Hey Everyone!  

Sorry I've been MIA lately. The reason for that is mostly that I've been living my life. And that's a wonderful thing. 

I'm down about 81 pounds now. I currently weight 204.4 pounds. I am hoping to be in "onederland" by New Years. For those who may not know, "Onederland" is a magical land  of mystery to the WLS crowd. It's when we finally break out of the 200s. That's my mini goal for right now - to be 199.9 or less by New Year's Day. If I don't make it, that's fine. I just will keep trying and get there eventually. The only reason I wouldn't lose 4.5 pounds in 17 days would be if I hit a stall. So we will see what my body decides to do. 

I really didn't think I'd be down 70 pounds in 4 months after surgery. I feel great. I'm looking better too, and feeling better about my appearance. I am doing my hair and makeup occasionally. 

I have some issues though. My skin is not firm in some areas. I'm hoping that as time goes on it springs back. I have a ton of stretch marks and I don't think they will ever go away but I can deal with them. I'm starting to lose my hair too. I'm hoping it doesn't get noticeable. It's apparently a side effect of anesthesia - one I was hoping to be lucky enough to avoid. But I just try to focus on the positives. 

I started this journey wearing a 2x shirt. I'm now in a XL. My pants size was a 20/22. Now I'm fitting in a 16. I bought a skirt in a size 14 that fits. I've even bought cute underwear and threw out my grannie panties!!! I'm loving shopping again for clothes. I go to a 2nd hand store to save money since I'm still losing. I'm trying not to pay for anything full price until I know I'm going to be staying in that size for awhile. 

I've been making an effort to be more confident and positive. I'm trying to "live" more. I want to be more in the moment and happy. I trained my brain from little on to have self doubt, insecurities, and to be negative. I'm consciously trying to retrain my brain. It's not easy. But I've already noticed a difference. One thing i do is try to identify simple pleasures in my daily life. Like - music. I love to sing in the car. It makes me happy. Art - makes me feel creative and talented. Being able to cross my legs again. Walking without getting winded.  Laughter. So many other things. 

Anyway, I need to go to bed. I'll hopefully write more soon. 

 
 
I’ve decided that Wonton Wrappers are amazing. Honestly, they kick low carb tortilla butt.  If you haven’t tried them, I really recommend them. 

This is another recipe that uses Wonton Wrappers and makes a former WLS (potentially bad choice) staple into a post WLS good choice. 

Ingredients:
  • 12 wonton wrappers
  • 1/4 cup green pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup onion chopped, .25 serving
  • 6 oz. Tyson Grilled & Ready Chicken Breast, warmed according to directions (or 6 oz of cooked chicken)
  • 1 cup 2% Reduced Fat Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Sprinkle of garlic salt OR taco seasoning
  • Optional: any quesadilla toppings you enjoy!  Such as tomatoes, olives, mushrooms, etc.

Directions:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray either a 12 cup cupcake tin, or a baking sheet, with nonstick spray.  I use butter or olive oil flavored Pam.
  3. Place a wonton wrapper into each cupcake tin, or spread them onto the baking sheet.  Lightly spray the wonton wrappers with spray so they crisp nicely.
  4. Shred the chicken and place an even amount into each wonton wrapper.  Top with cheese, veggies, and seasonings. 
  5. Bake for approximately 8 minutes, or until the edges are starting to brown.
  6. Let cool on paper towels. Serve alone or with salsa! 

Note: if you load the wontons too much, the bottoms won’t cook well.  If you are planning on adding a lot of toppings, bake the wontons for 3 minutes before adding the other ingredients. 
Nutrition Info (please only use this as a guide, especially if you make any substitutions):
Makes 4 servings

Per serving:
Calories: 181
Fat: 6.4 g
Carbs: 10.1 g
Fiber: 0.6 g
Sugar: 1.4 g 
Protein: 18.7 g
 

Dating

11/11/2013

4 Comments

 

Somewhere along the lines I lost my confidence.  I forgot what I want and what I deserve and did something I never thought I would do - settle.  

I don’t want to sacrifice so much of myself to be with a guy.  I don’t want to wait for a call, or a text... or debate whether I should be the one to call or play it cool.  But I do miss being in a relationship.  I like the companionship.  I like feeling attractive.  I like being in love.  

It's been about 2 years since I've dated anyone.  Most of the time I was fine being single.  No amazing prospects came along, but I wasn't really looking either.  I spent a lot of time home and alone so it's not really easy to meet interesting men that way.  Plus I did not feel attractive.  In high school I was healthy and I always had suitors.  But along with gaining the weight and not feeling attractive, I stopped being attractive.  

So here WAS the plan.  I got bariatric surgery for ME.  And as far as dating goes, I was going to wait until I finished losing the extra weight before attempting to date.  I was going to spend this year focusing on myself.  I was going to get healthy, work on my career, get better at budgeting. Kind of idealistic I suppose.  

But what happened was I felt particularly lonely this week.  I am starting to feel attractive again... and starting to feel more confident.  So, thinking that there really is no harm in it, I joined an online dating site.  The main reason I joined was to flirt a little.  I didn't know if I was ready to date.  But why not flirt a little, feel attractive again, and maybe go on a date or two?

But now I'm worrying - Do I mention my surgery?  If so, when?  Am I ready to date?  What will he think if we are intimate and he sees my scars?  Is my body horrifying?  I have sleep apnea, what is he going to think when I have to put my mask on?  And the thoughts keep coming.

But I'm choosing to not get caught up in the doubts.  I am still going to focus on me, and get healthy, and get my life together. I am going to live a beautiful life.  I am going to do things that make me happy.  

I am going to thrive.  With, or without someone.

 
 
I love holidays.  I love celebrating holidays and Halloween happens to be my FAVORITE holiday.  And let me address what you are thinking: NO, it's not because of the candy!  Pre-surgery I always ate a ton of candy, but it was never what I loved most about Halloween (though I admit it was an added bonus).  I love pumpkin carving, the costumes, decorating, movies, haunted houses, and so many other aspects of it.  

I was able to get through the Halloween season without any Halloween candy.  I did have a couple Atkins Peanut Butter cups which really helped satisfy that craving.  But that's really all I had.  SO different than previous years, where I would be snacking on Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Milky Ways, Snickers, etc.  

That's all I really wanted to say today.  I hope you had a lovely Halloween and was able to curb your candy cravings - or at least enjoy in moderation. ;)  
 
 
This weekend was pretty busy, especially since I seem to have a tendency to hibernate on the weekends.  Saturday I went shopping with my grandma (our regular Saturday tradition).  Speaking of my grandma, thank you to everyone who wished her well.  For those of you who don't know, she was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.  Luckily it is stage 1, which is great news.  Unfortunately when she went for her pre-op testing they determined her heart isn't healthy enough for surgery.  They are going to try to regulate it with medication and hopefully she'll be able to have the surgery soon.

After shopping with my grandma, I got ready for a Halloween night out with my coworker / friend.  She actually got the date wrong of the costume party at the bar so we were the only ones dressed up.  I rolled with it, because it's not like dressing up at this time of year is crazy.  Anyway, I am not drinking alcohol, at least not yet, because of the surgery.  I am going to wait at LEAST 6 months.  Of course the surgeon recommends never to drink again, but that's very hard to completely eliminate from your life, and I've never been more than a social drinker so hopefully I can have a drink when I go out sometime in the future.  I am not yet venturing into that territory.  Anyway, if you've been reading my blog for awhile, you might remember that I used to be obsessed with Diet Pepsi pre-surgery.  I drank equivalent of 2 liters a day.  WLS patients are not supposed to drink carbonated beverages after surgery.  A couple times, when I was feeling particularly weak, I had a sip or 2 of pop.  It was delicious, and I had no adverse side effects.  Since I wasn't drinking, I thought I would treat myself to a diet Coke with out at the bar.  Well, I had about 8 oz of it and it didn't sit well with my pouch so there you have it.  I didn't drink past the point of slight discomfort though.

So since the costume party was kind of a bust, we decided that Saturday was our "dress rehearsal," and we found another costume party next Saturday.  After that I will upload some pictures of my costume for you all to see.

Sunday was a lazy day until the evening.  I went to a Pumpkin Carving party.  I had a pretty good time.  I carved a traditional pumpkin face on my pumpkin - there is a picture below to show you.  There is also an "action shot" of me and some friends carving our pumpkins. 
Picture
Diligently carving my pumpkin (I'm the one in the Old Navy shirt if you didn't know).
Picture
This is my finished product! The teeth look a little odd because you can see the tealight I used to light it up from this angle.
I also made this pretty quick stew over the weekend.  I ended up freezing about half of it because I never cook for less than an entire army.  Oh well, I freeze it in individual ZipLoc bags so it's an easy lunch or dinner when I'm short on time. 

The Tomato Basil Chicken stew is really tasty, and was perfect for the chilly weather this weekend.  You should make it - it's easy, quick, and tastes like you put a lot of TLC into it.  :)
Tomato Basil Chicken Stew

Adapted from Gimme Some Oven

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 can (28oz) crushed tomatoes (keep the juice)
  • 1 can (14 oz) of diced tomatoes (again, keep the juice)
  • 1 can (14 oz) great northern beans
  • 1/2 pound cooked chicken, shredded
  • 1-2 handfuls baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste (I used about a tsp of each)
  • Optional: 1/4 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes, parmesan cheese for serving

Directions:


  1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Sauté until the onion is soft and translucent, stirring frequently. 
  2. Add in remaining ingredients (minus the parmesan cheese if you decide to add it), and stir to combine. 
  3. Bring the soup to a boil.  Once soup is boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer (covered) for 30 minutes. 
  4. Enjoy!

Nutrition Info (please only use this as a guide, especially if you make any substitutions):
Makes 6 servings

Per serving:
Calories: 140.5
Fat: 2.1 g
Carbs: 18.5 g
Fiber: 5.5 g
Sugar: 6.6 g 
Protein: 13.2 g
 
 
I’m excited to share this recipe with you. Not only is it easy, quick, and delicious… This recipe is ALSO protein packed! This is the ideal for a weeknight meal after bariatric surgery in my opinion.

Greek Chicken Salad
Adapted from MyRecipes


Ingredients:
  • 8 oz cooked and diced chicken (I used Tyson’s frozen Grilled and Ready chicken)
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice, divided 
  • 1 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp tahini (or you could substitute hummus if you don’t have tahini)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic 
  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, diced
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, diced or halved
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat crumbled feta cheese

Directions:
  1. If using Tyson’s Grilled and Ready Chicken, warm chicken according to package directions. Roughly chop the chicken breast so that all pieces are bite sized and approximately the same size. Set aside.
  2. Combine lemon juice, salt, pepper, yogurt, tahini, and garlic in a small bowl; mix well. Add cucumber, tomatoes, and olives. Add in the chicken and the feta. Once combines, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 

Nutrition Info (please only use this as a guide, especially if you make any substitutions):
Makes 6-8 servings (stats below are based on 6 servings)

Per serving:
Calories: 191
Fat: 7.5 g
Carbs: 7.7 g
Fiber: 0.7 g
Sugar: 3 g 
Protein: 25.6 g

 
 
Hey everyone.

I'm sorry I've been kinda MIA lately. I've been busy but also received some sad news. I found out this week that my grandma has breast cancer. My grandparents raised me so she is like my mom. She goes to the specialist tomorrow to find out a treatment plan and how extensive the cancer is. I am hoping for the best but worried because she is older.

On a happier note, I love the fall. It's my favorite season and October is my favorite month. I made a butternut squash and chicken sausage bake with quinoa, apple, and mozzarella this week which I will share the recipe at the end of this post. It was delicious.

I've been going to the gym 3x a week and though I can't say I'm enjoying it, I am always glad I went once it's over.  I think I've done 3 weeks now.  I get about 20 minutes of cardio done a session, and alternate between the elliptical and the stationary bike.  This week I'm going to increase my time to 22 minutes.  And every week from now on I'm going to add 2 more minutes, until I get to 45.  I will also start using the weight machines soon - but right now I'm so out of shape the cardio is enough to kick my ass.

I'm really excited that fall TV started again.  I am currently watching American Horror Story: Coven, Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, The Originals (wow, I didn't realize how many supernatural shows I watch), X Factor, Grey's Anatomy, New Girl, and Revenge.  Wow I watch a lot of TV.  I usually watch TV while I'm doing something else - like right now - I am watching Supernatural and writing a blog post.  What are you watching???

Alright, now here comes the fun part!
Butternut Squash and Sausage Casserole
Inspired by Food.com

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound butternut squash, cubed
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
  • 2 links chicken sausage
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 medium apple, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper, as desired
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place squash on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until tender. Set aside.
  3. While squash is cooking, heat a medium saucepan over low heat.  Bring 1 cup broth and sage to a boil.  Add the quinoa and cover.  Reduced heat to low and cook until quinoa is done - about 15 minutes.
  4. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tsp of the olive oil over medium-high heat and brown the sausage; set aside.  (Note: I removed the sausage from the casings and crumbled it).  
  5. In the same skillet, add the remaining tsp of oil and onion.
  6. Add the apple and garlic, and saute for two minutes.
  7. Stir in the sausage, squash, quinoa, Splenda Brown Sugar, remaining half cup of broth, salt, and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray and aplace the casserole mixture (mine was 9 x 9).
    Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
  9. Remove casserole from oven, stir mixture gently, and sprinkle with cheese.
  10. Return to oven and bake for an additional five minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Nutrition Info (please only use this as a guide, especially if you make any substitutions):
Makes 6-8 servings (stats below are based on 6 servings)

Per serving:
Calories: 271 
Fat: 12.2 g
Carbs: 24 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sugar: 5 g 
Protein: 15 g
 
 
I mentioned in my last post that I went apple picking on Sunday with my grandparents.  I love the fall.  It's my absolute favorite season and it's beautiful in Ohio.  

My grandparents raised me, and one of our family traditions is to go apple picking in the fall.  They go all out - they literally picked and brought home 125 pounds of apples.  

Random side note: I have always suffered from allergies and I have allergic reactions to some apples, pears, nectarines, peaches, etc.  I'm actually allergic to a tree but my body confuses those fruits with it because the molecules are so similar.  At least that's my understanding.  Luckily I found that red apples don't bother me and all fruits are fine if they are cooked. 
I am definitely glad I went.  After losing 50 pounds it was much easier to walk... or do any physical activity.  I am feeling more confident already.  I am proud of what I can do - just walking a mile without panting is an accomplishment.  
Picture
Me picking Jonagold apples
Now, please don't get your panties in a twist because I used bread on this recipe. Some WLS patients avoid bread like it's the plague but I don't want to live my life afraid of carbs.  I want to avoid empty or refined carbs.  So I decided that for myself, whenever possible, I'm only eating whole grains/whole wheat.  If you don't want to, that's totally fine!  You know what your plan says and what works for you.

Now that is out of the way, here's a yummy lunch I made this week. ;)  I was only able to eat half.
Apple and Bacon Grilled Cheese
Inspired by Paula Deen

Ingredients:
  • 1 multigrain sandwich thin
  • 1/4 apple, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp Country Crock light margarine
  • 1 tsp sugar free maple syrup
  • 2 slices bacon, cooked til crispy, blot away the grease
  • 1 slice cheddar cheese (I used Sargento Ultra Thin)

Directions:
  1. Spread the margarine on each side of the sandwich thin.  In a frying pan, over medium heat, lightly toast the sandwich thin.
  2. Add the inner ingredients to one side of the bread: cheddar, apples, maple syrup, and bacon.  Top with the other slice of bread.
  3. Grill until cheese is melted and enjoy!

Nutrition Info (please only use this as a guide, especially if you make any substitutions):
Makes 1 serving

Per serving:
Calories: 237
Fat: 9 g
Carbs: 26 g
Fiber: 7 g
Sugar: 6.5 g 
Protein: 16 g
 
 
I hope everyone had a lovely weekend.  Mine was nice and relaxing.  My good friend Elly came over Friday night and we watched Atlantis.  We wanted to watch a cartoon and neither of us have seen that one before.  Saturday I got some overtime at work (yay time and a half!), went to the gym, and went shopping.  At the gym I did 20 minutes on the elliptical (surprisingly my legs did not fall off).  Afterwards I rewarded myself with some time in the whirlpool.  It was sooo nice.  

Today I went apple picking with my grandparents.  I will share more about that hopefully tomorrow.  :)  Two posts ago I mentioned that I had a dessert recipe to share with you, and I will be getting to that today.

BUT FIRST...

I need to share with you a huge milestone I achieved this week.

I hit 50 pounds lost!   That's 10 pounds pre-surgery and 40 pounds since surgery a little less than 2 months ago.  OMG.  That's a milestone I never really believed would be possible.  I am soooo happy.
Blueberry Cheesecake Protein Crunchers
Adapted from Hungry Girl (Blueberry Cheesecake Crunchers in the book 200 Under 200 Just Desserts)

Ingredients:
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Dash of salt
  • 3 tbsp Splenda 
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used Syntrax Nectar in Vanilla Bean Torte)
  • 2 tbsp Sugar Free vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 1/2 cup Cool Whip Light (thawed)
  • Butter flavored non-stick spray
  • 12 wonton wrappers

Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small pot, combine cornstarch and 1/2 the cold water.  Stir until the cornstarch dissolves.  Turn the heat to medium.  Add blueberries, cinnamon, salt, and 1/2 the Splenda. Cook until gooey and thickened (about 12 minutes, stir frequently). 
  3. Remove from heat and transfer to a medium bowl.  Allow to cool completely.
  4. In another bowl, stir the remaining water and pudding mix.  Once smooth and slightly thickened, add the Cool Whip and cream cheese.  Stir until completely uniform and no lumps remain.  If there are any stubborn lumps you could transfer to a blender to annihilate them.  Refrigerate until ready to add to the wonton cups.
  5. Spray a 12 cup muffin pan with nonstick spray.  Place each wonton wrapper into a cup of the muffin pan.  Spray each wonton wrapper with the nonstick spray.  Bake until lightly browned, about 4 - 5 minutes.
  6. Once cool, evenly distribute the pudding mixture among the wonton cups.  Follow with the blueberry mixture.  

Nutrition Info (please only use this as a guide, especially if you make any substitutions):
Makes 12 servings

Per serving:
Calories: 75.5
Fat: 2.7 g
Carbs: 8.4 g
Fiber: 0.6 g
Sugar: 1.4 g 
Protein: 4.5 g
 
 
It's Sunday, which is usually my relaxation day.  To be honest, I usually do basically nothing.  I watch Netflix, laundry, some tidying up... and cook!  In fact, I have a recipe to share with you, and this week I will also post a dessert recipe that I'm making today as well.

I also wanted to update you on where I am on my journey to finding a happier, more whole life.  I'm pretty sure it will always be a work in progress but that's ok.    
Meditation
I’m not a religious person, but I do like spiritual things such as yoga, meditation, etc. I have always tried to live a meaningful life. I attempt this by creating goals for myself, forcing myself to struggle through hard things for my benefit (such as college, now this weight loss surgery journey), and reflecting on where I’ve been. In self reflection, I sometimes feel as if there is something I am close to discovering that will give me purpose and contentment. The closest I've ever come to that contentment, or self discovery, is through journaling or meditation. 

Do you meditate? I sometimes do. I wish I did it more often. I think I would be calmer and happier. Instead I’m usually a bundle of nerves and passive aggression.

Anyway, I think I am going to try to meditate this week.  I'm going to listen to a different guided meditation in the evenings.  I'll let you know if I feel any different.  I will also try to find a class near me.  I'm not ready for yoga I don't think, but I will start to go once I am feeling more active.  

On a different note, I'm really excited to start sharing more recipes with you.  The first few weeks after surgery I didn't do much cooking.  But now I am starting to experiment more and luckily my pouch is tolerating most things well.

The recipe I'm sharing today is for Slow Cooker Chicken and Veggie Stew.  I thought it was delicious.  You could use any vegetables you have on hand when making this recipe.  I would have used celery if I had any.  It would also be awesome if you used a rotisserie chicken, you could probably cut down the cook time then, though.  
Picture
Slow Cooker Chicken and Veggie Stew
Inspired by Picky Palate 

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut in quarters and sliced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1/2 - 1 diced green bell pepper
  • 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 15 oz can white beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 32 oz reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 of a 1 oz package Ranch seasoning mix
  • 2 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning (or equal amounts of dried basil, parsley, oregano, thyme, etc)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Place the chicken breasts in the bottom of the crock pot
  2. Top with the beans and veggies (onion, garlic, zucchini, carrot, green pepper, tomatoes)
  3. Add broth, Ranch mix, lemon juice, and seasonings.
  4. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.  At this point you can shred the chicken with two forks.  
  5. Serve with some reduced fat shredded Mexican cheese, if desired.

Nutrition Info (please only use this as a guide, especially if you make any substitutions):
Makes 8 servings

Per serving:
Calories: 126 
Fat: 2 g
Carbs: 10 g
Fiber: 2.5 g
Sugar: 3 g 
Protein: 16.3 g


 

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    I love to cook. I find it so satisfying to make a delicious meal and share it with the people I love, or to bring to work for a potluck. One of my concerns with getting weight loss surgery is how that will affect my cooking. I know that I will need to change my cooking style DRASTICALLY. I've made peace with that.  But- I'm going to do my best to not stop finding happiness in cooking simply because I'm limited in my ingredient options. I am going to use this blog to add WLS recipes I've tried, my experience with them, and what I might have changed. I also will start to experiment with my favorite pre-WLS recipes to make them WLS friendly. Please feel free to comment, ask questions, or even make recommendations! 

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    Disclaimer:
    Please, PLEASE, note that I am NOT a doctor.  You need to consult your doctor for any medical advice - he/she knows what's best for you.  If I'm doing something completely different than what your doctor is advising, FOLLOW YOUR DOCTOR'S ORDERS!  
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    If I am reviewing a product, I will tell you how it is.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  That's my promise to you. So far I have not received any free stuff so all the products/goods/services I am reviewing have been purchased with my own money.  If someone decides to give me some free swag, I will a) be extremely excited/thankful and b) disclose that information to you.  But again, I still promise to be 100% honest about my opinion.