Day 3 of Quitting Sugar

January 16, 2014

I woke up to a number on the scale that I swore I would never get to. A weight which is over 5 pounds from my previous highest weight ever almost 5 years ago. Depressed and angry with myself, I felt divine intervention when snow caused my kids to have to stay home from school and thus me as well. I took a break from work and caught the beginning of Dr. Oz’s show entitled, “Two-week Rapid Weight Loss Diet, Pt. 1”; which aired on 1/6/14.

With a lot of thought, I decided that it was in my best interest to follow the plan. A few things that drew me to the plan was that it was two weeks and it made sense to me. Research I have been doing points to moving towards an anti-inflammation diet. My mom has been on it, strictly for the last 2-3 years and it has helped her turn her health around.  In the diet, Dr. Oz promotes some very good things and my personal enemy, SUGAR was one of them. I knew I had to get over my addiction to sugar in order to be healthier.

It’s been two full days and starting my third today with no sweets! Before you start laughing, keep in mind that sugar is my drug of choice. I don’t have a lot of vices but I can’t remember the last day where I didn’t have sweets at least a few times a day. In fact, the only sugar I have ingested in the last two days is naturally occurring sugars in the 1/2 a cup of frozen berries and 1/2 of banana I am eating in my smoothie in the morning.

Yesterday, Day 2, was really hard for me. I co-lead a workshop where there was a nice offering of donuts, chocolate chip muffins and bagels. I resisted…all freaking day!!!

I was feeling really good by the end of the day. Here are some things I think I am feeling as a result of the diet and moreover, not having sugar:

1. I am less tired

2. The “Early Afternoon Tireds” did not affect me much

3. I feel like my brain is less cloudy

4. I feel a little less edgy

5. I was hungry at dinner, but I didn’t have the cravings for sugar. In fact, I didn’t even need to eat rice with my dinner. Another huge milestone for me.

6. I didn’t have my normal 9p cravings to eat

7. My ankles were not bloated at the end of the night

Day15

Overall, I just feel so much better. I am more positive and happy! In fact, I HAVE LOST 4 POUNDS!!! It has been such a long time since I’ve seen that kind of progress!!!

Please go to this link to get more information on the diet.

Day 2 of 365 Grateful Project

January 3, 2014
Holding hands

Holding hands

I actually missed the first day of the project so I’m on Day 1. I might have to take two pictures to make up for the first day.

Yesterday, I found the kids holding hands while voraciously munching on some baguette bread and cheese. Choua and I had been talking about how we were craving a good ol’ charcuterie plate.

He stayed home with the kids while I went to work. When I got home, we had both gone out that day to get all of the ingredients we needed. We had more than enough, but instead of waiting to eat it the next day; in grand Yang Household fashion, we ate it up in one night. Actually, we had enough to munch on for breakfast too.

What I am choosing to highlight today, in Day 2, is the love of my children for each other. I love those moments when they truly revel in each other’s presence…it fills heart to the verge of explosion.

favorite time of day

March 7, 2013

Every night before bed, I try to have some quiet time with the kids. I know how the kids love to hear stories about themselves when they were little so tonight I thought I’d highlight how different they were.

Some things I’ve mentioned to them previously include how Aria came out of my body, hungry. Her voice was loud and she was communicating with me from the moment they placed her on my chest after she was born. Roan came out, absolutely perfectly behaved. He was long and lean. She was short and stubby. He did everything perfectly the day he was  ready to meet the world. She tried to stay put as long as she possibly could – 7 mm dilated and no labor pains yet. He was born 5 days early. She, on her due date–with some convincing in the form of the midwife breaking my water.

Tonight I went further to talk about how I am always hearing Aria’s little voice. “Can I have ____?” Can you help me _____?” “Can you play ____ with me?” and so on. It really is a blessing and sometimes a pain in the butt. Roan on the other hand, I always had to remind him to use his words. He would point and point and I would ask him to use his words. Mostly because I knew he knew the words.

I continued talking about how I could tell his little brain was moving so fast and that his little mouth and voice just couldn’t keep up. I was surprised with his reaction.

He turned away, angry. I queried him further and told him that it wasn’t bad and that it’s just a result of being human. Lot’s of people are the same way. He started crying his sad cry. I knew I hit a hard spot for him. Roan has never been one to cry much. Choua used to say kiddingly, “What is wrong with this kid? He never cries.”

My heart just sank. He said he knows exactly what I was saying. That it was all true about how his brain was moving so fast but he couldn’t communicate it with us. He said that he felt so lonely; which absolutely broke my heart. We talked a little more and I told him not to feel bad because I never wanted him to feel that way…that he was broken or bad somehow. I told him that I also feel bad because I always felt that I was the one that needed help because I couldn’t understand and help him more. All of the speech and occupational therapists and the psychologist now. These are all ways for me to try to understand and help him more.

At the end of 2011, Roan was diagnosed with the third category of ADHD: “Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type presents with excessive fidgetiness and restlessness, hyperactivity, difficulty waiting and remaining seated, immature behaviour; destructive behaviors may also be present“.

People usually tell me that I should get a second opinion. However, looking back through his life, I am confident that he was correctly diagnosed. I was a bit relieved actually…and just so sad. As a mother, I think you always feel responsible. If only, I hadn’t eaten so many sweets while I was pregnant with him. Or, if only I could have been more calm or read to him more or…if, if, if. In fact, other people mention the “Ifs” to me as well.

However, in the true spirit of my favorite time of the day and in the spirit of my amazing, forgiving little boy, he empathized with my sadness and didn’t want me to be sad too. I think he finally can understand that he is not alone and that he should not feel lonely because I will always be right there with him. At least that is what I like to believe.

just another reason why having children is good for you

February 26, 2013

Someone recently mentioned to me that Aria bears a resemblance to Harper, Victoria Beckham’s daughter. I showed this photo to Aria and asked her if she thought it looked like her. She said, “Yeah”. She then turned right around and pointed to Victoria and said, “She look like you,” referring to me.

victoria-beckham-2-435This got me thinking. Of course, I bear no resemblance to Posh Spice. I could only dream to think that Choua had any resemblance to David Beckham. All I know is that both of my children still think that we are beautiful. We tell them all of the time how beautiful they are and they do the same in return.

No matter what kind of day I’ve had; at the end of it, these two little people and their genuine love make me feel like I’m on top of the world.

rumspringa-ish marriage

February 14, 2013

DSC_8008 Happy Valentine’s Day Friends!

Choua has been living in Milwaukee for almost six months. He’s working full-time and going to school part-time in hopes of establishing residency in Wisconsin so that he can start the film program in the fall of 2013 with in state tuition. Silly? It actually saves us about 1/3 of the cost of tuition so for three years, that’s over $12K or one year’s tuition.

So this means that it has taken me six months to finally figure out my new normal…and feeling like a semi-responsible adult again. The kids are in bed around 8:30p and I could get into bed by about 11p if I didn’t have so much of a backlog of photography related things that I owe people. My house is about 75% 5S’d (or the layperson, organized) even though I know more projects abound.  I feel like I can finally start giving back vs. consistently being the recipient of the help.

On the subject of being the recipient of help. It was really hard to accept help and it continues to be difficult. However, I have learned that I need to take care of myself as well in order to be a good mom; which is the most important goal of mine, right now. I am so grateful for the support I have and can only hope that one day, I will be able to “repay in full with interest”.

Sure, there is a lot of work left to get back to the life that I envision for myself, but it’s one day at a time.

On the positive side…and there is so much to be positive about: I am falling into a good place with myself at a job I started shortly before Choua relocated, the kids still adore me, I am able to spend ample time with them, we are all healthy, we’ve started going back to church (and it feels so good spiritually), I’m learning to find the silver linings and turn them into diamonds, and my relationship with my husband is more healthy.

I thought that when I was traveling for my job, the distance helped our relationship, but I still remember having more moments of irritation with him than I do now. We’ve learned to be more patient with with one another and to listen to one another. Even though we only Face Time a few times a week, I feel that we communicate more effectively with each other now. We’re more affectionate and flirtatious with one another. One could say, we’ve gained a “vacation marriage”. I think anyone who’s ever been in a long distance relationship understands what I mean by that.

Earlier this week, I was listening to MPR and there was a story about a writer who entered into what he termed a rumspringa from his relationship with his girlfriend of 12 years at the time because they thought it would give them clarity on whether they should get married or not. They started dating at 17 and were 30 when they decided to do this. Neither had ever been with anyone else sexually. Well in the end, they broke up. It kind of scared me since I kind of felt that this would happen to us. I am not naive, I know that many things can go wrong given this situation. I hope, with all of my heart, that we grow in our time away and realize that when we chose each other, it was for life.

Choua has been asking that we consider moving down to Milwaukee with him. I know he means it because he’s been sending me school information for the kids, open job postings in my field and talking to rental companies to manage our current home when we move out. If you know this man, you will know that this is out of character for him. I told him that as much as I would like to have our family in one home together, I really want to establish a normal for our children; which we finally have after almost 4 years and all of Aria’s lifetime. The school system up here is difficult to get into and so I don’t want to pull them out to just try to get them back in again.

Everyday, I ask for help from God. I hope this is the right thing for us and that we make it through stronger. My biggest fear in all of this is that we do grow, but in different directions.  Or that when we do return to living in one household together, we’ll also fall back into our old ways. This includes the kids. I hope that their relationship with their dad is strong and that I don’t do too much damage to them in the meantime. I mean there are definitely challenging days, but they are the best things in my life.DSC_8011

healthy finds

February 8, 2012

I usually only find these in the small box that they come in at the regular grocers; including Whole Foods for just under $5 a tiny box. However, on Sunday, when I was at Costco, I found these large boxes that have about 4X’s the amount in the small box for the same price! I grabbed two big boxes. I love these crackers. I hope they don’t get rid of them.

Also at Costco, you can find the Green Naked Smoothies in a large container that usually sells at grocers for $8.99 for $5.99. It’s the only flavor they have right now, but the kids also love it so I am not complaining and it’s the only one with “more” veggies in it.

I also have been using this veggie broth with no cane sugar; which some kind person reading my blog had mentioned to me.

A couple of weeks ago, I tried to bake gluten-free bread and although it was yummy, it could not pass as bread to me, nor my super picky 6.5 year old. So I started looking around and dumb luck brought me to one of our favorite pre-diet restaurants in the Twin Cities, Cheeky Monkey. They can substitute any sandwich with gluten-free bread. They get special, larger sized (from their store breads) bread sent to them from Denver, CO. The company is called Udi’s and the bread is sooooo good!

I didn’t tell Roan and he totally could not tell it was “special” bread. LOL! I’m glad he didn’t notice anything funny with me watching very closely as he ate up. He even ate most of the crust! I almost burst out in giddy laughter at my cleverness…especially since it was their whole grain bread too.

I also bought the Annie Chung brown rice noodles and they were delicious! I could not tell the difference between them and the normal rice noodles I get from the Asian stores. I stir-fried it with some of the leftover scallops from last week. There will be another picture in my next post.

side benefits

February 3, 2012

Weight loss is really just a really nice benefit of being on this diet. I lost 3 lbs prior last week and didn’t feel the least bit deprived. However, last week was difficult as I tried to stay on track while I was traveling again. I ended up getting completely derailed as I have close to zero choices in the small town that I am currently working in.

I am going to be very candid in the next few lines so if you don’t want to know too much about me, skip to the next paragraph. Another really great benefit, or at least I hope it is, is that I have had less PMS sypmtoms this month. Usually, the week before my cycle begins, my patience is non-existent and everything pretty much annoys me. Although, I am not pleasant 100% of the time, I found it easier to let things slide. Since I was not completely on the diet, I am hoping that if I was completely on it, things might be even more pleasant.

I used another stir-fry sauce recipe and threw an entree together. The recipe for the sauce is:

1/2 cup organic vegetable broth

2 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp olive oil

2 tsp wheat free soy sauce

2 tsp tapioca starch

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp sea salt

Reserve 2 T of the broth to mix into the actual stir-fry later. I found that adding a little of the sauce to the meat and then when I added in the veggies as well, helped to infuse the food with the taste.

brown rice is gross…or is it????

January 19, 2012

I have really not enjoyed brown rice in the past. However, I got a great tip from an naturopathic MD to soak the rice in water for 2 hours before cooking it. I actually have done it for less than that it still tastes good. I don’t know if it is soaking, the type of rice, the water (we have soft water at the house we are in right now), or the rice cooker, but I have been loving it and just don’t really miss white rice at all!

This is the combo I use right now:

I had a conversation with my sister, who has really been the source of most of my education on recipes and etc. on this diet, but she bought a super duper awesome (so jealous of her) rice cooker and she said her brown rice is fantastic and she does not soak it. I’ll need to find the brand to post up on a later date.

I have to cook only 3 cups at a time as you need to add more water when making brown rice in the rice cooker. You can freeze rice and use it at a later date also. This has saved me a few times too since it’s easy to just eat something with rice that is already cooked. Try it. Frozen brown rice is also fantastic in the cooking process of fried rice. In fact, it’s better than using room temperature or hot rice.

already slacking…but I feel so busy

January 19, 2012

I’m already behind on updating the blog. I guess, I just need to make 52 entries this year so I need to do a couple this week.

I have been playing with vegan and anti-inflammation foods/menus since the beginning of the year. I think I am finally ready to make the switch. Part of the problem was that I wanted to do both, but they don’t always agree with each other so I was sooooo confused! I think I have sorted it out enough now. I’ve decided that I am going to stick to the anti-inflammation diet (AD), but try to be as kind to the earth as possible on it as on this diet we can eat some organic meats (chicken, deep sea fish (no shellfish), and even small amounts of beef). Some of the ingredients are processed also.

I finally have my kitchen stock

ed with staples and mixed up a batch of this gluten-free stir-fry sauce. I wasn’t sure how much it made in one batch, but I plan to make a whole lot next time, since you can freeze it for future use. I then just grabbed a few items from my frig and started to cook. I ended up stir-frying chicken thighs with onion and oyster mushrooms and throwing it on top of brown rice (all items are organic except for the rice). I was afraid the sauce wouldn’t be salty enough for me. It was not as salty as I am used to, but it was still very delicious! Not to mention probably the right amount I should have eaten anyways.

I also plan to make this other gluten-free stir-fry sauce and rotate between the two.

In my quest to give up processed/refined foods and quit my sugar addiction, I have also been doing well. I have only had a few moments of weakness that I blame on the kids. We found a small bag of M&Ms in the car and they just had to have some. I was so famished as I didn’t plan well and had nothing for me to nibble on. I ate a few. I also had a white castle fish and cheese sandwich. Again, because I didn’t plan well and had no time to eat dinner between viewing a house and then going to see “The Lion King” at the Orpheum.

I found that making almost vegan and gluten-free desserts helps me a lot. I don’t really feel like I’m giving up anything. Lara Bars are also saving me when I need something sweet. I need to switch to ones without chocolate chips though since they may have traces of dairy in them. I also nibble on dairy, gluten, soy, nut – free chocolate chips when I need something sweet. So is that cheating? I guess whatever gets me through it right now as I am transitioning over.

We have also been letting the dairy slowly go away. Aria still drinks 2% organic milk because I am not sure what else to give to her (and she loves it) and Roan still gets a couple cheese filled meals a week. He won’t eat the soy cheese I tried to slip into his lunch the other day. Truthfully, the kids (and Choua, my husband) have a longer ways to go than me, but I think it is my responsibility to help them along as I do most of the cooking when I am home.

I’ve tried a lot of new types of food and spent a lot of time at Whole Foods. It’s crazy! I’ve also spent a lot of money, but I hope that that will be offset by the fact that I hope to eat out less…which we have!!! I hope it goes down even more in the next few months.

I have also noticed that my skin looks so much better and that I am less tired than I used to be. I also fell asleep so easily last night! I usually have a hard time falling asleep. Maybe it’s the placebo affect, but I hope it gets better also as I fully move over my meals!!! Now I just worry about the weeks I travel. I think I may need to get a room with a kitchen so I can cook (and bring my frozen stir-fry sauces) or start ordering The Zone meals for delivery when I do. It keeps me up at night.

year of the dragon…out with some old…in with some new

January 5, 2012

Hello! It feels good to be back! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and I can’t wait to start reading blogs again.

I am going to start this year with my New Year Resolutions. I didn’t do any last year…mostly because I didn’t allow myself enough planning to think of them before the new year. I have learned that I am a person who needs goals and the start of a new year is a great and easy time stamp to measure against. My 2012 New Year Resolutions (in no particular order):

1. Prioritize God in my life.

2. Start living a “Kind Life”; which includes:

   a. Cut out refined sugars from my diet

   b. Move towards a vegan lifestyle, with a start on the anti-inflammation diet

3. Start moving again (aka: start running and doing yoga again).

4. Re-take up guitar (and singing).

5.  Start writing my blog at least once a week.

I feel that a lot of my daily life goals will be enhanced when I achieve #1 and #2. I have done a lot of research and it appears that people become more pleasant when they do. I pray that it helps me to be more patient, kinder, and well balanced so that I can be a better person.

And because I am on my work computer, I am limited with the photos I can attach so I am attaching one from the 2011 Holiday Card That Wasn’t: