My husband and I began following Jorge Cruise's "Belly Fat Cure" plan in March of 2011. Needing to keep my motivation up, and also wanting an archive to read back over, I decided to join the legion of those people already tracking their progress.

Friday, June 24, 2011


I double-checked my packaging at home for the Oat, Flax & Whole Wheat pitas in my last post. It definitely did not include Sucralose in the listing. So I emailed their quality contact, attached the two ingredient lists and asked which was correct.

I just heard back this morning:
   Sorry for the delay in replying to your question.
    We eliminated the sucralose from the pita a couple of years ago.  Thanks for pointing out the discrepancy on the website.  I have noted to have the nutrition info updated on the site.  That's handled by an IT consultant.
    Bottom line is that there is no sucralose in the pita.
Best regards,
Larry Essember
QA Mgr.

Fantastic news for us! Remember, these specific pitas have ZERO sugar, and just 8g of carbs per serving with a nice healthy 4g of fiber. And pitas have so many uses!

So go support Joseph's Middle East Bakery! They do ship some of their products from their website if you can't find it from your preferred low carb supplier.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Welcome, Summer!

Thank goodness we found those 12 Grain sandwich flats from Stop & Shop, because burger season is here! (Note to others: every other brand of sandwich flats I've seen have used HFCS or Sucralose, so read your labels!)

Actually last night I found a list of different burger topping ideas and the first one we tried had no bun! Take some chili (preferably home made to avoid carbs from wheat fillers) and pour it over a nice sirloin burger in a bowl! We added a slice of pepperjack cheese to the patty, and a touch of shredded cheddar to the top. It was great!

Last week's weigh in was a surprise. I hadn't felt particularly successful in the plan the weekend before (weekends are the most challenging - we plan movie nights and want movie junk to go with it), but I lost more than two pounds and a quarter of an inch off my waist. My husband also continued to lose, which was very encouraging. The proof that this plan works is there - every weigh in!

We went to the Bronx Zoo last Wednesday, and even though walking around with no where to be but where we are ought to be relaxing, the traffic in New York is NOT! A woman, who was thrilled to see a street side parking spot opening up, lost her focus and backed up into us, who were stopped behind her. Thank goodness it was at a slow speed and that we drive the same make of care, so our bumpers were made for each other! We shook hands and parted ways, but the drive home, thankfully without bumps, was very crowded, slow and full of worrying about other drivers who were not watching where they are going. I think traffic has gotten worse, and I know my husband saw quite a few people playing with their phones instead of focusing on the roads.

My shoulders were hard as ROCKS when we got home, it took a day and a half to finally relax them! But Friday I was able to attend my first Martial Arts class since early May. A friend of ours was leading the class and was kind enough to take it easy on me, as I was only there to find out how ready I was. I did much better than expected, even though I still have some trouble with my right foot and calf muscles. It was such a thrill to be back out there doing what I love.

I'm going back tonight for another class. Depending how that feels I may also go tomorrow evening.

Weigh-in after class (I drink a bottle of water after class, get home and shower before my weigh in). This is the typical schedule of weight checks, and it's good to have the familiar elements involved!

This morning's breakfast was a bowl of plain Cheerios and an apricot, with my coffee (decaf) waiting for me to finish this post.

For lunch I packed a serving of Pirate's Booty, and the makings of a pita ham sandwich. I found a Horseradish-Dijon mayonnaise that really flavors up a plain deli meat sandwich (I have never been particularly enthusiastic about sandwiches). The pita pockets are Joseph's Oat Flax and Whole Wheat, and are a magical 8g of carbs with 4g of fiber, and NO sugar. (Edited to add: okay, the label on their site shows sucralose in there. The packaging doesn't! I will have to call them and find out which is true. Hopefully the packaging is right and the website is wrong!)

Dinner will be oatmeal with Nature's Hollow preserves, Unsweetened Almond Milk and Cinnamon. That usually gets me nicely through class.

And LOTS of water! It's hot out there and I'll need it to get through class!

Oh, and for those of you with access to a Stop & Shop, look for Nature's Promise Organics Homestyle Frozen Waffles.  They are 5/2, with just enough room for Joseph's Sugar Free Maple Syrup. We had some with eggs and bacon on Sunday morning and they were delicious!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Questions, Answers, and Getting this Train Rolling Again

This was asked of me as a comment to my last post:
Do you drink your coffee with actual cream and still lose weight? I love it and it is such a treat, but I like a lot of it in my coffee and I'm not losing. Just wondering if you can help.

One of the things that makes the Belly Fat Cure an easier diet to switch to is that you don't have to give up everything – just the processed nonsense we really have no business eating in the first place.

Coffee is one thing I thought I'd have to give up, as I used to shovel about 6 tsp. of sugar into an 8 oz. mug – don't even get me started on my 16 oz. mug! I already drank my coffee with cream before starting the diet, so how could I possibly lose the sugar and keep the taste?

Previously I had tried to cut back on sugar on my own, with no knowledge yet of the BFC. I tried Stevia in my coffee – blech! It has a celery-like twang in the aftertaste that worked just fine with grapefruit, not so with coffee! I eventually settled on Sun Crystals, not realizing they contained sugar anyway!

So a few days into the BFC, this was back in March, I decided to just pour a little extra cream in my coffee and omit the sugar. And deal.

I didn't have to deal! A touch more dairy and I didn't even miss the sugar. In fact, I preferred it!

Per the advice of Jorge and the BFC literature, I started drinking cream in my coffee rather than 1/2 & 1/2, to trim down some of the sugar that's present as lactose. Light cream was only 8% of the daily fat, something we don't tend to really worry about on the BFC, so I didn't feel like I was trading one vice for another.

In April, though, I ended up pulling a muscle, an injury which escalated in May to a herniated disk and a pinched sciatic nerve. I have had to suspend my martial arts training due to this, and I ended up almost reversing my beverage poles. Instead of drinking many many servings of water to prepare for class, I was drinking just water with meals and having coffee (and caffeinated, where I used to drink decaf) all. day. long!

Eventually I realized I needed to cut back. And caffeine isn't good for muscle health, nor is it good for nervous system health. Not to mention that fat, proteins and calories, while not counted on the BFC, still need to be consumed according to common sense. 7 cups of coffee, made with a heavy hand on the cream, is NOT common sense! And this diet does not work without the water!

Between the cream and eating what was available due to my injury, rather than making extra trips to the store and such (while I found I could drive on the meds I was given, I still didn't relish the thought), I gained back 4.5 pounds over weeks 10 - 12 on the plan, and almost two inches on my gut.

I scaled back on the coffee, and switched to decaf. Now I have two cups in the morning, and maybe two cups in the evenings, though as it gets hotter that isn't as appealing. Four cups may sound like a lot but when you're cutting back from practically taking it intravenously, it's an improvement.

Last week we returned to the plan full-force, and I started drinking at least 72 oz of water per day. In addition, there was the major find of the magnesium powder that made taking vitamins palatable again, so I added back all my vitamins, plus a hefty dose of magnesium.

Last night's weigh-in saw a loss of 5.2 pounds compared to last week, and my waistline is headed in the right direction again.

So the TL;DR version of my answer is: Yes, you can enjoy your coffee with cream! Just avoid the sugar, and only have the minimum amount required to soothe your soul. Avoid caffeine if you can (the way this plan works, coffee and tea are pretty much our only caffeinated beverages now), and definitely ignore the sugar bowl!

Yesterday our shipment of probiotics and psyllium powder arrived, so I added those to my diet this morning. I expect only improvement, even if the powder on my toast made it a bit hard to swallow. I'll experiment to find other ways to include it.

As for my injury, I've been seeing an acupuncturist, upping the magnesium and water, and last night I felt improved enough to try some yoga. If I want to return to my martial arts classes I need to remind these muscles how to stretch!

Added reading, as if I didn't throw enough at you, here's an article, unaffiliated to the BFC but supporting the theory behind our diet: lifehacker - what sugar actually does to your brain and body

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Learning Acceptance

It's been three weeks or so since my last confession update. The time has been such a blur, though. I know we've missed every weigh in since week 9, so I don't have progress to report. Actually the exact opposite.

Two weeks ago I woke up one morning, showered as usual, got dressed. When I went to put on my make-up, I got this feeling in my leg like someone was squeezing my thigh with a clamp. Then they stuck a dagger in, straight to the bone, and started wiggling it around. I was fidgeting as I tried to finish my make-up application, trying to find some position for my leg that would be more comfortable.

Then I realized my bare feet were not just cold from the tile. The toes of my right foot were numb.

I tried to continue my morning routine a bit, while on the inside I'm freaking out about nerve damage and imagining myself in traction in the hospital. I sat back in the recliner for a few minutes. The pain subsided quickly, and the numbness took a step down to just cold, the tingling fading.

But the cats were crying for breakfast. I got up again, downstairs to the basement, then back up. Then feed the rabbit and guinea pig. By this point the stabbing and numbness was back. I accepted that this wasn't going to go away if I ignored it.

I called in to work and said I'd have to be home that day. I called the acupuncturist (I had a GC from a friend and hadn't managed to make an appointment yet) and left a message. I called the chiropractor and left another message.

Then I laid back in the recliner and cried. I'd be crying pretty consistently over the next three days.

I got an appointment later in the afternoon for the chiropractor. He examined me and suggested maybe it was time to have an MRI. He and his wonderful receptionist worked hard to get me a pre-authorization, but the next available appointment wasn't until the following Tuesday. The acupuncturist didn't have an appointment available until Friday. I stopped by work and picked up my files, then went home and took a few ibuprofen and kept ice on it, and stayed off my feet.

I continued working from home for the rest of the week. Thursday night my pain had me tossing and turning all night – and NOTHING can keep me from sleeping, normally. The next morning a friend told me about an experience of a previous mother-in-law, who had gone to the chiropractor for three years. Initially he made her feel much better, but later she was only feeling enough relief to get to the next chiropractor appointment. This also sounded very familiar. What she eventually did was go to a doctor for muscle relaxers and a few rounds of massage therapy. Now she just needs to go to massage therapy every now and then when it bothers her. The constant pain and chiropractor visits were a thing of the past ever since.

I told this to my husband, who immediately got on the phone with the PCP office in town, and before I knew it I was in the car and on the way to an appointment 15 minutes later.

The doctor (who has had 4 back surgeries) listened super close to my story, told me to hold off on the MRI, and gave me an injection of anti-inflammatory pain stuff (like a mega dose of ibuprofen, she said). Then she gave me three prescriptions and told me to take them, no matter if I felt better, for two weeks.

That evening I went for acupuncture. It was all very relaxing but I don't know who to give credit to for the relief I was feeling. But I do blame the acupuncturist for sleeping the rest of the evening and then solidly all night.

And thankfully the meds weren't making me loopy at all. I'm still not driving right after taking them but I remember a friend who was on a muscle relaxer once when she came to visit. It was like talking to a pillow. SO glad I'm not like that.

The weekend was  much more pleasant, and I was able to be out and about a bit. The PCP doctor had told me not to stay too long in a chair, that I needed to move and stretch. So we saw Pirates of the Caribbean, and did grocery shopping and that sort of thing. Very nice.

I returned to work on Monday morning, moved back my MRI appointment (just in case it was determined I should still have it), saw a massage therapist on Tuesday morning for half an hour. Tuesday evening there was a belt promotion ceremony at my Martial Arts studio, so I went for that and took photos rather than participate. Wednesday night we saw Pirates again, this time with my parents and in 3D.

Friday there was more acupuncture, but I didn't feel like I got much out of it that time. And at $75 a pop, I think I'll try the $40 massage therapy again. There are acupuncturists around, though, that take my health insurance, so I may try one of those.

So as you can see, my focus was not on eating according to the BFC. Out of habit I think we stuck to it fairly well, eating what we knew we could have from experience, but not branching out into anything new.

And there were cookies.  Those pre-segmented Tollhouse cookies that I love, fresh from the oven. We bought two packs over a week but thankfully I think I ate 5 or 6 at the most. There was also whole milk. I remember McDonalds, Indian food, Popcorn and candy at the movies (saw Kung Fu Panda 2 on Friday night).. but I can't recall as many transgressions as I thought I would. Cheerios or Uncle Sam for breakfast each day, or Dunkin Donuts breakfast sandwiches (4/2). LOTS of coffee. With benefiber!

But things were returning to some semblance of normalcy (with the exception of some severe frustration over not being able to return to Martial Arts.. AGAIN), and I went for a pedicure and manicure on Saturday morning (another birthday GC I hadn't managed to use yet).  This actually felt wonderful. The place where I go includes massages with everything, and I left even more relaxed.

Sunday my husband and I resolved to get back on track with the food, and I was even able to stand long enough to cook! We had egg scrambles, bacon and toast for breakfast (3/2), leftover pepperoni dip with Joseph's pita pockets for lunch (0/2), then my husband made chili for dinner, which we had with Late July brand saltines (1/1). Then the pound cake with Redi Whip and blackberries for dessert (5/1).

Monday morning, a holiday, I got up and baked the velvet blueberry muffins from the BFC book (only with some of the muffins in other Nature's Hollow flavors) to eat during the week, then made the traditional pancakes while I still had the soy flour out. Served the pancakes with bacon, whipped cream and a reduction of nature's hollow mountain berry preserves (0/2). It was so late by that point we skipped lunch. Dinner was spicy cheeseburgers from the book, with cucumber in mayo/vinegar/truvia dressing with fresh dill and Pirates Booty (1/2). Then another round of the dessert mentioned above (5/1). Still lots of coffee.

Tuesday I had the muffins for breakfast (0/2), an egg & cheese (they forgot the ham) DD sandwich (4/2) for lunch, and dinner was leftover chili (1/1). No dessert that night.

Yesterday was muffins for breakfast (0/2), chili for lunch (1/1) and dinner was this salmon recipe from, served with brown rice and leftover cucumber mix (1/2). Delicious! And I had dessert (5/1), though my husband abstained.

But, my major discovery, which restores my hope for this whole process was magnesium! I was reading up, Tuesday night, about sciatic nerve pain, and one site mentioned that magnesium supports good muscle health, which in turn can relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve. It listed caffeine and whole grains as causes for low magnesium levels. Well, those two things have been greatly increased since we started this diet, for sure!

So yesterday at lunch I went to Vitamin Shoppe to get some magnesium supplements. I bought a Magnesium Potassium Magnate supplement, and then my eyes fell on a tub of Magnesium Plus, made by PureEssence. It's a powder that gets added to water. I tried it with my lunch and it was delicious! But more importantly, this morning.. I took my vitamins with it! FINALLY I have found something that I can drink to swallow ALL my vitamins (plus now the magnesium supplement). It's nothing short of a miracle. I currently have at least five, if not more, canker sores in my mouth from my food allergy combined with stress. I was resigned to adding orange juice back to my diet just to take vitamins with (which I did on Sun/Mon/Tues morning), but now I can return to the BFC without my orange little secret. Did I mention it's really tasty? It actually prompted me to finally set up my own Amazon sales widget, it's that good. ;)

In addition, I bought some more decaf coffee and will switch to that to cut out the main source of caffeine in my diet. I should cut back on coffee anyway. Following "Common Sense" when it comes to fat intake is hard when you like your coffee with extra cream and you have 8 cups of coffee a day.. ;)

I will weigh in tonight if I remember, to give myself some perspective.