Tag Archives: low-carb

Two Symbols and Two Journeys

What do 17kg of household goods plus Gideon have in common with being dunked in the water?

Both are vivid symbols in Andrew’s life right now. They are symbols of two journeys. One, a journey of faith; another, a journey of weight loss.

Journey 1: Faith

Andrew’s faith journey encompasses his whole life. He was born into a Christian home and had the great blessing of being raised by two wonderful, godly parents. As a young boy, around the age of 8, Andrew decided to give his life over to the Lord at a Billy Graham crusade. Since then, his faith has had its ups and downs, but the Lord has never forsaken him. For the past several years Andrew has considered the contrast between infant baptism (which he had growing up in a Presbyterian church) and believer’s baptism. When our pastor recently approached him regarding the topic, Andrew wrestled with why he hadn’t taken part in believer’s baptism yet even though he felt that was probably the right thing for him to do. He came to the conclusion that there was nothing to stop him from taking part in believer’s baptism now.  Sure of his decision, Andrew gladly took the opportunity to be baptized.

Pre-baptized Andrew speaking with the pastor to the congregation before the patism

Pre-baptized Andrew speaking with the pastor to the congregation before the baptism

This past Sunday after our church service, Andrew was led out to the pool where he was baptized surrounded by the witnesses of our church family.

Post-baptism

Post-baptism

It's official :)

It’s official (not that the piece of paper affects Andrew’s standing with God)

Although, the baptism is only a symbol of Andrew’s commitment to Christ, I am excited to see him grow into the man the Lord wants him to be!

Now, onto the discussion of Andrew’s other journey.

Journey 2: Weigh loss

Andrew’s weight loss journey began last year.

Us, the beginning of May 2012

The “three” of us – May 2012

His primary goal was to become more in shape so that he would be taking better care of himself and the body God gave him to steward and consequently, Lord-willing, to better care of his growing family.

Both of us at our pudgy states (for different reasons) - before his diet

Both of us at our pudgy states (for different reasons) – before his diet

As I left on a plan to visit my family back in the States last June, Andrew started a low-carb diet.

The last picture of Andrew pre-diet (at the airport on my way to the US)

The last picture of Andrew pre-diet (at the airport on my way to the US)

As I packed on the pounds (okay, it was Gideon and I who were both packing on the pounds), Andrew was “unpacking” his. He thought if he were ever able to get his weight to 200 pounds that would be great, but he had no golden destination number in mind for his weight loss.

Around the New Year, Andrew passed his hopeful goal of getting to 200.

The 200lb version of Andrew

The 200lb version of Andrew (Notice the “farmer’s tan” – once a farmer, always a farmer!)

Since then, Andrew has lost even more. He is under 190lbs now. Andrew says that he doesn’t think he’s been that light in nearly 2 decades! And, for the first time (that he remembers), he can proudly say that is BMI is in the “normal” range!

While he is still decisive about what he eats, he has carefully allowed a few more carbs back in. This might count as a bite of a cookie or pancake here or there. But he is still very conscious about his diet and exercise.

Personally I wouldn’t be surprised if he eventually decides to stop rigorously watching carbs and continues to allow increase the quantity of “normal” lifestyle carbs into his diet. But I don’t think he’ll ever revert back to a life of mindless high-carb cookie dough indulgences.

To show off how much weight my handsome husband has lost, I asked him to pose with some household goods. I had a hard time coming up with an idea of how to get as much weight he lost in just household goods. So Gideon topped the mountain of stuff that Andrew had to pose with.

A happier lighter man!

A happier lighter man!

One 5.5kg box of detergent, 1kg of milk, and roughly 9kg of flour/sugar/baking supplies, and a 7kg baby: ~ 23kg household goods. In American speak, that’s about 50 pounds!!!

And, look at that, the handsome man can hold all of that!!!

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Afternoon Off at 31 weeks

I think we have ended the phase in our lives where days or half-days off from work are spent solely on relaxation and pleasure. I can just see our future spread before us with taking time off to bring kids to doctor’s appointments or other non-pleasure experiences.

Yesterday, Andrew took a half-day off to accompany me to my 31 week OB appointment. Little did he know (the phrase reminds me of Stranger Than Fiction) that he would be put to work at the Doctor’s Office. The nurse/receptionist of the office focused her attention on Andrew and put him to work going to the Admissions Office of the hospital. He spent time waiting, then filling out plenty of paperwork and listening to the agreements that need to made so that I can be hospitalized. This way when Little Randles makes his appearance we will be ready to check into the hospital and “all” the preparations  will theoretically have been made ahead of time (ie: my information will be in the system).

By the time he was done with his “work” he made it back to the OB office in time to catch his son on the ultrasound.

Measuring in at approximately 4.5 lbs at 31wks 🙂

In side-news: Last time at my OB, I was fresh back from the States. I think my visit  to my homeland increased the amount of comfort foods I ate. Consequently, my waistline/weight had increased… to the point that the receptionist raised her eyes at the frequency at which I was putting the pounds on. I think being back home, not eating ice cream every night, walking, etc… have resulted in my weight gain slowing down. Thankfully, the receptionist was impressed with how little I put on between that appointment and yesterday’s appointment. Not that I don’t want to gain weight. But it’s encouraging that I’m not putting them on quite as quickly as I was while I was in the States. Good news, though: Little Randles still gained a pound in between visits 🙂 He is healthily large for this stage where he’s only “supposed” to be the size of a pineapple!

The OB confirmed my suspicion – that the big guy was positioned such that his feet were on my right side. Not only were his big feet over there, but his hands too. That would explain why that side of my rib cage has been seeing a lot of action lately!

After the long, but smooth, appointment, we needed a break. Usher in Starbucks.

Andrew treated himself to a “Grande, Sugar-free Vanilla, Coffee-base Frappacino, with a shot of a Espresso.” (You should’ve seen the looks of the Barista when he put in his order. But props to them, they got it right!)

Complicated Starbucks order = worth the effort

I went with the simpler, but still delicious, affair of a jumbo blueberry muffin. After Andrew’s complicated order, they were more than happy to go through the effort of heating up my muffin.

Simple Pleasures

Okay; so maybe the whole afternoon wasn’t spent waiting in offices and doing mundane paperwork.

We then spent some time at Robinson’s trying to use up $20 in gift certificates. We decided on a muffin top pan and some placemats. It can be hard work deciding on what to spend “free” money on, but we make it work 😉

Muffin Top Pan & Placemats

Needing to burn off the Starbucks calories and get in some exercise, we walked the 1km to Plaza Singapura in order to satisfy a craving. This time the craving was on Andrew’s behalf for a special low-carb fast food:

Carl’s Jr – Low Carb Burger

While the iceberg lettuce may not be the same as some hearty-high-carb buns, we both agreed it was pretty good. My own dinner consisted of Carl’s Jr fried zucchini and a side salad. We were annoyed at the fact that the bottle of water (since you couldn’t get water from the soda fountain) cost more than a soda. The cost of eating healthily!

After the filled afternoon, I was ready to sit down and get home. I was thankful that a kind stranger allowed me to do both by giving her seat up for me on the MRT. <happy sigh> I am enjoying the deference given to pregnant women around here.

Even though we arrived home tired and needing to pick up some around the house before going to bed, I remembered to have Andrew take an updated baby bump picture.

The bump continues to grow

Andrew definitely had a more than full afternoon for his “half-day.” And yet, he took the initiative to spend some time hunched over in the bathroom cleaning the bathroom floor. All because he wanted to serve his wife that finds it increasingly difficult to bend over! I am one blessed wife! With such a wonderful husband, I think I’ll have the patience to wait for the rest of pregnancy to play out before I meet Little Randles 🙂

Pregnant Wife with Low-Carb Husband

The last few days have been an adventure of experiments in the kitchen.

Andrew recently went on a self-imposed low-carb diet. I must say I am proud of his efforts and discipline. I don’t know that I could resist the urge for carbs as well as he has! He researched the diet pretty thoroughly before beginning. Then he decided that when I left for the States would be a good opportunity for hime to commence with his plan. He sweetly informed me that this was because he didn’t think it was fair (for me) if he went a diet with a pregnant lady in the house.

Now, the pregnant lady is back. The hubby is still on the diet. And while the wife has no intention of giving up carbs, she has discovered that researching low-carb dieting options can be a fun challenge. Rice and pasta, not to mention homemade breads and baked goods, are used to be regulars in the Randles’ household. So finding ways to work around these has been a challenge. But, the good news is that Randles members like to rise to challenges.

And… personally, it has been a good diversion as I’ve just come off of a “high” of time with my family. Don’t get me wrong, I am oh so estatic to be reunited with my closest family member, Andrew – but I already miss spending time with my loved ones who were left on the East Coast. Having something new to focus on, like finding ways to cook and bake low-carb-style, has been a welcome distraction.

On Tuesday, I made coconut crusted salmon, with cauliflower “rice” and salad with warm balsamic dressing as the sides. Yesterday I did a stir-fry; this time with a cabbage dish as the base instead of our typical rice-standby.

But I must admit, even though these have been fun, some of my favorite low-carb conquests have been in the baked goods departments.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

For whatever reason, I have yet to find poppy seeds  in Singapore. I probably will have to go to an “expat-y” grocery store here to find them. But in the meantime, since I couldn’t find some here, I brought some back from the States. (Since it cost me several dollars for a little bit from Giant in the States – I shudder to think how much it will cost once I do eventually find it here!) In any case, a few bucks and minimal suitcase space is worth it for a way to show Andrew, the Lemon Poppy Seed lover, how much he means to me!

I searched here and there online. Finally I decided to modify and half this recipe.

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond meal

  • 1/4 cup coconut flour (I just processed some desiccated coconut I had on hand)

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • 1/3 cup sweetner (malitol)

  • 1 Tbsp poppyseeds


Wet Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt

  • 1 egg
juice
  • juice from 1 lemon

  • rind of 1 lemons 

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions

Mix dry and wet ingredients separately. Combine together, and let sit while you prepare the muffin tins. Line muffin tins and spray paper liners with oil to prevent sticking. Fill muffin liners.  (I was able to stretch the muffins to make 9 regular muffins. It would probably make more like 6 full muffins if you like your muffins to rise above the paper liner.) Bake at 350F/190C for about 30-40minutes. (Our oven doesn’t insulate very well

The Result

Just as a lemon poppy seed muffin should be!

Some DELICIOUS lemon poppy seed muffins. There are some noticeable differences that are due to the low-carb nature of baking.

  1. They are by no means sponge-like. They are not cupcakes. They are muffins. However, they are lighter than expected and by no means dense or dry.
  2. While they do have egg and yogurt, they do not hold together quite as well as I would like. I might increases the egg on the next try. That being said, they don’t fall apart.
I couldn’t stop at lemon poppy seed muffins. Why? Because I had a few blueberries in the fridge that needed a purpose.

Low-Carb Flax Blueberry Mini-Muffins

I again halved the recipe I found and made a few modifications. I probably wouldn’t have halved it had I had more blueberries on hand and not just made other muffins.

Dry Ingredients

  • ½ cup ground golden flax seed (I ground my own flax seed)
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp sweetener (malitol)

Wet Ingredients

  • zest from ½ of a lemon
  • ¼ cup blueberries (I used what was left of our blueberries in the fridge)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp of Vanilla

Topping

  • Sweetener
  • Coconut

Directions

I mixed the dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl I blended the wet ingredients together until the butter was incorporated. (I guess you could’ve . I combined the wet and dry ingredients together until a consistent dough was formed, making sure to squish some of the blueberries while I was mixing so that the blueberry flavor wasn’t stuck in the blueberries. (I also did this because I worried about getting mini-muffins without any blueberries!) I stuffed the filling into lined mini-muffin tray.  (I would’ve made 12, but my tray only has 10 spots – hence the “stuffing”.) To top it off, I sprinkled the muffins with some sweetener and desiccated coconut. They baked in a 350F/190C oven for about 15 minutes.

The Result

Isn’t it cute?

Notes

  • I would definitely do the coconut on top, it made a nice, slightly crunchy topping with an extra flavor profile.
  • The sweetener on top was optional as it didn’t caramelize as real sugar would’ve.
  • While definitely more of a “grainy” texture due to the flax meal, they are actually surprisingly moist and hold together well. The addition of the little bit of coconut flour seemed to balance out the rest of the flax seed so that you didn’t feel like you were eating something quite so “low-carb, no real flour inside” tasting.
  • While the mini-muffin size worked out fine, we discovered that they are quite good when they are cut in half and eaten with peanut butter. The application of the peanut butter goes well with the grainy almost nuttiness of the muffin. For this particular use, I think normal sized muffins might have worked better.

Although it has been nice to have some baked goods on hand, I must admit that they don’t cover all the bases:

The Wife’s Indulgences

Now, it must be mentioned that Andrew is very adamant that I not feel pressured or confined in any way while he is on this diet. He demonstrated this concept by having fresh chocolate chip cookies (an Andrew favorite, but off-limits currently due to the low-carb imposition), that he made himself, ready for me when I met him at the airport!

There have indeed been benefits from the low-carb dieter in our household. For example, we have been more apt to have salad fixings on hand. And I have consequently been more likely to have salad for lunch.

Today’s Salad for Lunch – lettuce, sprouts, cucumbers, tomatoes, hard-boiled egg, parmesan, and dressing

As much as I have enjoyed having health alternatives in the house to turn to,  during our grocery store trips we have added things to the basket that are very Adrielle-friendly. The other day, this meant that I added two liters of fruit juice (OJ and Blueberry Pomegranate) and some bananas to the basket, knowing I would be the one consuming them. I have already gone through almost all of the above except for some of the juice.

Enter Pineapple

Yesterday, I added pineapple to my collection of things to bring home from the grocery store. Last night, I cut up the pineapple and filled a tupperware container with the yummy fruit ready for consumption. This morning I was in the mood for a snack. I pulled out the pineapple. I snacked. Snacked some more. By 11am, the entire container of pineapple was gone. <insert slight blush of embarassment>

I sheepishly told Andrew what happened. I then asked if that constituted a craving or just simply lack of self-control. While he didn’t confirm the lack of self-control, he did state, “If you woke up at 5am and NEEDED to have that much pineapple, then it would count as a craving.” <sigh> Can I blame the fact that I haven’t had as much fruit on hand as I would normally? Maybe not. I think I must admit that this pregnant lady has an issue with self-control. Or at least when it comes to pineapple.

Thankfully my husband has more self-control than I do. So we will be continuing, for now, with at least half of this household seeking lower-carb alternatives. Here’s to future kitchen adventures!