Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sonoma Diet Day 16: still here

I haven't posted in a few days, but I am still here and I am still following my healthy eating plan. I've just been busy and didn't have much interesting to say...we tend to eat the same things over and over because it's easy and doesn't require thought, but so far we're really happy with how it's going. Greg just exclaimed, "I love this diet!" literally a few minutes ago. I've lost another pound, and so has he. I'm sure we could do better, but I'm pretty happy with what we're doing so far and there's always room for improvement.

Breakfast: spinach, egg, and Laughing Cow cheese burrito
Lunch: chicken and veggies from Panda Express (Mandarin Chicken, Kung Pow Chicken, mixed veggies, saved about half for breakfast tomorrow)
Dinner: Sonoma Greek Pizza and salad.

Here are a couple of yummy diet snack ideas for you:

Natural peanut butter (get it right out of the machine at some grocery stores, not the jarred stuff) with a rice cake or celery
Triscuits with Laughing Cow spreadable cheese wedge

Friday, August 26, 2011

Sonoma Diet Day 11

Tired after dancing, so I'll make this quick:

Breakfast: skipped. oops.
Lunch: Sonoma steak & bleu cheese wraps & salad
Dinner: Barilla Plus spagetti with Cabernet Marinara (Newman's Own) and turkey meatballs, salad.
Snack: triscuits and laughing cow light cheese. and a pickle.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sonoma Diet Day 10: End of Wave 1

The Sonoma Diet is broken up into Waves: the first 10 days is Wave 1 and is the strictest, Wave 2 is the longer term weight loss program that you stay on until you reach your goal, and then you go on Wave 3 for the rest of your life to stay healthy and trim. We weren't QUITE as strict as we should have been on Wave 1, but I think we'll survive anyway.

The bad news is that I bought a bathroom scale since our old one was broken. It was more off than I thought, and I gained more weight back over the past year than I thought I did. I know, I should focus on the fact that I'm doing something about it now, I'm pissed! *sigh*

Breakfast: double fiber English muffin with turkey sausage and one fried egg
Lunch: turkey patty, lemon cucumber slices, one apple
Dinner: marinated flank steak, toasted quinoa pilaf with mushrooms, broccoli
Snack: three triscuits with Babybel light garlic & herb cheese

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sonoma Diet Day 9

I'm so sleepy I almost forgot to post! I'm starting to notice tiny changes that indicate my healthy eating is paying off. I usually notice it in places where the bons are close to the surface--my face, collar bones, shoulders, etc. They feel just a little tighter and there's a little more definition. Yay!

Breakfast: 1 egg, 1 egg white scrambled with a little ham, double fiber english muffin
Lunch: 2 small pieces of chicken satay, Sonoma Greek pizza leftover from last night
Dinner: salmon, barley risotto, salad. I know, repetitive, but it's jsut because it's so good we wanted it again!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sonoma Diet Day 8

Just a quick post before I go dancing. still going strong and very happy!

Breakfast: ham and spinach scrambled with one egg and one egg white on a double fiber whole grain english muffin
Lunch: chicken breast, green beans
Dinner: Sonoma Greek Pizza (whole grain Boboli with red wine vinegrette, spinach, feta, cherry tomatoes, and I forget what else), roasted zuccini

Off to do some West Coast Swing. Have a good night!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sonoma Diet Day 7! One week! and a diet tip

I'm excited to point out that I am on Day 7 of the Sonoma Diet and I am STILL going strong. I feel soooo good about this. I'm determined to keep it up forever. We seem to have come up with a workable solution between the recipes in the book and doing our own thing while following the principles. When you follow the meal plans, at least in the old book, every portion of every meail required prep and cooking, and it got to be too much even though I loved every single meal. The new version of the diet offers much simpler meal plans, although we haven't been following them, just cooking simple food in the Sonoma style. We did use one of our favorite recipes from the original book at dinner tonight, the mushroom barley risotto. Delish!

Breakfast: Burrito with one whole egg and one white, spinach, onion
Dinner: Salmon pan seared with a little seasoning (on sale from Safeway again, and sooo good), mushroom barley risotto, green salad with low fat ranch
Snack: 1/4 pineapple. So ripe and sweet. Should have had just 1/8, but since i missed lunch I let myself have it. I generally don't skip meals but scheduling was difficult today and it just happened. I might go have another salad or a piece of low fat string cheese.

Diet Tip of the Day:

I used to think diet food was boring and bland. This is so not the case! Why deprive yourself of flavor? Seasonings, herbs, and spices are "free" nutritionally (just don't overdo the salt), so use them! The Sonoma Diet books have tons of great recipes, although there are many other cookbooks out there for dieters. Take the time to prepare fresh food with lots of flavor, and you won't feel deprived.

The best way to cook brown rice

This morning, I have a guest post from my husband, Greg Walker, who makes KILLER brown rice. Thanks, Sweetie!

Cooking Brown Rice

Though I have been struggling with cooking brown rice for years, due, in great part, to my particular aversion to devoting counter space to a rice cooker, it was Alton Brown of the Food Network’s show, Good Eats, who finally taught me an easy and nearly foolproof way to cook brown rice. The basic recipe calls for short grain brown rice, salt, olive oil, and water. Whilst remaining true to be basic formula, I change it up by using different cooking liquids such as chicken broth or stock; different variants of brown rice, such as long grain brown rice, brown basmati rice, or brown jasmine rice; and by adding mushrooms or vegetables or mushrooms to the mix. When adding vegetables or mushrooms, do not change the liquid content – the fluids in the mix are sufficient to steam the veggies while the rice cooks.

The basic recipe is as follows:

The Best Way to Cook Brown Rice


• 1 1/2 cups short grain brown rice

• 2 1/2 cups water

• 1 teaspoon kosher salt – if using table salt, use 1/2 teaspoon

• 1 tablespoon olive oil


Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit.

Place water, salt, and olive oil in a water boiler, a small pot, or a microwave safe container, and bring just to a boil.

Place rice in an 8” x 8” square baking pan. Pour boiling water over the rice and stir. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and place in the preheated oven for one hour. Remove from oven, remove the foil carefully to avoid steam burns. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.


• Short and medium grain brown rice cooks very moist and cohesive without being sticky. Long grains rice, including basmati and jasmine rice, has very individual grains and distinct flavors and aromas. This method also works well for most wild rice mélanges.

• A handful of sliced or quartered white or wild mushrooms are very complimentary to brown rice. Broccoli, diced summer squashes like zucchini or crookneck, finely diced carrots, fresh corn stripped from the cob, and frozen peas also work well. Just stir them together with the dry rice before adding the water. Avoid high moisture adds such as tomatoes.

• Whatever you add, do not overdo it. One cup of extras, total, is pushing the envelope.

• For an easy chicken and rice dinner, make the short-grain rice with low sodium chicken broth or stock and add whatever mushrooms and/or vegetables you want. Season and pan-cook or grill one boneless/skinless chicken breast per person. Cut the chicken into about quarter inch slices. When the rice is done, either stir the chicken into the rice or plate a portion of rice and top with the sliced chicken. This is yummy and easy and it takes about 20 minutes of hands-on time.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sonoma Diet Day 6!

Things are still going great! I took it easy today physically--it is important to give your body a break once in a while. Tomorrow I'll have to actually exercise.

Breakfast: plain Greek yogurt and strawberries
Lunch: green salad with chicken breast
Dinner: splurged on a rib-eye steak (first red meat all week, and yes it's ok on this diet although this cut is a little fattier than I should have and it was a little too big), leftover brown rice and mushrooms from last night, roasted asparagus

If I have a snack, it will probably be low fat string cheese, although I'm kind of jonesing for another salad. In any case, it will be good.

Tomorrow morning, I will post a guest post from Greg Walker on a delicious way to prepare brown rice. It'll make a believer out of you!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sonoma Diet Day 5...already! And a diet tip

It's day five, and I'm going to do this a little early since we're leaving to go Tango in a little bit and I'll be too bleary-eyed by the time we get home to write. By day five of a new eating plan, you can tell if it's a keeper or if you'll be diving off the wagon at any moment. All week, I have felt great! I'm not feeling deprived, I haven't had any cravings, and I've been really strong and happy with our food choices. I think there are still adjustments to be made, but we're doing pretty well. I'm fully prepared to eat like this forever, and I even have fantasies of going out to eat and getting something healthy. LOL!

My menu today:

Breakfast: Leftover black pepper/mushroom chicken from Panda Express last night (probably 250 calories)
Lunch: Salad with grilled chicken breast (got a great deal on a huge pack at half price at Safeway), tomatoes, cucumbers, a little avocado, and our fat free ranch dressing. Sooo yummy.
Dinner: OMG so good. Salmon (also half price at Safeway) crusted with a "Tuscan" salt/spice mix and pan fried in a little olive oil, brown rice baked with sliced mushrooms, and roasted asparagus.

Here's a diet tip: if you don't think you like brown rice, try short grain or even medium grain instead of long grain. The flavor and texture is much better! Greg has a really good procedure for preparing it, so I'll have to ask him to do a guest post.

Exercise: moving rocks and Tango. Have I mentioned I don't know what I'm going to do when all the rocks are moved? I'll have to do actual, boring exercise! Have a great night.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Sonoma Diet Day 4

I had a pretty good day today. Not much to remark on, so I'll just share what I ate today. I'm looking forward to starting to see some differences in my body soon. Ended up eating out twice today, which is very unusual for us!

Breakfast: burrito with egg beaters, turkey sausage, mushrooms (looking forward to finishing the tortillas and moving on to something different!)

Lunch: Greg and I split a two-taco plate at Rubios. Classic grilled chicken tacos, black beans, spanish rice (bad--white), side salad with balsamic vinegrette. The whole meal was 900 calories according to the menu, so split in half it was 450.

Dinner: 2-entree plate at Panda Express with mixed veggies instead of chow mein or rice, mushroom chicken and black pepper chicken. Totalled about 540 calories, but I only ate about half it so probably more like 270. Will have the rest for breakfast tomorrow.

Dessert: 1/8 of a pineapple
Snack: one low-fat mozerella cheese stick

Exercise: moved half a ton of rocks with Sharon. Seriously like getting a full body workout at the gym..bending, lifting, scooping, sweeping, raking, walking. Muscle building and cardio in one!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sonoma Diet Day 3

It's day three and I feel great, but this is going to be a quick one because it's late and I'm tired.

Breakfast: burrito with egg beaters, turkey sausage, onions. We seem to be in a burrito rut.

Snack: celery sticks with about 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter (no sugar added)

Lunch: leftovers of yesterday's taco salad with ranch dressing made from Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix with skim milk and mixed with salsa. Totally yummy.

Dinner (at my mom's): a cornish game hen with a wild rice blend stuffing. She made corn and I had to tell her no on that because it's too high in sugar, at least at this point in the diet.

Late night snack: pineapple. Which is ironic, because I'm sure it has more sugar than corn, but it's on the list for this wave of the diet and corn isn't, so who am I to argue? It's my favorite fruit. Sooo yummy. I think this is the first fruit we've had since we started the diet, so that's kind of good I guess.

Exercise: just Tango. Was going to ride and stuff happened to prevent that, so I'll go tomorrow after moving half a ton of rocks with my sister-in-heart.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sonoma Diet Day 2: Still going strong

Day two of a diet (I know, I know, healthy lifestyle for life. I get it.) is still good. You're still fired up, and you're starting to figure out the rhythm of your new way of eating. You can almost resist stepping on the scale again. Here's what I ate today:

Breakfast: burrito on carb balance tortilla with 1 egg and 1 white, turkey sausage, and avocado. yummy.
Lunch: yummy taco salad with seasoned ground turkey, lettuce, tomatoes, a little avocado, mushrooms, cucumber, fetta and a sort of salsa vinegrette made with balsamic, olive oil, and salsa.
Dinner: Brown rice baked with broccoli, ahi tuna steak, and mushrooms, with feta and fresh tomatoes added at the end. Also very yummy, although bad Greg made too much rice and bad me let us eat it all. At least it carried me through dancing and everything and I feel like I can skip a snack.

We got some fresh-made natural peanut butter at the store, where they have a machine that makes it fresh for you. It smells soooo good and I can't wait to have a little with celery for a snack.

Exercise: moved about a half a ton of rock with my sister in law this morning (yes, it counts. oy.), Tango dancing tonight. Lots of sweat!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sonoma Diet Day One: Here we go!

I'm going to start this post with a request. I'm posting this journal to keep myself honest and keep track of what I'm doing, and maybe to invoke discussion or inspire readers, not to be criticized. Please refrain from chastising me about food choices, exercise, etc. I don't need the negativity. Please also refrain from the "Well, I heard..." comments. This diet was written by a registered dietition/doctor, so I'm going to trust what she says and go with it. There are a million different theories on dieting and they all conflict, so sometimes you just have to put the blinders on. What works for you may not work for me, and vice versa.

Day one of a diet is always so full of promise. In some ways, it's the hardest day because you can still remember all the horrible things you ate before and wish you could still eat them, and you have to get used to new portion sizes. On the other hand, you're also full of fire about making a change in your life, and that motivation goes a long way! I've been through this so many times, but I can't seem to make it stick for long enough to make a permanent change in my eating habits. I would like this time to make it happen. I lost a good 20 or 30 pounds eating this way before, so there's no reason I can't reach my goal weight and stay there. It's all about changing your mindset about food. You don't have to settle for bland, tasteless food, either...there are tons of delicious recipes in The Sonoma Diet books, and once you understand the principles, you can make up your own or adapt others. Also, sometimes I really need to go with what I can afford or is convenient. It's what you do most of the time that makes a difference, not what you do every once in a while.

One thing I haven't done before is kept a daily journal,  so I'm going to try that this time. Our scale is broken so I can't give you my starting weight (ugh, like I really want to share it), although I think I'll dig out the tape measure and do some measurements.

Woke up early (not on purpose). Drank one cup of coffee with a tablespoon of heavy cream. I know, you've been told not to drink coffee, and heavy cream sounds antithetical to what we're doing. According to the author, Dr. Connie Guttersen, RD, PhD, you can have up to two cups of black coffee or one cup with a tablespoon of heavy cream. Some people say the caffeine stimulates the appetite, but I don't find this to be true. In fact, sometimes if I have coffee in the morning I can hold off on breakfast longer. The reason for the cream instead of lowfat milk is that it is lower in lactose--the less fat you have, the more milk sugar. Also, one tablespoon lightens the coffee just as much as much more of the lighter fat stuff, so you might even end up with less fat than if you used 2%. I'm not sure about the last part--it's conjecture. But the sugar part is true. Greg also interviewed another dietition once who said the same thing, plus it's less processed and she advocates eating whole foods that have as little processing as possible to maximize nutrients.

For breakfast, one whole egg and one egg white scrambled with a bit of turkey sausage in a Mission Carb Balance tortilla. These things are great--high in fiber without having a weird flavor or texture.

Lunch: A serving of packet light tuna in water, one serving of Triscuits (they're whole grain and have fiber), and one cup of canned green beans (I know. Fresh is better. This is what I had.)

Dinner; brown rice and roasted zuccini and mushrooms. Yum!

Late night: 1 chicken taco del carbon from Del Taco. These are more wholesome than you would think, especially for a quick snack after dancing!

We need snacks but we didn't have any. Hopefully we'll live until tomorrow.

Exercise: rode my horse this morning and went dancing tonight. Decided that was plenty, especially on reduced calories!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dusting off the diet blog's been just over a year since I posted here! It's been a bad one, diet-wise. I left my physically demanding job, stopped exercising, and went back to my old, bad eating habits. Sigh. I gained back almost all the weight I'd lost. Very upsetting! I've been very busy with work and stressed out and unable to deal with it, but now I've kind of gotten a grip and I'm ready...and Greg even suggested going back to our old favorite way of eating, The Sonoma Diet. We bought a few things to get us going and will start tomorrow. Hurray! We're supposed to keep a food/cravings/feelings/etc journal, so I'm going to use this blog for that.

The first ten days is the hardest, of course. No sweets, not even low-cal sweetener. Smaller portions. Fewer grains. Smaller lists of foods to choose from. However, there are a lot of great foods to eat, and really yummy recipes. We got a copy of the NEW Sonoma Diet book, and it's been simplified and updated for a busy lifestyle. We're looking forward to trying this new version!

Basically, it's just good, healthy eating. Lean proteins, high-quality whole grains, and lots of vegetables, and portion control. It's not a fad, it's not fast, but it's delicious and sensible and it does work. Here's to health!