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Time/Labor Savers for Phase 2

Jill, on the Yahoo forum, posted this message that I thought we should all be thinking about. Why reinvent the wheel, after all? She asks:

What are your favorite time or labor savers on this diet?
  • For both my rounds of HCG/VLCDieting, I bought enough meat for all my meals for the full course in one trip. I went home and immediately weighed out the portions and put them into individual baggies and froze them.
  • My proteins for this round are cube steak, sirloin tips, ground veal (mixed with fresh garlic, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme), veal scaloppini, chicken breast, shrimp, tilapia, and mahi-mahi.
  • Every day at lunch, I move two protein servings from the freezer to the fridge so they are thawed for the following day's lunch/dinner.
  • Bought quite a few grapefruit, oranges, lemons, and apples because they last a pretty long time in the fridge.
  • That leaves a quick weekly trip for fresh vegetables and strawberries. I have plenty of spices, apple cider vinegar, and sea salt on hand. I also have excellent beef and chicken stock made by the Amish farmers I get most of my food from.
  • When I am making a meal, while the protein and veggies cook I think about what I'll have for the next meal, and try to do any prep, such as marinate the meat in a mix of interesting spices and maybe vinegar, or chop the vegetables. Some large vegetables, for example a head of cabbage, I chop up and put in 2c portions in the fridge to eat over several days. Also, a few vegetables are just fine warmed up...I will typically cook a large amount of chard to have at 2-4 meals, for example.
  • I'm not as big on reheating meat so I almost always cook that fresh for each meal. I cook the protein (except for shrimp) on a small George Foreman grill; pretty much anything is cooked in 3 minutes. I sprinkle various herbs on the meat before I cook it. Sometimes I put on the herbs the night before to let them marinate. (The shrimp I cook in a saucepan with equal parts water and ACV, and Old Bay seasoning. I eat it with a homemade cocktail sauce of organic no sugar added ketchup and a generous dollop of prepared horseradish.)
  • I make a quantity of salad dressing out of crushed garlic mashed into a paste with Celtic sea salt, equal parts fresh lemon juice and red wine vinegar, and a generous dollop of dijon mustard.
  • This round, based on my experience from last round, I bought several heads of garlic. Today when I was cooking my meal, I peeled all the cloves from one head and put them in the fridge. I like to use a lot of garlic, but peeling cloves is a drag, so I did a bunch at once. Last time I got a large container of peeled garlic cloves, but this time I wanted to use organic and the two organic markets nearest me didn't sell garlic that way. If you want to use a container like that, if you cook only for yourself you might find some of them spoil before you finish them. I would vacuum pack half the cloves next time if I bought a container. (Or you could freeze half.)
  • For my first round I had already gradually switched to decaffeinated coffee. This round I am going without coffee altogether, wondering if that little bit of caffeine in the decaf is enough to slow down my weight loss and healing. I am drinking water with lemon, sea salt, and ACV; hot and iced herbal teas; WuLong tea as recommended by Trudeau (that might have some caffeine in it, I am not sure yet); and Dandy Blend, a coffee substitute made of ground dandelion roots, chicory, and I think beet roots (jar isn't in front of me at the moment). It's pretty good. I also use that in cold raw milk when I am drinking milk...it's delicious, naturally sweet...helps me keep drinking my raw milk even when it's just beginning to naturally sour (like yogurt, as opposed to pasteurized milk, which just spoils). The Dandy Blend masks the sour taste pretty well and unlike chocolate powder it's naturally sweet and doesn't have caffeine. It has kind of a chocolate/carob/coffee flavor.

Now, I get to add to that list with a few more shortcuts:
  • I, too, bought the meat and froze it. I did it a little differently than Jill suggested, though. I used ziplock sandwich/snack baggies and bagged each serving in a single bag. Then I took a gallon freezer ziplock bag and labeled it with a Sharpie as to the kind of meat it contained. Then all the little bags went into the one big bag and I didn't have to label each individual baggie.
  • Chop up your apples in either quarters or slices and freeze them for your desserts. They cook just as fast and are easier to deal with.
  • Make up a lot of the Worcester sauce, ketchup, and salad dressing of your choice. Get at least 6 small 1 ounce glass bottles. Fill 2 bottles with Worcester sauce, 2 bottles with ketchup, and 2 bottles with dressing so you can just grab and go.
  • Cook up at least 2 different meats, going pretty bland on the seasonings, and freeze them. This way if you get into a time crunch, you can just grab one of those, your salad dressing bottle, and head out. You can stop at a restaurant and get a lettuce only salad, add your meat and dressing, and you're set for a quick satisfying meal.

Have you got some tips/tricks for saving time/labor while in Phase 2? Please comment and share!

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