Burger Option

IMG_20140801_173823059My last experiment in using portabella mushroom caps as pizza crust was delicious. After posting it, a friend pointed out that they make a great bread replacement for open faced sandwiches, which gave me an idea. Last night for supper I grilled burgers for the family and decided to make a version that I could have.


  • Portabella mushroom caps, large enough for hamburger patty
  • Hamburger patty (as lean as you choose to use)
  • Leaf lettuce
  • Goat cheese
  • Tomato
  • Condiment of choice (I used Dijon mustard)



  • Remove stem and scrape gills from mushroom caps (a spoon works well for this)
  • Brush olive oil into caps, then salt and pepper
  • Grill burger patties and mushrooms
  • Add goat cheese to top of patty and allow to soften
  • Place patty on mushroom (after removing from grill, of course)
  • Add leaf lettuce, tomato (I grilled mine) and condiments
  • Final step: enjoy!

Another week, a smaller me!

IMG_20140613_071344Today’s weekly weigh-in is my eighth since starting the program. I started out at 384 lbs. Today I weighed 318 lbs. I’ve lost 66 pounds and 40% of my weight loss goal.

The difference this has made is astounding. I am sleeping better. I get around easily, without getting out of breath. When I was at my heaviest (425 lbs.), I got out of breath walking to the refrigerator. I noticed back then that I always breathed heavily. It even affected my speaking—and since I speak for a living, it reduced the enjoyment of my job.

When first starting this program, the first few weeks were very easy. You would assume that it would get even easier because of familiarity. I just keep plugging along, and have to put little thought into it, so it should be a snap, right? Actually, I’ve noticed temptations that never caused problems early on have gotten harder. Early on, this was new. I was seeing the weight falling off and was so relieved to see a change that the old foods didn’t entice me in the slightest. Now, I feel so good, it can be hard to remind myself of the need to keep going. Now I am in the stage of, “Just hold on and keep going.”

One thing I try to remind myself is that while I feel so wonderful right now, I am not at a healthy weight. The last time I weighed this amount was when we lived in Idaho back around 2005. I didn’t feel healthy back then. I felt terrible. I feel wonderful now, for two main reasons:

(1)    I am comparing myself to when I weighed 425 lbs. and not when I weighed 225 lbs. That lower weight was so long ago that I cannot even remember those days. Feelings are always relative. If I were looking at today from my maximum weight days I would tell you that I feel great. I I looked at today from my goal weight, I would tell you that I am nowhere near being healthy, and not really feeling healthy. Right now I am not feeling health. I am feeling relief from my most unhealthy days.

(2)    Blood sugar has a huge impact on our feelings. I don’t feel so great right now just because of the weight. I feel this good because the program helps me to maintain my blood sugar level through the day. I am not experiencing the highs and lows, the cravings and the desire for sugar, or the draggy feeling as my body tries to consume all the extra sugars. If I dropped off the program and went back to my old habits, I’d feel some of the relief of the lower weight, but the old feelings of ill health would come back and before long these would drag me right back up to my old “laying at death’s door” weight.

Every day now is a reminder to keep going forward. This new life has to become habit. I need to get to the point that I eat right, not because a program tells me to do it, but because the good foods, in the healthy amounts and the right proportions are what I actually want. This can only come through building habits. Habits take time. There is no miracle pill taking us from bad habits to good or from illness to health. Now that the newness has worn off, the real work, and discipline come into play.

One thing my coach recommended was going back to the early creativity in preparing my Lean & Green meals. When we first IMG_20140613_071412started I wanted to find new things that I liked. I wanted to develop new tastes and learn to prepare new foods. After a few weeks of that I’ve gotten lazy again and try to get by with preparing the easiest quickest meals. To turn this back around yesterday I made myself a steak topped salad. It is one of my new favorites. It is romaine, spinach, and celery with a bit of Feta Cheese and dressed lightly with a Balsamic Vinaigrette. I then grilled about 4 ounces of steak, sliced it thin and laid it on the salad. I am attaching a picture. Sorry for those who are squeamish. I cook my steaks the right way—Blue Rare.

A Nice Surprise

scaleToday I decided to cook an elk roast given to us by a friend a while back. My plan was to finish it and then portion it out to package for my meals over the next few days. When I opened the package I discovered that it was not a roast, but was four nice elk steaks. Once cooked they were each already small enough to serve as proper portions for my program.

In case you are wondering how I cooked them, I grilled them over coals. Yes, I posted yesterday about the cast-iron grill plate I use on the stove. However, nice elk deserves to be treated with time and a kiss of smoke. For flavor I added a couple of chunks of hickory to the coals.

I thought my wife would join me, but she didn’t want the elk, so that just means more for me. I have three elk steaks in the fridge to 2014-04-21 14.03.44get me through a few meals.

Today is my fifth day on the program. I no longer feel tired and weak. I no longer feel hungry, other than the occasional small hunger pangs when it is almost time for my next meal.

On my first morning on the program I weighed myself at 384 pounds. Later that day a trip to the doctor confirmed that weight. Today I weigh 370 pounds. I doubt I’ve lost 14 pounds of fat in five days, but have probably lost excess fluids as inflammation is relieved. I am noticing a change and so are others.

Easter Supper with My New Best Friend

One of the big difficulties of trying to lose weight is special days—like holidays—and feeling left out. So many of our celebrations revolve around food. I remember as a kid, family dinners for Christmas, Thanksgiving and other events. These meals were not only large, but went on for hours as people picked at the left-overs, got an extra piece of pie, poured another glass of sweet tea.

Today was Easter. As a pastor this means it was a very special day. While we did not have family over—it was just my wife and I—the last few days brought constant questions, “What are you planning for Easter dinner?” Even with just the two of us, and even more while dieting, I wanted to have a special meal.

I made grilled lamb with grilled squash and bell peppers. With my plan I could have five ounces (cooked weight) of lamb and a cup and a half (raw volume) of the squash/peppers combination. Since I was allowed no fat addition with the lamb I chose to grill it, and might as well throw the veggies on there for flavor—since, let’s face it, I’m not a fan of veggies but anything tastes better grilled.

This brings up my new best friend. Around my house I am the pit master. If it needs to be grilled or slowGrill plate with an old glass lid smoked I am the one to do it. I love to smoke brisket and pork ribs—someday I’ll be able to do this again. But firing up a load of charcoal and waiting for them to be ready just seems silly and wasteful when grilling only a few ounces. I don’t have a good gas grill and, as an outdoor cooking purist, I prefer charcoal or wood. Besides, telling my wife my new diet requires a few hundred dollars on a new grill is not going to fly. However, I have a toy that makes things much easier. I have a small Lodge cast-iron grill plate that I usually use on my Dutch oven deck. Usually it will sit on a trivet with a pile of charcoal under it, but it can also be used on the gas stove top in the kitchen.

2014-04-20 17.55.58I put together enough to give me veggies for three meals and finished lamb for two. Once everything was cooked I found the meal was much larger than I expected and even with just a touch of salt/pepper and rosemary was quite delicious and appealing to the eye. Now, after such a nice supper, I have a freezer bag in the fridge with lamb, squash and pepper for tomorrow’s lunch, and another bag with enough to squash and peppers to go with another meat dish.