Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Summer of Jules*

I absolutely love Sundays. Especially Sundays in the summertime. Is there anything better than being a teacher during this time of year? Now that my in-service  and meetings are over,  the answer is a resounding no. I'm even thinking about hiding my alarm clock like Rockband Barbie does!

Another reason I love Sunday so much is that it's the one day of the week that I'm guaranteed to see my husband. He is literally the busiest person I know. He has a pretty demanding Monday through Friday job, and he is also a musician. More often than not, I don't get to see him on Friday and Saturday nights. So, by default, Sunday night is our date night.

We had the absolute best time today. I have been dying to see The Heat with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy since the moment I heard about it. Believe me, people… it did not disappoint. I think it may be one of the funniest movies I've seen in quite a while. We saw the preview for Anchorman 2 before the movie started. I cannot wait for that one.

My morning started with coffee, of course. About 45 minutes later, I was pretty hungry.  Do I really even need to show you this photo anymore? I bet you can guess what I had. But not so fast… Look! There's ham!

I decided to add a little bit more protein, hoping that it would hold me a little bit longer.  I got pretty hungry after breakfast yesterday, so I added an ounce of smoked ham.

My lunch was a new one. I made the easiest egg salad ever with one hard boiled egg, and a tablespoon of Oikos Greek Yogurt Vegetable Herb Dip. These dips are a new discovery for me, and the nutrition stats are great. There are four different favors.  Right now I can only find them at Walmart.

I also had five reduced fat Ritz crackers and one ounce of smoked ham. Can y'all tell I'm trying to finish this ham?

Dinner! This is something I have been really excited about. Going out to dinner with John. Another blog I really like is called Bariatric Foodie. Although Nikki had gastric bypass surgery, a lot of the advice and recipes she mentions work wonderfully for us Bandsters too. She features really useful restaurant guides, and one in particular that I loved reading was the guide for BD's Mongolian Grill. Our local chain is called Genghis Grill, but it sounds exactly the same. It also happens to be one of John's favorite places to eat. I like it a lot, but it was never my absolute favorite. That is… until I realized it was a protein paradise! I built today's bowl knowing full well that it would be two meals. I was thrilled to see that their website features a full nutrition PDF. You can literally calculate any bowl you choose to build. My bowl was a combination of chicken, shrimp, sliced beef, eggs, water chestnuts, onions, red curry sauce, and a seasoning blend of salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

They let you "choose your starch" and have options such as rice, fried rice, spiral pasta, or flour tortillas. I picked the flour tortillas not knowing if I would eat it or not. I knew I definitely didn't want the rice or the pasta. The flour tortillas are 100 calories each, and I ended up eating half of one. My bowl was delicious and this meal, more than any other meal so far, really illustrated how LITTLE restriction I have right now. I could have very easily eaten three fourths of it and the rest of the tortilla. One thing that kept me from overdoing it is that I know it will be just as good when I have the rest of it for dinner tomorrow night. That, and I didn't want to have a stuck episode in the middle of the restaurant. :)

After we finished dinner, we made a quick stop at the house to drop off the leftovers and then went to the grocery store. I have quite a few ideas for things I want to make this week. Our main objective was to be home in time for the season premiere of Dexter!

Today's total:
I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! Thanks for reading!

*Anyone remember the Seinfeld episode called The Summer of George ? It was one of my favorites!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Lazy Saturday

It is so nice to have a day at home. I was able to get back to my normal eating routine and also spend some quality time with this handsome fellow. His name is Furry Lewis and he will be 12 this September.
He kept me company while I enjoyed my favorite coffee combination. Six ounces of strongly brewed coffee with a half scoop of Chocolate Splendor Unjury and a touch of fat-free half-and- half.

Since I haven't gotten to have my normal breakfast for the past four days, a scrambled egg and a dollop of ricotta was a welcome treat.

Lunch was also a favorite from last week. I have been getting hungrier between meals, so I had 3 ounces of ham and 2.8 ounces of fresh mozzarella. I really did not mean to have that much, but I was finishing up the rest of the container and didn't have any idea it would be 2.8 ounces. I recorded it in MyFitnessPal, and it really was way too much fat. My dietitian at my clinic has only told me to pay attention to calories and protein, but they haven't said anything about fat grams. What have your experiences been with this? What do you keep track of?

Dinner was the best meal of the day. I have been looking forward to this for such a long time. People in the South are crazy about Chick-Fil-A. I'm no exception although I have trouble with their politics. After the whole gay marriage/Chick-Fil-A fiasco last summer, I made a decision that at the end of every calendar year I would add up the amount of money I had spent there and donate it to an LGBT charity of my choice. Damn them and their delicious fowl. Tonight I had an 8 count nugget with buffalo sauce and a small diet lemonade. Not at the same time, of course. I drank the lemonade on the way home (sans straw) before I ate dinner.  I have gotten really good about not drinking until an hour and 20 minutes after every meal. I set a timer on my iPhone that tells me when it's okay to begin drinking again.

I'm almost embarrassed to tell you what I did for the rest of the evening. Now I enjoy a good highbrow documentary, but I also enjoy (and by enjoy, I mean LOVE) a trashy Lifetime movie. And how could I resist the world premiere of Anna Nicole?  I'm kind of starting to worry about myself. Last Saturday night I watched Jodi Arias: Dirty Little Secret. By the way, have you ever noticed how many Lifetime movies have the word "dirty" in the title? As I was looking through the DirecTV guide today, I noticed there was also one called Dirty Teacher. Oh my.

I also recorded Auntie Mame on Turner Classic to watch later. I've seen it a million times, but I can never get over the set design. It is just gorgeous.

And here it's "dirty" total. ;)

The Whole Enchilada. Literally.

I have some catching up to do! The past four days have been intense. On every level. Like I was saying the other day, this week I attended Advance Placement training at a local university. I'm a Spanish teacher, and now I have my certification to teach AP Spanish. I have no plans to do this in the immediate future, but you never know!

Although the days were very long, the workshop was really worthwhile. Probably the best thing about it was the professor. She was a fabulous woman from Austin, Texas, and one of the best presenters I've ever seen in my almost 20 years of teaching.

I had to leave the house every morning around 6:45am. Although the distance between my house and the university is not far, the traffic at that time is crazy. I wasn't hungry that early in the morning, so I had my normal coffee with half a scoop of Unjury Chocolate Splendor protein powder. I also added a little bit of fat-free half-and-half. Delicious! I am really liking this combo. Our first break every morning was at 10:00am,  and I had my favorite string cheese every day. Kraft Jalapeño.

Sorry for the repetition, but lunch was the same every day. Good ol' Charlie Tuna. I have to admit, I don't want to speak to Charlie for a while. Although he served me well, I'm a little bit tired of him. :)

Dealing with lunch was pretty interesting. The workshop provided free lunch passes to the cafeteria, and I'm sure I could have found something if I looked, but I didn't feel really ready to tackle this two and a half weeks post-op. The first day it was no problem. After everyone left for lunch, I stayed in the classroom and made my tuna salad lunch kit. As the days went on however, and I begin to make friends and meet people, they begin to ask me "why aren't you coming to the cafeteria with us?" The first person to ask was my professor. So… I told her the whole story. Her response was absolutely incredible. She said some really kind things to me and was very encouraging and supportive of my decision to have surgery. Each day from that point on she would tell me how proud she was of me and how she couldn't wait to get a photo of me at my goal weight. Although she lives in Austin, we talked about making plans to meet in Dallas sometime in the future. We have a lot in common, and one of the main things is our love of shopping. We discovered that we share a favorite mall...Northpark in Dallas. Dallas is just about midway for both of us. I really hope we get to do that someday.

Other people were just as supportive when the subject came up. I have to say I was really feeling the love this week. And it was great.

On Tuesday and Wednesday night for dinner, I had my new fave Green Chile Cheese Puff. I had it with a little bit of avocado each night. It was absolutely wonderful to come home to a dinner that was already made. I was so tired. My friend Jordan has a theory that food is usually better the second day anyway, and she was absolutely right in this case. I was really thrilled at how much avocado 56 grams truly is. I weighed it out carefully each time, and couldn't believe the amount for the calories. Avocado is a favorite of mine, and although it doesn't have much protein, it adds so much to all my favorite meals.

But let me tell you about Thursday night. I had my first restaurant experience since surgery! Speaking of Dallas, my friends and I are going next weekend to see a little-known artist that you may have heard of… Beyoncé! I'm so excited I can hardly stand it. We met at Cantina Laredo to plan the trip and talk about what we want to do while we're there. I carefully scanned the menu ahead of time and I decided that I was going to ask for chicken enchiladas in a tomatillo sauce. The enchiladas came with rice and a side of delicious, steamed zucchini. I learned a really important lesson here. In the future, I'm always going to ask what the side items are if they aren't listed on the menu. These weren't. The zucchini was great, but I didn't touch the rice. I've heard that rice can be problematic, so I avoided it.

I was so busy talking and having fun with my friends, that I completely forgot to take a picture of the beautiful plate. You all know what Enchiladas Verdes look like, I'm sure. I ate one enchilada and two small chips with salsa. I felt satisfied, but not stuffed.

On Friday, I had my normal coffee with Chocolate Splendor, my Kraft jalapeño cheese stick for snack, the tuna salad for lunch, and for dinner I had the other enchilada and the zucchini.

I'm starting to notice that I don't stay full as long. I'm sure this is completely normal since I haven't had my first fill yet. It is scheduled for July 24th. I also have a feeling that eating one whole enchilada is not going to something I'll be able to do in the future. What do you guys think?

Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Let There Be Hot Sauce. Citracal Sugar Free Chocolate Calcium Chews are delicious. They taste exactly like a Tootsie Roll and I am not going to mind having 2 a day in the least. I daresay I'll even look forward to it! 30 calories well spent. I've updated my Daily Supplement total in My Fitness Pal to reflect it.

So let's start with breakfast shall we? Before I was banded, one of the foods that I hoped I would still be able to tolerate after surgery was eggs. Glorious eggs. I love them so. Every which way. Scrambled. Poached. Hard Boiled. Sunny Side Up. I even heard Nigella talk about "coddled" eggs one time. I have no idea what that is, but I'm sure I would totally dig it. I've been very careful not to overcook my scrambled eggs, because I've heard that the drier they are, the more likely they are to cause problems. I switched it up a bit this morning with some fresh mozzarella and a dash of my favorite Smoked Tabasco.
Lunch. I'd like to apologize in advance for what I'm about to show you. But get used to it because you might be seeing it a lot this week. Like maybe every day. Here's why: I'm a high school Spanish Teacher and for the rest of this week I'll be attending the Advanced Placement Summer Institute at a local university. From 8:00am until 4:45pm. Although we get passes to eat lunch in the cafeteria, I just don't feel like I'm ready to branch out like that yet. Enter my friend Charlie Tuna. Easy, tasty, no refrigeration required. And the best part is it has 210 calories and 20 grams of protein. That's about as good as it gets. So being the always-be-prepared Girl Scout that I am, I tried this out today. I'm not tryin' to have any kind of  "cracker incident" in front of my new teacher friends tomorrow. I'm happy to report that all went well.

I'm most excited to tell you about my dinner! It was amazing. As I already mentioned, one of the blogs that I read from start to finish was Lap Band Gal's. I picked an ABSURD amount of information from reading her posts. One book she recommended checking out was Before & After by Susan Leach.

Although Susan had gastric bypass, her recipes work for Bandsters too. The first one I made during my full liquids phase was her Vanilla Egg Custard cups. They were rich, satisfying, luscious, and had 9 grams of protein. I had one every evening.

So tonight I tried her Green Chile Cheese Puff and it was just beyond fantastic. My first thought after tasting it was "this is going into the regular rotation for sure." It tastes like a creamy, decadent Chile Relleno from your favorite authentic Mexican restaurant. I also added a little avocado on the side. This is LIVING, people! Here it is fresh out of the oven.


And here is my portion:

My husband loved it too. And of course, I had to add a little Hot Sauce. This time I used Ortega. It has a good flavor and, coincidentally, it is the closest thing you can find to Jack in the Box Hot Sauce packets. Don't pretend like you've never had their 2 for 99 cents tacos at 2AM :) I know I've had my share. It's a damn good thing the closest JITB is about 3 hours away from me! In Sulphur Springs, TX. Not that I've looked up that information or anything.

And here is my daily total. Good night, everyone!


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Daily Supplements I mentioned yesterday, I ate the exact same thing today as I did yesterday. I may have enjoyed it even more because I didn't have to do anything except warm things up. Actually, it's not the cooking I mind, it's the dishes. My husband and I live in a house that was built in 1935, and there is no dishwasher. I am the dishwasher. I also enjoyed my meals more today because I am getting the hang of taking tiny bites and trying to eat slowly. A BRAND new concept for me, I assure you.

I thought I'd briefly mention my supplements that I'm taking every day. As expected, my doctor and dietician recommend a daily multivitamin along with calcium. I'm pretty content with my multivitamin....I'm taking 2 of these guys every day:


But my calcium leaves a lot to be desired. First of all they're huge, and I'm having to split them in half. They get all jaggedy, and they are just plain hard to choke down. And even worse, you have to take 4 pills a day, split into 2 doses. I'm just not down with doing this 8 times a day. I'm just not.


So I saw an advertisement for these in the Sunday paper today. They have 15 calories each, but that is no big deal. I bet they taste pretty good too. They are calcium carbonate as opposed to calcium citrate (the dietician at the hospital said citrate is better), but I don't know how long I can keep doing the Citracal pills. I can envision how hard those would be to take after I have my first fill.


I'm also taking a sublingual B12 because I've heard they are good for extra energy, and Biotin because I'm interested in keeping my hair, y'all. I know some people never experience that side effect, but just the thought of losing hair has me quakin' in my boots. A little insurance, if you will.

 Hope everyone's Sunday has been as relaxing as mine! Thanks for reading!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Damn you, Paula Deen.

It's always kind of a sad deal when someone who has always been a "friend in your head" disappoints you in some way. I'm looking at you, Alec Baldwin.

Being from the South, I always kind of liked what Paula Deen represented. Or maybe she just reminded me of one of my mom's crazy ass friends. You know the one...they're in the Junior League with your mom, but they really don't seem like they belong there. Like they may or may not have a bottle of hooch in their pocketbook. She just seemed like a fun time. The whole thing is beyond disappointing, but it is forcing some conversations to take place that we've needed to have for quite a while.

Anywho...over the years I've made many a PD recipe. I even have a couple of her cookbooks. And yes I've added all the butter, and all the cheese, and it was yummy every damn time.

But I am getting WAY ahead of myself. I'm sorry. Where are my manners? I haven't even introduced myself. My name is Julie, I live in the South, and on Friday, June 7th, 2013, I got the lap band.

You must understand that I come from a family and a culture that is deeply rooted in food. We plan our next meal while we're eating our current one. We celebrate with food, we comfort each other with food, we bond over food. It's just the way it is. Not surprisingly, a lot of us end up overweight and unhealthy. Like me. I was the only 5th grader at Weight Watchers, the "biggest" member of my high school dance team, and the deeply unhappy young adult that decided to do something about it. From January 2000 through July of 2002, I lost 150 pounds. How? 1200 calories a day and lots and lots of Tae Bo. To this day I have a deep affection for Billy Blanks. I had never been happier. I was 28 years old and I had finally conquered my weight problem once and for all. Or so I thought. Years went by. I worked. I traveled. I met my husband. Priorities shifted, life was lived, and slowly but surely nearly every pound came back. Except this time, at 38, the problems had multiplied. My knees were getting worse by the day, I could barely exercise, and I was losing hope quickly. I didn't have that 28 year old metabolism anymore, and my motivation was nowhere to be found.

I am deeply ashamed to say that I always viewed weight loss surgery as the easy way out. I think this had a lot to do with the fact that I lost an enormous amount of weight "on my own". I went to my first lapband seminar as a skeptic. But a skeptic with an open mind. As the doctor began to speak, he began to address every one of my thoughts and fears as if he was reading my mind. I left there feeling a weird emotion that I hadn't felt in a long, long time. Hope.

When I began my journey, the very first thing I did was search for blogs. Luckily I found them. And I read them...some of them from the very beginning. Every single post. I learned so much. The things they never tell you at the seminar. The things you really need to know. Karin? Amy W? They are total rockstars and my constant inspiration. Go read their blogs. Go now.

When I began to think about blogging I started to worry. What could I possibly have to say that hadn't already been said, and way better than I could ever say it? What could I bring to the party?

The number one question that I am asked by my family and friends is "what do you eat?" Or sometimes even "what do you GET to eat?" This gave me a great idea. I'm going to blog about it. I'm going to post photos of my daily eats along with nutrition info, and the occasional recipe.

I don't mind telling you that I can throw down in the kitchen. And I'm not talking about "throwing down" in a Bobby Flay sort of way. Which, as far as I can tell, involves way too much chipotle marinade. I hope to give you some great ideas, some slimmed down versions of old favorites, and options at your favorite restaurants. We eat out a LOT. There will most certainly be some repetition. Maybe the same meals two days in a row. My aim is to give you a real life depiction of what someone with a lapband really eats.

Today is my first day of "real food". I did a two week pre-op diet, and for the past two weeks I have done both clear and full liquids. A week of each. It wasn't so bad, and I've lost quite a bit of weight already.

As anyone who has been on a liquid diet can tell you, you spend quite a bit of time planning what that first real meal will be. I went back and forth quite a bit, but I have to say that today's menu has not disappointed one tiny, little bit.

I began my morning with coffee, like any rational person does. Except this was no ordinary cuppa joe. I added a touch of fat free half and half, and a half scoop of Chocolate Splendor Unjury. Don't even get me started on Unjury. I should really buy stock in the company.

For breakfast: a creamy scrambled egg and a dollop of luscious ricotta. I texted this photo to my mother and she said..."Looks good! Is that a biscuit?" Oh mother, you are precious. And yes I know that banana in the background has seen better days. I kinda like 'em like that!

For lunch: some Virginia smoked ham (ended up eating half of that), a scoop of Kalamata tapenade, and some divine fresh mozzarella.

For dinner: And this is where it all comes back to Paula Deen. I knew I'd get there eventually. :) This a lightened up version of Poppy Seed Chicken casserole. The original version has a stick of butter and a carton of sour cream. Delicious, yes. Healthy, no. I have eaten this at potlucks, wakes, picnics, etc. for years. If you like creamy comfort food, this will be your jam. You cannot tell anything is missing at all. It's simply yummy. Here's the recipe: Along with some green beans seasoned with Cavender's Greek Seasoning. A staple around these parts.

The total for the day.

And guess what? I'm having the exact same menu tomorrow. A day of deliciousness like this? I don't mind repeating that at all! :)

Thanks for reading!