I'm back and have made some changes...

I have been absent for some time from the blog, and I'm actually not sorry for it.  I have been needing some time to re-balance and refocus.

For the last few months, we have done quite a bit of traveling, which generally translates to compromising the quality and healthfulness of what I'm eating.  I won't go into details, but it seemed after I got off our cruise in August, I kept on cruising in my mind with regard to my eating.  I kept thinking, 'Oh, I will just start again tomorrow, or on Monday."  This thinking never ever works for me.

Finally, a few weeks ago I buckled down and started my version of Chef AJ's Ultimate Weight Loss Challenge.  Earlier this summer, I donated some money to her IndieGoGo campaign to fund finishing her first season of her Foodytv.com show, Healthy Living with Chef AJ.  If you haven't checked it out yet, I would highly recommend it!  She has some plant-based rock stars on her show including Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. Campbell.  In new episodes she has recently filmed but are not up yet include Lindsay Nixon from Happy Herbivore and Wendy from Healthy Girl's Kitchen.

As part of my donation perk, I got a digital copy of her 21-Day Recipe Guide for Ultimate Weight Loss.  You can find more information about her full program here.  Her full program comes with video and audio downloads as well as the 21-day recipe guide, but I didn't quite have the budget to afford the full thing.

So I went at it alone with a few give and takes here and there.  Here is generally what I did/have been doing:

Morning: water and tea on the way in to work

Breakfast: 1 lb raw, water sauteed, steamed, or roasted non-starchy veggies

Mid-morning snack (if I'm feeling hungry, but generally I haven't been): fruit or fruit with a bit of raw oats soaked in soy milk

Lunch: baked potato, vegetable or bean soup/chili, apple or other fruit

Afternoon snack (if I'm hungry): 1/2-1 lb raw veggies

Dinner: bean and rice or bean and potato dinner with more veggies

The first day I did this, it seemed like a lot of food!  And it was!  In the week or two following, I found that I wasn't hungry for my mid-morning snack, but enjoyed my afternoon veggie snack on my way home and before making dinner.  One of the items I am still needing to work on is not to overeat at dinnertime.  I make these meals at home every night, and tend to overestimate how much I need to plate for myself.

Some items I have limited or removed from my diet include excess salt besides the occasional low sodium soy sauce, all oils, refined carbs, nuts and seeds (which ARE NOT bad, but I have a hard time limiting myself within my caloric needs), baked goods, avocados, olives, most alcohol, and obviously all animal products.

Another aspect that I have been working on are managing my cravings and to limit my exposure to "food porn".  Being a blogger, I like to follow other bloggers to see the beautiful and creative recipes they make, but this really does nothing more than tease my brain and cause me to have an unhealthy relationship with food.  It's hard to admit, AND even harder to stop, but until I get a full handle on my cravings, my weight, and overall health, food blogs are a no-no for me.  Wendy at Healthy Girl's Kitchen explains this same thing very well here.

Overall, I have been keeping my meals very simple.  It is when I make more complicated recipes with dozens of ingredients that I get into trouble with overeating.  These past few weeks I have had staples of brown rice and baked sweet potatoes.  One of my lifesavers has been Donna's Cheeze Sauce that I found on Nutmeg Notebook's blog here.  I find that it goes well with just about everything and is potato and carrot-based, so it follows my rules and goals.

Ah... that seemed long-winded, but I wanted to give an update with what I have been doing during my absence.  My next post will be about my results so far, so stay tuned!

Health and Happiness,



  1. I have missed you. I too am going through the challenge of dealing with trying to be completely immersed in one theory. So like you I think I've taken a little from ones who I think have a good idea of healthy nutrition. You put it so well in your writing. Thank you for doing so much work and sharing it with us. I glad you feel like blogging again.

    1. Kathleen, thanks so much for the encouragement! I popped over to your blog, and your quilting is gorgeous! I haven't done any quilting (or much sewing beyond patching) since a class in high school, but my mom is an avid quilter, so I know how much love and effort goes into those project. :) Thanks for following my journey. - Amy

    2. Thank you, that's sweet of you to say.

  2. Just posted a recipe that would work great with your eating pattern now. All you'd have to do is omit the bread crumbs and cheese. :)

    1. I saw that! I'll have to try that one sometime soon. :)

  3. you seem to have gone away from Dr Fuhrman's programme, any particular reason

    1. Hi Jane,

      Chef AJ's plan is quite in line with Dr. Fuhrman's ETL plan with a few moderations. Both suggest eating 2 lbs of half raw and half cooked vegetables, although Chef AJ's plan specifies to get 1 lb in first thing in the morning. Chef AJ's plan does allow for more grains and starches than Dr. Fuhrman's aggressive weight loss plan, but I find that I am still eating only about a 1 cup serving per day due to decreased hunger.

      The largest difference is the stance on nuts and avocados. Dr. Fuhrman's plan allows these in small amounts, while Chef AJ's plan eliminates them. This has seemed to work for me because I still have weight to lose and the high caloric density of nuts and avocados set off my food addiction/overeating tenancies.

      Hope that helps to clarify. :)

  4. Welcome back Amy! I too had gained too much weight recently. I was following McDougall plan but was eating too many foods that I tend to overeat like potatoes and oatmeal. I have slimmed down quite a bit since switching to fruits or vegetables for breakfast. I am really limiting my sweet potatoes and eating more beans at meals which I love but I do not tend to overeat. Good luck to you! I look forward to reading about your progress.

    1. Thank you, Gira! It sounds like your new adjustments are working well for you. I think I am a chronic over-eater, so the more veggies I get in, the better! :)

  5. Where can I find just the 21 day guide? I can't afford the entire program at this time.