Archive for the ‘South Beach’ Category

Curse you, Jillian Michaels!

January 5, 2012 2 comments

I say that tongue-in-cheek, of course.  Why?  Because she taught me something about nutrition that I wish I could unlearn.  Okay, maybe I don’t – but it would have been nice to remain blissfully unaware about this issue.

The issue at hand?  Sugar alcohols and their impact on blood sugar.

Several weeks ago, when I placed an order for our usual vitamins/supplements, I noticed that our online store also sold Atkins bars at a decent price.  Since I was getting free shipping, I decided to add a few boxes of various flavors.  One was the Chocolate Hazelnut Bar, which I had never even seen in stores before.  Holy crap, it was soooooo yummy!  There was so much nutty goodness, it didn’t really even strike me that I was eating fake chocolate.  In my mind, I had found the perfect snack – the box showed only 3 net grams of carbs.  Looking at the label confirmed this – 18 total carbs minus the 7g fiber and 8g sugar alcohol = 3 net carbs.  Hooray!

But then, Jillian Michaels had to come along and burst my bubble.

In her book Winning by Losing (not “Lose to Win”, as I mistakenly called it in a recent post), she dropped the bomb that you shouldn’t actually just subtract sugar alcohols from the overall carbs because they actually do impact your blood sugar – and have a relatively high Glycemic Index value.  Are you shitting me?  I could swear that I read in one of the South Beach Diet books that you *could* subtract sugar alcohols.  I’m going to have to give that one another read and see if I just made that up…but I know I had read it somewhere.  Well, Dr. Atkins at least probably believes this since his products tout a net carb amount that excludes sugar alcohols.


I decided to do a little more reading on the subject and found a good article on  So apparently there are different kinds of sugar alcohols and they all have a different GI value.  Malitol syrup is the highest listed, coming in at a 52 whereas good old sugar has a value of 60.  Not much difference, eh?  Of course there are others with a lower GI value (like 9 or 13) and even a couple with 0.

So, as long as my new favorite friends are made with Mannitol or Erythriol, I’m all good.  I certainly hope that Malitol isn’t on the list of ingredients…

You guessed it – both malitol and malitol syrup appear in the list of ingredients.

Talk about screwed.

So here I was, feeling guilty about having an apple because even a small one has 21 grams of carbs.  I looked to these Atkins bars as my salvation – my guilt-free treat option.  And now I’m highly upset.  Crushed.  Disillusioned.  Okay, well maybe more confused than anything.  At least this other article suggested how you could subtract part of the sugar alcohols from the total carb count…

Where do I go from here?  I suppose that those Atkins bars are still a better snacking option than say a Snickers bar, but what about an apple?  An apple comes from nature and I would think would be a better option.  But it still has more carbs than the Atkins bar, regardless of whether you subtract sugar alcohols or not.  Maybe I’m being a little too literal and should just go with the flow – as long as I’m not eating 4 apples or 4 Atkins bars per day, does it really matter in the grand scheme of things?  Maybe there’s something to be said for not paying attention to all this carb nuttiness and just trying to make healthy, common-sense choices?

Talk about rocking my world.  Is there anything you’ve learned about fitness or nutrition that has rocked yours?


Saturday Weigh-In: Tis The Season

December 17, 2011 6 comments

What a week!  Two holiday parties for work and a big lunch out with DH on our day off yesterday and somehow the scale still reflected a loss this morning, albeit a tiny one.  I lost about a half of a pound – 323.2.  On one hand, I’m a little upset because last week I was really trying to keep my calories to 1200 per day (after exercise) and I thought the pounds would just come flying off.  Granted, I’m sure I overindulged during our special lunches this week but tried to make up for it with little/no dinner and exercise.  Oh well, a loss is a loss, right?

DH and I were talking last night about one of my favorite conundrums – what matters the most, carbs or calories.  The part of me that enjoys crackers and cheese and peanut butter on whole grain English muffins wants to believe that it is just the calories and that if you eat few enough, and burn off enough with exercise, you’ll lose weight.  But unfortunately, it seems our brief stint on the South Beach Diet plan gives us evidence to the contrary – or at least shows that you lose weight faster if you restrict your carb intake.  I’m sure the real truth is that it is a matter of both.  I’d be hard pressed to believe that someone on the SBD could really eat 3,000 calories a day and not gain weight.  When we were in Phase 1 of the SBD there were some days that I didn’t have more than 1,000 calories – I think once you cut out all of those carbs it is hard to find high calorie things that you could eat a lot of in one sitting.  So I guess the jury is still out – we’re just trying to get through the holidays and will then think a little more about how we want to move forward – low-carb or not.

This should be a pretty busy weekend, which is good because when I’m busy I don’t snack!  Of course when I’m baking (which I still have a lot of to do today) I have a bad habit of tasting everything.  Except for a new recipe I tried for pecan tassies  – they were like crack so I’ve had 3 of them since Thursday.  First thing I’m going to bake today are these little peanut butter cup cookies and since they’re my favorite, I’m going to have to work like hell to resist their delicious allure.

What is your favorite cookie?

Categories: South Beach, Weight Loss

Recipe: Chicken Breasts Baked in Wine

December 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Tonight we had a delicious dinner of chicken breasts that were baked in wine, plus glazed carrots.  I would say this meal is pretty South Beach Diet-worthy, probably Phase 2 because of the carrots.  There is also the Splenda brown sugar blend in both, but for the chicken I’m not sure how much really gets absorbed by the chicken and how much just stays in the dish.  So use your own judgement.  Regardless, it was super tasty!  According to my calculations, the whole meal came in at under 400 calories.  It might be neat to have this with a little brown rice sometime as well.  The original recipe is posted here and below it is tweaked for 3 people with some modifications to make it even more healthy than it already was.


  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup less sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. water
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Splenda brown sugar blend
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all ingredients in a deep dish.  Bake for 1.5 hours.

Ease: Prep is way easy, but the long baking time for me makes it a weekend dinner.  However, the juicy chicken is well worth it in the end!

Whole-Family Appeal: 3 of 3 thumbs up – we all loved it!

Wouldeatitagain Factor: For sure.  The breasts we had were about 6 oz. each so we saved part to have for lunch over salads this week.

This week’s meal plan

November 6, 2011 Leave a comment

So I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned this before, but when we first started trying to lose weight, we knew one of the biggest hurdles to overcome was our habit of dining out several dinners (and lunches) each week.  So I bought a couple of South Beach Diet cookbooks and made a commitment to eat at home more often.  To do this, I knew we needed to do a better job of planning out our meals for the week.  I started just keeping track of things on notebook paper.  If I found a recipe online, I’d print it out.  Pretty soon we had a lot of loose notebook and printer paper lying around.

That’s when I went in search of meal planning software.  One of the tools I found was web-based, which totally appealed to me, so I signed up.  The site is Plan To Eat, and there is a 30 day free trial.  When my free trial ended, I signed up for a year’s subscription – it really has been a big help for us.  First, it allows me to enter and save recipes right in my own online recipe box.  (An awesome bonus is it comes with this toolbar button that will automatically fill in all of the information for recipes you save on certain websites – and they’re a ton of them.  I hope that they make Kalyn’s Kitchen one soon!)  Second, it has a weekly meal planning section that is literally a drag-and-drop interface, which is super easy to use.  And lastly, the meal planning populates a shopping list.  How cool is that?  It makes my life easier.

Anywho, back to the topic at hand – our meal plan for this week.  We’re working our way back to being more consistent with the South Beach Diet and at this point I’m darn tempted to go back to Phase 1 for a couple of weeks.  I need to re-read the SBD book for motivation.  Both DH and I are very sensitive to carbohydrates, so it is something to be considered.

Today – Bertolli Pasta Bake and salad (I bought a couple of bags on sale, so while not SBD friendly, we keep portion size low)Pork Chops with Dijon Sauce and green beans

Monday – Crock Pot Orange Chicken and rice (going to use sugar-free orange marmalade and low-sugar ketchup, brown rice)

Tuesday –  Pork Chops with Dijon Sauce and green beans

Wednesday – Chicken Spinach Pear Salad With Gorgonzola & Pecans (DS will probably have Spaghettios and leftover green beans)

Thursday – Barbacoa Beef over Cilantro Lime Rice with Southwestern Black Bean Salad (will freeze half of the beef for another week)

Friday – Pizza and salad

Saturday – Leftover Barbacoa Beef

So that’s the plan – now let’s see how well we stick to it.  Lunch this week will be any leftovers, or salads.  I think I’ll be having Cobb salad for the most part, so I better go get some hard boiled eggs made!

Categories: South Beach, Weight Loss

Recipe: A1 Ranch Patty Burgers

November 2, 2011 Leave a comment

We had these burgers a couple of weeks ago and I thought they were so good, I figured I’d post the recipe.  When following the South Beach Diet, I’ve had a hard time eating burgers without the bun.  I honestly don’t like meat that much and kind of rely on the bun to cut all the meat taste, if that makes any sense.  So I was pleasantly surprised when I had these burgers and didn’t even miss the bun!  The recipe is originally from and modified slightly.  I think these are good for South Beach dieters, except for the sugar.  I need to look into the steak sauce too…


  • 6 Tbsp A1 Steak Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Ranch Dressing Mix Powder
  • 2 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1 lb Ground Beef 90% Lean
  • 2 tsp Smart Balance


Combine steak sauce, ranch powder, sugar, salt and pepper. Pour over ground beef and mix well. Divide into four equal portions and shape into patties. In a large skillet, melt Smart Balance, then add burgers and cook on each side for four minutes or until patties are cooked to taste. Remove burgers, place on plate with side items, and do not add a bun. Drizzle drippings on each burger and serve.

Ease: Great for weeknights

Whole-Family Appeal: 2.5 of 3 thumbs up (DH thought that the flavors were too strong.  We’re thinking next time we’ll reduce the A1 to maybe 4 Tbsp and see if that helps.  I’m also interested in trying to substitute Splenda instead of the sugar next time.)

Wouldeatitagain Factor: We’re definitely going to try this again.  I actually took the leftover burger in for lunch the next day and that’s almost unheard of for me – so I’m stoked!

Recipe: Beef Tips in Crockpot

August 20, 2011 Leave a comment

If you’ve read the last several blog posts, you’ll know that DH and I are both struggling mightily to stay on that low carb bandwagon.  We usually do pretty good about 4 days a week, and not quite as good the other 3.  Lunches typically remain good with salads and breakfasts are as good as they’re going to get (I just can’t give up my Fiber One bar), so it is the dinners that are really hurting.  We’ve been turning to fast food or ordering in or eating out more than we should.  So, finding quick, easy low carb dinners is a key for us.

This meal is pretty good – we ended up eating it over a serving of brown rice, which is probably more appropriate for people in Phase 2 of the South Beach Diet.  You could certainly just eat the beef on its own if you were on Phase 1.

Original recipe can be found here – the recipe below is simply for 4 servings instead of 8.


1 lb. lean stew meat (we used meat for stir fry)
1 envelope Lipton onion soup mix
1 (10.5 oz.) can of 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup red wine (or beef broth)
1 (8 oz.) can sliced mushrooms, drained


Mix all ingredients in crockpot and cook on low 6-8 hours.  Serve over brown rice or noodles if desired.

Ease: Perfect for any night of the week

Whole-Family Appeal: 2.75 of 3 thumbs up (DS didn’t like the sliced mushrooms.  I’m not a huge fan of them either, but the sauce was so stinking good that I was able to eat most of them!)

Wouldeatitagain Factor: Yes!  We had it over brown rice, but we might just try on its own sometime, maybe with a side of green beans.

Categories: Recipes, South Beach

Trying to get started again

July 10, 2011 Leave a comment

DH and I are struggling to get started on the South Beach Diet again.  Ever since vacation, we’ve been rather relaxed in our approach to things – behave well for a few days, then have an “off day”, then another day or two on, another day or two off, etc.  DS having his soccer and t-ball practices 4 nights a week hasn’t been helping.  We’ve been working late, which means we end up picking him up late, which means we don’t have a lot of time to make dinner and exercise before going to practice.  So, we are definitely struggling!

I’m also getting a little concerned about how much we’re spending on groceries.  We’ve been eating more “big meals” on this plan and it always involves meat.  Before, we could just make up a box of mac n cheese or some hot dogs and toss in a bag of steamed corn and it was a meal.  Now it is a full production with meat and veggies taking up the majority of our plates, whereas before carbs were a much bigger part.

I’m glad I have this blog so I can get my frustrations out, as it were.  Even if nobody reads it, it helps tremendously!

We’re going to try to get going again this week.  I did some meal planning and feel like we’ve got some meals that shouldn’t take too much prep time and if we can manage to leave work at a normal time, that will help too.

Of course, last week our scale broke, so we have no idea what this whole detour is doing to our weight loss efforts.  Stay tuned!

Categories: South Beach, Weight Loss