Toxic Foods

Weight!  What an evil word.  Weight gain, those two words are even more dreadful to speak and hear especially for those of us who are desperate to kick the gain away.  For me, my disdain for the little devil has fluctuated back and forth, much like my weight has since having children.  In my younger years, I was loathe to lose weight.   I was picked on for being too skinny, and my six feet frame only seemed to exacerbate my low weight.   Back then metabolism was also my enemy.  I could easily devour a large supreme pizza, a bag of Doritos and a 2 liter Pepsi and my weight would actually DROP!   Huh!?!?!?  Imagine that.  Growing up in the South, with some of the best cooking in the country, I didn’t exactly eat healthy.   We were a meat and potatoes family, with the occasional green beans (my favorite) and corn thrown in for good measure.   The food was fried and super delectable, and, boy, could my mama cook!

As the years went by, metabolism continued to remain my enemy just in an adverse way.  I found myself having to eat less, although I didn’t necessarily eat healthier, and I started running.   Mind you, none of this happened until I was in college.   Damn you, Freshman 15!  Fortunately for me, since I was already super skinny, the Freshman 15 actually made me look good!  I went from 135 pounds, at 6 feet, to 150 at 6 feet!  I started to look like a buxom broad.    Well, maybe I’m going to far with that statement, but I started developing the appearance of a female, with the curves instead of the toothpick I was always compared to.

After college, I stayed in pretty decent shape, but of course metabolism started to unfriend me.   I suppose since I had treated him so poorly for so many years, then this was naturally payback.   Is it too late to make up and become friends again?  It seems so.

When I became pregnant with Davey, I was probably at the healthiest weight I’ve ever been, 175.  I was toned and capable of running a 5k race in 26 minutes.  I worked a lot, didn’t exactly eat well, and I was also a smoker.  Yes, yes, I picked up that terrible habit to impress a boy nearly 20 years ago, gave it up for another boy, and then picked it back up again just to have something to do.  Ridiculous, I know!  Don’t worry, I gave up smoking well before I became pregnant with Davey.

At the peak of my pregnancy with Davey, I weighed 200 pounds.  I gained 25 pounds.   I had girlfriends asking me if that was healthy and shouldn’t I weigh more.   My doctor assured me that there wasn’t a problem with my weight.   After Davey, the weight fell off pretty quickly.  I didn’t get back to 175, but I got close, fluctuating between 180 & 185.   Two years later, I became pregnant with Henry and at that point I weighed exactly 185.   At my peak with Henry, I weighed 206, that’s just a mere 21 pounds of weight gain and both of my boys were pushing the 9 pound mark when I gave birth to them.

After having the boys, I had a period of eating healthier since I was breast feeding.  I didn’t want whatever I was eating to osmosis its way some how into my milk and upset the boys, so I cut out some of the fried foods and starches, but not my beloved mayonnaise sandwiches (which by the way can only be made with the best – Dukes Mayonnaise).   I immediately began working out after both boys, but unfortunately all of that stubborn weight from Henry seemed to hug every square inch of my body like a leech.   I resorted to taking laxatives, increasing my fiber intake, and even starving myself.   I relished the days I had the stomach flu, because it was a guaranteed 5 pound weight loss, but it didn’t stay around for long.

book
Rocco DiSpirito’s Negative Calorie Diet

This summer, I’ve been miserable.  I started the summer weighing the exact same weight I did when I gave birth to Henry.   I cried myself to sleep at night.  I apologized to my husband for the fact that his beautiful wife was now resembling Jabba the Hutt.    I took more laxatives, exercised twice as much, and degraded myself in front of anyone who was around.   On top of that, I became Cruella DeVille to my two boys.   So, what was I going to do about this?

smoothie
A sampling of the smoothies…cucumber strawberry.

I read an article about Mediterranean diets one day, which led me to Rocco DiSpirito, which in turn led me to his Negative Calorie Diet book.   Not eager to waste any money on the purchase of a book that I may not stick with, I checked out a copy at the library.   I read through it, shared it with my husband, and determined that we could both do this, especially if we considered it a lifestyle change and not a diet.

frittata
This was the kale, red onion, and sundried tomato frittata made with egg whites. We actually had this for dinner one night. We’re big fans of breakfast for dinner at our house.

The first 10 days had us on a cleanse, which consisted of 3 smoothies a day and soup or salad from Rocco’s book for dinner.   We had to cut out coffee, dairy, breads, starches, and refined sugar.   And, oh yeah, those evening cocktails we had on the back porch after the boys went to bed, those had to go as well, at least for the first 10 days.   I thought, 10 days, why not?  I could do this.   Easier said than done.

dinner 1
This has easily been my favorite dinner, by far. Flank steak, with sautéed collard greens, onions, and mushrooms with horseradish.

The first two days were sheer misery for me.   I have spent the better part of my adult life thriving off of my coffee every morning.  It has always been the first thing I’ve started my day with, not to mention the fact that I’m a huge fan of Starbucks, and there’s just something about those mocha lattes that hit the spot.  I suffered debilitating headaches for two days, brought on by my caffeine cleanse.   It was as if caffeine had become my drug, and now I was detoxing.   Miserable is an understatement.  I was tired, cranky, and my kids drove me bonkers just by breathing.   The first two days were not for the faint of heart.

chef salad
Chef salad is phenomenal. I will be making his cranberry vinaigrette dressing for ALL of my salads moving forward. No more store bought dressing!

Of course, there was also the fact that I felt like I was starving because I’m not a huge fan of green veggies and all of the smoothies were calling for greens of some sort.  I wanted a bowl of pasta.  I wanted my mayonnaise sandwich.  I wanted those chocolate chip cookies, and while will power has always deserted me when I needed her most, she hung tight this time around.   By day three, I was feeling pretty good.

meatballs
Another favorite has been the meatballs with the kale and mushroom “gravy”.

In the first week, I lost 8.6 pounds, and that had me really reviewing my past food intake and what was going on with my body.  Until this, I never really knew just how toxic certain foods are to the body, mind, and spirit.   I always thought as long as I kept my portions down, then I could eat anything I wanted.  Not true.   I found that once I was eating the whole fruits and veggies and cutting out the sugars and processed foods, I legitimately had more energy throughout the day.  I enjoyed doing things with my boys.  I wanted to go hiking with them, to go blackberry picking, to go to the pool.  I wanted to get out in the backyard with them, and I was able to focus more.   I was able to keep my patience more in check and I was able to sleep more fully at night.   So, all of this time, it wasn’t the quantity of food, but the QUALITY of what I was eating.

mustard chicken
This was last night’s dinner. Chicken with mustard greens, quinoa, and oranges.

We’re two and a half weeks into this lifestyle change and I’m down 13.5 pounds, my husband is down 18.6.   I’m happier, less hungry, and more focused.   We make our dinners at night, and while the boys are required to try everything, I always have a standby for the two of them.   We have; however, found that Henry is a huge fan of collard greens and mushrooms!   Another perk to this lifestyle change.

spinach pasta
And finally, I know how to make spinach pesto pasta. We didn’t follow Rocco’s tomato sauce recipe, but instead used my husband’s. We substituted Monk Fruit in the Raw for sugar.

Do yourselves a favor, my friends, and look at what you’re consuming every day.    Ask yourself is it really worth it?

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