Wordless Wednesday: Roadtrip Almonds


Review: KalorieBox Healthy Snack Delivery

kalorieboxWho doesn’t love to get goodies in the mail? I know I do!

I was approached by Kaloriebox to see if I was interested in receiving a box to review for my blog. I love food and trying new things, so it was a no-brainer for me.

The box I received included the following:

Kaloriebox is a pretty cool concept. Quoting their website:

KalorieBox is simple: choose a plan, get your KalorieBox in the mail every month, and discover low calorie, healthy alternatives to the foods you already love.

You’ll start by choosing the plan that works best for you. We have three options you can pick from: monthly, 3-month, and 6-month. You can cancel any time, and we have a money back guarantee.

After you’ve signed up and chosen a plan, you’ll receive your KalorieBox in the mail every month. Each box is shipped on the 15th and will contain five or more low calorie, healthy items. Oh yeah, did we mention shipping is free?

kaloriebox review

On to the review:

Zevia: I’ve tried a few “natural” sodas before, and they’re not very tasty. I’ve seen Zevia at the store before, and I’ve passed it over because I’ve had a hard time finding anything sweetened with Stevia that I actually like. I was pleasantly surprised with the lime Zevia…it’s like a Sprite but more refreshing. And less carbonated, so it’s better for my grouchy pouch.

Cheese Thinnables: Protien and fiber packed crackers have been hit or miss in my experience, so I was least excited to try the Thinnables of anything in the box. They look exactly like Cheez-Its…but taste about half as good. I wasn’t impressed, and after three crackers I set the box aside. I’ll hand them off to my husband for his next mindless late-night snacking spree.

Mango Peeled Snacks: I used to eat a lot of dried fruit before surgery, but not it’s on the no-no list because it’s so high in sugar and can cause dumping. But Dried mango is my favorite, so I was happy that  “Much Ado About Mango” was the fruit snack in the delivery. Peeled Snacks are USDA certified organic with no preservatives. The texture of the mango was kinda tough, so I had to chew it a lot, but it tasted pretty good.

FiberOne Cookie: For a long time I ate FiberOne bars daily because they were a low-point choice on Weight Watchers. But eventually, I started getting all sorts of GI issues from the bars, so I stopped eating them (even though they tasted SO good). The FiberOne cookie is yummy, and tastes a bit more like cookie dough than  an actual cookie. I only nibbled a bit on it because I didn’t want to risk the GI problems from the chicory root extract.

Pacific Almond Vanilla Milk: The almond milk was by far my favorite thing in the box. I have really been digging almond milk, and I like that Pacific sells it in a ready-to-drink pouch. I’m going make today’s protein smoothie with it.

Pirate’s Booty White Cheddar Puffs: Pirate’s Booty has been my “snack crack” for years. I LOVE eating these puffs, but I have so little control over myself with an open bag that I only will buy snack-size bags now. The booty wasn’t listed on the packing list, so it was a nice surprise to have in my shipment.

I’m on the fence about whether or not Kaloriebox would be a good thing to give my endorsement to for bariatric patients. It’s great for people who are trying to make better snack choices and lose weight, but the stuff in the box isn’t necessarily the best for a bariatric diet. I would prefer that more items were higher in protein (like samples of protein powder or jerky/meat snacks). My only complaint about the actual delivery was that the box was filled with scrunchie little red paper things, and they got all over my room. But as for the concept – I love it. I love to try new things, especially if they’re healthy. It was a nice assortment of snacks to try.

FTC Disclosure: I received this box complimentary from Kaloriebox for the express purpose of reviewing the box on my blog. No additional compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.

I’ve Become A Picky Eater

One of the reasons I have been obese most of my life is because, well, I love food. Who doesn’t? I’ve always had a pretty exotic palate and have loved trying new things. Before surgery, even when I didn’t like something, I’d usually eat it. Now…I (inconspicuously) spit things out.

I still like to eat, but it’s not as satisfying as it was. When I was in North Carolina last week for Type A Parent Conference, I realized how picky I was compared to other people.

Take these enchiladas – I ordered them because shredded beef in sauce is usually pretty tolerated in my pouch. But I didn’t eat the pico de gallo on top (can’t eat uncooked onions, tomatoes weren’t ripe enough), ate the guacamole, fished some beef out of the enchiladas, but left the tortillas. I poked around my plate a lot. I maybe ate 20% of the food I was served, and didn’t bring any leftovers with me, for two reasons 1) No fridge in my hotel, 2) Leftovers almost always make me sick (especially leftover meat.)

Some restaurants are easier to order at than others. I went to Cheesecake Factory about a month ago, and only found 2 items in their expansive 26-page menu that I could tolerate. And again, I picked around my plate and barely made a dent in the gigantic portion. My go-to restaurant items are soup or maybe a side of meat. I watch other people eat with mixed feelings – some jealousy that they can eat things I can’t eat anymore, but it reminds me of the portions I used to consume. I also get a lot of apologies  – “Sorry I’m eating something you can’t eat” or “Will this make you sad if I eat this in front of you?”

Eating at home is hard too. I feel like I have to put so much thought into my food choices, and can’t just make decisions on the spot. My husband and I often have this conversation in the morning when he wants to get me something for breakfast.

  • Do you want me to make you a smoothie?
  • No.
  • How about some yogurt?
  • Meh, no.
  • Do you want eggs?
  • Ugh no. I’m not in the mood to vomit.
  • Geez, you’ve gotten so hard to make breakfast for.

We also are now sharing a fridge with my family (since we moved into my parents basement) and there’s not as much space for our food selections. Or things get accidentally eaten. Also, instead of being 3 blocks from the grocery store, we’re about 5 miles. It sometimes feels easier to just not eat than go shopping.

My meals are supposed to be be 70% protein, 30% vegetables. But I don’t always get the ratio right every meal. My lunch the other day was a few slices of Mocetta beef, a couple of pistachios, a couple of carrot chips, and some watermelon.  It’s been so nice to add some fresh veggies and fruit back into my diet, but they don’t always stay down. I’ve been craving salads, but my attempts at fresh romaine lettuce and baby spinach have been quite uncomfortable.

Despite the small portions, my weight loss hasn’t been exceptionally impressive. I spent a few weeks hovering between 298 and 301, and I was getting frustrated. Yesterday I was at 295, and I hope to leave the 290s behind very soon. Still, it’s hard to be upset about losing 78 pounds in less than 5 months.

Down 29 Pounds – 3 Weeks Post-Op

After a tough day yesterday, I promised myself I wouldn’t overdo it today. I had to wake up at 5 to pick my husband up from the airport, but I was already half awake when my alarm went off. After having Taylor home for 3 weeks, 4 days apart felt like a long time. Seeing him was worth the 5am wake up call.

I went in to work to work on a proposal that was due at 10, had a meeting, and was out of the office by 11:30. I was gone before I was exhausted, which was a nice change. It was hard to turn down urgent projects, but my body is much more important than my work at the moment.

I spent the better part of the afternoon in bed, took a two hour nap, and regained enough energy to leave the house for a few hours. With how many people ask me about my weight loss, it’s been frustrating to not have a scale at home (that goes high enough to track my weight). We did a little shopping, picked up a scale, and visited some friends.

I weighed in this evening, and I’m down another 7 pounds, which puts me at 344.2. This means I’ve lost a total of 29.1 pounds since 1/30/12. Today I also fit into another pair of smaller jeans. After so many years of weight loss failures, it’s exciting to see the progress to quickly!

A friend mentioned to me tonight, “You’re getting numbers like on The Biggest Loser.” Funny that I auditioned for The Biggest Loser, and didn’t get a callback. Although it would have been interesting to be on a TV show, I think that weight loss surgery was a much better long-term decision for me. It’s crazy to me that 3 weeks ago, I was laying in a hospital bed, only allowed to sip one ounce of water per hour.

Food diary:

  • String cheese
  • 2 oz light yogurt
  • 1 TB peanut butter
  • 2 oz chopped grilled chicken with sauce and cheese
  • 2 TB refried beans
  • 2 oz sliced roast beef with au jus  (part of a French dip minus the bread)
  • Jell-o pudding mousse

Laughing Cow Cheese Queso Dip Recipe

laughing cow queso dipLaughing Cow Cheese Queso Dip

  • 4 wedges Laughing Cow Light Queso Fresco and Chipotle Cheese
  • 1 cup of your favorite salsa

Unwrap the cheese wedges and place them in a small bowl. Microwave for about 30 seconds and then stir. Cheese should be warm and melted. Add salsa to the melted cheese and stir.

Serves 4. Each serving has 49 calories, 2g fat, 408mg sodium, 5g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 1g sugar, 3g protein.

Earlier this week I got a fun gift pack from The Laughing Cow.  The box included a wheel of Queso Fresco and Chipotle cheese, some salsa, baked blue corn chips, and the above recipe. Other than the chips, it’s perfect for the post-op food stage I’m in.

I whipped it up for a party I attended last night, and it was very tasty. It was nice to make a recipe to bring to a party so I was guaranteed to have something I was able to eat. I’m glad I did, because the rest of the party was cupcakes, fresh veggies, and potato and tortilla chips, all of which I couldn’t eat. I did take a few nibbles of the blue corn chips as I ate the dip, and was happy to see it didn’t make me sick at all. Bypass-friendly recipes FTW!


2nd Day Back To Work – Post-Op Day 15

Day 2 back to work was actually more exhausting than yesterday. I felt more tired and had a harder time concentrating. I planned to work a half day, but had a mandatory meeting at 1pm, so I stayed longer than I really had energy for. By the time I got home, I was totally tuckered out. A long nap was necessary.

jack daniels bbq chickenToday’s lunch was so yummy. One of my favorite items from Costco is the Jack Daniel’s pulled BBQ chicken in the refrigerated section. It’s nice and tender, and easy to eat post op. I melted some cheese on top, and it was a great meal. For dinner, my husband made chicken curry, which was also delicious. I had a tiny bit of rice with it, and didn’t have any problem tolerating it.

Food Diary:

  • Light yogurt
  • 1 TB peanut butter
  • 1 oz Creminelli Mocetta
  • 2 oz Simply Apple juice
  • Muscle Milk light shake
  • 2 oz pulled chicken and cheese
  • 2 oz chicken curry with rice
  • A few sips of hot chocolate

Pushing Myself on President’s Day

nicole bullock braids

Today is President’s Day, which meant that I postponed my return to work by a day for the Federal holiday. If nobody was going to be in the office, I surely wasn’t going to be. I spent a fair amount of time going through paperwork and crunching numbers though. I’m trying to figure out my flexible spending amounts for reimbursement and for tax purposes. It’s ridiculous how many medical expenses I had last year. Just in prescriptions with $5-15 copays each, I paid $585 out of pocket. I’m hoping with this surgery and my improving health that my medical expenses will drop dramatically.

Taylor and I went and did some shopping today. I wanted to get a new neoprene lunch bag for work that would fit ice packs. While I was out, I also got some cute little square bowls that hold less than 3 ounces…perfect for portioning out my meals. When I’m served food on a big plate, it’s really easy to overeat. And when I overeat, even just a bite or two, it makes me sick.

I also perused through the clothes racks, and found a shirt I really liked that was on sale for $5.99. Now, many people on the weight loss surgery forums tell me not to buy new clothes while I’m dropping weight rapidly, because it ends up being a big waste of money. For $6, I don’t mind shrinking out of it in a few weeks. I grabbed a 2X and a 3X sized shirt and went to try them on. The 3X was too baggy, and the 2X was only a tiny bit tight, so I went for the 2X. It was fun to buy a shirt in a size smaller than usual.

We did a little more shopping, had some lunch, and went back to the house for a while. I went back to working through all those medical receipts…what a hassle. I also had to call my insurance to reprocess a bunch of claims (including my $42K hospital bill). Cigna thinks I have other insurance, and they’re continually denying claims as “deficient” because they want another plan to pay first. It’s been happening over and over for dozens of claims over the last year. I wish Cigna would get their act together.

farberware resin knife set

While I was working though the piles of paperwork, I got a knock at the door. Taylor had ordered me a new set of resin knives as a Valentines Day gift. With all the portioning and food preparation, and nice new set of knives tickled my fancy more than flowers or other gifts. If you haven’t noticed from the knives, bowls, and lunch bag, I love bold and fun colored items. With all the years of weight loss attempts, I’ve worn a lot of black. I hope to get into more bold and fun colored clothes as I lose weight.

In the afternoon, we went back down to Lehi for family movie time. My husband, daughter, dad, and brother went to see Star Wars Episode I in 3D, and my mom and I saw The Vow. I can’t remember the last time I went out to see a movie with my mom, and it was nice to have time with her.

Between shopping and movie time, I was a very exhausted girl by the early evening. We had Del Taco for dinner, and I had the insides of a chicken soft taco (sauce, chicken bits, and cheese). I felt like it was an acceptable portion, but chicken is still hard for me to eat. I immediately felt like I overate, and was very uncomfortable for over an hour. I wretched a few times, but was able to keep down my dinner. It’s so hard to know what foods I’ll be able to tolerate. I need to get enough protein, but meat is tough to keep down.

Tomorrow I’m back to work, and my goal is to make it through a half day. With my FMLA orders, I’m allowed to work a few reduced hour days before going back to my normal schedule. Hopefully I’ll feel up to it….tonight I’m so tired that I’m probably going to be asleep by 9:30.

Food diary:

  • A few sips of a protein smoothie
  • 1 wedge light Laughing Cow cheese
  • meat and cheese from part of a cheeseburger
  • heaping tablespoon of peanut butter
  • 2oz of light chicken and veggie soup
  • insides of Del Taco chicken soft tacos
  • 4 oz Coco-peach drink (Silk Coconut milk with sugar-free Torani peach syrup)


In A Fight With My Body

feeling rotten

If I’ve learned anything since I’ve had surgery, it’s that my body has a mind of it’s own. Some days are trouble-free, other days make me want to curl up and cry myself to sleep. Today was one of the latter days.

With a vomit-free week and a half after surgery, I was feeling confident that my body was healing and ready for new foods. But even though certain foods are on the list as acceptable for the post-op phase I’m in, it doesn’t mean I’ll be able to keep them down.

This morning was particularly horrid. It started out with liquid diarrhea, which has been pretty common since I started moving my bowels post-op. For breakfast, I had some egg whites with cheese, but was still a little hungry. So my husband heated up some lean turkey sausage links. I cut them up in little bits, but they were very dry. I ate them with some gravy, but it was still hard to stomach. I waited a few minutes to have a sip of water, then the pain began.

It almost always begins in my back for some reason. My spine and back muscles ache, and I want to hunch over. Then I get the feeling like I’ve been punched in my upper gut, and I start releasing funny burpy noises. Some of the food regurgitates up, and I feel like the only thing that will help me feel better is a good burp. And when I get that burp, my mouth starts watering profusely, and I know I’ve got about 10 seconds before I’m going to vomit.

The last two days when I vomited (applesauce and chicken), it was a quick, fairly painless process. I don’t get the yucky bile taste like I used to, since I’m basically emptying the contents of my stomach pouch in reverse. But today, I kept heaving and wretching. And with each wretch, I lose bladder control. Nothing like puking and peeing your pants at the same time. Because it happened in bed, I got to wrap up in my daughter’s cute flamingo sheets while the others were washed.

All of this happened around the time that I was supposed to be getting ready for church. I decided to let my husband and daughter go without me, which was good because I was miserable and nauseous. About 10 minutes after they left, I sipped some water….and lost it a few minutes later. The wretching was even worse this time, so I decided to let my body settle a bit and take some liquid Lortab. I yakked it up almost immediately. At that point I was in pain, wretching, dehydrated, hungry, and ready to take a nap.

After the nap, I felt significantly better. I was able to keep down some lunch, walk around the house a bit, shave my legs, and take more Lortab. But even 7 hours later, I’m still kinda weak and achy. We went to my parents’ house in Lehi for dinner, which was tacos. I had a bit of refried beans, and melted some cheese on the “taco meat.” This “taco meat” was previously prepared ground turkey, frozen and reheated. It was super dry, even with the cheese oils, and I didn’t think I could keep it down. But I moved to a more comfortable chair, relaxed, and let it digest a bit. Despite the discomfort, I was able to keep it down.

Before I left my parents’ house, I hopped on their scale. Tonight I weighed in at 352.0, which is down 3.3 pounds from last Monday. This means I’ve lost 12.3 pounds since surgery, and a total of 21.3 pounds since I started the pre-surgery diet. I’m not really noticing a difference in my clothes yet, but I definitely can see it in my face. There’s a lot more definition in my face, and my cheeks are much less puffy. I wonder how much different I will look once I’ve dropped, 50, 100, or even more weight. I can’t wait until my collarbones show up…I always liked my collarbones. 🙂

Tomorrow is my last day at home before I go back to work. Hopefully I will be able to keep down all my food and not wear myself out too much before returning to the office. I’m going to get a nice new insulated lunch bag tomorrow so I can bring the foods I need to work. I don’t know how many hours I’ll be able to handle this week, but luckily I’ve got a few days to work back up to my normal hours.

Today’s food diary

  • Egg whites and cheese with bits of lean turkey sausage (lost it)
  • Sugar-free fat-free vanilla pudding (lost it)
  • 2 oz of frozen yogurt
  • Hummus, salami, and melted havarti cheese
  • Sauteed baby portobella mushrooms
  • “Taco night” with my parents – melted cheese over ground turkey with refried beans (almost lost it)
  • Melted mexi-blend shredded cheese
  • 2 strawberries
  • Silk coconut milk drink with sugar-free peach syrup

Post-Op Day 10 – Applesauce, Hiccups, and Progress

I have to admit, it’s really nice to be able to report good news. I felt like I really had some downer posts at the beginning of the week, both with Weighty Impressions and my post-op pneumonia. I’m starting to see a little indent in my cheek…can you see it?

Not everything is hunky dory though. I vomited today. It’s the first time since I’ve had surgery. I’m cleared to eat fresh fruit, but it’s not digesting so well. My tiny watermelon chunks come out like mashed watermelon, even though they are well chewed. I was craving applesauce, and had a bunch of apples that needed to be used, so I decided to make my own. I peeled, cored, and chunked 10 apples, and pureed it with cinnamon and vanilla extract. It came out delicious, and I had about 2 tablespoons. Unfortunately, I lost it within 5 minutes. I need to be careful to limit my sugar intake, including fructose (fruit sugar). Maybe my body will be ready for it in a few weeks.

I went to Cafe Rio for lunch, and was happy to eat my beloved pork barbacoa without any problems. Really body…pulled pork over fresh applesauce?

One of the worst things I’ve dealt with since surgery is the hiccups. It happens up to 10 times a day, and it’s usually from drinking water too fast. When I get them, it feels like my insides are being ripped apart, which is not cool after abdominal surgery. I found out that a spoonful of peanut butter helps better than any other remedy, but I have to be careful to not eat too much. Yesterday I uploaded this video to YouTube.

I took my measurements again today, and I’m exciting to see there’s progress beyond the pounds. Nothing drastic, but enough to make a difference. Here are my new measurements, compared to 2/2/12:

  • Neck – 16.25 (16.75)
  • Bust 51.75 (52)
  • Chest 46 (46)
  • Upper bulge 51 (53)
  • Waist 48.5 (49)
  • Hip/butt 60.5 (62)
  • Thigh 33 (34)
  • Calf 22.25 (23)
  • Ankle 11.5 (12.5) – and so much less swollen looking!
  • Bicep 18.5 (20)
  • Lower arm 14 (14.5)
  • Wrist 8 (9)

Eating Carefully At Cafe Rio

One of my favorite restaurants is Cafe Rio, a Utah-based Mexican fast casual diner. Tacos, burritos, enchiladas, salads, tostadas, and nachos galore! Their signature meat is a sweet pork barbacoa, pulled to perfection. The portions are plentiful and prices are reasonable. Oh, and the food tastes wonderful too.

All of these things are great…unless you’ve had weight loss surgery. Today was my coworker Suzanne’s last day, and a bunch of people met for lunch at Cafe Rio. I was feeling good and craving the Rio, so I decided to show up a little early, save some tables, and look over the menu with a fine-toothed comb.

After assessing what I can eat and what was on the menu, I thought of the genius idea for my dietary needs – a portion of pork barbacoa, smothered with green sauce and melted cheese. I talked to three different people at the register, showed them my dietary needs card, and they were all kinda weird about me ordering it. Since it would be about 4 bucks, it didn’t really seem worth it to me because I’d only be eating about 2 ounces of it. Plus, they acted like it was a huge inconvenience.

So instead, I ate off of Suzanne’s giant pork nachos. I took three chips from her pile, and only ate the pork and cheese, with a little bit of well-chewed pico de gallo. I tried the back beans, but they weren’t soft enough to mash, so I didn’t have them. I barely made a dent in her dish, and picked at the meat and cheese a little more over the hour, but left the restaurant feeling comepletely satisfied. Best part is that I got to eat some of my favorite food, meed my dietary needs, and it didn’t get me sick at all. Win win!