Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Getting to The Point of No Return and My New Chai Green Smoothie

Thank you to everyone that volunteered to save my butt during my kitchen renovation! I will be contacting you all personally by e-mail within the next two weeks.

Today I want to talk to you about something that is really coming into focus for me at this point in my journey: the amount of fruit in my diet and how it is affecting my weight.

At PEERtrainer (http://www.peertrainer.com/) they have a program called The Point of No Return. I'm not here to sell you on a program (although it is worth WHATEVER nominal amount they are charging for it).  I mention this now because the concept is extremely important in getting you to and keeping you at your happy weight.

So what is "the point of no return"?

For me, it is the state of mind and body where maintaining a healthy weight is not confusing, mysterious, difficult or scary. For those of you who have dieted and failed time and time again, I think you know what I am talking about. You might have an enormous amount of fear and uncertainty regarding your physical and emotional health.

I know that I did. So when I came upon PEERtrainer, their method really spoke to me. They focus a lot on a concept called "diet fusion," which in essence means that it is up to each and every one of us to find our own individual way of eating that gets us to our own Point of No Return. For me, it is a no-added fat Vegan diet free of most processed foods. For you, well, only you can find that magic combination.

Which brings me to the point of all of this: Finding your way takes TIME. I have been laser focused on getting to my point of no return for almost two years. And I am slowly getting there. But I am getting there. It takes an enormous amount of trial and error.

For example, one of my trials along the way was The Raw Food Diet. I was introduced to it, thought it sounded intriguing (who wouldn't want to eat all of those yummy looking desserts every day?), read up on it and started preparing interesting raw food dishes and desserts right away. At the time, I didn't really quite get that the heavy reliance of many raw recipes on highly caloric ingredients like nuts, oils and dried fruit would not be offset by the also heavy reliance on raw vegetables. So I dove right in and failed. I think I gained ten pounds pretty quickly.

But that was party of my journey, my own personal trip to my point of no return. I can't have any regrets because I learned so much from the experience. For one, raw desserts rock! And if and when I do indulge, I want it to be a raw concoction. I feel that I am getting maximum nutrition as well as flavor from a raw dessert, even if the calorie count is through the roof. Sometimes I am just going to indulge. Secondly, there would have been a "right" way for me to go raw, and that would have been without the oils and nuts. But thinking of an uncooked diet without those things left me less than excited, so I returned to a balance of raw and cooked food, and I'm content with that today.

Another one of my experiments, which has lasted far longer than my raw experiment, and continues to this day, has been drinking a green smoothie for breakfast almost every morning. My first green smoothies consisted mainly of a lot of fruit with a handful of fresh or frozen spinach and some flax or chia seed. Somewhere along the way, I experimented with adding more green things (and even carrots) but the fruit component remained high. Lately, and this is the key to what this is all about, I am working on using as little fruit as possible in my morning smoothie.

For example, take a look at my original Chai Green Smoothie. Two dates and one large banana made that smoothie pretty high in sugar, probably more than the entire daily recommended amount of sugar. And lately, my food choices have been heavily influenced by ideas about sugar that are continually coming into my awareness. It started back in December with this article from Disease Proof on the ill effects of sugar. Then  Debby the Healthy Librarian hit me with Dr. Lustig's video Sugar: The Bitter Truth. Soon after, Chef A.j. was mentioning on Facebook that if she had written her cookbook today, she would have done it differently, based on her new level of awareness regarding sugar, dessert and the health value of smoothies.

I started logging my food in gory detail on My Fitness Pal, a calorie/nutrition tracking application and website. I was looking for information on how much fiber I was consuming everyday, but I learned something far more valuable. I am consuming far too much SUGAR every day (and it wasn't from Twinkies!). So when PEERtrainer did a blog posting all about fruit in the diet (and sadly, fruit is very high in sugar) all of my confusion went away and I knew that limiting my fruit every day was getting me very close to my Point of No Return.

Ahhhhhh, progress.

New Chai Green Smoothie
serves 1

1 1/4 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
1 small frozen banana, broken into chunks
1 large pitted date
big handful rough chopped celery
big handful fresh parsley
giant handful fresh spinach leaves
7 ice cubes

Place all ingredients in a high powered blender and blend until smooth.

Granted, this is still not a low sugar smoothie! But remember, it's progress, not perfection. I'm working on it! And I can tell you that watching the amount of fruit I eat each day over the past month has resulted in significant weight loss, so I think I'm really onto something that will really help me in the long run.

What new information have you learned that really helped you to progress to another level with your weight loss/maintenance efforts?


Anonymous said...

Perfect timing- thank you! I was just thinking about my plan for today, and was about to choose "fruit salad" for lunch. After reading this, green salad is the way to go.

Anonymous said...

excellent information and food for thought.thanks for all the inspiration wendy!

Anonymous said...

Sugar in fruit is not the same as eating a twinkie or another processed sweet food so don't get to caught up on it - I notice that when I consume to much sugar even agave I get stuffy so I stay away from sugar as well...and there are also oils that are good for you but obviously not to be consumed in high quantities - but well done on the research sugar is crazy there is actually one molecule difference between sugar and crack cocaine and that is, that sugar is missing the nitrogen atom...that's the only difference it's crazy...

Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day said...

I have learned that for whatever reason, I must not be willing to do what it takes to get the rest of this weight off. I have learned that I eat food that make me sick (wheat) time and time again.. and then wonder why I am in pain, full of anxiety and the scale is slowly creeping up.
I have learned that I do have what it takes to move in the other direction and that I have the opportunity to make the change NOW with every meal I eat.

Sindy said...

Great blog Wendy! I don't really have a trick, but I am inspired by your willingness to try new things, evaluate the results, and go back to the drawing board, without ever throwing in the towel. So inspiring!

SentimentsbyDenise said...

Thanks for writing this post - good information and gives me something to ponder. When I transitioned into a vegetarian (nearly vegan) diet over a year ago, I progressively lost weight (65 lbs gone now), but then came to a screeching halt about 3 months ago. I've hit a plateau and even though I've increased the exercise the weight still does not want to come off.
I do consume a lot of fruit - in my smoothies, raw fruit throughout the day (at least 2-3 servings),and dried fruits in my homemade "trail mixes". I have to believe that this, though it's considered a more healthful option, can be detrimental to my weight loss.
I'll be making some adjustments...

Anonymous said...

I make something similar, but don't use dates in any of my smoothies, I use a small to medium apple to add sweetness.

Anonymous said...

To help you renew your commitment to avoiding excess sugar, I recommend this excellent lecture. (It is 1.5 hrs long, so watch it when you have time to sit back. It is a real eye opener. Sugar: The Bitter Truth
Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, explores the damage caused by sugary foods.

Nora said...

I have found personally that I don't need to be too concerned with how much fruit is in my diet if I keep my fat (and even good fat) levels down low---I almost don't add any overt fats to my diet at all (like avocados, nuts, or seeds) except flaxseed meal in my smoothies each morning. This allows me to have a huge green smoothie for breakfast, my largest meal of the day for lunch (raw or cooked veggies/whole grains/beans/etc.), and then just raw fruit, a salad or veggie soup for dinner....with drinking lots of water in between. This has worked for me so far. Fruit has so many positive health benefits that I think it should be a prominent part of the diet if possible.

JL goes Vegan said...

Interesting post (as usual)! I have learned the if I eat really well most of the time, my occasional diversions do not have a lasting impact. I'm this freeing for two reasons. I LOVE eating well--I'm eating crazy, delicious healthy raw and cooked foods. So it's not a "diet" and it's not deprivation. Diversions, to me, mean ordering what I want at a restaurant without thinking about calories or picking up a vegan marshmallow cookie at the store, etc. I don't do it often so I enjoy those diversions as much as I love my daily, healthy eats. I guess I'm finding the right balance for me.

Ann said...

Lately, I have really been aware of my sodium intake. You can easily consume way too much if you're eating processed foods. I just recently cut back...so far, so good.

Cathy said...

Hi. Always great info and links! I have also decided to be a plant based unprocessed as much as possible because I read Esselstyns book one day recently. I got it for the receipes but got sucked into the info. My goal started to be vegan for the animals, then to feel better and now I feel so empowered and although I am thin I'd love to trim off the rear padding that's been there for a while. I just watched the sugar one you mentioned and WOW! I mean I understood the whole don't blend your fruit for satiety reasons if you are trying to lose weight before but I never knew the run down on fructose. Although, I didn't really get the impression from him that you should exclude fruit because it comes w/so many other wonderful things. I was hoping he would say what it would be limited at tho. I know Dr E keeps it low for heart patients yet Dr F says up to 6 in some things I've read. I think Dr McDougall says 3? I am also trying to be gluten free as I was told by an integrative med dr once that I needed to and that was at first glance of meeting me and she's very well repected and sought after (my sister works for her). Anyway, I think I will continue to have my half cup blueberries and 2 tbsp raisins in my oatmeal and my 2 frozen banana smoothie w/date, cocoa, and almond milk as my indulgence every day. I was doing a strawberry, pineapple, kale/collard smoothie mid morning but I'm rethinking it! However, I do like fresh fruit too and in salads....hmmmmm! I am going to try and cook my kale or collards at dinner (I eat a huge spinach salad daily at lunch) and of course my meals often have veggies and such so.... Gosh so much to think about...fries my brain at times!

suemvi said...

Yum! I had all the spices for the chai mix, so made it this morning and did a slight variation of your recipe with banana, orange, kale, celery and almond milk. It was delicious-very green (!) and filled me up until well after noon. I have been drinking green smoothies almost every day for about 6 weeks now. My aches and pains are disappearing, I've lost some weight and I am starting to feel less old. Check back in a couple of months and maybe I will say young! Thanks for your ongoing inspiration for healthy eating.

Danielle said...

Love the picture but try using a glass straw, it's much easier to drink. I ordered the wide one from Glass Dharma and drink it just like you do, out of a mason jar!

katshealthcorner said...

I LOVE Your Smoothie Recipe!!! I have make it! Would it work with Flax too? :)

Wendy (Healthy GIrls) said...

Whole flax needs to be ground into flaxmeal in order to work its magic in your body. Otherwise it just passes through you whole and does nothing. Hope that helps!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I had to laugh,
Looks like me
I take a quart jar of green smoothies to work most mornings. At first I HID it in a paper bag afraid someone would get sick from seeing the stuff! I do wish someone made a lid you could put a straw through.
My favorite is; 2 hand-fulls of baby spinach,1/2 cup of frozen mango, 2 cut up organic carrots, 1/2 an orange, 1T cold pressed flax seed oil (I get this very reasonably priced from Canada),and sometimes frozen pineapple, or Greek yogurt...plus ice cubes.
I avoid bananas- good but too sweet. Oh and Dandelion greens were really great in it last week. Turnip greens are sometime bitter, sometimes not.The books say to vary your greens.
Yeah for Vitamix- my E-bay Christmas present
My skin looks great too

Virtually Vegan Mama said...

love the pic! and love the smoothie, looks yummy! good luck with the renovations, how exciting! =)

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