4/13 Weightloss Wednesday: 26 Lbs Down!

4/13 Weightloss Wednesday: 26 Lbs Down!

It’s time for another Weightloss Wednesday!  I’m beginning to love doing these because my scale has been so kind to me these last few months.  As of this morning I’m at 273.4 lbs, which means I’m 26.6 lbs down for the year!

As someone who has struggled with their weight their entire life, it is so cool to see steady, sustained weight loss over a 3 1/2 month time frame.  I think if I had known about the effects of sugar on the body a few years ago, I would have maybe been a lot healthier than I am now.  As it is, I’m thrilled with the results, especially the energy levels.  My wife was just reminding me of how often I took naps during the day when I was up around 400 lbs but now I have energy to spare.

Please enjoy this week’s video and don’t forget to subscribe to the YouTube channel to never miss a video or to the daily email to never miss a post.  Thanks!

 

What’s Sugar Free at the Grocery Store: Progresso Soup Edition!

What's Sugar Free at the Grocery Store: Progresso Soup Edition!

What’s Sugar Free at the Grocery Store: Progresso Soup Edition!

Our What’s Sugar Free at the Grocery Store series continues and hot on the heels of our look at Campbell’s Condensed Soups, this week we are looking at Progresso!  Of the 2 soups, I’ve always preferred Progresso because I like a soup with chunks of stuff in it, those cans of Campbell’s Condensed are almost all liquid.  Which is fine if you are eating tomato soup but sometimes you want recognizable pieces of meat and veggies.

Listed below are the Progresso soups that contain no added sugar with fructose.  There are a few that have added sugar without fructose and those are marked as well.

Please remember to subscribe to my daily email to never miss a post.  Enjoy!

Progresso Creamy Tomato and Basil

Progresso Creamy Tomato and Basil

Progresso Light Vegetable and Noodle

Progresso Light Vegetable and Noodle

Progresso Light New England Clam Chowder

Progresso Light New England Clam Chowder

 

Progresso Light Chicken and Dumplings

Progresso Light Chicken and Dumplings

Progresso Light Beef Pot Roast

Progresso Light Beef Pot Roast (Contains Maltodextrin)

Progresso Vegetable Classics Tomato Rotini

Progresso Vegetable Classics Tomato Rotini (Contains Matodextrin)

Progresso Traditional Wedding Style Soup

Progresso Traditional Wedding Style Soup (Contains Corn Syrup and Dextrose)

Progresso Traditional Chicken Rice and Vegetables

Progresso Traditional Chicken Rice and Vegetables

Progresso Rich & Hearty Hearty Chicken Pot Pie Style

Progresso Rich & Hearty Hearty Chicken Pot Pie Style

 

Low Carb Chicken Fried Steak Recipe!

Low Carb Chicken Fried Steak Recipe!

Living in the South, there are some meals that are so culturally ingrained in your life that the idea of removing them from your diet is a bit painful, like you are losing a bit of your history.  For me, that meal is Chicken Fried Steak. (Or Chicken Fried Chicken, but that’s a recipe for another day I think.)

As much as I love that meal and it is 100% my go-to whenever we go to a “Southern Home-Cooking” restaurant like Black-Eyed Pea or Cracker Barrel, I just couldn’t do it anymore.  Every part of it was determined to make me fatter.  From the flour in the batter and the gravy, to the heaping scoop of mashed potatoes I always had on the side, to the vegetable oil it was cooked in.  So, the hunt was on.  I needed to come up with a way to cook this meal and have it taste awesome but get rid of all those carbs.

Step one was the batter and that turned out to be the easiest to deal with.  Sub in Almond Meal for flour and it makes for an awesome coating for the steaks.  It gets crunchy when you fry it and tastes amazing.

The next part was the oil.  I haven’t really talked too much about the different oils on this site but ever since I read David Gillespie’s book Seed Oil many years ago, I only use saturated fats in my cooking so that means butter, coconut oil, or olive oil.  There are a few others but those are the big 3.  Sometimes I cook my steaks in coconut oil, sometimes olive oil.  There’s no difference in the taste but sometimes I think the gravy tastes a little better with a coconut oil base but that varies on the quality of the olive oil I use.  For some reason, the cheaper the olive oil, the better the gravy tastes.  I have no idea why that is.

Finally, I needed to tackle the gravy and I have to say, this was tough.  To the point that I thought it was going to be impossible.  I tried every single low carb or gluten free flour you could possibly think and nothing would make the dang gravy thicken.  That is until my Walmart started carrying Arrowroot and out of desperation, I picked it up.  I’m happy to say that it actually works!  It doesn’t work very fast and you have to whisk the gravy constantly but if you will stick with it, it comes together pretty nicely.  Don’t use too much though, you will have a gummy mess on your hands.

Also, just as an aside, I also bought a plastic whisk so I could whisk to my heart’s content and not worry about scratching my pan with a metal one.  Also, if you want a low carb mashed potato substitute, check out my recipe for mashed cauliflower.

If you decide to make this recipe, let me know how it goes!  Send me a picture or tag @MySugarFreeJrny on Instagram so I can see.  Please also subscribe to my daily email to never miss a post or to my YouTube channel to never miss a recipe.  Thanks!


3.7 from 3 reviews
Low Carb Chicken Fried Steak
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 Servings
 
A tasty, low-carb Chicken Fried Steak recipe
Ingredients
  • 4 Cube Steaks
  • 1 Cup Almond Meal
  • 1 Egg
  • 1½ Cup Milk
  • Olive or Coconut Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Arrowroot
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Instructions
  1. Salt and pepper steaks liberally
  2. Place Almond meal on a plate and whisk together the egg and ½ cup milk on a second plate
  3. Coat steaks with almond meal, place in egg mixture, then put back into almond meal
  4. Heat up oil in skillet over medium high heat, enough to cover half the steak's thickness
  5. Cook steaks about 7 minutes on each side until done
  6. To make gravy, pour off all but about 2 TBSP of the oil, keeping any of the almond meal that flaked off the steaks in the skillet
  7. Pour in one cup of milk and 1 Tbsp of Arrowroot and whisk constantly. If gravy doesn't thicken, add small amounts of arrowroot until it becomes the consistency you like.

Low Carb Chicken Fried Steak Recipe!

 

Book Review: Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes

Book Review: Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes

Over the course of these last few years as I have studied everything I can get my hands on about how what we eat affect our bodies and what exactly is the most efficient way to lose weight and I’ve learned a lot.  I’ve learned about sugar and how it has almost single-handedly made America overweight by being in virtually every single processed food on our store shelves.  I’ve learned how bad science gave bad info to our doctors who in turn gave us bad advice on how to lose weight.  I’ve learned how cholesterol is mostly a good thing and pharmaceutical companies demonized cholesterol because they created statins that could influence cholesterol levels.  (There is a bad cholesterol called VLDL that comes from eating carbs but your doctor will never test for it.)

But as interesting as all this was, I learned about it from a bunch of different books and primary sources.  I had no idea that there was one book out there that brought all of this info together in one place so you could see how all these truths are intertwined and how they work together to influence our health, both individually and the collective health of a nation.  That book is Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes.

This book goes in to incredible detail, citing scientific study after study to make the case he is trying to build, namely that all our ideas about what a healthy diet is are just wrong and demonstrably so.  Taubes was kind enough to include the 10 main ideas he wants to make clear in his book so I’ve included them below in bold with my commentary afterwards.

1 . Dietary fat, whether saturated or not, is not a cause of obesity, heart disease, or any other chronic disease of civilization.

The story of fat is really the story of one man with an over-sized personality named Ansel Keys who did a huge study on heart disease and, when the findings of his study didn’t line up with his preconceived notion of what caused heart attacks, cooked the results and fooled a nation into believing there was a link between fat and heart disease.  Taubes reveals the flaws in his data and how decades of research since then has revealed no link between dietary fat and heart disease.

2. The problem is the carbohydrates in the diet, their effect on insulin secretion, and thus the hormonal regulation of homeostasis-the entire harmonic ensemble of the human body. The more easily digestible and refined the carbohydrates, the greater the effect on our health, weight, and well-being.

Simple carbs like grains, sugars and potatoes cause a blood sugar spike when we eat them, which causes an insulin spike.  Insulin is our body’s signal to store fat so if your insulin level is high, you will gain fat on your body and be unable to lose.  If you are eating the Standard American Diet with lots of supposedly healthy “whole grains”, healthy baked potatoes, and low fat foods that add sugar in the place of the fat, you insulin is perpetually elevated, which means you are always getting fatter.

3. Sugars-sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup specifically-are particularly harmful, probably because the combination of fructose and glucose simultaneously elevates insulin levels while overloading the liver with carbohydrates.

Back in our developmental past, there was never a reason for our bodies to deal with fructose.  It was only easy to come by for the few months a year that fruit trees were ripe and ready to be harvested (or when the bees made honey) so our livers could just convert it to fat and store it for the coming winter.  Well now fructose is available year-round and our livers are just constantly converting it to fat and packing it away.  Combine that with the insulin response to the glucose half of sucrose discussed above and you have a double-whammy of fat producing agents every time you eat sugar.

4. Through their direct effect on insulin and blood sugar, refined carbohydrates, starches, and sugars are the dietary cause of coronary heart disease and diabetes. They are the most likely dietary causes of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and the other chronic diseases of civilization.

The links between sugar and these other diseases are damning.  I could spend blog post after blog post detailing how we are finding that sugar has its sweet little fingers in almost every major disease we are fighting as a country today.  And who knows, I might just do it because this is info every one needs to hear.  You can read the book for the details but the short story is this: Want to cancer-proof your body?  Stop eating sugar immediately.

5. Obesity is a disorder of excess fat accumulation, not overeating, and not sedentary behavior.

This was one of those revelations that almost had me in tears when I read it.  You see someone who is 400 lbs like I was and you automatically assume they are a fat, lazy slob.  I had a home repair business that kept me active, I was a volunteer youth pastor for about 20 years that kept me active and I had 4 kids that kept me active, and yet I was constantly getting bigger.  Fat is not the result of sloth or gluttony but the natural result of our body’s reaction to high blood sugar caused by eating carbs.

6. Consuming excess calories does not cause us to grow fatter, any more than it causes a child to grow taller. Expending more energy than we consume does not lead to long-term weight loss; it leads to hunger.

We are not simple machines where if you put x amount of calories in, you will get x amount of calories out in work or store it as fat.  Have you ever thought that to lose weight, you just need to eat less and exercise more?  It doesn’t work like that.  If you use more calories than you take in, you get hungry and you eat.  You might be able to use will-power to fight that urge for a while but eventually, you will give in and gain all that lost weight back.  This is what causes yo-yo dieting.  You need to change what you eat, not how much you eat.

7. Fattening and obesity are caused by an imbalance-a disequilibrium-in the hormonal regulation of adipose tissue and fat metabolism. Fat synthesis and storage exceed the mobilization of fat from the adipose tissue and its subsequent oxidation. We become leaner when the hormonal regulation of the fat tissue reverses this balance.

In short, fat accumulation is a hormonal issue, not a calorie issue.  If you want to lose weight, you need to concentrate on fixing your hormones, namely avoiding eating anything that will cause a strong insulin response.

8. Insulin is the primary regulator of fat storage. When insulin levels are elevated-either chronically or after a meal-we accumulate fat in our fat tissue. When insulin levels fall, we release fat from our fat tissue and use it for fuel.

I think I’ve covered this.  Want to lose weight and get healthier?  Blunt your insulin response to the foods you eat.

9. By stimulating insulin secretion, carbohydrates make us fat and ultimately cause obesity. The fewer carbohydrates we consume, the leaner we will be.

Again, I’ve covered this.  Eat less simple carbs.  No sugar, no grains, no potatoes.

10. By driving fat accumulation, carbohydrates also increase hunger and decrease the amount of energy we expend in metabolism and physical activity.

This is something else I’m probably going to write more on in a future blog post.  Eating carbs is not only bad for you because it causes an insulin response, but then it turns around and makes you hungrier so you eat more and lazier so you move less.  It’s a terrible cycle that is tough to get out of once you are in it.  Your only hope is to cut those carbs out of your life.  Eating a diet of primarily fats and protein will not only help you lose weight but give you more energy so you actually want to exercise.  I ride my bike 5 miles every day now and I remember a time that there is no way I would have had the energy to do that but now I get antsy when I just think about not doing it.  I have energy to burn.

These are the main points in Good Calories, Bad Calories but reading the book for yourself will educate you on not just the big ideas, but all the science behind each of these assertions.  There is just so much information in this book, I don’t feel like I got everything there was to get and anticipate re-reading this book in a few months.  Taubes also wrote another book called Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It that supposedly covers a lot of the same ground but in an easier to read and understand format.  I’ve got it downloaded on my tablet and as soon as I finish the book I’m reading now, I’m going to tackle that one.

What did you think?  Let me know in the comments, I love to hear from you and be sure to subscribe to my daily email to never miss a post.  Thanks!

How to Break Your Sugar Habit – Step 3: Throw Out the Sugar!

How to Break Your Sugar Habit - Step 3: Throw Out the Sugar!

We are continuing with our series on 5 Steps to Eliminate Your Sugar Habit and now we are on to step 3 – Throw out that Sugar!

This  was probably one of the harder steps for me to accomplish because I’m so cheap.  I really had to struggle with the idea hat I was “wasting” food and tried to convince myself it ok to have around “just in case”.  I’m so glad that I just bit the bullet and chucked it all because there were a few times that if I had anything in the house, I definitely would have eaten it.  Not only that but I’m sure I would have convinced myself that eating it was a good thing because I had been so good and needed a little reward.  Addiction really screws with your head!

Here are a few tips I used to get through the process and get my house free of sugar.

1.  Decide How Far You Want to Go

When I first started my sugar free journey, I was convinced that fructose was the root of all my problems and got rid of everything containing it from my house.  But I also bought a huge bag of dextrose (sugar that is pure glucose, no fructose) from Amazon that I used in place of sugar.  It took a lot more education for me to begin to realize that the issue with fructose was that it was everywhere but glucose had its own problems.

As I’ve progressed and sugar has less and less hold over me, I’ve been able to remove more things from my diet that caused me health problems and weight gain.  Just to give you a quick overview of how I’ve come; in the very beginning I stopped eating fructose, then removed sucrose as well, then I started taking out simple carbs that cause blood sugar spikes like grains and potatoes, then last month I finally stopped drinking Coke Zero and any other sugar free soft drinks.   My plan for the near future is to be able to drink my nightly glass of tea without Sweet n’ Low and then I think I’ll be right about where I need to be.

My point is that you shouldn’t feel bad about taking baby steps.  One of the first recipes I posted on this site was for Sugar Free Bread that I worked really hard on at the time but now would never consider eating.  If you think you can jump in with both feet into the keto diet and remove everything that will cause an insulin response, then by all means do it.  But I know that if I had done that, I probably would have just given up.  I had to slip into it like a hot bath.  Now I love the feeling that being in ketosis gives me and I love what the scale tells me every morning.

2.  Make Sure you Understand Sugar’s Different Names

Sugar is tricky.  Food companies know it has a bad rep so they give it all kinds of different names to try to trip you up  You’ve probably heard of High Fructose Corn Syrup, but how about Sorbitol? or Inulin? or Litesse?  They point is, sugar hides so you need to keep this list of all of sugar’s different names handy.

Also, it is wise to know the difference between sugars that contain fructose and those that don’t.  That way if you have to make a choice, you can choose the product that has the sugar that doesn’t contain fructose because it does less damage.  For instance, my wife loves Ranch Dressing but they all have sugar, except for the canister of dry powder mix.  The packets have fructose but for some reason, the canisters just have maltodextrin, a sugar containing no fructose, only glucose.  It’s not something I will eat but since Dian has lost all the weight she wants to lose, we keep it around for her.

3.  Get Help

Life is a team sport and the important things are always done in community so don’t feel like you need to go at this alone.  Get a friend or family member to help you throw out the junk.  You might need help prying those Oreo’s out of your hands.  Enlisting help will also give you someone to be accountable to.  If you know your helper is going to ask you how the diet is going next time you meet, you will feel a greater sense of obligation to see it through.

4.  Check Everything

Sugar is in EVERYTHING so don’t forget to check all your foods.  I vividly remember the night I made my first sugar free meal and at the end of it, I grabbed my trusty bottle of garlic salt to season my food and after I used it, I happened to look at the ingredients and right there snuggled between the garlic powder and salt was sugar.  Who puts sugar in garlic salt?  It’s crazy but it just goes to show you how prevalent it is.

5. Donate What You Toss

Just because you aren’t eating it, doesn’t mean someone else can’t.  There are probably shelters or communal pantries around you somewhere that could use an influx of free food.  Do a google search or make a few phone calls to find someone who would love to take it.

If you are deciding to cut the sugar out of your diet, please contact me and let me know how it’s going or if I can help in any way.  I also have a handy checklist you can use to get rid of the sugar and feel free to subscribe to my daily email to never miss a post.  Thanks for reading!