August 3, 2011

Things I can do now, that I could not do before losing weight

At the beginning of July I had a great time camping with my daughter and husband. I was able to haul the gear, set up the tent by myself, enjoy canoeing on the lake- not to mention, I actually fit comfortably in my sleeping bag!

All things that would have been difficult, embarrassing or impossible before I lost the weight.

Enjoying my coffee (with protein of course) our first morning in camp

Dinner for my daughter and I on the first night

Splitting kindling with my rubbish little hand axe

I am very vain - had daughter take this picture in the morning so that I could see how my hair looked!


July 29, 2011

Body Composition Testing

I have been wondering for some time just what exactly my body fat percentage is - I had a suspicion that this might be a metric that would help me gauge whether I have in fact reached a healthy body weight. (I am still 2 pounds shy of "Normal" according to the BMI - meaning I an technically overweight).


Between writing this post and putting it up, I dropped a bit of weight - now at 161 - and officially a "Normal" BMI!

I have also, since my surgery, been mindful of the need to preserve lean body mass whilst losing fat - my strategies to achieve this have mainly been weight training and a low-carb eating plan. I was interested to see whether I had been successful - because it is entirely possible to achieve a "healthy" weight by BMI standards, but to actually be quite unhealthy in terms of body fat percentage.

A month or so ago I paid about $100.00 for a iDXA scan which provides a fairly accurate picture of fat, lean and bone - broken down by body area. My bone density was fantastic - indicating that I am very unlikely, even into old age, to suffer from osteoporosis-related fractures. This folks, is a benefit of the weight-bearing exercise I did all day, every day for about 20 years. Carrying 120 pounds of extra tissue around is a workout!

My body fat percentage is 36% - which is in the "Healthy" range for a woman of my age. Who knew?! I actually AM "Normal"!  It's by no means the body fat percentage that you would see in an athlete of my age, but not bad for someone who was considered morbidly obese less than 18 months ago!

The guy who ran the scan also talked a lot about nutrition, and he definitely promotes, for athletes AND for the rest of us, a high protein, high-quality fat diet with lots of vegetables and minimal grains, almost no sugar. He thought I might do better with closer to 120 grams of protein a day. I haven't really been tracking my intake recently - with vacations etc - but I do notice that when I push the protein I shrink a bit, even when I am not losing pounds.

Here are some images provided after my scan:

My body fat and lean tissue

My body fat% and where I stand in terms of health:

What the American College of Sports Medicine recommends (with respect to body fat%)

My Bone Density Results:
Pretty interesting stuff!

And hey! I'm NORMAL!!! I have PROOF!

July 28, 2011

Shrimp and Crab Chopped Salad

We eat a lot of salad + protein meals in the summer. They are very easy - often with no cooking required - and can be customized to suit the picky preferences of each member of the family.

Here is a recent success (with my husband and me at least - the child doesn't care for seafood)

It's just a bed of greens with strips of crabmeat and shrimp, tomato, bacon (leftover from a breakfast probably), avocado and red bell pepper. I think I made a homemade dijon mustard vinaigrette too. The plate below is my husband's - I could eat, maybe, a 1/4 of this amount.

July 26, 2011


Today I finally dropped a pound, after being stalled for about 2 months, to 164 pounds. This means that my body weight now falls in the "normal" range according to the Body Mass Index (BMI). No longer morbidly obese, no longer obese, no longer overweight. WOOT!

The great news for me is I now have low blood pressure, low blood sugars, very low triglycerides, cholesterol in the "healthy"range, body fat in the "healthy" range, body weight in the "normal" range, no more arthritis pain, no more stress incontinence - in short, none of the health problems associated with obesity (save for the arthritic damage already in place at the time of my surgery.) I've been proactive about my supplementation, and about being tested for those vitamins that are sometimes difficult for WLS patients to absorb - so I have maintained good levels of calcium (as evidenced by bone scan), vitamins B12 and D, and iron.

What this means is that every single health problem that I had pre-op and that could be reversed or improved is now resolved.

And THAT my friends is weight loss surgery success!

Asparagus and Garlic Basil Shrimp

I have been working the last week or so on shedding a few pounds that I acquired while on holiday. Fortunately this has worked and I am down to my lowest weight, and probably going to drop a few more on my way to the goal I set way back at the beginning. (Just 4 to go!) To this end, I have gone back to more contained eating - lots of protein, a few veg, and very little else. HOWEVER, this doesn't mean I am not eating well!

We are also in the process of trying to clear out the fridge and freezer in preparation for moving to a new home next month. While foraging around in the freezer, I found half a bag of large peeled shrimp and a ziploc of chopped basil in olive oil - the remainders of some previous fresh basil that I couldn't use up in time to keep it from spoiling.

Inspired, last night I made Asparagus - sauteed in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt and

Garlic Basil Shrimp

Enough peeled and deveined shrimp (thawed if frozen) to feed you and whomever you dine with (Tails on is fine, large size is best)
1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp grated ginger (optional)

1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, or cayenne pepper (adjust quantity to suit your preference)
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Enough olive oil to coat it all lightly - maybe 3-4 Tbsp

Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl and let marinate for 30 - 60 minutes.
Heat large (big enough for shrimp to sit in single layer) skillet to med-high then dump the whole bowl into the skillet.

The shrimp only take a couple of minutes per side - cook until pink and curled, but not much longer or they'll be tough.

This was SOOO easy and my husband went nuts over the shrimp - really delicious, and you can change the herbs and spices to suit yourself - the method remains the same!

July 24, 2011

Thinking and Learning about Eating Well

This is a meditation on eating that I posted on Obesity Help - but thought I'd put it here too, for those who aren't on OH or who may have missed it. I've been thinking a lot about how I am and want to be eating as I move into maintaining weight loss, rather than working hard to lose weight. My apologies to those for whom this is a repeat - I do have some other posts in my head but just need to get them on the computer too!

As some of you know this blog includes recipes and thoughts related to this whole process of getting healthy with the assistance of my WLS. As I am now almost 18 months post op, it is really easy to eat whatever foods I choose, with no unpleasant after-effects. I still have great restriction, so it's really only quantity that is limited. This means I need to take responsibility for my choices.

In a prior life I was a professional chef, with several years as a pastry chef. I used to say that all of the extra pounds weren't just given to me - I had to earn them! The thing is, I was pretty determined going into this process to find ways of eating that would help me lose (and maintain my weight loss), and were nourishing physically, but also pleasurable.

For some folks it works very well to stick to a fairly strict routine in terms of what they eat. I do this sometimes when I need to drop a few pounds acquired on vacation ... i.e. protein shake in the morning, lots of fluids, and solid protein of some sort for my other meals, with some low carb veg on the side. For me though, this isn't a workable long term strategy. I like being creative in the kitchen and I end up feeling very bored.... which sometimes leads to unhealthy and/or bingey eating.

Also, I cook for my family as well. They are "normies" in terms of body weight and while they don't need a carby western diet any more than I do, they also don't need to restrict themselves to the same extent that I need to. I want them, especially my daughter, to see as "normal" a delicious varied menu that includes lots of tasty and healthful foods - and very little of the crap that has become the foundation of the American diet.

I really wanted to find a good balance between "Living to Eat" and "Eating to Live", neither of which serve me very well.

For me what this means is the following three goals for my food choices - all of these within an overarching preference for whole, organic, humanely raised, local foods.

1) I avoid foods that have things in them that I have found disagree with me. (Cause me to gain weight, feel sick, experience disregulated blood sugar, or have cravings for carby junk.)

I have made my peace with a few of the sugar-free sweeteners, although I know that for some these are no-go ingredients. Given that caveat, I almost entirely have eliminated white sugar, processed foods (other than cans of tomato paste or sauce), white flour, and trans-fats. I have very little wheat flour, corn, or pasta of any type, and very small amounts of whole grains and processed soy products.

2) I want my foods to not just be "not bad" for me - I want them to have things in them that nourish me.

I have found that I function very well on a ketogenic diet - The foundations of this, for me, are: lots of high quality protein, healthy fats, lots of fiber, and low carb veg - with small amounts of legumes, grains and fruit.

I include a little bit of lentils, edamame, other beans, quinoa and the occasional new or sweet potato. I eat lots of protein, lean and fatty cuts, from organic sources when possible, humanely raised and local almost always. I like eggs and also dairy - both organic and the eggs free-range. I eat lots of vegetables, mostly lower carb, but in general I don't eat a lot of quantity in veg, so I have whatever looks good at the market. Here again, I focus on organic when possible, local and seasonal. I primarily use coconut oil, olive oil, butter, and rice bran oil for cooking. I do eat small amounts of fruit in season, but am mindful of carbs in fruit, although I don't worry about these overly.

3) Food should be delicious

I think there is a lot of value in careful, thoughtful preparation of food. Frankly, if it doesn't taste good, I am not willing to eat it. Providing delicious nourishment for our bodies is a way of demonstrating my love for my family and for myself. To this end, I plan my week's menus, including the plans for the inevitable leftovers, to include lots of variety -in both flavour and nutrition. I use lots of fresh relishes and salsas. If I plan well, I eat well. Period. If I do not, I am inclined towards making the same lazy choices I always made in the past, and this doesn't serve my goal of eating well and living well after weight loss surgery!

Final thoughts - I don't think that it is very useful to me to get angry with myself if I do veer off track and eat something that is not in my usual plan - that's life really. My only rule is: "If I eat it, I own it" - no unconscious eating - I don't get to descend into a carby fog and pretend that I haven't just eaten several handfuls of trail mix - (the good kind, with the chocolate chips) possible washed down with a diet coke. Because, I am not a saint, and like many of us, I hate being bound by rules and regulations ... I have definite inclinations towards being a sinner ... and I just have to own this and do the best I can to limit my opportunities to sin and to make good choices the path of least resistance!

Also, I do love my treats. I have found that if I am careful, popcorn is ok from time to time and that  a couple squares of 85% dark chocolate don't turn me into a raging sugar zombie. I like my protein ice cream made from either a protein shake or Greek yogurt with sweetener and flavouring or fruit or chocolate.

June 15, 2011

16 Months since surgery

No change in my weight this month (well other than a lot of up a few / down a few throughout the month), but a bit of redistribution throughout my body - this process is still a bit of a mystery to me, but the good news is, I am continuing to shrink a bit, especially my back and belly. I find  since my legs have slimmed down, that in profile my body shape is similar to an egg on toothpicks! Not the prettiest arrangement, but a big improvement from where I started out!

This has been a fairly eventful and somewhat stressful month - all good stress, but stress nonetheless! I defended the proposal for my dissertation - NOT the actual dissertation which has not yet been written - just my plan and justification for the research. Even though it was just a proposal defense, it still involved a presentation to my committee and an external examiner, an hour and a half of oral questioning, and then a nerve-wracking wait outside of the examining room while the committee discussed the quality and content of the proposal.

At the end of it all the proposal passed, with no revisions required - the best outcome I could have hoped for. Now I "just" need to research and write the dang thing!

We also undertook a search for a home to purchase this month. In rapid succession we found a place, made an offer, negotiated the offer, had the place inspected, re-negotiated the offer and entered into the contract. Since then, I have been busy finding contractors and suppliers for new flooring and kitchen cabinets and picking out paint colours. It has been fun but busy! We don't take possession until the end of July, so once my contractors are lined up and materials have been ordered, there won't be much to do besides the preliminary packing that can be done ahead of time.

It is very easy when I am stressed, excited, and distracted to make poor choices about eating - especially now that I am pretty far out and can tolerate pretty much anything. What works for me is to have a few go-to items ALWAYS on hand at home, in my purse, and at the office. This way, the path of least resistance is to eat stuff that I have planned out. While I don't happen to believe that it is the end of the world if I have three or four chicken nuggets for lunch once in a while (50 calories each, BTW), I KNOW that doing this more than very occassionally is not the way to sustain my health or weight loss. So I make up two protein coffees or shakes every morning (LOVING my mocha protein slushies these days) along with two 20 ounce Crystal Lights - and pack these along with my vitamins. I keep ostrich jerky and nuts in my  purse and desk, and usually have a protein bar available in case I am unable to get to solid food when I need it. My weight loss is not spectacular these days and I could stand to drop another 10 or so - but I am maintaining an almost 120 pound loss pretty effortlessly - and I am happy with how I look and feel!

It looks like spring may actually arrive here in BC, possibly even before the beginning of summer next week... hope it is sunny and lovely wherever you all are too!

May 16, 2011

Just to show what is possible! Befores and Afters...

Back - Before

Back - 15 Months

Side - Before

Side - 15 months

Front - Before

Front - 15 Months

May 15, 2011

Quinoa and Roasted Asparagus Salad with Walnuts

We had friends over for barbequed hamburgers last night. Nothing reminds you that you live in the Northwest as much as standing in the rain in the middle of May whilst flipping burgers, while the rest of the family and your guests sit in a nice warm house!

Although hamburgers, if you eat the bun, are a bit of an indulgence, I wanted the rest of the meal to be pretty much within my eating plan. I only ate a bit or two of the bun anyway, but for me it is best to not have the temptation of potato salad in front of me!

My menu:

Raw vegetables (carrots, snow peas, bell pepper strips) and tortilla chips with a trio of dips (the dips were guacamole (homemade), artichoke and asiago (store-bought) and ranch (made with Greek yogurt and a packet of ranch dressing mix).

Kale Chips (Surprisingly tasty!)

Tear a head of kale into chip-sized pieces, drizzle with olive oil and rub the oil into the leaves

Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet, and sprinkle with sea salt

Roast at 450 degrees until crisp and starting to brown a bit - you want them pretty crispy

These were addictive - they definitely don't replace potatoes, but are good in their own right. The roasting brings out the sweetness of the vegetable, the saltiness is also addictive. I found that these were actually a bit filling - perhaps because they have a lot of fibre.

Quinoa and Roasted Asparagus Salad with Walnuts

1 cup quinoa, rinsed well, then brought to a boil and simmered until tender
1/2 bunch of fresh asparagus, tough ends snapped off, tossed in olive oil and roasted at 450 degrees until tender
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted at 450 degrees until lightly browned

1 shallot, finely minced
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup fig vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup walnut oil, or substitute olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
(Optional: zest of 1/2 lemon or drizzle of lemon infused olive oil)

Once the quinoa is cooked, rinse in cold water and drain thoroughly
Roast the asparagus, then let cool slightly and chop into about 1 inch pieces
Set the walnuts aside to cool

Make the dressing, whisk the shallots, vinegar and mustard together until combined, then gradually add the oil, while whisking, to make a smooth dressing. Add the lemon peel too, if you are using some.

Once the dressing is made, dump the rest of the ingredients into the bowl on top of the dressing, mix gently but thoroughly and taste - adding salt and freshly ground pepper. I topped this with a drizzled of lemon infused olive oil, but probably would have used lemon peel if I had remembered to buy lemons!

This was delicious and enjoyed by our non-WLS friends too!

Rinse the quinoa well - the seeds have a bitter coating that will come off when they are rinsed

Here is what quinoa looks like after it is cooked - see the little white "O" shaped bits - it should be a bit al dente, but not crunchy

Fig vinegar, shallots and mustard for the base of the dressing:

Add the quinoa, asparagus and walnuts...

The finished salad - delicious!

We also had a green salad, and hamburgers with sauteed onions, mushrooms, bacon and Swiss cheese on whole grain buns.

Desserts was fresh strawberries and a couple bars of broken-up dark chocolate, served on one big platter for everyone to share (easy-peasy!)

What I have been eating for breakfast

I found a handy little microwave egg poacher at the grocery store and often use it in the morning:

 Leftover Creamed spinach (about 2 Tbs) in the bottom of the dish

An organic, free-range egg cracked on top of the spinach
 One wedge of herb-flavoured Laughing Cow cheese, crumbled on top

One minute on high in the microwave and breakfast is served!

This is yummy and filling - no idea about calorie counts etc - but it seems to be working for me!

15 Month Update

This month my weight loss has picked up a surprising amount. 6 pounds down this month and I hit a major milestone: My surgeon's goal for me was reached! (165 lbs). My personal goal was 160, so I am going to keep on doing what I have been doing all along, and see where my body naturally settles. I really am thrilled though at having achieved all of my major goals - the only thing outstanding is that last 5 pounds, and I suspect they'll come off sooner or later.

To recap - here are some of the things I hoped for when planning and waiting for this surgery (this list is from a post in August, 2010, six months before my surgery:

Normal blood pressure: Check
Normal cholesterol: Check
Controlled blood sugar: Check
Reduce/eliminate joint pain (have ALREADY had a knee replacement following an injury): Check - pain is GONE
Size 14 or below: Check - now in size 10 mostly, some 8s and some 12s too
180 pounds or less: Check
Able to polish toenails without straining: No problem!
No more huffing and puffing up the hill: Check - and it still is a surprise to me every time that walking uphill is not difficult at all anymore
Can reach behind my back to fasten my bra: Yup!
Exercise is more fun than it is torture: Yes - although I still lack motivation to get started quite a lot of the time
Increased energy: Absolutely!
Can buy clothing at regular shops: Yes - although I still feel like a trespasser sometimes!
No more worrying before sitting on fragile looking furniture:  Check
No more worrying about whether the seat belt on the airline will fit: Check
More space in my airline seat!: Lots more space
Easy to fit in all of the amusement park rides - and the energy to do a day at Disneyland!: Yup, and had a great day a year ago at Disney!
Able to schedule a dude ranch vacation without worrying that I am too heavy to ride the poor horses: Haven't done this yet - but it is in my future!
Learn to kayak: Not yet
Learn to scuba dive: Not yet
High heels don’t hurt (as much, let's be realistic!): Check (but yeah, they still hurt sometimes!)
Cute undies!: Not so much - Spanx are my friend!
Able to fit my behind in the bath - and able to hoist myself out of it!: Check
Bike riding is fun and not a form of torture: Haven't tried this yet
A hike is no longer the equivalent of a forced march: Absolutely - I am even the speedy one sometimes!
Attend a reunion in July 2010 looking FINE!: Reunion was cancelled - but I am ready to rock a little black dress ANYTIME - bring it on!

I am so grateful - this surgery may have saved my life and it has certainly saved my quality of life!

May 2, 2011

Low carb Lasagna!

Now don't freak out - I did have the crepes stashed in the freezer, but I got home from work around 4:30, yanked them out to thaw, made the sauce, and had the whole thing baked and served by 5:45 pm - so it's totally doable, even on a work/school night.

The crepes are a recipe from Eating Well Living Thin, one of my favourite websites for tasty low carb food. I made a double batch a month or so ago and froze the leftovers - so they were just waiting in the freezer to be used. This recipe, in a 9 inch square baking dish, used about 9-10 7-8 inch crepes.

Once the crepes had been yanked from the freezer and were thawing on the countertop I started the sauce. This was completely delicious and tasted like it had been simmering for hours, but took less than a half hour to make. I ate quite a few bites of it before I got around to assembling the lasagna!

Italian Sausage Sauce

Olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 pound mild or hot bulk Italian sausage (or buy links and take off the casings)
3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
6 or 8 mushrooms, chopped
1 small can tomato sauce
1 regular can crushed tomatoes
1 Tbs Italian seasoning, or to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste
A shot of red wine if you have an open bottle lying around

Coat the bottom of a dutch oven or large pot with olive oil and heat over medium high
Add the chopped onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent
Add the sausage and stir, breaking up the sausage with your spoon
Add the garlic and mushrooms and stir
Cook it all, stirring occasionally until meat is no longer pink and mushrooms and onions are tender and cooked through
If you have some wine, you could toss it in now and stir up all the good bits from the bottom of the pot
Add the tomatoes and tomato sauce
Add the Italian seasoning - stir thoroughly and bring to a slow simmer - let it cook until you are ready to do something with it.
Taste and correct seasoning, adding more Italian seasoning and/or salt and pepper, whatever seems good to you

This sauce is great plain or with a bit of ricotta and mozzarella if you are in the mood for something simple
 Now for the lasagna filling:
I keep this pretty simple - just 1 1/3 cups of ricotta mixed with one egg, a handful of chopped parsley and a handful of grated Parmesan cheese

 Then I started layering the whole thing in a small baking dish, sprayed with nonstick cooking spray or lightly greased

 Layer 1: Crepes, torn to fit, 1/2 of the ricotta mix and a sprinkle of Mozzarella or mixed shredded Italian cheese. 

 I added a ladleful of the cooked sauce on top of the Mozzarella and then added a second layer of crepes

 Followed by the rest of the ricotta, more mozzarella and then the rest of the crepes - and then finished with sauce and mozzarella

Bake the whole thing at 375 until bubbly and starting to brown on top - about 1/2 hour

Buon Gusto!

(BTW - I ate about half of this small piece of lasagna and most of the salad - but I had been nibbling at sausage sauce, so wasn't very hungry! - It was delicious though and the leftovers are waiting in the freezer for some upcoming evening when I am feeling uninspired about making dinner!)

Low Carb, Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes!

So, as promised, I have been doing a bit of experimenting this weekend with some alternatives to wheat flour. I personally have no problem with gluten, nor do any of my family members, but for what it is worth the following recipe does happen to be gluten free.

I started with the recipe on the back of the Bob's Red Mill package of quinoa flour (click on photo for close-up view)

I used the recipe as written, but substituted Splenda for the sugar and added two scoops of chocolate protein powder and a tablespoon of instant coffee. The protein powder made it a little thick, so I also added 1/4 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk.

Then, I wanted some frosting and experimented with a sugar free chocolate ganache:

Heat 1/4 cup of heavy cream to boiling on stove top or in microwave
Add 3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate and stir until chocolate is melted
Add sweetener (I used a dropper of liquid stevia and a 1/4 cup of splenda) to taste and stir until smooth

Full disclosure: My family found the frosting to be TOO bittersweet - I on the other hand have been having some Lindt 85% cacao chocolate squares as an occasional treat, and for me it's perfect. You could add some butter and/or additional sweetener to mellow out the chocolate hit if you like. They did like the cake portion a lot - but were expecting a more typically sweet frosting.

I used to compute recipe macros and here they are (Recipe made enough batter for 13 cupcakes, although 1 cupcake's worth somehow failed to make it to the pan)

Nutrition Facts
User Entered Recipe
  13 Servings

Calories 147
Fat 9.3g
Sat Fat: 5.1g
Polyunsaturated fat: .4g
Monounsaturated fat: 2.5g
Cholesterol: 51.6mg
Sodium: 306.8mg
Potassium: 119.38mg
Carbohydrate: 12g
Fiber: 1.6g
Protein: 6.9g

For me it is a little bit higher carb than my usual food items, but well within acceptable limits for a dessert - and the little bit of protein is a bonus.

Now for the good part: Photos!

These baked up nice and high - the texture is a bit more dense than white flour cupcakes, but this is partly because I added the protein powder. They aren't gut bombs though! I found them to be moist, fairly tender and digestible, while still filling and satisfying. They also didn't trigger major sugar cravings, so I am happy to recommend them if you need to scratch a dessert-craving itch.

 This is a photo of the frosting after adding the chocolate and sweetener to the scalded cream.

VOILA! Bittersweet chocolate cupcakes!

April 30, 2011

And another! - Salmon Patties Revisited

Tonight, I decide to make a new version of the salmon patties we had a few weeks ago and enjoyed a lot - They were a hit with the husband, not so much with the child - lots of big flavours, very low carb, and full of healthy protein and Omega-3s!

8 ounces salmon, skinned and chopped medium-coarse
1 egg
1 Tbsp chopped garlic
1 Tbsp chopped fresh ginger
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 handful cilantro, chopped
1 tsp chili-garlic sauce
2 Tbsp sesame seeds

Mix all ingredients together until well combined
Using a third-cup measuring cup, scoop onto a piece of plastic wrap
Cover with another sheet of plastic wrap - pull onto a plate or cookie sheet and freeze for 20 minutes
Remove from freezer, remove covering sheet of plastic wrap, press sesame seeds onto tops of patties

Heat oil in pan, Use a thin spatula to transfer patties, to pan, and fry over medium heat, about 4 minutes to a side (after flipping the first side over, add sesame seeds to the other side)

I served this with a sauce made of mayonnaise, soy sauce, rice vinegar, chopped green onion, and chopped cilantro.

This is my husband`s plate. I ate a few carrots, a couple spears of asparagus, and not quite 2 of the salmon patties. This recipe, using 8 ounces of fish, made 5 patties that were each a scant one third cup - this was plenty for a WLS person plus a husband who appears to be a bottomless pit - adjust as necessary for your family!

Finally! Something from the kitchen!

Over the past month I have been acquiring some bags of different flours for experimenting with in the kitchen. These include (so far) black bean flour, quinoa flour, and garbanzo flour) I've also ordered and will soon receive fava bean flour and white bean flour. All of these are relatively low carb and pack at least a little bit of a protein punch, as well as contributing fibre - something sorely lacking in even whole wheat flour.

As much as I wish I were a saint, when it comes to delicious food, I find that I am sometimes more inclined to be a sinner (I didn't make it to 283 pounds through the embrace of self-denial) .... which is a problem when it comes to trying to eat food that is not only "not bad" but ALSO contributes something of value to my diet ... important since my capacity is very limited, so I have to make the most, nutritionally and flavour-wise, of what I put in my mouth.

So, here is one of my experiments this week: I have been using a lot of ground turkey and chicken for homemade sausages and in places where I might use ground beef or pork. I don't worry much about fat content, but we like the lighter taste sometimes. This week I bought some ground chicken thighs from my butcher and decided to make meatballs. I mixed as usual, but the mixture was very wet and sloppy - no way could I form the meatballs. I am trying to avoid the use of breadcrumbs -so I added a bit of garbanzo flour and voila!

 Chicken Meatballs


1 lb Ground Turkey
1/4 cup garbanzo flour
1 egg
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 Tbs Italian Seasoning (or just a mix of basil, oregano, thyme and some crushed pepper if you like spicy)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper


Mix all ingredients well
Form into meatballs of desired size
Place on greased sheet pan
Bake at 350 degrees until internal temperature reaches 165F

I served these with Tofu Shiritaki Fettucini, marinara sauce and a bit of warmed ricotta cheese, plus a side salad - yummy!