Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Xena and Cookie maintained.
Me.....I am down to 215 1/2.
After weeks of getting my butt kicked by the kitties, I finally started losing again.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 cups almond or hazelnut meal
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup water
2 tsp almond or vanilla extract
4 packets of splenda
Mix your ingredients together and cook like regular cancer disks...ahh...I mean carb-infested pancakes and top with a sugar-free, low carb maple flavored syrup or fruit (strawberry or blueberry) puree.
These will be a bit more delicate than death circles...errr...I mean wheat pancakes, so be sure they're done on the bottom before you try to flip them. When done, the edges will appear dry.
This recipes makes about 12 medium sized cakes. 2 may look like a small amount, but that is usually all I can eat before getting full.
Monday, October 22, 2007
They both lost weight again, this time being fed exclusively low carb foods. Breakfast is still the grain-free variety of Fancy Feast, and their dry crunchies, Innova EVO cat & kitten food, replaced their previous bag of chicken and rice cat food.
As of this morning, Xena, formerly 22 pounds, was only 14 lbs. Cookie, who was never really fat, but definitely not skinny, has slimmed down to only 9 pounds. According to some online vet sites, the average weight for a female cat is between 8 and 12 pounds. Since both of my girls are on the smaller side, they still have room to lose...especially Xena.
While Cookie's heritage is a total unknown (we found her in a field behind our old apartment in the middle of the night...during a snow storm!), Xena is half Ragdoll Siamese. While this breed tends to be large and females are typically 10-12 pounds, Xena was the runt of the litter. She wont be "trim" until she is closer to 8 pounds.
Cookie doesn't need to lose any more weight, and I admit, I was a bit concerned her weight is going down too. But if you look closely, her coat is shiny, her eyes are bright, and she is still spunky despite her age. She even had enough energy to sneak up on Xena last night and wack her in the back of the head. No particular reason I could see...she just walked up behind her and ::SMACK!::. Maybe Xena called her an "old fart" when we were out of the room.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Sugar is bad. Plain and simple. Aside from the fact that it rots your kid's teeth right out of their cute little heads, it has been linked to cancer cell growth, obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, atherialsclorosis, alzheimer's disease, and premature aging.
People who go on a low carbohydrate diet cut sugars and other carbohydrates down to a very low level. By doing this, they lessen their blood glucose levels and reduce the amount of insulin rampaging around their blood streams. This helps them lose weight, get off of diabetes medication, lower their blood pressure, and generally look and feel better. Unfortunately for those of us who recognize the dangers of sugar, sugar can be hard to eliminate from our diet because, often, it is in disguise.
If you really want to avoid sugar, get used to reading labels. Sugar by any other name is still bad for you.
Different Names for Sugar
High fructose corn syrup
Might As Well Be Called Sugar
Anything with a cartoon character on the label
Friday, October 19, 2007
Too bad I have not yet found the canine equivalent of the relatively inexpensive grain-free Fancy Feast canned foods listed on FelineDiabetes.com. I checked dog food label after dog food label and found ingredients like wheat gluten, corn, corn gluten, rice, barely, potatoes, and lots of other useless goop. It didn't matter if it was a cheap store brand or the fancy expensive stuff like Newman's Own. They all had a very high percentage of fillers.
The only canned dog food that I found that seemed more on the harmless side was Cesar brand, but even that has yams in it. Plus it is designed for small dogs. Anything bigger than a Shitzu would laugh at you for trying to feed them such a tiny amount, and then bite you in the leg for teasing them.
After the useless Walmart trip, I decided to give Petsmart a call and see if they had any brands they could recommend. I told the girl on the phone that I needed a canned dog food with no wheat, corn, glutens, or other fillers. She recommended Blue Buffalo brand. A quick web check for ingredients showed it is free of wheat gluten, soy, or corn, but does contain ingredients like brown rice, rye, barley and oatmeal!
Sorry underpaid, overworked Petsmart girl, those are still fillers!
Yes, you can order low-carb dog foods online, but the shipping costs are a killer. I will do some more local product checks and read more labels as long as my eyesight holds out. If I find anything good, I will post it here. Even though I have cats, puppies are also cute and also deserve decent, affordable food.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Winter squash is now on sale in most grocery stores and is cheap at the farmer's markets. While Winter squash like butternut, acorn and the beloved pumpkin are higher in carbs than Summer squash varieties, with some careful consideration, Winter squash can be a tasty part of your eating plan.
Here are a few of my favorite recipes to help you get in to the spirit of the season.
Perky Pumpkin Seeds
This pumpkin seed recipe was passed on to me by my mom - no telling where she got it. My brother and sister and I loved this recipe and used to fight over the precious seeds. Waiting for them to cook was torture since they need to slow roast.
2 cups (or so) fresh pumpkin seeds
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
2 Tbl melted butter
1 1/4 tsp salt (optional)
DO NOT wash or clean the pumpkin seeds. Really. In fact, the more GOO they have on them, the better. Spread the pumpkin seeds in a thin layer on a cookie sheet. Combine the Worcestershire sauce and melted butter. Pour Worcestershire/butter mix over the seeds and stir. Sprinkle salt over the seeds. Bake at 200º for about two hours, stirring every half hour. Allow to cool and store in an air-tight container.
This also works with acorn squash seeds or a mixture of pumpkin and squash seeds.
Wifezilla's Savory Acorn Squash Cakes
The meat from 1 acorn squash (baked with butter and sprinkled with erethyritol or other sweetener)
1 lb turkey sausage or other ground meat seasoned with fennel (browned)
4 large eggs
1/2 cup grated romano or parmesan cheese (or any combination of the two)
1/2 cup chopped baby portobello mushrooms
1/2 cup almond or hazelnut meal
1 Tbsp dried minced onion
Salt, pepper and ground cheyenne pepper to desired spiciness level.
Mix all ingredients together and form into cakes (think crab cakes). Place on a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick spray and bake at 325º for about 30 minutes, flipping once when edges of the bottom look a bit browned. Sprinkle the top with your favorite cheese while still hot and serve.
Wifezilla's Chicken & Squash Saute
2 chicken breast, cubed
2 cups sliced portobello mushrooms
2 cups cubed cooked Winter squash
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp oyster sauce
grated parmesan cheese
In a frying pan, saute the chicken over medium heat in butter. Add mushrooms once the chicken is cooked, adding additional butter if needed to keep the mushrooms from sticking to the pan. Once mushrooms have softened and absorbed the butter, add the squash cubes, garlic, and oyster sauce and stir. Sprinkle with parmesan and serve.
Abi Fae's Pumpkin Stew
Ok, this is not exactly a recipe per se, and I haven't tried it yet, but my friend Abi makes this every fall. Adaptations are needed to make it low carb legal, but the basics are intriguing.
Abi says, "Make a beef gravy, add veggies, potatoes, stew beef, apples, cranberries.... water it down if need be... pour it all into a hollowed pumpkin, replace the lid on the pumpkin, and bake until the pumpkin is soft (instead of letting the stew... well, stew). The apples and cranberries make it though... mmmm"
Abi is a very good cook and I have enjoyed many of her cooking experiments in the past. By swapping rutabagas or turnips for the potatoes, and making flour-free gravy should bring this to low carb specs. Anyone brave enough to try it? Let me know how it turns out!
UPDATE: I got brave and gave it a try. Here is my stew cooked inside of a turban squash.
It turned out pretty well. Instead of a gravy, I used a bottle of Oatmeal Stout beer thickened with flax meal. Yeah, it was pushing the carb envelope, but it did taste good :D
Saturday, October 13, 2007
I did a little digging and found a few low carb dry dog food brands that she might like to try (below). If anyone has any experience with these brands or a low carb diet for their dogs, please leave a comment. I still need to see if there are some commercial canned foods that are readily available. Next time I go to Wally World I will bring my electron microscope so I can check the ingredient lists.
If sister-in-law decides to go ahead and put her puppy on low carb, I will post pictures and progress when they become available.
NOTE: Some of these links will lead you to the manufacturer's search results. Not all products by the same manufacturer are low carb. Read the descriptions carefully!
Barking at the Moon Brand
Low carb pets foods can be quite expensive, and if your budget demands you only buy what you can get at the local mega store, there is still something you can do. Get your pets a dry food that lists some form of MEAT as the first ingredient. The "one can of good low carb wet food in the morning with ok crunchies available the rest of the day" method has worked well for the cats. Sure, I am upping things a notch now, but you have to start somewhere.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Since my cats, Cookie (18) and Xena (10) have joined me on my low carb journey, they have done quite well. Actually, better than I expected. After just 2 weeks Xena had lost 2 pounds. Cookie, while she didn't lose weight, had noticeable improvement in her coat. I was pretty excited about this.
Then today I did another weigh-in. Xena has lost another 4 pounds! Even Cookie has lost weight...she is down 2 pounds! So that means Xena has gone from 22 lbs down to 16 in about 4 weeks. Cookie, while she has never been fat has trimmed down a bit too - from 14lbs down to 12. Their activity level is great, their coats are GLOWING, and they really like their new food.
In addition to the Fancy Feast wet food flavors with no grains, I picked up a bag of Innova EVO dry food. The EVO cat & kitten food contains 50% protein, 22% fat, and only 7% carbs. I was a bit surprised to see POTATOES listed as one of the ingredients, but it is far enough down the list to not cause a huge problem. They are used to having a bowl of crunchies available at all times, and with this particular mix, they should continue to do well. Cost is an issue, though. With shipping the Innova EVO is about $3.65/pound. This is more than I spend on meat for the PEOPLE in my family! If it isn't $1.99/lb or less, I just don't buy it!
So my fat cat is losing weight at a pretty quick clip, my ancient cat is chugging along, but my purse is a bit lighter. At least with the higher quality food, they are eating less overall. And you know what that means! Less garbage in = less garbage OUT! Will the additional cost of cat food be made up by the reduced price of cat litter? Doubtful. But healthy cats will sure save money on vet bills. I should just quit complaining and consider it a wash.
I will look for more affordable alternatives on the dry food front and continue to feed them cornless, wheatless, barleyless, riceless and other garbage-free wet food. I just need to get a better magnifying glass so I can read those itty bitty nutrition labels on the cat food bags when I go shopping. My friend Carolyn says the type is so small because it only has to be large enough for the CATS to read. Too bad they never bothered do their home work or go through the trouble to get a driver's license so they can go to the pet food store themselves. I can fix the fat kitty problem, but it just may be too late to fix stupid kitty.
Sunday, October 7, 2007
I listen to her often and find myself agreeing with her about 85% of the time. The 15% where we disagree, she still provides me with a very valuable service. She forces me to not just have a knee-jerk, emotional reaction to her comments, but causes me to actually examine carefully the REASONS I disagree with her. Her words of advice have their prejudices, and have set many groups off in the past...the homosexual community for her comment that being gay is a "biological error", the political left for her support of the Iraq war (and just about everything else), and now ME for some of her comments about obesity.
She has answered several calls over the years about obesity and weight loss. Sometimes it's women complaining their husbands are getting fat, sometimes it is woman upset that they can't seem to lose weight. There is also a fair share of male callers upset that their wives have had the nerve to gain weight after giving birth to their round-headed rolly-polly children. Dr. Laura's take has consistently been that you have a responsibility to bring your best self forward when in a relationship, and that you have a responsibility to your spouse, children, and others to be a healthy as possible. Sometimes she may come off sounding like she is supporting some shallow, self-centered Peter Pan when she agrees that the wife should lose weight, but her ideals are spot on. You DO have a responsibility to your loved ones to be as healthy as possible. It isn't fair for you to gain a bunch of weight, incur health problems and then force your spouse or children to have to deal with the consequences of your actions. Yes, I AGREE with her on this. My issue, however, is with the advice she gives on how to solve the weight problems.
Dr. Laura's typical advice could come straight from the USDA. Follow the food pyramid, eat less, move more. Cut calories, join a gym. Eat more fruits and vegetables. This is the message that is repeated over and over again in the mainstream media, told to school children and repeated by medical professionals all over the country. Too bad following that advice has such a horrific failure rate. According to many diet studies, between 83%-95% of dieters not only gain back any weight they lose from dieting, but they go on to gain even more. The calorie restriction model doesn't work for most people, but in fact, makes them fatter.
But what about exercise, the other recommendation to help lose weight? From my personal experience, while exercise did help with my flexibility, stamina and boost my mood, 2 years of consistent exercise 6 days a week for 1 hour per day did absolutely nothing to help me lose weight. And by exercise, I mean water aerobics twice a week, belly dancing every Wednesday, trips to the gym, and hiking along steep mountain trails. For the longest time I thought I was some kind of freak, but apparently I am not alone.
"exercise - as necessary as it is for us -- won't make us thin.
"I think fitness and medical professionals are doing a disservice to their clients when they position exercise as a way to lose weight," said Jennifer Portnick, personal trainer and certified aerobic exercise instructor at Feeling Good Fitness in the Bay area. "Becoming active may or may not result in a change in weight."
But few of us realize that the most significant body of research shows exercise doesn't appreciably change body weights at all."
But wait...it gets better!
"many studies have found women actually gain weight and body fat with exercise. In another study in which obese women did 6 months of aerobic exercise 4 to 5 times a week, one-third of them gained as much as 15 pounds of body fat, with the average of the gainers being 8 pounds. That's body FAT, not weight, emphasized Glenn Gaesser, Ph.D., associate professor of exercise physiology at the University of Virginia, a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and author of Big Fat Lies: The Truth About Your Weight and Your Health (Gurze Books, 2002). "Just to make it clear that the weight gain was not muscle, as fitness buffs might assert. Thus a true skeptic might ask whether "exercise" has contributed to the obesity epidemic!!""
Gary Taubes tackled this subject in his New York Magazine article "The Scientist and the Stairmaster".
He reports; "Over the course of eighteen months the Danes trained nonathletes to run a marathon. At the end of this training period, the eighteen men in the study had lost an average of five pounds of body fat. As for the nine women subjects, the Danes reported, “no change in body composition was observed.” That same year, F. Xavier Pi-Sunyer, then director of the St. Luke’s–Roosevelt Hospital Obesity Research Center in New York, reviewed the studies on exercise and weight, and his conclusion was identical to that of the Finnish review’s eleven years later: “Decreases, increases, and no changes in body weight and body composition have been observed,” Pi-Sunyer reported."
So Dr. Laura is recommending to her millions of listeners that they should follow a calorie restriction regime with an 83-95% failure rate, and adopt an exercise program that does not help you lose weight, but in fact may cause you to gain. Now, it's not my intent to pick on Dr. Laura here. She is just repeating commonly accepted ideals that are held dear by the main stream and reinforced daily in the major media. It is just a shame that someone as smart as her can be mislead, and as a result mislead additional millions in the process.
The reality is people gain weight because of carbohydrates, genetics, insulin reaction and hormone function. As experts recommend, you consume a diet rich in carbohydrates (processed or otherwise), then your body releases gobs of insulin. This hormone causes you to store fat while making you hungrier at the same time. Following the recommendations of doctors, the government, nutritionists, and a well-meaning Dr. Laura, you eat food that promotes more insulin release, and also waste money on a gym memberships, buy useless exercise equipment, starve yourself or take weight loss pills and still pile on the pounds. You are told you are unhealthy because you are overweight. In reality, you have a metabolic disorder that, untreated and feed the wrong types of food, causes your weight gain. The fat is the effect, NOT the cause.By confusing the cause and effect, the blame is put on the fat person's character, not the real culprit...a different type of metabolism, some very annoying genes, and an extremely poor diet pushed by the medical community and big agriculture. Obviously having someone like Dr. Laura reinforce the bad information doesn't do an overweight person one bit of good. Listeners to her show are interested in morals, values, and doing the right thing. That is the core and draw of her program. When being overweight is made in to a character issue instead of a biological issue, everyone is hurt. The overweight individual gets advice that will not help them, and other listeners are fed scientifically unproven ideas that they will pass along as fact. Prejudices that fat people are weak, lazy, stupid, gluttons and have no willpower is reinforced. Even beyond the scope of her listeners, the bad information continues to flow.
Unfortunately, it's doubtful Dr. Laura will wander by on accident and read this blog. Even if she does, there is even more doubt that a lifetime of belief that people just need to move more and eat less will be changed by my post. But if you are a Dr. Laura listener and happen to read this blog, keep it in mind and do your best to pass on the correct information. Listen to Dr. Laura when she talks about premarital sex, marriage, honesty and other moral issues. Since body fat isn't a morality problem, you can ignore her when she starts telling the overweight what to do. Don't waste energy getting mad at her....even a genius can have an off moment. Just go get yourself a steak cooked in butter instead.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
I knew of people who did scheduled feedings, but it was never anything I ever considered. I have had dogs and cats over the years, and they all had free access to a bowl of crunchies, and none of them were ever overweight. Well, until Xena that is.
By the time she was 3, people were making comments about how fat our cat was. Cookie was 12 at the time, and we thought about changing their food to a diet food, but Cookie didn't look like she needed to lose weight and we didn't want to disturb her eating pattern. After all, she was just fine. Since Xena had bonded to our oldest son, we decided to buy JUST HER some diet food and put it in a bowl in our son's room. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
What actually happened is Xena would only eat the diet food at the times she accidentally got shut in our son's room. Then, when finally let out, she would wander back to Cookie's bowl and then eat her food too!
That experiment was a failure, so we just let them eat their Delicat and didn't stress about it. We had other things going on in our lives, and the cat's food wasn't very high on the priority list. Years later, things calmed down a bit, and we decided another experiment. We would put Cookie's dish on top of the dryer. Cookie had never had any trouble getting to any high spot, and in fact, used the top of the dryer and the linen shelves as a nice place to get away from her fat, but playful kitty-sister. Xena was just too obese to jump up on anything that high. It seemed to work, but Xena REALLY hated the diet food and didn't seem to be losing any weight. Then I noticed, that while Cookie could easily jump up on top of the dryer, she seemed to limp a bit after jumping down. Cookie was getting too old for the acrobatics.
Now, with Xena at 10 and Cookie at 18, I finally got a clue. Through my weight loss I learned about carbohydrates and the damage they can do. It seemed logical to me that if a HUMAN can be harmed by a diet high in carbohydrates, why wouldn't this be the same issue for a cat? After all, cats evolved eating meat even more than people. And they eat the WHOLE animal, including the brains, eye, and internal organs. Their natural diet is high in fat and high in protein. When I tried to help Xena lose weight, I was accidentally feeding her the very things that made her fat in the first place...grains and starches.
Wheat gluten, corn gluten, rice, and other starchy carbs are the main ingredients in many commercial cats foods. Last time I checked, none of these things wandered the plains of Africa just waiting for my cat's big cousins to hunt them down and eat them. There are no lions or tigers stalking wheat and corn. They go after MEAT! So why are we now feeding our felines corn, barley, rice, wheat gluten and other garbage? I thought about wet food, and had given it to them on occasion as a treat, but a label check showed many of them to be full of garbage too. A quick check online led me to FelineDiabetes.com. They listed wet foods that contained no grains. There was even a site that listed the carb content for dry cat foods.
NOW I was on to something! I ended up buying Fancy Feast brand wet food after carefully reading the labels to find the flavors that did not have fillers. (MAN! I thought reading labels for people food was a pain! The type on the cat food is SMALLER!) I put out a can one morning and the cats loved it. So far so good. I still needed a dry food to help them transition to a new way of eating, so I ended up buying a dry food that was MOSTLY meat, but still had rice in it. I have some dry food on order that has no cereals and a very low carb count.
It has only been 2 weeks and they still have a carby dry food, yet I already noticed a difference in our rolly-polly fur ball. She has gone from 22lbs down to 20lbs. Yeah Xena!! Cookie, our senior citizen, is as spry as ever and has had no trouble adjusting to the wet food. I put out 2 cans each morning, and while they do nibble a bit on the dry food later in the day, they don't eat nearly what they used to. Our erratic schedule (and the additional cost) makes purely wet feeding very impractical. But I think the cats will do fine with their morning wet food and some type low carb crunchie available the rest of the time.
Of course, they never tell you that once you get a cat used to a feeding schedule, changing it can have dire consequences. The girls now expect breakfast promptly at 6:15am. Sleeping in on weekends is not allowed. And whatever you do...DO NOT let your husband feed them at 4:00am some morning since his own snoring woke him up anyway. That happened a couple of days ago and I am still having to throw things at the door so they will stopping clawing at it trying to get me to wake up early and feed them. While happy my cats are getting healthier, I am sleep deprived and quite cranky right now. Hubby and the cats might not live long enough to continue this low carb experiment. If they weren't so cute, between the begging cats and the snoring husband, I would have killed them all ages ago.
Low Carb Dry Cat Foods available from Amazon.com
INNOVA EVO CAT KITTEN 15.4-LB BAG
Wellness Core Cat( Wellness Core Cat 5 Lb 14 Oz )
NATURE'S VARIETY RAW INSTINCT CAT 11-LB
Monday, October 1, 2007
But what kind of awareness will we end up with? Will anyone point out that DECADES ago it was discovered that cancer cells THRIVE on glucose? Will anyone make the connection that the typical American diet is LOADED with foods that turn in to glucose after digestion? Will we see mentions of past studies showing that a low carbohydrate diet can SHRINK cancer cells? I would hope so, but I doubt it.
The American public has not been given the message that for decades scientists have had the data available about the role of glucose in cancer growth, but few have paid attention. The few that HAVE are trying to use that information to develope new drugs. But a drug is not needed to make dietary changes, nor is it needed to spread the word that cancer just loves it when you eat wheat, rice, corn, potatoes, sugary fruits, and high carbohydrate vegetables. All of which we are told to eat multiple servings of every day. People just need facts.
Unfortunately, on my favorite news show "Fox and Friends", the facts on cancer are in short supply. After featuring a group of young people who participated in a cancer awareness ride on the Monday morning show, one of the hosts commented that after all their hard work, they needed to "carbo-load". She then proceeded to hand them all donuts..or, as I will now call them, Sugar Frosted Cancer Rings.
Photo from the USDA website. Snarky comment, me!