Sunday, April 25, 2010

Added to the Pile + 32 and a Mini Review

A big thanks to Tricia at Llewellyn for my copy of A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler!

The two South Beach Diet books I got off of Amazon after a long contemplation about whether or not I should do this diet. When I went gluten free due to stomach issues, I gained somewhere between 10 and 15 pounds and I had no idea why. I chalked it up to substituting the bread I had to cut out with higher fat foods and just went on my way. Then I started exercising. After months I'd lost inches but no scale weight. I half figured it was chemical, my body changed and my 123 pound weight was no longer my normal. But as I continued to work out and the scale wasn't budging, I kept getting more and more frustrated.

One of the girls at work swears by this diet so I looked into it and, really, I was halfway there already being gluten free. I'd already gotten over a major hurdle for most people: cutting out things like bread and pasta. While I still ate gluten free breads and pastas, it wasn't the same. My major hurdle was going to be the sweets. So I figured I'd try it out and see what it could do for me. Anything to get the scale numbers down. Now I'm not normally one to fuss over scale weight. I've never been on a diet and I'm not a believer in denying myself anything although consuming treats in moderation.

So day one wasn't bad although I did have a really bad sugar attack in the afternoon. I ended up buying a couple of bags of sugar free candy just so I could give myself that sweet taste I felt I needed. But I didn't cave to any real sugar or anything. By day two that craving was pretty much gone and I actually wanted to eat more asparagus and edamame. I started reading the blue book because it gives you a background of what the diet does and why you're losing weight and it was so informative. I finally realized why I gained weight when I went gluten free: the gluten free products I was eating were worse for weight management than your standard white wheat products. It makes so much sense!

I can tell you, I'm not hungry on this diet. Ever. I'm actually eating more now than what I was before and I feel so much fuller longer. While I'd love to have a piece of cake, I don't actually crave it. Instead I'll have some sugar free Jello (which I've always preferred anyway) or a sugar free Popsicle. The cookbook has a quick and easy recipe for a legal Phase 1 chocolate milk called Chilly Chocolate and let me tell you, it's orgasmic. It feels so wrong to drink it because it tastes so good but the only sugar in it is what occurs naturally in milk! I love it!

This is my first foray into dieting in my life and I have to say, it's a damn good diet. It's not based on deprivation. It's based on eating until you're full. And yes, while you do have to make some sacrifices in the beginning, it lasts for two weeks and then you can start working the fun stuff back into your eating regime. I'm jonsing to be able to eat my daily clementine again (I'm allergic to fruits and oranges are basically the only ones I can eat fresh). In the first two days, I lost 5 pounds. FIVE FREAKIN' POUNDS!!!

My mom asked me if I weighed myself before I started the diet on Thursday (as in this past Thursday) and I said no and I'd just do it on Saturday. I mean really, how much of a difference can 2 days make? Imagine my surprise! Here I am literally gorging myself on ham, turkey, chicken, fish and vegetables and I've actually lost weight. If this keeps up, I won't need to go to Phase 2 and I'll be able to skip right to Phase 3 which is the maintenance phase. In Phase 1 you're expected to lose anywhere between 8 and 13 pounds. Well 13 pounds was my goal to begin with. Yay!

So if you insist on dieting, I'd definitely recommend South Beach. I've only been on it for 3 full days now and I officially love it. It's so versatile, you don't starve and it makes you open your eyes to how you should be eating. Love it!

Okay, now for the books. :)

Fifteen-year-old Aura Ambrose is hiding a secret. Her mother, a talented artist and art teacher, is slowly being consumed by schizophrenia, and Aura has been her sole caretaker ever since her dad left them. Convinced that "creative" equals crazy, Aura shuns her artistic talent. But as her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet draws Aura toward the depths of her imagination. Just as desperation threatens to swallow her whole, Aura discovers that art, love, and family are profoundly linked - and together may offer an escape from her fears. (book blurb)

Developed by noted Miami cardiologist Dr. Arthur Agatston for his patients, The South Beach Diet became a national phenomenon - because it works. It's not low fat. It's not low carb. This clinically proven, healthy plan to lose weight and keep it off teaches you how to eat the right carbs and the right fats. In addition, the South Beach Diet will help reduce your cholesterol as well as help prevent metabolic syndrome (pre-diabetes). As a result, you'll lose weight safely and keep it off.

Dr. Agatston's plan allows you to eat many of the foods you love - lean meat and fish, low-fat cheese, healthy oils and nuts, vegetables, and the right carbohydrates. Even desserts are included. You're never left hungry. Structured in three simple phases, this may be the easiest diet that you've ever tried.
(book back blurb)

What better way to maintain your South Beach Diet lifestyle than with a cookbook that celebrates the freshest, healthiest foods of summer? In this new addition to the South Beach Diet cookbook collection, leading cardiologist Dr. Arthur Agatston brings you 150 fast and flavorful recipes that capture the casual essence of Miami Beach and other warm climates around the world.

Whichever phase of the diet you're on, you'll find ideas for breezy breakfasts; crisp salads and light summer sandwiches; innovative grilling ideas for meats, poultry, fish, and shellfish; tempting vegetarian entrees; refreshing desserts; and cooling summer drinks.

But this is far more than a single-season cookbook. Grilling, whether done outdoors or in, is a year-round pastime, and many of the recipes in this book can easily be adapted to what's best in the garden or the market at any time of year. Among the delicious dishes included are the Greet-The-Sun Breakfast Pizzas, Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho, Classic Lobster Rolls, Farmers' Market Pasta Salad, Mediterranean Chicken Burgers, Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Peach-Lime Salsa, Spicy Grilled Sweet Potato Fries, Chocolate-Cherry Truffles, South Beach Diet Tiramisu, Iced Pom-Mojito Spritzers - and plenty more.

The South Beach Diet Taste of Summer Cookbook also features a week's worth of sample meal plans for Phases 1 and 2, an expansive glossary of key ingredients used in the book, and tips for maximizing summer's bounty, including freezing fruits, vegetables, and herbs and making fresh tomato sauce, herb vinegars, fruit compotes, and a variety of pestos. The 60 beautiful full-page color photographs show just how appealing these recipes can be and bring the sunny feeling of summer directly into your home. (book flap blurb)

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