Week in Review

My in-laws have been out of town on vacation and in the past week, we’ve realized we rely on them way more than we ever realized. They take P to school and pick him up every day, which is a huge help and we don’t have to send him to before or after-school care. It also means we can leave for work whenever we need to, which especially matters when you have court and a class to teach.

Anyway, we’ve survived with the help of friends and my mom, who arrived at our house at zero dark thirty on Thursday so G could make it to court an hour away. I was long gone by then as I leave the house at 5:45. V picked P up on Monday, he went to after-school care on Tuesday, and went home with the Fs on Wednesday and Thursday, and W took him to school twice. It seriously takes a village!

I took Friday off and enjoyed a coffee date with some friends and we took the kids to the park to enjoy what I assume is the last of the good weather this fall. A has given up napping (at least for me) and while I was exhausted after multiple nights up with him trying to get him to sleep in his toddler bed, we all managed to make it through the afternoon running errands and going to swimming lessons without naps.

Tonight we went to a Lego build event at our local Barnes & Noble. The boys loved it and I loved it because it was free.

I have a side job I’m doing for a couple weeks after the kids are asleep, so instead of reading or watching TV like I normally do on Saturday night, I’m planning to work for a few hours. But $ is $, and I have my eye on a Vitamix. (Hint, hint Santa!)

Weight loss update: -23 pounds! Yay me!


Eat to Live 5-Day Food Diary

What does a nutritarian eat? I decided to keep a food diary for a few days to give readers a sense of what my food choices entail, and the results were not surprising, at least to me. My food is very, very boring, and I repeat meals constantly. In the last few months, I’ve found favorite food combinations and have stuck to those, mostly because the meals listed below are not complicated, don’t have a lot of ingredients, and don’t take a lot of energy. However, some of these meals take over an hour to make, simply because of the time required to bake zucchini, tofu, sweet potatoes, etc. in the oven.

As you can see, I can’t live without baked tofu, no-oil peanut sauce, eggs, coconut water, frozen bananas, and quinoa.

Day One

  • Breakfast: coffee sweetened with honey; banana; hard boiled egg
  • Lunch: sweet potato and lentil soup; apple slices
  • Dinner: salad with mixed greens, cucumber, avocado, sunflower seeds, and craisins topped with pico de gallo; fried rice made with mushrooms, broccoli, tofu, peas, eggs, and leftover brown rice; and roasted sweet potato slices seasoned with no-salt seasoning, baked on parchment paper at 415 degrees for 45 minutes and flipped once

Day Two

  • Breakfast: coffee sweetened with honey and milk; hard boiled egg; fruit smoothie made with coconut water, frozen banana, and frozen berries
  • Lunch: salad with mixed greens, black and kidney beans, olives, topped with corn salsa; baked tofu topped with peanut sauce
  • Dinner: popcorn sprinkled with nutritional yeast; apples and peanut butter

Day Three

  • Breakfast: coffee sweetened with honey and milk
  • Brunch: Super Antioxidant Salad at Cheesecake Factory (dressing on the side)
  • Dinner: leftover tofu water sautéed with zucchini and mushrooms, served with quinoa and peanut sauce; salad with mixed greens, grapes, cucumber, Honeycrisp apples, and slivered almonds

Day Four

  • Breakfast: smoothie made with coconut water, frozen banana, frozen cherries, and frozen peaches; hard boiled egg
  • Lunch: salad with mixed greens, grapes, and cucumber; apple and peanut butter
  • Dinner: salad with mixed greens, grapes, cucumber, and slivered almonds; roasted sweet potato slices; baked tofu

Day Five

  • Breakfast: black coffee; smoothie made with coconut water, frozen banana, and frozen mixed berries
  • Lunch: Baja Fresh salad made with lettuce, tomatoes, and black beans (it also had small amounts of cheese and tortilla chip pieces, but since it was free at work, I didn’t care); carrots and hummus
  • Dinner: quinoa bowl with water sautéed mushrooms and broccoli, baked tofu, and peanut sauce; salad with butter lettuce, dates, cucumbers, and walnuts

If you’re looking for more creative meal ideas that conform (or mostly conform and easily modified) to the nutritarian food guidelines, check out Hello Nutritarian, Cookie & Kate, Run Fast Eat Slow, Minimalist Baker, the Conscientious Eater, Pinch of Yum, in pursuit of more, Vegan Food by Nina, Naturally Ella, and Love & Lemons.


Eat to Live Q & A

Happy Friday, everyone! Thanks to everyone who has congratulated me on my weight loss progress, and based on the follow-up questions I’ve received, a lot of you have the same questions about how I’m losing weight, so I thought it’d be helpful to post some answers here. And feel free to contact me if you have more questions after reading this post.

Q. What diet plan are you following? 

A. It’s called Eat to Live, a food plan also referred to as nutritarian. I’ve tried to stop referring to it as a diet, because to me that implies it’s temporary. I’m choosing to follow the food choices recommended in the Eat to Live book for the long term. However, I’ve made a few modifications that make the plan work for me. (See below.) If you don’t want to read the book, check out this great introduction to the plan at Hello Nutritarian’s blog. The reason I’ve stayed on the plan since since starting it in July is that I’ve lost more than 20 pounds and I have more energy now than I’ve had in a very long time.

Q. Do you make any modifications to the plan? 

A. Yes. For example, I eat eggs at least a few times per week . I hard boil eggs on Sunday and take them to work to eat for breakfast, and on the weekend, I have time to water sauté veggies and then scramble eggs (no added milk). Prior to Eat to Live, I would have added shredded cheese to the top but I’ve found that a little nutritional yeast is a good substitute. Some days, I have two servings of carbs instead of the recommended one. That’s often steel cut oatmeal for breakfast and brown rice or potatoes for dinner. Other days, I do much better about keeping my carb intake to just one serving.

Q. How do you satisfy your cravings? 

A. I’ve heard that it takes 21 days to overcome cravings and I call BS. I still crave salt and sugar! Last night I desperately wanted chips and salsa but I didn’t cave. Instead I had popcorn sprinkled with nutritional yeast. As far as sweets go, honey is a great sugar substitute, and fruit smoothies made with coconut water seem to satisfy my periodic ache for ice cream.

Q. What are pantry staples you recommend to get started? 

A. Nutritional yeast and coconut aminos, as well as walnuts, dried apricots, and dates. I know that sounds like a weird list, but here’s why I recommend each of them:

  • Nutritional yeast: while it has sodium in it, it’s not a significant amount and it’s a great substitute when you’re craving a cheesy/salty flavor. It’s extremely versatile, and I use it to make baked tofu at least three times a week.
  • Coconut aminos: this can be used as a soy sauce substitute as well as sprinkled on salad as dressing. I also use it in this peanut sauce recipe.
  • Walnuts: I add walnuts to salads and oatmeal. It’s a delicious crunch!
  • Dried Apricots: for whatever reason, this satisfies my sweet tooth, and make a delicious dessert.
  • Dates: Added to a salad, dates add texture and sweetness, eliminating the need for salad dressing.

Q. How do you stay on your plan while eating out? 

A. I’m not a purist, so if, for example, cheese makes it’s way into a salad, I don’t mind. Last night, we went out to eat, and I had a beet and quinoa salad that had feta cheese in it, as well as dressing that I’m sure had salt and sugar in it. It was delicious. Basically, I find something on the menu that is most in line with my meal plan parameters and go with that.

Q. How do you get over a weight loss plateau? 

A. I spent weeks at the same amount of weight loss and was so frustrated I almost gave up. But I kept to the plan, adding extra raw veggies to lunch and dinner, and I drank as much water as I could. Finally the plateau broke, but this week I seem to have reached another one. My plan is to double down on water and raw veggies again.

Do you all have any more questions? I’m happy to answer them! Have a fabulous weekend.

A Paw Patrol Birthday Party

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Paw Patrol was created to sell merchandise. But I am okay with that, because it’s not an annoying cartoon, and it’s one of the few my almost 3-year old and 6 1/2-year old can agree on.

So anyway. Paw Patrol. That’s what A wanted for a birthday theme, and thanks to a cheap pin-the-badge game I found on Amazon, along with some cute stuffed dogs, and a few balloons from the dollar store, it was easy to throw together. I order cupcakes from the same bakery every year, and this year they did an even more amazing job than usual.

Dinner was Costco pizza, apples, carrots, and salad, and after presents and food we took the kids to the park to enjoy the last of the afternoon sun.

And today my almost 3-year old took a 3 hour nap in his toddler bed while I did laundry, napped with the cat, and read while the spouse and P were at an air show. It’s been a good weekend. Here’s hoping this week is much better than the last.

Friday Update

1) My car wouldn’t start yesterday, even with a jump, so today it was towed to the mechanic. The problem is that they can’t replicate the problem and it started just fine for them, so tomorrow it’s back in our care. I just hope it doesn’t happen again at work.

2) Out garage door broke a month ago and we finally got it repaired yesterday. It cost so much money for a 5-minute repair job that I briefly wondered (again) if I had made the wrong career decision.

3) A slept through the night in his own bed last night. A true miracle. Too bad I woke up 45 minutes before my 5:09am alarm and couldn’t go back to sleep.

4) A’s birthday party is tomorrow. My house isn’t clean and presents aren’t wrapped yet, but it’s been a long week, which is why we’re just having pizza and cupcakes from a bakery at the party. And by we I mean everyone else. I’ll make baked tofu and a salad.

5) Today I surpassed the 20 pound mark of my weight loss journey. Truly remarkable, and from what I’ve read, the amount of weight loss that other people start noticing a change. I can feel it in my clothes, but I’m not ready to buy anything new yet. I still have many pounds left to reach my goal weight.

6) Have you heard about the book Never Unfriended? I’m thinking about starting a Friday night book club with some friends so I can discuss it with someone. But then I think about how the last thing I want to do on a Friday night is clean my house and wear anything but pjs, so that plan doesn’t really work. But it’s a thought. I just feel really disconnected from friends, both old and new.

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend.

Is it Friday Yet?

I have lost 19 pounds. I am super proud of myself. But guess what? Life does not get any easier even when you’re a dress size smaller than you were two months ago.

I am having my second surgery of the year in November. It’s a revision to an ear surgery I had in college and my doctor is hopeful it will help me regain hearing in my left ear. I am currently “profoundly deaf” in that ear, which makes teaching and office life very difficult.

Today I was diagnosed with tendinitis in the same wrist I broke earlier this year, and if the shots and brace don’t work to help the pain, I’m looking at another surgery.

I am so extremely stressed out from work and pain that it took everything I had not to add cheese and sour cream to the lentil soup I made tonight. Instead I added nutritional yeast and had baked tofu instead of the chips I was craving. But I didn’t have a single salad today, that’s how bad I’ve been feeling.

But the good news is that I love teaching. I love it. Even if it’s added stress on top of all my regular job duties, it’s my favorite thing.

And I made a delicious dish earlier this week that you all have to try: tofu lettuce wraps!

Tofu Lettuce Wraps

Sauté onions, mushrooms, garlic, tofu, zucchini and water chestnuts. Start with a few tablespoons of water in the pan, then add the onion and garlic. After about five minutes, add the tofu and zucchini and cover for 10 minutes, or until zucchini is tender. Add water chestnuts and a dash or two of coconut aminos and sauté until tofu has reached desired consistency. Serve with lettuce and top with Cookie and Kate’s peanut sauce.

The Quarterly Update

I am currently stranded next to my son’s bed, and expect to be for the next hour or so. Last night it was over two hours, and then an hour later he wandered into our bedroom, slipped in between us, and when I woke up at 2am with not an inch to spare on the side of the bed, I realized I was being kicked by A and snuggled next to by the cat. Our queen bed is not large enough to accommodate everyone. At one point P tried to sneak into bed too, but even G, who is usually a pushover, said no.

Why is my previously great sleeper not sleeping? We converted his crib into the toddler bed version and apparently we did this too soon. I’ve read every recent online article about how to make this transition, and since I’m 100% positive we did it wrong with P, I’m determined to do it right this time. But is there an absolute right way? Of course not. I’m just trying a different plan, hoping it makes the transition easier.

So what’s the plan? It’s the “fade away” – sit by your kid’s bed for a few nights until he’s asleep. Then sit by the door, so he knows you’re still there. Basically, gradually increase the distance from the bed while assuring him with your presence. Except last night, every time I was sure he was asleep, I left the room and 30 seconds later he was up again. Hence the many hours on the floor next to his bed, starting the whole process over again.

This is probably the worst possible time for us to attempt this transition. I am slammed at work, teaching a new class on top of all of my other responsibilities. The good news is that I recently got a promotion, but the expectations are extremely high both from my bosses and of course, myself, and for the first time in my life I’ve had to work after the kids are in bed multiple times per week. The ability to leave work at work is one of the reasons I decided not to practice law and chose academia instead, and I know I should be grateful I still have a job in this legal climate, but man, I’m tired.

In other news, I’ve lost 17lbs on my Eat to Live diet. I plateaued for a few weeks but am finally making progress again. My goal had been to lose 20lbs by this weekend, but even though that’s not going to happen, I’m still proud of myself. It’s been very hard but I’m sticking with it for the foreseeable future.

P started 1st grade and is in a classroom with 6 of the 9 kids from his Kindergarten class. The rest of his classmates are 2nd graders. In other school news, I joined the school board and attended my first meeting this week. As a parent who can’t drop off or pick up her kid because of work, or volunteer in the classroom, also because of work, it feels good to be part of the school, even if it’s after hours.

Things I’m looking forward to: seeing Book of Mormon and Hamilton in early 2018; going to Boise in October for a work conference; and celebrating A’s 3rd (!!!!) birthday in a few weeks.

National Blog Posting Month is coming up in November, and if I’m still sitting by A’s bed at night, I’ll be participating for sure.