Tag Archives: food

Low Carb: How It Works For Me #MyWANA

Several people have asked how I’ve stuck to low carb for so long.

This is what’s worked for me.

imgres-1First, I purchased the new Dr. Atkins book. I read the entire thing before I committed. I wanted to know what the steps were. The book changed my thoughts completely. When I got it, I thought this was a diet. It’s not. If it’s a diet, you get the same results as every other diet. You’ll lose a ton and then gain it back. This is not a diet. It’s a lifestyle change.

If you’re like me you’ve spent years gaining weight at the scent of cookies while friends and loved ones could eat what they wanted in moderation. From reading the book, I learned the idea that weight loss isn’t exactly one size fits all. I finally understood why it took me hours in the gym to lose weight on the traditional low fat diets, and I understood part of why I suffered with cravings for years. There’s a reason we’re the most obese nation in the world even though we’re inundated with lowfat options everywhere.

Second, I followed the induction phase one plan religiously. This is the only way to break your body from its addiction to sugars. Read every label carefully. Fillers are everywhere, especially in meat. LABELS are important! Plan on lots of fresh food, but no sweets. Not even fruit.

Phase one is HARD at first. But it’s so worth it. You’ll feel better, and you learn to  really listen to your body about food. It’s easy to binge on a bag of potato chips. Not so much a block of cheddar. 🙂 Speaking of binging, a lot of my weight issues are mental. I have serious food problems. Anyone who can gain and lose 60 pounds in one year more than once in a decade has something other than food problems going on. I’ve starved myself so often over the years that the binge mentality became my norm. Some of you will relate. For instance, before my low carb lifestyle I’d buy a bag of M&Ms for the family to share (HA!). Those M&Ms would call my name until they were gone. No one else in the house cared about those M&Ms, but I DID. And after I ate them all in less than 24 hours, I HATED them and myself.  I’d swear to “be good” the next day only to binge again. It might be a month later, but the binge would happen. Guaranteed.

Since March 2012 I’ve binged twice: once on green beans and once on spinach. That’s makes me laugh when I write it, but it shows how ingrained my issue with food is. I remember exactly what happened with those binges and how crappy I felt afterwards and how I realized my food issues were bigger than food. I’m careful with both veggies now because I know they can trigger a binge, and even though that kind of binge won’t result in weight gain, it’s still an unhealthy behavior.  The good part of this is two problems in over a year. Pre-low carb, it was two a week.

After phase two, I quit following the Atkins plan word-for-word, but I’ve maintained my weight loss for several months by continuing low carb. My keys to success were and still are bacon, eggs, heavy cream, butter, coconut oil, almonds, almond milk, olives, pepperoni, cheese, cream cheese, cauliflower, spinach, flax, Atkins bars and protein mix. If I’m hungry, I can always make a protein smoothie, but be careful. A lot of those mixes are FULL of carbs.

Be super careful about eating sugar-free candy. A lot of it is made with sugar-alcohols, and while they don’t count as carbs, your body can process them like carbs. I found that other than Atkins bars, sugar-free candy made me crave sugar. I do use Splenda. I know the research says to get rid of it, but I haven’t found anything else that tastes right in my coffee.

I’ve added berries to my diet and I’ve started doing Pilates. My next goal is to add a cardio workout because I know that’s important for heart health.

Since dumping sugar, starch and flour from my diet, I’ve felt better, looked better and had more energy. I no longer crave carb-laden foods.

One more bit of advice: Pinterest and Google are your friends when it comes to great low carb recipes.

This is what worked for me.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments.#

Title plate



Soul Food

In my new christian romance Letting Go, the Dillons go out of their way to make people feel at home by cooking for them. Here are a few of the recipes from the book.
Susie Dillon’s biscuits (these are really my sister-in-law Alecia Hagberg’s biscuits, and they are beyond belief yummy and EASY to make!)
Preheat oven to 425.

3 cups self rising flour
1/4 – 1/3 c vegetable shortening
1 T sugar (just estimate)
1 t baking soda (just estimate)
1 1/2 C milk + 2 T vinegar or 1 1/2 c buttermilk

Mix flour, sugar, and baking soda. Cut in shortening until the mixture looks crumbly. Stir in milk. Flour a sheet of wax paper. Turn dough onto flour. Sprinkle the top with flour and kneed the dough, pulling the top to the bottom and pushing up until the top looks smooth.
Roll out or flatten out by hand. cut out with a biscuit cutter or a drinking glass. Place on buttered cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until tops are browned.

Susie Dillon’s Mashed Potatoes
Peel and dice potatoes. (I usually use 6 large)
Boil potatoes in chicken stock until they’re soft. Drain.
Pour back into empty pan used to boil and add 1 package cream cheese, 1 stick butter, 1/2 C sour cream, 1/2 C Parmesan cheese, 1/2 C heavy whipping cream garlic to taste, salt to taste (often not needed because of chicken stock), pepper to taste. Whip them up. Pour into slow cooker and leave on low. Add more heavy whip if needed.
Extras you might want to add:
Bacon, shredded cheddar, sweet corn

In Letting Go, the Dillons help Clarissa learn about the healing power of forgiveness. When she tells them she’s got a criminal past, they help her see God doesn’t hold her past against her. The Dillons aren’t preachy or judgmental. They simply accept Clarissa as a person who needs help and they step up. They let their lives be the witness. I hope you enjoy the book.

Book Info: Letting Go, a christian romance by Mary Beth Lee:  e-edition (kindle only for 3 months) & available in Print

Find out more about my books by visiting my author page!

Failures Define Us If We Let Them

The First Time:
The secrets lived in the books on the top shelf.
Some books were paperback, new, glossy with names Like Southern Living’s Best and The Joy of Cooking, but my favorite was the giant, splotched on the outside red and white flecked, yellowed paged hard back Betty Crocker.
I don’t know how old I was, I think 10, when I first dared to take it from its home and make a meal.
French Toast. I served it as breakfast in bed to Mom and Dad.
After that I was fearless.
I made pie crust and chiffon pies. Popovers. Pasties. Pancakes of every kind imaginable.
Once I nearly burned down the house making a surprise anniversary dinner for my parents. Not because of the cooking, but because I didn’t have any matches to light the candles so rolled up a ton of paper towels and caught them on fire using the electric stovetop. Paper towels burn fast! I was 11 or 12.
The food was good, though.
The burnt spot on the new carpet…well, we just moved furniture around to cover it.
In sixth grade my love of cooking landed me in cake decorating classes.
In high school, I worked for Del Taco, and my favorite job was prep where I’d spend two hours shopping and mixing.
A fearless belief in my abilities to cook anything led me to fun in the kitchen.
I don’t know when or how that changed.
It’s funny that The Artist’s Way has brought it back to me.
My failures in the kitchen became fodder for funny family stories, and I let them identify me. I quit trying.
I’m going to reclaim the fun. Unfortunately, I sold the ancient Betty Crocker Cookbook in a garage sale.
Will I still have failures? I’m sure. But they won’t define me. I won’t let them.

Honor and Lies deals with failure and dreams and daring to live beyond expectations. I wrote it 12 years ago, and I still love the characters. Honor and Lies coupon:  50% off for one month: coupon code is LH94Z. Find the book here.


I can’t remember the last time I said this, maybe wayyyyyy back in the day when Pioneer was so good my mother-in-law came in from LA once every few months to get her hair done and eat Pioneer’s chicken fried steak, but Napoli’s on Kemp is seriously the best food I’ve ever eaten in the US. Tonight DD and I had white pizza and we got two desserts: cannoli and tiramisu. I’ve had the tiramisu, but the cannoli was new. Wow! I’m not in awe of food all that often, but this meal was incredible. Not something you can have every day–or even every week–but OMG, it was good. My taste buds have died and gone to heaven. I have no idea how much serotonin (happy hormone) was released with every bite, but I’m thinking it must’ve been a ton because I am completely overjoyed. From food. And I’m never overjoyed from food. I’m almost always guilt-ridden, depressed or aggravated. Not tonight. Nope. Not tonight.
I really like this quote, so I thought I’d share:
“”Values aren’t buses…They’re not supposed to get you anywhere. They’re supposed to define who you are.””
— Jennifer Crusie


My new WIP stars a hero who cooks. Lots. Right now he’s making an incredible dinner sure to drive my heroine crazy.
I’m not much of a cook, but I can make decent enchiladas and taco salad and awesome manicotti. That about does it for my specialties.
I’m not sure why really. Growing up I was surrounded by good food. The other day I was whipping up a batch of whole wheat waffles (mix, milk, egg, oil PRESTO!) and I thought about my old favorite breakfast. The one Grandma would make for us if we begged and pleaded. Biscuits and chocolate gravy. I know it sounds strange but it was delicious. Way better than sausage gravy. Way better than chocolate donuts. And I learned a long time ago that the absolute best sandwich is peanut butter and dill pickles on white bread. I always have to tell my friends don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it. Inevitably I hear how great it is once they take the risk and give it a go. DD makes a delicious spaghetti sauce with tomato sauce and balsamic vinegar. It’s tangy and light. Pretty much perfect.
I’m trying to decide which of those favorites my hero will use on my heroine. I might have to spend more time in my kitchen researching. My family will definitely appreciate it.

Rockin’ and Rollin’

Wichita Falls is best known for the massive tornado we had in 1979. Every spring since I’ve been here, severe storms have been a part of my April and May. It didn’t even thunder this year until a couple weeks ago. We had hail, baseball sized hail, with no thunderstorm.
That changed today.
Today, when we got ready for church, we got to watch massive amazing storms build. By the time church was out the tornadoes were going strong. The TV weatherpeople were going crazy. They love these days. They live for these moments.
The sirens were sounding about two miles from my house and dh decides we need to go home. We were at my MIL’s. Her house is nice and safe and across town from the sirens.
I told him forget it.
Then the rain stopped.
And there on the radar we saw a teensy speck of clear weather.
I agreed to get in the car and make the short trip home,
We made it, but that was CRAZY.
It’s nasty weather outside. Power sparks flying off electric lines, funnels hanging all over the place, wind blowing hard enough to bend huge trees to the ground.
And I was in the car because it wasn’t raining! UGH!
Saving the new shoes (I bought awesome shoes today) wasn’t worth it.
I don’t know why I relented.
This man, the man I love with all my heart, hears sirens and if it’s not raining goes to the corner with all the other guys in the neighborhood and watches guessing on when the storm might get here. I go to the closet with a flashlight, a bottle of water and a good book. If it’s late, I take my pillow.
I don’t understand him. UGH.

Tonight’s service was about respecting our bodies and the calories in our favorite fast foods. A large cherry limeaid has almost 500 calories. 500. UGH! An awesome blossom has over 2000 calories. WHAT? Needless to say when church was over we were ravenous, so we went out to El Chico’s. The preacher didn’t say anything about Mexican food. To top it off we had dessert. In honor of the message we had apple skillet.
Apple crisp carmalized with cinnamon icecream on top. It was wonderful. I think there might have been three slices of apple in it.
Needless to say I have no idea how many Points I ate tonight. I’m sure it’s not pretty.
But it’s not as ugly as it would have been if we’d have been caught out in a tornado. UGH!