Amy After

Tips, motivation & advice for a gluten-free lifestyle

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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!

healthy-breakfast-thumb

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

coffee-thumb

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%

 

Is Indoor Rock Climbing Fatal?

I am stressing out about the climbing deadline that’s looming. Climbing outdoors, 5,000 miles away from home… I took off to the rock wall gym and having learned the hard way, warmed up and stretched first before getting on the wall. I was top roping on a 5.6 level which is the easiest level. That was fun! I’d just grab and step on all the holds and trek on up to the top. Fun! Unfortunately, I have to climb more than several grades harder to even think about going outdoors to climb.

I know that I’m doing it all wrong, I can feel it (and others telling me so is also a clue) and it’s making me panic! I MUST become a competent rock climber. I want it so badly!!! I decided that it’s time to get professional help. A couple of weeks ago while at the climbing gym I witnessed a women who obviously knew her stuff (she also had COACH emblazoned on her shirt) teaching a couple of teenaged girls how to boulder. I liked her manner and stayed until she was done teaching her lesson to ask her if she could possilbly help me. When I told her that I was an absolute beginner and that I wanted to be climbing outdoors in just a few months I braced myself for reaction of shock and disbelief. To her credit she just smiled and said it was indeed, possible. I can’t tell you the wave of relief and excitement that went through me. I trusted her and she had full confidence that I could actually become a real live rock climber.

I nervously met with my new coach, Emily, last week. She asked me some questions; did I have siblings, what was my favorite meal, was I better at math or English in school… She uses all this in fine tuning her teaching approach with each of her students. Brilliant! First she had me climb an easy wall just to see what good/bad techniques I was already using and then she steered me to an advanced wall with an overhang. I just stood there and stared incredulously. Really? I gracefully freaked out at that point. At her urging I approached the wall and did something to start elevating myself. I think I kind of blacked out at this point because the next thing I remember I was at the beginning of the overhang and the nice gentleman climbing next to me was telling me to breathe. Details, details…

After insisting that Emily lower me down I asked her what the point was of the public humiliation? She said that she wanted to see how I handled a challenging situation. Nailed it! So then we went to the beginners section which is usually swarming with kids but as it was late for a weeknight we had the place to ourselves. She broke the lessons down into the same curriculum she delivers to her five year old students which is exactly what I needed! She gave me drills to do on the kiddie walls over and over and over as my homework so I can build on efficient, solid techniques. Emily is wonderful. I’m squeezing in three climbing practice sessions this week before I see her next so I will hopefully make her proud.

Climb on!

Get Really Skinny on the Ideal Protein Diet

I’m in  my first week of my new “Ideal Protein” diet. I’m feeling really energetic! I know I’ve lost several pounds so far and am anxious to see what my first week’s official loss will be. It’s absolutely amazing how different I feel when I get the excess carbs out of my system. Last weekend (higher carb) I slept late, felt groggy and had little energy. This weekend I woke up early and didn’t feel sleepy or tired all day! The doctor who presented the Ideal Protein plan to me summed it up in a way that was so simple and easy to understand:

We have three “gas tanks” our bodies can get fuel from. The first is carbs & sugar. Our bodies always take it’s fuel from there first. So as long as we are eating grains, fruits, bread and pasta that will be what our bodies run off of – even when we’re working out. The second gas tank our body will go to if there aren’t any carbs and sugars in the body is protein & muscle. This of course is bad, as we need to hang onto our precious muscle! But if we’re getting enough protein from the right sources then the body will get all of it’s energy from the third gas tank, the fat. Makes sense, doesn’t it?  If we are getting relatively low carbs, almost exclusively from non starchy veggies and enough protein (the exact values are different for each person) then we’ll run off of our stored fat. When you begin running off of your body’s fat you start to feel like a new person!

  • More energy
  • Require less sleep
  • Scale moves down quickly
  • Inches lost
  • Ability to think more clearly

These are all of my own personal observations but the effects seem to be standard.

I go back to the doctor to weigh in and find out how my body fat % has changed this week. Very excited to see!