Freedom in the Trim Healthy Mama Eating Plan

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One of the reasons I began following the THM eating plan was that authors Serene and Pearl make it very clear that they intend for people to do whatever they need to do, in order to make the plan work for them as individuals. There’s not a lot of pressure in their methods. They don’t want anyone to count points or calories or grams of carbohydrates and fats. Instead, they want you to start thinking about broad categories of foods–foods that are high in healthy fats, fruits and vegetables that are starchy vs. non-starchy, foods that are relatively low in carbohydrates, and foods that don’t contain fats. Then they want you to pay attention to they way you combine certain foods in certain meals. (Watch the video on their website at: http://www.trimhealthymama.com/)

I’ll admit that this new way of eating is taking some time for me to understand and I made a lot of mistakes at first. The wonderful and amazing thing is that THM is very forgiving. I lost weight right from the beginning, even when I made mistakes.

Now I’m excited that my husband is going to join me in my new THM way of life. (Finally!) I have been busily preparing meals for his first two “Deep Cycle” weeks. I’m going to redo those weeks with him and I expect to keep learning and losing weight along the way.

My approach is not your approach and I may not follow THM strictly to the letter all the time. Remember that THM is not a “one size fits all” way of eating. I often experiment with new kinds of healthy sweeteners (ones that are less glycemic, for example) or new types of low-carbohydrate flours. If I gain weight from one of my recipes, I scrap it or tweak it. I’m still trying recipes from the THM book too. (Have you tried their frozen yogurt with strawberries and vanilla? It’s so good! I think it’s the reason my husband is willing to try the THM plan!) I am allergic to dairy fat, so “S” recipes are tricky. I substitute coconut oil and ghee for butter, nonfat cream cheese for regular cream cheese, hemp protein powder for whey protein, and skim milk mozzarella for fatty  cheeses. The point is that my approach fits me and my family and that’s what matters.

I encourage you to try the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan. It may take awhile for you to come up with just the right recipes that work for your weight loss or weight maintenance needs and that’s okay. But also remember that everyone loses weight and inches differently. Some weeks I lose weight; other weeks I lose no weight but I will lose an entire inch all over. I pay close attention to all positive changes in my body and rejoice that my diet and exercise are working better now than ever before.

So, be happy, be free, and don’t stress out. With time and practice you’ll get the hang of the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating and I’m hopeful that you will reap the rewards that I and so many other people are enjoying.

God bless you!

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Bananas and the THM Diet

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Serene and Pearl have a lot to say about bananas. Here are some quotes from their book:

“A word about bananas. God made them and they are a wonderful food. We buy them for our children, who are growing and still very insulin sensitive since they have young cells and run around all day. We very rarely eat bananas ourselves, as they are more like potatoes, and can easily fatten an adult. If you don’t want to say a complete goodbye to them, stick to half a banana as a limit when eating E style. Fill up on something else and we have plenty of choices for you.” page 83

“Can we remind you again to please steer clear of bananas, or use only half a banana in an E smoothie?” p. 247

A Question and answer from the Book: I thought bananas were healthy. This is the first time I’ve been told to not eat them. What about other fruits like watermelon, pineapple, and mangoes?

Yes, bananas are healthy. God made them for a purpose. They are excellent for growing children and for people who struggle to keep on weight. !e reason for this is that they are much higher in sugars than the other fruits we suggest. Tropical fruits on a whole have less fiber and more sugar. This doesn’t mean you should totally exclude them from your diet. You can have small amounts of these with E meals, e.g., mango in some salsa, pineapple in some cottage cheese, small piece of watermelon, or half a banana. Personally, we stay away from bananas, but we had addictions to them in the past. Three in one sitting was not beyond us, so they are trigger foods for us.  p. 596

Note: Pearl and Serene recommend using banana extract in several recipes if you still want that banana flavor.

“We call bananas and other high glycemic fruits healthy since God made them, but only for those whose blood sugar can handle them. If something is chock full of vitamins and minerals and yet causes your waistline to expand and spike your blood sugar levels, which is aging and inflammatory, it is not healthy for you.” p. 596

So, how many carbohydrates are in a medium-sized banana? Twenty-seven (27). The THM diet allows 45 grams of carbohydrates in an “E” meal and only 4-9 grams of carbohydrates in an “S” meal. (Essentially zero grams of carbohydrates are allowed in an “FP” meal.)

Does this mean you can go ahead and eat a ¾ of a banana in an “E” meal or snack and not gain weight? Well, you might, but I can’t. When I eat a even 1/2 of a banana I may not gain weight that day, but I know I’m likely not going to lose any weight.

 

Grams of Carbohydrates and Fats Allowed in Weight Loss Meals

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Basically, in my understanding, when you’re eating a high healthy fats meal, you have to keep carbohydrates to nearly zero. When you’re eating a moderate carbohydrate meal, you need to keep the fats to nearly zero.

Here’s a chart to help you:

Grams of

Healthy Fat Meal

Moderate Carbohydrate Meal

Nonfat, Carbohydrate-Free Meal

Carbohydrates

5-6

Up to 45

As close to 0 as possible

Fat

Limitless?

4-7

As close to 0 as possible

My 2014 “Trim Healthy Mama” New Year’s Resolution

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I really enjoy the Trim Healthy Mama diet and have steadily and slowly lost weight. But I must emphasize the slow part. I have discovered one negative to the Trim Healthy Mama diet—and it’s entirely my fault: I have become lax in my workout. I was sick for a week; then I became busier and that led to more excuses and sheer laziness. My thinking was, “Why exercise when it’s so easy to lose weight just by eating according to the THM diet?”

So, for my New Year’s resolution for 2014, I will stick to my very effective THM way of eating, but I resolve to get back to my regular exercise routine. Not only will I speed up my weight loss efforts, but I will be stronger and healthier, as well.

Speaking of being stronger and healthier, I was thinking that the THM diet is perfect for those who have physical injuries, are sick, or are so overweight that exercise might be next to impossible. You can start the diet, lose significant weight, get healed up from injuries and illness; then, when you’re ready, incorporate exercise according to your doctor’s recommendations.

I can do this! And so can you!

Happy New Year!

Nonfat, Low-Carb Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Ingredients Grams of Carbohydrate Grams of Fat
Dry Ingredients
1 cup oat flour (You could substitute flax or spelt.) 58.5 0
1 t baking powder 1.2 0
½ t soda 0 0
½ t salt 0 0
½ t cinnamon 0 0
2 T peanut butter 6 16
1 c xylitol 48* 0
Wet Ingredients
1 T molasses 15 0
2 T egg white 0 0
¼ cup applesauce 7 0
½ tsp vanilla 0 0
2 cups quinoa flakes 218 0
.25 cup semisweet chocolate** 41.3 0
.25 cup baking chocolate 8 14
Instructions:Mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately. Combine. Drop by rounded teaspoon onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12’. Makes 30 cookies
Total carbs and fats in entire recipe 403 30
Total divided by 30 cookies 13.43 1.2
Number of grams of carbohydrates and fats allowed in a single THM snack 45 4-9

*There are 4 grams of carbohydrates / tsp in NOW brand.

**Please Note: I have also made this recipe with unsweetened baking chocolate. Doing so cuts the refined sugar to zero and reduces the carbs considerably.

Low-Carb Flours

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  • Flax flour
  • Spelt flour
  • Oat flour
  • Defatted peanut flour
  • Psyllium husk powder
  • Quinoa flour

I recently made some low-carb chocolate chip cookies using oat flour. I’ll share the recipe in my next blog, but I thought I’d let you know that I used small chunks and shavings of unsweetened baking chocolate. The xylitol in the cookies is enough to sweeten the chocolate. Again, if you’re accustomed to eating less sugar, the sugar-free cookies taste great. Otherwise, you might want to add more xylitol to the recipe.

Happy New Year!

Antibiotics and Weight Gain

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Just as a side note today, I want to mention that, in spite of steadily and joyfully losing weight on the THM diet, I have experienced a two-week setback, due to a urinary tract infection and taking the antibiotic ciprofloxacin.

Antibiotics kill the bad bacteria that cause infection, so sometimes you need to take them. However, those same antibiotics kill a lot of the good bacteria in the gut, as well. Studies show that a deficit of healthy, probiotic flora in the intestinal tract causes or leads to weight gain. (See http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265434.php) The short version: Taking antibiotics can cause weight gain if you don’t keep pouring in the probiotics as a countermeasure.

To make matters worse, some antibiotics (such as ciprofloxacin) can increase the prostaglandin ghrelin in the body as much as six times. Ghrelin increases hunger, which leads to overeating. Ghrelin also increases abdominal fat. (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090520055519.htm)

Any way you slice it, antibiotics make you fat. So, do what you have to do to heal your body if you have to take antibiotics. All the while, keep up your probiotic intake. (Make sure you don’t take probiotics within two hours of taking your antibiotic or you’ll waste your efforts.)

Then, when you’re all well again and off the antibiotics, keep taking lots of probiotics and eat probiotic-rich foods, like kimchi, real fermented sauerkraut, real fermented dill pickles, miso, yogurt, kefir, etc. You’ll soon be back to losing that temporary excess weight and abdominal fat.

Low Carb Cloud Bread

Blk & Wh James on Beach

For your protein-based, healthy fat meals there’s very little grain or bread allowed, so I searched the internet and found this recipe for bread made largely of whole eggs. The recipe takes a bit of extra time and effort, since you have to whip the egg yolks and whites separately, bake; then store the bread rounds in plastic bags overnight, but this is now my favorite low-carb bread recipe. I think in the future I’ll experiment with adding some psyllium husk, ground flax seed, or glucommanan. Enjoy!

Cloud Bread

3 eggs, separated
3 tablespoons whole milk cottage cheese or 3 tablespoons cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 gram of xylitol or other sweetener

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Separate the eggs very carefully, there must be no yolk in the white.
3. In one bowl, mix together the egg yolks, the 3 T. of Cottage Cheese OR Cream Cheese and the one packet of Sweetener until smooth.
4. In the other bowl add 1/4 teaspoon of Cream of Tartar to the whites and beat the whites on high speed until they are fluffy and form nice peaks.
5. Very carefully fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites until mixed, but try and not break down the fluffiness of the egg whites too much.
6. Spray two cookie sheets with fat-free cooking spray.
7. With a large spoon, “scoop” the mixture into 10 even rounds on the sheets (about the size of the top-half of the McDonalds hamburger bun; roughly 3/4 inch thick and 4 to 5 inches across).
8. Bake on the middle rack. Here is when you have to watch them, because the cooking time the same on any two batches. It is somewhere around 1/2 hour, but it could be less or more. You just need to watch them until them become nice and golden brown like a pancake.
9. Remove from the pans and cool on a rack or cutting board.
10. While warm they are crumbly and similar to cooked meringue – but don’t let this fool you! Once completely cool, seal them in a ziplock storage baggie or a tupperware overnight. They will totally change their consistency, to something much more like bread – a softer texture that is nice and chewy. If you do not like softer chewy bread, then eat them as they are, nice and crisp.

I even added some pecans, cinnamon, and xylitol to a couple of rounds and enjoyed what was very similar to a cinnamon roll.

Copied from http://www.food.com/recipe/carb-free-cloud-bread-411501

Starchy, High-Carb Vegetables vs. Non-Starchy, Low-Carb Vegetables Chart

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Because the starchy (high carbohydrate) vs. non-starchy (low carbohydrate) vegetables are so important to keep separate in the my low-carb/nonfat and healthy fats diet, I came up with yet another chart to help me keep them straight.

Here’s a recap: low-carb/nonfat meals can contain either starchy or non-starchy vegetables (although the starchy, high-carb vegetables must still be limited). Nonfat/no-starchy carbs meals and high healthy fat meals cannot contain starchy, high-carb vegetables, unless they’re strictly limited and there are no other starches or grains in the meal.

Non-Starchy Vegetables1

Starchy vegetables2

  • Amaranth or Chinese spinach
  • Artichoke
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Asparagus
  • Baby corn
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Beans (green, wax, Italian)
  • Bean sprouts
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage (green, bok choy, Chinese)
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chayote
  • Cucumber
  • Daikon
  • Eggplant
  • Greens (collard, kale, mustard, turnip)
  • Hearts of palm
  • Jicama
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Mushrooms
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Pea pods
  • Peppers
  • Radishes
  • Rutabaga
  • Salad greens (chicory, endive, escarole, lettuce, romaine, spinach, arugula, radicchio, watercress)
  • Sprouts
  • Squash (cushaw, summer, crookneck, spaghetti, zucchini)
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Swiss chard
  • Tomato
  • Turnips
  • Water chestnuts
  • Yard-long beans
  • Beans (dried)
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Parsnips
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Squash, winter
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Turnips
  • Yams
  • Parsnips
  • Plantain
  • Taro
1 Copied from http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/non-starchy-vegetables.html 2 Copied from http://www.md-health.com/Starchy-Vegetables.html

Exercise and Nonfat/Low-Carb Meals

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I have been on this THM diet now for a little over a month. I lost 6 pounds right away and now, although I’m so glad I haven’t gained back anything, I have stalled again. I know how that goes in weight loss. Some weeks you lose weight in ounces and pounds; other weeks you lose centimeters and inches in various parts of your body. Thankfully, this stall in weight loss is not a failure, as I have lost a whole inch in my waist, hips, and upper arms! So, if you’re on this THM journey, don’t despair. When your weight loss stalls, measure yourself and you’ll likely be happily surprised with your progress!

Many of you have asked me about my daily workout regimen. I’m not an athlete and I get bored super easily, so I change what I do almost daily—which I now know is good for weight loss and muscle gain, since the body can never get stuck in a rut. I exercise six days a week for anywhere from 20-60 minutes doing anything from swimming laps at the local gym, taking ballet classes, doing pilates and yoga, walking, hiking, cycling, jogging, and HIIT Crossfit (the easier at-home versions without barbells). I love to talk, so if I can do any of the above with a friend (either in person or on the phone), it makes the time pass more quickly so I don’t get bored.

Honestly, the nonfat, low-carb meals are the least fun of weight loss foods, so I tend to avoid them. However, let me remind me of Pearl and Serene’s definition of a “Fuel Pull” meal: Fuel Pull refers to your body’s ability to pull fuel from stored fat. The meals are low in both fats and carbohydrates. Those meals, combined with exercise, push my body to the next level and help me to shed more unwanted fat and ounces (if not a full pound). And, truth be told, “Fuel Pull” snacks are some of the easiest to throw together and eat quickly, since the prep work is minimal and largely mindless.

When I have a busy day ahead, I often pack for meals on the go—great for those all-day shopping trips or long commutes. My on-the-go go-to “Fuel Pull” meal plan is often as follows:

Breakfast: “Fuel Pull” chocolate glucommanan smoothie

Snack: handful of nuts and some celery sticks

Lunch: Wasa crackers spread with Laughing Cow or Weight Watchers cheese, topped with turkey breast, lettuce and slices of tomato or cucumber. Sometimes I add slices of avocado too—but don’t go over ½ an avocado in one meal.

Snack: glass container of nonfat Greek yogurt, xylitol, cocoa powder, and strawberries (stored in a cooler)

Dinner: skim mozzarella cheese wrapped in a slice of turkey breast with any type of easy-to-eat “FP” vegetable (cucumber spears, celery sticks, bell pepper strips, etc.), and either more avocado or some low-fat, low sugar, low carb mayonnaise.

Dessert: If I have some “FP” cake or brownie made up ahead of time I’ll take that with me, but otherwise I eat another of my strawberry yogurt blends. The cocoa powder helps to satisfy my chocolate cravings.

Looking back over my food diary, no matter how busy I have been or how much I have eaten on my “FP” days, I have never failed to lose between .5 and 1 pound –even when I mixed things up and ate a non-“Fuel Pull” meal somewhere in there. I can’t complain about that!

THM “Deep S” Foods Chart

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You cannot mix fat with starchy, sweet carbs or you will gain weight! I am learning the hard way that Serene and Pearl know what they’re talking about. I need to stick with their tried and true plan. No more fruits or fruit-like vegetables or and starchy vegetables on a “Deep S” day!

Deep S

So, let me explain what a “Deep S” day is and hopefully make it easier for you with my two columns of forbidden and allowed “Deep S” foods below. (I apologize that the columnar lines of the chart do not always show up in wordpress.)

“S” stands for “Satisfying.” The high (healthy) fat content in these meals makes you feel full and satisfied so you’re not hungry. (Adding just a little bit of glucommanan powder to each meal helps a lot too.) “S” meals are high in fat, high in protein, and low in carbohydrates. The only carbohydrates allowed on “S” days are leafy greens and other non-starchy vegetables.

Deep S Foods

Forbidden Deep S Foods

Allowed Deep S Foods

Fruits & Vegetables

  • No fruit of any kind, not even berries
  • No tomatoes in any form
  • No starchy vegetables
  • No sweet potatoes
  • No potatoes

Grains & Legumes

  • No grains (except for Wasa crackers)
  • No beans (except for green ones)

Oils & Nuts

  • No nuts
  • No seeds
  • No avocado
  • No peanut butter

Dairy

  • No yogurt of any kind!

 

Beverages

  • Almond milk
  • Flax milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Coffee with cream or coconut milk

Vegetables & Fruits

  • No fruit, except for a little lemon or lime juice
  • Non-starchy vegetables
  • Leafy greens
  • Very few onions
  • Mushrooms

Oils

  • Coconut oil and butter
  • Olive oil
  • Oily salad dressings
  • Butter & cream

Proteins (Dairy, Meats)

  • All meats (especially salmon)
  • Eggs (whole, omega 3 eggs)
  • Small amounts of cheese (cottage, ricotta, goat, cream, cheddar, etc.)
  • No yogurt!

Desserts

  • Skinny Chocolate*
  • Tummy tuck ice cream*
  • Meringues*
  • Slick trick puddings*
  • Whey smoothies*

*Recipes from the THM book