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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Nutrition Notebook #3

I haven’t updated my gigantic fanbase (thanks, all three of you…) with the latest on this new self-improvement project.... This all started on November 25 with a visit to the nutritionist to get some help in my gluten-free status. She decided that my cholesterol and thyroid needed a gigantic kick in the pants as well.

So I'm on a rigorous, how-low-can-you-go nutrition plan in terms of establishing a baseline for my cholesterol. Folks, we are not messing around. Nutrition Lady is taking me down to the studs -- no meat, no dairy, no sweets, no soda (Diet Coke, I miss you!), no pasta, no bread, no crackers. (The last 3 are not difficult -- don't be forgettin' I've been gluten-free since late May).

Yes, I'm essentially living on twigs and branches, with an occasional nut for fun. KIDDING. I'm doing just fine. Granted, I'm reaching new levels of vegetable intake unbeknownst to humankind, but I'm not suffering, even in this Christmas season of peanut-butter balls waiting to pounce around every corner.

I won't bore you with every detail, but here's a generic framework, at least till end of this month, when I will get bloodwork done to assess my numbers:
  • Trader Joe's "Essential Greens" first thing in the morning. Not as bad as it could be, but not Yippee, Time for Essential Greens! either.
  • Followed by hot cereal (gluten-free, yes there are options) with lots of fruit, topped with nuts, or eggs with lots of vegetables (mushrooms, onion, spinach, whatever I want). Yes, I still get one, count 'em, ONE cup of coffee.
  • Lunch is a gigantic salad with protein - fish, nuts or beans
  • Dinner is a hoot: a salad, ONE POUND of cooked vegetables, and an entree: fish, beans, 1 lb. of potatoes or polenta or 1/2 cup (dry) of brown rice.
  • Snacks are veggies, fruit, hummus, air-popped popcorn.
After some radical ups and downs that first week or 10 days as my body went into shock and let me know it was noticing I was up to something, I settled in to it comfortably. I'm not gonna lie: eating out is pretty tricky, and I spend more time cooking than I ever have. I'm trying not to panic about how I'm going to make this work when I'm at Urbana Dec 26-Jan 1. But I feel GREAT, and there have been two side bonuses:
  1. I’ve lost 5 pounds (honestly, how could I not??!)
  2. I had a student blurt out in class this week at Providence Hall, “Hey Kelly, you look younger!” He has no idea about this change I’ve been working on, so I haven't the foggiest sense of where this comment came from. Sadly, I had no witty comeback for him.
Here's one new favorite treat that I can have for a snack occasionally - it's sort of a mind-blower.

Almond Bread - I usually make it in half batches
1 lb almond flour (you can buy it at Lassen's, Lazy Acres or Whole Foods)
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tb olive oil
3/4 c water, carbonated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour flour into bowl, add remaining ingredients. Pour into olive-oiled bread pan and bake 1 hour (for my half batch, I only bake it for 35 minutes...). Can stay fresh for over a week in an airtight container in refrigerator.

Major disclaimer -- I would NOT try this nutrition plan unsupervised. Remember, this is geared for me due to my various needs and issues. But it's quite a ride, and I'm interested to see where it takes me. It is most definitely worth making a visit to a nutritionist recommended by your own doctor though. Stay tuned.


  1. wow--I'm so proud of you! this must be hard! I'll keep my eyes peeled for you at Urbana, I'll just have to remember to dial my radar for "younger Kelly" so that I don't look past you and just see one of the college kids walking by :)

  2. Kelly-you are so amazing! 5lbs and looking younger??? Way to go!! I need to check out these TJ greens-never heard of it and the way you talk about it, I must get some;) So good to see you yesterday! Sad we couldn't catch up...maybe after the holidays??