Aztec Diet Day 38: Little Foil Men

Pounds lost: 18

Pre-Breakfast: apple; Breakfast: Dr. Bob’s Kale Blueberry Smoothie; Lunch: venison stew; Snack: apple; Dinner: low-fat cottage cheese with 2 TBSP chia, topped with an avocado and peach mango salsa; Snack: 2 celery ribs and a small handful of zucchini chips

New Crocs

I think my absences in the evening are upsetting Shadda. This morning I couldn’t find one of my Crocs. After hunting all over the apartment, I found it in one of the dog beds with the strap chewed off. This is the first time she’s eaten one of my shoes in a couple years. So maybe she misses me. Or maybe she’s just tired of me wearing these everywhere, looking like some kind of duck-footed dork.

I’m getting tired of tuna. And venison. I’m longing for a lovely pot of curried black beans. I was thinking about that tonight. Then I looked around me. More than 60 people in my work room, with stations every 4 feet. A sudden influx of beans would be horribly antisocial. That means humus is out, too. Dang it. Curse real jobs, and the need for social acceptability.

I did better than ever with not being hungry at work. I believe stirring 2 TBSP chia into my cottage cheese did the trick. It made a nice meal with avocado and salsa. It’s a meal well worth repeating.

Little Foil Men

As for writing, I’m mostly considering what kind of love offerings Eric can leave for Lia. Something that would appeal to the artist in her and only later strike her as a bit creepy. Like maybe little dioramas made out of scrunched up tinfoil. Never heard of this? It’s one of my favorite crafts. A couple years ago, I made an entire soccer game for the Northside Branch Library. Why? Why not? Does that make me weird?

Aztec Diet Day 37: Beautiful Warts

Pounds Lost: 18

Breakfast and Lunch: All Day Blueberry Banocado Plus; Snack: low-fat cottage cheese and an apple; Dinner: Tuna on sprouted grain bread; Snack: celery and zucchini chips; Late Snack: almond milk

I feel like the guy in Green Eggs and Ham. I keep avoiding celery as a snack, yet I tried it last night on my break at work and it kept me fairly full and more alert than expected. I topped this off with a few zucchini chips at my desk. Yes, they’re wafer thin. But they absorb water so they make you fuller than you would think. I didn’t even tap into the bag of air-popped popcorn I brought. Note: When making zucchini chips, salt them SPARINGLY. Especially if you are using RealSalt or Celtic sea salt. The chips shrink down, intensifying anything you put on them. So my first batch of chips wound up really salty.

Down side? I wound up ravenous at 11 p.m. Thus the late glass of almond milk.

Yesterday I told Eric I had an opening for a stalker in my next book. He said he’d take it. Then he me to give him hair and make him taller. Ain’t gonna happen. Eric is really cool, just the way he is, short and prematurely bald. He’s upbeat, fun and funny and helpful. Making him conventionally handsome would be a slap to his coolness.

I told Tom (real life model for “Jim” in my books) that Jane made him sound too young and sexy for his part. (Did I stick my foot in my mouth? Probably, I’m a Sagittarius. We do that) I said I was going to have her fix it. He says, It’s okay. You don’t need to change it.” Thing is, I (and many others) love Tom for his simplicity and his good heart. Making him sound like George Clooney is like saying that’s not enough.

Decade ago, “Vogue” was hesitant to feature Cher on the cover because A. She wasn’t blond. and B. She has a bump on her nose. Guess what. That cover outsold all the previous issues.

As an artist, what makes up our “style” is really the way we deviate from the norm. The “norm” is perfection. So our style is really based on our faults and how we deal with them. The art is in turning a fault into a thing of beauty.

Writers love warts. They’re what make us all memorable and different. When we read, we love people who have no filters, who aren’t perfect. A story isn’t a story without mistakes.

In real life, those of us who are sane hate people like Martha Stewart, who are perfectly groomed, perfectly organized and color coordinated, and do everything perfectly well. With flair.

So why do we go through life wishing we were taller, prettier, shorter, richer, more successful, anything-er but what we are? If we could see ourselves through the eyes of someone who loves us, we could abandon our insecurities.

I know all this. I’m still not giving up the diet. It’s a health issue. Yeah, that’s it.

All Day Blueberry Banocado Plus.

Banocado means the base is a banana and an avocado. Plus means I added a big handful of spinach. This is perfect for two servings or for an all-day smoothie.

    1 Cup blueberries
    1 banana
    1 avocado
    1 large handful of baby spinach
    2 – 4 TBSP ground chia seeds
    1 heaping TBSP cacao powder or cocoa (Optional)
    1/2 TSP ground ginger (optional)
    Water, to desired consistency

Aztec Diet Day 36: Zucchini Chips and Big Moments

Weight Lost: 18 pounds

Pre-Breakfast: 1/2 ruby red grapefruit; Breakfast and Lunch: All Day Chocolate Cherry Banocado Plus; Snack: low-fat cottage cheese and 3 ribs celery; Dinner: Tuna Sandwich on sprouted grain bread; Snack: air popped popcorn

Today Jane posted the first 15 minutes of the audiobook of A Shot in the Bark. I was so nervous, I put off listening to it until after I was able to settle myself. Turns out the woman is an even bigger genius than I thought she was. And no, I’m not sharing her last name until I get both books out of her. I wish there was some way to share the recording with you. So I was having a “WOW” moment today.

I used to celebrate big moments with chocolate. Or cheesecake. Or chocolate cheesecake. If it was a really big moment, a fillet, followed by a Chocolate Stampede. I haven’t figured out what to do instead. I don’t drink, so champagne is out. Getting a massage would be great, except you can’t get a good massage on the spur of the moment. At least, I can’t. Maybe you can. When I have an answer to this problem, you’ll be the first to know.

I made it through work without anyone flinging chocolate at me. I suspect I’ll be okay for the next couple weeks, as long as I keep appropriate snacks on hand. No need to worry until the project winds down. Then, one of two things will happen. Either we will be ahead and the work will come slow, with lots of down time conducive to boredom snacking (not good), or we will be behind, and the bowls of chocolate and assorted candy will be passed around from station to station to give us a little something help us keep our focus (also not good).

I need something to chew on that won’t make me fat. Like a piece of rope soaked with hickory smoke.

Today I made dehydrated zucchini chips, thinking this would make a good snack for work. They taste like potato chips, but are sweeter. There’s no frying or oil involved. Zucchini is low in carbohydrates and calories and contains fiber. I popped the first batch into the dehydrator about noon, and they were ready after I got home from work at 10 p.m. I miscalculated, though. I thought 5 zucchinis would make enough chips to last the rest of the week. These are addictive. I’ll be lucky if they last more than 24 hours.

My neighbors, Mike and Marti Dourson (source of Peter Dourson’s name), gave me a t-shirt for Christmas. They had it made up special. It says, “Careful, or you’ll end up in my novel.” I wore it tonight. So Eric, my team leader, asked me if he was going to be in my novel. I told him he might. I have not shared with him what I do to the people I put in my novels. He’d have better odds for survival as a Red Shirt on Star Trek. And a cleaner end, should it come to that. I’ve been thinking he’d make a really great stalker. Maybe I’ll let him choose his own demise. That would be the polite thing to do.

Zucchini Chips

    Slice zucchini thin, about 1/8″. A food processor is fastest, but you’re likely to wind up with paper-thin chips. A mandolin works fine and gives more control and consistency. You can slice them by hand as well.
    Lay out on dehydrator trays (if you have one) or on baking sheets lined with parchment (if you don’t).
    Sprinkle lightly with salt or other spice of choice, such as cumin, pepper, curry, etc.
    Dehydrate at 115 degrees for about 6 – 10 hours, depending how thin your slices are. you can flip these halfway through. It’s not necessary, but it will prevent sticking. If baking, bake in a warm oven for a couple hours, keeping an eye on them. Flip when the tops are crisp and continue baking until done. I can’t give you exact times, because I’ve never made them in an oven.

Excalibur Food Dehydrator

I use an Excalibur 4 tray dehydrator. It’s a decent machine, though If I were to buy another, I’d get the 9 tray. It’s got a more reliable thermostat and you can dehydrate twice as much food. This is the one I’d get:

All Day Chocolate Cherry Banocado Plus.

Banocado means the base is a banana and an avocado. Plus means I added a big handful of spinach. This is perfect for two servings or for an all-day smoothie.

    1/2 Cups frozen sweet cherries
    1 banana
    1 avocado
    1 large handful of baby spinach
    1 heaping TBSP cacao powder or cocoa
    2 – 4 TBSP ground chia seeds
    1/2 TSP ground ginger (optional)
    Water, to desired consistency

Aztec Diet, Day 35: Chocolate Pudding

Pounds lost: 18; Inches of belly fat lost: 5.5

Breakfast: granola with almond milk; Lunch: venison stew; Snack: low-fat cottage cheese; Dinner: Blue Hawaii; Snack: none

Breakfast: Dr. Bob’s Kale Blueberry, made with coconut water; Lunch: venison stew; Snack: Chocolate Pudding; Dinner: Miso Green

I stopped off at the Library on my way home from the dog park Saturday morning. This is what I saw when I walked in the door:


I knew it was going to happen, but I didn’t know it had happened. Sarah was not around for me to hug. I stared stupidly, and said, “That’s my book.” I pointed for the benefit of Chuck, who was sorting the reserved books. Chuck thought I was pointing at M.C. Beaton, and probably wondered why I didn’t just pick it up off the display if I wanted it. After I stupidly kept repeating, It’s my book, he noticed my name on the cover to the right and I got an “Oh, wow, cool!” out of him. Then I ran home (okay smart ass, I drove) to get my camera. Being that I was starving, I had a quick cup of granola instead of the nice leisurely smoothie I had planned. It was a moment.

I spent much of Sunday writing. Poor Lia. All she wants to do is find a missing dog. Little does she know what kind of trouble THAT’s going to cause.

I feel stalled out on my diet. Which means it’s a good idea to get back to basics. This weekend I started thinking about calories more. I may need to re-tool my recipes. Or quit eating venison stew. I’ve been looking at the charts in Dr. Bob’s book, and I find it frustrating that his food lists are so limited. I want to know what he thinks about bean thread as a pasta substitute. And homemade zucchini chips for snacks. Kale chips can be flavorful, but they just don’t satisfy.

Meanwhile, I have had a request for chocolate, so I made some chocolate pudding. Not for every day, but better than stopping off for a hot fudge sundae.

Chocolate Pudding

    1 Cup almond milk
    1 ripe banana
    3 TBSP cacao powder or cocoa
    4 TBSP ground chia seed

Blend the banana and almond milk. When you have a nice whirlpool in the blender, open the lid and add the cacao and the chia. pour into 2 cups and refrigerate until set (If you can last that long. I didn’t).

Blue Hawaii

    3/4 Cup blueberries
    3/4 Cup tropical mix (pineapple, mango and strawberry)
    large handful of baby spinach
    1/8 Cup cashews
    water, to desired consistency

Aztec Diet: Day 33: More Temptations

Pounds lost: 17

Pre-Breakfast: 1/2 ruby red grapefruit; Breakfast and lunch: Blueberry Banocada made with almond milk; Snack: 1 cup cottage cheese and 1 apple; Dinner: 1 can tuna, 1 tablespoon Miracle Whip, 2 slices sprouted multi-grain bread; snack: Nestles’ Crunch Bar

Today was another draw. My team leader, Eric, is a sweet young guy with a shaved head and a Batman hoodie. He wears baggy but not saggy jeans. He’s got a cute scruff of beard along his chin. Tonight he announced, “I don’t bake,” then proceeded to lay full-sized Nestles’ Crunch Bars on our desks. I stared at it for a while and pretended to consider options. Eventually, I admitted to myself that I was eventually going to eat it, and agonizing over it was a waste of time. So I broke it up into little pieces and nibbled at it while we completed training, as if this would make eating it more virtuous. I noticed it was 200 calories, same as I had planned for my evening snack. I skipped the flax crackers.

No, I’m not proud.

I have no trouble turning down alcohol and other things which are bad for me. Chocolate is another matter. Avoiding temptation is not hard. I can keep my hand out of those big bowls of candy.Turning it down when it wraps its slinky arms around your neck and plants a big kiss on your mouth is another thing entirely. And while a Crunch Bar is not the skank ho of temptations, it is far cry from finding Johnny Depp in your bed.

I feel so cheap.

Maybe, by the time this project is over, I will have the mental tools to resist being flogged with chocolate.

Meanwhile, here is a perfectly harmless temptation for sci fi fans.

Sherdan has spent many years planning for the future. Now he’s in control and he is expected to forge a fresh new start for the people in his program, people he has shaped and can’t abandon, but Britain’s PM has other ideas and Sherdan must face the full might of the UK. On top of all this he has to face the one thing he never expected to feel; love.

Anya is on a mission from God to find out why she has been sent to the heart of Bristol, and what she can do to stop the world being plunged into war. When she finds herself forced to pick a side and join the fight, only her faith in God can see her through.

Sherdan’s Prophecy is a tale of high stakes and political intrigue. A science fiction novel where faith and technology come together to take the human race another step closer to the final showdown. Where a few select people make decisions on behalf of many. A gritty account of power that shows both the best and the worst of humanity.

Aztec Diet Day 32: New Job, New Temptations

Pounds lost: 17

Breakfast and Lunch: Carol’s Kale Blueberry Variation; Snack: Mandarin cutie and a handful of popcorn; Dinner: venison stew with quinoa; Snack: popcorn, 1 small homemade chocolate chip cookie and seasoned nori; Bedtime Snack: 1/2 ruby red grapfruit

Today started my third year as a seasonal employee grading short answer type questions on state proficiency tests. I love the job. The pay is decent and the working conditions are pleasant. They do their best to make a tedious task agreeable.

One of these things is allowing quiet snacking at our desks. Another is encouraging team leaders to keep large bowls of candy on hand, and to even pass these around. They also keep several well-stocked vending machines full of junk food and a free coffee bar that includes hot chocolate (my personal bete noire). Some team-leaders even bake cookies and bring them in.

I’ve been thinking about this for several days, how to deal with this. I packed a bag with a cutie, several cups of air-popped popcorn, 2 apples, a serving of venison stew and some seasoned nori, along with several bags of green tea. Overkill, perhaps, but better than than succumbing to processed sugar.

I did fine before our break, slowly sipping on a cup of green tea. I did way too much nervous munching during the second half of our training. Mostly because our 15 minute break was not long enough to eat my stew. So my juices got going and I found myself nibbling away at my desk. Boredom also contributed as I waited for the presenter to review information I’d already grasped.

Today was a draw. I avoided the processed junk but ate too many carbs. My plan for tomorrow is to switch to a tuna salad sandwich on sprouted bread for dinner and toss in some celery sticks. Also some herbal tea-bags. One cup of green tea at 5:30 p.m. is okay, but after the break, I need something that won’t keep me awake all night. I think hot tea will satisfy more than the cold water I had after break tonight and cut down on the munching. As for the popcorn, I’m torn. Though it’s carby, it’s better than other options. But if I have it, I know I’ll eat it. If I don’t have it, will I succumb to other temptations? I don’t know.

Does this sound like a military campaign? It is. This is War.

Aztec Diet Day 31: Dr. Bob’s Smoothie Recipes

Pounds lost: 17 pounds

Pre-Breakfast: apple Breakfast: Chocolate Cherry Banocada; Lunch: 1 Cup low-fat cottage cheese; Snack: ruby red grapefruit; Dinner: Venison Stew; Snack: none

I get a lot of hits from people looking for Dr. Bob’s smoothie recipes. I don’t post them here because I don’t have permission. ABC does, though, and they posted three of them (including his go-to Kale Blueberry Smoothie) along with a recent story about the Aztec Diet. Check them out here:–abc-news-Recipes.html.

Meanwhile, keep checking this blog for my own culinary experiments.

I was brave enough to put on my old pants today. Yes they zipped up. Yeah! No, they were not comfortable. Boo! Soon, though, soon.

Nothing much else to say. I spent the rest of the day polishing a flute. And, no, I am not being euphemistic.

Chocolate Cherry Banocado

    1 avocado
    1 banana
    1/2 – 3/4 Cup frozen cherries
    2 TBSP raw cacao powder
    2 – 4 TBSP ground chia seeds
    Water to desired thickness
    Option: add a large handful of spinach and more water to create an all-day smoothie

“Banocado” is a term I coined to refer to any smoothie that consists of fruit added to 1 banana and 1 avocado. This will actually produce 3-1/2 cups of smoothie, so it’s perfect for two people. If you want to be more in keeping with Dr. Bob’s recommendations, you can use 1/2 avocado and 1/2 banana. The produces a smaller carb load. The problem isn’t the avocado, it’s the banana. I can just have never figured out how to keep 1/2 an avocado, so I reduce my carb load the rest of the day. The other solution is to only use 1/2 a banana. I have no problem with that.

Aztec Diet Day 30: Field Trip

Pounds lost: 17

Pre-Breakfast: apple; Breakfast: Mango Tango; Costco Samples: Chobani blueberry yogurt, romaine lettuce with ranch dressing and a single crouton, 2 bites of grilled salmon patty (yes, I know you’re only supposed to take one); Snack: Starbucks cafe mocha; Lunch: Miso Green, 12 oz water with 4 TBSP ground chia; Snack: cottage cheese Dinner: venison stew served with quinoa; Snack: none

The venison stew is lovely. Which is good, because it’s playing all week.

I hope nobody thinks I’m holding myself up as a model of dieting perfection. Mostly, I wanted to record my intake and recipes, and since this is the thing I’ve been most preoccupied with for the past month, it was natural to put it on my blog. Otherwise, I’d have nothing interesting to put in my blog unless I were to post spoilers to my current Work In Progress, and you all know THAT’s not going to happen.

I’ve figured out a few things about weight loss, none of them earth-shattering.

1. Persistence is more important than perfection. I’ve snuck the occasional guilty treat. I don’t beat myself up about it, I get back on the diet and keep moving forward. I do document it though, because it helps me pin-point my weak spots. It also keeps me aware of how often I’m cheating. It’s too easy to justify the “occasional treat” until it becomes so frequent, you’re not dieting anymore.

2. It’s important to choose a diet and modify it so that it suits your schedule and your chemistry. In the case of the Aztec Diet, I’ve included more healthy fats. This is critical to managing my TBI and my depression. Cacao is also beneficial for mood management, and is frequent addition in my smoothies. I’ve increased the focus on raw foods because I find them more conducive to health and weight loss. I often start my day with a piece of fruit because my mandatory morning trip to the dog park pushes breakfast back to 10 a.m. And I create my own recipes. It’s so much easier to stick with a diet that I enjoy. I may not be losing weight as fast as those who stick strictly with the diet as written, but I know I can stick with it long enough to reach my goal.

3. Celebrate progress (but not by eating). My lounge-around-the-house pants are getting saggy. I see the beginnings of a waistline. I’ve had three people in the last week tell me that I look thinner. And, during my monthly trip to Cost-co today, I ate the healthy samples and felt no pull towards the mac ‘n’ cheese.

Yes, I did get that cafe mocha at Starbucks afterward. Anna handed me her Starbucks card and told me to get whatever I wanted while she picked up a few things at Target. (Obviously, Anna is one of my dietary weak spots.) As I said above, I’m not perfect. But I also perused the pastry case with only mild interest, not desperate longing. I’m losing my craving for carbs. I can eat without having to nap afterwards.

These things are all worth celebrating. So I give myself an “atta girl” every time I have to pull my pants back up. I do not buy myself an ice cream cone.

There’s a lot I can improve. I’ve got to work on handling restaurants. I need to drink more water. And one day I WILL add exercise back into my daily routine. But today I am thinner than yesterday. And I am not as thin as I will be tomorrow.

After Cost-co and Target, Anna and I went to Dick’s Sporting Goods so I could ogle the crossbows for research purposes. It’s so important to have an acquaintance with one’s murder weapons. I have to say they are really ugly looking pieces of equipment bearing only a slight resemblance to their Medieval progenitors. The hunting arrowheads are much more elegant. I also looked for Howling Coyote Predator Lure. I was thinking of buying a bottle so I could smell it. No, I’m not a pervert. It plays a part in my book. Alas, only deer urine. Anna offered to take me to her place so I could sniff her prize schnauzer, Hillary, who is in heat. I declined. It wouldn’t be the same.

If anyone has ever smelled coyote estrus, feel free to post your impressions below. You will earn my eternal gratitude.

The factory next door was making a vilely pungent batch of artificial smoke, presumably for human consumption. We decided that our clothes had to be permeated with the stuff from our stroll through the parking lot. We considered taking a walk in the woods to see what kind of wild-life we would attract. Then we considered the ‘wild-life’ usually hanging around in Burnet Woods and changed our minds.

Mango Tango

    1 Cup Mango
    1 Cup Papaya
    as much baby spinach as you can hold in one hand
    1/8 Cup cashews
    1/2 – 1 TSP ground ginger (or use raw)
    4 TBSP ground chia seed

Aztec Diet Day 29: Crock Pot Magic

Pounds lost: 17

Breakfast: Dr. Bob’s Kale Blueberry Smoothie (Aztec Diet) with romaine instead of kale (I was out of kale); Lunch: 1 avocado with peach-mango salsa; Dinner: wild-caught salmon patty on sprouted multi-grain bread with Miracle Whip and cheddar cheese*; Snack: 1 oz. pomegranate juice with 12 oz water and 4 TBSP ground chia and 2 Mandarin cuties

I went shopping today. Bought lots of lovely, fresh produce for smoothies. But what to do with the stuff going limp in the bottom of the refrigerator?

This is where my crock-pot comes into play. Tomorrow will be stew day. I’ll clean out the produce drawers and set up my solid meal for several days in one fell swoop (what the heck is a fell swoop, anyway?**)

I’m currently thawing out some deer Rudy gave me (I’ll bet your landlord doesn’t butcher his own deer, so you can use beef instead). I’ll toss that into the crock pot with some bay leaves and wine. Some water and bit of salt. While that is getting tender, I’ll chunk up my left-over veggies and toss them in. Onion, bell pepper, carrots, celery, whole cloves of garlic. If I had greens that needed to be used up, I’d toss them in, too. But I’ve been a good girl and loaded all my greens into smoothies. No potatoes, though. Don’t have them in the house since they are vegetable-non-grata in Aztec Diet Land. Easiest is to toss in quinoa in the last hour. Brown rice would also work, but it gets mushy if you don’t cook it up separately. Don’t use too much water, as the vegetables will add broth as they cook down.

Simple. Easy. Two of my favorite words.

I’ll tell you how it turns out.

* Yes, I have switched my solid meal from lunch to dinner. No, this is not advised by Dr. Bob. But it’s stopped my late-night snacking on popcorn.

**This phrase is thought to originate with Shakespeare. Who knew?

Aztec Diet Day 28: Empty Fridge Syndrome

Pounds lost: 17

Breakfast: Eggs scrambled with mushrooms, red bell pepper, broccoli and cheddar cheese; Lunch: Kale Apple Carrot (Aztec Diet) Snack: Mandarin cutie; Dinner: Marie Callender Herb Roasted Chicken dinner. No, this is not advised, but at least it is no longer in the freezer. I wish I could say I was virtuous and skipped the potatoes. I can’t.

Pre-breakfast: apple; Breakfast: 2 Cups Papaya Blackberry Smoothie; Lunch: 1 Cup Papaya Blackberry Smoothie and 1 large pink grapefruit; Snack: air-popped popcorn; Dinner: wild-caught pacific salmon pattie on sprouted multi-grain bread with a 2 TSP Miracle Whip and 4 oz pomegranate juice in 12 oz water with 2 TBSP ground chia.

My stomach is getting smaller. Not only is my paunch shrinking, I’m finding I am full on less food. This is a very good thing.

Eating fresh food requires that you actually use that food before it spoils. Now I’m out of avocados, out of kale and spinach, out of blueberries, almost out of frozen fruit. I have a lot of bananas, romaine, carrots and tofu. An almost empty fridge invites experimentation and odd combinations. But, no, I’m NOT going to make a smoothie out of that.

Today I was busy causing problems. Peter and Brent were grilling poor Kitty about her illicit relationship with the deceased. Poor woman is alone, 1,500 miles from home and has no one to turn to. Lia is sympathetic, but Peter doesn’t want her mixed up in police business. Think she’s going to listen?

So Lia and Peter are grousing at each other and I was too busy to shop. This morning I discovered not all combinations are good ones. I thought cacao went with everything. It does not. I’m leaving it out of the recipe below, because adding it made the whole thing taste like mud. Which did decrease my appetite and made it last longer. You can add it it you must, but hey, it tastes like mud.

Papaya Blackberry Smoothie

    1-1/2 Cups papaya
    1 Cup blackberries
    1-1/2 Cups spinach
    1/4 Cup cashews
    4 TBSP ground chia