Day #12 & 13: No Refined or Processed Carbohydrates

Day 12: Unsuccessful (barely!)
Day 13: Success
Success Rate: 84.6%

Another couple of successful days!!! It is becoming more and more difficult for me. I’m facing cravings, and they are getting more powerful. Usually I’m good at sidestepping cravings, but this is becoming intense. Not even for highly processed carbs, but more for the lightly processed carbs that I am used to eating. Whole wheat tortillas, whole grain bread, even simple rice (brown rice is not always available)

The thing to remember, though, is that it takes ~30 days to create new habits, or to break old ones. I assume that goes along with getting over cravings. That simply means I need to stick it out like a big boy, and run toward success. Yeah baby, I’ll do it!!!

Over the past couple of days, I ate relatively simple foods. Fried eggs with all natural pesto and homemade hash browns for breakfast (FYI, Yukon Gold’s are the best potatoes for hash browns). Yesterday, I had Thai food with a friend for lunch – chicken Masaman, with brown rice. So so so good (I also had Chicken Sa-teh, and Tom Ka with Tofu…god I love Thai food).

Dinner last night…and the night before, was where I shined! But I just realized (as I am writing this) that I actually had an accidental, tiny, slip-up.

2 nights ago (day 12), I made grilled chicken with grilled Carrots. The chicken was awesome, I used the following marinade:

  • 1/4 c. Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1.5 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • Chicken breasts
Mix it all together, and let it marinade for 15 minutes. Grill. Done
The carrots I made were simple.
  1. Peel Carrots
  2. Toss with a bit of oil (not olive oil – use Canola, Vegetable, safflower, peanut, whatever, but not olive oil)
  3. While those are grilling over medium high heat, mix together ~1 Tablespoon of butter (melted) with a Tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar, a dash of mustard (to help it emulsify), and dried thyme (maybe 1/2 teaspoon?)
  4. When you first flip the carrots (do it when they have grill marks) brush on the butter – careful, it will flare up. 
  5. Keep grilling until properly charred, and tender.
Looks awesome, right? Well, it was freaking awesome! The thing I just now realized is that Lea and Perrin’s Worcestershire sauce has a bit of sugar. So I lost that day. It’s a shame.
Yesterday night, I also had the carrots again – they were so good, I had to try them again, and I also grilled some Yukon gold potatoes, with the same process. Oil, grill, brush on butter, grill until crisp and cooked through. 
Doesn’t that look just amazing? It’s really easy, too, and that was a very very filling meal. Vegetarian to boot, and good for the soul.
I keep moving forward, and as I type this, I’m on my way out to Vegas for my second major week of challenges. I’m not looking forward to dealing with these cravings while working in the city of temptation (I know it’s the city of sin, but that doesn’t work as well as “city of temptation”, and I think it’s still accurate, so…)
For those of you who have taken on 30 day challenges of your own, please let me know about it! And keep chugging along!!!

Day #11: No Refined or Processed Carbohydrates

First of all – sorry for taking so long to get another post up!!! I’ve been crazy busy at work – literally working from the time I wake up until the time I go to bed. Part of that is due to the time zone issues – it always feels like it’s midnight.

Day 7: Success
Day 8: Success
Day 9: Success
Day 10: Success
Day 11: Success
Success rate: 90.9%

As some may know, I started my work out in Las Vegas this week. It was…tough…to say the least. For the most part, it wasn’t too bad – I was able to work around just about anything Vegas threw at me. We get to eat some of our meals at the Employee Dining Rooms (EDR, for short) which has, typically, a salad bar, fruit, breakfast items, and then hot food items.

Eating in the EDR’s is easy – for breakfast, I have been getting a little bit of egg, some oatmeal, and a few pieces of fruit. The nice thing is, I can take a banana or two up to my office, and I have a mid morning snack.

Lunch has been in the EDR’s, and it has consisted of salad, more fruit, and maybe a little bit of the hot food, if I’m confident that there is no added sugar to any marinades or spice rubs. Water to drink most of the time. Not too shabby.

The one problem I ran into was: the Las Vegas Buffet’s.

The first night we were there – we swung by a Sushi buffet for dinner. Holy cow – all you can eat Sashimi, crab, shrimp, seaweed salad, bacon wrapped asparagus, and other stuff. So so so delicious. I really loved the buffet, but I didn’t love it so much at 2am. I woke up at about 2am with a burning ball of lead in my stomach. I’m not sure whether it was bad fish, or if I accidentally ate broccoli somewhere. I had a mushroom salad that looked like it had asparagus in it, but now I think it may have had broccoli sliced up in there. I’m allergic (really food intolerant) to broccoli, and I end up in lots of pain if I eat even a little bit.

Later, we decided to get a 24-hour pass to buffet’s – it gets us access to any buffet owned by a Caesars Entertainment company – it was $44. We ate at the Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood for dinner…it was okay, nothing to write home about, and some of the food was down right nasty. For breakfast, we ate at the Paris buffet, and it was AWESOME. I had an omelet, sausage, smoked salmon, potatoes, fruit, and mmm, mmm, was it good!

Lunch time came around, and it was time to check out the Caesars buffet. The food was tasty – I had more smoked salmon, some cheese, roast pork, and fruit and vegetables. Easy enough. But then, I was faced with my biggest challenge so far. We were seated right next to the dessert buffet area. It was a major challenge for me, and I’m not HUGE on desserts, but this was a challenge.

You can see how that would be a challenge for me, or for anyone.

Other than that, it hasn’t been too bad. Mostly the EDR’s – and I told you how I handled that already. The rest, I had a great dinner at the Strip House – a steak house. Started with beef jerky – homemade, then a crisp organic chicken for entree, with crisp goose fat potatoes. So delicious.

Yesterday was straightforward, many potatoes and eggs. Not a whole heck of a lot to say there.

I will say, that there is some worry from a family member that my current challenge will be an issue during Thanksgiving, since it will require a different menu, as carbohydrates are such a major part of the menu. Once we discussed it, however, we realized that it won’t be so bad. I can still eat:

  • Turkey
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Asparagus
  • Salad
The things I can’t eat: Crescent Rolls, gravy, cranberry chutney, jello salad, are all things that I don’t typically eat (well, except for the cranberry chutney – it’s so much tastier than cranberry sauce, and much better for you probably).
When all is said and done, it’s not too bad for me, and the menu doesn’t really need to change. I’ll need to work on figuring out a dessert I can make that I can eat – something fruit based of course – but I’ll figure that out without a problem.
I’ll let you know if I try them!

Day #5 & 6: No Refined or Processed Carbohydrates

Day 5: Success
Day 6: Success
Success Rate: 83.33%

I know, I know, I missed day 5. So sue me. I was busy with…not doing a whole lot, just relaxing.

Anyway, I had a great weekend – on Saturday, I went with eggs and hashbrowns (homemade – I cut up the potatoes from scratch) and sauteed with onion and olive oil. Lunch was…well, I missed Lunch to be honest. For dinner, I made a fantastic fruit smoothie, with banana, frozen berries, some milk, and some cacao nibs (raw chocolate beans) mmm, mmm, was it delicious. A Late dinner was at a place called Frankies – a sports bar. I got some chili, as I hung out with a buddy while we watched the games. He also realized something great for me – I can drink wine! No beer, no liquor, but wine is okay, because it is made from grapes, not from grains. I’m calling it okay, mainly because red wine (I’m only going to drink red) has much of the “goodness” of grape juice in it.

Today, I was hanging out with some friends (they slept at my place last night) and they slept much later than I. I woke up, as usual, at 6am…although I did go back to sleep until 8:30am. I still was up before them, and I made some more homemade hash browns. I know, more potatoes, big whoop. There is calcium in the skins (you do eat the skins, right?)

For lunch, we hit up a place called Mooyah, which is a burger place. I ended up grabbing a burger, but it was an “ICEBurger” which means they used iceberg lettuce instead of a bun. Couple that with lots of veggies, mustard, etc. and it was a pretty great burger! The fries were also pretty great…we split a large.

Dinner time was special – it was like practice for thanksgiving dinner. Roast turkey, sweet potato (whole, not mashed with marshmallows)  zucchini (fresh organic of course) and rolls (which I skipped)

I also had to skip the gravy, unfortunately. It is made with flour (or sometimes with cornstarch) and it can’t be eaten by me.

All in all, it was a good day, with good friends, and a great bottle of pinot noir to finish it.

I’m now off to Vegas to kick off a new project. It should prove to be difficult, but I can certainly do it. I’m not finding that I’m desiring the processed carbs, but it is just a challenge to avoid them! Food manufacturers like to put then in everything because they are cheap, and they even make you MORE hungry, like a crack dealer who gives you “just a little” crack for free (but more on that later…the carbohydrate thing, not the crack thing)

Day #4: No Refined or Processed Carbohydrates

Day 4: Success
Success Rate: 75%

Okay, okay, I know that today isn’t over yet, but I’m pretty sure I’m done eating for today, so I’m calling this one a success.

I started the day with a planned juice fast. There was just one problem, well, two problems really.

Problem the first: The fruits and vegetables I had were pretty dry, so I was not getting much juice out of them at all. This makes for a pretty poor juice fast, when you juice three hands full of spinach, an apple, and 5 carrots, and I barely got a glass of juice out of it.

Problem the second: I didn’t feel like going to the store to buy fresher vegetables.

So, I ended up eating a few solid food items towards the end of the day, but I followed the challenge anyway.

So here’s the food:

Juice. 5 carrots. 3 handfuls of spinach. 1 apple.

Juice. 6 carrots. 3 handfuls of spinach.

Mid afternoon snack
I made some eggs for this. Just a couple of eggs, mixed in with some pesto, and some parmigiana cheese (yeah, I don’t like the standard boring eggs that some people like to eat). They were good, and a quick little snack.

I made up some brown rice, which is good enough by itself, but then…

I mixed up some carrots (lots of carrots today!) and some onions, sauteed them in olive oil, with sesame oil, Mongolian fire oil, and soy sauce. It became super delicious, and would have been great by itself.

I then tossed in the brown rice, and a little more soy sauce. Yum. Yum. Yum.

So now I’m stuffed, and don’t quite feel like moving. But seriously, tomorrow morning, I need to grab some vegetables for juicing, because that really is great for you.

Overall, a successful day, though that’s pretty easy when you are at home, and half of the day is spent juice fasting.

Day #3: No Refined or Processed Carbohydrates

Day 3: Unsuccessful
Success Rate: 66.7%
Cause of failure: Mistake

First of all, I determined that the liquor would count as a processed carbohydrate. The reason is this: If you look at the description of the challenge, you’ll find that I said: “just those that have had their goodness sucked out” – this is the sole reason that I determined that the liquor is not allowed. It will be so very tough, now that I have excluded liquor, but hey, it’s only 30 days (and that is the point of this blog, after all).

Anyway, back to the cause of failure. At lunch, I got the same brown rice and lentils, with edammame salad, apple salad, and pesto pasta. I was so focused on the sauces surrounding these items, that I forgot that I had ordered pasta! I actually threw out the apple salad – once I tasted it, I tasted sugar in the sauce, and in the trash it went.

It was about 3 hours later that it struck me “you dummy, you ate pasta, and on day 3”. Oh well, so I ate about 1/4 cup of pasta as part of the salad, and I proved I’m not human. I guess it just proves that this won’t be as easy as I thought, and that I’ll need to be on my toes for the whole 30 days.

On to the meals:


I am coming down with something (did I mention that already in a previous post? I think I did). I happen to know that one of the best things you can do to speed through an illness is to go on a juice fast. I went to the cafe, and bought some Naked brand “Berry Veggie” juice. I’ve had it many times before, and it is a great juice. It’s one of their only varieties with vegetables in it.

Solid Breakfast


Well, as I mentioned already, I got the salads, and a “C-Machine” juice. Again, it works, nothing special.


I got this one at the airport. I had tried to get moved up to take the earlier flight through Minneapolis, but they couldn’t do it. Oh well, I went to the Boulevard Brewery restaurant, and I got the Chili and the Southwest Salad. Chili was quite tasty – beans and meat. The salad was great – it was a spicy dressing (I hope beyond hope there was not sugar in there. I tasted it extensively, and there was no sweetness to speak of). The salad also had fajita chicken, tomatoes, cheese, avocado, and other stuff. I sidestepped the crackers, and I was on my way.

That was at about 4pm, and it was the last thing I ate for the day. I planned on grabbing an apple in First Class from Atlanta to Dallas, but I fell asleep before takeoff, then woke up after landing. I did have to sidestep the Byrd cookies in the SkyClub in Atlanta. I havent’ had these before, so I wanted to give them a shot, but I have commitments to follow damnit!

Day #3 – Dilemma

I am sitting on my plane right now, preparing for take off. I’m met with a dilemma…does liquor count as a processed carb?

It is made from distilling a mash made from boiling some grain. However, there are no carbohydrates left in the liquor-hence my dilemma.

I’m really in the mood for a Woodford Reserve or two, so we shall see what I decide. It is such a great perk of first class that it is hard to ignore. Hmm, it’s a tough one.

More to come later, including an update on my first unsuccessful day (it has nothing to do with the liquor, I made a mistake at lunch!)

Day #2: No Refined or Processed Carbohydrates

Day 2: Success (I think)
Success Rate: 99.99999%

Day 2 was a bit tougher for me, just because I had a lack of energy toward the end of the day. I was up early, and fell back asleep (I haven’t done that in weeks, ever since I started Steve Pavlina’s trick for waking up to your alarm  right away) and then when I woke up at 7:20, I had to prepare a bit for an 8:00 meeting, rush in to the bathroom, take a shower, get ready, and I came out of the bathroom at…7:59 – Perfect!

Finish that meeting, and get called in for another one, then get an e-mail that says “call me”, so that was another 2 minutes, then, amazingly, I got called just seconds after I hung up from that call. I was not able to leave my hotel room to get to the office until 11am. Here’s the kicker: I had a meeting at 12:00 noon – 1:00, 1:00-2:00, 2:00-3:00, and then an informal meeting after that. So I was tired. Tired hates will power.

Anyway, on my walk over to the office, I had to pass by this place, which is the most heavenly smelling place on earth! (See them make fudge!)

This place is so good, it was featured on the Food Network, and is a favorite stop of mine (and my co-workers) on the way back from Lunch. The worst part – you can’t NOT walk by this place. Well, the smell was a treat, at least.


I got to the office, and I was quite hungry (I hadn’t eaten yet), so I went to the cafe, and got:

  • Brown rice and lentil salad – a complete protein, and good fiber. Just what I needed after Fogo de Chao
  • Curried sweet potatoes – I grilled the guy who makes this food, and he swore there wasn’t a single added sugar in sight
  • Edamamme salad – This is SO good. It’s edamamme with cranberries, feta, and tossed in a bit of vinegar. To die for.
So I was pretty full from that, and I survived the next 4 hours of meetings.
Okay, so I left the office, and it was time for dinner. It’s my last night in Kansas City, so I thought “Barbecue” of course. I called up “Jack Stack” and asked them if I could get their beef ribs without sauce – they checked, and yes, you can. Turns out they are dry smoked, then sauced. Easy enough.
I went down there (thank god for the “Link” which connects the hotel to Union station, and Union station to the stairs right behind Jack Stack.) I jogged over to the restaurant to avoid the rain (hence the “thank god for the ‘Link'” comment) and walked on in. Table for one, right in the middle of the restaurant (strange), and it was time to order. 
Now I know from experience, that their Burnt End stew is fantastic, so I got a cup of that. Then, I went big (literally) and got the “Crown Prime Beef Ribs” which came with 2 sides. I got the seasonal vegetables, and the baked potato (with trimmings on the side, just in case they tried to surprise me with “brown sugar butter” or some such nonsense.
Food came, and it looked amazing. I took a bite, then snapped this photo:
They are bigger than the picture makes them look. Each one is about the size of a $10,000 stack of $100 bills – and that’s just the meat!
Side note: after I snapped this photo, the ladies at the table next to mine asked if I was a food critic (which gave me another idea for a 30 day challenge, but that will have to wait). I played around with them, “shhh, we don’t like the restaurants to know we’re here”, “you can read about it in about 3 days”. That was fun 🙂
The ribs were delicious! But the star of the show? The seasonal vegetables. Green beans grilled with red pepper, served in an onion ring, drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar (I skipped the onion ring). They were delectable – I almost considered taking an order home. 
So, I am stuffed, and I almost hate myself more than after Fogo last night, but damnit, the challenge is continuing. 
P.S. The reason I said “I think” on the success portion, is that I’m not sure if there was starch in the Burnt End stew – it was quite thick, and I fear a roux may have come in to play, though the color of the sauce (ok, it’s broth, but really, it’s like sauce) suggests long simmering, with perhaps some demi-glace (yes, I’m a food guy)

P.P.S. I just realized in re-reading this post prior to publishing, that I only ate twice today – no snack, no breakfast, no late night snacks (I assume – I’m writing this at 7:30pm) That’s probably good considering the foods which I ate this evening are probably competing with the foods I ate last night to clog my arteries.

Day #1: No Refined or Processed Carbohydrates

Day 1: Success
Success Rate: 100%

Day 1 is over!

It wasn’t exactly easy – not so much because of the urges, but really because of the lack of foods you can eat. I’m finding that if I had said “no refined or processed sugars, then I would have been just fine…but no, I said CARBOHYDRATES, which covers a much much larger group of foods.

So what was my day like?

Well it started, of course, with plenty of phone calls and meetings for work. I took 2 hours worth of these from my room, and then on the way to work (I am working at the Crown Center in Kansas City right now – I walk through the mall to get to work) I stopped at Einstein Bros. for a fruit cup.

It turns out that I am so well known at Einstein, that when I walked in, the lady said “Nova Lox on a plain thin”, which is delicious – you should try it some time – but I simply grabbed a fruit cup, and told her “not today”. Easy enough, so I got some fruit, and enjoyed it (even though it wasn’t very fresh)

Then…meetings, meetings, and more meetings, and we came to Lunch. Since this is my last week in Kansas City, I went out to lunch with a co-worker who lives out here. He took me to Margaritas (menu), for “Taco Tuesday”. i.e. buy one get one free on tacos. It was tough! I felt like I would be a jerk if I didn’t order the tacos, since that is what he was raving about. However, I learned a long time ago, that people are understanding (especially when you are my size) if you order a salad. Seriously, no one can feel hurt if you are watching what you eat, right?

So I ordered the “Ensalata Fajitas”, and a cup of Abondigas soup – which is like a meatball soup. Of course the Abondigas came with rice and tortillas, and the table had tortilla chips, but I stayed away from both of those things (come on, it’s Day 1, of course my will power is strong). Lunch was great, had some great conversation with a friend, and I made it through 2 meals already!

Mid-Afternoon Snack
You all know the feeling. You’re tired from the combination of work, lack of sleep the night before, and lunch. You don’t know what to do. “Coffee” you say? Well no, I gave up caffeine almost 2 months ago (you should too, it’s bad for you). So my other responses had been “maybe some hot chocolate”. Well that’s out now. So I meandered down to our cafe, and found a raw nut and dehydrated fruit mix. A quick check of the ingredients indicated no added sugars or carbs, so I bought some (actually, I bought a lot, I slipped and unloaded like 1/2 a pound into my bag – I’ve got tons left over today).

Walnuts, Almonds, Pecans, Cranberries, Raisins, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Kernels, mostly raw.

Coolio, I’m set!!!

Dinner – The breakfast of people who don’t wake up on time
Dinner…what to do for dinner. I was at the office until 6:30 (we get kicked out – lame), and then I debated dinner. I can’t cook for myself in my hotel room, so I have to go out. I could go to Jack Stack Barbecue, or just downstairs to the cafe in the hotel – both probably have valid options. But then I realized that Jack Stack puts sauce on no matter what – you can’t get the BBQ without sauce, and that certainly means sugar. The place downstairs is similar, and the prices are outrageous.

Then I remembered a great place in the “Plaza” of Kansas City – Fogo de Chao. Of course I’ve been here multiple times, but it’s great for meat lovers, and would work for my diet. It’s high quality food that is mostly whole. They have an incredible salad bar (with less “salad” than anything else) and then they have guys walking around with skewers of meat. You have a little card that is red on one side and green on the other. When you want meat, you flip it to green, and they stop by and offer you what they have. When you’re finished, or need a breather, you flip it to red.

It’s something like this

So after stuffing my face like a pig, and enjoying the many salad bar items. I was set! It was a bit of a challenge, because they give you these little “cheese rolls”, polenta, mashed potatoes, and fried bananas. I can eat the fried bananas (as long as they aren’t coated in sugar) but the rest is off limits, and the sides are delicious!!! 

Either way, I survived, and I felt good for having sidestepped some hurdles. 

So now, here I am, off to day 2, and I have the success of day one to push me along.