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Sick while on Medifast

So, the Medifast continued. Here were some of the more interesting “meals” I’ve had:

First were the Medifast pancakes. As usual you start with a packet of powder. This was the first change I got to use their “shaker jar”.

medifast pancake powder

I kept trying to think of why the shaker jar looked so familiar to me. Then it struck me. It’s exactly the same kind of plastic container that, um, you might use at a doctor’s office when sharing a little bit of yourself with the doctor. Let’s put it that way so as not to gross everyone out. Still, by now I’ve grown used to Medifast being more a series of medical experiments anyway than actual food, so I didn’t mind.

They tell you to put a couple tablespoons of water into the cup and shake it 5 times. That’s right, not 4 times, not 6 times, but 5 times. The result was something that kind of resembled pancake batter.

medifast pancake mix

Next, I fried it up in a skillet.

medifast pancakes

The batter was so thin that I thought I was just making boiling cloudy water. But eventually it started to thicken. Or should I say thin-en. The “pancake” ended up being thinner than a crepe and impossible to flip. So instead of something like this lovely picture on the box…

medifast pancake box

I ended up eating this.

medifast pancakes

As bad as it looks, trust me when I say it tasted even worse. The “pancake” had no taste except for the tiny number of teeny tiny chocolate chips. I’d say it was like eating paste, except at the time I would have longed for a nice big bottle of paste. Still, as we established we’re not doing the diet for the culinary delights.

The next interesting scientific experiment was mixing a strawberry shake. This one was pretty cool. I opened the package and poured what looked to be whitish-yellowing powder into my Fiji water bottle. I filled it with a cup of cold water and shook. Magically, the concoction turned pink!

medifast strawberry shake

I’ve said it before, but the shakes are probably the best-tasting thing on the menu. They’re grainy, they have incredibly artificial flavor, but they’re easy going down and the really do satisfy your hunger.

The last interesting Medifast meal I’ll share with you today are their brownies. Now I thought, as in Nutrisystem, that I’d open the box and find actual brownies to warm up. To my surprise, they provide powder (no surprise) and trays in which you can “bake” your own brownies. Okay, I thought, this ought to be interesting.

The first step is, as usual, pouring the powder in the tray.

medifast brownie mix

Then, you mix it with water.

medifast brownie mix with water

After stirring, it looks something like this.

medifast brownie

Now again, judging from the box cover art I expected something like this to turn out:

medifast brownie

Yum yum, right? Well, after sticking it in the microwave (you also have the option of baking it, but I don’t think it would have made a difference), here’s what I got:

medifast brownie

It was a LOT of work for a few bites of brownie, but I have to say the brownie was not half bad, relatively speaking.

Now, all was going well. Very well. So well that when I last checked by weight I was already at 219 pounds, that’s 9 pounds lost in about a week. And so as painful as eating the food was, I was pretty happy with Medifast.

Then a few days ago something went really wrong. I developed a small cough. Within two days, it became a terrible cold/flu, complete with sore throat, fever, and  a terrible hacking cough that wouldn’t subside. In fact, my cough got stronger and stronger, so much so that I had to take the last few days off from work because I was hacking so hard and so frequently that I couldn’t sleep through the night. As I write this now, I’m still coughing every few minutes, so much so that my whole body shakes when I cough and I have a horrible headache (I finally went to the doctor today and he prescribed antibiotics for me).

Now before Medifast’s lawyers start knocking on my door, I should say that I don’t believe that that the diet caused the cold–for that I’ve got to thank the good folks on the New York City subways whom I wish loved to share their seats as much as their germs. On the other hand, it’s a strange coincidence that in the middle of summer when the weather is 95 degrees that I’d develop a bad cold, with the only difference in my life that I just started this diet two weeks ago.

After Googling, I noticed that other bloggers who are or were on Medifast have had similar experiences (see here, here, and here). I’m thinking this can’t be a coincidence.

My unscientific conclusion is that there’s a certain shock to the system when your body is used to eating certain things, and then it’s deprived of those things. As much as I appreciate that Medifast is full of vitamins and minerals, bottom line is that those are in chemical form and not from fresh fruits, meats, and vegetables. And while I appreciate that Medifast cuts down on carbs, I wonder if reducing carbs in my body to the extent I did ended up stressing it to the point where my immune system was compromised. I’m not a doctor, so I can’t tell for sure. But one thing I know is that this is by far the worst cough I’ve had in my life.

And despite the 9 pound weight loss,  I’ve taken myself off Medifast for the time being and am trying to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, even if they aren’t on the “approved” list of low-carb vegetables. The good news is that I am still trying to keep the good habits, such as the regimen of eating more small meals every day rather than gorge on big meals.

Another bad thing about getting sick is that I really can’t exercise, as doing so would probably divert resources my body needs to shake this bad cold. As soon as I’m back to health, I’ll resume again. But I think the greater priority for me for the moment is to stop my cough before my head explodes.




Ready for Irene, thanks to Nutrisystem

Back in January, I wrote about how Nutrisystem could be used as an emergency food system.

We had our first earthquake on the East Coast yesterday. The latest weather reports have Irene slamming into my hometown sometime around Sunday. I feel a bit like I’m being put through the spin cycle and the wash cycle in my washing machine.

Of course, if the past few years of weather reports are any indication, this means is it’ll probably miss me completely.

But just in case it does hit, I’m ready. My car is parked on higher ground, away from trees. I’ve got a full box of Fiji Water delivered to my home. And while my neighbors are falling all over themselves emptying the shelves of the local supermarkets, happily I have about 3 weeks of food all prepared and ready to eat, thanks to Nutrisystem.

Hopefully the power won’t go out; if it does, that’ll likely doom my frozen foods. But the shelf stable food should be fine to eat. I can even use a portable gas burner to heat them up.

In all honesty, even if you’re not on a diet, Nutrisystem makes a much tastier alternative to those “food insurance” programs you hear about all over the Web. And buying one month of food (available at the cheapest price of the season) should be enough to last you and your family through hurricane season. And if the hurricanes don’t hit, you could always use them for their original purpose–to help you lose some weight 🙂

Emergency Food Supply using…Nutrisystem?

So, as I said, I’ll be embarking on a quest, as I did when I first started this blog, to lose at least 30-40 pounds. Suffice it to say that I’ve regained much of the weight I originally lost two years ago due to a return to bad eating habits and not keeping up with my exercises. So I’ll be clearing out the graph on the home page of this site and starting it all over.

For the exercise piece, I’ll be starting the 9-week workout soon. Our NutWiiSys online workout group is already up to 9 people, so there are only three slots left! holythorn is already out in the lead for number of workouts with 6 completed, while dianska has the lead with a total workout duration of 2 hours and 14 minutes already! I completed one workout so far, but as soon as I start up the 9-week program I’ll be getting with the program, so to speak.

For the food piece, I ordered a new round of Nutrisystem, which has arrived. I got my Nutrisystem non-refrigerated foods a few days ago…

nutrisystem shelf stable

…and today I came home to find my big box of Schwan frozen food (which is a standard part of their diet program now). It was enclosed in a giant silvery insulated bag with two ice packs (which are reusable, so I can use them in my cooler). I guess it had been sitting at my front door for a couple hours, but when I opened the box, the contents were still frozen.

Nutrisystem frozen food

Too lazy to unpack it, I just stuck the box in my freezer, which happily fit it like a glove, so I didn’t even need to unpack the contents.

nutrisystem frozen food in the freezer

I admit, I’m not really jumping up and down about starting on Nutrisystem again. I personally think the food tastes okay (although I have friends who definitely don’t agree), but working in Manhattan, it means I’ll be depriving myself of some of the best lunch food in the world. But I figure I’ll plow ahead.

It worked great for me last time. The low-glycemic food made me noticeably less sleepy after lunches, and more importantly for me, it’ll train me again on two important things: portion control and eating fresh fruits and veggies. The latter is something I didn’t really do last time, but this time I definitely intend to follow the instructions more closely and eat a lot of good healthy fresh produce.

I realized today that there’s another benefit of buying Nutrisystem. As I write this, snow is falling, and supposedly we’ll be getting 15 inches by the end of the night. Around now, people are scrambling, trying to fight over that last can of soup from the supermarket shelf before the store closes. Me? I’ve got breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert to last me for the next month.

You hear a lot about “emergency food supplies” on the radio these days. When I first heard these commercials, I was a bit incredulous. The scenarios they paint are usually so over-the-top with descriptions of a cataclysmic,  post-apocalyptic world where Mel Gibson is riding around on his motorcycle and WALL-E is picking up the trash.

Still, there are definitely instances where emergency food supply is more practical. Natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, tornados, earthquakes, and snowstorms can easily disrupt your ability to travel or your local market’s ability to stock food. If you’ve ever been to the market before a big snowstorm or a hurricane warning, you know what I mean.

The cool thing about Nutrisystem is, like those emergency food companies, their food is shelf-stable for months, full of good nutrients, and while the taste is not for everyone, it sure beats eating your shoe leather and houseplants if you’re holed up in the house for a while. In any case, if I end up being holed up in my house for a couple days, I know I’ll be well fed 🙂

Anyway, I’ll let you know when I officially start the diet. We’ll see over the next few weeks if it works again 🙂

Nutrisystem Select – How much does it cost, what’s included, and other answers.

select 3It’s been a while since I did a good Nutrisystem post. I’m still on the plan (well, off and on), and it’s still keeping my weight pretty healthy. So I thought I’d share thoughts on the plan I’m on: Nutrisystem Select.

What it is:

As regular readers of this blog may know, Nutrisystem delivers food in one of two ways. One way is to deliver “shelf-stable” food which doesn’t need refrigeration. The best way I can describe this food is that it’s a lot like canned food. The meal is vacuum-sealed in a plastic container, which you put in the microwave. If you’re a foodie, this type of food is probably not for you, but for the rest of us the taste is pretty passable for most of the dishes. View my post of best tasting Nutrisystem meals for a list (scroll to the bottom).

The other way Nutrisystem delivers food is what they call “fresh frozen” food. This is food which is prepared fresh and then flash frozen immediately to lock in all the taste and texture. After you warm up the food, it comes out exactly like it does before it was frozen. In this sense, it’s unlike a regular TV dinner. For example, the shrimp in the shrimp alfredo is amazingly fresh with a snap as you bite into it. The garden vegetable omelet literally tastes like you just fried it up on the stove. The meatball parm melt is like a cute little brother of a Subway meatball marinara sub. And so on.

One smart thing that Nutrisystem did was partner up with Schwan Home Delivery service. If you never heard of Schwan, it’s a company that specializes in delivering this kind of flash frozen food. They helped Nutrisystem develop their product line of the right portioned meals with Schwan taste and quality.

How it works:

The Web site isn’t very clear on how to order, so here’s are step-by-step instructions.

1) Visit the Nutrisystem Site! Start now..

2) On the right-hand part of the page you’ll see buttons with the words “Learn More” under “Women’s Plan” and “Men’s Plan”. Click on the appropriate one.

3) Click “Order Now” for the regular package (Basic Select), the package for seniors (Silver Select) or a diabetic (Diabetic Select).

4) On the next page you’ll be able to choose your food plan. I definitely recommend choosing “Custom Menu”, as a lot of the shelf-stable food you get in “Member Favorites” isn’t great.

5) You can select Auto Delivery (a subscription plan) or Month By Month. I’d suggest selecting Auto Delivery (which is much cheaper), and then just cancelling the auto-delivery if you can’t use it.

6) If you chose Custom Menu, you’ll choose two weeks’ worth of shelf-stable food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Again, I’d refer to my lists of my favorite Nutrisystem foods and their customers favorite Nutrisystem foods as your guide.

7) Go through and enter your name, address, and credit card information and sit back and wait for all the food to come to your door!

How much it costs:

If you select “Auto Delivery”, the price is only $399.99 + 18.95 shipping, which comes out to less than $5 a meal ($4.99 to be exact). If you choose “Month by Month”, the cost is $444.43 for the package, which ends up being about $5.27 a meal (plus veggies and fruits you buy separately).

What to expect next:

You’ll get two weeks worth (14 breakfasts, lunches, and dinners) of shelf-stable food right away. Store those away in the cupboard or do like I do and leave the box in the kitchen.

Two times in the next four weeks, a Schwan driver will come to your door with the box of frozen food. He’ll deliver a week at a time so as to not overstuff your freezer. The box will be tightly packed with 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 7 dinners. Here are the foods you get in the frozen box. They’re all very tasty, but I’ve put a star next to the ones I find exceptional.

*Breakfast Burrito (1)
Ham and Cheese Omelet (1)
Homestyle Pancakes (2)
*Garden Vegetable Omelet (1)
Golden French Toast (2)

*Chicken Fajita Melt (1)
*Chicken Quesadilla (1)
*Meatball Parmesan Melt (1)
*Steak and Cheese Melt (2)
Toasted Ham and Cheese (2)

Glazed Chicken Tenders (1)
*Ravioli Formaggio (1)
Salisbury Steak with Macaroni and Cheese (1)
*Shrimp Alfredo (1)
*Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells (1)
Turkey Pepperoni Pizza (1)
Chicken Alfredo (1)

*Ice Cream Sandwich (8)
*Creamy Fudge Bar (2)
*Caramel Swirl Sundae (2)
*Lime Crème Bar (1)
*Fudge Swirl Sundae (1)

If you already have a Nutrisystem account, you can actually order the frozen foods separately or in special bundles if you don’t want the shelf-stable stuff.

Nutrisystem Update and New Year’s Resolution

I realize I’ve been spending a lot of time talking about Wii games, and haven’t talked very much about Nutrisystem. I suppose I should admit I’ve fallen off the wagon–I started a new job in New York City lately, and let’s just say it would be a crime against nature if I were to eat a harvest nut bar for lunch when I was surrounded by some of the best culinary delights in the world.

But as you can guess, the combination of my eating and my extended hours at work have not been great to my figure. In the last few months, I’ve gained some weight back. The good news is, I’ve kept up my exercise (both from walking as part of my commute and from continued use of the Wii for exercise), so I’m only about 5-7 pounds up. But still, that’s going the wrong way. It hasn’t helped that I’m down to the least tasty Nutrisystem dinners and snacks (I need to avoid these when I place my next order).

So, for the new year I’ve decided to make a resolution. I’ll still treat myself to nice restaurants for half the time, but the other half I’ll eat Nutrisystem Select (that’s the plan that comes with two weeks of the yummy frozen food and two weeks of the ranging-from-yummy-to-blech shelf-stable food, I’ll be sure to eat a good balance of veggies and fruit, and will counter any over-indulgence with exercise. I’ll post again when I order my new food. Wish me luck!

By the way, you may have noticed that Nutrisystem’s stock price almost doubled in the last month. Wish I could take credit with this blog 🙂 But it’s because of two things: one, people are starting to buy diet programs again in this economy (it’s counterintuitive, but when you do the math, it can be cheaper than eating out or even cooking yourself) and second, they’re going to roll out nationally to Wal-Mart and Walgreen’s stores around the country. It’s definitely catching on.

Spicing up a Nutrisystem Pizza

So, if you read this blog a lot, you’ll know I also have a blog dedicated to Indoor Gardening. In another case of blog-crossover, I wanted to report on how to use fresh herbs to spice up a Nutrisystem dinner.
The first step is to take a batch of fresh basil.

The next step is to make a Nutrisystem pizza the same way as always, but instead of just pouring on the cheese and tomato sauce, add a layer of basil in there.

I gotta say, it turned out incredible. The added taste of the basil transformed it from a ho-hum pizza slightly under the quality of a frozen pizza to, I kid you not, a gourmet meal. The smell of the cheese and the tomato sauce and the basil was nothing short of heavenly, and the taste was great. It didn’t look too shabby either.

You’ll end up with something that looks like this:

I’m not exagerrating when I say it was amazing. It added a whole new dimension to the standard Nutrisystem pizza, changing it from a ho-hum TV dinner quality meal to something that tastes and smells like something you might find in a fine restaurant (okay, maybe a fine diner).

Some Nutrisystem Highlights Over the Past Few Weeks

I thought I’d post about some of the Nutrisystem food highlights which I haven’t mentioned in the blog yet.

Apple Granola Bar. Breakfast and lunch bars are where Nutrisystem shines. You’ve got a whole meal of nutrients packed into a tasty bar. They’re great for meals, and I also like to pack them when I go biking or hiking. This one is the Apple Granola bar, but they’re all quite good. Check out the texture (8/10).

nutrissytem apple bar

Beef Pot Roast with Vegetables and Gravy. While this is yet another one of those slabs-of-meat-in-a-brown-sauce that look like so many other Nutrisystem foods, I have to admit this one tasted a cut above the rest. The portions were a good size, and while the meat was a tad on the dry side, the ample sauce made up for it (8/10).
nutrisystem pot roast
While most Nutrisystem lunches are either tiny little cans of soup you put in the microwave, or paper cups of dehydrated pasta or powder that you just add water to, the Red Beans and Rice with Sausage actually comes in a vacuum-sealed pouch. When you open the pouch, the already-cooked rice and beans comes out. Stick in a microwave, and it’s one of the best tasting lunches they have (9/10).

nutrisystem sausage and rice

I was a bit skeptical at first when I heard about Nutrisystem’s Cheesy Mashed Potatoes. First of all, I wasn’t sure if just eating mashed potatoes for lunch was enough. Second, I opened the container and inside I just saw light yellow powder. This is another one of those “is it a meal or is it a science experiment” ones. But I added water, stirred, microwaved, fluffed, and this is what I got. And it tasted REALLY good with the cheese and herbs infused, even better than when I make it from scratch (10/10).

nutrisystem mashed potatoes

I’ve heard rave reviews about the Nutrisystem Chicken Salad. This is another one that comes in a pouch, not a box. They tell you to “spread in on melba toast”. Since I had a coupon for Bagel Chips at BJ’s, I decided to do that instead. It was a great decision. The chicken salad comes in ample portions and tastes fantastic (10/10).

nutrisystem chicken salad on bagel chips

So, that’s it for the most recent highlights. I think by now I’ve tried just about every Nutrisystem food out there, and wrote about most of them. Leave a comment if there’s another food you’d like me to try. 🙂

Nutrisystem Foods That Are Fun to Make and Eat

You may notice I’ve stopped giving the daily recap of every single meal I eat. It just became too much to keep track of. Instead, from time to time I’ll post here about some especially good Nutrisystem Foods I come across or some cool tricks I’ve discovered in my Nutrisystem travels.

In today’s post, I’ll focus on Nutrisystem foods that are as fun to make as they are to eat. I’ve already talked about the wickedly awesome “science experiment” Nutrisystem foods like the amazing expando-mashed potatoes. Today, I’ll talk about foods that go great with whole wheat wraps.

The first step is to go grocery shopping and buy a package of whole wheat wraps. I got this from BJs.

roll ups
The first food I want to show you is the Chicken Fahitas for dinner. Opening the red pouch, you see a dry mix. You pour it into a bowl and “just add boiling water”. At first it doesn’t look all that promising.

fahita guts
Stir well, and stick it in the microwave and you’ll see an amazing transformation. This is what it looks like out of the microwave and on a wrap:

fahita on open rollRoll it up, and you have something that looks like a regular fahita.

fahita wrappedAnd believe it or not, the taste and texture are simply phenomenal. (10/10).

For my next magic trick, I’m going to show you the “broiled patty”. This is one where you unwrap the pouch and find what looks like a hockey puck in the middle of a plastic tray.

nutrisystem broiled pattyPour boiling water into it, let it rest for two minutes and something amazing happens. Like a sponge, the patty absorbs the water, and presto, you have what looks and smells like a hamburger patty that you just grilled, complete with grill marks and smoky flavor!

I’m going to do a cool cross-over with my other blog, IndoorGardener.Org. In that blog, I’m growing my own lettuce indoors using the Amazing Aerogarden, which is a Nutrisystem dieter’s best friend because you can have freshly grown vegetables and herbs right in your own kitchen. Here, I’m cutting some fresh lettuce leaves to put on my burger.

aerogarden lettucePut it all on a wrap, add some ketchup, wrap it up, and voila…you have a burger that tastes amazingly good (10/10).

patty with aerogarden lettuce and bjs wrap

The Best Nutrisystem Foods

NutriSystem, Inc.While I haven’t been providing a day-by-day meal report as I’ve done in the past, I did want to report that so far the new batch of Nutrisystem is going well. I’ve been enjoying my favorite foods such as the Cheese Tortellini and the Cheese and Spinach with Ravioli. I’d say my diet currently consists of 60% Nutrisystem, and 40% “eating out”. On the one hand my progress is perhaps not as dramatic as someone who completely quits “regular food”, but on the other hand, I’m glad I’m finding a way to incorporate the diet into my “regular life”.

I did order some new foods in my last batch of Nutrisystem, so I’ll report on those in an upcoming post. But I did want to tell you about an interesting article I read on Nutrisystem’s site today. It talked about the most popular foods that its members choose.

According to Nutrisystem, these are the most-purchased foods from among their members, both male and female:

Blueberry Muffin
Chocolate Chip Granola Bar
NutriFrosted Crunch Cereal
Lowfat Granola Cereal
Apple Strudel Scone

Pasta with Beef
Cheese Tortellini
Chicken and Pasta in Cacciatore Sauce
Fudge Graham Bar
Vegetable Beef Soup
Cheese Homestyle Potatoes
Fettucini Alfredo
Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables

Lasagna with Meat Sauce
Cheese and Spinach Ravioli with Meat Sauce
Mashed Potatoes with Meatloaf & Tomato Sauce
Rotini with Meatballs & Tomato Sauce
Beef Pot Roast with Vegetables and Gravy
Flatbread Pizza

Dessert and Snacks
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar
Chocolate Crunch Bar
Chocolate Caramel Dessert Bar
Peanut Butter Cookie
Chocolate Chip Cookie
Fudge Brownie

For the most part, I agree with this list. You might recognize that I’ve rated most of these meals an 8 to 10 out of 10. This is a great list to reference the next time you’re ordering a Nutrisystem package and want some safe choices that are sure to have good taste.

Update – Finishing off the first Nutrisystem package and ordering a new one

You may notice I haven’t posted here for a while. It’s been a busy couple weeks with a lot going on. I’ve also been running out of the Nutrisystem food, meaning that I’ve been mixing in my own food with the Nutrisystem.

Rather than a day-by-day recounting of the last few weeks, here’s a week-by-week account with highlights:

Week of 5/17 (day 38 to 44)

  • Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal (breakfast, shelf-stable) – 7/10. Standard flavored oatmeal fare.
  • Turkey and Egg Breakfast Sandwich (breakfast, frozen) – 10/10. Amazingly delicious sandwich with whole wheat break, turkey which looked and tested fresh and not processed, fried egg, and pineapple.
  • Steak and Cheese (lunch, frozen) – 10/10. Tender, chewy meat and dripping cheese.
  • Chocolate Fudge Bar (dessert, frozen) – 10/10. Tastes exactly like a good old fashioned fudgesicle.
  • Glazed Chicken Tenders (dinner, frozen) – 9/10. Tender chicken in a subtle Asian-style ginger sauce with fresh green beans and almonds and brown and wild rice.

Week of 5/24 (day 45 to 51)

  • Chicken Noodle Soup (lunch, shelf-stable) – 6/10.
  • Vegetarian Chili (dinner, shelf-stable) – 6/10.
  • Blueberry Parfait (dessert, frozen) – 9/10. Haven’t hit a frozen dessert I haven’t loved yet. This is no exception. I normally don’t like blueberry snacks, but this was a great combination of fresh blueberries, fluffy angel food cake, and frozen yogurt. Yum.
  • French Toast (breakfast, frozen) – 6/10. I expected a bit more from this. The texture was fine, but the taste was a bit lacking, surprising for a frozen entree. It was very cinnamony, but had a slightly odd aftertaste.
  • Chocolate Chip Scones (breakfast, shelf-stable) – 6/10.
  • Fettucine Alfredo (lunch, shelf-stable) – 6/10.
  • Black Beans and Rice (lunch, shelf-stable) – 7/10.
  • Split Pea Soup (lunch, shelf-stable) – 8/10. This was a bit of a shocker. The concept of pureed peas normally doesn’t sit well with me, but somehow they made this taste great. It had a great rich taste, helped out by a hint of bacon. Probably helped out a bit by low expectations too, but I enjoyed it.
  • Sourdough Pizza (dinner, shelf-stable) – 7/10.
  • Chocolate Raspberry Bar (dessert, shelf-stable) – 8/10.
  • Milk Chocolate Delight Bar (dessert, shelf-stable) – 7/10. All the Nutrisystem chocolate bars seem a little “off”, but in this one, the texture makes up for it. It’s got the consistency of a giant Tootsie Roll.
  • Blueberry Lemon Bar (dessert, shelf-stable) – 7/10.

Week of 5/31 and 6/6 (day 52 to 61)

For these weeks, I went on a little vacation to the Pacific Northwest. As all my vacations tend to be, I did partake of the culinary delights of the area, including some very delightful mini donuts, crumpets, fresh cheese and grilled salmon in Pike’s Place Market.

Add to that good conference food, and huge room service portions, and one might have thought I would have put on 10 pounds, but one nice thing about Nutrisystem is that it’s taught me portion control and to balance exercise with food. I ate in moderation, and I also made a point to get out there and do some physical activity (in my case, I decided to hike up Mount Si just outside of Seattle). Over the whole two weeks, I ended up putting on only 1.1 pounds.

Like I said, by now my original Nutrisystem order was close to finished, so I placed a new order. For the next month, I’ll be sticking with 100% shelf-stable products, and for the following month, I’ll be going with 100% frozen.

While I was on vacation, I placed an order for this coming month. The easiest thing to do would have been to order the pre-selected “Favorites” package, but since I like some foods better than others I opted for the “A La Carte” menu, which is the same price but lets you choose a completely custom menu.

The ordering process on their Web site was not bad at all. You choose the “Men’s Custom” (or Women’s Custom) option, and then you’re presented with a long list of all the foods they have for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and snack. For each, you just enter the quantity of each food that you want, up to 28 servings. As you select, your choices appear on the right side of the screen.

I gotta say it’s a lot of fun planning out your meals like this. And you can skip around to each meal type any time. If you get stuck, someone is available to help via live chat.

I finally finished my order and submitted it. The day after I returned home from vacation, the big box was at my door. I appreciated how it was discreet, no big logos emblazoned all over the box.

Opening the box revealed a treasure trove of food, along with a free kit which includes the meal planner book, a pocket-sized “on the go meal planner” (perfect for bringing to the grocery store to select supplemental fruits and vegetables), a resource guide which talks about exercise and weight loss, and a 30-minute exercise DVD.

The first thing I had to do, of course, was pop open a bag of nacho crisps. Boy, did I miss those.

Follow along as I continue the next month!