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In my quest for a balanced diet without gluten, dairy or meat I have had quite the time getting enough protein.  As I mentioned in Serving Size I have been cooking a lot of beans.  Thankfully with no repercussions wink Cutting chicken out was tough.  But seriously, I can’t eat it every day and I haven’t eaten red meat in years (on occasion I have had a hamburger and it is DELICIOUS).  I am not cutting out meat intentionally really; I just want to have more options.

Since I track my dietary intake daily I am able to see the effects of my protein deficiency.  When I wake up sore I immediately know before even looking at my Diet Planner that I didn’t eat enough protein yesterday.  When I am sore after my workout – yep, same culprit – I haven’t had enough protein.

Last week I tried a protein drink.  30 grams of protein and the taste is pretty good.  Oddly though it keeps me full in the morning and gets me through my workout, but then in the afternoon I am famished!  I end up eating all my calories by 5 pm.  Not good.  It is sort of strange.  Today I didn’t have a protein drink and my appetite is normal.  I am not sure why this is happening but it is a mystery to be solved.

I have contemplated only drinking the protein drinks and cutting out at least one additional meal, but the drinks have dairy in them and though I will be able to get away with it in the short term, in the long term it will start to hurt my stomach.  So, I am at a crossroads once again.  Which way should I go to balance my diet while getting all the necessary nutrients – and enough protein to build the lean muscle I so desire?  Stay tuned.  This is getting fun now.

Next week I change my exercise routine again – should I go with kettle bells?  Billy Blanks? Wii?  Or should I try an entirely new routine?

Yesterday was Valentine's Day and without a Valentine here it wasn't the best day of the year for me. It's hard not to feel bad.  So I decided I wouldn't work out - give myself a break.  Since January 2nd I had only taken one other day off - I deserved it right?  Wrong.  I had the worst day yesterday. Without excercising I felt like I was dragging all day.  Exercising has made such a difference this year and I guess it's good that now I realize just how much!  It was incredible to notice the huge difference yesterday versus today - I am energetic, happy and raring to go!  I am glad I got back into my routine this year.  It's fun to exercise!  What's your favorite?  Right now I am on a Jillian Michaels kick - 6 weeks with 30 Day Shred and now starting 3 weeks with Banish Fat Boost Metabolism I have to say that the Banish Fat DVD is awesome!  A lot longer than 30 Day Shred and includes a lot of kickboxing which I love.  Give them a try if you haven't already and let me know what you think.

 

I spent the past month cooking my own food (no restaurants – the whole month!) – cooking ANYTHING is very rare for me.  I also started paying attention to nutritional labels and serving sizes.  I had tracked what I ate and drank for a year and a half prior to this adventure, but I learned that reading carefully and noting portion sizes was way more important than I realized.   When I had recorded everything before I had “guessed” on the portion sizes – boy was I off! I had no idea.  Sure I had heard the “deck of cards” reference to the correct serving size of chicken for example, but I had mistakenly used my “guesses” for the calorie counts and hadn’t considered what else had gone into the meal.  For example – was it fried in oil?  How many times have you mindlessly added oil to the frying pan and put in the chicken? Not thinking of the additional calories you are adding to the meal.  One tablespoon of oil (vegetable or olive) = 120 calories.  And then butter – 1 tablespoon = 100 calories.  How many of us use just one tablespoon of butter on a baked potato?

Detailing each ingredient in my diet has taught me so much.  For example, most chicken breasts are 8 ounces, but the serving size is 4 ounces. When I discovered this I was convinced that there was no way I was going to be full with half a chicken breast!  But with a little taco seasoning and 2 corn tortillas fried with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil with a little cilantro on top – it was delicious!  And guess what?  I was full.  An added benefit is that I actually tasted the food! I quickly learned that when I eat a smaller portion, I may not have the familiar “full” feeling but if I wait a few minutes I am just fine.  This was a major finding for me.  Instead of eating more to obtain the feeling I was used to having, I diverted my attention and I felt good. 

The other detail I focused on was sodium.  Wow – that was a wake-up call.  Frozen food and canned food have an astonishing amount of salt.  Not only are the foods not as nutritionally good for you, they are loaded with sodium – some of them have more than the DAILY requirement.  That’s crazy.  I stopped buying anything with over 500 mg a serving.  Amazingly, sometimes that is quite hard.  

I am also learning to cook more items. Cooking a 1 lb. bag of pinto beans cuts down substantially on the sodium, the dangers of canned foods and the cost.  I had tried to make them years ago and it didn’t go well, so I was tentative to try again, but I did and they were fabulous.  So happy that I am taking control of my food choices and creating a lifestyle I can stick with, and one that makes me feel good too!

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