Monday, December 17, 2012

GM Diet Day 7: Brown rice, veggie & fruits

Last day, last day! I still can't believe that I made it this so far. The good news is, although I'm not supposed to have any meat today, I found out that (a) I can have some chicken and (b) I can have fish because iti doesn't affect the diet.

The diet plan recommends starting the day with brown rice, which looking back, I wish I did. I only had a fruit salad with coffee for breakfast, followed by a bowl of soup for lunch. The problem with that is that by 4:30pm, I was starving -- like hands shaking, lightheaded starving. Unfortunately, we were also doing a grocery run at the Asian supermarket at Irving Street, which only has bubble tea shops! Never knew how difficult it was to eat healthy until I had to go searching for a snack here. I was hoping to find herbal tea eggs but ended up sharing a portion of salt and pepper chicken with the boyf instead. This was probably my only slip-up this week, resorting to eating fried chicken pieces -- sigh, that's what hunger does to you.

I felt really gross and fat after the chicken, so decided to have healthy dinner instead. I had brown rice with vegetables and seared ahi tuna. So good I wished I had it for lunch instead! Never knew brown rice would be so satisfying!

  • Breakfast: Persimmon, mango, orange
  • Lunch: Chicken soup without chicken
  • Snack: Salt and pepper "popcorn" chicken
  • Dinner: Brown rice with seared ahi tuna, served with seaweed, mixed veggies and pickled ginger from Pacific Catch

So what's my verdict on the GM Diet?

It's a tough diet. It may not sound tough and 7 days may not sound that long if you've never tried it, but be prepared for a week like no other. Be prepared to go to sleep hungry, have out-of-control cravings for chocolate, desserts, grilled meat and eggs (at least I craved for everything mentioned!) and be prepared to feel lethargic and lightheaded, especially the first 2-3 days. Physically, Day 2 was the toughest because I was tired, hungry and lightheaded. Mentally, near the end of Day 6 was the most difficult for me because I didn't have anything sweet for 2 straight days and my craving for a Snickers or Reese's Peanut Butter Cups was totally out of control.

But I do have to admit that I did feel really good during the week. I felt lighter, slimmer and more active. I wanted to go out and do stuff. I've also learnt that some things were easy to give up, like sugar in my coffee.

Would I do the GM Diet again? Probably not. But I would definitely try a clean/detox diet the next time round. Feels good to know that the body can feel this good just by controling what you eat.

Posted via email from I am Audrey.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

GM Diet Day 5 & 6: Beef, tomatoes & veggies

Day 5: Beef and tomatoes
Again, odd combination day. I knew Friday and the weekends was going to be tough just because we would be out and about most of the weekend, and the diet does limit your food options if you're eating out, so choosing the right restaurant is key.
  • Breakfast: Black coffee
  • Lunch: Beef and vegetable stew (I cheated slightly by adding carrots and onions, but there were a ton of tomatoes in the stew, so I guess it's still okay. Also, since Day 6 was beef and veggie day, I figured I would make enough for 2 days.
  • Mid-day snack: 1 fresh campari tomato
  • Dinner: Bite-size appetizers from the office holiday party ranging from tomatoes from bruschetta (just push everything off the bread!), a slice of tri-tip and slice of roast chiecken. Also had an all-beef hot dog without the bun because we were catching a movie. Finished off with 2 fresh campari tomatoes.
In the beginning of the week, I was worried about how I was going to attend the company holiday party on Friday and keep only beef and tomatoes, but this being San Francisco, the spread had options for everyone on absolutely any kind of diet: low-fat, gluten-free, carb-free, protein only. Amazeballs.
The past me would have kicked myself for saying this, but you would think that the beef would taste soooo good after 4 days of going meat-free, but suprisingly, the veggie in the soup tasted better than the beef and it was a tad odd to have meat.

Oh yes, you get really thirsty today -- apparently it's because your body needs the water to help digest the protein that's being introduced to your body -- so stay hydrated. I made myself drink glasses and glasses of water today.

The one craving I did have was for something sweet, like fruits. The smores station at the company party probably didn't help either. Trust me, it took A LOT of willpower to will myself to stay away.

Day 6: Beef and vegetables
The GM Diet web site calls this "feast day" -- don't ask me why because I can't have fruits, sugar, dairy or carbs, ain't no feast day for me! To be honest though, while I don't know if I've lost weight (it obviously wasn't very bright of me to start the diet without a weighing scale at home), but I do feel better. I feel lighter and not as bloated but considering my body's been put on a rigid food regimen for the past 5 days and surviving on limited calories, I guess that's expected.

You can also substitute the beef with chicken, as long as the skin is removed -- which is what I did for dinner.
  • Breakfast: Black coffee, beef and veggie stew made on Day 5
  • Lunch: 3 pieces of chicken wings, half a steak sandwich without the bread
  • Dinner: Grilled chicken with salt & pepper, baked asparagus, pea sprouts with shrimp (pictured above)
Again, eating out is tough if you're on this diet. I was at the Renegade Craft Fair and we were hungry, it was a miserable day (read: cold & rainy, I could never live in Seattle) and the only restaurant nearby was a bar. So the boyf and I shared buffalo wings and a steak sandwich for lunch. For once, I was glad that the buffalo wings wasn't slathered in sauce. It was easy to skip the ranch dipping sauce and the bread from the steak sandwich but I lliterally had to avert my keys from the giant side of fries that came with the sandwich. We wanted salad as a side but our server got our order wrong -- poor girl was probably not used to the crowd, a bar serving meals on a Saturday afternoon, imagine that! So because of the super unhealthy meal over lunch, I decided to eat super healthy for dinner -- grilled chicken breast with no oil, asparagus and sitr-fry pea sprouts.

The worst part about Day 6 though was that because I haven't had anything sweet for the past 2 days -- tomatoes don't count -- my body was literally shutting down around 9:30pm. I had an insane craving for chocolate and when I say insane, I felt like my body was shaking all over and needed either a Snickers bar or Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, thank gawd there wasn't a Walgreens near my house. It's like my body was sick and tired of not having any sugar for 6 days and this was its way of revolting. I had to curl up into a ball under a blanket. The boyf suggested a cup of Milo (chocolate malt drink) without sugar but obviously that wouldn't do. So I resorted to several sips of coconut water instead and felt way better after that. My body desperately needed some sugar, that was for sure. I'm making a list of every candy and dessert item that I'm craving right now to make up for this week of insane and unnecessary torture.

More on the GM Diet here:
See the rest of GM Diet here: Day 1 & 2, Day 3 & 4


Thursday, December 13, 2012

GM Diet Day 3 & 4: Fruits & veggies; Bananas & milk

Day 3: Combination of fruit & veggies

The headaches and light-headedness are gone -- thank goodness for that. The cravings are getting worse: eggs, Pinkberry yogurt, herb bread, Arizmendi chocolate cake. Too lazy to think of new meals to throw together today, so since it's fruit & veggie day, I basically combined stuff I was eating on Day 1 and 2 together. The one luxury though was having a grilled veggie salad with "beef" from a vegan place down the street, Herbivore (photo above). The strange thing is, my appetite was tiny even though I was hungry and I only managed to finish half the salad. The only thing I have to say is, "give me some real meat!"
  • Breakfast: Black coffee; Baked fingerling potatoes with a dash of butter, cantaloupe and pineapple
  • Lunch: Veggie soup, sauteed mushrooms, 1 persimmon, several pieces of cantaluope and pineapple
  • Dinner: Grilled veggie salad with "beef" from Herbivore, freshly squeeze carrot ginger juice, 1/2 glass of coconut water
Still no clue why I'm doing this diet, especially considering I don't even own a scale. I'm making dinner reservations for Crustacean for Monday.

Day 4: Bananas, milk and soup

Talk about an odd combination. All I can have for today is bananas and non-fat milk and the cabbage soup from Day 2. I thought today was going to be tough considering I can only have bananas and milk, like hello! Surprisingly, the day went by quite fast -- probably helped that I forced myself to go shopping (yes, forced -- didn't buy anything though). My stomach protested everytime I walked by a hot dog cart and Auntie Anne's Pretzels smelled divine, oh baked dough and cinammon and sugar! It's not the smartest idea to walk around for 4 hours without a snack -- a lesson that I learnt when I started feeling lightheaded halfway through.
  • Breakfast: Coffee with milk, 1 banana
  • Lunch: 1 banana, 1 cup hot milk
  • Mid-day snack: 1 cup coconut water, 1 small bowl of split pea soup from SF Soup Company. I made sure that it was vegan, gluten-free, low-fat and low-carb.
  • Dinner: Veggie soup from Day 2, grilled bananas with a dash of milk
The grilled bananas with milk was a heavenly treat for dessert and while savoring it, part of me almost forgot that I was on a diet, until the dear boyf decided to use my diet for an excuse to eat Popeye's fried chicken, with mashed potatoes, biscuits and soda -- traitor. All in front of me, mind you.
PS: So I found out that apparently you can have eggs on some of the days! Grrr! Apparently you can have eggs on Day 2 and 7. And some chicken on Day 2. I totally feel cheated. Tomorrow is beef and tomato day, but I can also subsitute beef with chicken and even seafood. Yay!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Ahh, clients. I've been in agency all my working life and understanding your cilents is just as important as understanding your team -- now if you're able to do both and still manage to set time aside for lunch away from your desk, dinner appointments and yoga classes -- you deserve a huge pat on the back. It's a tough balancing act making sure everyone's happy while you (and your team) stay sane, but I personally find that by consciously putting yourself in your client's shoes, is sometimes half the battle won.


Link courtesy of a fellow infographic-loving colleague and friend.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

GM Diet Day 1 & 2: Fruits & Veggies

NOTE: I've become increasingly frustrated with Posterous so this series may be my last via Posterous before I move back to Blogger. First it was problems auto posting to Facebook (and no reply from the Posterous Help team!), then it was not posting at all to Posterous. Case in point: I had published this post as Day 1 yesterday, only to find out today that it didn't post! Sigh, so I'm just going to add on Day 2 below.

Day 1: All fruit day

Sometimes, I wonder why I do these things to myself. Call it a need for control, call it utter randomness but every now and then, I try things just for the heck of trying it out. Like they say, don't knock it till you've tried it.

So today is Day 1 of me being on the GM Diet. Yup, "GM" stands for "General Motors" -- read more about it here:, along with all the potential insanity that I'll have to deal with the next 6 days. It's only a week-long diet but let me remind everyone that I will be sugar-free, carb-free, meat-free (forfor the 7 days, which can only mean one thing: Unleash the Audreyzilla, RARRRR! The good news is, I did some research and found that I can have black coffee so at least the caffeine headaches will be under control.

Today is fruit day, but no bananas or avacado (is this a fruit or veggies?). Those are my meals up top:
  • Lunch: Cup of black coffee. Pineapple, cantaloupe and blackberries. Thank goodness for pre-cut fruits.
  • Dinner: Orange, persimmon, cantaloupe -- who knew there were that many orange fruits? And my treat for today: toasteed pineapple with a dash of cinnamon.
OMG I'm totally craving a Big Mac. I haven't even craved fast food since being back in SF. This diet is doing crazy things to my cravings! Tomorrow is veggie day!

Day 2: All veggie day
As I'm reading ahead for Day 3, this is what the web site had to say about Day 2: "Day 2 can be really hard for some people." Oh really? Talk about understatement of the year! While I was hungry as hell yesterday night, today was near unbearable!
I honestly thought a salad day can't be that bad but boy, was it B-A-D. I've been feeling weak, tired, can barely focus and a serious need to eat something sticky & sweet with toffee and a lobster or crab, all to myself. Did I also mention that I'm super hungry? This entry is starting to sound like the last entries of a mad captain on a spaceship that's about to crash. "Captain's Log: Day 2 - The survivors are turning on to each other. Food is running low. The crew is starting to hallucinate."
  • Breakfast: Cup of black coffee. Sauteed mushroom and fingerling potatoes with fresh dill. So good to have some carbs in my body.
  • Lunch: GM cabbage soup. Recipe from GM, but I added kale and carrots. I think I nearly fainted from starvation waiting for the damn soup to cook in the slow cooker. Now I know why it's called a slow cooker. Because four hours to a starving woman who hasn't had any sugar or meat in 36 hours is an eternity.
  • Dinner: Had another bowl of the soup with a side of baked sweet potato fries, seasoned with paprika and black pepper. Might have a bowl of edamame for supper.
It probably wasn't a smart move of me to start the diet without weighing myself and honestly, I'm on the verge of giving up and it's only Day 2. Yesterday night, I could literally hear a hot cup of Milo calling my name in a low, husky voice and every part of my body weighs a ton today. I have doubts that this diet would work for me considering I have no idea how I'm going to pull off eating only beef and tomato on Friday at the company holiday party!
Note to future self: If you succesfully get through this week, no more mad diets. Please. No more.


Saturday, December 08, 2012

Feels Like Fall: Lemon Ginger Drop Cookies

Ahh, Black Friday. How many people can resist a good deal? The challenge though, is putting all the stuff that you buy to good use and since a hand mixer and an full set of baking trays were part of my Black Friday list, I had to put them to work!

I'm happy to report that my first attempt at Lemon Ginger Drop Cookies is a success! Soft in the center and crisp on the outside. Ginger-y for sure. Made some minor edits to Madame Stewart's recipe out of curiosity, see below! Original recipe here.

Yield: The recipe said it would make 3 dozen cookies, but I only ended up with 21 cookies, and each cookie is quite thin, about 2-inchesin diameter.

  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) butter
  • 3/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tbsp freshly grated lemon zest (original recipe called for 1 tbsp but seriously, you would have to grate 4-5 lemons to get 1 tbsp! Instead, I added a squeeze of lemon juice.)
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ginger + 1 tbsp brown sugar (original recipe called for 1/4 diced crystallized ginger but I made a substitute since I had a lot of ginger. See substitution guidance here.)
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Using the hand mixer, mix the butter and sugar until everything looks well mixed in. Then add egg, mix again; add lemon zest and mix. Set aside.
  2. In another bowl, combine flour, ground ginger, baking soda, salt and crystallized ginger (or the substitute above). Add this mixture to the butter and sugar mixture, mix for 20 seconds.
  3. And you now have cookie dough, tadaa! It should be quite sticky, or at least mine was. Using two spoons, drop about 2 tsp sized of batter on the baking sheet. Some people say use parchment paper for baking but my cookies turned out fine without parchment paper and just on a non-stick baking sheet. The cookies will expand a lot more than you think, so leave about 2-3 inches apart between cookie dough.
  4. Pop the baking sheet in the oven, bake for 7 minutes. Take them out, sprinkle the cookies with brown sugar and then pop it back in the overn for another 7 minutes.
  5. Once the timer on your oven goes off, pop the cookies on a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes.
Sounds easy enough right? I think it's supposed to be easy but because it was my first time making it, I think it took me almost 2 hours! But the good news is, besides some homemade yummy, ginger lemon cookies, the house now smells like ginger, lemon, nutmeg and cinnamon -- ahh, nothing says fall like spices and warm house!

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I live with a real-life Calvin, just missing Hobbes

Here I was screaming "Arrrrgghhh!" as I nearly fall head first into a Hoover box while trying to reach inside to remove a styrofoam piece. Note to fellow claustrophobics: Do not reach into a Hoover box if you're 5'4" and the box is nearly three-thirds as tall as you are.

As I recover from my escape from Hoover-ville, I hear a muffled "It won't go down. Ugh ugh." I turn around and this is what I see:

Friday, December 07, 2012

When December comes...

I've never been a fan of fall or winter and if I had to be honest, I'm probably more of a child of spring, with just enough of a chill in the air but lots of sunshine without the lazy days that summer brings. But I do love the changing the of the seasons and I haven't had this for the past five and half years. You would think that growing up in Malaysia for half of my life, my body would get used to the non-existence of the seasons and well, just deal and learn that each month is 30 days and 12 months of that, a year flies by. So it's good that it gets dark by 5:30pm because I know that as my days get shorter, the year is ending and December is here.

In fall, most animals start to get ready for hibernation in winter where it's time for the body to stop, rest and regenerate. It's been a mad five years. While most folks see holiday drinks, bright lights and loud parties as a way to wind down the year, I think my "hibernation" mode is finally kicking in -- or at least wind-down mode (doubt there's such a thing as hibernation for type A folks) -- three weeks since I've been back to San Francisco. So far, hibernation mode for me is yoga and baking.

I know things are not going to stay this way. I can sense the change in the air. But change is always good. Why fight it? Or as the Cybermen would say, "Resistance is futile!" But for the first time in a few years, I'm looking forward to starting out again. I think my mind and my body just needs to tag team to constantly remind each other to take my time, not rush and it's completely okay to slow down. It's not going to be easy because 30 years of impatience is not going to go away (and I don't want it to go away completely either). So we'll see how this goes, three more weeks to 2013.