Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Uber Awesome Roasted Vegetable Cauliflower Pizza ON PLAN!

3 "Lean and Green (TM)" Cauliflower Pizzas. I've taken the more traditional and widely circulated Cauliflower Pizza recipe and modified it to have less carbohydrates, which for ME works better. This would be a "Meatless Option" or Vegetarian, but you can enjoy it even if you do eat meat!
I used 2 different types of pans so you could see the different ways you can make it, but whichever way you choose make sure you divide it into 3 servings.
I like the ease of the Trader Joe's products because it means I don't need to "rice" the cauliflower myself.
1 bag (3.5 cups) Trader Joe's Riced Cauliflower (found in the refrigerated bagged section of vegetables, near the "other" cauliflower).
1 bag Trader Joe's "Light" shredded Mozzarella Cheese
2/3 cup 100% Egg Whites
1 TBSP Trader Joe's Double Concentrated Tomato Paste (in squeezy tube)
1.5 cups dry-roasted sliced vegetables of your choice.
(I chose asparagus, fennel and red peppers)
Dry-roast your "other" vegetables by arranging them on a baking sheet sprayed with Pam Cooking Spray, and also give the tops of the vegetables a quick spray with Pam. Then Broil a few inches from the broiler until they are slightly cooked and blackened. Remove and let cool while you prepare the crust.
In a bowl, combine the riced cauliflower, 2/3rds of the bag of Mozzarella Cheese, and the egg whites. Mix with your hands until fully incorporated.
Spray your pans with Pam. I used a large casserole pan and a "muffin-top" pan. Spread the cauliflower mixture out evenly and as thinly as possible while still maintaining uniformity and having no gaps in coverage.
Bake at 375 for as long as it takes for it to look like the picture. Each oven is different so test it and figure out a time for your particular oven. Remove from oven and let cool enough to "flip" the crust over (so the moist side is on top now). You may need to cut it into portions for the flipping, I used a long spatula. Spread the 1 TBSP of Tomato Paste very thinly and evenly over the top, it is really just to give a little tomato flavor. Top with the rest of the Mozzarella and arrange your vegetables evenly, then return to oven and set to "Broil" until the cheese is melted and begins to bubble a little.
Remove from oven and enjoy 1/3 of the pizza for your Lean and green, let the other 2/3rds cool completely and then store in a ziplock bag in your refrigerator. It will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator.
Find me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/mycoachstacy
For assistance on our program e-mail: mycoachstacy@gmail.com

As Prepared above, 1 serving (1/3rd of recipe) = a full Lean and Green on our program
308 Calories
18g carbs
14g fat
31g protein
5g fiber 

Friday, April 8, 2016

A Lesson About How a "Close Enough" Mentality MAY Be Like Shooting Yourself in the Foot

One of the aspects I have to deal with both in myself and when I counsel people on the program is the thought or attitude that "Close Enough Is Good Enough."

The surprising thing is that this attitude often manifests itself in the Lean and Green Meal, and NOT in the way of OVEREATING or adding TOO much to the Lean and Green meal in terms of protein and/or vegetables, but actually in the way of NOT GETTING ENOUGH nutrition at these designated and highly regulated meals.

First let me dispel with any myths that may be out there that "it really doesn't matter, as long as I'm eating some protein and some veggies I don't need to measure anything.

I will use myself as an example, something that just happened TODAY as a matter of fact, which is why I don't want anyone to think I'm singling them out in reinforcing this message, this recommendation.

I think we all tend to do it at one point or another, and today it nearly cost me my ON PLAN DAY!

I would have THOUGHT I was "100% On Plan" with my day, but not actually BEEN 100% On Plan.

So I purchased some pre-shaped ground-beef patties from Trader Joe's and the serving size on the label said "1 patty = 4 oz"

Ok!  Good to know!  So, my mind reasoned, 1 patty was 4 ounces of ground beef.  That's "Close Enough" to 5 ounces, right?  Too much trouble to go add another 1/4 patty, "close enough is good enough" right?

So I cooked it up.  Then I weighed it out.  Guess how much that "4 oz (uncooked) patty" actually weighed AFTER it was cooked?  It weighed 2.3 ounces.  That's right, 2.3 ounces.

So, first of all, that is LESS THAN HALF of my protein requirement for my Lean and Green.  If I had not weighed the COOKED AMOUNT on a FOOD SCALE I would have never known that.  I would not have known that, in actuality, it took 2.25 fully cooked hamburger patties simply to meet my Lean and Green protein requirement.

Going through the rest of my day THINKING I was ON PLAN would have really messed with my head for several reasons.  Firstly, since I eat my Lean and Green at lunch I likely would have become CRAZY HUNGRY later on in the day, running the risk of eating off plan simply for hunger.  Secondly, even if I stuck it out and remained "on plan" (since I would think I was), my result for the week would be hugely disappointing if I were doing that every day or even a couple times per week because my body would NOT have been getting the adequate nutrition it NEEDED for this program to work the way it is supposed to work.

I could have gone to my health coach as a result (yes I have a health coach too!) and given HER the information that "YES I was 100% on plan this week and didn't lose anything", and now SHE would be trying to trouble-shoot a problem with the incorrect assumption that I had been On Plan.

The moral of this story?  Weigh your Lean portion of  your Lean and Green in the "cooked" weight, and make SURE you are adhering to the guidelines as outlined in the Quick Start Guide.  The program will not work optimally if you are NOT doing this.  The Lean and Green is the ONLY variable in this program.  Here's a tip provided for you on how to get it right so the plan will work optimally, you will lose weight, spare your lean body mass in the process, not be hungry and minimize your cravings.  WEIGH your cooked protein every day on a food scale.

Rinse and Repeat!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Addendum to the "Timing" Blog...the WHY Behind the HOW

In my last blog I talked nuts and bolts, about the WHAT and the HOW, and I did go into a bit of detail about the physiological reason that timing is important (promotes stable blood sugar, keeps the insulin response regulated to promote fat burning, etc), but now I wanted to delve into a bit of the PSYCHOLOGICAL reason that timing is an important Habit of Health to develop.

Most of us, when we start a new health program, begin the program firmly entrenched in a "diet" mentality.  What this means is that, basically, we aren't used to paying much attention to our own self-management and self-care, and now here comes this program which not only controls WHAT we will eat, but WHEN we should eat it.  It's easy to view this as an imposition, or a perceived deprivation of our freedoms, a "restriction" on our behavior and time.

Consequently, we can find ourselves resisting modifying our behavior to fit the plan, and instead attempt to recreate the plan in our OWN image, which, frankly, I gotta tell ya, didn't work well for me and won't work well for anyone attempting it.

How do we modify the timing to fit our unhealthy habits?  Well, we don't eat until noon.  Or we don't remember WHEN we had our first sip of actual WATER when lunch rolls around, so we try to "catch up a bit".  Or how about we simply don't think about the day, we let the day happen TO us instead of US happening on our day.  Let's face it, these neglects of taking care of ourselves is what got us to the point we needed a change in the first place, these "seemingly small" unhealthy habits, over time, have led to less-than-desired results in terms of our own health.

So we dive in to the program as we are, with an an unhealthy or "un-sick but not healthy" body and mind to match.  Now, all of a sudden, we resent the fact that we can't have "freedom" in all areas of our eating and our time.  It is a bother.  I mean, really, I HAVE to eat 5 portion-controlled meal replacements AND a weighed and measured lean and green meal, now you're telling me WHEN I HAVE to eat them?

Deprivation.  Imposition.  Restriction. Buzz-kill. Me no wanna!

So that is the "diet mentality" in a nutshell.

Part of working past his diet mentality is making a fundamental decision TOWARDS optimal health.  Making a decision that we will develop healthy habits which, when practiced and mastered over time, will allow us the freedom to live the life we want to live, healthily.  Not just "un-sick", but vibrantly healthy in as much as we are individually capable of health.

Many of us have lived many days in a state of "mindlessness" as regards our own health.  We've kind of simply lived each day and made each decision AS REGARDS OUR OWN HEALTH in a bit of an impulsive way, without much thought to the consequences.  We may be planners in every other area of our lives.  We may be spot on with obligations to other people, our careers, our children, our household, etc but insofar as our OWN self-management goes with health, we haven't really thought about it much or when we have it has always been in an "I really should do this or that or the other thing..." or "I really NEED to do this or that or the other thing..." and maybe we've tried a few things once or twice or a dozen times, but we are always left with resenting the program, the plan, and ultimately the condition of our health because we haven't made an EFFECTIVE INTENTIONAL change towards where we WANT to go.

So back to timing of the meals.  If the thought of a little pre-planning makes you cringe or you feel like it cramps your style, or you simply don't know WHY you are resisting it but you just ARE, then this is an area that I want to give you hope in.

Yes, YOU CAN develop this habit of health, this habit of mindfully fueling your body with what it needs to take you where you want to go in your health.  And don't miss this, because mastery of this seemingly small habit of health is ESSENTIAL if you hope to create optimal health in your own life.

Embrace it, enjoy it, get in to it, think of it as a puzzle or a challenge and know that YES it is POSSIBLE to bring about real change.

And, truly, it is YOU putting on your oxygen mask BEFORE you can assist those around you.

Taking 5-10 minutes at the beginning of your day to plan out what and when you intend to eat is crucial when it comes to success achieving optimal health.  When we DON'T do this, all of a sudden life gets in the way.  All of a sudden we are confused at 4:00 pm because we feel incredibly hungry and tired and brain-foggy and we wonder "Why am I feeling this way? i've been ON PLAN today!"

Have you?  Because the weight-loss portion of our plan is not simply WHAT you are eating, it is WHEN.  It is WHAT, WHEN and HOW with FOOD and it is HOW MUCH and WHEN with water.

If you pre-plan your day with your food and your water, and you set your cell alarms for your eating/drinking times, and you make sure what you need is available when you need it, then I can almost guarantee you won't get that 4:00 pm "Danger, danger, Will Rogers" time where we always feel our "willpower" has evaporated and we dive into whatever presents itself next, OFF PLAN.

Taking a few minutes in the morning to develop the healthy habit of planning your day with regards to your food/water intake, and then following the plan you developed, is vital to success not only in the weight-loss portion of our plan, but also in the Transition and Maintenance phases, because Maintenance is simply a continuation of the healthy habits we've developed, with a little more and different WHAT (food).  But really, in maintenance, it is truly only the WHAT (variety and amount of food) which is expanded.  Maintenance is simply an extension of the healthy habits we've developed in the weight-loss phase.

If we don't master this skill, maintenance is extremely difficult because we simply snap back to what we were doing before we went on the program.  We don't eat until noon.  We don't drink water until 2:00 pm after we've finished the pot of coffee we nursed all morning.  We don't TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES and our needs, because we didn't learn how to do that in the weight-loss phase of our program.

What does "mastery" look like?  Well, if it took you 1/2 hour to organize your schedule for eating/drinking water on the first day you tried it, then after a few weeks of practice and getting into the habit of doing it, it may now take you only 5 minutes.  FIVE minutes!  But it is being intentional and writing it down which is so important, you are putting your health FIRST before getting on with the rest of your day.

As Obese or Overweight individuals, we never did that before!  It is a new habit of health that will benefit us getting where we want to go!  And it IS exciting!

I overcame my initial resistance to planning my day and am now thoroughly enjoying the few minutes it takes for me to do that!  Sometimes I even do it the night BEFORE so it is set for the next day, and I LOVE how it focuses me intentionally on HEALTH each day.  When I am focused on HEALTH for even a few minutes each day, and write it down, I find I am much more likely to remain on plan for that day.  I find that what I would have previously considered a "temptation" is no longer even a temptation!  Therefore, "will-power" is not necessary, so if I run out of "will-power" at 4pm so what?  In fact, I never feel like I run out because it isn't ABOUT will-power firstly, and secondly I haven't had to white-knuckle it for most of the day and be exhausted mentally by 4pm.  The healthier choice becomes the easiest choice for me, actually, so "will-power" is not necessary because I'm not fighting against myself all day.  I am simply cruising along in my day, not noticing the bottles of red wine at the grocery store, not giving the muffins in the display case at Whole Foods a second glance, so there is no need to fight any desires to HAVE any of those things.  It truly is magical what happens when you IMPLEMENT eating on plan and on schedule, including water!

What seemed like an imposition on my freedoms at the beginning of my "diet" are now the fuel to my fire, the habits of my health. Mindfulness.  Intentionality.  Taking the time to take care of myself.  It isn't a BURDEN, it is a JOY! Rinse and Repeat.

Does "Timing" REALLY Matter?

So with regard to "meal spacing" this an element of the 5&1 Program that is SO important to "get right" because it deals directly with keeping our blood sugar/insulin response levels stable throughout the day. I know a lot of emphasis is put on "what" to eat, but I'd like to shift the focus for today from "what" to "when".
Let's simply ASSUME that you have the "what" nailed down, because of course this is the first element of the program that we have to pay attention to and get RIGHT. And by RIGHT I mean that if we aren't adhering to the "WHAT" aspect, then the "WHEN" doesn't matter, the program won't work. But let's assume we have the "WHAT" mastered, which is WHAT to eat (sticking to the Quick Start Guide and the expanded Condiment and Healthy Fat publication, with NO MODIFICATIONS).
NEXT we need to master the "WHEN" because both the WHAT and the WHEN contribute mightily to keeping our insulin response/blood sugar levels stable throughout the day, which promote fat burning. If our insulin response/blood sugar levels drop too LOW (waiting more than 3 hours to eat your next meal) then a whole cascade of hormones begin to be released in your body which PROMOTE FAT STORAGE AND ENERGY CONSERVATION. This is completely the opposite of what we want to happen, and you don't want your body and your hormones messing up your otherwise on-track and on-plan day, do you? 

smile emoticon
So the WHEN.
The Program recommends eating your first meal within 1 hour of waking. Not 2 hours, not 3 hours, not "I forgot to eat this morning so I'll make my first meal at noon and eat every 2 hours until bedtime".
After your first meal, space every meal after that every 2.5-3 hours beyond that first meal.
This is my schedule for today, which I worked out with a few minutes of intentional thought and pre-planning while I was eating my oatmeal (because I had the time of my first meal set).
I happened to get up at 7:30, so I had my Medifast Maple/Brown Sugar oatmeal with a cup of coffee around 8:00 am. I plan the rest of my meals as I'm eating my breakfast, because my actial breakfast varies based on the time I woke up.
So, I jotted down on a sticky-note the timing of the rest of my meals:

  8:00 am - Medifast Maple/Brown Sugar Oatmeal

10:30 am - Medifast Banana Shake 
  1:00 pm - Lean and Green 

  4:00 pm - Medifast Chocolate Shake 

  6:30 pm - Medifast Brownie Soft Bake 

  9:00 pm - Medifast Orange Blend Drink

At this point, I think about my day, my errands and activities, and decide where a little advance-action may be necessary. For example, I have my Advanced Therapeutic Diets class at ASU's Downtown Campus which starts at 4:30 pm, so I usually leave around 3:15. This means that my 4:00 pm meal will need to be pre-made and taken with me.
Sometimes I make adjustments to my food log if this isn't feasible, which is where the flexibiliy comes in. I may, for example, choose to swap out the Chocolate Shake with a Ready-to-Drink Chocolate shake for ease and convenience, or choose to change it to another type of portable meal such as a bar. If I do that, I'll alter my food log and make that decision first thing, or else alter my food log before I go to bed to accurately reflect what happened that day.
Today, however, I will simply prepare my shake with lots of ice in advance and take it with me in the TSFL Shaker Jar to drink on the road.
Lastly, I'll set my cell-phone alarms today to coincide with my mealtimes. For me, the program is like my "medicine" and I don't want to miss my dose or get the timing wrong, so this is important and allows me to "forget" about it until the alarm goes off. If I'm going out for the day, I'd just take all the packets with me, or if I was having the brownie make it in advance and put it in a ziplock bag with a plastic fork or spoon.
Timing is super-important on this plan. Not only does it mediate the insulin response/blood sugar control that will keep me NOT hungry, NOT craving, clearheaded and burning FAT all day, but it will also ensure that I don't get "brain fog" in the afternoon because I've gone too long without food (or water) and leave me prone to making a decision that will not work towards my health goals.
This comes from experience. I've been "stranded" without adequate food and water enough times where plans change and a few additional errands or obligations pop onto my schedule to KNOW that it is NOT WORTH IT to NOT be prepared and intentional. I don't want to be a "slave" to the program in the way where I can't be impulsive, or turn a 2-hour "garage sale morning" into a 5 hour "garage sale morning" if I want to. SO, I can still be flexible and adjust me "out and about" schedule if I want if I have put some thought into my day, and if I have a "GO-BAG" in my car or purse at all times.
A Go-Bag is a gallon-sized ziplock bag which has 5 portable Medifast Meals in it (bars, puffs, bites, or pretzels) at ALL times, and a couple of 500 ml bottles of water. This is in my trunk ALWAYS and I utilize it when "life happens" and it still allows me to eat ON-TIME and ON-SCHEDULE no matter what life throws at me in any given day.
Again, experience has taught me that. I want to protect my plan, protect my goals and dreams, and so you will never hear me say "well I got caught out unexpectedly for much longer than I thought I was going to be so I was starving and just HAD to get something (not on plan)." Well, I can't say NEVER, sometimes I do forget to put my GO-BAG in my trunk after replenishing it, just like I lose track of my keys some days. It isn't intentional LOL.
But the times I have been caught out and had to sacrifice my plan's "WHEN" (timing of meals or water) have been drastically reduced since putting the GO-BAG into practice.
I also drink 90 ounces of water per day, at a minimum. I have a 48 oz water bottle that I fill up in the morning at breakfast with 2 Medifast Calorie-Burn Strawberry-Lemonade Flavor infusers, and I make sure to drink half of it by 10:00 and the other half by Noon. I then fill it up with ONLY water and a bunch of ice and work on that for the rest of the afternoon. Many times I'll finish it by 4:00 because it is ALWAYS with me, and I'll fill it up yet again for a total of 144 ounces (or a little over a gallon). It's important to drink your water throughout your day also, and tomorrow I'll explain WHY you want to keep yourself hydrated throughout your day.  

Rinse and Repeat!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Why Do I Get Lightheaded Sometimes When Starting the Program?

I don't claim to be the expert-of-all experts about this topic, but I do see it now and again where someone gets a little "lightheaded" when they quickly go from sitting to standing in the first few days of starting our program.

And, of course, I do have an opinion about it!  Given my knowledge of the human body and how it works, and how the program works on our bodies, I have worked up a little theory and I'm happy to share it here!

*Disclaimer: This is not meant as medical advice and should NOT be interpreted as such.  I am not an MD!!!

So here goes:

Here in the USA we are VERY used to eating high amounts of sodium pretty much every day.  If you are used to eating fast-food, processed-food (in the form of convenience items like macaroni-and-cheese, crackers, chips, you get the idea) or anything from a restaurant, you are likely EXCEEDING the recommendation for daily sodium intake which is as follows:

"The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for sodium is 1,500 mg/day for people 19-50 years of age, 1,300 mg/day for people 51-70 years of age, and 1,200 mg/day for people >70 years of age. The Upper Level for sodium intake for adults is 2,300 mg/day."

Now THAT is what is RECOMMENDED.  However, as Americans, according to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) the following is the reality:

"The average daily sodium intake for Americans is 3,400 milligrams per day, an excessive amount that raises blood pressure and poses health risks. In general, Americans should limit daily sodium consumption to 2,300 milligrams, but this is an upper safe limit, not a recommended daily allowance."

SO, let's do the math here.  The average American eats WELL OVER MORE THAN TWICE the amount of sodium that it is recommended for us to eat, and more than 1000 mg MORE than what is considered the "upper safe limit" for adults. 

Add this to the fact that many of us, before starting the program, do NOT drink enough water per day, so we are always walking around in a bit of a semi-dehydrated state. 

That is the state that many people BEGIN our program in, think "WAY too much sodium (in the form of salt usually) and WAY NOT ENOUGH WATER.

Now lets briefly talk about the kidneys, those amazing organs which maintain electrolyte balance (sodium is an electrolyte) in our blood.  Up until we start the program, our kidneys are used to handling LOTS AND LOTS of sodium because we eat LOTS AND LOTS of sodium, and it is also used to handling that sodium on a minimum amount of available water.

Enter:  Our Plan.

Our plan meets the DRI for sodium intake, and doesn't surpass the maximum safe upper limit, so BAM right away your sodium intake goes from WAY WAY TOO MUCH to JUST RIGHT.  In addition to that, for those who don't like water, don't drink water, never think about water begin to.....DRINK the "right" amount of water.

The kidneys can adjust SUPER FAST to these dietary changes, and they do just fine responding to the new healthier eating/drinking.  In fact, they will LOVE the changes! However, in the process of adjusting the this new, healthier circumstance we have put our bodies in, especially in the first couple of days of starting the program, it is possible to get a bit of a head rush when you stand up too fast, likely due to the "lots-more-water-lots-less-sodium" it has to work with.  It has to adjust to this new equilibrium, and will begin to re-concentrate MORE of the LESS sodium you are eating (instead of LESS of the TOO MUCH sodium you are eating) back into your blood to maintain the right electrolyte balance.

The answer to this is NOT "Oh My Gosh This Program Is Unsafe And Doing Something Weird To My Body!"  The answer to this is very simple.  To aid in the transition to healthier eating, if you feel lightheaded at all, eat a dill pickle spear, drink a cup of Bouillon (NOT low-sodium), or put a little extra salt on your Lean and Green.  Powerade Zero is also a great stand-by for this situation.

Capiche?  I hope this helped!