“I Feel Skinny Inside…”

“…in a way I haven’t felt in years.”

I said as I rubbed my belly. It felt so good.  I couldn’t remember the last time I felt that way.  There was a memory lurking. I think I was a teenager, or at the very least early twenties. That feeling in my tummy of being alive. And I don’t mean horney.  Not that there’s anything wrong with feeling horney. Rather that I really want to distinguish this feeling in my gut from that feeling because they are two very different things.

When I said those words: “I feel skinny inside” – it was the first day after my first 2-day cleansing fast. I call it a cleansing fast. The people who sold me the product tell me: “We don’t use the word ‘fast’ we call it a ‘cleanse’.” But I call it a fast anyway, because I’m not eating anything on those days. It’s not a real fast, because I do get to drink an amazing beverage and I do get to eat chocolates.

“Whaaat!?Chocolates?! How can that possibly be fasting if you’re eating chocolates?” I hear you. You aren’t standing next to me, you aren’t on the other end of my telephone, nope, but I can hear you just the same. No one eats chocolates when they’re fasting…err, I mean cleansing.

The recent diet, weight-loss, weight-management trend is intermittent starving, or fasting. There’s the Fast Diet which one friend of mine used to lose over 50 pounds ( I think that’s how much he lost).  It took him a year, and every week he had 2 days when he kept his caloric intake to 500. The other 5 days of the week he could pretty much eat what he wanted.  Research has proven that intermittent fasting is good for the body, and mind. But I couldn’t do it. I tried. I didn’t have the resolve. Or something.  Or maybe I just like my food way too much. Or…

Over the years, I’ve been solicited by many weight-loss schemes. I’ve been a hard anti-fad dieter, anti-weight-loss fads, schemes, supplements – whatever you want to call it, I’ve been anti.  My idea has been to eat healthy, stay active and all will be well. As a former triathlete, I had a resting heart-rate well below others in my age group, and a stamina that out-walked, ran, swam, cycled most women – and men – around me, so I figured I was good to go, even though I was toting around an extra 20, 30, 40 – then 50 pounds. Then the problems started.

The first was rosacea. You know, the red face problem. That started at about 25 pounds overweight. What had happened to my beautiful peaches and cream complexion? And my hair? It was dull.

Then I got splitting callouses on my heels. Whaaat?! From being overweight? Well, I’ve had dry heels my whole life, pumice pumice pumice, scrub soak scrub, moisturize.  I tried most popular brands, and others, then started using Shea butter and that worked, but I had permanently slippery feet and had to moisturize with Shea butter every single day to avoid cracking heels.   The only thing I could really attribute this radical change in my heel health to was my body weight.  At 5’4″, 205 pounds is a lot of weight to lug around.

Then the dribbling started. Yes.  Leaky bladder. That was my mother’s problem, not mine.  When I told her about it, she said: “I have some adult diapers you can try.” “NOOOOOOOOooooooooo” I screamed. “No way. I am not going there. I am way too young for that.”   I’d always had a small bladder, and had to relieve myself more frequently than most. So small in fact, I’d been tested at the tender age of 19.  I’d had to pee in a bottle for a whole day and mark on the bottle every time I peed.  When I took my jug in they told me I was passing a normal amount of urine, but going WAAAAAY more often than most people. So then they put me under anaesthetic and sent a small camera up my urethra to check out my bladder and the conclusion was that I had an unusually small bladder and if I ever got pregnant I’d spend all my time on the toilet.  So here I was, not pregnant, but carrying as much extra weight as if I were, and so I was cursed with frequent trips to the loo. I quit drinking anything at all before I left the house, and while out. It was a problem.

Then the intestinal problems started.  I’d had an intermittent pain around my gall bladder for years. Everyone in my family had had theirs taken out, somehow I’d kept mine. I went to the doctor: “I have a pain here.” I said, rubbing that spot just to the right of my tummy, along the ribcage. They sent me for ultrasound, couldn’t find anything.  Four years later, a lump in my lower abdomen that I feel in yoga when I do certain postures. Another ultrasound, this time in the pelvic region. Nada.  I kept going to yoga, I kept swimming, riding my bike, all of it – and I kept getting fatter fatter and fatter. All of it on my belly.

Then the digestive problems got really nasty. The worst started after a particularly bad bout of 24-hour stomach flu. Nothing was right down there. I was passing undigested food.  Off to the doctor again. Another ultrasound. I lay on the bed in the clinic while the technician ran the machine over my belly, my liver, my abdomen, trying to find my gallbladder.  “Where’s the pain?” She asked. I showed her, running my hand all along my ribcage.  She traced it with the machine. Silent. The exam was over. I waited for the results.

“Fatty liver” said the doctor. “I want you to go and see this specialist on Salt Spring Island.” So off I went to salt Spring for the day, paid for by VIHA. Nice day out that was. The gastrointestinal specialist gave me the facts: “You have fatty liver Alison, the good news is, as you lose weight the fat will leave your liver and everything will return to normal.”

“Whaaaat? Fatty liver? How can that be? I hardly touch alcohol.”

“Well, you can get fatty liver from excess sugar and refined carbohydrates.”

“Ahhhh…those oatmeal raisin cookie binges.  The cinnamon rolls. The scones. The pasta. …and from years ago, the chocolate frogs we used to call them. Sugar and butter and cocoa and a teeny bit of milk, all melted together and mixed with oats and consumed in one sitting. 2 cups of sugar. 1/2 a cup of butter. Eaten. In. One. Sitting. My favorite sugar binge from years and years ago. The sugar and butter had taken up residence, all the homemade baking I prided myself on for being *healthy* because I made them with *healthy* ingredients had taken up residence around my internal organs, favouring the liver, and they were slowly killing me.

…or at the very least making life very unpleasant. I couldn’t leave the house in the morning for fear I’d have to *go*.

Then I got acid reflux…

Then I did a herbal cleanse and everything sort of cleared up for a while, but I still had the dribbling problem and the bowel problem wasn’t totally resolved. So I went on psycillium – recommended by the Salt Spring gastroenterologist.  That helped. But I still had a problem…I started exercising more and lost a few pounds…

Then I broke my arms – yes both of them; then my mother died, then I went back up to 205. Then I started the shakes.  Errrr….the nutritional cleanse program.  I lost 5 pounds, then down 10 pounds; 5 inches off my waistline; then I did a 2-day back-to-back cleanse, lost another inch and three quarters off my belly fat and got that skinny inside feeling.

Then I noticed my skin clearing up, the acid reflux stopped, my bowels started moving normally – and I STOPPED DRIBBLING!!!! Not only did I stop dribbling, but suddenly I was waking up – after a full night’s sleep – with a full bladder. This after – how many years of waking up 2, 3, sometimes 4 times a night to pee.

Then I was a convert. Now I’m telling you about it.

What am I using?  This programme right here.  Is this the new food for the new millennium?

To be continued.

 

 

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Posted in Alison Boston, Food, Weight loss

Isagenix Banana Bread

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“Whaaaat?” You say, “I thought Isagenix was that weight-loss-shake-it-all-up programme.”

“Yeah,” say I, “Well, there’s more to a shake that a wiggle of the hips.”

And at this moment I get on my feet, and break into a verse of  “Do the hip shake” as I shake dem hips! Yeah baby!

One slice of this banana bread has a modest 114 calories coming from 8 grams of protein, 11.1 grams of carbs, and 3.9 grams of fat.  And that’s pretty darn good for a sweet dessert that’ll give you the energy to dance all night.

So, I’m doing this Isagenix thing to lose weight.  And it’s working like crazy. Since I started at the end of May, I’ve lost 18 pounds, 30 inches off my whole body, including 7 inches off my waistline.  Yes. And. I. Feel. Fantastic.

Yeah, all that cooking I love to do has really packed on the pounds and now I’m drinking shakes to shake it off.

The Meal Replacement Shakes

I like the shakes. As a matter of fact, I love the shakes.  And of course, I have a whole host of variations to stimulate my palate. Not one to ever leave things as they are, I’ve come up with my own way to mix’n’match flavors.

For all shakes start with 4 ice cubes, add enough water to make 10 ounces. Then add the shake powders and blend for about 2 minutes, depending on your machine. I use a bullet and blend in a series of 30 second spurts, taking it off the motor and hand shaking in between.  These are my favourites.  Yes, the banana bread recipe is coming! But don’t you think I should tell you about the shakes first?  They’re what I mostly eat these days. And I love them. They are so easy. A perfectly balanced meal in 2 minutes. Oh so nice. But if you can’t wait for the banana bread, skip the shakes, and scroll down. 

Very Berry

Chocolate Dipped Strawberry

  • 1/2 package IsaLean Shake Dairy-Free chocolate
  • 1 scoop Strawberry Cream 
  • 1/2-1 scoop Isapro Whey protein

Mocha

  • 1 package IsaLean Shake Dairy-Free chocolate
  • 1/2-1 scoop Isapro Whey protein
  • 2 heaping tablespoons Cafe-Lib

The Low-Cal High Protein, Healthy Snack, Banana Bread

Okay here’s the deal with the extra healthy, low-cal banana bread.

I found this recipe and looked at it, and thought: “Wow – that’s hopeful. There’s no leavening agent in it. There’s no flour in it. That’s gonna make banana never-will-cook pudding.  Are they thinking we’ll just add these ingredients to a regular banana bread recipe? This recipe will not work. This recipe will not make a banana bread that looks like that picture…Hmmm.”

But I wanted to try it.

So I had to go to the health food store where my favorite apple juice is better priced than anywhere else in town (in fact one local, yet major supermarket chain, charges 30% more.  When my friend who’d bought a bottle there took it back and told them about the price difference, the customer service department said: “We aren’t in a pricing competition.”  Go figure that one.)

At the health food store I asked the friendly clerk where to find the chia seeds, then I told him about the recipe. He mulled it over and told me the bananas would help raise the loaf, because you put bananas in pancakes to make them raise when you don’t have any baking powder.  A little research has told me that actually you add bananas when all you have is soda, because the bananas act as an acid to activate the soda, but if your bananas are very ripe then they won’t work because they are less acid.  Did you know that? Huh?

And the chia seeds will of course expand, and cause the bread to rise.

But the recipe says the chia seeds are optional.  Oh…

But I wanted to try it. So this is what I did:

I got my 3 ever-so-ripe-so-I-froze-them bananas out of the freezer and tossed them in the toaster oven to start the defrosting process; then added them one by one to the blender, along with all the liquid ingredients.  I blended it till it made air bubbles, then I mixed all the dry ingredients, and added 1 tsp of baking powder and a pinch of baking soda, then mixed the wet and dry together and it was like, well…not like cake batter. It was more like some kind of sweet banana sauce. So I added 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour and mixed it some more. I thought it could probably use more flour but I didn’t want to mess with the low-cal purity of the thing too much, so stopped there and put it in a loaf pan, as you do with banana bread, and put it in my convection toaster oven (way too hot these days for the full oven) at the recommended 375F,  for the recommended 30 minutes, after which it was still very wet. So I put it back in for another while. In the end it had about 45 minutes at 375, at which point it was getting very dark, so I turned the heat down to 300 for the remaining 10 minutes and went to yoga.  When I came back from yoga the apartment smelled great, the banana bread was sort of cooked, and after my post-workout shake, I had a slice and it’s almost there but I think it needs a cup of whole wheat flour, a full 2 tsp of baking power, and a 1/4 tsp of baking soda to make a really successful sweet bread. Otherwise, the taste is great.

Here’s the recipe I used, adjust as you wish. Please let me know the adjustments and the results. Thank you.

Recipe: Isagenix Low-Cal Banana Bread

Mix together in a large bowl:

  • 1 package IsaLean French Vanilla Pro
  • 1/2 scoop Isapro Whey Protein
  • 1/2 cup muesli
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (I do think a full cup would be better)
  • 1 tsp baking powder (if you use that full cup of flour, use 2 tsp) 
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda (if you go with the higher quantities above, use 1/4 tsp)
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao nibs

Mix together in a blender or bowl with electric mixer, or whatever tool you have.

  • 3 very ripe, large bananas
  • 1/4 cup plain unsweetened kefir
  • 1/4 cup apple juice (probably apple sauce would be better)
  • 2 large eggs

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet, mix together with a spoon or spatula  just enough to wet the dry ingredients, then pour into the loaf pan and bake for 55 minutes at about 350.

Here’s a link to the recipe that started it all…

Pin it. I think the main problem in the original recipe is “2-3 bananas”.  Such an imprecise measurement. I should have measured the cups of mashed bananas.  My 3 large bananas produced a generous 2 cups of mashed banana.  …and well yes, someone forgot to write down how much leavening and how much flour. Though I didn’t try the actual recipe as written because I really didn’t believe it would work.  But I do believe in the Isagenix weight-loss programme, because I am living proof of it working.

So how come I wouldn’t just try the recipe as written, hmmm?  Perhaps because I know a teeny tiny bit more about baking than I do about weight loss?  But I’m learning it’s not only about calories in and calories out, it’s also about feeling satisfied after a meal and stay satisfied for at least 3-4 hours – and yes, protein is the way to acheive that. And 40 grams of protein leaves me feeling satisfied for 4-5 hours while 24 grams of protein is like an appetizer.

 

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Posted in Alison Boston, Amazing, Baking, Food, Recipes, Weight loss
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