Saturday, March 31, 2012

Update -- Phase 4

Sorry it has been FOREVER since I've blogged. I've been busy getting into a better routine at home, along with continuing with my exercise, and prepping for all the work to be done here on the farm in the spring.

My weight has been perfectly stable since our trip.  I dropped 4 pounds doing CD's upon our return. Since then, I've stayed between 158-160 with no effort at all and am able to eat within reason almost anything I want. This weight stabilization point is where I stabilized my last round which is no great surprise because I totally ruined my last round by cheating the last 20 days of the round. Cheating never pays!! At least I AM stable, and now I can work on getting the weight back down into the 140's which is where I really want to be.  I continue to do walk aerobics for 2 miles 5-6 days a week and I'm now up to almost 30 minute of weight training 3 days a week. I'm sure some of the weight I've gained is muscle but not all of it. I'm starting JUDDDing. To learn more about that WOE (Way Of Eating) do a google search for Dr. Johnson Up Day Down Day diet. I'm excited about what I've learned about how JUDDD, Fast 5, and Intermittent Fasting can activate the SIRT1 Gene and the many health difficulties that can be resolved as a result of this gene being active. We'll see how things go!

For now that is about all that is new around here. I hope to be back down to my LDW by May so I can shop for a dress for my husband's nieces wedding we will be attending Mid-May.

Monday, March 12, 2012


My body is still adjusting to the exercise I'm doing. Yesterday was my day of rest. Mon - Saturday I'm working out to Leslie Sansone's Power Mile and Walk Away the Weight. Currently I'm doing 2 miles a day with the intent of increasing to about 4 miles a day over time. Last week our cheap version of the Total Gym arrived. For now I'll be doing the TG workout 3 times a week. Eventually when I have learned all the moves I will divide up my work out so that I work the upper body and arms one day then the legs and lower body the next in order to rest the muscle groups appropriately. My weight has continued to climb due to muscle soreness and fatigue. So I will be doing 3 correction days in a row Monday through Wednesday in hopes of getting my weight back down before we leave for our birthday/anniversary trip. I feel great. My energy level is fabulous in spite of the tenderness in my muscles.

It ought to be easy for me to stick to the CD's this week because life will be VERY busy. Hubbies job will be changing from an office job where he is also on call 24 hours a day 7 days a week to a work from home and travel to various colleges job. They already have him doing some traveling while he still manages the help desk 24/7. This week he is traveling. We will be emptying out our storage room into the storage garage which is a few miles down the road. My big project these next 3 days is to get the storage room completely empty so we can paint it and turn it into an office for him. While I'm emptying the storage room I'm going to make sure that the summer clothes tubs are organized and easily accessible at the storage garage, as well as do any other organizing that needs to be done.

The kids and I have to adjust to managing the farm, school, and a new routine while Phil is gone. My big goal this week is to have harmony in the home. I want to try to keep all my ducks in a row so that I am not stressed when the kids are here. This means I'm working on developing better routines for everything from preparing meals to packing lunches and keeping up with the laundry. I want to be able to manage the home in such a way that it will promote a sweet spirit in me so that I can display Christ likeness to the kids. I have a tendency to get stressed and I do not want to take that stress out on the children. So we would covet your prayers while we start to get used to having hubby travel more. I will need to juggle not only the farm and household responsibilities but the emotional, physical, and spiritual needs of the children while he is away.  So forgive me if the blog is neglected from time to time.

I hope you have a great week!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Homemade "Coconut Manna/Cream" -- Phase 3

If you happen to find that you LOVE coconut manna...... or coconut cream, like I do, but want to cut corners on expense you can make your own coconut manna/cream very easily. You will need a powerful blender like a Vitamix or a Food Processor. Yesterday I made 2 1/2 pounds of shredded coconut into coconut manna and it was lovely creamy and sweet. MUCH sweeter than the Nutiva brand that I have in the cupboard. And it cost me less than $4 for each 15 ounce container full. I mixed 2 cups of Tropical Traditions coconut oil with my coconut cream so I actually FILLED to the brim 3 of those containers and if you've bought them you KNOW they do not come full to the top. Mine were filled to the top, plus I filled a 1/2 pint jar, plus I ate about 1/4 cup tasting it along the way..MMMM! So I think my cost if I had not added the coconut oil would be less than $4 for a 15 ounce container. If you purchase it by the 15 ounce container it runs $7-$12 depending on where you buy it. You can get a 5 pound bag from the Nutiva website for about $6 per pound. So.. if you like it, buy shredded organic coconut when you find it on sale.. it will stay fresh in a sealed container for a long time, you could even freeze it if you want to extend the shelf life even longer but I really do not think it is necessary.

Homemade Coconut Cream
1 pound shredded organic unsweetened coconut
1 cup Virgin Coconut Oil, warmed (optional)

1. Put your shredded coconut into your food processor and turn it on high. It will turn the coconut into a powder before it turns it into butter/cream.
2. If you want the added benefit of more coconut oil in your coconut cream, warm 1 cup of virgin coconut oil at a very low temperature so you do not kill any of the good stuff. I use hot tap water and put my jar in the water to warm the oil. You can add this oil to the food processor AFTER the coconut is fully creamed. PLEASE NOTE: Do NOT add the oil before the coconut is butter or it will stay kinda gritty and flaky and will lack the beautiful smooth mouth feel.
3. Pour your coconut cream into clean pint jars and store until use or make coconut cream candy.

Coconut Cream Candy

1 cup coconut cream
2 tbsp cocoa powder
stevia or the sweetener you prefer to taste
1/2 cup coconut oil melted (if you did NOT already add CO to your cream.. if you did you do NOT need to add more)
shredded coconut (optional)
chopped macadamia nuts (optional)
chopped pecans (optional)
 mini muffin wrappers.

1. In a pan or bowl  combine the coconut cream, cocoa powder and sweetener.
2. On a cookie sheet, place your muffin wrappers in rows. Put in the muffin wrappers any "extras" you like. I usually put a little coconut in one row, then macadamia nuts in a other, and chopped pecans in another, and I like to leave some plain too. You only need a little bit in each wrapper, do not fill it to the brim, just a little sprinkle along the bottom is all that is needed.
3. Pour 1 Tablespoon of the chocolate cream mixture into the muffin papers.
4. Cool in the fridge or freezer.
5. Stack wrappers and place in a container. Keep them in a cool room of your house OR the refrigerator. If it is warm where you live refrigeration will be needed so the candies do not melt.

There is also a Lemon Truffle recipe somewhere on youtube or  a blog out there in cyberspace. It uses lemon juice, the zest of one lemon, sweetener and coconut cream. I have not tried it yet... but will eventually and will post the combination of ingredients and amounts that I like.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Asparagus Egg Casserole -- Phase 3

Asparagus Egg Casserole

1/2 pound pork sausage OR bacon
1/2 pound asparagus, cut into 1" pieces
1 onion, diced
1/4 cup butter or coconut oil (or use the bacon grease if you chose bacon)
8-10 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup cream
1 1/2 cups grated cheese (the type of cheese you use will add more depth to the recipe. Swiss or hard cheddar ad the richest flavors, Colby Jack is also very nice but gives a milder flavor)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
1. Cook the pork sausage or bacon until browned/crisp and set aside.Break bacon into bite size pieces, if you chose bacon.
2. Saute the onion and asparagus in butter, oil or bacon grease until the onion is translucent and asparagus is crisp tender. Lightly salt & pepper the veggies and meat.
3. Place cooked meat, asparagus, and onion in the bottom of a 9" X 13" pan.  Spread evenly.
4. In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, sour cream and cream. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the meat and vegetable mixture.
5. Top with grated cheese.
6. Bake for 20-35 minutes or until lightly golden brown and eggs are set. The bake time varies depending on how hot the meat & veggies are when you top them with the eggs. If they are quite hot still the eggs cook up faster.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Kefir Green Smoothie -- Phase 3

I'm still loving my green smoothies. This is how I make them now that I am in phase 3. I can hardly wait until my garden is producing the spinach, kale, chard, and beet greens so I can pick them fresh and use them in my smoothies daily.

Kefir Green Smoothie

1 - 1 1/2 cups whole milk kefir
5 ounces of greens (spinach, kale, chard, beet greens a single green or any combination you feel like)
1 cup for frozen berries (strawberry or blueberry are my two favorites, I usually only use one type of fruit)
1/2 - 1 full serving of protein powder (vanilla or chocolate, it is amazing but the chocolate adds a beautiful richness to the shake)
cinnamon to taste
stevia to taste
1/2 - 1 cup water if needed to get it to the liquid state you enjoy. I like mine thick so I don't add much water if I use 1 1/2 cups of kefir
1-2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp FRESHLY ground flax meal (use a coffee grinder to grind it fresh)

Put all ingredients (except the coconut oil) into a good blender and blend until smooth. While the blender is on slowly pour in your 1-2 tbsp of melted coconut oil.

This smoothie will fill you up... like FULL and is very nutrient dense!

OPTIONAL additions:
1.  If you don't want to use the protein powder, or if you want to have even more protein in your smoothie, you can add 1-2 farm fresh eggs to the smoothie.
2. If you have a vitamin B deficiency you can also add Nutritional Yeast to this smoothie.
3. If you have a good quality super green or super red powder mix, add it to your smoothie for another nutrient boost. I personally LOVE "Erin's Super Green Drink Mix" it is pricy but is fabulous in this smoothie, I use a heaping tablespoon of this mix in every smoothie.
4. This is a great smoothie to add kelp to. You can buy powdered kelp in bulk, start by adding 1 tsp a day and work your way up to 1 tbsp.
5. Any spices or herbs that you enjoy can be added to enhance the flavor or just to change it up daily. I enjoy cinnamon, some like fresh or dried ginger, nutmeg, even cayenne can be added if you like it hot. If you have heart problems cayenne and fresh minced garlic are wonderful additions... if you can take the heat!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Nourishing Baked Oatmeal -- Phase 4

Many people find that even when they enter phase 4 of maintenance that they still have to watch the amount of grains, sugar and starch they consume. If you are the type that can handle some this is well worth the eating! Even if you choose this is too much for you, your family will love it!

Nourishing Baked Oatmeal

The night before:
6 cups Thick Rolled Oats (old fashioned oats)
2 cups milk
2 Tbsp Kefir, yogurt, whey, or lemon juice
1 cup warm water

Place all these ingredients in a bowl, stir to combine, cover and leave at room temperature over night.

In the morning add:
4 eggs
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup Coconut Oil melted
1 cup Honey or real maple syrup (or you can use 1/2 c and some stevia if you want to reduce the sugar)

1. Stir well to combine.
2. Pour into a cookie sheet that is at least 11 X 15 in size.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes until set and slightly golden.
4. Serve with milk or cream.
5. If there are left overs, press some sugar free or regular chocolate chips into the oatmeal "bars". Return them to an oven that is about 200 degrees for about 5-10 minutes to allow the chocolate to soften. Spread the chocolate with a spatula. You may also sprinkle over the melted chocolate  chopped nuts. Allow bars to cool and cut them into "granola bars. 


1. If you enjoy raisins or dried cranberries add 1/2 - 1 cup  to the soaking mixture and increase your water by 1/2 cup. The raisins/cranberries will plump up with the oats over night. Dried blueberries are lovely too.
2. You may add 1 cup of chopped nuts: walnuts, pecans, brazil nuts, etc to your mixture in the morning right before baking.
3. To increase the protein content I have even added 1/2 cup of vanilla protein powder to the mixture in the morning when adding all the other ingredients. It adds a lovely richness and then turns my "granola bars" into a healthy protein bar that my family gobbles up!
4. If you do NOT cook for a crew this recipe can easily be cut in 1/2 and baked in a 9" X 13" pan, or reduce it by a third and bake it in a 8" X 8" or 9" X 9" pan. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Greek Yogurt Recipe -- Phase 3

The batch of Greek Yogurt I made this week has turned out to be the very best, creamiest, thickest yet! If you enjoy Greek Yogurt and want to try to make it on your own here is the recipe I use. You first start with a base yogurt recipe, then you strain it, it is the straining of the whey that makes it "Greek". So if all you want is regular yogurt then don't hang it/strain it and you have a wonderful fatty yogurt.

Yogurt Recipe

1 quart cream (raw farm fresh or whipping cream)
1 quart whole milk (raw farm fresh or pasteurized)
1/4 cup (rounded) prepared Greek yogurt or plain yogurt

1. Heat the milk and cream to 110 degrees. Remove from heat as soon as it reaches the correct temperature.
2. Whisk in the prepared yogurt. Stir very well.
3. Pour hot milk/cream mixture into clean jars. Screw on the lids.
4. Place jars in your oven with the oven light on.
5. Allow jars of yogurt to incubate in the oven with the light on for 12-24 hours. The longer the better. The longer it ferments the more reduced the lactose sugars are.
6. If you do NOT want to make this yogurt into "Greek Yogurt" refrigerate it until use.

Greek Yogurt
1 yogurt recipe
muslin cloth
pan or bowl larger enough to suspend the colander

1. Line your colander with muslin cloth. Please note: cheesecloth will NOT work. You must have a muslin bag or muslin cloth. Muslin cloth can be purchased from any fabric store for about $2 per yard. Buy a whole yard so you can cut the muslin the size you want it for straining.
2. Place the colander over a bowl or pot so that it is suspended. You want to have it suspended so the whey can drip. You do not want your colander sitting in the bowl or the yogurt will will be sitting in the whey.
3. Poor the yogurt into the muslin lined colander.
4. Place the bowl/colander in the refrigerator.
5. Every 4 hours or so, take a scraper or spoon and scrape the sides of the cloth around the base of the colander especially. Do not stir the yogurt, just scrape it away from the sides gently.  This last batch is the first that I scraped the bowl about every 4 hours throughout the straining time. You will want to strain the yogurt for about 12 hours or until all the whey has stopped dripping. I didn't scrape it during the night, but I did scrape it down right before bed, then again when I got up in the morning. I think that scraping the thickened yogurt off the sides of the muslin allowed for more whey to drain out of the yogurt. Please note: If you make a double, triple or quadruple batch (like I did) you will want to strain the yogurt for a minimum of 24 hours and scrape it a few times so that an optimum amount of whey will drain. I think it is harder to get a nice Greek yogurt when you do large batches. Scraping the muslin is the key to a GREAT yogurt when doing large batches. By large I mean 1 gallon of cream and 1 gallon of milk.
6. When the yogurt is nice and thick. Scoop it into a container. Lay the muslin on your counter and scrape off all the thick creamy yogurt that is stuck to it. Be sure to rinse your cloth very well immediately or it may not clean up well by the time you get around to washing it with your laundry.

Miscellaneous Information:

I do not know how long this recipe will last. This summer we had one batch make it about 10 days. If you are using pasteurized milk and cream I expect yours might last at least a couple weeks... if you don't eat it all by then. The milk and cream I use is raw and stays raw since I do not heat it above 110 degrees, so it does not last as long.

If you do not want to use a colander to drain your yogurt, you can tie up the ends of the muslin around a wooden spoon that is suspended above a pot or bowl, then put it in the refrigerator like that. You might not get as thick of a yogurt because you will not be able to easily scrape the sides of the cloth, so the middle of the yogurt batch in the middle of the sack/bag will be runnier.

I've had people ask me about adding sweeteners and flavorings. You can add sweetener or flavorings to your yogurt right after you heat the milk/cream. Add it when you add your yogurt starter. If you plan to make Greek yogurt I would not recommend adding sweetener until you are ready to eat it. Some of your sweetener will come out in the whey. How much sweetener you ask? If you are making a 2 quart batch you can use 1/4 cup honey, maple syrup, or organic sugar. OBVIOUSLY these sweeteners are not for those on phase 3 but your family would REALLY enjoy them! You may use your favorite phase 3 compliant sweeter. Just stir in some and taste it to see if it is as sweet as you might like it. Remember that as it ferments it will get tart. If you want to add vanilla flavoring or any other type of flavoring use 2 tsp per 2 quart batch.

Whey is a power food too. You can add it to your smoothies or use it to ferment fruits and veggies. For more information on using whey you can reference the Weston A Price website or see the many recipes in Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. I know there are many that blog that also use fermented foods. I'm sure if you did a Google search for fermenting vegetables with whey you will find many recipes that you can try. Whey can be added to homemade mayonnaise to extend it's shelf life.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Phase 3 day 2

So... I've been enjoying my first days in phase 3. My favorite indulgences include coconut oil, coconut manna, green smoothies made with whole milk kefir, hamburger topped with a fried egg dripping in butter, Greek yogurt with a dab of berries and vanilla cream stevia, green beans with slivered almonds, whole milk kefir with vanilla cream stevia, creamy peach ice cream, pulled pork, and CREAM in my coffee!

This morning I did a Leptin Rx style protein and fat loaded breakfast. I ate 68 grams of protein for breakfast. I was not hungry until later in the afternoon. I'm going to do it again tomorrow simply because I like the appetite suppression. I am struggling a bit with eating TOO much just because it tastes SOOO good to be eating again. My big goal is to cut back on my desire to sample all my favorites because.... .they aren't going anywhere... I will be able to eat them little by little over the next weeks, months, and years! It is funny how after 3 rounds my big indulgences include things like coconut manna, coconut oil, cream, kefir and Greek Yogurt etc. Not cookies, cakes, chips, and bread. :-) BUT the wonderful nutrient dense foods I crave are VERY filling so I have got to cut back on my portions and find the right balance for me. 

I have also started my work out routine. Right now I'm walking 1 mile a day to Leslie Sansone's power mile. Once my body adjusts to that power mile I'll do 2 miles. It think it will take a week or 2 before I increase my work out. I'm a little bit sore... but not too bad. I expect my weights to fluctuate quite a bit this week due to the exercise and TOM.. which is still slow in coming. I intend to work my way up to 4 miles a day. As soon as our "Total Gym" arrives I will start a toning work out too. My intention is to work a different set of muscles each day so each set will have a 2 day break between work outs. I'm not exactly how this will work yet.. I need to to some more research on how to do that type of a workout routine and the gym come with a work out video that I'm hoping will help me to formulate my plan. From what I've read, it is very good for women to lift, especially for our endocrine health.

I've also started using an MSM cream on my prune belly daily. The stretch marks are already starting to fade, but the prune like wrinkles will take a while to shrink up. I've carried six lovely babies and maintained my blubber for 6 years past the last ones birth. In one year I lost all that baby weight plus another 29 pounds... so I expect it will take many months for my tummy, hips, and thigh skin to shrink up to fit my new size.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Round 3 Phase 3

Over the past few days I have finally transitioned into phase 3. I'm so glad to be done with this round and so thankful for the 88.8 pounds I've lost thanks to hcg over the past year. This was a really tough decision for me to make but there are a few things that contributed to my decision to end this round.

1. I was really struggling with hunger and thus keeping my head in the game. I found myself cheating often which resulted in 3 weeks of my weight fluctuating from 146-150.
2. I started spotting for TOM on Sunday and really did NOT want to do another 2 weeks of the VLCD/hcg in order to end AFTER TOM.
3. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror on Tuesday and realized that my chest FINALLY sticks out further than my belly.... first time that has been the case since pre-children 16 years ago! I realized that I looked good and can easily be content with this new smaller me. My body still has many problem areas, but I think it is time to just settle in to this weight.
4. My absolutely wonderful husband showered me with compliments and kisses on Tuesday when he got home from work which helped to confirm that the me that I am now is a good sized me. LOL! :-)

My last dose weight is 146.2 and I've stayed very close to that the past few days with the exception of today. My weight jumped to 149, which was NOT surprising because TOM decided to join me full force in the night. It will go back down within a day or 2.

I've struggled with "whats next"?? After much debating with myself I've decided that it is time to simply settle into me. So I'll enjoy my phase 3 and continue to research JUDDDing (Dr. Johnsons Up Day Down Day Diet)and the Leptin Rx. I have lab work scheduled for April 7th at which time I'll get an update as to how my thyroid is adjusting to this new weight. If my t3 is still way off.. .I may give the Leptin Rx a try. If it isn't I'll continue with phase 3 style eating until I'm ready to do something about these last 10 pounds. Hubby bought us a "Total Gym" so we will be starting to tone up once it arrives. It is very possible that once I start exercising that 145ish might just be the perfect place for me.

I think one statistic that is the best about this hcg journey is that in just 145 dieting days, which means 145 VLCD's I have lost about 89 pounds. That is an average of  .6 pounds a day. That is really GREAT!! I'm so thankful that my VLCD days are over as I really do enjoy phase 3 eating! Now I can indulge in our abundant cream and lovely yellow butter. Today I made a stirred cream custard from our cream and about a dozen egg yolks that I had as a result of eating that egg bread the past couple days. The custard tastes amazing!

Oh... and to help myself control my addiction to Coconut Manna... I melted down 2 containers, added about 1 cup of coconut oil to each container, then measured out 1 tablespoon portions into tiny muffin papers. It is easier for me to grab just one and let it melt in my mouth, rather than sitting with the entire jar in front of me and eating spoon after spoonful  (BAD BAD BAD!!). I plan to make some homemade coconut manna sometime this week, then some lovely CM lemon truffles.. if I find a recipe that works well I'll be sure to post it!

Final Stats:
February 14, 2011 - 235 pounds
February  25, 2012 - 146 pounds
Clothing sizes: 20 pants to loose classic 8 & loose skinny 10's. Tops XXL to Mediums and some smalls. Dresses 20 to size 10 or 12 depending on cut. Skirts size 20 to size 10's and some 8's.

I started my weight loss journey with a goal of weighing 155... and reached 146. YEAH!

To celebrate my weight loss and 40th birthday I'm getting a 30 minute massage AND a "Morning Coffee Ritual" at a spa in Sheboygan. I'll be pampered for 2 hours... then out to lunch with hubby. I've been putting a little money aside for the past couple months to save up. I've never had a massage before nor a body scrub, wrap, and oil application. I'm hoping that maybe for the first time in my life... I might just be able to .............Relax! :-)

Thanks so much for following my journey and I hope you stick around while I continue to post about our weight maintenance, health, and lots more nutrient dense recipes!