Adventures by Disney – Day 7

Sacsayhuaman

I had really been looking forward to this day – because in the book that we read before the trip about the last days of the Incas, Sacsayhuaman (and Cusco) actually plays a fairly prominent role.  From my memory of the book, I believed Sacsayhuaman to be some sort of fortress on a hillside near Cusco that Manco Inca had retreated to when the battle wasn’t going his way.  They described three imposing walls that the Spaniards had to overcome. Continue reading

Adventures by Disney Peru – Day 6

Loco for llamas!

A bit of a transit day today.  We packed up and said goodbye to Sol y Luna to head to Cusco.  Our first stop was Pisac and a souvenir market.  According to Ernesto, this was the first such market to develop in the Sacred Valley.  Now there are smaller markets at other locations (we saw one in Ollantaytambo and a few stalls in the town at the foot of Machu Picchu).  The guides hosted a fun game for us – they gave each of us 10 soles (roughly 2-3 dollars) to spend at the market.  The goal was to get a gift for a white elephant game at our farewell dinner the next night.  Neither Derek nor I are very good at bargaining and negotiating, and Derek is also not that good at making decisions like this – so, I have to admit, this task did create some stress… Continue reading

Adventures by Disney Peru – Day 4

Andean Majesty

The weather was much kinder to us this day, as the clouds parted shortly after sunrise and we had bright sunshine all day.  In the morning, we headed through Maras to the ruins at Moray.  Moray is a location with a series of circular terraces.  Apparently there was a natural crater-like indentation here and the Incans, true to their “organic” style of architecture, built around the natural shape of the land.  Rudy (our local expert guide) indicated that the terraces at Moray were used as a sort of crop laboratory – the temperature and other conditions varied enough from the top tiers to the bottom, that they would test out different crops at different levels to see which crops would grow best at each “elevation.” Continue reading

Adventures by Disney Peru – Day 3

Inca-redible!

The trip had “themes” for each day – Inca-redible was today’s.  As a small Disney touch – we were given a pin that corresponded with the theme each day.  If you’re a pin-trading aficionado – I’m sure it’s a huge boon.  For us – it was cute and nice, but we were glad that this was really the only place that Mickey and friends were introduced into the trip.  We selected AbD because of Disney’s reputation for quality, not because we were hoping to see Mickey at the top of Machu Picchu. Continue reading

Adventures by Disney Peru – Day 2

Day 2

Early morning – luggage outside room at 6am, board the bus at 7am for a ride to the Jorge Chavez airport to catch a flight to Cusco.  35 people were on our tour – mostly families with kids ranging from 11 to 21.  There was one other group of just adults – 4 women from California.  The flight was just an hour and because Derek and I have different last names, apparently the airline ticketing agent just couldn’t figure out to sit us next to each other.  No worries – this gave us both an opportunity to meet some of our fellow travelers.  I had a window seat and the views of the mountains were stunning:

Continue reading

Wheat Belly – part III

Ok – so what am I eating?

I guess if you were just really doing “Wheat”-free – you would only be avoiding wheat.  But the book Wheat Belly actually recommends a diet that I think looks more like a low-GI (glycemic index) diet with an avoidance of dairy.  So – limited dairy, except real cheeses – you can eat cheese because the aging or fermentation gets rid of what’s bad in dairy, I believe.  Limiting any sugar-y thing – sugar, agave syrup, honey, maple syrup.  Allowing things like brown rice and sweet potato fries – but not letting yourself go crazy there.  And I have heard bits and pieces about avoiding dairy, paleo, etc.

So I think I’m more or less staying to what Wheat Belly suggests.  I haven’t decided how important I think the no dairy rule is – so I may experiment with breaking that.  And I haven’t decided how much I’ll avoid sweeteners, especially honey and maple syrup.  I eat fruit, and don’t really limit that.  I eat brown rice – but I’ve cut back on the quantity quite a bit.  I still use gels and recovery drinks for running my long runs.

Breakfasts have been eggs with cheese and some fruit on the side or a banana-blueberry muffin (recipe in Wheat Belly) and some fruit.  Weekday lunches have been some kind of protein (shrimp, hard-boiled eggs, turkey) and a salad.  Dinners have been various recipes – some things we’ve always made, a pecan-crusted chicken from Wheat Belly (delicious and easy), and a curry chicken from the PaleOMG blog (also delicious and super easy).  I bought some dark chocolate (85% cacao) for a little treat – it sort of works, but I’ll say I haven’t grown to love the taste yet.

I’m going to keep going on my experiment.  I know that I’ll allow myself to break some of the rules, some of the time – like for sure I’ll eat ice cream sometime.  I just don’t know when and haven’t yet felt a reason strong enough to do so.  I guess I’ll do a full assessment after a month.  I think I am already convinced that this is the way to go.  I think what I haven’t figured out yet is how strict to be on certain things.  I guess I need to do some experimentation off of the core – test out how different foods affect me to see if I can include them in my diet.

Wheat Belly – part II

So – how has it been going?

From the first day, I noticed that my crazy hunger pangs went away.  The first day!  Unbelievable to me.  All I did was not eat my cereal – and voila!  Wasn’t starved by 10am, wasn’t starved again at 11:30, and wasn’t starved in the afternoon.  Could changing my breakfast really make that much of a difference?  I did some googling, and some say that it could – that the glucose spike in the morning could set up kind of an oscillation that lasted for awhile.  This was definitely promising and hopeful.

As far as weight loss – I had gotten to my goal weight last year, but over the last 9 months had put on somewhere between 2-3 lbs.  Not a big deal, but the trajectory wasn’t promising.  And this spring, I had been continually trying to lose that 2-3 lbs with no success.  The first few days of my wheat-free diet, not much really happened – the first day I had a weight that was pretty good, but didn’t see much change for a few days.  But now – about a week and a half into my experiment – I saw a weight that was better than anything I’ve seen all year!

Flat belly?  Well – that’s harder to judge.  It seems like things are improving there – but definitely there is still room to go.  I don’t have a six-pack yet, by any means!  LOL.  So – promising, but uncertain yet.

Best yet – it really hasn’t been that hard.  On two dimensions.  One – “controlling” what I’m eating.  I’m not counting calories right now or tracking food – I stopped doing that when I started this diet, I figured I’d give myself a break.  And I’m not preventing myself from eating when I’m hungry.  I don’t feel nearly as hungry as I used to.  So it’s not that hard to not eat breads, etc.  And, while this is not strictly a no sugar diet – you really don’t eat much sugar, because it turns out – wheat is a big vehicle for a lot of the sugar in our lives (at least for me, because I wasn’t drinking sugared drinks anyway).

The second dimension – avoiding wheat hasn’t been nearly that hard.  I’ve made lots of eggs for breakfasts and a muffin recipe from Wheat Belly.  I’ve been to a cocktail party and ate well (red wine, cocktail shrimp, beef, cheese, fruit) and we went out to eat last night (salmon, spinach, and a mix of green beans, broccoli, and carrots) at a restaurant.  And my dinner mates had dinner rolls and dessert – and it really wasn’t a problem to say no.  While it takes a little thought – it really hasn’t been that hard so far.  I feel like I’ve eaten pretty well – so I haven’t felt strongly deprived.