Ideal Protein Diet - Week Two - Eating to Live
Feel the Power
My Hands Didn't Recognize My Hips
I am not sure how much weight I lost this week but I seeing lots of evidence that this diet is working where others have failed. When I got up in the middle of the night to use the restroom…something you cannot avoid when you are drinking half a gallon of water a day…I put my hands on my hips. This is a little trick I learned to take the pressure off my left hip that allows me to walk with less pain. My hands met my hips and I could feel that my body is getting leaner. I didn’t recognize my own hips and waist and this is only after two weeks. I have to believe that it won’t matter what the scale says…I am thinner.
Once again I try to imagine a French woman following this diet. It boggles my mind. I haven’t been to many places outside of the U.S. but my sisters and I took a 10 day trip to Paris and there are no fat people in there. Okay, maybe there’s a French woman who wants to wear a dress that is so tight she is afraid her 1 oz. of fat may look disfiguring. Maybe she goes on this diet for one week before she wears that dress so she can drop the last of the belly or thigh fat that takes away from her otherwise Grecian goddess slim figure. Okay…one week maybe. Generally, the French are trim, healthy and fabulous and this is without low fat cheese or depriving themselves of pastries. I know what the problem is here…I want to be a French woman…that’s all it is, I’m jealous. Look at Americans…we’re fat, our eating habits suck, we’re lumpy and bumpy and positively gross getting old before our time.
After my first weigh in and a loss off 6 pounds, I imagined a 6 pound pork roast being extracted from my body. I also started imagining my body using the stored fat. I couldn’t get the image out of my head of a bunch of Pac-men nibbling away at this yellow blobby goo. I learned that human fat looks remarkably like chicken fat while watching a television surgeon remove a woman’s waddle, the fat under her chin. So I try to imagine what happens to all that fat everywhere on my body. I think of it as liquefying and imagine that the half a gallon of water I drink is to flush out the liquid waste.
I’d like to know how the body decides where to draw the fat from. We are very well designed machines with a specific plan that allows us to breathe and keep our hearts beating exactly the same all the time without having to think about it. How does the body decide where to take the fat from? At first I imagined that it must be - last to come, first to go - like a lay off system at a manufacturing plant. So, if the last place my body stored fat was my back then my back would get thin first. This is all poetic license with no science behind it whatsoever $6. However, I felt like I needed to know and I did a little research online at several medical sites such as Virtualmedstudent.com and Livestrong.com and I put together a synopsis of what is going on inside my body as I understand it.
Fat doesn’t get zapped or melted and burned right there in the fat cell. It must be stripped away and sent to a muscle cell. The fat in the cells must breakdown into smaller forms of fatty acids and something called glycerol that the body can use as energy. The only thing that can trigger the release of the fat cells and break them down using hormones is when the body needs the fuel. If you give your body the two fuels that it generally runs on, carbohydrates and/or fat, your own fat cells will never give up their strong hold on your stomach, or thighs, or scarier yet…your heart. So, it seems the only way to shed fat is to limit carbs and fat so that your body fat has to let go for its own survival.
Apparently, you need some carbohydrates to fuel the process of extracting stored body fat for fuel. This is where the two cups of vegetables at meals comes in. However, if we are constantly meeting energy demands from carbs or fat from food sources, there’s no need for your body to tap into its stored fat. That is the logic behind why a balanced diet will not work for weight loss and Ideal Protein will.
As humans we need to learn to stop eating when our physical hunger is satisfied. Animals seem to stop eating when they are full, don’t they? Except domesticated dogs and cats who follow our lead and depend on humans to feed them. How many times has a dog owner given in to Fido when he looks up with big soulful eyes? Is he hungry or is he simply doing what humans do; eating for pleasure? That would be an interesting evolutionary change from the lean wild dogs that only eat until they are full. I have a friend whose beagle once ate an entire 10 lb. bag of dog food after breaking into the closet where it was stored. The dog had to have its stomach pumped. This dog also had a bad habit of eating socks and gloves. That doesn’t seem like it would ever happen in a natural setting. We want our pets to be happy so we over feed them mimicking how we over feed ourselves to derive some sort of pleasure.
What we need to understand about the Ideal Protein food is that we will never, no matter what we add to it, get the same kind of food orgasm you could expect from carb and fat laden creations that combine texture and taste in sensual tension. We will be satisfied physically. Some of the food even tastes pretty good. However, you’re going to have to do some soul searching for ways to satisfy that emotional part of your being that lusts after rich foods. For me, it’s been writing this blog. You may want to take up pole dancing or video poker or Frisbee golf. Whatever floats your boat, you need to find something that satisfies you deep down in your core because food won’t be it for the duration of this diet. For me I know I have to make some kind of switcheroo for the rest of my life so I don’t have to do this again. This diet is helping me to rethink food at its most primal level. Food is nourishment for the body and should be that forever. This is not to say that I will not enjoy an apple, a reasonable portion of pasta, or an occasional dessert when I’ve shed all this extra fat.
My definition of hunger has changed. No longer do I get what I used to call “The Big Hungry” which was accompanied by a sense of desperation that I can only describe as starvation. Now when I’m hungry it’s more subtle instead of “Oh my God I’ve got to eat right now or I’ll die!” I notice that my energy level is a bit lower and I feel a little fuzzy headed. My stomach may churn but it is nothing like what I used to think of as hunger. It turns out that sensation was cravings brought on by my addition to carbohydrates. I was jonesing for food like a cocaine addict craves the drug. I’ve never been addicted to a substance like nicotine or alcohol but now that I’ve experience hunger differently that other HUNGER must have been something else. I always joked about being addicted to carbs but I guess it wasn’t really a joke. Weird. I could have never come to this conclusion before this diet. Even on Weight Watchers I got “The Big Hungry” and I’d satisfy it with my drug of choice…carbohydrates. Weight Watchers is a great program if you don’t have an eating addiction to carbs or fat. I had to get that out of my system so I could try again from a fresh perspective. Without the carbs my body is not freaking out all the time. Right now as I sit and write I am starting to feel hungry. This means I know it’s time to eat for biological reasons…this is all quite interesting. So I ate the Leek Soup and a salad with lots of lettuce and cut up Persian cucumbers. For dressing I used my 2 teaspoons of olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. I learned about lemon juice instead of vinegar from my cousin Kathy who married into an Egyptian family. These people really know how to eat. The lemon gives the salad a fresh taste that will surprise you.
On the spiritual side, my relationship with St. Jude has helped me cope with the pain. I’m not sure why prayer works but it does. I had one little interesting thought through all of this. I am drawn to Eastern philosophy and Buddhism. In the Buddhist tradition when a Bodhisattva comes into a body they have the choice to be released for the last time when they die. I’m not saying that I believe in reincarnation as a fact but it is one possible scenario. There are lots of people in the world who believe we get a new body after this one and I see no reason to believe that this is not at least a possibility. So, it may be possible that what we call Saints are the same as what the Buddhists call Bodhisattvas. They are enlightened and do not have to come back to this plane. Obviously, this is a theory with more holes than Swiss cheese (ummm, Swiss cheese…I miss it). The Buddha had what is called “The Middle Way” where a mendicant was neither gluttonous with sensual pleasures nor did he exclude them. Saints, on the other hand, were more likely to deny themselves even the simplest pleasures as St. Augustine when he refused to look at the beauty in nature because it made him feel too good. Geez…no wonder this lapsed Catholic is drawn to Buddha and his middle way. Funny, Jesus made a point of enjoying food and drink and the company of friends while he was here on earth. I wonder how it all got twisted around.
This line of thought made me contemplate how crazy the idea of dieting would have seemed to people throughout the ages. In ancient times when we were still on the plenty and scarce cycle people used to work very hard to get fattened up for the winter if that was even possible. People were always on the verge of starvation and good fat building foods were for the rich. It was even considered a sign of prosperity to be overweight and women who were plump were thought to be healthy and beautiful. Food was not always available then so calorie restriction would have been a crazy concept. Evolution is still a force in nature but it needs to catch up with the way we eat now. Maybe it already is as demonstrated by those annoying people we all know who can eat whatever they want and not gain an ounce. I say we extract their DNA and implant it into the rest of us who only need to breathe near a piece of cheesecake to gain a pound.
This week I purchased some of the protein bars. I needed something sweet to keep me sane. On Ideal Protein a person is only allowed one “higher carb” product per day. Two of my favorite lunches are higher carb; Bolognese Spaghetti and Vegetable Chili so I had to make a choice. Am I going to have these two lunches that will interfere with my puffs and bars? Absolutely not! To hell with that…give me a nice Carmel Nut Bar every time and I’ll stick to soup at lunch. You can see where my priorities are.
Foods I’ve Tried So Far:
Drinks: First of all, I don’t get the drinks…they aren’t satisfying to me even though the two I’ve tried are pretty tasty.
Peach Mango Drink: It is fruity and sweet with a foamy head. It tastes good but to me this should be accompanying a meal not a meal or snack in itself. The act of chewing is important to me. It gives me something to do with my face muscles besides talk. If you are one of those people who would rather sip a drink for your snack after dinner or between lunch and dinner this may be for you.
Wildberry Yogurt Drink: This was thick and tasty but once again, it was not giving me that feeling of satisfaction I get from the puffs or the bars.
Lemon Soy Puffs: (Higher Carb) These are delightful. They are lemony and crunchy. Keep them in the refrigerator and they will be cool and satisfying.
Peanut Soy Puffs: (Higher Carb) These are my favorite puffs. They are coated in something that feels like peanut butter frosting in the mouth. I highly recommend these to peanut lovers. Keep these in the refrigerator too.
Apple Cinnamon Soy Puffs: (Higher Carb) These are nice and light. They aren’t coated with whatever the lemon and Peanut Soy Puffs are coated with, instead it is cinnamon and sugar substitute. They’re pretty good but I prefer the Lemon Soy Puffs and Peanut Soy Puffs.
Caramel Nut Bar: (Higher Carb) Oh heavenly delight! This is chewy and delicious! They melt easily so keep these cooled as well. I could eat these every day and night.
Lemon Poppyseed Bar: (Higher Carb) This one is really good and reminds me somewhat of lemon poppy seed muffins that I used to love. These are my second favorite of the bars but I plan to sample more as the diet goes on.
Double Chocolate Bar: (Higher Carb) Although this one is rich in chocolate flavor, it is not as gooey or chewy as the Caramel Nut Bar. I would buy this again just for the chocolate punch.
Banana Pudding: Do you remember the banana flavored candy that looked like a peanut in a shell and was an unnatural color orange? That is what this pudding tastes like. It’s not the taste that I object to, it’s the texture. I know many people really like the puddings but I can’t recommend them for my taste.
Dark Chocolate Pudding: This was by far the best tasting of the puddings I tested. The chocolate flavor almost makes up for the texture but not quite for my taste. If you try these start with this one.
Strawberry Pudding: Tastes like what I might imagine the cartoon character Strawberry Shortcake might taste like if she was a pudding. This one is not on my list of favorites although I enjoyed it more than the Banana Pudding. After I ate all the puddings I remember thinking, “God, what was that?” Maybe try freezing them slightly. I’m not up for any more experimentation with puddings.
Crispy Cereal: I have come to love this product. It’s fast and easy so I can eat it at my desk at work. If I have it at home I save a little of the pseudo-milk for my cat George, he seems to love it even though he never was crazy about milk. It is similar to Rice Krispy’s but they stay crunchy longer in the “milk.”
Fine Herbs & Cheese Omelet and Plain Omelet: I have come to appreciate the omelets but only through trial and error. As I see it, there are only two viable breakfast food choices for someone like me who likes to save her treat for later in the day. The first is Crispy Cereal and the other is one of the omelets. The first time I prepared the omelet I made the mistake of trying to jazz it up too much. I sautéed mushrooms and bell peppers and scrambled the omelet mix. The consistency was terribly wrong. I had to pretend it was a nightmare to get it down. Then I got smart and followed the directions. I have a small green pan from Target. I heated that up with about a tsp. of olive oil and when it was well heated I poured in the reconstituted contents of the shaker. I sprinkled the top with salt and freshly ground pepper along with a pinch of crumbled oregano. I cooked it on between low and medium with a cover on and let it set. When I slid it out of the pan and folded it, the bottom surface was a little brown and crispy and the center was very fluffy. I use about 2 tbls of salsa (no sugar) on top. This is very satisfying. The only thing I do differently with the Fine Herbs & Cheese Omelet is I skip the salt. I suppose I could put cooked veggies on top while it is cooking in the pan but I find the omelet large and filling enough.
Vegetable Chili: (Higher Carb) This is one of my favorite lunches. Just make sure you cook it long enough and you let it sit for a minute after removing it from the microwave. All the pieces of whatever it is have to soften up and become meat-like. I can see doctoring this with cooked bell peppers and scallions. If you’re into heat you could put in a small piece of jalapeno pepper. I generally eat this at work so it’s fine for me as is.
Bolognese Spaghetti: (Higher Carb) This is similar to the Vegetable Chili but with the addition of some small noodles and a variation on the spice mix perhaps including the traditional nutmeg and cinnamon. I really enjoy this and plan to have it occasionally but you are only allowed this 2 times per week and if I have this for lunch there goes my snack.
Soy Patty Mix: I’ve had this once and was not impressed. I do have another serving of this in my available food with which I plan to stuff mushrooms along with sautéed vegetables. It’s not on my favorite list but it’s lower carb so I’ll try alternative ways of serving it.
Chicken Patty Mix: Even all by itself this is much better than the Soy Patty Mix. The first time I had it I ate it plain with a salad. The second time I added a bit of curry and dipped it in Walden Farms Sesame Ginger dressing. That was actually very satisfying and tasted remotely like an Asian appetizer. I will do that again.
Chicken Ala King: The trick to this one is to make sure it is cooked through and you let it sit for a minute before you eat it. It is rich and satisfying. The portion size is pretty big too. It’s creamy, thick, and it smells really good. Also, it is satisfying for a lower carb choice.
Broccoli & Cheese Soup: Excellent texture and taste. If you add a little chopped broccoli it gives it a little oomph.
Chicken Soup: This is very good. It is comforting and creamy.
Leek Soup: This too is very good and feels good because it is creamy. All soups thicken as you cook them so make sure you cook them for the allotted time.
Mushroom Soup: This one is my favorite. I can see added sautéed mushrooms to this for more satisfaction. This one tastes the most like what I remember from my culinary days.
Tomato Basil Soup: This one I can’t recommend. I was hoping for something that tasted more like Campbell’s made with milk instead of water. The taste and texture were wrong and it is probably just because I imagined something else.
I’m experimenting with foods that I’m allowed to eat. I find the idea of a big hunk of meat with a two cup side of vegetables not quite as mouthwatering as say, a guy in the 13th century who just bagged a deer for dinner in the dead of winter. I suppose two cups of vegetables to him may have seemed a giant luxury unless he had a few worm eaten winter squash to cook up…winter squash, by the way is not a legal food on this diet. I looked through several of my cook books and found some recipes that fit the bill except for one or two items. I used my imagination to taste the food sans the illegal element…in this case it was noodles. Noodles are not an integral element of soup…they are something extra so I opted to try the following recipe that I lifted from one of my favorite cook books, “One Dish Meals, The Easy Way,” a Reader’s Digest cook book. For those of you thinking about the Reader’s Digest’s abridged novels and wondering if their recipes leave out ingredients or steps that they deem are unnecessary…nothing could be further from the truth. Their cookbooks are wonderful and I highly recommend them.
Chicken Soup Françoise, the Ideal Protein Way
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 medium size leek, all of the white part and part of the tender green as well sliced into rounds (wash thoroughly)
3 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
1 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise, and then cut into half-moon slices about ¼ inch thick
½ Tsp. dried marjoram, crumbled
1 (8 oz). can tomato sauce (make sure that sugar is NOT an ingredient)
2 ¾ cup fat free chicken stocks
2 cups water
1 ¼ pounds skinned and boned chicken breast or thighs
¼ Tsp. sea salt
Put the 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a heavy bottomed large saucepan on medium heat for about 1 minute, lower heat to between medium and low and sauté leek until it starts getting limp, add garlic but do not burn, add green & red peppers cook 5 or 6 minutes, add zucchini and marjoram cover and cook, stirring occasionally for about 7 minutes.
Add tomato sauce cover and simmer another 5 minutes then add the stock and raw chicken (you can add cooked chicken or turkey at this juncture). If you are adding raw chicken simmer on medium (you don’t want a rolling boil you want a simmer) until the chicken is cooked – probably about 10 minutes. This makes 6 servings so you are well within your 2 tsp. allotment for olive oil. The only ingredient I am not sure about is the tomato sauce but if there is no sugar and no fat the carbs are all coming from the tomatoes and you are allowed tomatoes up to twice a week. I’d count it as tomato just to be sure. This soup is extremely satisfying and full of vegetables and meat.
Another recipe I pulled out of the archives is pork loin with sauerkraut. Actually, my family recipe called for short ribs and we put apples and onions into the sauerkraut. I’ve left out the apples and onions and added scallions. This one is simple and works best in a crock pot.
Pork tender loin with Sauerkraut
2 lbs. pork tenderloin
1 (8 oz.) bag of sauerkraut
6 whole scallions coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper
½ tsp. caraway seeds
Set crockpot to low heat. Empty contents of sauerkraut into the bottom of the crockpot and stir in scallions, lay pork tenderloin on top. Sprinkle salt pepper, and caraway seeds on the top of the meat and cover. Cook two hours and turn meat over. Salt and pepper the bottom of the meat and let cook until the meat is folk tender and coming apart.
I had stopped eating red meat but I picked it up again so I could have some variety on this diet. The last piece of turkey I ate did not turn me on and the rest of the turkey breast became the soup in recipe one. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do…I want to be successful and in order to do that I need some food that is satisfying in the old fashioned way. Both these recipes fit the bill for the one main meal.
Lemon juice is okay on Ideal Protein so I decided to make sugar free lemonade with Stevia. I used three lemons which made ½ cup of lemon juice, three cups of water, and somewhere between ¼ and ½ tsp. of the liquid concentrated Stevia. If you have the packets you can experiment for sweetness. It tasted delicious and since its real lemon juice it should be good for you too.
I found out that cocktail sauce, what I normally eat with cold shrimp, has a lot of carbs so it’s off my diet. I decided to cheat a little and get the low sugar Heinz Catsup to mix with horseradish, a legal food with no fat, no carbs, and no sugar. I figure for the small amount that I will put on the shrimp it shouldn’t skew the diet. I need some things and I’m trying not to rationalize too much or I won’t lose. I’m already eating sugar free Jell-O like it’s going out of style. I bought 15 boxes at Publix when the Royal brand went on sale for 5 for $2.00. It was New Year’s Eve and I told the checkout woman that it was a tradition in our house to fill the bathtub with Jell-O at midnight for good luck. She smiled and said, “We eat black eyed peas.” I also have noticed a marked improvement in my nails from all the gelatin.
Okay, now for the moment of truth. I lost 2.5 pounds. I am still very hopeful but I guess I was expecting miracles. If I had ever lost 2.5 pounds on Weight Watchers in the second week I would have been asked to leave the meeting because my jubilation would have been too distracting. Really, I am one of those every other week losers even when I stick to program 100%. I told my cousin Kathy and she shrieked over the phone about how great that was. I know she is right. The fact that I can’t move because of my hip pain puts me in a really odd class for any diet situation. I hardly move at all except to get in and out of my car for work and the occasional shopping trip to Publix where I need to use the shopping cart as a walker. It’s all about sticking to this. I am so convinced that my body is changing and the scale has just not caught up. I am down a total of 8.5 pounds in two weeks. That is pretty remarkable and I am still on track.