3/8/2014

Keurig Coffee Pods: Sendin’ U Packin’

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

I’ve had a never ending problem with caffeine that I’ve talked about for over ten years:

I have limited my caffeine intake to a single Coke Zero every day. I’ve always said that coffee is the cheapest way to get a caffeine dose, but a cup of coffee is not consistent. What I get from a pot of coffee at a convenience store is different from my automatic drip coffee maker at home, which is also different than what I would get from the local barista.

Keurig K75 Platinum Brewing System at Amazon.comKnow what IS consistent? Keurig coffee makers.

I get the same amount of caffeine every time from that machine, if it will keep working. We LITERALLY have returned three machines because they keep on breaking.

Now, I learn that Keurig is trying to prevent people from using coffee pods from other companies in their machines.

“Green Mountain has announced a new anticompetitive plan to maintain its monopoly by redesigning its brewers to lock out competitors’ products. Such lock-out technology cannot be justified based on any purported consumer benefit, and Green Mountain itself has admitted that the lock-out technology is not essential for the new brewers’ function. Like its exclusionary agreements, this lock-out technology is intended to serve anticompetitive and unlawful ends.”

So, when my current machine breaks, (and it WILL very soon, I guarantee it because they all do) the new machine will only work with pods that pay for the extra DRM or that come from Keurig. It’s kind of a crappy thing to do to your customers, so I’m sending the Keurig machine to the thrift store.

As Wil Wheaton says: “Friends don’t let friends use pod coffee makers.”

Update 08-03-14

Folgers Flavors Hazelnut Ground Coffee at Amazon.comI DID send the Keurig machine packing. Right after writing this article, I pulled down the automatic drip machine from the top of the cupboards and started using it, leaving the Keurig unplugged, but ready for me if I wanted to go back. The thing that I liked best about the Keurig was the variety of flavored coffees. I had no idea that I could get so many varieties for my automatic drip machine, but Folgers has been VERY busy.

They also have a wide variety of roasts (i.e. French, Country, Breakfast, House) for every taste. EVERYTHING that I loved about the Keurig has been easily replaced with my old automatic drip coffeemaker and each cup costs me a few cents instead of a dollar. I haven’t missed the Keurig for the last few months, so I gave it away and didn’t look back.

3/7/2014

P3: A Truck Stop Miracle

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

We had a heinous drive down to St. George this last weekend. I was driving a big truck and my husband was following behind me in our car, hauling the camper. That would have been stressful enough on its own, but there was a torrential rain interfering with that drive that put my nerves on edge.

It was just the kind of thing that has caused me to binge in the past.

We stopped for gas in Parowan at a truck stop. I looked around the store because my alarm for dinner had gone off over a half hour ago. I was hungry and stressed, but everywhere I looked, there was food that made my intestines bleed. Bread, bread, everywhere and not a bite to eat. I was seconds away from a meltdown when I took a deep breath and decided to let Mike decide what I should eat because he wasn’t crazy like I am.

The second I decided to hand over the decision for food over to someone else, I saw it in the fridge section. It was called P3.

P3 - A Truck Stop Miracle from Starling Fitness

It was a bit of cheese, a bit of ham and some almonds. Not too much food, just enough protein to keep me fed and from freaking out. And all that for only 160 calories. It’s made by Oscar Mayer and finding it felt like a Truck Stop Miracle.

3/6/2014

Thirty Minutes of Prep – One Week of Serenity

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Monday morning, I woke up to an empty fridge and major anxiety. My biggest fear is to be HUNGRY. I eat every two and a half hours to keep from being too hungry and starting a binge. I had food for breakfast and a nut bar for my first snack of the day, but I was out of food for snacks and lunches. I was literally two meals away from starvation (in my mind, if not in body).

So, I went to the grocery store and stocked up on food. I hauled it into the house all by myself. And right when I felt too tired to do anything else, I washed and separated all the fruits and veggies into little one serving bags. I was tired. No one had helped me shop or carry in the groceries, but that thirty minutes was completely worth it.

Thirty Minutes of Prep - One Week of Serenity from Starling Fitness

I also washed all the apples and put the oranges into the fruit bowl.

Thirty Minutes of Prep - One Week of Serenity from Starling Fitness

For that thirty minutes of effort, I will have one week of serenity. No worries about what to eat. No fears about starving. No temptation to skip a snack because it’s too difficult to find one. No binges.

The next time you grocery shop, remember this. If you spend the extra thirty minutes to set up all your snacks for the week, you will enjoy and entire week of food serenity. Isn’t that what all of us want?

3/3/2014

How To Make Almond Milk with Your Blendtec Blender

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

I found this video about a week ago and I decided to try it.

My results weren’t quite as easy or or beautiful as hers. It started out the same. I soaked the almonds and put them into my Blendtec blender.

How To Make Almond Milk - Don't Do It from Starling Fitness

I used the “Soup” button on my Blendtec twice, and the blending looked exactly how it did on the video.

How To Make Almond Milk - Don't Do It from Starling Fitness

It was the straining that was difficult. I used a small mesh strainer instead of cheesecloth, but there was quite a bit MORE to strain than shown in the video. It was kind of disgusting, actually.

How To Make Almond Milk - Don't Do It from Starling Fitness

Of course, I felt vindicated when I was done because it looked PERFECT when I put it in the fridge.

How To Make Almond Milk - Don't Do It from Starling Fitness

By the next morning, however, it looked awful. I know it just separated and the commercial almond milk has weird emulsifiers to keep it from separating like that. Oh, and they package it in a opaque container, so you can’t SEE it if it does separate. A quick shake of the container made it look beautiful again, though.

How To Make Almond Milk - Don't Do It from Starling Fitness

Worst of all, unless you shop around for a good deal (which I didn’t this time, but I will next time), one cup of almonds costs almost as much as that much almond milk, so I saved hardly any money for all that work.

The taste and texture, however, is far and above the almond milk I’ve been drinking. Once you shake the container, it’s white, creamy and thick. I sincerely thought that my husband had played a trick on me and replaced it with whole milk when I ate my cereal the next morning. That alone made up for all the work (and perhaps even the cost).

Additionally, there are some benefits. When I make my own, I have almond milk without any added sugar, sweeteners or preservatives. More importantly, if I notice that I’m almost out of milk, I can make some in a short amount of time using dry and storable ingredients. I always notice I’m almost out of milk at the most inconvenient time. This way, I can pretty much make a new batch whenever I want.

So, if you’re willing to do a lot of work, you can make your own almond milk. It’s possible, but in the end, you probably will do better to just pick up a tetra-pak or two while you’re in the grocery store.

3/2/2014

Summer Bodies Are Made In The Winter!

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

I found this image on Pinterest, but the original came from BIKINI BODY MOMMY.

Summer Bodies Are Made In The Winter from Starling Fitness

If you click on her link, she has a bunch of ideas to help you get through winter, which are all great. I had seen her before and after pictures on some scummy websites selling diet pills, but I think those guys must have stolen her pictures. She is selling books and tools, but no diet pills. Check out her website.

We are almost through winter. In just a few short days, it will be officially spring, although Utah will probably looks something very similar to this picture. I have been exercising on the treadmill and itching to get outside, but the cold and the horribly polluted inversion air has kept me inside.

All of that is an excuse, though.

If I blamed the cold or the pollution on not exercising it would be baloney. There is ALWAYS a way to get it done. I could go to a mall in the early morning and jog indoors. I could get a used treadmill and run on it every day until it finally dies. I could do jumping jacks in place in my tiny bedroom. There is NO excuse for not keeping up with my exercise in the winter.

Bikini Body Mommy is right. Summer bodies ARE made in the winter. If you want a hot body for summer, you need to stop letting things like cold, ice and snow get in your way. There are a hundred inexpensive ways to get thin. Don’t let a little frozen water get in your way.

2/23/2014

Death Fries by PacSun

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

So, a crazy woman bought out PacSun store’s ‘indecent’ T-shirts in Orem, Utah this week. Since I live in Utah, this sort of embarrassment is appalling to me and I wanted to see exactly HOW indecent they were. I went to the PacSun website. They weren’t indecent, but that’s another story.

Utah Crazy Woman Protests PacSun By Buying Out All The Indecent Shirts from Starling Fitness

I wanted to buy some clothes from them just in a sort of counter-protest to the crazy Utah woman, but they don’t sell any in my size right now. But that’s yet another story.

Today’s story is about this tshirt that I found while looking for the “indecent” ones.

Death Fries by PacSun on Starling Fitness

It just shows a drawing of french fries with the word, “death” under it. Is it true? Does every fast food restaurant serve Death Fries with that?

Part of me railed against the idea. It’s an over-simplification that just perpetuates the idea of “good” food and “bad” food. It makes the french fries feel forbidden and makes them a tad more appealing in the process. A serving of french fries every once and a while will not kill you. Our bodies are extremely adaptive and can recover from the greasy, salty and starchy combination.

Then again, for me, french fries DO represent death in some respects. I only eat them when I’m in the middle of a binge. I only crave them when I am feeling emotionally damaged and slightly suicidal. So, are they Death Fries? For me, yes.

2/22/2014

How Sugar Affects The Brain

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

This video from TED-Ed is brilliant!

It’s especially helpful at the 3:12 mark. It was so helpful to me that I transcribed it:

Speaking of healthy foods, let’s say you’re hungry and decide to eat a balanced meal. You do and dopamine levels spike in the reward hot spots. But if you eat that same dish many days in a row, dopamine levels will spike less and less, eventually leveling out.

Dopamine levels out with healthy food from Starling Fitness

That’s because, when it comes to food, the brain evolved to pay special attention to new or different tastes. Why? Two reasons: first, to detect food that has gone bad, and second, because the more variety we have in our diet, the more likely we are to get all the nutrients we need. To keep that variety up, we need to be able to recognize a new food and, more importantly, we need to want to keep eating new foods, and that’s why the dopamine levels off when a food becomes boring.

The brain gets bored of regular food for two reasons from Starling Fitness

Now back to that meal. What happens if in place of the healthy, balanced dish, you eat sugar-rich food instead? If you rarely eat sugar, or don’t eat much at a time, the affect is similar to that of the balanced meal. But, if you eat too much, the dopamine response does NOT level out. In other words, eating lots of sugar will continue to feel rewarding. In this way, sugar behaves a little bit like a drug.

Sugar behaves like a drug from Starling Fitness

THIS is why I have a harder time with wanting to binge about a month after eating healthy! I tend to go a little obsessive and eat the same stupid thing for breakfast every day. The same stupid thing for snacks. The same stupid thing for lunch. The only variety I get regularly is at dinnertime.

THIS is why I get all excited about a new recipe! Because my brain is telling me it’s AWESOME! But if I eat it too often, my brain will think it’s boring and urge me to eat other foods instead, especially those ones that feel REALLY good.

THIS is why I need to be vigilant. I need to give my brain lots of different taste adventures that are HEALTHY. I need to read recipes and try them. I need to watch out for my obsessive behaviors and not eat the same thing every day for months at a time until I don’t want to eat them anymore.

THIS changes EVERYTHING for me!

2/18/2014

The Difference Between Normal People and Overeaters

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

I was reading this blog entry from Wil Wheaton and I realized how different normal people are from overeaters.

I immediately cut down my beer consumption to one pint a day. I reduced #burritowatch to maybe once a week. I started to enter my meals into my app, and after a few days, I started to see that it really wasn’t that difficult to make healthy food choices, once I knew what was going into my body.

I was having a lot of fun, I was starting to feel pretty good, and — here’s the thing that blew me away — when I got back on the scale at the end of the first week, I’d lost almost 6 pounds.

Weight Loss Is Easier For Some People from Starling FitnessTHAT is the difference in a nutshell. He realized he had gained twenty pounds, cut down on the burritos and beer and dropped back where he wanted to be. In that same time period, I have also lost twenty pounds, but it looks VERY different.

I, too, have been adding my food into my app. I, too, bought a Fitbit after Christmas. I set it to go off every two and a half hours and I’m counting the minutes until I get to eat again. Sometimes I eat my snack and I immediately start counting down until the next time I eat, waiting for that silent vibration on my wrist.

My twenty pound weight loss has nothing to do with cutting out the beer and burritos and everything to do with avoiding a plethora of foods that can set off a binge.

And, the only time I’ve earned a badge was when I was in Las Vegas and I had to walk a mile every time I wanted to get to my car from my hotel room. I seriously exercise for thirty minutes each day, but the rest of my life is so sedentary that it’s a struggle to get to 10,000 steps a day.

Just like him, I find the Fitbit motivating. Just like him, I track my food in a food diary app every day. But unlike him, it was a vicious struggle every day. THAT is the difference between normal people and overeaters. Our brains are wired differently for food, so just going easy on the burritos and beer is much harder.

Cartoon Via: Toon Pool

2/14/2014

Happy Valentine’s Day From The Past

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Heart Shaped Pancakes by Laura Moncur 02-14-06

This photo was from Valentine’s Day in 2006. Back then, I didn’t know that I was sensitive to gluten, so this meal LITERALLY made me sick and I didn’t even know it back then.

What other Valentine’s Day advice have I given over the years that is poison instead of medicine?

Order whatever you want: Seriously. Quit trying to tell yourself that you can only have salad or chicken breasts. If you want a steak, order it. If you are dying for some pasta, stop denying yourself.

Nope, again, I can’t eat that pasta. Now, instead of thinking it’s denial, I remember the bloating pain in my abdomen that I suffered with for SEVEN years before we were able to figure it out. Sometimes you MUST deny yourself some foods because they just aren’t good for you, and the worst trick ever played on us is that those foods are different for each person.

Valentine’s Day is just one day. So is the Super Bowl and Thanksgiving and Christmas and your birthday and St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween and the World Series and New Year’s and Mardi Gras and Independence Day and March Madness and… There are enough holidays, sports events and birthdays in your life to warrant an excuse to indulge every week.

Okay, I was spot on with that one. There are so many holidays that having one isn’t an excuse to overeat.

You don’t need to eat the candy to accept the love.

I said that?! How many times in the last few years have I made that mistake? They are just trying to tell you that they love you. Accept the love and leave the candy.

You don’t need to overeat to celebrate.

I may have said this way back in 2005, but I have lived the polar opposite for far too many years. It’s time that I learn how to celebrate without overindulging.

As far as Valentine’s advice goes, I’ve done a pretty good job over the years, but I still can’t get beyond that image of those heart shaped pancakes. I should have posted this image instead. Eggs work much better for me.

Heart Egg from Starlig Fitness

1/30/2014

The Science of Addictive Food

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

This video shows just how food becomes so addictive.

Researchers are working every day to create foods that will taste so good that we physically CAN’T stop eating it. It’s not just marketing, it’s the science of the taste and texture of food.

Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us at Amazon.comThey quote the author of the book Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us. I was unaware of this book before I saw this video, so I have a bunch of reading in front of me.

If you want to avoid food addiction, MAKE YOUR OWN FOOD. Cook your food from whole ingredients: meat, veggies, fruit, and grains. You will crave their food for a while, but keep eating your own food. You will eventually feel much better.

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