Monday, March 30, 2009


I love Chipotle. I emailed Chipotle to tell them that I thought they should move into my neighborhood, and eventually, they did. I am a bit embarrassed to admit that I asked a chain to move closer to me, but clearly not so embarrassed that I'm not posting it to my blog.

Needless to say, Chipotle is not Sonoma Diet friendly, unless I wanted to get the salad and really, I don't want to get the salad! Steak fajita burrito or nothin', baby.

Anyway, I realized today that I haven't even craved Chipotle once, something Bill and I ate at least once every two weeks in our old life.

I will admit to fantasizing about pizza, but then, my food fantasies often take me to pizza, and even during the pre-Sonoma Diet days I ate pizza less than once a month.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Today, as I walked by the vending machine at the door to my work gym (where I worked out for an hour and a half!), I realized that I have had exactly three sweets since starting my diet over 4 weeks ago: 1) Split a S'more cake in Temecula; 2) Had some creme brulee pudding thing in my boxed lunch in Temecula; 3) Pineapple upside-down cake at last week's birthday lunch. And that is all. Willpower, thy name is my own.

Oh, but tomorrow, I have a work party and my friend is making cupcakes, so I will have at least half of one to demonstrate my support of baked goods.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wave two meal plan

Today I completed 14 days of Wave 2 meal plan. I followed the plan more or less exactly. I've been on the Sonoma Diet for 4 weeks, and I've lost 14 lbs. I have around 4 lbs more to lose before I reach the skinniest weight I can remember having, and 10 more until I move into the normal BMI range.

Now that I am done with the official meal plan, I am looking forward to a little more flexibility with my eating. I am happy to follow the Sonoma Diet recipes, as they are mostly quite tasty and I can be relatively confident that I am not accidentally putting fat anywhere I don't want it. I think I will piece together official days from the Wave Two plan, and DIY it a bit, too. Excitement!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Snacking FAIL

Ever since I put my Wave Two two-week meal plan up on the fridge, I've been pretty excited about one snack in particular-- 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella on a whole wheat tortilla with 1/2 cup broccoli florets. I even bought shredded mozzarella, even though I am generally opposed to shredded cheese, but I figured that was the best way to make sure i got the full 1/4 cup.

Anyway, 1/4 cup of cheese on a tortilla ain't shit, folks. And whole grain tortillas, while fine when filled with wrap fixings like black bean spread and chicken and spinach, overpowers cheese and broccoli with their gritty blah-ness. Sigh. Cottage cheese, nuts, fruit, veg, and cheese sticks remain my snacking favorites.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

That's soooooo LA

Yep, I started my Sunday with a yoga class at my local studio, then came home where Bill and I took off to Urth Caffe, one of the places I identified as a restaurant where I could have my assigned lunch of tuna on whole wheat with a lightly dressed salad and Bill could enjoy a nice lunch out. And then, my half tuna on wheat came out as a tuna on ciabatta. Crestfallen, I began: "I'm sorry, I asked for the tuna on whole wheat" and the waiter quickly and cheerfully scurried off to acquire my specified lunch. Fortunately, we were in Beverly Hills at Urth Caffe so I already felt lame and thus didn't beat myself up over my "ewww, is that white flour on my plate?" request.

So, that was my first attempt at dieting at a restaurant. Went pretty well, I thought, except for the fact that I spent $8.50 on half a sandwich (but the tuna salad was really good!!) and mixed greens. Also, it is a little embarrassing to go to Urth Caffe, given the extremely high douche ratio (note-- I would feel differently, perhaps, if I saw someone famous and not just women who looked skinny enough to be famous). However, I did buy coffee beans and you get 10% off if you bring your bag back next time, so that might work to get me back in...

Friday, March 20, 2009

A short break from the wagon

Sorry, blog readers! I can't believe I haven't updated since Tuesday! Well, yesterday I had a non-diet dinner at the Cheesecake Factory (believe me, not my pick), where I enjoyed a bar snack-sized Chicken Quesadilla. And when I say enjoyed, I really mean it. For whatever reason, that tiny quesadilla was majorly delicious and kept me nearly stuffed for my movie following (I Love You, Man--hilarious).

Soon, I will head off to a birthday lunch at Joe's in Venice, where I will again abandon my dieting goals for the afternoon. But I am down 1.8 pounds since Sunday, and find myself for the first time in ages in the low 170s.

So, I look forward to some indulgence. Mmm.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Trader Joe's Organic String Cheese...

is rocking my world right now. So awesome. I don't know when the last time I had string cheese was... probably on some snack pack on an airplane. I don't tend to purchase things that might be described as a cheese product, but it was on my menu plan, so...

And, you will be proud to know, Bill & I skipped the pizza for dinner and followed Ms. Guttersen's plan for me: wild mushroom and barley risotto and a salad with walnuts, apple and chicken. Kind of a weird menu but man, the barley risotto was delicious.

Shamrock Shake

Is something that I am resisting RIGHT NOW. Praise be to me and my most awesome willpower.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Well, after yesterday's harissa debacle and the challenges I faced today attempting to use my cheap-ass charcoal grill, I need a break from my Sonoma Diet cooking. I am worn out. I am running the dishwasher, full, every 36 hours. I am spending at least two hours cooking and grocery shopping a day. Thank god I have a sainted boyfriend who cleans up nearly all of my messes. Credit where credit is due, he would actually clean up all of my messes but sometimes I feel guilty and clean up after myself. Now, lest you think I am some sort of abusive girlfriend, allow me to point out that every single piece of cooked food that Bill eats I have cooked for him. So it's an even trade, except that I am producing the same amount of food with a great deal more mess.

But I am pretty damn tired of making 3 new recipes a day. I like cooking, and I like the Sonoma Diet recipes. I even like learning how to make harissa (though I will never do it again). But I need a break. And, I need massive carby goodness. A crusty loaf of sourdough, a piece of chewy pizza (or four), a big bowl of noodles. I miss the pleasant fullness of eating too many carbs.

So, tomorrow, I think Bill and I will try out Z Pizza, a pizza chain that allegedly makes good whole wheat pizza. And I will attempt to eat just a slice.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Damn you, Connie Guttersen.

Why would you make me make harissa to be used in a harissa sauce which will then be used in a Tunisian carrot salad?

Do you know how flipping messy making harissa is? Do you know how long it took me to get the orangey oily residue out of my food processor? No? Well, neither do I, actually, because IT HASN'T HAPPENED YET. Not to mention my translucent once-white strainer, which is now translucent orange. Oh, and by the way, Connie, that whole straining step seemed to be unnecessary, since the only thing left in my strainer after I spent 20 minutes cursing you and pushing pureed chilis through, was anger. No pepper skins there, only a lot of ORANGE.

I mean, I know harissa is sold in stores. Heck, I bet I could get the requisite amount for free just by being my charming self at any kebab or falafel vendor. Maybe in cities less diverse than Los Angeles, harissa is hard to fine. But I bet that in those same cities, guajillo peppers are hard to find too!

I just wish I knew why you asked this of me, Connie. Other Sonoma Diet recipes have mandated the use of storebought Asian chili garlic sauce, a similar condiment. You even instructed me once to use storebought salsa! Salsa is a cinch to make, Connie, and storebought stuff isn't nearly as good nor as nutritional as homemade.

I don't intend to break up with your diet, Ms. Guttersen. I have, after all, lost 13 lbs so I think I may as well stick with it. But I may begin questioning your judgement.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Grocery shopping

One of the major challenges of the Sonoma Diet is the amount of grocery shopping required. On Tuesday, I went to my local farmers market and got some greens, tomatoes, and some herb plants for the balcony. On Wednesday, I ran to Von's for some whole grain tortillas. Thursday, I completed an epic grocery shop, hitting three markets:

1) Smart & Final for the mega-sized jar of Better than Bouillion chicken broth (it's the giant jar at S&F for the same price of the small jar at other grocery stores!). Also picked up some apples, and an English cucumber.

2) Whole Foods for bulk lentils and walnuts. Also bought some wine, red wine vinegar, canned beans, a gigantic jar of roasted red peppers, and some veggies. Forgot to get tahini and barley, which means I'll be making another trip there soon.

3) Trader Joe's for a loaf of bread, more veggies, yogurt, milk, and frozen chicken breasts.

Then, on Friday, I sent Bill to Albertson's to buy some tilapia.

Fortunately, I really like grocery shopping and I live in easy walking distance of all of the stores listed above except for a Whole Foods, so it's no great inconvenience.

Alternatively, you could make a truly massive list, which is what I did when I started the diet. The list of ingredients required for the first 10 day meal plan took up an entire typed page, two columns. Yes, I typed it up and sorted by which market I thought the items should best be purchased at. And then I put the items in the order I would pass them in the store. Still, inevitably something comes up-- like you didn't find the sundried tomatoes NOT packed in oil at Trader Joe's like you thought you would, and then have to go back to Whole Foods.

Since beginning the Sonoma Diet 19 days ago, I have bought food at the following places: local farmers market, Trader Joe's, 99¢ Only Store, Whole Foods, Vons, and Albertsons.

Tomorrow, I will make Harissa, which calls for dried chilis relatively unfamiliar to me. Thus, I must decide whether I should seek them at Albertson's, which has a decent Mexican selection, India Sweets and Spices, on the corner, where finding things can be difficult and dusty, or venture to Top Valu, a grocery store a few miles away that allegedly has dirt cheap produce and Mexican items galore. And, back to Whole Foods again for tahini and barley.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Snacking on 22 almonds, one at a time...

24 hours post-hiatus, and I'm settling back in to dieting better than expected. I'm not dreaming of that pear, pine nut & gorgonzola pizza I ate. Even the lecture I attended on food this evening didn't send me on a KoGi taco truck chase. Nope, I came home, did some food prep for tomorrow, and settled in to watch an episode of the Wire with 22 almonds.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Full report?

That might have overstating my interest in blogging.

Let's just say I had a lovely weekend in "Temecula Wine Country," saw some animals at the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park, drank too much (but hey, heart healthy red wine!), and didn't do too badly with the whole eating delicious stuff in moderation.

Exhibit A: Went out for a lovely dinner at Temecula's Public House and enjoyed:
half a bottle of red wine;
small side salad with a vinaigrette;
split an ultra-decadent mac and cheese with my dining companion and didn't even come close to finishing it-- this is where I feel my greatest accomplishment of the weekend lies;
split a taste-tacular s'more brownie dessert thing that we didn't even finish either!

So, probably nothing to fuss over but I think it is an improvement over pre-sonoma diet ruth. Now I am back to it, as of dinner tonight.

And yes, I did just tell you all to be proud of me for drinking only half a bottle of red wine.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The First Hiatus

Yep, that's right, readers. Tomorrow I venture south for two days of wine tasting in Temecula and animal watching at the Wild Animal Park with a Kansas City-based friend. She is also on a diet, so we will be enacting the old stereotype of two adult women on a diet, drinking too much.

While I will attempt to make healthier choices, I do intend to enjoy my meals out. So, that means no special requests to the kitchen. And probably no margaritas. My goal: to enjoy the trip without gaining any of my 9 lost pounds back.

I will also do what Ms. Guttersen discourages-- saving all of your week's wine for a single day. But come on, we are taking the drunk bus! I'm not paying $88 to spit my wine out.

So, back with a full report on Tuesday.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Wave Two, Day One!

Mmmm, lunch.

I think this wave two dining will agree with me. Lunch, pictured above, featured Tangy Black Bean Soup* with spinach salad topped with sundried tomatoes (sadly, not bacon as it appears in the photo), TWO small balls of mozzarella, pecans & a pesto vinaigrette. Dessert, a cup of blueberries!

For dinner, we had pork tenderloin, roasted zucchini, and one of my favorite Sonoma Diet recipes-- Toasted Quinoa Pilaf. It is a savory wonderland.

*Soup was great though perhaps not the greatest soup to eat before taking a yoga class with a lot of twisting poses.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Wave One Recap

Well, I had an extremely busy day at work, which was really unfortunate, as I had planned to spend a portion of my day putting together wave two, which begins at midnight* tonight!

Alas, I did not get a chance to consider my approach to the new wave today, and thus have decided to follow the 14 day meal plan exactly as written. No red snapper, so should be OK.

Reflecting over the past ten days of superstrictness, I have been really surprised at my lack of cravings. Though the sweetest thing I've had are grape tomatoes, I haven't found myself missing candy or soda. I'll admit to pangs of longing when tossing out the half-dozen pizza ads we get each day. OK, and when passing a Cheezits end-cap at the grocery store.

I haven't cheated at all-- not a single bite of non-wave one food has passed through my lips. I have prepared every single meal for myself over the past ten days-- something that will no doubt change in the coming weeks. Or this weekend, rather, when I head down to Temecula for a few days with a friend.

Prior to starting the Sonoma Diet, I never ever passed up a chance to eat. Over the past ten days, I have refused home-made tamales, scones, sorbet, home-made caramels, popcorn, beer, countless office candies, and god knows what else. While the idea of passing up free food bothers me on some level (why? I didn't grow up in the Great Depression!), I must say I take no small amount of pleasure in refusal. I'm not sure how long that will last, but right now, using my willpower is somewhat of a high.

*At midnight, I am going to see the Watchmen. And I am taking with me some home-popped popcorn sans butter (a wave two snack) to enjoy during the movie, as I am technically on wave two and there is no way in hell a wave one meal plan can take me from a 7 am breakfast to 3 am, the time the movie will end.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Dud dinner

Perhaps I jinxed myself yesterday, with my talk of trust between Connie Guttersen and I, because last night she damn near tried to kill me.

Red Snapper with Pepper and Fennel

Sounds good, right? Fennel, peppers, garlic, onions... mmmmmm.

Now, my experience with red snapper is limited. I can only recall having it at a cajun restaurant, blackened and grilled. Thus, I have no idea how baked red snapper should taste, but I am guessing it should not taste like baked Magic Rub erasers. I swear to god, that snapper squeaked on my teeth. Perhaps it was over-cooked-- I have noticed that the Sonoma Diet errs on the side of caution with its cook times.

Still, I sucked down the whole 4 ounce fillet. If you ate enough fennel in the bite it wasn't too terrible.

Later, I ate a small spoonful of natural peanut butter for a snack but got a disproportionate amount of oil and I swear to you, I almost died. When your daily bites are drastically limited, it is nothing less than devastating when one fails to deliver.

And today, no doubt as reward for managing to swallow numerous sub-par bites yesterday, I have miraculously dropped another 2 lbs per this morning's weigh in.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Breakfast and Diet Cheese

This morning, I enjoyed:
Two baked eggs sprinkled with green onion and feta.

I have been following the Wave One meal plan more or less exactly. I don't really trust myself to go rogue (the book provides instruction in devising your own meal plans)-- although I will admit to swapping the occasional unpleasant raw veg (cauliflower, celery) with more delicious, roughly as healthy vegetables like bell peppers and broccoli.

Now, I feel like the author, Connie Guttersen, and I have some trust between each other. She trusts me to keep goat cheese and gorgonzola in my fridge while remaining on her meal plan, and I trust her not to poison me. I even roasted brussels sprouts and zucchini for dinner the other night (sorry about that, Bill), two of my least favored vegetables.

There is one thing, though, that Ms. Guttersen wants me to do that I can just not bring myself to do-- eat low-fat cheese. While most of the recipes so far call for a very small amount of real cheese (chevre, parmesan, blue cheese, feta...), she occasionally instructs me to use a larger, though still quite small, amount of low-fat cheddar or to snack on a Laughing Cow Babybel. So far, I have been swapping the low-fat cheese options with half the amount of feta or fresh goat cheese (relatively low in fat for full-fat cheeses, but significantly higher than their low-fat brethren).

I can't decide if my aversion to the diet cheese is necessary to preserve my sense of self throughout the great diet experiment, or is an arbitrary line in the sand. After all, this morning I could have had TWO tablespoons of low-fat cheddar instead of my one tablespoon of full-fat feta. Plus, in my pre-diet life, I regularly enjoyed low-fat cottage cheese and sour cream, and non-fat milk and yogurt. If other dairy products can still be enjoyed in reduced fat varieties, then is it possible that cheese could be similarly delicious?

In other news, 179.8 this morning. And I am sporting pants purchased in a size 10* last year that today are significantly more comfortable than they have ever been before.

*That's a Gap size 10-- let's not get too excited.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Sonoma Diet

Five pounds down, I am half-way through Day Seven of the Sonoma Diet. Indeed, I am one pound away from the 170s, a ten-pound range I haven't visited for quite some time, and, in fact, have never been especially friendly with.

I chose the Sonoma Diet after reading reviews of different diet programs, and then hanging out in a Barnes and Noble for an afternoon, looking over my short-list (South Beach, Sonoma, No-Fad). I chose Sonoma because it seemed most compatible with my beliefs about food and healthy eating. I didn't want, for instance, a diet that embraced frozen foods, meal replacement bars, or strange substitutions, I didn't want to welcome margarine into my refrigerator or Equal in my cabinets, I didn't want to shun whole grains, fruits, or cheese.

Despite my healthy eating values, I know my food choices aren't always the greatest. Bedtime snacks, cream sauces, oversized portions, and my complete and utter inability to pass up eating anything that might be delicious have all kept me hovering just below the plus-sizes.

So, I've decided to give dieting a go, and I've decided to blog about it to keep myself accountable.

The next time someone describes me as voluptuous, I want them to be talking about my rack, not my Rubenesque belly.