Monthly Archives: January 2010

Diet Friday

Another week of dieting, another 1.6 lbs evaporated into the ether!  That brings me to a grand total of 3.6 lbs lost in 2 weeks on The Belly Fat Cure.

If you’re reading Jorge Cruise’s new diet book, (Jorge doesn’t use the word diet, but I do) you may think this result isn’t too impressive.  After all, it shows pictures of people who lost 8 lbs in the first week!  I will tell you that I am perfectly pleased with the results for several reasons:

  • I am a proponent of slow and steady
  • I have not been hungry
  • I have not been hungy
  • I have not been hungry

Putting it mildly, I’ve had a little bit of an issue over the past few years with hunger.  To be more specific, my appetite has been insatiable.  I can honestly say that there has never been a time in the last few years where I have felt full to the point of not wanting to eat more.  I may have stopped after two pieces of pie, but I definitely wanted to eat the whole pie and I probably would have asked for another one.  So I give myself a pat on the back for having the incredible will power and discipline to stop at the second piece of pie, rather than the second pie!

Last night, something very unusual happened.  Monumental, even.  I forgot to eat dinner.  I was out shopping, having a great time, and by the time I got to the Coach store they were locking the doors.  It was 9:00 pm, and I hadn’t eaten since lunch.  Ordinarily, I would be experiencing a big blood sugar crash by this time, with that weak, shaky feeling.  Nothing.  Nothing but the feeling of, Oh, it’s nine o’clock, I should eat something.  And that, my friends, is a very good feeling.

Here’s something I had for lunch last week:I sauteed some baby spinach and mushrooms in olive oil and garlic, seasoned with a bit of sea salt and pepper, then melted in some provolone cheese .  I wrapped it in a warm garlic and herb low-carb tortilla.  Yum!

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Filed under cooking, diet, Diet Friday, health and wellness, jorge cruise

Would You Eat 15 Cubes of Sugar At Once?

Would you eat 15 cubes of sugar at one sitting?  That’s basically what you’re doing when you order one of these large smoothies from Jamba Juice. And to think I always felt so virtuous when I ordered a liquid lunch from Jamba Juice!   If you’re curious about how many cubes of sugar are in foods you eat, go check out SugarStacks.com today!

Wow!  Check out the sugar in this McDonald’s milkshake!  You can read the nutritional label to find out how many grams of sugar a food item contains, but SugarStacks.com provides an interesting visual by using sugar cubes to show you just how much sugar you’re ingesting.

If we’re eating a Cinnabon, diets and healthy eating probably aren’t our priority at the moment!

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From Deceptive Boardrooms to Closed-Minded Thinking… How The Fatally Flawed Medical System Killed More Americans with Just One Drug than the Entire Vietnam War, Part 1 of 4

This headline caught my eye on Dr. Mercola’s site.  He writes an article about some of his medical predictions that came true, despite being out of step with conventional medicine at the time.  His prediction about the discontinued drug Vioxx really hit home, as I made a similar “prediction” in 2001.  The link is to Dr. Mercola’s article, and my story is below.

via From Deceptive Boardrooms to Closed-Minded Thinking… How The Fatally Flawed Medical System Killed More Americans with Just One Drug than the Entire Vietnam War, Part 1 of 4.

What Nurses Knew About Vioxx

In the winter of 2001/2002, I was a nurse abstractor for a study on Congestive Heart Failure.  My job was to review medical records (charts) of managed care patients who had been hospitalized that year for Congestive Heart Failure (CHF).  The study was being managed by an External Quality Review Organization (EQRO) and our objective in the chart reviews was to discover if the patients had received testing for Ejection Fractions and if so, had they been started on an ACE inhibitor protocol if appropriate, as well as determining if other medication protocols had been adhered to.

It was an interesting study, and it required a meticulous review of one year’s worth of medical records for each selected patient, both inpatient and outpatient.  I have always found these comprehensive chart reviews to be one of the most educational things I have done in nursing.  If you have never had the opportunity to read every word in a year’s worth of medical records, I would encourage you to do so.  You will most likely find a glaring lack of continuity in our healthcare system with very little coordination between hospital admissions, outpatient visits, specialist visits, ER visits, and Rehab admissions.  It’s interesting to track the medication changes with each entity, and notice the complete lack of continuity in that area.  No great surprise that most patients are confused about the meds they are taking and usually are taking them incorrectly!  But I digress into another topic for another day.

While reviewing these CHF charts, I began to notice a rather disturbing trend.  A large percentage of the patients with ER admissions for new onset CHF had recently started on the new NSAID from Merck, Vioxx.  This observation was purely incidental and had absolutely nothing to do with the study.  It just seemed, to my mind, that the connection between Vioxx and CHF was happening too frequently to be coincidental.  I mentioned this to some of my fellow nurse reviewers over lunch, and they concurred.  We started asking other nurses on the project if they noticed this trend, and it didn’t take long before we were all growing quite suspicious of Vioxx.

To make a long story short, a group of nurses reviewing medical records making an inference that there is an association between one of the most prescribed new drugs on the market and adverse cardiac events doesn’t wield a great deal of power and influence in the medical establishment.  When we voiced our concerns to the study manager, she was sympathetic, but reminded us that we were veering away from the purpose of our study.

In the end, the best I could do was to encourage friends to stop taking Vioxx.  It was almost 3 years later, in September of 2004, when Vioxx was pulled off the market.  FDA analysts estimated that Vioxx caused between 88,000 and 139,000 heart attacks, 30 to 40 percent of which were probably fatal, in the five years the drug was on the market.

In healthcare, we have lots of buzz about Evidence-Based Medicine and Outcome Measures.  In the past decade, even more nurses have taken on Quality Management roles and the utilization of nurses in retrospective chart reviews is increasing.  In a perfect healthcare system, we would have nurses reviewing a year’s worth of random patient records and looking for trends.  Nurses are naturals at noticing the details.  I am convinced that if we formed a task force of nurses in each healthcare setting to review patient records and make recommendations based upon what they NOTICE, we would have a greatly improved and more efficient healthcare system.  Probably one of the most frustrating things about nursing is knowing what is wrong and being powerless to do anything about it.  I’m still not sure how we, as a profession, can remedy that.  I remain hopeful that our new nurses will find an answer.

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Diet Friday

After one week on “the diet”, I have racked up a 2 lb weight loss.  I’ll take it.  Especially considering that I have pushed the edge of this dieting envelope.

It hasn’t been difficult to follow the basic premise of Jorge Cruise’s ” Belly Fat Cure” diet, sticking with less than 15 grams of sugar and 6 servings of carbs under 20 grams per day.  Surprisingly, cutting out sugar has been easier than expected.  Keeping the amount of carbs under control has been the biggest challenge.  Technically, 6 servings of 20 grams of carbs per day gives you an allowance of 120 grams of carbs per day.  That’s a lower-than-the-average-American amount of carbs, but definitely not a low-carb diet.  I have pushed that amount right up to the limit.  I’ve had no problem staying under 10 grams of sugar per day.

If I were to follow the suggested weekly menus in Jorge’s book, I figure the calories would be under 1500 per day.  For this first week, I did not restrict my portion sizes at all and ate generous servings.  I like to ease into things.  If I had to restrict portions, cut out sugar and cut out carbs all at once, I would be hungry and miserable.  This week, not only was I NOT hungry and NOT miserable, but I actually had no cravings whatsoever.  Even when I went into the grocery store at 5:00 pm, the time when they happen to be baking fresh loaves of French bread, I was not tempted by the wafting aroma.  And nothing can get me going quite like fresh baked bread.  I’ve been know to polish off half a loaf of hot bread just driving home in the car!

I have indulged myself with almond butter and sugar-free jam on sprouted grain bread.  I’ve had a few squares of dark chocolate almost daily, as well as some small glasses of wine.  I’ve made chili with black beans and light beer.  I may still be running on post-holiday sugar overload, but I really haven’t missed it nearly as much as I thought I would.  I would hardly call this deprivation.

I do have an anecdotal theory that the faster you lose weight, the faster you find it again.  While it’s lost, it usually finds some of its fat friends and bring them home, too.  I’m perfectly content to lose a pound a week.  The way that I have eaten this week, with a little more fat than usual, I was surprised just to see the scale go down instead of up.  I had considered cutting back my carbs a bit for faster results, but I think I’ll just do what I have done for the next week.  As they say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

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The Preemie Experiment: Should the Cost of Saving a Preemie…

I discovered an interesting blog written by the mother of 2 children who were both preemies in the NICU.  It is called “The Preemie Experiment” and it gives an interesting perspective on the challenges faced by the families of NICU grads.  We all cheer when a “million dollar baby” , born at 24 weeks gestation, goes home from the NICU.  Unfortunately, it is not always a “happily ever after” fairytale ending for the family.  They are often left with ongoing medical costs and struggle with care issues.  In the worst cases, they are left with childen who will be dependent on them forever, and have to face the issues of what will happen to them after they are gone.  This blogger tells it like it is.  She loves her children immensely and is completely focused on their well-being, but she doesn’t pull any punches about how difficult and challenging it can be.

This post caught my attention because of the current debate we are having on the costs associated with healthcare. 

The Preemie Experiment: Should the Cost of Saving a Preemie….

This was the comment I made on the above post:

Interesting subject. I’m a former NICU nurse and at one time believed that everything possible should be done for every baby over 24 weeks gestation. Then I started working in home care and after viewing life from the family’s perspective, started to feel differently. The cost should be viewed not simply in financial terms, but the overall cost to the family’s total resources. That said, I think that very few working in neonatology have a clear view of what the ongoing costs will be to the family.
I don’t think our society should ever dictate who should and shouldn’t have babies . . . but I do think the ultimate decision about resuscitation of a premie should be an informed decision made by the parents themselves.

A neonatolgy fellow that I worked with some years ago was having contractions at 26 weeks. She said that if she delivered, she did not want her baby resuscitated. The hospital told her that would not be possible, they would have to do a full resuscitation. She and her husband rented a house in the desert where she planned to deliver away from medical attention.

Parent who are at high risk of a very premature delivery should be fully educated about the possible outcomes and be able to make an informed decision about what they want done. If they want everything done, then it should be done; if, however, they choose to let nature take its course, that wish should be respected.

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Meaty Cheesy Pasta Bake

Ha!  You saw the title and thought that I had already thrown in the chips on this diet thing, didn’t you?  O Ye of little faith, I am still true to the plan.  It’s good to be on the type of diet where you can cook for both yourself and your non-dieting husband and he doesn’t have to sacrifice.  ( If you have any questions about that, ask my husband about the time I made lasagna with tofu sausage.  Not a good day.) 

Tonight I made a meaty, cheesy pasta bake that I adapted from a recipe in “The Belly Fat Cure” diet book.  With only 2 grams of sugar and 2 servings of carbs, it is on the diet.  When my husband tasted it, he said “Now this is what Hamburger Helper SHOULD have been!”  I’m pretty sure that was a compliment.

Here is a picture of the dish before I put the cheese on top and put it in the oven to bake:

And here it is after the cheesy goodness is added and a few minutes under the broiler:

I’ll give you the recipe I used, then I’ll tell you what I’m going to do next time to make it even better.

Meaty Cheesy Pasta Bake

  • 4 cups cooked Barilla Plus Penne Pasta
  • 1 Cup Seeds of Change Romano Cheese Pasta Sauce
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 lb lean ground beef, cooked (I use Laura’s Lean Ground Beef)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used an Irish white cheddar)
  • 2 slices provolone cheese, torn into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, mix together sauce and chicken broth and bring to simmer; add cooked ground beef and simmer for 5 minutes; adjust seasoning with salt and pepper; remove from heat

Mix the cooked pasta with the meat sauce and pour into a 9×11 baking dish; top with cheeses.  Broil until cheese is melted and browned. (About 5 minutes).

Note:  This was very good, but I would like something a bit thicker and creamier to bind it together.  Next time, I am going to add some sour cream to the mixture before putting the cheese on; I’ll let you know if it does the trick!

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Diet Friday

I’ve never liked the word diet, but I dislike all the other diet euphemisms even more.  Program, eating plan, lifestyle choice . . . it all means diet, so that is the word I’m going to use.

I’m on a diet.  There, I said it.  I have been on a diet since Monday, and I started some aspects of the diet on Saturday.  My diet du jour is based on Jorge Cruise’s new book, “The Belly Fat Cure”.

As far as diets go, this is not exactly my first rodeo, so to speak.  I have probably tried every diet ever published (and some unpublished) since the 1980’s.  Strangely enough, I’ve never had massive amounts of weight to lose–just the same 15 pounds over and over.  Now, I want to lose 25.  I have been at about the same weight for close to 3 years, and have been on Weight Watchers 3 times.  Although I lost 5 pounds on WW, it was tough and I was hungry.  As you get older, WW allows fewer and fewer points.  Not fair!  I figured I was eating about 1200 calories per day.  Technically, if all is true about calories and weight loss, I should have lost more.  Interestingly, I can eat as much as I want of whatever I want and not gain any more weight, but cutting my calories really wasn’t causing me to lose weight, either.

The basic formula in the BFC (Belly Fat Cure) is to stay at 15 grams or less of sugar per day, and 6 carbohydrate servings of 20 grams or less per day.  Now, I really hate low carb diets.  They make me cranky and they make me obsess about food constantly.  I’m not a big meat eater.  I like carbs.  So I had to find something that didn’t have a drastic carb-free induction period.  Otherwise, someone might get hurt.

I’m happy to say that I have made it throught the first five days without hurting anybody, myself included.  Giving up my beloved Diet Coke has not been too difficult thanks to my daily Zevia diet soda, sweetened with stevia.  Tastes great, and it’s guaranteed to lighten your wallet quicker than any other diet soda out there!  : )  Seriously,  it was $5.99 per six-pack at my local small town health food store.  Yikes!  I’m going to check around and see if I can find any better prices.

This week I have indulged in a glass of wine, cheese and dark chocolate.  (Perfectly legal on this program!)  I have not been hungry and haven’t thought too much about food.  It really has not been hard. 

As for results, I can only tell you how I feel as I did not weigh myself before I started.  I’m one of those people who can get obsessed with scale numbers, so I try to weigh myself as little as possible.  I did weigh myself Tuesday morning just to have some idea of a baseline.  I definitely feel that my waist is trimmer, and I am starting to get in touch with my ribcage again.  I hope next week I can say Hello to my hipbones!

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