished box to my mother and went about looking for ways to get some of the nutrients that the fortified cereal had been providing.

Unfortunately, in spite of my requests, the entire CR Society archives have not yet been uploaded into my brain, so I wasn't quite sure what I was doing, but I had a clear memory that all the cool kids on the list eat brewers' yeast a lot, so I thought I'd check it out. Pretty good stuff. Lots of copper... I won't have to eat pennies. I'll enter in the nutrition info on the kind I got tomorrow. It looks helpful, but I picked it mostly for the label, which said, "This is the only kind of brewers' yeast that actually tastes good!" I thought that was a winning slogan, so I bought it. Now I have to figure out what to do with it. Back to the archives. I also have to deal with calcium and iron supplement stuff, so back to the archives. Oh, I also bought some flax oil because there had been a lot of talk on the list about how flax oil is better than fish or fish oil for Omega 3's (I hope I'm getting this right.) I have no idea what to do with it. Again, back to the archives. I'm glad I wasn't so attached when the archives crashed this spring... if that happened now, I would probably be beside myself with grief until they were restored.

Speaking of back ups, I am worried about not having a back up of my blog. Can one of you dedicated readers back it up for me? I'm not quite sure how to do it. You're awesome, I'll send you a refrigerator magnet and an autographed copy of your favorite blog entry, even if it's the one where I missed a very obvious piece of multiplication and everyone thought I was really stupid.

On my way home this morning I noticed that my CR Zen had been disturbed. I found myself worrying about silly things and feeling anxious. No wonder, thought I, after that big trip to high carb nightmare last night. The food was fun to eat, and it was entertaining to be eating it while wearing jeans that six months ago I would have been shocked to hear that I would one day wear, but today I felt ICKY. Not to mention exhausted, but that tends to make me calm, not anxious... it's the calories that cause the anxiety spikes. So I took corrective action, like I always do after I have my going out dinner of the week. I ate nothing until about 2 pm (this while running up and down stairs at my old place loading yet more stuff into my car), drank about a liter and a half of water in that time, and when I finally got home, drank even more water with unsweetened cranberry juice (great detox drink that is). Then I took a shower and went to lie down with the cat for a few minutes. When I woke up about fifteen minutes later (I can never sleep during the day) I was ravenous, so I went in the kitchen and did the weirdest thing: I mixed some of my plain nonfat yogurt with one of my olive oil dressings that is just olive oil, red wine vinegar and some spices, no added sugars. It was 190 calories for a cup and delicious! Just what I needed.

Then I went to the grocery store to restock (I was very low on food, so I didn't have many choices when I woke from my fifteen minute nap) and on my way there, I realized that I had inadvertently made a Zone like snack. Protein, carb, fat. Weird. I did that by accident. Maybe all that archive reading I've been doing is finally starting to sink in.

And you know what? My Zen was back. Insulin control will do that to you. The snack was small and nicely balanced. I hate to admit it, but just like with the breakfast thing, I think MR is right about this.

Of course MR is right about this, as about many things, it's just a matter of how long it takes to get through my head and into my refrigerator.

Btw, you can read MR to be either Michael Rae or Mary Robinson, as Mary has been telling me this for months and many of Michael's collected works in the archives are on the Zone topic. I just wish he has started out the Albatross by saying, "Don't go out and buy tons of tofu, it causes dementia." Could have saved me a lot of money on soy products. Oh well, small price to pay for a totally revolutionized world view.

Here's an interesting factoid: Tall MR has started eating meat once per month, for reasons see his post entitled "Eating Non-Food Food: Now Eating Meat" in the archives. Little MR (Mary Robinson) has been a meat eater as long as I've known her, and carefully choses fish, nitrate free ham, and things like that to get her Zonelike ratios. I'm a vegetarian, and I was vegan for ethical reasons for five years. I was vegan because I oppose factory farming, and even now, I try to get cage free egg products and free range cheese. My other two CR heroes, Kenton and Dean, are both vegan. I agree with MR's reasoning about environmental impact being a matter of degree, not an all or nothing thing, and I don't oppose eating animals on the face of it, just factory farming. So I would theoretically eat free range meat, or something I or someone I knew had killed (I never opposed hunting, btw) For example, if Kieffer killed a deer, I could ethically justify eating it. I wouldn't want him to drag the corpse onto my new white carpet, and I would wonder how the hell my cat killed a deer, but I could ethically justify eating it.

That being said: after all these years of vegetarian and veganism, I just can't bring myself to do it. There's an "ick" factor that I can't get past. Even though I have read Tall MR talking about zinc deficiency and I know from DWIDP that my zinc is low every day. Even though Little MR says that it's almost impossible to get enough iron without eating meat. I'm just not there. The combined weight, both literally and on my conscience, of Kenton and Dean is greater than that of MR Squared.

That was one of the silliest things I've ever written. Mary, I hope you take being called Little MR as the compliment it is intended to be. Everyone should just indulge a little goofiness in me today... I've had about three hours sleep and it's my six month CRON birthday!

Tonight I'm going on with this Zone thing. I'm going to make an eggwhite scramble and serve it with these gorgeous veggies I bought at Whole Foods: tall skinny asparagi, fresh brussels sprouts, and these tiny little organic red peppers. I'm going to make olive oil dressings for all of them, definitely lemon pepper olive oil for the asparagus, not sure what for the other two. I'll have fun playing with veggies and oil. I also have spinach for a spinach salad, which will be topped with oil and vinegar. Look at that: big protein in the eggwhites, carbs in the veggies, and lots of oil. Not vegan (sorry Kenton and Dean), but I think I could invite both MRs over for dinner for this one. Of course, it would be a long trip and the CR friendly dinnerguest who is coming over would be confused by the appearance of Strangers from The Zone, but I think it would be really fun. Maybe tomorrow I'll have to make a Kenton and Dean friendly CR meal, with some cabernet for Kenton and some green tea for Dean. Of course Kenton and Dean eat the same thing every day, so I'd have to figure out how to make a Dean meal before I could have those guys over to dinner. If I start chopping now, I could have dinner ready by the time Dean could walk here... from Pittsburgh.

Speaking of cabernet, I'm skipping my usual four ounce glass of wine tonight... detoxing from last night... so that frees up more cals for olive oil. Not that I'll be anywhere near target today: other than the 190 yogurt, oil and vinegar creation, I've had 80 cals of skim milk in an iced latte and that's it. But I usually go under target the day after a big calorie blow out. It's how I rescue my Zen.

Thanks for indulging my nuttiness today... it may be silly, but it's high in MUFAs.


Friday, September 24, 2004

What Are You Eating?

I had one of those experiences this morning that led to what Lisa Walford calls a CRONversation with myself. This one, as usual, was on the subject of eating breakfast when I did not feel like it.

This morning, as I often do, I went to the grocery store before seven, and picked up some cat food, some more plain non-fat yogurt, and some veggies to cook up for dinner tonight. When I returned home, Kieffer (my twenty pound cat, for those of you who are new to the blog) charged out the door, as he always does, which he is allowed to do since there's a door that blocks the landing where my front door is from the stairs that lead to the outside. Usually I pick him up or he comes back in on his own.

But this morning he started frantically running around and jumping. I couldn't tell what he was after, but I saw something big and black in his mouth and feared that he had eaten some trinket that one of my neighbors had left out as a decoration. That would be a bad way to start off my residency in the new place.

When the object in his mouth flew away, and I realized that it was an extremely large, almost bat-sized moth.

The valiant cat charged off in pursuit of his prey, and after an epic battle, brought it into the apartment.

I was not thrilled. I'm all for the circle of life (I'm a vegetarian because I oppose factory farming and I'm too lazy to kill my own meat, not because I believe there is anything necessarily unethical about eating animals) but sometimes I'd prefer that the circle not take place on my white carpet.

Oh well. The cat killed the moth, and started to eat it.

I thought this might be good for his nutritional variety... after all, a steady life of Science Diet and Fancy Feast might produce a flying insect deficiency, that the occasional moth eating extravaganza can remedy. And while the cat is a touch overweight, moths I'm sure are both low fat and low calorie.

That being said, when he got distracted by a bird on the balcony and abandoned the moth to go check it out, I scooped up the corpse in a napkin and gave it a decent burial at sea (translation: flushed it down the toilet.)

When Kieffer returned from the balcony to the place where his prey had expired, he looked at me and meowed a meow which I am sure can be literally translated as, "Mommy, why did you eat my bug?"

All of this did not inspire me to eat my wholesome breakfast of eggwhites and skim milk.

But I know now that when I don't eat my wholesome breakfast and start my protein early in the day, I get behind and feel unfocused all day. So I made myself do it, and I am still feeling great. Had my mid morning grape nut snack, and have had consistent energy and mental focus all morning. Maybe this breakfast thing really works.

I packed a yogurt and red pepper lunch, and may supplement with lettuce again if I feel like it. For dinner I have a beautiful combination of broccoli, cauliflower, red pepper, and grape tomatoes, that I plan to sizzle with garlic and many spices, adding some of my fancy olive oils to make a nice olive oily broth that will help me eat fat without all the added sugars and stuff that are in my salad dressings.

This weekend I'm going up to New York for Myrna Perez' Thirtieth Birthday Bash, so we will get to hear about how CR Blogger Girl Goes Clubbing. And I don't mean murdering baby seals.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Fruit Seeking Behavior

I went to my meeting late this afternoon at the Hilton on City Avenue in Philadelphia, and was confronted with the newest innovation in hotel hospitality: the free apple basket. Hiltons all over the country are doing this now. Needless to say, VLC and I consumed. Free fruit is our speciality. Very small apple, delicious, nice little snack. Probably shouldn't have indulged, after yesterday's big fruit day, but it was really yummy and how can I feel guilty about an apple?

Drank several glasses of water at the meeting -- it was eighty five degrees here today! Our other co-worker, who was at the meeting, seemed unmoved by the free apples. You have to be a certain kind of person to engage in fruit seeking behavior.

Later on, I met a friend for a glass of wine at a restaurant in town. I ordered my glass and then went to the ladies room -- when I returned, the friend had ordered a goat cheese appetizer for us to share. Luckily, it came with a mixed green salad with an olive oil dressing, as well as a little olive tapenade-like side. I thought... aha! fat! The dish was delicious... I ate about an ounce of goat cheese, the entire mixed green salad, and the olive pieces. I ate none of the bread. I figure that covered my fat for the day (yea!) so when I went home I de-calied my flower, or de-flowered my cali, depending on your perspective, and steamed it, adding just a teaspoon full of fat free Caesar dressing (10) cals. That was it for the day. Glass of red wine while out, but I didn't drink the entire thing, probably only two thirds.

Went over to my mother's house to help her unload some heavy things from her car, and brought her a take-out order of cauliflower (about 30 calories worth in each of our servings). Sham ate about twelve ju ju bees, meaning chewed them a little then spit them out. They're bad both in nutrition and on the teeth, so it's just as well. Drank about three sips of the wine slushy she had made by sticking some wine in the freezer... so that plus the two thirds of the glass I drank out would add up to a whole glass, Walford sized, for 85 cals.

Hard to be sure on the number of calories in the restaurant food, but I'd say there was no more than a tablespoon of oil in the dressing, ten to twenty cals on the greens, and how many are one ounce of goat cheese? All in all, I think I stayed at or under target, but will have to enter into DWIDP when I get ot the office early tomorrow morning. I'm happy that I got lots of protein (check out that eggwhite scramble, skim milk, and yogurt combination, plus seven grams in my grape nuts), lots of veggies (cauliflower, red pepper, romaine, mixed greens) and fat (olives, olive oil.) So I ate a free apple? I won't be condemned to eternity of high carb darkness for that, will I?

Yes, I Know This Suit Is Too Big

A co-worker just said, "Those pants are too big."

I need to go shopping. I wish VLC lived closer so we could share clothes like all the girls did in college.

I ate lettuce for lunch with 20 cals of salad dressing. I love lettuce. So crunchy, so much fun to chase around the plate.

That sounds like something my cat would say, if he could speak English.

450 cals so far today. Cauliflower awaits.

Something Cruciferous This Way Comes

I didn't get my cruciferous veggies yesterday, and I have two heads of cauliflower staring at me from the bottom shelf of my beautiful new fridge. I think tonight I will steam them, unless work people and I go out for dinner after tonight's work meeting. In either case, I will put some olive oil on either a salad or some cauliflower.

I finally got some good sleep... slept from 9:30 p to 7 a, with only two short waking ups! That is very unusual for me. I left the window open in the bedroom and there was a nice chilly breeze coming in. I love fall! It's almost time to decorate my apartment for Halloween!

After sleeping till seven am, which is a good two to three hours later than I usually sleep, I was somewhat confused, but managed to make my eggwhites and eat them with a glass of skim milk. That's a lot of protein at once, but I didn't want to neglect my milk today like I did yesterday, and eggwhites are so much better when you eat them right out of the pan instead of tupperwaring and microwaving later. I also made up my delicious yogurt concoction, but realized belatedly that I had no cucumber, so it's just red pepper today. That makes it 180 cals according to Walford, which I think is good because yesterday I looked like I was consuming the "Everything's 200 calories!" Diet. The lemon I juiced into it was unusually juicy, so it's very sharp tasting. I am a big fan of sharp tastes... The Person Who Put Oil In the Stew in 2000 used to say that was because I had burned off all my tastebuds by eating and drinking very hot foods. Unlike VLC, who likes everything a bit tepid, I like my hot food and drink really hot. I love hot peppers, vinegar straight up, lemon and lime juice, things like that. I think some of that may be a function of years of low fat cooking and eating, where you really rely on the natural flavors of the food. But I know, I know, I will get my MUFAs today.

Funny story about fat: On the way to the meeting yesterday, VLC and another co-worker got into an argument about fat! He was saying he was trying not to eat any fat, and she was saying that you should eat some good fat, just avoid saturated fat. I stayed out of it. I have learned that a quick way to shorten your lifespan is to engage in too many arguments with co-workers about non-work items. I was rooting for VLC, of course.

I think I am going to end up wearing her clothes to the CRS conference, as all of mine are rapidly ceasing to fit. I put on a black silk pants suit that I just love this morning and guess what... it's just a tiny bit big. Most of my twos fit perfectly right now, but I remember this one fit when I first took this job, and I weighed about 115 then. It is still quite wearable, just not quite as well fitting. In the car on the way back from the meeting, the two men who were riding with us swapped stories of the inability to find any pants that fit, since they're both in great shape and tall. Not CR thin, just on the thin side of in shape. And they can't find clothes that fit because clothing retailers expect men to be fat! At least men tend to get their suits tailored for them. I certainly can't complain... all the best clothes come in tiny sizes for girls, and I've got a ways to go before I would be a "plus age, minus height" supermodel.

Ate my grape nuts for midmorning snack, and soon will eat lunch with the work gang. Have the red pepper yogurt concotion for lunch, and will eat lettuce if I'm feeling unusually hungry.
Tonight is a meeting, but shouldn't be all that late a night, compared to usual. I kinda want another arugula salad with cashews... that was an amazing combination. I love arugula. I wonder if I could grow it on my balcony? No, I'd better stick with catnip.

Thanks to all for the comments!

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Garnish: It's What's For Lunch

I was told that there would be salad at lunch.

There was not.

I went to the Board of Directors' meeting in Carlisle, PA... a friend of our office administrator was supposed to be catering the event. She had said there would be salad, no dressing, for VLC and me. There was not. By the time I got to the lunch, there were ham and cheese sandwiches, a plate of lettuce and tomato, and a big fruit salad. So I took some lettuce and tomato, put a tiny bit of mustard on them, and ate a fruit salad bowl.

Luckily, I had packed my grape nuts 200 cal baggie and eaten them at around 9:30 am, so I wasn't starving. And I had eaten my eggwhites for breakfast, so I had a little protein in me. The fruit was around 200 calories, and I figure I hadn't eaten fruit in awhile, so it was probably okay. But by the time I got home, I was dying for my yogurt, cucumber and red pepper creation, 200 cals even. I ate that, plus a pint of grape tomatoes (90 cals) and sat on the balcony drinking two glasses of red wine with some friends who came over. 1000 even for the day, if I'm guessing right on the total cals in the fruit + lettuce and tomato slices.

Problems with today: too high carb, too low fat. Protein not too bad, though would have been better had I worked my skim milk in. I was thrown off by the fruit, but I just won't eat any fruits for a few days. The calcium is really improved by the yogurt, the iron gets fixed by the grape nuts. Still a touch low on copper. Must eat some pennies. Two glasses of red wine instead of one... too much high carb, but very fun to hang out with friends on the balcony for the first time. It was a gorgeous day here too.

All in all, hitting 1000 calories even, though it was too high carb and too low fat, isn't all that bad. And I feel satisfied... not the slightest bit hungry.

More fat tomorrow. I'm done with food for today.

And With the Power of Conviction, There Is No Sacrifice

These little moments of despair are always so inspiring.

I felt terrible yesterday... anxious, tired, icky. As I was driving from hither to thither, despairing, it occurred to me, "I used to feel this way all the time!"

For the rest of the day as I interacted with people I thought about the wreakage of the Standard American Diet on on everyone's health, and how so few people know that it doesn't have to be that way. CR may be weak crude medicine, but it's a hell of a lot better than ending up in the ICU (or the CCU.) And the short term effects are so powerful. After feeling the way I did yesterday, I never want to go back.

One good thing about having a job/calling that makes you look at the world a different way from most of the people you come into contact with is that you get some practice doing that, so when you're called upon to do it again, you know what music to listen to. As I was listening to one of my favorite songs, Pat Benetar's "Invincible," I thought about all the struggles I've been through in trying to help working people take control of their work lives, and helping nurses get the power they need to stand up for their patients. I've given up a lot of things that are considered "normal" -- note absence of husband, children, big house, and free time -- but because I believe in what I do, it doesn't seem like a sarcifice.

I was thinking that CR must be a lot like that, for those who are "extreme" "hardcore" "serious." When you are convinced by all the evidence available to you that something is the right thing to do, you just do it.

And all of a sudden, some things that have been foggy in my mind started to clear up.

It must be frustrating for people who know very much to watch me struggle with my ON and get so much stuff wrong. I am reminded of what a good friend once said about my total lack of a sense of direction:

"Navigation, for April, is like a sea of darkness punctuated by small tunnels of light."

Meaning, I can remember the paths I've taken before, and follow them successfully to places where need to go, but I have no sense of the overall picture.

Nutrition has been like that for me. I know some paths, most of them defined by the Ornish world that I lived in prior to March 26, 2004, but those paths aren't getting me where I need to be. So I find other paths... like getting enough protein, or adding fat, or looking for a way to get more calcium. Sometimes I end up in the right place (like eggwhites), sometimes in the wrong place (like tofu). But the overall picture stays fuzzy at best.

I was doing some mental calculations and coming back again and again to why people who know a lot say it's hard to do what I'm trying to do in so few calories. It really is! You have no room for junk! Of course, you definition of junk may vary... two years ago, I would have been shocked that I would actually want to spend calories on fat.

The problem with my salad dressings is that they have sugar and other stuff in addition to the olive or canola oil. But they have taught me that I like red pepper and tomato flavors with oil, as well as lemon and garlic. So I can make my own dressings that use real red pepper and tomato and garlic and lemon, with evoo (which is Kenton's abbreviation for "extra virgin olive oil," not a character in Star Trek) and get the fat without the other stuff. I just don't have room for the other stuff!

It's not my fault that I'm a tiny person... if I were six feet tall, I could eat more, no doubt. But as of yet CRON has not made me one inch taller.

The other reason why I'm rather attached to a low calorie level is that the zen effects seem to fade at much higher levels. They don't fade after one big meal if I go immediately back on the straight and narrow, but they seem to disappear after much more than that, especially if it's sustained over a period of days.

My non-fat, unsweetened, plain yogurt, seasoned with lemon and garlic and cucumbers and a little salt, is working for calcium, and I really like it. I like it so much that I caught myself licking the bowl at lunch yesterday. I stopped before anyone but VLC noticed, and she said she thought it was perfectly acceptable to lick the bowl. She is a very good person. Between that and a glass of skim milk, I'm at 70% of the RDA for calcium, and I get a little more in the Grape Nuts.

Grape Nuts are an inelegant solution to a lot of nutritional problems, but they're working for now and they do wonders for my hunger management. They are so crunchy and delicious! I measured out two baggies for VLC and me to take on a trip to our Board of Directors meeting today. The food will be confusing there, and I may just eat salad with no dressing. I've made up my yogurt for later, adding red peppers this time, and I am going to eat the eggwhites before leaving this morning.

Yesterday was:

eggwhite scramble 140
glass of skim milk 80
125 of grape nuts -- was at the end of the box
yogurt cucumber thing 140 (if you say that there are 20 calories in a cucumber, which Walford does)
arugula salad with fifteen cashews and 1 tablespoon of olive oil dressing (20 on the greens, 120 on the dressing, about 150 - 200 on the nuts, I think. Does that sound right?)
glass of red wine 100 it was a big glass

Not too bad. Nuts are interesting. I hated nuts as a child, but have grown to like them as I get older. Needed more veggies, but I just didn't feel like eating any more food, even if it had been an almost zero calorie veggie dish.

I'm slowly getting better. And I love the process... even the frustrating parts are fun! Because the entire thing is an affirmation of one of my most strongly held beliefs: We have the power to dramatically improve our own lives, if we're willing to step outside of what is "normal." The status quo lands most people in the ICU way too early, and makes them miserable for most of the 50 - 75 year journey there. So what if people think we're too thin? I learned to deal with people thinking it was odd that I worked all the time and wasn't rushing to get married and have a family like most women do at my age. I deal with people making stupid jokes about unions and asking me if I know where Jimmy Hoffa is. If I can handle that level of annoyance, I can certainly handle people thinking I'm too thin, or that it's weird when I don't eat the same thing as everyone else. Today will be a good test: catered lunch served at the meeting. Salad only for me. I know I have my good food at home.

"You will have social struggles," says MR in my favorite post of all time, "RANT: Moderate CR."

Yes, yes, I will.

But if I could handle social struggles for the calling that is my life's work, I can handle it for the one thing that has a chance of giving me enough years to actually accomplish something in my lifetime!

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

I Don't Want to Bore You With My Troubles

Line from a great Stevie Wonder song, "Knocks Me Off My Feet." If you're a Stevie Wonder fan (hello, JG) and you haven't listened to it in awhile, go listen to it.

It's the title of this post because as I was listening to it over and over again last night, it made me think about how when I first started this exercise in narcissistic self-indulgence that is the blog, I didn't think much of anyone would ever read it. I mean, the people I'm with every day already know what I eat, and watching me go through rounds of eating the wrong things, finding out I was wrong, changing, and repeating the process couldn't be all that interesting. Judging from the counter and the comments, both on blog and off, lots of folks are reading it! Thanks to all of you who tune in... it makes me happy to know that you're reading me! It sure does give me a sense of accountability. I feel happy on the days when I set a good example, and silly on the days when I don't.

Yesterday was one of those days when I didn't.

It started out reasonably well. I skipped breakfast (I know some out there would say that this was the start of all my troubles, as I obviously became wacko and stupid later in the day) because I knew I would be eating a bigger lunch than usual. I had my office over to my new place for lunch (it takes about five minutes max to get to the new place from the office). I served:

Middle Eastern platter of grape leaves and hummus
Black Bean Soup (my black bean soup recipe is so easy it's almost embarassing)
Bread from Panera Bread Company
Big salad: romaine, red pepper, tomato, celery, cucumber, with assorted dressings (I had the full fat olive oil one... you know the routine.)
VLC brought over her fresh homemade guacamole

Everyone loved the food. I ate: three grape leaves, two small slices of bread with hummus, and one small slice of bread with guacamole, about a half cup of black bean soup, and a big plate of salad. That was a lot of food for me, and a whole lot of bread, so I figured I was done for the day, and would either eat nothing for dinner or steam some veggies.

Kieffer loved the company. He is a very social cat. There was this one really funny moment when a bunch of us were going into the bedroom, into which Kieffer is not allowed, to try to put together the bed. He is good at charging through the door, so I asked VLC to hold him. Keep in mind that Kieffer is a 20 pound cat and not much smaller than VLC herself, with bigger paws. (Search the archives for "cats" and you'll find a really funny discussion on the merits of CR'ing your cat. I don't, not because I don't believe I should, but because I can't stand the howling.) I am actually VLC's supervisor and seven years her senior, and I've noticed that she tends to obey instructions quicky, effectively, and somewhat literally. So she picked up all 20 pounds of gray tabbiness, and four of us disappeared into the bedroom to attack the structural nightmare that is putting together the bed. When I emerged about five minutes later, VLC was walking around, still holding the cat. The cat looked confused, and she looked tired. I suggested that she release the cat, as we had already succeeded in getting through the bedroom door without incident. The whole thing was rather amusing, but maybe you had to be there.

When I got home in the evening (after not sitting in traffic for over an hour! Wow! This is what it's like to be a normal person!) I steamed broccoli, celery and carrots in the steamer pot, then transferred them to the wok where I sizzled them with garlic basil olive oil dressing. I wasn't hungry so I tupperwared them up for eating today. I drank a glass of wine and was so exhausted that when I laid down on the couch I fell asleep.

Woke up at about nine and was starving! So I ate a big heaping plate of fresh vegetables with olive oil dressing and felt great.

Oh, how I wish that were true! CRON provides me with so many opportunities to reflect on my imperfections. That is good for me, I'm sure.

I did not eat a big plate of olive oil covered vegetables! No! I ate three slices of bread! Granted, they were small slices, but still! On the very day when Mary complimented my CR Zen sense and Michael Rae re-re-posted that cat eaten masterpiece, the Albatross! I am in high carb hell!

I had terrible nightmares all night too. Eating late at night frequently does that to me, especially combined with stress.

The good news is that it made me get seriouser (I like that word!) about the Designer Diets for Girls project. I think it will just be easier for me if I have foods that I usually eat that add up to all my everythings. I can diverge from them if I want to, but if I'm hitting the basics, I won't have these weird moments when I freak out on bread. It's really true for me that when I get all my nutrients, I no longer crave the things I used to want. So I need to focus on the ON... what a familliar refrain!

So today here's what I have planned. I'm about to enter it into DWIDP so I'll tell you how it cometh out:

eggwhite scramble

.5 cup grape nuts

really yummy super calcium for 120 cals plain nonfat yogurt thing: 1 cup plain non-fat yogurt, mixed with the juice of half a lemon, a dash of salt, a dash of garlic powder, and one cucumber chopped. It's so yummy! I much prefer it to the sweetened yogurts, and I find savory foods more satisfying than sweet. That's 40% of my calcium RDA! And it is so good. I could eat it everyday... oh yeah, that's the point. might be good with curry, but I'm fresh out

steamed carrots, broccoli, and celery with olive oil dressing (120 cals in the fat, maybe 20 in the veggies? it's a small tupperware.)

Tonight for dinner I'm going to make (I can make dinner at home! I probably won't have to work much past seven or eight tonight ((though in my job/calling, one never knows!)) and then no traffic sitting in!!!): cauliflower and tomatoes steamed with some tomato olive oil dipping sauce I found that is only 200 cals in the entire bottle

I usually make my own sauces and dressings, but since I'm trying to find ways that I can stand to consume olive oil, I'm trying some prepared ones, with the idea of making my own once I find a taste combination that I like and can mimic.

I am also thinking of rotating fruits: like buying seven pieces of fruit and eating one a day. That way I'll get lots of fruit things over the course of the week without having too much in one day. In the past, I used to over indulge on the fruit, which is all well and good when you're the high calorie vegan Priestess of the High Carb Darkness, but not when you're doing CR and occasionally trying to get Zoneish ratios of protein: carb: fat (over the course of the day, not per meal, please, I'm not that good... yet.) Everytime I do my ratios, they come out okay on protein but low on fat, high on carbs. It's so hard to stop thinking of fat as this weird thing I have to take like medicine. At least yesterday, with the hummus, grape leaves, and salad dressing, I got a whole lot of fat. But protein was low, which I think explains the sudden carb craving. I also got some very bad news about a friend being ill, and that kind of thing doesn't usually make me eat (usually the opposite, actually) but it did make me a bit less focused.

Ah, the deep psychological reasons why I ate a piece of bread. This is why I am usually afraid to post to the list. Because I have nothing intelligent to say.

Today had better be better, or else I'm going to have to ground myself again. And no more bread! I think bread is my dragon... it's the thing that seems to jump into my mouth when I'm not looking. I may have to give it up until I get my ratios all fixed and can go off occasionally without going overboard.

At least these mishaps give me added motivation to find the diet that really works for me. And no doubt that will involve lots of obsessing about the deep psychological reasons why I'm afraid of olive oil.

But I don't want to bore you with it.

[Note added later upon re-reading entry: I think the grin in the last line doesn't come off in print. Obviously, if you're reading this, it's because you want to, so you must not be too bored with my endless obsessing about protein and fat. For whatever deep psychological reasons of your own, you like this stuff. So no need for everyone to write to me that you're not bored... that's implied. Just pet me on the head when I eat fat, okay? This stuff is hard for me.]

Monday, September 20, 2004

Really Hot Vegetables

My step-brother and sister-in-law give me the best presents. They gave me this fabulous stove top wok that goes straight on the burner. Combined with my new gas stove, it's a sizzling combination.

Last night I had my mother over for dinner in the new apartment. She's heading in the direction of CR herself, so she's always happy to eat whatever vegetable concoction I sizzle up. I sizzled the broccoli crowns in one tablespoon of garlic infused olive oil, then added chopped red peppers, along with four tablespoons of my new roasted red pepper salad dressing, a total of 140 calories in the four tablespoons, made with canola oil. That stuff is so yummy! (I need suggestions for new words to describe food: I think I have exhausted the possibilities of "yummy" "delicious" and "fabulous.") Finally, I added a pint of grape tomatoes, and stirred it all together until some of the tomatoes popped, making a savory (new word!) broth. We ate out of paper bowls as the dishes are not yet unpacked. I did manage to unpack two spoons, but only one fork, so I gave my mother the fork in deference to her planetary seniority.

[Bizarre tangent: I think that we in the CRON community should start to refer to chronological age as "planetary seniority." "Age" has so many silly negative connotations in our youth obsessed culture, and most of those, like frailty and boringness, don't apply to us. So we should wear our planetary seniority with pride. Thoughts?]

She also brought over some pieces of seseme bread that she had taken to a potluck at her church (Oh, did I mention that we got invited to do coffee hour again? Guess they liked the Body of Christ covered in pesto!). I ate about a slice worth of the bread. Dr. Walford's software says that a slice of sourdough bread has 68 calories. That sounds awful low to me. I think I'll call it 100 for the amount I ate. The veggie dish was at most 400 total, 200 per serving. I was at 560 before the start of the meal (I forgot to mention in yesterday's entry that I had a cafe au lait with skim milk, 80 cals on that), so even with the two glasses of wine I had, the day was at most 1030.

We chatted about how happy we are with our food, and how odd it seems that anyone could feel deprived when eating such fantastic vegetables. I felt really good about finding a source of fat that I actually like. There's been talk on the list about fat improving the absorption of vegetables, so if I can eat them together that would be good.

CRON is such common sense... give your body what it needs, don't give it what it doesn't need. I think that will become my rant/mantra. It's sad how people in North America have such a distorted perception of food that they think CRON folks are freaks. What could be more reasonable than feeding yourself healthy food, in only the amounts you need, not to excess? When I go to the gas station, I put exactly the amount of gas in the car that it needs. I don't put a lot of other stuff in there, and I don't keep filling up the tank after it's full. Maybe people need a sign that says, "Do not top off" on the fridge.

As you can see from even the quickest reading of my blog, I'm far from perfect. I go over target some days, I eat silly things that aren't the best use of calories. But I notice that I feel better on days when I hit my calorie target and get all my RDAs. And I certainly feel better now that I did before I started CR. The difference is unbelievable! Why would I want to eat a bunch of food I don't need?

This morning at about four I was reading a book called "Dieting with the Duchess" that Sarah, Duchess of York wrote with Weight Watchers. Men who have never had weight issues sometimes sneer at Weight Watchers, but it's a pretty good program, and emphasizes fruits and vegetables. It was also one of the first diet organizations to come out against the anti-fat craze. As I was reading the book, a line jumped out at me:

"Like most women, I would still like to lose a few more pounds."

That's Sarah talking.

It made me think about how completely my perspective and body image have changed since I started CR. I used to curse my curves, and the fact that others could eat all they wanted and stay skinny (like my college boyfriend who weighed 118 at 5' 9" and ate a diet of non-stop junk. Sausage rolls! As if!) while I seemed to gain weight easily eating the Standard American Diet. Now I realize what a blessing it is to have a slower metabolism, and how nice it is to be able to live in a body I like while eating fewer calories. My weight is still dropping, but it is slower now that I have lost all the extra weight. And unlike most women, I am not worried about it at all!

CR has made me think of weight in the opposite way from how I used to. People ask me how much more weight I'm planning to lose, and they may as well just push the "Play" button on my forehead, because they get the standard lecture on how CR is not about weight loss. How much will I weigh? I don't know. I know that I will keep pushing my calories as low as I can, and I will keep working to get optimal nutrition, even if I do go a little crazy and eat bread from time to time!

When I was in Vermont in July, one of my friends who hadn't seen me in a long time took me out to lunch at my favorite restaurant, the New England Culinary Institute. As I ate my little salad with real olive oil dressing and cup of soup, he remarked, "Your food anxiety is conspicuous in its absence." This is someone who knows me very well, and knew me at one of my pre-CR thinnest (though not healthiest... way stressed out!) and at my heaviest. He's right -- my food anxiety is gone. Unlike almost every American woman, I love my body. And I want to give it exactly what it needs to stay healthy for the next 100 years!

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Broccoli: It's What's For Dinner

I ate my eggwhites. I feel whole again. 29 grams of protein, 140 calories. All is well with the world.

Had grape nuts earlier... 200 calories for a half cup. I realized after pouring a half cup serving that I had not yet unpacked the spoons, so I just ate it from the cup by pouring the grape nuts into my mouth. Drank 140 cals of cranberry juice. The new market doesn't have the unsweetened, so I was stuck with the "light." VLC is buying me some unsweetened at Whole Foods next time she goes. And to answer Dani's question: VLC is Very Little through a combination of genetics and will power. She workes out all the time, eats great, and her whole family is thin. She's one of those super model type girls whom I used to hate... until I discovered that I can eat fewer calories than she can and still keep my curves! CR favors the curvy girl... I am very lucky. I would love to convert VlC to CR because she would be so much fun to hang out with in the next century.

Tonight I'm making salad with the new salad dressings I bought, and steamed vegetables, including that fabulous broccoli I picked up this morning. In fact, I'm on my way to make them now. I finally got my wok from the old apartment this afternoon so I can return to stir frying with reckless abandon.

I spoke with a family member recently who hasn't seen me in awhile, but has heard about CR. She asked, "When did you stop feeling hungry?" I said, "Usually right after I finish eating." I talked with her about how I feel so much more satisfied now that I eat more protein, and how getting the RDAs of all your nutrients makes you feel complete. It sounds weird, but it's such common sense. You give your body what it needs and you don't give it what it doesn't need. What could be more logical?

My mother says, "Makes you wonder why everybody doesn't do it!"

More tomorrow.

Back to the Straight and Narrow

Yea! I am alive again!

I just bought eggwhites.

The last few days have been so crazy with the move that I've been eating more CR than CRON. The amazing thing is that my zen has held up... under all the stress, I still feel pretty good. Yesterday I had to unload and load boxes in the rain most of the day, and I still managed to feel fairly good about the world. That's CR working in my life.

Yes, I think I can function again. Got some sleep last night (the screaming cat decided to take a short break from screaming) and went to the wonderful grocery store around the corner and bought food! Eggwhites, a kind of plain yogurt that has 40 percent of the RDA of calcium in 120 calories that I'm going to make an Indian type of sauce out of and eat all next week, skim milk, veggies! I am so happy. The grocery store near me is so good.

Today will be:

eggwhite scramble: 140 cals, 29 g protein
yogurt thing: 120 cals, not sure on the protein but I'll report later
grape nuts: 200 cals, don't knock them until you try them
broccoli steamed (good sale on crowns thereof)
salad: romaine, tomatoes, red peppers, cucumbers, celery, carrots
full fat dressing: I bought some kinds that look good that are made with olive or canola oil, which Sears says is good, don't eat soy oil, please don't shatter my illusions if these are bad until I've finished the bottles.

Tomorrow I'm having the entire office over for lunch! This is my clever way to make them move some boxes and to get my best friend Lisa (the one who is getting married) to put together my bed. It's from Ikea, and you need to either be a civil engineer or Sweedish or both to figure out how it works. She put it together for me four years ago and if she doesn't do it again, I'll be sleeping on a futon mattress on the floor for the next four years. I guess I could always call my friend who is a civil engineer for the city... he did his master's thesis on the Ben Franklin Bridge, and this bed has more in common with a suspension bridge than with any normal furniture item in terms of construction. It's not even a fancy bed, it's just a queen sized futon bed. Silly Ikea.

So lunch for work crew is:

Middle Eastern platter on my gorgeous Williams Sonoma platter to include: grape leaves and hummus, served with good fresh bread, celery and carrots (VLC will want the celery and carrots, she is a goddess.)

Black bean soup, CR friendly, with super spicy peppers and the yogurt sauce on the side

big big salad of romaine, tomato, red pepper, celery, carrots, and all those good salad dressings

Sounds good, eh? They'll work for it, that's for sure.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Will Resveratrol Make the Carpet Live Longer Too?

My first official act in my new apartment was to spill red wine on the white carpet. I had just crashed in bed (well, on a palate of blankets on the floor... bed hadn't been moved yet) with a book and a glass of wine on Thursday night when I spilled quite a few drops on the lovely white carpet. I think I got about 85 calories worth and the carpet got about 15. Perhaps I should keep a running total of the number of calories my carpet eats.

Eating was nutty on Friday with the movers coming and all. I ate a cup of yougurt (100 cals, 8 g protein, 20% RDA calcium), 200 cals of grape nuts, later once the stuff was in the new apartment: a salad of spinach, tomato, red onion, celery, vinegar, about 100 of cottage cheese, and a hard boiled egg, all from the salad bar at the corner grocery store. I also indulged in some ju ju bee candies, about 50 cals worth. I had already accepted an invitation to go to yet another Fringe Festival show with my buddies, so though I was exhausted and just wanted to be very very still for a long long time, I got dressed (meaning changed out of my shorts and t-shirt that I had been wearing while carrying boxes and an angry cat) and went into Center City.

We got there a little early and the friend who gave me a ride into town was hungry, so we walked around in search of a snack. We found an art opening that was free to the public, so we stopped in, had a glass of wine (free!) and looked at art. I love art, so this was fun for me. I made the mistake of trying the appetizers, and ate dinner there. Two pieces of cheese, crackers, vegetables off the vegetable tray, some olive tapenade, guacamole on chips, and a cracker with weird salsa like dip. I was so hungry after all the physical activity of carrying boxes all day. Not sure on the calories... could have been over target but not by much. It's dangerous to eat even a bite when I'm really hungry and my good CRON food isn't close at hand. It's easy to go over target and still feel like I'm missing something.

The show was great... about gay fundamentalist Christians struggling with their sexual identity. Wow! My favorite part was the two skinny actors, one with red hair and glasses, the other with brown hair and glasses, yelling scripture quotations angrily at each other from opposite ends of the stage.

Then we went to this bar in Philly that's supposed to be really hip, and I had a drink called a Squirt that was cherry and vodka something. Chatted a bit about CR... my friend the biostatistician was somewhat interested. My friend the reporter, aka "The guy who told me that Jim McGreevey had a gorgeous Israeli lover over a year ago," was out of town, so we went with these people I hadn't met before, a singer and his wife. The statistician asked me some questions about CR so I blathered on happily for awhile, but didn't want to go on forever, in case he was just being polite by asking. I can't wait for the CRS conference... finally, to talk to other people who bore their friends to death with chatter of CR! I wonder if it will be like the nerd camp I went to the summer after seventh grade... the one at Duke that you had to take the SAT to get in to. I remember how sad everyone was when it was over... we had so much fun hanging out with our own kind!

Made it an early night as was exhausted, got to bed by 10:30.

Today I had to go to a fitting for my best friend's wedding dress... I am the Maid of Honor in March. I tried on some bridesmaid's dresses, and all of the sample sizes literally fell off me as I no longer have the hips to hold up a dress made for the average American woman. Went back to the old place to clean, then treated myself to a much deserved manicure and pedicure.

Fasted all day because I had plans to go out for a celebration dinner tonight to this amazing Lebanese restaurant in my new neighborhood, so I wanted to save all 1000 calories for dinner. It was worth it! I ate: stuffed grape leaves, baba ganoush (sp???) with pita, lentil soup, and a bite of a Talapia entree that I didn't like. Yum yum yum! Sometimes it really works for me to eat five small meals, sometimes it works to eat one. Just depends on the circumstance... being flexible makes it easier for me to hit a good weekly calorie average even on these crazy weeks!

I'm off to sleep early tonight... totally exhausted from the move, and back to the craziness on Monday!

Thursday, September 16, 2004

I Have Clearly Been Assimilated

Hello bloggiefriends,

Very quick update between moving this and that.

Today has been a weird food day. I have almost nothing left in the house and haven't had time to run out. So I cooked up two cups of Trader Joes' soy succotash, with soy beans, lima beans, carrots, bell peppers and corn. I put two tablespoons of bell pepper salsa on it, and also ate 150 cals of olives. A total of 600 calories, 26 g protein. I am almost desperate for eggwhites at this point. Who would have ever thought I would be craving protein? I have clearly been assimilated.

The moving truck comes tomorrow, and I am almost all packed. Tonight I'm taking the cat over in the car. Oh, the cat got sick today too. Had to go to the vet. Is fine now... I'll spare you the detail. He's under a lot of stress with watching his home get packed. I know he will love the new place. It has a balcony! And I kid you not, one entire wall of the bedroom is all mirrors. This would have been hard to take at my pre-CR weight, but at 108, it's a fine thing.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

No Need for LA Weight Loss

I have only seconds to blog, but I wanted to tell you a funny story.

I went to pick up the keys to my new apartment (which is so totally awesome but more on that later!) and in the move in packet there were many coupons and advertisements. The rental agent was going over them and one for LA Weight Loss came up. We both giggled a bit... I mean, even at technically underweight (108 now) I am still much more J Lo than Kate Moss... but I clearly didn't need that particular coupon.

I had lowfat vegetarian black bean soup for lunch (180 cals, 18 g protein) and a mixed greens salad with full fat dressing (I figured I couldn't show my typing on the blog unless I ate some olive oil, after the latest round of high carb confessions.) It's been a big day for beans, probably since my eggwhites are gone but I continue to crave protein. I think it's a good sign that I'm wanting protein now... it used to be a major struggle. And soon I'll be all in my new place with a gas stove and I can sizzle up all the eggwhite omlets I want!

Tonight will be... probably collards and kale. You thought I was joking about eating the whole bag, didn't you?

More tomorrow!

Never Got That Cup of Green Tea

Yesterday was crazy busy... I never got that cup of green tea I said I was going to calm down with after that angry letter I fired off to the CR Society list. That will be the subject of a later entry called "Don't Mess With Dean," but for today, I don't have time for editorials, it'll just be the facts.

Yesterday's food:

no breakfast (stuffed from previous dinner)
Lunch: vegetable stew (see previous entry for contents) 200, lettuce with vidalia onion salad dressing -- 30
small glass of regular cranberry juice 90

Then I had to run off the the National Labor Relations Board with three of my nurses because they needed to give some testimony. While we were there (for four and half hours) I walked out to get us coffees and got an iced latte with skim (80 cals, 8 g protein, some calcium)

I finally dropped them back at their cars at about 7:30 pm and got back to the office shortly thereafter to finish some work. By this time I was very hungry, but had very little food at work. I ate a 100 calorie yougurt, and finally got to go home after dropping off flyers at another hospital.

By this time it was almost nine, and I didn't have much food left in the house as I'm trying to clear it out. I ate another vegetable soup container, 200, and then found that my fairy godmother who had been over earlier looking in on the cat had left a pot of beans on the stove, with beans including lentils, black beans, kidney beans, lima beans, etc., stirred with a little bbq sauce and some ginger black bean sauce, no added fat. 1/2 cup of that... not sure on the calories on that because I'm away from my software. 1/2 cup of beans? Anyone, anyone? At least it was a little protein. Glass of red wine, 85 calories.

You guys can tell me where I was on my target after you fill in the calorie count on 1/2 cup of those beans.

Not bad for a super crazy day when I'm out of all my good staples. Too high carb, too low protein (a typical refrain for me) but not far from target and lots of good veggies, beans, etc.

Today is running around again! I ate another 1/2 of the bean stew for breakfast, took my four mile walk (iced coffee, black, nothing in it) and am now about to run around getting ready for the move. I'm technically taking today off, which means that I'll work from my house, car and cell phone instead of my office. It never stops, no matter what.