Julia's Guardian Angel Fund

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I'm at only 1/2 pound less than I was two weeks ago. This is frustrating. I do know I feel better and the scale says my percentage of body fat is going down - 3% from when I started. I feel like I'm eating much better, however, and isn't that a start in the right direction?

Yesterday, as I was making lunch, I got a call from my medical insurance company. They have a new program where, free of charge, they coach you through lifestyle changes. I signed up. I don't get any "counseling" until next week. My coach will call me to establish goals and then give me some help with ways to achieve them. My goals have already been set:
1) continue to lose weight
2) reach a BMI of below 30 ( not obese ) by Christmas
3) reach my goal weight by my husband's birthday in April
4) keep the weight off
5) Don't believe I'm actually going to publish this, but I would like to try to run a 5k before I turn 45.

I also want to get my family back on a better track. Pregnancy fatigue and postpartum weakness have led to bad eating habits here. Since I've been pregnant or post partum for much of the last 12 years, that's lead to bad eating habits for ALL of my children's lives. So, I'll add that as a goal:
6) provide better food choices for EVERYONE

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pizza Bianca

I'm a big fan of ATK (America's Test Kitchen) and I love their philosophy of trying to find the BEST of a recipe or kitchen tool. This is a recipe I loved, but needed to make faster. Really, I can't wait 2 1/2 hours anymore for pizza dough to rise. I usually have 1/2 hour, tops. So this works with the modifications I've made and many a family friend have asked for the recipe. Well, here it is. It's so not good for you (read fattening), but oh so delicious. Focus on portion control here, folks. I had 1/6 of a pizza today and stopped (that's two pieces).

Pizza Bianca with Tomatoes and Mozzarella

AKA Company Pizza at our house
modified from the America's Test Kitchen Recipe

Serves 6 to 8

(14-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
teaspoon table salt
teaspoon sugar
cloves of garlic, minced
ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
leaves of fresh basil, chiffinade
ounces Parmesan cheese, grated

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 2/3 cups water, warm
1 1/4 teaspoons table salt
2 1/2
teaspoons instant yeast
2 1/2
teaspoons sugar
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1. Place the two cans of crushed tomatoes in fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl. Let sit 30 minutes, stirring 3 times to allow juices to drain.

2. Mix flour, yeast, sugar, water, and table salt in bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook on low speed until no patches of dry flour remain, 6 to 10 minutes. (Dough will only pull away from sides while mixer is on. When mixer is off, dough will fall back to sides.)

3. Adjust oven rack to middle position, place pizza stone on rack, and heat oven to 450 degrees.

4. Using fingers, coat large bowl with 1 tablespoon oil, rubbing excess oil from fingers onto blade of rubber spatula. Using oiled spatula, transfer dough to bowl and pour 1 tablespoon oil over top. Flip dough over once so it is well coated with oil; cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature until nearly tripled in volume and large bubbles have formed, 1/2 hour.

5. Combine 3/4 cup tomato solids, olive oil, sugar and salt. (Save remaining solids and juice for another use.)

6. Coat rimmed baking sheet with 2 tablespoons oil. Using rubber spatula, turn dough out onto baking sheet along with any oil in bowl. Using fingertips, press dough out toward edges of pan, taking care not to tear it. (Dough will not fit snugly into corners. If dough resists stretching, let it relax for 5 to 10 minutes before trying to stretch again.) Let dough rest in pan until slightly bubbly, 5 to 10 minutes.

7. Bake until lightly browned around the edges, 5 to 7 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Take out of oven and top with tomato mixture, garlic, basil and cheese. Return to oven for 10-15 minutes more or until cheese is melted to your desired level of browning. Using metal spatula, remove pizza from pan and serve on cutting board or pizza peel.

The crust is crisp and sturdy. Like the ABI5MAD, the process uses high hydration for gluten development, so it is VERY sticky. It also uses a long kneading cycle to reduce the wait time. The result is a shattering crust that holds LOTS of toppings. Oh, and if you are going to add pepperoni, first microwave it between paper towel in a single layer for 30 to reduce the grease. ENJOY!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Weight Loss and Exercise

I was directed to a new study written up in Time Magazine from "and sometimes tea" blog. This is interesting because the weight loss approach I took to lose 70+ pounds 9 years ago did not include exercise. In fact, the creator of the weight loss program said you don't need exercise to lose weight.

The Compensation Problem
Earlier this year, the peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE — PLoS is the nonprofit Public Library of Science — published a remarkable study supervised by a colleague of Ravussin's, Dr. Timothy Church, who holds the rather grand title of chair in health wisdom at LSU. Church's team randomly assigned into four groups 464 overweight women who didn't regularly exercise. Women in three of the groups were asked to work out with a personal trainer for 72 min., 136 min., and 194 min. per week, respectively, for six months. Women in the fourth cluster, the control group, were told to maintain their usual physical-activity routines. All the women were asked not to change their dietary habits and to fill out monthly medical-symptom questionnaires.
The findings were surprising. On average, the women in all the groups, even the control group, lost weight, but the women who exercised — sweating it out with a trainer several days a week for six months — did not lose significantly more weight than the control subjects did. (The control-group women may have lost weight because they were filling out those regular health forms, which may have prompted them to consume fewer doughnuts.) Some of the women in each of the four groups actually gained weight, some more than 10 lb. each.

What's going on here? Church calls it compensation, but you and I might know it as the lip-licking anticipation of perfectly salted, golden-brown French fries after a hard trip to the gym. Whether because exercise made them hungry or because they wanted to reward themselves (or both), most of the women who exercised ate more than they did before they started the experiment. Or they compensated in another way, by moving around a lot less than usual after they got home.
The findings are important because the government and various medical organizations routinely prescribe more and more exercise for those who want to lose weight. In 2007 the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association issued new guidelines stating that "to lose weight ... 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity may be necessary." That's 60 to 90 minutes on most days of the week, a level that not only is unrealistic for those of us trying to keep or find a job but also could easily produce, on the basis of Church's data, ravenous compensatory eating.

It's true that after six months of working out, most of the exercisers in Church's study were able to trim their waistlines slightly — by about an inch. Even so, they lost no more overall body fat than the control group did. Why not?

Church, who is 41 and has lived in Baton Rouge for nearly three years, has a theory. "I see this anecdotally amongst, like, my wife's friends," he says. "They're like, 'Ah, I'm running an hour a day, and I'm not losing any weight.'" He asks them, "What are you doing after you run?" It turns out one group of friends was stopping at Starbucks for muffins afterward. Says Church: "I don't think most people would appreciate that, wow, you only burned 200 or 300 calories, which you're going to neutralize with just half that muffin."

Working out is hard to do with 6 kids under 12, including a newborn. I expect I will exercise, but it won't be hard core. It will probably a DVD or brisk walk. I understand the need to be healthy and that is reason to exercise. Exercising to lose weight, well, you just read it. It doesn't necessarily help.

By the way, I lost 4.5 lbs last week. That would be 12 lbs lost in 9 weeks. I need to slow down the weigh loss to 2 lbs a week. Losing more than 2 lbs a week can lead to toxins being released into breast milk and I don't want my desire to lose weight effect the Wee One.