Aspartame Out, Whole Wheat Tortillas In!

I’m 16 days aspartame free! It was actually harder, cravings-wise, than I expected. I don’t know why I never considered myself craving diet pop? Probably mostly because I never denied myself pop. I wanted one, I had one. It was that simple. It was calorie-free so who cares if I had one or a thousand a day? OK, normally I’d probably have 2 diet pops per day. One on the weekends.

The first few days I had awful (and I mean AWFUL) what I perceived as withdrawals. I wasn’t giving up caffeine, so the headaches, lethargy, etc. I assumed were coming from lack of aspartame. However, after three days of feeling terrible, I was told I probably had a virus and wasn’t actually in withdrawal. I took some ibuprofen, went to bed early a few nights, and felt considerably better a few days later. I still don’t know if I was sick or if I was having withdrawals.

None the less, I’ve been drinking water (and tea) like crazy. I probably haven’t ever been this hydrated. Prior to drinking diet pop, I drank regular pop. So now that I’m strictly drinking water and tea, I feel a lot better. I attribute this mostly to hydration, and less to being without fake sugar. I drink tea in the mornings to wake up. And then alternate between tea and water in the afternoons. Drinking about a quart of each throughout the day at work. I drink strictly water at home in the evenings.

The main reason I gave up diet pop was because I felt like my head was clouded and overall I felt older than I am. I read that aspartame can affect your memory and mind clarity, as well as a lot of other adverse affects. Coming out of the “haze” of diet pop, I’d like to say not drinking aspartame has cleared my head. However, I bet I’m mostly feeling better because I’m hydrated properly. For the first two weeks I couldn’t quench my thirst. I’ve read in several places if you’re thirsty, you’re dehydrated. The past few days I’ve finally started to feel like my thirst is quenched and I’m not drinking water with such reckless abandon!

Alright, so what have I been doing with my time? Cooking, mostly. My next step is to give up fast food completely. I used it so regularly as a supplement. It was so convenient, not to expensive, and well, let’s face it, delicious! I wasn’t always eating burgers and fries (although, yummy choice!). I was more often eating sandwiches with turkey or roast beef and no mayo. Or salads from a salad bar. But the prices add up, even with fast food. And the calories. Oh, the calories. I don’t even want to know!

Michael Pollen says if you would eat only stuff you cook, you’ll maintain a healthy weight. So, that’s my goal. I’m reigning in my eating out, whether fast food or dining to $25 per week (including tip). I assess that’ll be probably 1 or 2 meals per week. Drastic improvement, sadly. I know everyone SAYS, “I don’t eat that much fast food.” But I think if you’d start to keep track of how much you spend on eating out your perception of what you’re spending versus your reality might be surprising. Well, at least it was for me!

Alright, so what did I make last night? Homemade whole wheat tortillas! I used the recipe from allrecipes.com, but halved it and modified it just a little based on comments. Here’s my final recipe and how I prepared them:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat bread flour
  • 1/4 olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 boiling water

I mixed the dry ingredients in my mixer using my regular mixer attachment. Then added the olive oil, using the same attachment. Finally I switched to the dough hook and added the boiling water and mixed it for quite awhile until the dough was smooth. I broke the dough into 10 balls and let it sit for an hour.

Then I rolled them as thin as I could. They didn’t make perfect circles, but  wasn’t really worried about aesthetics the first time around. I originally heated a cast iron skillet over high heat (as suggested in the recipe) but found it was better on more of a medium heat. I’d put the tortilla in the skillet (no greasing necessary) and let it sit until bubbles started to form, then flipped it. I’d let that set again until I could see it starting to puff. Then moved it to a cookie rack to cool (and avoid them getting soggy from the heat by putting them on a plate).

Then I made breakfast burrito fillings. I browned 3 oz sausage, 1 onion, 1 green pepper, 2 cayanne peppers, 2 garlic cloves. Then cooked one egg individually (breaking the yolk and just barely undercooking). And put one egg, 1/10th of the sausage mixture, and about 1/3 of and ounce of cheese in each tortilla. Rolled in aluminum foil (mostly because it’s easier to wrap than plastic wrap, but also because it gives me some options with the oven if I choose to reheat that way), and then put in a freezer bag and stuck it in the freezer. I reheated my first one this morning and it was delicious! I use salsa on the side for dipping. Here’s the nutrition for each burrito (assuming you make 10).

Tortilla: 150
Sausage mix: 67
Egg: 70
Cheese: 30 (full fat cheddar)

Total: 320 (+ whatever you use for salsa)

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