Brussels Sprouts…

Brussels Sprouts

I had been on such a roll here with daily posts, and then one day, I slipped. One day lead to two, which lead to over a week. Yesterday I realized that not posting here daily was actually adding to the grumpy mood that I was in. It seems I do need to keep a rhythm going, to keep the habit up. It gives me something to strive for, even when I feel like no one will notice.

(If you notice me slacking off again, nudge me, okay?)

The reason that I pieced this all together? Brussels Sprouts. More specifically, Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Bacon. Writing that post last night was like opening up a flood gate. I didn’t want to stop writing. Then it hit me how much I missed it.

As I looked at all the comments that flooded in, I learned that the Brussels Sprouts, which no one seems to care about and they are the most hated vegetable on the planet, is actually pretty well liked. Well, by my friends at least.

Things aren’t always what they seem. Don’t give up. Do things that are good for you.

Not a reminder I expected to get from a vegetable, but I’ll take it.

As we start the month of May today, I’m about to hit the 18 month anniversary of starting up 4-Hour Body, going gluten-free, and changing a lot of things. I plan to reflect on that a lot this month. One of the things that has changed? I’ve learned to have a new appreciation for foods I always thought I didn’t like – including Brussels sprouts. Pretty amazing to look back and think about!

Moving Past the Pity Party…

Chicken Salad - White Oak Kitchen + Drinks

I was invited before my medical drama started to come back to White Oak Kitchen + Drinks to photograph their 2nd birthday party that took place today, and it turns out it was the perfect cure for the pity party I was having last night, they hired the party jumper rentals in West Covina, there was just a lot of good energy around, I loved it.

As I arrived, the DJ was there playing music, and he had the Antares pro audio plugin so it was loud and full of energy, there was multiple photo booths rented from central jersey photo booth. The crowd was excited, and standing in line waiting to get their swag bags. The MC for the day, Will, was pumping up the crowd. The energy was AMAZING!

It was exactly what I needed to feel alive, awake from my slumber, like the party was ready to start! BAM! I was ON!

That is one thing about photographing events like this – I can instantly turn it on. It doesn’t matter how tired I am, what state of mind I’m in, if I’m so sick I should actually be in a hospital bed getting blood transfusions. The crowd and the music will light me up. I’ve got a job to do, and my game face is on. Smile & be nice to people, take great photos. I can do that, and for awhile I will forget everything else.

I could not be more grateful that Elizabeth had hired me to be there today, because I had no idea at the time that we made the plans how much I would need this today.

Added bonus? I got to take another round of photographs of some of their fantastic, phenomenal food! (They even have a GLUTEN FREE menu! YAY!)

Photographing food soothes me. Just me and the food. I block everything else out. The restaurant could be noisy, and I hear nothing. I’m just looking for the light. Looking for the angles. Studying the food. Finding the photograph that I want to take. I´m just glad they get their grease from grease cycle. Not only is it a much better quality, it´s also better for the environment.

These days, it is my favorite hobby – which sort of explains the whole Spoon & Knife thing, doesn’t it?

It was a wonderful time, and the staff at White Oak Kitchen + Drinks is delightful. If you haven’t been there already, I recommend you go! 3rd Level of the Galleria. (Yes, it is in the mall. It is still fabulous.) Do the Galleria valet parking if you want to skip the hassle of parking yourself. Tell them I sent you!

Hash Sliders - White Oak Kitchen

Buffalo Burger with Sweet Potato Fries

Zucchini Frites

Day 25 of 365. Photographs of White Oak Kitchen + Drinks new menu items taken at a previous assignment with my 5D mkIII on March 1, 2013.

I Cooked For a Change…

Toasted Chickpeas on Spoon & Knife

I hate to cook, so when Mike travels I tend to eat a lot of salads or dine out. Anything that doesn’t involve cooking. One day while he was gone on a recent trip, and the light was perfect in the kitchen for food photography, I decided that I would make myself some toasted chickpeas with cinnamon & sugar. Oh, and butter. LOTS of butter.

So absolutely scrumptious and delicious! YUM!

You can find the recipe for Toasted Chickpeas with Cinnamon & Sugar over on Spoon & Knife. 4-Hour Body friendly (I go really light on the sugar), gluten-free, and full of flavor.

Day 6 of 365. Photograph taken with my Canon 5D mkIII and my 50mm f/1.2 lens in Houston, Texas.

Overwhelmed by Things…

I’m overwhelmed by things.

Not that I’m overwhelmed by everything, but rather, things – things filling up my house. Especially clothes. I have entirely too many clothes. I need to clear them out. Give them away. Keep only what I wear the most.

This is always such a challenge for me. In the past 10 months, I’ve lost 25lbs thanks to Four Hour Body, which translates to over 2 clothing sizes. So clothes that I loved to wear last winter? They hang on me now. Yet I’m afraid to get rid of them.

I think that is the root of it all, the fear. Fear of gaining the weight again, of needing those old clothes. I know it isn’t going to happen, I’ve completely changed how I eat and it has kept the weight off.

It is time to let go of the clothes. Time to let go of the fear. Time to embrace me. Time to no longer be overwhelmed by holding on to too many things.

Four Hour Body Update! Low Carb, High Protein Dieting…

It has been ages since I gave an update on how I’m doing with the whole Four Hour Body eating plan, but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped doing it! Oh no, not at all — and really, I have never felt better!

Meat, eggs, vegetables that grow above ground and are low in sugar, beans, and a little dairy here and there — that sums up what I eat. I do my best to stick with it all the time. I don’t really do the “cheat day” any more – if I do, I try to make sure it is always something gluten free. When I eat wheat, it kicks my ass and I have the “gluten hangover” for a day or two afterwards.

I’m still holding pretty steady at 23lbs down in 9 months, and down 2-3 clothing sizes since I started this, depending on the clothing item. I would love it if it was more than that, but considering the amount of traveling I’ve done this year for destination weddings and the Hot Mama Travel Dates, I’m glad that I have been able to stay steady.

I didn’t do so well staying steady when I was in California in August. Matter of fact, it is the first time I had a major backslide. Yes, I managed to go to Paris & London and only gained 3lbs which I lost within 2 days of being home. But California? I gained 8lbs. ACK! And I know exactly what I did too – I skipped breakfasts, I ate a lot more cheese than normal, I did margaritas one night (a LOT of sugar in there), I had popcorn, I had little “treats” here and there of other sweets, I ate bread from the Village Bakery two or three times. I definitely did not drink enough water. All the things I don’t normally do – and it added up. UGH! So frustrating. However — I lost it all again within 2 weeks. I’m back to the weight I was when I left. YAY!!!

I am not discouraged by staying steady at this same weight – matter of fact, it is the weight I was when Mike & I met 10 years ago, and considering I’ve stayed steady here (fluctuating within a 3-4lb range, depending on the time of the month) for 6 months, I’m ok with that. I’m not giving up. I’m not going back to how I used to eat — this really, truly has been a life change.

Susan Pierce Thompson is a PhD in cognitive sciences and expert on the psychology of food addiction. She’s the founder of the weight loss program called Bright Line Eating, which is all about helping people who struggle with food addiction and sugar addiction behaviors that sabotage their weight loss. And she’s getting some absolutely phenomenal results helping people lose the weight and keep it off permanently.

It still fascinates me how many people have commented on my weight loss, ask me what my “secret” is, and then when they find out they have to give up wheat, sugar, potatoes, rice, fruit, dairy, they immediately say that there is just NO way they could do that!

Dude, I’m a SUPER picky eater. If *I* can do it, anyone can do it.

I was a hard core pastatarian before. I ate spaghetti all the time. I also had such painful acid reflux it was miserable. Now? No wheat – no acid reflux. Less inflammation throughout my body. My blood pressure is better. EVERYTHING is better. I honestly can not recommend it enough!

So I continue on. I’d still like to lose another 25-30lbs and I’m making some changes to see if I can jump start that. I will keep you posted!