Ideal Protein

Being Good This Week… (Squirrel!!)

My Ideal Protein coach is desperately trying to get me back on track. I’ve got 8 pounds of the 10 T-giving to

Promising to BE GOOD!
Promising to BE GOOD!

Christmas pounds I gained, left to lose. Sigh. So, she snapped a photo of me in her office, eating a protein bar and actually writing it down. I admit, writing it down helps. So, I started out being good. You know what they say about “good intentions” and the road to hell and all that? So, my intentions are there. Really! I’ve written everything down, and guess what? Yep, that furry little animal with the fluffy tail, and/or the shiny something that caught my eye, well, yes, that distraction happened! It was a good distraction though. Does that count as part of my “being good” this week?


Our 8th wedding anniversary happened! That’s a fine and very good thing. We celebrated a day early, you know, to reminisce about the lovely rehearsal dinner in Costa Rica with our friends and family.

Yes, we went out to celebrate our rehearsal dinner. Why not? It was a lovely night 8 years ago! So, away we went, braving the madness that is South By Southwest happening right now in our town, to this meal at the Four Seasons. This particular celebratory meal, included a starter, drinks, main course, a couple of sides (one of them was a vegetable, in my defense. Brussels Sprouts… flash fried, but a veggie nonetheless) and a tower of doughnuts, piping hot with special sauce and ice cream. They also brought a plate of bon bons on the house with “Happy Anniversary” scripted in chocolate down the plate. I indulged, okay, over-indulged and enjoyed my favorite company, my lovely hubs. The food was not spectacular despite it’s spectacularly stupid price, and we both were underwhelmed. However, the company was perfect.

Then, on the anniversary of our actual wedding day, we decided to head out again. We are worth a two night binge. We are! This time, we were not disappointed with our local fare at Jack Allen’s kitchen. We started at the bar for our hour wait, where we met a lovely couple from Santa Cruz, California. While we were chatting, I realized that the hubby and I had picked out my engagement ring in Santa Cruz over 11 years ago! How serendipitous was that? They were about to celebrate their 48th anniversary, and I loved her still strong New York accent when she said, “Before you know it, you’ll be celebrating 48 too!” I’ll be well into my 80s by then, and I have no doubt, we’ll be celebrating then too!

Our meal was less than 1/3 the price of our rehearsal meal the night before and about a thousand times better. I exaggerate not. The steak was perfection, the salmon delicious and the drinks and dessert, well worth eating. The company was still the best part of the meal, but we learned our lesson. The Four Season’s just can’t keep up with native Austin cuisine. Lesson learned! So, though my good intentions got lost in my good times, my heart is full and happy. Belly too. Besides, who wouldn’t want to celebrate our beautiful Costa Rican beach wedding / jungle reception again and again.

Magical Costa Rican Wedding. Definitely worth celebrating over and over!!
Magical Costa Rican Wedding. Definitely worth celebrating over and over!!

I’m a lucky, lucky girl. My diet can restart now.

Cauliflower Soup? Uh…. I Ate It!

Cauliflower soup recipe
I guess I like cauliflower, who knew?

Veggies are not my friends. I don’t like them. Well, mostly, and up until I started this Ideal Protein thing, I did not eat them much. My feelings about veggies are starting to change. I’ve come so far! So, my first cauliflower experiment was way back, on day 21 of my journey, when we made the O’Rooney’s (Blasphemous) Shepherd’s Pie. Blasphemous because my Irish husband had to put whipped cauliflower on top rather than spuds. It kind of creeped me out. I ate it, but he loved it! I don’t like things parading around as if they’re something else. Our kids totally busted us on that one too, but surprisingly, they ate it.

Since my humble no veggie beginnings, I’ve eaten lots of weird things I thought I wouldn’t eat, like Brussels sprouts, stuffed peppers, and zucchini. I know, I AM proud! My favorite thing though, and I’m not even having to lie right here, is the Cauliflower soup. It might be a little off my Ideal Protein diet, only because it’s got coconut milk which is high in fat. Coconut milk, though, doesn’t have many carbs, so there’s that. Well, and I add the cashews, again, low carb, but higher fat. It’s so delicious, I can’t even tell you! I found a version somewhere on Pinterest, but here’s my version.

Monkey Cauli Soup

1 Head of Cauliflower

Olive Oil

1/2 tsp Turmeric

1/2 tsp Coriander

1 1/2 tsp Cumin

1 Onion

3 Cups Chicken Broth

1 Cup of Coconut Milk (or the whole can if you hate wasting it) 🙂

Cashews (whatever amount you think is good in your bowl, I’m bad, I go back for more handfuls)

Disclaimer, precision is for prudes… (just kidding, I’m just not very precise, but this will work!) Preheat oven to 375. Cut cauliflower into florets or smaller, and chop onion. Put both on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil (use your best judgement, I just drizzle). Roast until kind of brown. Stir if needed. I like mine really roasted. Heat everything else in a large pan until boiling. Dump the veggies in the broth/spice mixture. Boil for 5 mins. Remove from heat and blend all together in a blender. Pour back in the pan, and add the Coconut Milk. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve while hot and sprinkle with Cashews.

Holy wow. I want some right now. Some folks would consider this recipe Paleo, maybe? Not sure on that one but if so, then woohoo!

I’d love to hear about your results with this soup. I mean, I crave it! And that’s a bit freaky because it’s cauliflower for gosh sakes!

Crunchy Herb Roasted Chicken Tenders, Fancy!

On My Plate, Looks like a magazine, right?
On My Plate, Looks like a magazine, right?

So, to say that I’m not a chef would be a more than subtle understatement. But while on this Ideal Protein diet, I’ve managed, among the messes and failures in the kitchen, to prove that sometimes it all works out and nobody gets hurt (not even the hubby!) Last night, when I decided to cook what I’m calling “Crunchy Herb Roasted Chicken Tenders” I went to the end-all, be-all cookbook that is Pinterest. I searched for Ideal Protein and Chicken. I knew I’d seen this recipe before and with it came accolades like, “favorite IP recipe, EVER” and “I could eat this every meal.” Yes, I was hankering for something that good.

Admittedly, it was that good! Well, I don’t want to eat it every meal, but because it was super easy, I’d venture to say fool proof even because well… I did it, and it was tasty which makes it a success! Woohoo!

I made it for two because the hubs was hungry as well. SQUIRREL! (that means I’m having a wee ADD moment, so bear with me!) He usually cooks, by the way, so I think it was hard for him to get out of the way. He’s a big brother too. He’s the oldest in the family and I’m the youngest from mine. It makes for some super hilarious exchanges “big bossy brother” to stubborn wee “I can do it myself” sister. I often pause after he’s made an obvious “suggestion” and give him the feisty little sister look and say, “Are you big brothering me?” He’ll laugh and say, “maybe” or “only when you need it.” Of course, when he doesn’t and I’m three miles past our exit and I realize it and glance his way, he’s got his funny little grin on (the one that’s really cute and charming) because he knows what is coming. “Why didn’t you tell me to get off?” “Because I didn’t want to big brother you.” He can’t win, can he? He does though because we laugh a lot and gets to live with me!

Back to the Fancy Crunchy Herb Roasted Chicken Tenders recipe! You’ll need: All natural organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts, Ideal Protein Garlic and Fine Herb Crisps (one bag per breast), an egg and spray olive oil.

Preheat the oven to 400. Spray a cooking sheet with olive oil. Cut the chicken into “fingers”. In a bowl, whip up one or two eggs. Crush the crisps. I used a zip lock bag and a glass bowl to squish the crisps because I couldn’t find the rolling pin. It worked great. Dip the chicken pieces in the egg and dredge through the crispy crumbs. Coat well. Place on baking sheet. Bake about 9 or 10 minutes and turn them over. Bake a few more until done.

They were very tasty. Hubby liked them too!

Ta Daaaa!

Mish Mash Friday

Every so often, it’s fun to throw in some random thoughts, things, ideas, experiences and stuff… and things.

  • That 50 Pound Monkey, that went to 60 Pounds, is now at 25.2 (sorry, math is hard.. had to come in and correct this… shoot) 27 pounds. Take that, monkey boy! Damn, I liked my first number better.
  • The hubby just asked me, “What are your plans for 50 Pound Monkey when you have no monkey?” I laughed, but then thought, good question! Oh, and thanks for feeling positive that I’ll get there, love!! Truthfully, there will always be a monkey, right? I mean, it might not be 50 pounds, but there will always be a ghost monkey. That sounds like I need help! What I’m trying to say is that once I’m to my goal, I’m going to have to figure out how to stay there. That’s a whole ‘nother kind of monkey! He asked if I’ll start writing about our training for our 7-day BC Bike Race (hint, hint…think he’s reminding me that I committed to that sucker?) we want to do in 2016. Yes, I think I will. I’ll be writing about all the great adventures that come our way. 50 Pound Monkey isn’t going away… well, it’s going away pound wise, but not publication wise. That’s the plan.
  • My old mountain bike is set up on the trainer, just waiting for me to get on and spin. Woohoo!
    The Joys Of Rehab: Spinning
    The Joys Of Rehab: Spinning

    I’m progressing with the knee. Funnily enough, it’s really, really weird to get on and spin. No resistance is a very weird sensation and I could absolutely fall off that stationary bike from the boredom. I thought road riding was a bore… holy frijoles even with the TV right in front of me, I want to GOOOOOO! Is that why my PT said, “I’m gonna have to worry about you doing too much!” Uh, yea, prolly so.

  • My redheaded son got so sunburned last week at his soccer reffing debut that he’s got scabby peeling yuckiness. #gingerprobs How does that child lose every tube of sunscreen I’ve put in every bag he owns. Okay, I didn’t put it in his ref bag. My bad. #badmom
  • So, this Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) lifestyle is taking off again. Isn’t that just like the good ol’ Adkin’s Diet?
  • Client lunch at at Thai Restaurant today… uh… what to order and stay with the plan. Not a Thai connoisseur.
  • This Diet Bet thing is pretty fun. I’m in two right now. One of them has a pot of over $60,000. Made my first month goal! woohoo! It’s a lose 10% in 6 months game/bet. You might try it for fun. There’s a whole social network up there too!
  • Had no water last night (as if you care… sorry, it’s random). There was a crew down the street working all night. It’s back, but do we need to boil our water? No notice from the city, but it makes me nervous!
  • I’ve got a great compression sleeve from a really cool company called Body Helix. If you’re sporty, you should check them out. They make high quality, innovative compression sleeves for most body parts. Considered being a rep for them at one point. Cool company! Anyway, I wonder if that would help my knee heal faster, and keep the swelling down. I’m gonna go try it, besides, they feel so snuggy. I used a calf one when I was having plantar fascitis and achilles issues with tennis. It felt good.
  • Hubs is a certified swift water rescue technician, (and ropes rescue/instructor) just because software engineers might need that? No, just because he’s so NOT a nerd.

All right, I’ve done enough brain dumping on you for one day. I’ll leave you with this photo of the gorgeous American Beautyberry photo from my yard this morning. This is my favorite plant ever! They’re berry lovely, don’t you think?

American Beauty Berry
American Beautyberry

Before and During Photos… (Oh, the horror!)

Dee, my awesome Ideal Protein coach, texted me this photo.

Humiliation at it's best. Before and During. Just a little past half way there.
Humiliation at it’s best. Before and During. Just a little past half way there.

YES, the before shot in her office is so sad! I’m definitely wearing a potato sack that is completely unflattering, but sadly, real. The photo on the right was snapped a week or two ago for my “Yeah, It’s A Crutch” post. Frankly, I don’t recognize that person in the orange, bless her. So, here’s to completely humiliating yourself online. How’s that for a #TBT?


Stop Living Under That Blanket

Shed The Blanket!
Come on out!!

More than thirty pounds ago, my life was different. As a naturally happy person, thankfully, most people didn’t notice the changes in me. Yes, of course, they could see the extra weight I was carrying, but I’m talking about the big wet blanket effect that dampened my lust, my enthusiasm for just about everything. Most people couldn’t tell because I love to be happy. I love to make other people happy. I could force myself to be my outwardly chirpy self while I hated the package I presented to the world, and worse yet, in which I kept myself entombed. Trapped. Desperate. I told myself that my weight didn’t change who I was inside, but man, it did. Dramatically as it turns out. As the numbers on my scale climbed and I flailed for footing on that slippery slope so I could grab myself by the fat rolls and get control, it began to change my personality. I yo-yo’d quite a bit. The effect would wax and wain accordingly. The higher my weight got, my normally naturally high enthusiasm would drop inversely. 

My love for tennis, Gaelic football (I was a founding player for the women’s team here) was suffocated. I became embarrassed to show up. Don’t get me wrong, I was talented and respected, even at the top of my scale, but the respect and affection was all outside coming in. Looking around the court or the playing field, I hated knowing that I was the largest person there. My whole athletic life, until adulthood and babies, I had always been one of the smallest, quickest — confident, coordinated, talented, enthusiastic and fun. Suddenly, there was a deep self-loathing. My competitive spirit didn’t leave, but my joy was stifled. I hated not loving what I loved passionately. 

Recently, I figured out that my lack of interest didn’t stop there. As a business development rep, it’s my job to be “on” all the time. It’s my job to sparkle, shine and lift clients up and help them shine, but especially in the last year, I found it difficult to care at all. My job was a drag. I dreamed about quitting. I wanted to just do something from home. I was sick of people. I was sick of working. I did not like much of anything beyond the walls of my home. So, after my knee surgery, which also happens to be when I finally hit my 30 pound mark, I had a miraculous re-invigoration for work. Suddenly, I remembered how good it feels to like what you do. I burned it up and made calls, wrote emails, reached out and felt renewed excitement at helping my clients with their businesses. A client once said to me, “You walk in here like a ray of sunshine. I love to see you come in that door. You always make me laugh. You spread sunshine!” I’d forgotten how great it felt to spread the joy, sunshine again. I forgot how fun it is to be me and to do a job so suited to my disposition and talents. 

That wet blanket, that layer of fat, was suffocating the life out of me. It was a big wet glob of insulation that kept the yuck inside and the sunshine out. Life was out there and I was hiding inside this terrible place full of self loathing, shame, and self imposed ostracism. 

I didn’t get out of there on my own. I tried so many times, so many strategies! I exercised a lot. I’d play tennis, hike, mountain bike and otherwise sweat my guts out, but it was so hard to lose a pound or two. I’d go out with friends, family and feel so happy laughing, drinking and eating crap. Then, I’d spend the rest of the night feeling sick, and angry. What a brutal ritual. It was a ritual too, because it got repeated over and over and over again.

Here I am. Me again, and I’m only half way there! Let me tell you what I think happened. 

Ideal protein happened. I heard about it from a tennis acquaintance. It had obviously worked for her. She said it was fast and easy. She wasn’t done yet either and she looked pretty damned great. If she could, I could. I was ready. I was miserable and 50 pounds too heavy. 

Why did/does it work for me? That is the question. The answer, I believe, is multifaceted. The timing was perfect, I was having to stop playing because of my knee injury. I felt like I was at rock bottom. I wanted to stop playing anyway. It wasn’t fun, even when I kicked ass, because I was so embarrassed by how I looked. It didn’t matter how well I played, or how fast I was, to me, I was just fat. The IP program is pretty perfect for my body type. I’m very naturally muscular. I build muscle easily, and quickly. Ideal Protein is high protein and low carbs, but not to the extreme. It’s sort of a hybrid (in my opinion and I could be completely wrong) between Adkins and South Beach. I eat vegetables now for cripes sake! Now that I’m eating this way, I honestly (seriously, honestly) have no desire to eat high carb, sugary things. When I do take a bite or two, I’ve found that I don’t want to bust out and and go crazy. My whole relationship (I’ve said it before) with food is completely different. Eating is not a celebration! It’s not really supposed to be anyway. It’s nourishment for this machine. That is all. This machine has a glorious life to live!

Why did I stick it out? If you’ve been with me from the beginning starting with my first Ideal Protein post on June 11, you’ll know it wasn’t always easy. In fact, I had a hell week or two… I hated it. I was pissed. I felt like dog, like dirty dog. My body detoxed hard. I lost 10 pounds of gunk the first really, really hard week. For some reason though, this thing was damned well gonna work, and suddenly, I was not alone. My friend Wendy started with me. My coach Dee texted all the time. I wrote my heart out right here on this blog and suddenly, readers began to comment on my posts. I began to read other’s blogs and engage and feel connected, encouraged, (gasp) almost happy!  I’ve made friends here in the blogsphere. You know who you are. Thank you profusely, and from my heart of hearts. 

I’m not there yet, but I’m back. I’m right here. My enthusiasm, my natural energy and desire to be Sarah sunshine has been resurrected. I’ve shed the wet blanket. My desire to get on that court, and onto that field are burning a hole in my heart. I’ll rehab this knee just like I’m rehabbing the rest of me. I hate that I wasted any time at all there under that cold, wet, dark blanket. 

Please, figure out a plan you can really stick to. Mine sincerely is a way of life now. I thought that phrase was a load of bollocks. Now, I know. Get out! Escape that blanket and you’ll be so relieved to have your life back. I promise. I’m here to help, encourage and motivate. If you want me to stop by your blog, leave a comment. I will. I know what support can do to a person’s morale, and I want to help. 

Come on out, the weather’s fine!

Yeah, It’s A Crutch

one crutchBut it’s just ONE crutch! And don’t you think it goes perfectly with those shoes? Happy Sunday! I’m happy to report that pictures don’t freak me out as much as they once did. A long 90 days ago, I was so desperate to not be in front of a camera that violence was not out of the question (kidding, kinda). Now, halfway there, it’s not so bad. 

I will find out tomorrow (my first knee post op) if I can get the stitches removed, and if skipping to one crutch was a no-no. It’s just so much easier for me (and my poor hubs) because I can carry my own stuff around. I’m so tired of getting somewhere, leaning the crutches and having one or both go crashing to the ground or worse, on top of a poor ever-present dog. I’m already guilty of taking off and walking 10 or more steps before I realize that I’ve forgotten my crutches. I’m taking that as a good sign on the knee front.

Crutches? I don’t need no stinking crutches!

Day 89: It Never Gets Old

Scale The Difference
From Day Freaking 3 to Day 89, things have really changed!

It’s a thrill every time you see your scale change one of its first two digits, isn’t it? It’s like breaking through to a new “decade” or better, “century”, of weight! And thank goodness, unlike my age, this one is going backward. I stepped on the scale a bit dubious this morning because I had a couple of Deep Eddy Ruby Red Vodka with sodas last night with dinner. (Squirrel! We tried a new wee place called “The Fox Hole, A Culinary Tavern”. Despite the fact that our order was messed up in a couple of different ways, we were pleased. AND, oh my goodness, I ate some Brussels sprouts that weren’t on the verge of combusting into dust, like I cook them,  and they blew my hair back. They were called “Crisped Brussels Sprouts: Texas pecans, heirloom beets, balsalmic, pecorino”. Yep, I’d go back for those alone.)

I do remember a time when I wouldn’t go near the scale because, for some obvious reason, it was stuck sending me to new decades (or centuries) in the upward trajectory. Man, this new thang, it’s pretty awesome!

That is all.

Day 84: Do These Crutches Make My Butt Look…

crutchWe had a field trip out to dinner last night. I somehow hobbled in through two swinging doors (you’ve got to stick that crutch in quick and stop the door) and into the ladies room to wash my hands. As I was hopping on one foot, I glanced to the right and there I was in full side view, crutch balanced gracefully under my right pit, and I had to look twice. Was it me, or did the crutches make me seem slimmer? Was it the long clean line of the crappy, well-worn, hand-me-down beauties that seemed to make my profile more narrow, less bumpy, less belly-centric? No, I don’t think so. I’m running with it, well, going anyway. I think it’s definitely 84 days of this magical Ideal Protein ride. It’s 84 days of plodding along. It’s 84-freaking long and tedious days of stick-with-it-and-be-a-badass-ness that made me look twice. Do I feel great about it? Hell, yes! Am I done? Uh… no. (sobbing…)

I’m just about a half pound from half way. The last two weeks have brought crazy change, stress, and surgery into my world. Just two weeks ago, I left pieces of my heart in Colorado with my oldest son, I got a year older, a college friend died suddenly,  and my knee was scoped. Hella few weeks, huh? Did I tell you that the doc used the word “arthritis” in the same sentence as MY knee? Did I mention he said it was a 3 on a scale to 4? It was really irritated by the tear in the miniscus that rubbed the stuffing out of the inside of my knee, but seriously? Old people get arthritis, not I, not wee little me who’s still in my fabulous forties. The last two weeks my scale has been hovering in the same spot and not giving me a moment’s peace. In truth, why can’t I just see that the scale is just showing me a number? Health, family, gratitude, and love, that’s what’s important. Having the will to plod forward toward my goal, stoking the fires of the stick-with-it-and-be-a-badass mentadditude, that, that’s coming from inside. That second glance at a smaller me, and the ability to let the inner critic acknowledge progress, that was a sweet bonus.

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