Foodie to Fittie – Month One Report – SUCCESS!

25 days ago, I made a commitment to changing my life in my blog “Foodie to Fittie”.  I’m  pleased and proud to report that in the past 25 days, I’ve gotten rid of 10.5 pounds.  (I haven’t “lost” it – because I don’t intend to ever find it!)  AND, I’ve continued to eat incredible gourmet food.  And, taken a four-day trip to Las Vegas.

Take a look at these pictures, and look at the restaurants I’ve eaten in, just in the past 25 days:

First Cabin -Balboa Bay club

Andrei’s (3 times)

Zov’s (Irvine)

Scott’s Restaurant (Costa Mesa)

Sage (Newport Beach)

Bouchon Bistro (Las Vegas)

Wynn Hotel Buffet (Las Vegas)

Fleur by Hubert Keller (Las Vegas)

L’Atelier de Joel Robouchon (including 8 courses and 2 desserts) (Las Vegas)

Rick Moonen Seafood (Las Vegas)

Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen (Orange)

Wildfish Grill (Newport Beach)

Wasa Sushi (Irvine)

Tommy’s Burgers (Barstow) – A Chili Cheeseburger and Cheese fries!

So how am I getting this done, with all this fine dining?

  • Almost no refined/white carbs – 80% reduction in bread, potatoes, white rice, etc.
  • Almost no sugar – 90% reduction in sugar intake
  • Minimal drinking – 3 drinks in 25 days (including Las Vegas!)
  • Lots of vegetables.  Typical restaurant dinner is lean protein on double order of roasted veggies.
  • Lots of salad-as-a-meal.  I try to do this 5 times a week.  Greens, veggies, proteins, usually with no dressing, or just a tad of olive oil.  Even better is hummus as a dressing.  Just finished a great salad from Gelson’s salad bar, topped with a wonderful slab (5 oz) of trimmed medium rare prime rib (from their sandwich bar – ordered a la carte).
  • Eating things I like, like omelets, but made healthy, and without potatoes, toast, etc.
  • Exercise – only 6 formal exercise hours so far in 25 days, but it is doing the trick.  I plan to double this to at least 3 hours per week.  Oh how I would love to be an excellent swimmer again!
  • Rejoined the health club I knew and loved for so many years.
  • Being willing to be a little hungry.  I eat only fruit or nuts between meals, and I joyfully go to bed a bit hungry sometimes, knowing the scale will reflect the benefit the next day.

By the way, I feel great!  More energy, better alertness, and happier.  Absolutely no sense of deprivation at all.  I am not counting calories, points or anything formal.  Just making sound choices at each opportunity.  And by the way, no headaches of any consequence.  Whenever I eat an “anti-inflammatory diet”, my headache occurrence drops dramatically.

When I strategically plan to indulge, like a chili cheeseburger or the incredible meal at Joel Robouchon, I make up for it before and after (by eating less and lower-calorie foods), which is basically how thin people think and eat!

I have a full 18 month plan mapped out, including time off for holidays, trips, etc.  My goal for July is a modest 3-4 lb. reduction, because I will be in London for 8 days.

I will be at my goal by the end of 2013.  Wish me luck.  This will be a life-altering experience for me, and hopefully in all good ways.  I won’t bore you every month, but I will issue periodic reports.  I was just so proud and happy that I could do this, I had to let you know!


Friday Inspiration – Good Health Edition



Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship. – Siddartha

In honor of the Affordable Care Act being upheld, here are some words of wisdom from Buddha.


Bouchon Las Vegas

We just came back from a great weekend in Las Vegas.  We ate some really spectacular food, and I’ll be posting a few highlights as soon as I can.

Our first stop was Bouchon Bistro.  We arrived around 9:30 on a Thursday night and the place was hopping.  There were several all-women tables, which I surmised might be pre-wedding dinners.  Everyone looked happy!

Susi had already eaten at a business dinner, so she hunted for the oldest dated heritage cocktail on the menu, and went for a Sazerac, which dates back to 1850.  It is a rye whiskey and bitters drink, served neat in a chilled glass.  Susi loved it.

I had two courses.  I started with Salade de Cresson et d’’Endives – watercress, endive, Roquefort, & walnuts with walnut vinaigrette.  The presentation was gorgeous, with a Jenga-like stack of endive leaves, each had been painstakingly garnished with Roquefort and walnuts.  I ate it with my fingers, leaf by leaf!

For my second course, I had a plate that is actually another appetizer: Beignets de Brandade de Morue – cod brandade with garden tomato confit & fried sage.  These are essentially cod mousse fritters.  I asked the waiter if many people order it, and he said it is always on the menu, because the restaurant considers it an example of classic French Bistro food, but it isn’t ordered that much.  People, you don’t know what you are missing!  This was exquisite.  Not at all greasy, even though it is deep fried.  The batter crust was delicious, and the fish filling was light, fluffy and delightful.  The tomato confit was dense and rich in flavor.

Bouchon is a Thomas Keller restaurant (of French Laundry fame), and it lives up to his ideals of the highest quality food.  There are nice Bistro touches, like warm crusty bread placed right on the paper table topper, and French butter.

Definitely will be on my list next time we are in Vegas, and if we go to NorCal, we’ll go to the one in Yountville too.

Friday Inspiration – Feeling Rich


If you want to feel rich,

just count all of the things you have

that money can’t buy

Easy midweek chicken salad


Ingredients (for 2 dinner portions)

1/2 head of romaine lettuce, washed, dried, torn
1/4 cup cilantro leaves ( sub in Italian parsley if you don’t like cilantro) mixed in with lettuce, and save a couple for garnish.
1/2 English cucumber, seeded, peeled, sliced ( I like the half-circle, or moon shaped slice)
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes. Mine were a new larger kind, so I halved them
1 oz genoa salami (about 4 small slices), julienned (whole foods has organic, uncured, nitrate free)
8 oz rotisserie chicken, shredded
1 avocado, sliced
1/2 cup red grapes

Options: you could add in more veggies, like radishes, scallions, shredded carrots. Next time I would probably toast some slivered almonds and sprinkle on top.

Dressing: make your own (a lemon Dijon vinaigrette would be nice) or choose from whatever is in your fridge. Susi had Cindy’s Roasted Red Pepper, and I had Cindy’s Buttermilk Ranch. Both are in the refrigerated dressing section near the lettuce at Whole Foods.

Dr. Weil’s Food Pyramid

Dr. Andrew Weil has famously promoted the Anti-Inflammatory Diet, and has published an excellent interactive food pyramid to guide us on how to eat healthy by his parameters.  I try to follow this very closely (except I don’t take supplements, and I drink less tea than he recommends), and do believe that many foods cause hidden inflammatory responses (like Migraine).

I encourage you to click the link and get more info, but here are the basic guidelines (listed from the top down – the most important and valuable foods are at the bottom of this listing):

How much: Sparingly
Healthy choices: Unsweetened dried fruit, dark chocolate, fruit sorbet
Why: Dark chocolate provides polyphenols with antioxidant activity. Choose dark chocolate with at least 70 percent pure cocoa and have an ounce a few times a week. Fruit sorbet is a better option than other frozen desserts.

How much: Optional, no more than 1-2 glasses per day
Healthy choices: Organic red wine
Why: Red wine has beneficial antioxidant activity. Limit intake to no more than 1-2 servings per day. If you do not drink alcohol, do not start.

How much: Daily
Healthy choices: High quality multivitamin/multimineral that includes key antioxidants (vitamin C, vitamin E, mixed carotenoids, and selenium); co-enzyme Q10; 2-3 grams of a molecularly distilled fish oil; 2,000 IU of vitamin D3
Why: Supplements help fill any gaps in your diet when you are unable to get your daily requirement of micronutrients.
Click here to learn more about supplements and get your free recommendation.

How much: 2-4 cups per day
Healthy choices: White, green, oolong teas
Why: Tea is rich in catechins, antioxidant compounds that reduce inflammation. Purchase high-quality tea and learn how to correctly brew it for maximum taste and health benefits.

How much: Unlimited amounts
Healthy choices: Turmeric, curry powder (which contains turmeric), ginger and garlic (dried and fresh), chili peppers, basil, cinnamon, rosemary, thyme
Why: Use these herbs and spices generously to season foods. Turmeric and ginger are powerful, natural anti-inflammatory agents.

How much
: 1-2 servings a week (one portion is equal to 1 ounce of cheese, 1 eight-ounce serving of dairy, 1 egg, 3 ounces cooked poultry or skinless meat)
Healthy choices: High quality natural cheese and yogurt, omega-3 enriched eggs, skinless poultry, grass-fed lean meats
Why: In general, try to reduce consumption of animal foods.  If you eat chicken, choose organic, cage-free chicken and remove the skin and associated fat.  Use organic, reduced-fat dairy products moderately, especially yogurt and natural cheeses such as Emmental (Swiss), Jarlsberg and true Parmesan.  If you eat eggs, choose omega-3 enriched eggs (made by feeding hens a flax-meal-enriched diet), or organic eggs from free-range chickens.

How much: Unlimited amounts
Healthy choices: Shiitake, enokidake, maitake, oyster mushrooms (and wild mushrooms if available)
Why: These mushrooms contain compounds that enhance immune function. Never eat mushrooms raw, and minimize consumption of common commercial button mushrooms (including crimini and portobello).

How much: 1-2 servings per day (one serving is equal to ½ cup tofu or tempeh, 1 cup soymilk, ½ cup cooked edamame, 1 ounce of soynuts)
Healthy choices: Tofu, tempeh, edamame, soy nuts, soymilk
Why: Soy foods contain isoflavones that have antioxidant activity and are protective against cancer.  Choose whole soy foods over fractionated foods like isolated soy protein powders and imitation meats made with soy isolate.

How much:  2-6 servings per week (one serving is equal to 4 ounces of fish or seafood)
Healthy choices: Wild Alaskan salmon (especially sockeye), herring, sardines, and black cod (sablefish)
Why: These fish are rich in omega-3 fats, which are strongly anti-inflammatory. If you choose not to eat fish, take a molecularly distilled fish oil supplement that provides both EPA and DHA in a dose of 2-3 grams per day.

How much:  5-7 servings per day (one serving is equal to 1 teaspoon of oil, 2 walnuts, 1 tablespoon of flaxseed, 1 ounce of avocado)
Healthy choices: For cooking, use extra virgin olive oil and expeller-pressed organic canola oil. Other sources of healthy fats include nuts (especially walnuts), avocados, and seeds – including hemp seeds and freshly ground flaxseed. Omega-3 fats are also found in cold water fish, omega-3 enriched eggs, and whole soy foods. Organic, expeller pressed, high-oleic sunflower or safflower oils may also be used, as well as walnut and hazelnut oils in salads and dark roasted sesame oil as a flavoring for soups and stir-fries
Why: Healthy fats are those rich in either monounsaturated or omega-3 fats.  Extra-virgin olive oil is rich in polyphenols with antioxidant activity and canola oil contains a small fraction of omega-3 fatty acids.

How much: 
3-5 servings a day (one serving is equal to about ½ cup cooked grains)
Healthy choices
: Brown rice, basmati rice, wild rice, buckwheat, groats, barley, quinoa, steel-cut oats
Why: Whole grains digest slowly, reducing frequency of spikes in blood sugar that promote inflammation. “Whole grains” means grains that are intact or in a few large pieces, not whole wheat bread or other products made from flour.

PASTA (al dente)
How much
: 2-3 servings per week (one serving is equal to about ½ cup cooked pasta)
Healthy choices: Organic pasta, rice noodles, bean thread noodles, and part whole wheat and buckwheat noodles like Japanese udon and soba
Why: Pasta cooked al dente (when it has “tooth” to it) has a lower glycemic index than fully-cooked pasta. Low-glycemic-load carbohydrates should be the bulk of your carbohydrate intake to help minimize spikes in blood glucose levels.

How much: 1-2 servings per day (one serving is equal to ½ cup cooked beans or legumes)
Healthy choices: Beans like Anasazi, adzuki and black, as well as chickpeas, black-eyed peas and lentils
Why: Beans are rich in folic acid, magnesium, potassium and soluble fiber.  They are a low-glycemic-load food.  Eat them well-cooked either whole or pureed into spreads like hummus.

How much: 4-5 servings per day minimum (one serving is equal to 2 cups salad greens, ½ cup vegetables cooked, raw or juiced)
Healthy Choices: Lightly cooked dark leafy greens (spinach, collard greens, kale, Swiss chard), cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, bok choy and cauliflower), carrots, beets, onions, peas, squashes, sea vegetables and washed raw salad greens
Why: Vegetables are rich in flavonoids and carotenoids with both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.  Go for a wide range of colors, eat them both raw and cooked, and choose organic when possible.

How much:  3-4 servings per day (one serving is equal to 1 medium size piece of fruit, ½ cup chopped fruit, ¼ cup of dried fruit)
Healthy choices: Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, peaches, nectarines, oranges, pink grapefruit, red grapes, plums, pomegranates, blackberries, cherries, apples, and pears – all lower in glycemic load than most tropical fruits
Why: Fruits are rich in flavonoids and carotenoids with both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.  Go for a wide range of colors, choose fruit that is fresh in season or frozen, and buy organic when possible.

Additional Item:

How much: Throughout the day
Healthy choices: Drink pure water, or drinks that are mostly water (tea, very diluted fruit juice, sparkling water with lemon) throughout the day.
Why: Water is vital for overall functioning of the body.

Braised Red Cabbage


Braised Red Cabbage

1 head red cabbage, cored and shredded
1/2 medium onion, red or sweet, diced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 cup applesauce, unsweetened
2 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves (or 2-3 whole cloves, ground up with pestle)
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
2 bay leaves

In a large Dutch oven, sauté onion until translucent, but not brown. Add cabbage, and cook in oil for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add all other ingredients, and after bringing to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally. The cabbage should stay slightly wet, but not drowning in liquid. If the cabbage gets too dry, add a little water. Remove bay leaves before serving.

A perfect accompaniment to pork roast!