May 302016
 

My bff Rachel surprised me with an amazing gift recently! Since she lives in Seattle and couldn’t bring us food when Logan was first born, she decided to gift us with a house cleaner instead! It was so sweet of her to think of doing something like that and I couldn’t have been more excited.

I was beyond ecstatic. I’ve been able to keep up with the minimal house cleaning since Logan arrived but it’s definitely not up to my usual standards and deep cleaning…? That hasn’t happened in awhile. A long while…

For local Portland people: I highly recommend the services of Double Duty Cleaning Services. Email: doubledutyclean@gmail.com. Phone: 503-933-1933.

DeNae and her assistant came over one day and cleaned our entire house from top to bottom. They even did stuff I never think of doing (and will try to keep up with in the future!) like dusting light bulbs and cleaning air vents. They even cleaned inside the microwave!

They were efficient and thorough. They used green products for most of it and then used heavy duty hospital-grade type cleaner (that kills stuff like MRSA) for certain areas. It was nice to know that the house was going to be super clean and sanitary. Especially considering our little guy is getting bigger and will be on the move soon.

Michael came home and said our house “sparkles”. It looked AMAZING. I was really happy with the results and hope to hire them again in the future when I need the deep cleaning again. 🙂

I just can’t get over how clean everything is!

In other news, we’ve been a bit more social lately. We went to a friend’s housewarming party and Logan was a little trooper. He slept through most of it. Their yard:

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Love it!

We’ve been out to dinner with him a few times, which was nice. Logan did great and I think the ambient noise of restaurants helped him just sleep through most of it so we could catch up with friends.

This weekend we had some friends over for a BBQ.

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Michael did up his awesome ribs, friends brought over spicy guacamole and some corn on the cob. I made coleslaw for the first time.

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I used this recipe:

Vinegar Coleslaw Recipe

From: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2014/06/vinegar-coleslaw-recipe.html

Ingredients

  • For the Dressing:
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic (about 1 medium clove)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • For the Slaw:
  • 1 large head green cabbage (about 3 1/2 pounds), finely shredded on a mandoline or by hand
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely sliced on a mandoline or by hand
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt

Instructions

  1. For the Dressing: Whisk together vinegar, sugar, oil, garlic, black pepper, and celery seeds in small bowl.
  2. For the Slaw: Combine cabbage, carrot, and onion in a large bowl. Sprinkle with sugar and salt and toss to combine. Let stand five minutes, then transfer to a large colander and rinse thoroughly under cold running water.
  3. Transfer vegetables to a salad spinner and spin dry. Alternatively, transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet lined with a triple layer of paper towels or a clean kitchen towel and blot mixture dry with more towels. Return to large bowl.
  4. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss to coat. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt, pepper, and/or sugar.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=50247

Michael and I both prefer vinegar-based coleslaws over mayo. I tried to find a recipe to try for my first time and it was actually kind of hard to find vinegar slaws! I found a few that sounded good.

This recipe was really good and everyone was a fan. My one complaint was that it was a little on the sweet side (and holy cow, 1 cup of sugar?!?!). I made the dressing as is and then tasted it and it was way too sweet for my liking. In the end I added a little more vinegar, doubled the garlic, and add some more salt. Then it was pretty good!

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In the bad news department: an hour before our guests arrived we discovered our air conditioner was broken. JUST IN TIME for the coming heat wave that will be in Portland soon. UGH! Hopefully we can survive the next few days before the guy comes out (and most likely replaces the entire thing…womp womp). But we sat outside for the BBQ so it wasn’t too bad.

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In Logan news: twice last week he slept through the night! He went to sleep at 10pm and then I woke up at 4:45am like WTF IS HAPPENING?!? Completely dazed and confused, unsure of what time it was and kind of freaked out. Then I realized he was ok, he was just still asleep! So instead of getting up at 2am to feed him and pump, I was able to get a solid stretch of sleep! The first time it happened I figured it was a fluke. But when it happened again I started to wonder if maybe he was slowly growing into a “he might sleep all night” routine!

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The only downside for me is going that long in between pumping or feeding is kind of a bad idea. But hopefully it will be okay and my body will get used to that and I won’t have issues. It sure would be nice to just sleep all night!

Sunday was book club. And as usual there was tons of really delicious food:

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Greek Orzo salad, caprese, BBQ’d veggies, homemade bread and this asparagus tart:

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The asparagus tart was amazing! I’ve seen this on pinterest a million times and have wanted to try doing it. Now that I’ve eaten one I know I can make it so I will be trying that soon.

Dessert:

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Fruit tart with chocolate and Bavarian cream. Holy cow was this amazing! I seriously could have eaten so much of it (but didn’t). So delicious!

Lots of good food, hung out with friends, sort of talked about this month’s book (but really ended up just catching up on stuff!) and then it was time for me to head home to feed the baby. It was nice to get out of the house and be social solo, though.

Anyways, that was my weekend!

May 252016
 

My Weight Loss Story – Part 2

by Michael

 

I listen to a lot of podcasts at work and some of them had some health and fitness related guests on that were discussing the benefits of the ketosis diet. The basis of this diet is that consume about 50% of your calories from fats and forego the carbs. In doing so, you will optimize your body to burn fats as a fuel source instead of carbohydrates. This was a new concept to me but I was very curious to learn more about it. Then I found some podcasts that were either specifically about health and fitness or had regular guests on to discuss those topics. Before I continue, I want to state that I am not on a ketosis diet because I feel like it’s a little too difficult for me to strictly adhere to. There are however, a lot of things that I have taken from it that I do really like.

I remember a time in the 80s where buzz phrases like “low in fat” started to appear on the packages of products in the grocery stores. Years later, this has evolved into phrases like “an excellent source of whole grains” and “zero trans fats” which would lead you to believe that products like this are in fact, ideal for your health when in reality, a low-fat chip for example would 1 – taste terrible and 2 – is likely loaded with salt and sugar so it will actually taste like something that you would enjoy. In other words, it’s probably not good for you.

One of the shows I listened to had a guest on that was discussing the benefits of a high fat diet and specifically mentioned that cavemen were not out harvesting grains so they’d have enough energy to hunt in order to survive. They were eating animals and produce and the fats they consumed became their source of fuel.

I dug deeper into the topic and discovered that then ketosis diet was popular among the ultra-endurance athletes that were doing things like running 100-mile races. Athletic accomplishments like this, while impressive, are not something that I’m interested in yet the benefits of the diet are still compelling to me.

The guest would go on to give examples of what you should be eating via multiple choice questions. Time after time, he would suggest the highest item in fat or the item in the list that you’d consider to be the most sinful of the group. One example really stuck out to me and that was when he recommended eating a Snickers bar over some other items because of the items mentioned, it was the highest in fat content and therefore would be most likely to satisfy you for the longest period of time. He was clear to recommend this was only something that he’d recommend in a bind and this was not something that you should normally do. The thing that I took away from this was that if you were going to cheat on your diet, go for it. Don’t eat the fat-free frozen yogurt because a facsimile of the thing you’re craving won’t actually satisfy your desires. Instead, just get the ice cream that has all of the fat and sugar in it that you’re craving. Don’t eat it often and you should be fine.

Another guest on another show had uttered a few phrases that really resonated with me. Don’t count calories, make calories count. The other thing he said was something about earning or working hard enough so that you deserve to eat your carbohydrates. These phrases weren’t new to me but they really struck a nerve this time.

On to the diet. There are a few principles that I follow.

1 – Whenever possible, eat the fattiest version available. Gone are the days of tasteless boring skinless chicken breasts. Hello chicken thighs pan fried in coconut oil and kale sautéed with bacon!

2 – Snack on the fattiest snack items. My go to items are salami, cheeses, nuts, avocados, and veggies with Greek yogurt based dips.

3 – The carbs I eat most often are those that have a low-glycemic index value. This means that legumes and beans are the preferred carbohydrate.

4 – It’s OK to cheat on when I ride my bike a little because I will burn a ton of calories on those days. This is when I’ll have a slice of pizza, a bag of chips, or glass of wine.

A typical day of eating looks like this for me:

Breakfast – 2 pieces of bacon, 2 scrambled eggs cooked in the bacon grease, topped with avocado and jalapeños. Sometimes I’ll throw a fistful of sweet potatoes in if I feel sluggish. When I go running before work, I’ll eat Greek yogurt with blueberries afterward because I won’t have time to cook.

Lunch – Black beans topped with cheese and jalapeños, a spinach salad with olive oil and vinegar, a chicken thigh or two, and some avocado.

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Dinner – A steak, Brussels sprouts sautéed with bacon, and a side salad.

In addition, I’ll eat one or two snacks from the list I mentioned earlier.

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So what’s missing? Low-fat foods and grains – the very things that we’ve been told to consume a lot of because they’re good for us. I’m convinced now that it’s all a lie. I also don’t eat much sugar. I’ll eat some in a natural form, like what comes with fruits and veggies, but I’m fortunate that I don’t tend to have a sweet tooth. I primarily eat these foods after I exercise to help stave off an energy crash and it tends to prevent me from committing larger infractions.

I’ve been eating like this for now for a few months. The results were:

  • I have dropped 25 pounds and a pant size.
  • All of the fat I’m eating has kept me happy and I feel like this diet is very sustainable over the long haul. I don’t feel like I’m starving myself or seriously depriving myself of the foods that I love.
  • I’ve also had blood work done and all of my stats have improved – my weight is down, my cholesterol is down, and my resting heart rate is down.
  • My BMI has lowered by 3%.

I don’t necessarily have an end game for what I want to weigh. While losing weight is necessary for me to achieve my fitness goals, it’s not my primary focus which in a way, makes all of this a bit easier since I’m not constantly focusing on losing weight. Instead, I’m focused on biking, running, pull-ups, and push-ups. Anything that makes this stuff easier is good in my book.