Friday, January 31, 2014

"Sea of Love"....and loss

A friend from college was killed last night in a hit-and-run accident in San Diego, CA.  He was 32.

When I met Seamus O'Bryan in 2000 while attending college at UA in Tucson.  Seamus was young, kind of annoying and earnest.  He threw himself into anything he was doing.  He also always had a kind word, was always willing to lend a hand and was the little brother we balanced a love/hate relationship with.  After I graduated in 2002, I was not sure I would ever hear from many people again- this was before Facebook, of course.  As with any college program, you hear about people through the grape vine.  You hope they are doing well.  It was a number of years later, I was living here in NY and Seamus was in Vanuatu, in the South Pacific, doing amazing humanitarian work and living the boat life.  We exchanged a few messages, catching up.  I was so impressed with this boy who had grown into the adult I was seeing in the many photos he posted online.  Seamus was LIVING LIFE!

In 2009, he shared some extraordinary correspondence about Theatre of the Oppressed work and theatre education while he was in residency at Montalvo Arts Center.  I had found a new connection with an old friend and exciting exchange if ideas took place.

I feel so lucky to have been a witness to the evolution of this amazing man.  He touched countless lives, including mine.

This video was taken last night at the opening of The Old Globe's latest show.  Seamus performing at the opening night party.

You will be missed by so many.  I hope you are riding high and flashing that big grin.  We love you.

Rest In Peace

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Exploring With Food and Drink

Friday I made my first foray in to brown liquor.  I had a bourbon on the rocks, one of my favorites.  It took be almost 2 hours to finish one drink.  It didn't bother my tummy and I didn't feel drunk (I am sure thanks to it taking 2 hours!)  It is nice to be feeling a little more normal again as far as social situations go.
I was also very inspired by a post on one of the VSG groups on FB.  A woman posted a recipe for egg muffins.  I created my own version and this is how they came out.

Mine have about 14g of protein/serving (2 muffins).  I used Egg Beater Plus, low sodium ham, sautéed mushrooms I had left over, some mozzarella and a little cheddar.  It was really a kitchen sink recipe.  
I had mine with a little Greek yogurt.  Salsa would be good too.  Might make Mexican flavored ones next time. :-)
In other news...I finally got my measurements from my first appointment last summer at NYU.  I wish we had taken more comprehensive measurements, but this will do.
July '13
Neck (inches): 19
Waist (Inches) : 57.5
Hip (inches): 66.5
1/26/14 (2 mos. post op)
Neck: 17 (Down 2 Inches)
Waist: 48 (Down 9.5 inches)
Hip: 60 (Down 6.5 inches)  (I suspect this is more because I wore shapeware to my first appointment so I am sure my initial measurement was higher.)
Total Inches Lost 18
Total Lbs Lost: 61

Sunday, January 19, 2014

War Wounds (WARNING: Scar photos!) and Challenging Myself

I am just five days short of my two month "sleeveaversary".  I am 60 pounds lighter.  I have 5 scars on my tummy.  Four of them are small like the one on the right.  It is about 3/4 of an inch wide.  One is about 1.5 inches.  They are looking good though.  Slowly fading.  I have to admit, there were more than a few moments where I was worried about not healing properly.  I had a scab that was hanging on but now it is off and just my five little scars.  Early on there was the feeling that they would open up. Maybe that is natural?  I have only had surgery once before and that was getting my tonsils out and I was 13.  I am healing, day by day.  My scars are war wounds of my battle with my weight and I am winning.

This morning I went and took a free trial kickboxing class at +CKO Kickboxing.  It was hard but great! After a quick overview of the different moves (about 10) I was ready to start.  Glad I brought water and a towel like they suggested on the website.  I was sweating in the first 10 minutes.  There are a few things I am not able to do yet (full push ups being one-and a new goal).  For the most park I did keep up though.  It was a well designed work out led by Sonja.  I liked working with the resistance band as well, something to invest in.  I wish membership was more affordable but I think I will try and go on Sundays for pay by the class.  Woo-hoo for kickboxing and sweating!

Oh, and Go Seahawks!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

New Recipe: Salmon Cakes ( I had some mashed sweet potato on the side!)

Generic - Seeds of Change, Certified Organic, Quinoa & Brown Rice With Garlic, 0.5 cup12024232001Ico_delete
Bumblebee - Canned Pink Salmon, 1 container (1 4/5 cups ea.)560021841,8900Ico_delete
Eggs - Large, Fresh, Boiled, Poached, 1 egg70066700Ico_delete
Generic - Hellmann's Low Fat Mayo, 3 tbsp (15g)1206303900Ico_delete
Spices - Garlic powder, 0.5 tsp510000Ico_delete
Spices - Onion powder, 0.5 tsp410010Ico_delete
Spices - Salt, table, 0.25 tsp00005810Ico_delete
Spice - Cracked Black Pepper, 1 tsp511110Ico_delete
Bread Crumbs-salt Free 12oz - 4c Seasoned, 0.5 Cup167352563Ico_delete
Add Ingredient      

Per Serving:263179257851
Mash salmon in a bowl making sure to remove any bones or skin.  

In a separate bowl whisk egg and spices.  Add to salmon.  Mix.

Add mayo, mix throughly.

Add brown rice and quinoa to salmon. (Cook it first if you have not yet.  I used left overs.)

Measure into 4oz patties.  Gently form and cover with bread crumbs.  Patty will be very soft, be gentle.
Repeat with remaining three patties.

Chill for 30 minutes to let set.

In a cast iron skillet, heat cooking oil of your choice- I used canola.  Cook until crispy- about 2-3 minutes on each side.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

NSV: Smaller Pants! (Sort of...) or Hammer Time

I know this is totally superficial but my pants don't fit.  You might be thinking, Meredith, that's great! but the problem is that I am in-between sizes.  Like many plus size women, I have a closet full of clothing that does not fit.  At one point it did but because of the years of yo-yoing I have a range of sizes that WILL eventually fit but don't yet.  I finally dug through Monday morning to pull out a new pair.  The old ones just don't stay up with out a belt and I don't own a belt.  I almost lost my pants walking up the stairs in the subway last week.  No one wants to see that.  So this morning when I was coming into school I was looking at the new pants, that fit more tightly around my waste hence preventing the falling off but look like a cross between Hammer Pants and Harem Pants.

I know, I know. It is just a matter of time before the next set of pants fit but to be honest, it can't come soon enough.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Navigating "Real" Food

I kinda love this! Maybe I will fart rainbows
when I reach my goal!

I went for my 1 month (but it was more like 6 week) follow up this week.  I was really nervous to go because I feared my surgeon being disappointed with my progress (as I write that, I know it is ridiculous).  I have been stalled for about 2 weeks- about when the transition to soft foods came.  I know things are changing because my clothes continue to get bigger but the number on the scale is not changing.  Yes, I know what you are saying, "Meredith, put your scale away.  You know that is not the best way to gauge your success."  I know, I know.  

I found this tip list about a month ago and I keep coming back to it as a reminder of things to do as I am eating:

Use these tips to slow down the eating process. 
• Eat 5 small meals per day, do not skip meals 
• Check the clock, take 30 minutes to eat every meal. It may help to keep a clock at your kitchen table. 
• Cut your food into small pieces and chew each bite about 20-30 times or until it feels like puree in your mouth. 
• Use a small spoon, cocktail fork, chopsticks or baby utensils. This helps you to eat smaller bites and helps control the speed of your eating. 
• Learn to savor the flavor and really taste each bite of food. 
• Place sandwiches and other finger foods back on your plate between bites. 
• Put your fork/knife/spoon down between bites. 
• If you are right handed, eat with your left hand, and vice versa. (Check out this spot ABC News just did on eating with your opposite hand.)
• Don’t let other people rush you, take your time and enjoy your food!

All good tips for me to remember.  I will keep working on getting 60-80 grams of protein in each day  (easier said than done!).  I will not worry about counting carbs because protein and veggies come first! I will drink 2L of water each day.  I picked up two flavors of Dasani Drops, the Cherry Pomegranate is my favorite.

Hope all is well!  


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Fitting In

It is really cold here in NYC.  Manhattan just funnels the cold air up the long avenues and it is painful at times waiting for a light to change (when we are not j-walking).  Here is me waiting in the freezing subway.  

Monday, when I was waiting for the train to go into work I sat down on one of the benches that has individual seats (I assume to prevent people sleeping on them).  The first thing I noticed in the past was how it felt to sit down.  Tight, uncomfortable, my hips just too wide to fit comfortably.  There was a period of time when I never sat down.  I didn't want to impost my body on any one and I didn't want to be uncomfortable myself.  So yesterday, when I went to sit down, I slid right in.  My butt fit!  It might seem silly or minuscule (no pun intended) but sitting in a normal size seat is a triumph.  

I am so excited for the day when flying is the same way. Stay warm!  -Meredith

Monday, January 6, 2014

Stage 4 Food

I think I get to start real food today- as some of you know there are 4 stages of food post surgery.

1. Clear/Liquid meals
2. pureed foods
3. soft foods
4. food foods

There are still a bunch of things that we are warned about eating for a while- like raw veg., foods with a lot of fiber that will be hard for the little tunny to process.  I have tried adding toasted whole wheat tortilla, which has been the best bread option in my stomach so far.  I did try a bagel thin but if I do it again it will have to be toasted.  The softness of bread is hard on the little tummy.

Food I packed today:
1. String cheese
2. fat free greek yogurt (i add splenda to mine)
3. 2 of of tuna w/ low fat mayo
4. 2 laughing cow light
5. 4 slices of sandwich meat (97% FF)

Mostly soft.  I am craving apple.  Applesauce gave me heartburn so maybe if I peel and slice raw that will be better.

I came across this on my cousin +Mary McCormick's facebook page.  It was inspiring.  No Regrets.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Recipe: Individual Chocolate Peanut Butter Ricotta "Cheesecake"

I wanted to make something chocolaty that was not pudding.  I love pudding but after a while I need something with a little more tooth feel.  After doing some research this is what I came up with!

At left, the batter is poured into the greased ramikins.  Above, the finished "cheesecake"!  132 Calories, 3g fat, 13g protein!!!

Generic - Fat Free Ricotta Cheese, 1.5 cup2702403645024Ico_delete
Chobani - Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt, 5 oz886014666Ico_delete
Eggs - Large Egg (Whole), 2 egg144110121300Ico_delete
Cocoa - Dry powder, unsweetened, 6 tbsp74184671Ico_delete
Splenda - Granulated No Calorie Substitute, 6 tsp000000Ico_delete
Honey, 2 tbsp1283500234Ico_delete
Bell Plantation - Pb2 - Powdered Peanut Butter (Exactly From Container), 4 Tbsp (12g)90103101882Ico_delete
Add Ingredient

Per Serving:1321631314111
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  Prepare 6 half cup ramekins by spraying with Pam.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the ricotta cheese together with the yogurt. 

Add the eggs, cocoa powder and PB2 and mix on low-medium speed until well blended. 

Mix in the sugar and the honey. 

Remove the bowl and mix by hand for a bit to make sure all the ingredients are well blended.

Pour 1/2 cup of chocolate mixture into ramekins: if using small ones, you should be able to make 6 desserts. 

Place the ramekins on a sheet pan and place in the oven. 

Bake for about 1 hour, until the cheesecakes are set. 

Can be served warm or chilled.