The importance of fat

Although I have been seeing small changes like a slimmer face, a lifted behind, and a, might I add, sexy collar bone, I weighed myself to find out that I was at 199 pounds. Still. :< And this midsection is not moving along fast enough for me. Maybe it is a little early to get concerned, but fearful of a 2 week plateau I’ve decided to change my diet.

Sean of Underground Wellness explains this plateau pretty darn well.

I’ll let yaw know how this goes. I brought some raw cheddar and raw butter today as well as some beef, bacon, and sprouted wheat grain bread. And breakfast was the bomb! I had two omega-3 eggs fried in coconut oil, bacon, a skillet-toasted slice of Ezekiel 4:9 Bread with raw butter, and a medium banana. Right away, I noticed having a boost in energy. But we’ll see how everything feels after a few days. My tummy is weird like that.

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Quinoa Pancakes

Thin batter. Not a huge fan.

On Sunday I made quinoa pancakes from scratch. What I liked about this recipe is that they are straight up pancakes meaning it is quinoa flour, baking powder, oil, eggs, and milk. Nothing more, nothing less. What I did not like too much was the taste. Next time I will try vanilla extract, some more sugar, and maybe some melted butter. Also, I will be adding milk instead of all the water the recipe called for. I got the recipe from Bob’s Red Mill website. He uses way too much water in his batter so I found myself adding more quinoa flour.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 cups of Quinoa flour – I used GoGo Quinoa flour
  • I eyeballed the raw sugar – Sugar in the Raw – the sugar is not a requirement but be warned of the taste, you might want to add agave nectar are organic maple syrup as a sweetener
  • 2 Tb Coconut oil – or which ever oil you prefer to use. Vegetable oil is a huge no no for me.
  • 2 eggs – not a requirement for the recipe
  • 4 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 cup of water – Bob says 2, but I got some of the most pitiful looking pancakes ever

What to do:

  • Heat pan for HOT so that it can catch your pancakes before they become blobs. Especially if using the watery batter from Bob’s website. Adjust heat so that you aren’t burning your pancakes.

Combine all dry ingredients first and whisk together

Add liquid ingredients next. I also added some chopped bananas and my eggs at this point.

You can also add oil or butter to your pan for crispy edges. If you're into that sort of thing.

Scoop out about 1/4 of batter and slowly pour into pan. Flip when bubbles begin to form. If you choose not to use sugar, your pancakes will not brown so don't be alarmed. It is all good.

I made way too many pancakes with this recipe so you might want to adjust the amounts so that you’re not swimming in pancakes like I am.

And enjoy! I had eggs and chicken sausage with mine. I also sautéed a chopped apple to top my pancakes in addition to the apple sauce.

And here are my recipe bloopers. This is what you get with too much water. Thin, pitiful looking pancakes.

Attempted to flip them... No bueno

And here is the mess.

Meal Prep: the busy dieter’s best friend

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks.

I’m a pretty busy person. Besides working on my own entrepreneurial venture, I am a full time student with a job and a whole bunch of stuff I have to learn. Not to mention that I live about an 1 hour and 35 minute train and BART ride away from campus and work.

So my veggies would go bad. My cage free/veg fed chicken would stay frozen. And my favorite chicken sausage from Trader Joe’s, the only chicken sausage I respect enough to eat :), would start to form a weird slime on the last four. I was waisting money!

Being that I can’t afford to live so lavishly, I devised a plan to keep me on task and living consciously as well as economically savvy. Designate days for chopping and cooking. So on Sundays, when everybody has gone to church and I have the house to myself, I put the Zap Mama Pandora station on and get to prepping for the week.

I cook chicken, wash, chop, and steam veggies, fry my plantain, and bag chopped peppers, onion, and cherry tomatoes. I have everything done before the week gets hectic.

Then I came across the Facebook fan page of Your First Figure Competition and seen that she has taken meal prep to an even more prepped mode. She separated her meals in correct portions and then put her meals into plastic containers.

Now, after the first week of trying this I can say that I did save some time. However, with my tiny fridge in my tiny place, I don’t really have room for prepackaged meals. Especially not 8 containers of lunch and dinner. So I will most likely be going back to the meal prep and one container.

Whether you are more comfortable with one container or have the room for 8, the time saved and room given by a meal prep day are extremely beneficial:

  • Saves time
  • Grab and go meals
  • Quick, healthy breakfasts
  • Makes you more conscious of what you eat
  • Assist in keeping serial cheaters on task
  • Aids in the conscious involvement, planning, and learning portion of your lifestyle change

I am a huge fan and will continue.

Five dinners of chicken and Brussels sprouts. I did not prepackage lunch because I had shrimp salad all week with homemade flaxseed oil dressing.

Gluten-free pancakes

Sunday is my cheat day and I decided to keep cheat days as clean as possible. This past weekend however, I had to make an exception for my boyfriend’s son’s birthday party. (Could not skip on the cake, ice cream, and veggie pizza :).)

Anywho… I made gluten-free pancakes and strawberry syrup as a birthday breakfast meal. I was not a huge fan of the Gluten-Free Pancake Mix I brought because it contained rice flour witha whole bunch of other ingredients I could not pronounce. Ingredients I’m pretty sure were added for preservation and to make rice flour fry like pancakes.

Gluten-free pancakes with homemade strawberry syrup. Pancakes made with rice flour

I did find some quinoa flour so we’ll see how that goes next Sunday.

Strawberry Syrup Recipe

  • Organic raw sugar
  • Fresh Strawberries – as many as you like
  • Small amount of butter if you like – I have this thing for buttery syrup… hehe
  • Chop the strawberries as desired and add to heated, buttered pan. Add sugar to the pan. I eyeball the amount of sugar and usually add when the pan is hot so I can tell how much liquid I might be getting. Then heat strawberries and sugar until liquid begins to form. If you want your strawberries to contain some of that tart freshness, don’t cook too long. Cook until you have the desired amount of syrup.
  • Enjoy! 🙂

Chub Around the Waist: belly fat, potbelly, love handles and back fat

Muffin top, spare tire, the keg, extra cushion for the pushin’, whatever you might call that layer of fat plastered around your midsection, it seems to have no problem sticking around for the long haul. Either you’ve tried extra sit-ups or some gimmicky belly fat targeting diet to get rid of it, but there it is to greet you in the morning and spill over your pants.

Front view of the muffin top

I’ve been tucking mine away for years now. Belly fat, love handles, and back fat stack on my body when I gain weight. Yeah, I love my thick, shapely legs and blessed buttocks, but boy do I hate my midsection fat… Eww! I often wish that I were one of those thick women that are blessed with flat tummies and thick thighs like Buffy the Body and Tiara Kristine.  Many of us attempt to obtain such figures by believing all we need are grueling crunches.

Unfortunately, we have been brainwashed into believing that we can gun through 100 sit-ups a day and wake up with sexy abs after about a month or so. But I have learned that the secret to sexy abs begins way before you even think about hitting the ground for a crunch.

It begins with a healthy body and fat loss. Thanks to my mom’s keen eye for effective and wholesome fat loss routines, I learned this at a fairly early age.  As my mom watched a hefty 245-pound teenager wobble around, she realized she had to do something.

My 285 pound mother and I then started to follow the work and cleansing routine of health guru and author Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman, and her Fat Flush PlanWe fell in love with the program as the pounds seemed to fall off effortlessly. Now I’m pretty sure that there were rough times, but the end result was so lovely, I don’t even remember them.

245 at 14-years-old. My mother put me on the plan when I was 17 I believe.

After Fat Flush Plan: At 160 to 170 in my early 20s

Like any well working machine there is a requirement of maintenance and we didn’t really work through that portion of the book. Within five years I put on weight until I was a little under 220 pounds.

Despite my weight gain, I found the book extremely helpful and truthful. There was a section in the book that explained the need to incorporate the different phases into my lifestyle. This is obviously what I did not do since I am here with another fitness journal dedicated to weight loss.

What’s the chub around your waist?

An Unhealthy Liver

  • The idea of the Fat Flush Plan is to support the liver, aid it in cleansing for the elimination of excess water weight, make one aware of food allergies, and regulate insulin levels.  What I need to do is cleanse my liver and eliminate excess weight in order to get rid of the cellulite and midsection fat.

Whole wheat

  • Another approach to belly fat is the elimination of wheat as explained by renowned cardiologist William Davis in his book Wheat Belly. I’ve never read the book, but have found that going without wheat has helped my digestion and helped in weight loss.
  • According to Davis, wheat can cause rashes, high blood sugar, and stomach fat. He has found that wheat is the “single largest contributor to the nationwide epidemic”. Go figure. I’m pretty sure we’ve heard plenty of times before to load up on whole-wheat products for weight loss.  You could have actually been making your weight loss journey much harder.

Read description of Wheat Belly

An Excess of stress hormones

  • I’ve also came across the work of Dr. Russel Farris and Dr. Per Marin in their book The Pot Belly Syndrome. I’ve started reading this book, but I have not finished yet. According to a product description on UndergroundWellness.com, the book explains that the potbelly is a metabolic disorder initiated by “long-term excess of the stress hormone cortisol.”
  • Potbelly Syndrome, or PBS, leads to obesity of the abdomen, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Read description of The Potbelly Syndrome 

Plantain: my favorite breakfast carb

I LOVE fried plantain with breakfast, but they also go awesome with spicy cuban black beans and some brown or wild rice.

According to info I found while following nutrition guru Isabel De Los Rios, a post-workout meal should contain carbohydrates so that muscles can heal and the process of weight loss can take place. I usually mix it up between quinoa or a smashed yam with coconut oil, sea salt and seasoning. My favorite though has to be fried plantains.

With just the right amount of sweetness and delicious with coconut oil fried eggs and turkey bacon, plantain is a low Glycemic Index carbohydrate meaning it takes a while to digest, absorb into the blood stream, and gradually raises blood sugar. For my body type, this is awesome because I get hungry quickly, especially after a workout. The plantain keeps me feeling satisfied and helps my body utilize calories I already have stored. 

Plantain is also high in potassium, magnesium, and phosphate and contains vitamins A, B6, and C which are good for vision, healthy skin, and building immunity against diseases.

The green, unripe plantain is low in sugar and good for diabetics. But the ripe, yellow, or brown plantain is very sweet. I like to chose something in-between. The green plantains don’t taste good to me at all and seem much harder to cook while the yellow or brown plantain fry great and taste awesome. In between is where you find a cool amount of sugar for taste, but a good amount of nutrition for the purpose of rejuvenation and nourishment.

Here’s how I get down with the plantain:

What You’ll Need: 

  • 2 to 6 yellow to brown plantains – softer, darker plantains are sweetest while green ones are hard to peel and ideal as a starch like a potato
  • Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

What to Do: 

  • Wash plantain with a small dollop of soap or you can go the organic route and make a vinegar, banking soda, and water mix to rinse your plantain in 
  • Cut the plantain peeling down the middle of the plantain and peel away from the meat of the fruit like a jacket
  • Cut plantain into rounds. I usually cut down the middle lengthwise and then cut thick pieces diagonally.
  • Put approximately a tablespoon of coconut oil in the frying pan and medium heat until it coats the pan
  • Place plantain in the medium heat pan and cover; check every few minutes for sweating. I’ve found that plantains are ready to turn when they are sweating and the meat has a darker yellow tan. Or you can check for how brown you want it. 
  • Flip plantain over and fry on the other side.
  • Remove from heat and cool.

It’s actually a pretty simple process and really simple recipe. I usually fry 6 plantains at the beginning of the week and eat off of that.

Preventable disease? Not I!

Preventable diseases caused by poor habits

African Americans are more likely to die from preventable diseases, one of the leading causes being heart disease via hypertension, or high blood pressure. My family has been no exception. I’ve lost uncles and aunties to strokes, heart disease, and kidney failure. My dad’s side of the family, although rarely overweight, often suffers from high blood pressure and diabetes.  In my mom’s side of the family, where obesity is a problem, diagnoses of high blood pressure are common and expected after fifty.

My mom was just diagnosed with high blood pressure and this diagnosis troubled me because of her dedication to health and working out. This dedication, however, has not necessarily translated into a healthy weight. My mom is overweight and has been battling obesity for a majority of her life. She’ll lose weight and gain weight. Dedicate herself to healthy habits and then fall off the bandwagon into mindless eating and limited activity.  This cycle has also been the story of my life.

High blood pressure plagues the African American community

My goal is to break the pattern of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure in my family. Plus, it seems silly to me to be diagnosed with a preventable disease: key word being PREVENTABLE.  Meaning this is a disease that does not have to be had. I refuse. My brother has also refused when he lost 80 pounds. I refused when I dropped 80 pounds and continue to refuse today as I work out and eat right.

I also refuse to be a damn statistic. I might be black, but I won’t be getting any high blood pressure or diabetes in my lifetime.  I also refuse to suffer with lung cancer and high cholesterol. Which is simple because all that means is avoiding the activities that cause them. So, I’ve quit smoking and now I eat correctly and workout. As simple as that. I think.

One woman over 200 pounds and another at normal weight. Notice the strain on organs, bones and muscles.

At the tender age of twenty-six, I might be speaking ignorantly optimistic. But armed with this knowledge in wholesome eating and the power of eating real foods, I might have a pretty high chance at achieving this goal.