Friday, June 23, 2017

Domino Sugar Diet Recap

 Now that my adventure with the Domino Sugar Reducing Diet Menus pamphlet has come to an end, I wanted to try to share some of the things I learned along the way. I've made some comments in the menu lists below as well.

And now on to the menus:

Week 1

  • Poached egg on buttermilk toast, OJ, coffee with milk & sugar
  • Roast chicken breast sandwich, chicken broth
  • Hamburger with lettuce bun, carrot & pineapple slaw, green beans
  • Apple pie

Week 2

  • Poached egg on sourdough toast, tomatoes & mushrooms, coffee & sugar
  • Roast chicken sandwich, chicken broth
  • Angel food cake & apple with pie spices
  • Bratwurst, sauerkraut, mashed potato, orange slices

This dinner was received much better than I expected, and we're actually having it again this week. It was something totally new to our table, but we both really enjoyed it, and I think it'll be making regular appearances from now on.

Week 3

  • Vegemite toasty (tomato & swiss on dark rye), grapefruit, coffee & sugar
  • Ham & Swiss on dark rye, chicken broth, iced coffee, jello
  • Roast chicken thighs, carrots & peas
  • "Cactus Cooler" sorbet

I think this type of dessert is the only daily dessert we'll be having going forward. It was tasty, low cal, and low effort, and with the insane heat we've been having already this summer I think freezy treats will be a nice way to end some of our hot days in the next few months.

Week 4

  • Poached egg on light rye, grapefruit & sugar, coffee & sugar
  • Liverwurst sandwich, radish, celery & tomato veggie snack bag
  • Roast turkey, spinach salad & tomato vinaigrette, soft pretzel roll
  • Peppermint icemilk

Week 5

  • Fried egg & hot sauce on light rye, bacon, sparkling grapefruit drink, coffee & sugar
  • Egg salad sandwich, tomato slices, lemon rosewater whipped jello
  • Baked trout, squid ink pasta with tomato & garlic, green beans
  • Strawberry rhubarb pie

This was the week when I realized that having dessert every day gives me dessert burn-out. I didn't think it was possible, but I truly can have too much of a good thing. Having pie every day is awesome, but after a couple days I start to feel like the calories could be better spent on a larger volume of food. Over the course of this project I tried a few weeks where I got to have an indulgent dessert every day, and a few where there was no dessert because I budgeted those calories into a bigger meal instead.

I think both of those approaches are wrong for me, and going forward I intend to aim to fit dessert into my weekly menu by budgeting a weekly dessert amount of calories instead of daily. My plan is to have desserts 2-3 days a week, so that my total weekly calorie budget still works out to 1200/day even if my daily calories aren't exactly that every single day. I feel like I'm finally armed with the ability to evaluate my meal choices on the fly and make edits to a few days each week to fit the dessert in as a regular, but not daily, treat. I think taking the time to make a few desserts, and get a handle on exactly how many calories are in a serving, and what a reasonable serving looks like, was a very important part of developing that ability.

Week 6

  • Cloud egg, buttermilk toast & butter, coffee & sugar
  • Chicken, goat cheese & pasta salad, dill pickle
  • Chicken liver, mashed potato, broccoli, onions & red peppers
  • Baked cider-spiced apple

These apples were a huge hit, and the flavor is really easy to customize. We tried them with chai tea instead of mulling spices one night and they were just as good (if not better.) I also intend to make some with earl grey tea, and I've been trying to work out a recipe on paper to make them with maple syrup and bacon because I think that'd be amazing too.

Week 7

  • Cream of wheat & butter-maple-raisin topping, coffee & sugar
  • Pork roll, egg & cheese sliders, dill pickle
  • Steak & mushrooms, tomatoes, broccoli
  • Baked pineapple-right-side-up apple

This was the week I truly felt like I could eat like a king on 1200 calories a day.

Week 8

  • Pork roll, mushroom & goat cheese omelette, coffee & sugar
  • Pear, pineapple, pecan & gorgonzola salad
  • Chicken & carrot "Thai" pumpkin curry & rice

Week 9

  • Rice Chex & milk, coffee & sugar
  • Olive, salami, gorgonzola & apple topped crackers
  • Casera chuck roast, carrots & green beans with butter

It was this menu that made me realize that as much as I love breakfast cereals, I don't think they're a good breakfast meal for me. Instead, I've decided to have the ones I enjoy most as an occasional snack, because one 100 calorie portion of Rice Chex is just as good as a serving of potato chips, and really hits the spot when I want something crunchy. I imagine that won't work as well with other cereals, but I think there are quite a few I wouldn't mind just snacking on without milk.

Week 10

  • Poached egg on Russian rye toast, grapefruit & sugar, coffee with sugar & milk
  • Swiss cheese toasty, salad with tomato & gorgonzola, dill pickle, beef broth
  • Macarons & dirty chai
  • Spicy baked mahi-mahi, celeriac mash, peas

Week 11

  • Buttermilk toast with butter & strawberry jam, coffee & sugar
  • Ham & swiss sandwich, cherries, dill pickle
  • Spaghetti & beef meatballs

This week I made a lot of sacrifices to fit the spaghetti and meatball dinner into the menu. I made the meatballs with beef because that's what we had in the freezer, and I don't think I'll do that again. They were super delicious but it's just too many calories compared to the same recipe made with ground turkey. This was the week that I woke up starving just about every day, and it was difficult to convince myself to only eat a slice of toast with butter and jam for breakfast. Once I had eaten breakfast I was fine, but psychologically it was a week full of difficult mornings for me.

Week 12

  • Poached egg on Dark Sweet toast, tangerine, coffee with sugar & milk
  • Chicken & swiss sandwich, BBQ potato chips
  • Garlic pork chop, caesar salad, green beans

Week 13

  • Scrambled egg & hot sauce on Dark Sweet toast, tangerine, coffee with sugar & milk
  • Ham & swiss sandwich, greek yogurt
  • Turmeric mix pork chop, carrots, baked potato with butter & scallion

Week 14

  • French toast, coffee & sugar
  • Beef heart sandwich, strawberries
  • Pasta & sausage, green beans

My relationship with food has changed in exactly the way I was hoping it would. I understand now that the routine of having meals at different points in my day helps keep me on track. So does eating the food I like at the right portion for my height, and while I love veggies, "food I like" also includes carbs and treats.

I found that my major issue with trying to eat similarly to a lot of folks on weight loss/meal prep/dieting subs was that many of the "meals" seem like a compilation of snacks instead of a meal. Not that I think there's anything wrong with eating that way, or that some of my meals over the course of this project weren't like that, it's just not something that works well for me as a long-term habit. I understand the ease of calorie counting with that approach, but it always leaves me feeling like I forgot to eat a meal when my meal eats like a lot of disconnected little snacks together. My meals need a star and some backup dancers, and they need to work together.

Now that I've had weeks of experience making a set meal plan, my favorite part is that gone is any hesitation about what to eat. When I'm hungry for breakfast, I know exactly what I should have. When lunch rolls around, I don't spend half my lunch hour trying to decide what to prepare. I'm ready to cook dinner without having a conversation with my fiance first about what we should eat. I don't feel like I'm missing out on quality food, but I have more free time, because no time is wasted trying to figure out what to eat. We have that conversation once a week instead of every single night.

Please feel free to ask any questions. It was always my intention to try to be an open book through this process and if I can help even one person on their path to health and happiness I'd be more than glad to do so.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Domino Sugar Diet - Week 14 (day 14 menu)


This week the only prep I did was to portion the protein for my special lunch, we'll get to that later though because I want to start with something tasty before something weird.

For breakfast, I couldn't find an oatmeal I liked so I figured I'd to try to come up with a new way to have an egg and toast... so I made french toast!

In a small bowl, I beat one egg with two tb of half & half, and a pinch of salt, then soaked a piece of bread in the mixture. I cooked it in a non-stick skillet (no extra oil) until one side was brown and then flipped it and cooked until the other side was done. It's served with half a tb of butter and one tb real maple syrup.

French toast, coffee & sugar - 340 calories.

For lunch, I was supposed to have delicious tongue sandwiches, but I couldn't find tongue, so instead this is beef heart.

These are strips of beef heart seasoned with salt and pepper. Seared quickly in a non-stick skillet (about 2 minutes per side) and then sliced, it has a flavor somewhere between steak and liver, and a texture somewhere between steak and chicken gizzard. Closer to steak than to chicken gizzard, but that's the only thing I can think of that is similar.

On a sandwich, it's wonderful. It's not chewy so as long as you slice across the grain it's easy to bite through the strips of beef heart, and it's very lean, high in protein, and fewer calories per serving than most of the store-bought lunch meats I've had over this whole project. One oz of beef heart is about 32 calories. My sandwiches use just under 2 oz each.

Beef heart sandwich & berries - 271 calories.

For dinner I really wanted to do lamb chops, since it's something we both enjoy eating, but I couldn't find enough rib racks of lamb at the store to make them all week. Instead, we had sausage pasta with green beans.

Turkey sausage pasta & green beans - 581 calories.

Total day's calories - 1192

Well, that's it for the Domino menus. It's been so much fun sharing this project with you all! Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Domino Sugar Diet - Week 13 (day 13 menu)


I can't tell if this bicycle babe is having fun or freaking out with her lamb-puppy. 

This week was pretty simple with no extra prep needed because we continued pork chop dinners, so the chops were already portioned in baggies in the freezer from the loin I butchered last week.

For breakfast the book suggested that I have three drinks with my egg and toast, but we don't really have enough cups to support that kind of drink habit, so instead I put the milk in my coffee, and had a tangerine instead of orange juice. I decided to switch things up and have scrambled eggs and Tapatio on my toast instead of poached egg this week. The egg is just scrambled in a hot pan, nothing added while cooking except salt, then finished on the toast with black pepper and the hot sauce.

Scramble & toast, tangerine, coffee with milk & sugar - 300 calories.

For lunch I'm having almost the same sandwich as last week except it's on dark bread and with baby spinach instead of arugula. 

I typically considered the yogurt a snack I could have any time. This one had the most calories out of the ones I picked for this week, at 140 calories.

Sandwich & Yogurt - 390 calories.

To make the potatoes, I scrubbed them under cold water, then rolled them in kosher salt and baked them on the top rack of the oven above the pork chops. On the potato is half a tb of butter and half of a chopped scallion.

The potatoes need to bake for an hour at 350 F, so I put them in the oven first, with the sheet pan I use for the pork on a lower rack to catch any drips. After 20 minutes I put the pork chops on a piece of foil onto the hot sheet pan. 

The pan being hot from the oven helps the pork chops caramelize naturally without adding any oil. Flip the chops after 20 minutes, then remove them from the oven after 40 minutes, or when the internal temp hits at least 145 F. (I cook ours to 155 F.) Let them rest at least 5 minutes under a loose foil tent before serving. The carrots are simply steamed with salt.

Pork chop, baked potato, carrots - 495 calories.

Total day's calories - 1185.

Next week is my last week of the Domino menus. I couldn't find tongue for my lunch sandwiches, but I think I found something equally weird to share with you. Thanks for reading and see you next week!

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