Comparing Chocolate

Yep, you can eat chocolate on this diet.  At first, that tripped me up becuase I over-indulged, but I’m doing better this time around, maybe because I’m adhering to the golden rule of taking time to enjoy it.  The rules with your daily chocolate indulgence are:
  1. Golden Rule – you can have your chocolate any time during the day, but you must take time to truly enjoy your indulgence – don’t just scarf it down on the run.
  2. It must be a dark chocolate with a minimum of 70% Cacao.
  3. You can have up to 100 calories per day.

So which kinds of dark chocolate do you prefer?  I started out buying a bag of Dove Dark Chocolate Promises because I’d seen them referenced in either the Cinch book or Shape magazine book review, I can’t recall which, but then I discovered that they do not meet rule #2 of a minimum 70% dark (they are 63%).  Plus, after comparing them to a few other varieties, I found that they tasted very artificial in comparison.  More about this later…

Sooo, I set off to check out other options.  First, I checked the organics section at Kroger, and they had quite a selection, and all at a pretty hefty price tag of about $4 per bar.  After much debate, I selected a few different kinds of Endangered Species Chocolate bars – blueberry, raspberry almond, and mint.   There were several other brands, but I knew this one was pretty good because I’d tried the regular 72% dark in my first attempt at the Core phase (and devoured the whole bar in 2 days).  Plus, as a huge fan of turtles, it was very hard for me to get past the packaging…

Endangered Species 72% Dark Chocolate with Blueberries

 Next, I headed to the candy aisle to check out their selection.  They actually had a nice variety of gourmet chocolate bars from Godiva, Ghiradelli, Lindt, and more.  Once again, much debate ensued, and I decided to go with my old favorite – Godiva.  Afterall, I already have $12 in chocolate from my first stop, so let’s not go overboard.  Speaking of overboard – if you ate this entire bar, how many calories do you think that would set you back?  I bet you didn’t guess 600 calorie and 42 grams of fat!  Yep, to stay under the daily max of 100 calories, you can have 1 small square.  Yikes.  I’ve been majorly over-indulging for years!  Hence, I am here with you, blogging about my new nutrition adventure.

 

Naturally, a taste test is in order.  So I had 1 piece of each.  I expected to like the Dove chocolates best, but surprisingly, they were my least favorite and tasted a bit artificial when eaten right after the others.   The Endangered Species chocolate has great flavor, but is slightly chalky consistency.  I liked the Raspberry & Almond bar best.  Then I had the Godiva bar and it was definitely the best of the 3.  Great flavor, smooth consistency, and not too bitter like a lot of dark chocolate.

So the winner is GODIVA 70% DARK!  A couple people have recommended the Green Black brand, which I have seen but not tried, so I’ll get that next and see how it compares to my Godiva.

OK, so I’m going to go ahead and admit that I’ll be taking a day off from my diet today.  My office is having a culinary party and are taste-testing some new menu items for our new seafood restaurant called Marlin & Rays, which includes all of the desserts.  I think this is one of those experiences that should be enjoyed.  I have an 8-mile run scheduled for tomorrow, so I will no doubt burn it all off again and start fresh again.  More recipe testing and pictures coming this weekend.

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Cinch Diet Book – 281 Pages of Good Advice

I received my book about 2 hours ago and immediately devoured it.  I’m a very fast reader!  OK, so I didn’t read every page in its entirety, but I read the first several chapters, including the “Fast-Forward” detox phase (first 5 days), and then skimmed through the rest.    So now I feel the overwhelming urge to document my thoughts.

First, I was thrilled to see my employer, Ruby Tuesday, mentioned in the eating out section (pg 153)!  Only 5 restaurant companies were mentioned and we were the only one from our segment, despite the bigger competition.  Go Ruby Tuesday!  Although only one menu item was mentioned (Creole Catch), there are plenty of other healthy options to choose from if you must eat out.

Ruby Tuesday Salad Bar

Now on to the rest of the book…  It’s very well written and easy to follow.  In 2 hours, I fully understand the plan and what I need to do to succeed, plus made note of the rules (just a few), and made out a grocery list for the detox phase.   The book also includes lots of stories from people who have succeeded on this program scattered throughout the 11 chapters.  I really liked that the people used in the stories have a wide range of weight-loss goals and some even look like me – slightly pudgy but far from overweight, and thus I feel more confident that this can work for everyone, not just those with a significant amount of weight to lose. 

Did I mention that a daily “dark chocolate escape” is mandatory?  There are even a few chocolate recipes!  Actually, I’m a little uncertain about this part.  It sounds like a wonderful idea, but once I taste chocolate, the cravings become uncontrollable.  However, as Cynthia explains, small amounts of dark chocolate are actually good for you and the Cinch plan is all about teaching you how to each in real life and not feel that a small indulgence ruins your day or your progress.  I think I’ll skip it for the first week and then if I’m doing well, buy a very small amount to test my will power. 

OK, so how does this program work exactly?  Basically, you start with a strict 5-ingredient, 5-day detox phase to “fast-forward” your weight loss and give you a good jump-start.  Over these 5 days, you’ll eat a total of:

  • 15 cups of spinach, raw or frozen
  • 20 cups of raspberries, fresh or frozen
  • 4 cups of almonds, slivered or sliced
  • 10 Tablespoons of natural almond butter
  • 10 large eggs or 5 cups liquid egg whites
  • 60 ounces (2 large tubs) of non-fat plain yogurt
  • Seasonings such as natural fruit juice, peppers, garlic, vinegar, and herbs (no salt!)

Crazy right?  That’s a LOT of raspberries!!!  I’m not sure I’ve eaten that many raspberries in my entire life.  Thank goodness I like them.  So using these ingredients, you create 4 meals per day, which can be eaten in any order you wish, but must be eaten every 3 to 5 hours, starting within an hour of getting up in the morning.

Below is my meal plan, along with the meal times that work best for my schedule.  I’m tempted to share the actual recipes, but that seems unfair to the author … sorry!!  She actually offers some great suggestions for seasoning and salad dressing.  I also like that the recipes are made for one person, not the usual 3-4 that can make portions tricky. 

  • Meal 1 (6am) – scrambled eggs with spinach; raspberries and almonds.  2 cups water.
  • Meal 2 (10am) – yogurt parfait with raspberries and almonds.  2 cups water.
  • Meal 3 (2pm) – spinach salad with raspberries, almonds, boiled egg.  2 cups water.
  • Meal 4 (6pm) – smoothie with yogurt, raspberries, almond butter, ice.  2 cups water.

If I had to come up with a criticism, just based on my initial preview, I’d say it’s the lack of color and pictures.  I am a visual person, so a picture of the prepared recipes would have been nice.  So I’ll take my own and post them tommorrow when I make the meals for Day 1. 

So there you have it.  I’m ready to go!  And I got a little extra motivation over Christmas – a 2 week family vacation to Hawaii in June!  Gotta get my bikini body ready.  If I work up the courage, maybe I’ll include some monthly before-and-after pictures.  Good night world.

(FYI … I’m not being paid for this, it’s just a fun experiment!

Sweet Success

I feel so good today.  I’m on day 5 of my reincarnated healthy habits, have not had any “bad days” and yet also don’t feel deprived.  My goal is simple – eat healthy and exercise regularly.  Seems easy, right?  Sugar is my nemesis, and rather than ridding my entire house of it after our brownie binge, I decided that keeping it in the house, along with a couple pints of ice cream and M&M’s leftover from a weekend party, were good for training my will-power.  Then I got some more motivation last night when reading the new InStyle magazine and it referenced a new study that processed sugar leads to acne.  I’ve had mild acne most of my life, so perhaps this is a big factor?  OMG!  Just one more reason to cut out the crap.