Amy After

Tips, motivation & advice for a gluten-free lifestyle

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Diet plan overloads and how to go back to the basics.

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amy-after-weight-loss

Atlanta – Yeah Burger!

Oh YEAH, YEAH, YEAH Burger!!!! This is a FABULOUS burger place (but oh so much more than that) located in the Virginia Highlands. They also have a midtown location but I’ve never tried that one.  I’ve dined here about a half a dozen times and each time there has been a very long line, but this place is truly worth the wait.

Everything is prepared with local ingredients and the gluten free person, as well as anyone else, has an infinite number of choices. You can build your burger from beef, bison, turkey, vegan black bean, gluten free veggie, or chicken. And THEY HAVE GLUTEN FREE BUNS!!!!  I don’t know why, with the plethora of gluten free bread choices on the market these days, more restaurants don’t offer this. But I digress…

Just take a look at their menu and I promise you’ll be blown away! My favorite lunch selection is a gluten free veggie burger (the turkey is delicious, too) on a gluten free bun, with roasted garlic aioli, lettuce, tomato, pickles, etc. But they have so many more unusual toppings to choose from you could go every day of the week and never have the same burger twice. And the best part is that they have gluten free truffle parmesan fries, gluten free onion rings and crispy brussels sprouts. Yum!

They have a full bar, salads, hot dogs, desserts and wings too. Sigh….

As a gluten free diner I’m usually prepared to get a stripped down, bland (and bread-less) version of what’s on the menu so this place is and exhilarating place for me to be.  I can have just about anything anyone else is having without feeling  I’m singled out. So yeah, I will absolutely keep going back to Yeah Burger.

http://www.yeahburger.com

Lower Sodium and Faster Metabolism

One Sunday about a month ago I was driving to the airport to catch a flight. It was 6:00am and still dark outside and I pretty much had the road all to myself. I’d been driving for an hour and was getting drowsy so I switched the radio to a station where a holistic nutritionist was being interviewed. This topic perked me up and I sat up straighter and really “tuned” in. I got so into the show that I drove twenty minutes past my exit to the airport! I barely made my flight with only seconds to spare!

What was the topic on the radio that was so interesting, you ask?

Seaweed!

The nutritional expert was pointing out  how crutial it is to ingest enough iodine – as our thyroid glands must have it to give us proper metabolism, energy & elevated mood (among a laundry list of other things, but you know keeping my metabolism going is my first concern!) I have not used iodized table salt in long time and it tastes disgusting to me now. I switched to sea salt instead which tastes great but has no iodine.  There are some foods which contain some iodine but the best, easiest and most sure way that we are getting enough is with seaweed.

As soon as I got  back into town I went to the health food store and bought a little bottle of Dulse Granules. I sprinkle a little bit of it on my dinner and I’m good! It does taste salty and I can taste that it is seaweed, but I like the flavor very much. And in only one teaspoon there is 220% of the recommended daily allowance of iodine!

The Pound a Day Diet by Rocco Dispirito

I am so very impressed. I really love the premise of this book. And I am also willing to bet that it will make a sizable portion of the American public upset. Rocco’s whole shtick is something he calls, “calorie correcting.” What he means is low calorie. As in 850 calories a day for five days out of the week and then the two remaining days are 1,200 calorie days. He says that if you follow this guideline, paired with about an hour of cardio a day, that you will lose about a pound a day. A POUND A DAY for the duration of your weight loss.

Sign me up. I like it.

The allotted calories are made up of a Mediterranean type of diet:

Tons of Veggies – especially green

Fruits

Olive oil

Whole grains and grain products

Lean Meats, especially fish

 

That sounds totally delicious!

The traditional thinking for most of us is that we need lots of calories – don’t want to slow that metabolism down, do we?  And slow and steady weight loss is best – don’t want to gain it all right back, do we? But Mr. Dispirito cites studies which support that nutritionally supported rapid weight loss is more exciting and keeps people more committed to their weight loss plan.  Then he lays out a moderate maintenance plan which keeps the new weight set point stable, and voila!   I don’t know about you, but if I see the light at the end of the tunnel speedily approaching, I’ll be much less apt to throw in the towel.

I’m anxious to begin – can’t wait to see if I can get the pound a day results!

Burning Fat & Building Muscle on a Rebounder

I have been coming up with all manner of excuses this winter (the winter that will never end) for not walking outside. And as a Tracy Anderson devotee I thought I’d try one of the tools she advocates in some of her workouts – the rebounder. I ordered an Urban Rebounder from one of the home shopping networks. It was about $100 and they even broke it up into three pymts so it was painless. It was easy to put together and seems to be good decent quality.

The first few days I just walked and bounced around a bit for, maybe 5 – 10 minutes tops. Oh My Gosh. I absolutely could not believe it when the next day I was actually sore! And I was sore in the strangest places – the muscles along my spine were even sore. And I was thrilled that the muscles on the back of my thighs were feeling it too! It is amazing to me that just having some fun for a few minutes on this incredible mini trampoline can actually build muscle and burn calories at a terrific rate.

There’s tons of info on the internet if you search “benefits of rebounding” that I believe now to be completely true. The calories burned are compared to jogging more so than walking without all the damage done to your joints. So many tiny muscles which usually lay dormant are awakened because you are having to keep your balance while jumping around.

So if you want to try out a rebounder just set it up in front of your tv and every day or so while you are watching a show just spend 5 – 30 minutes:

  • Doing jumping jacks
  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Twisting
  • Shuffling backward/forward & side to side

and voila! You are burning an impressive amount of calories, having fun and building muscle, which helps lower your body fat percentage.

 

Mmmm….. Smells Like Fresh Baked Bread!

Want to know about a “food” that has changed my life? I don’t know if you call it a food or a supplement but I LOVE IT!!!

It tastes salty and cheesy, and smells like bread baking in the oven. I sprinkle it on veggies, on pasta, in my soup and on top of popcorn! It’s called Nutritional Yeast and yes, the name sounds incredibly unappetising, I know. But I’m telling you, you have got to try this stuff.  The one I use is by KAL.

Various tidbits:

  • Gluten Free
  • Vegan
  • Made in the US
  • Non GMO
  • Low sodium
  • Inexpensive – $12.00 for about 30 servings.

And here’s my absolute favorite part – It has from between 150% – 820% of the recommended daily allowance of all the different B vitamins!!!! You know, the vitamins that give you tons of energy! People go to the doctor to get vitamin B-12 shots for energy and metabolism and this stuff has 720% of B-12 in just three tablespoons!!! In fact, I just had my annual check up and the doctor even remarked about how much B-12 showed up in my bloodwork. I thought that was hysterical!

WARNING: You can have too much of a good thing.  I’ve been adding a couple of tablespoons to my food every day for the past few months without any problems at all (except becoming practically addicted to it!) So the other night I was sprinkling some into my Tomato Basil Soup when I decided that if a little tastes so delicious then a lot will be that much better. So I dumped a ton of the yeast into my soup. It dissolved and was indeed, scrumptious. After licking my bowl clean I started feeling kind of itchy. I looked down at my arms and they were bright red and covered with hives! Same with my stomach.

I used to have allergic reactions to beef, back in my red meat eating days so I knew to take my Benadryl immediately. Then I Googled “nutritional yeast hives” and a bunch of hits came up people who had eaten too much and had the same reaction as I had. I was fine an hour later but had to back off of my overzealous yeast consumption. Now I’m back to a couple of tablespoons a day and it’s all good.

If you need some ideas on ways to try it, just let me know! And if you have your own favorite dishes using nutritional yeast then please share them.

Here a Diet, There a Diet, Everywhere a Darned Diet!

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Will somebody please tell me the truth?!?!?!?

The Atkins Diet – Protein & fat w/ low carb veggies.

The Dukan Diet – Protein & NO fat/low carb veggies on alternating days.

The Mediterranean Diet - Plenty of veggies, fruits, whole grains & fish.

Vegan – Vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains and soy.

The Zone – Combining an exact ratio of protein, fat and carbs at every single meal to control blood sugar.

Vegetarian – Everything except animal protein.

Pescatarian - A vegetarian who eats fish.

Weight Watchers – Anything and everything in reasonable amounts – budgeted as an allowance type of system.

Meal Delivery Systems – Highly processed in very small portions, usually extremely high in sodium.

You are probably familiar with most or all of these. I have fully committed to each and every one of these over the years with results that were all over the map. Some made me sick, some made me feel a whole lot better but didn’t help me lose weight, but taking certain parts from each and every one of them helped me lose 175lbs.

Each approach has devout followers. Each one has many success stories.  But what about you? Which one is the one for you?

What is your own personal largest obstacle to achieving weight loss?

If it’s blood sugar related – which is extremely common – then I highly suggest reading The Zone, by Dr. Barry Sears. I’ve kept the principles of that book with me for over the last 10 years and know that no matter what plan I’m following, I use those tools to keep my blood sugar rock solid. Because of that book I kept my hypoglycemia (pre-diabetes) from actually becoming diabetes.  The Zone  principals are worth their weight in gold.

If it’s portion control related -  I would suggest something like Weight Watchers, where you have to pay really close attention to the volume of your food. You learn to take note of calories and serving sizes and what an appropriate amount of food really looks like. There are also all of the pre measured plans that take away all the work on your part, such as Jenny Craig. This feature is nice but you have to be very careful as the more processed the food the less nutrients you are getting. Yes you’ll lose weight, but you may also become a bit malnourished too. If your food has a shelf life of a Twinkie – it’s really not good.  Ideal Protein is a plan which originated in France and is a mostly pre measured plan but I think it’s one of the healthiest ones out there if you want to get serious and get those extra lbs off.

After having lived spans of my life on every one of these – I’ve learned how to take the parts from each and customize a plan that works for me (keeping each of them gluten-free, of course).  You will learn what makes your body thrive; which types of foods give you energy while making you lean and healthy.  You’ll also learn that different parts of your life call for different plans. That’s a good thing! It’s fun to keep fine-tuning your foods to keep reaching better and better levels of health and well-being.

 

Green Coffee Bean Extract – Put to the Test

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I just saw on t.v. that everyone is buzzing about Green Coffee Bean Extract supplements.  It seemed interesting and I immediately got online and started doing a bit of research. I went to http://www.bodybuilding.com and read what various members were saying about this supplement. It seems as though the more popular nutritional “stacks” the hard core fitness buffs use have been including this ingredient in their products for some time. Only now that the mainstream culture is seeking this out are the companies promoting the green coffee more prominently.

It looked like around 90% of the entries were positive! I read over and over that when the extract was taken from 800mg – 1200mg per day people were noticing more alertness, stamina without the caffeine jitters and most importantly weight loss without any change in diet or exercise! Woo Hoo!!!

Of course no one should forsake eating healthy foods and keeping the ole body moving for taking a pill. But….. if taking a few supplements can accelerate my results then bring em’ on!

I’m on my way now to my local health food store to score my first bottle of this exciting supplement!  There are about eight weeks until the new year and I would love to be down about 20lbs by then to be at my best fighting weight. Will the Green Coffee Bean be just the help I’m looking for?

Will keep you posted. I’m off to the store!

UPDATE:

I started taking the pills as directed and I noticed some heart palpitations/a small feeling of heaviness in my chest. Now, I only took the pills for two days and then stopped as this reaction was  – of course – alarming. I intended to stop the pills and then try them again but I just can’t bring myself to take them. The discomfort in my chest stopped when I discontinued the pills and a month later the symptoms never reoccured.

So….. even though it could’ve been a fluke I have decided that green coffee bean extract is not for me. I do, however, continue to take my Red Raspberry Ketones as they give me energy and make me feel great! Don’t laugh, but I call them my “Happy Pills!”

Perfect Skin with a Clarisonic Mia?

Since I had been reading about the Clarisonic facial cleansers and the Clarisonic Mia’s for a couple of years now, I decided to buy one for myself last holiday season. I delighted in being able to choose between all the beautiful and fun colors that were available and ultimately chose the Berry (bright pink) one.  It came with a sensitive cleaning brush.

My skin is on the oily side, especially in summer, and I have been battling the cursed hormonal breakouts along my jawline for decades. I was introduced to the idea of using a skincare “system” back in the day as a nineteen year old when I attended my first Mary Kay party. No matter which brand I have used since that time I always used the designated products for:

  1. Cleansing
  2. Toning
  3. Spot Treatment (if necessary) or Masking
  4. Moisturizing

Everyone I’d spoken to who was using a Clarisonic just raved about theirs. This was so exciting – combining the hope of clearer skin with having a new toy! Well…

I used the Mia every morning and every night with my cleanser. I would first remove my makeup with cleanser and a washcloth and then put more cleanser on my face and use the Mia. I eliminated the toning step as I didn’t want to irritate my skin and kept up the remaining steps as usual. I was super surprised at how my face reacted! It got really, really dry.

Sahara Desert territory

But my breakouts started clearing up too! Hurray for Mia!!!! I switched to using the pure Argan oil I’d bought in Morocco instead of my usual moisturizer and everything evened out.  The brush head is supposed to be replaced every three months so I did switch to the normal one and I really can’t tell any difference between the two.  So to recap my results -

90% clearer skin

80% less oily

100% success!!!!!!

UPDATE: 8 Months Later

I am still using my Mia every day. Sometimes I use it at night only when I need to remove every trace of makeup. I am diligent about replacing the cleansing head every three months and to dry it completely after each use (to keep it from getting that musty odor) and I am still thrilled with my Clarisonic Mia. I still get minor breakouts due to hormones but it’s so much better than it’s been ever before. I LOVE it when something performs exactly as it is advertised.

 

Day 5 of 30 Day Challenge

It takes 3 days for the body to adjust to a new behavior, or kick an old one.  It also takes that length of time to burn up all the stored glycogen in the muscles and get into ketosis. Then (hooray!) you’re in fat burning mode! This is the 5th day of being in ketosis for me and I have lost 5lbs so far. I’ve been taking a daily walk which is usually about 45 minutes long.  I’ve got 14.5 lbs more to lose and 25 days left in my self imposed challenge. So far so good…

Current Weight: 139.6

Body Fat: Still too chicken to check

Goal Weight: 125

Goal Body Fat: 16%

 

Day 1 of 30 Day Challenge

I got out of  bed at 5:30 this morning, got dressed in my walking clothes and headed out the door, anxious to begin my new routine.  I was about to learn many new things…

  • It’s very cold outside at 5:30am – even though the temp will soon hit 90.
  • It’s extremely dark despite an almost full moon still high in the sky.
  • The entire cast of “Where the Wild Things Are” live along my street.
  • Deer get surprisingly hostile when disturbed during the wee hours of the morning.
  • Deer make very scary noises when they are disturbed.
  • Deer have been known to attack humans (I saw it on America’s Funniest Home Videos).

After half a lap I went back into the house. I’ll have to walk extra laps tonight to make up for this morning’s cowardice.

Current Weight: 145.2

Current Body Fat: God only knows

Goal Weight: 125

Goal Body Fat: 16%