Tag Archives: healthy eating

Resetting Expectations – Clean Eating Challenge

24 Feb

So I started this year out with a big goal of losing the baby weight, but not just that: getting my strong, lean, muscular body and energy back. Unfortunately I did not do measurements when I started so it’s difficult to track my progress that way, so I rely on two factors to tell me how I am doing. 1. the scale (my natural foe) and 2. the way my clothes fit – or don’t fit… So although I have kept up with my resolution to be a better stronger version of myself this year and hit the gym with consistency each week, there were definitely some times when I fell off the wagon with eating right. Like Valentine’s Day weekend when I fell off the wagon into a ditch on the side of the road then rolled into a lake full of dark chocolate covered peanut butter sea salt caramel truffles and cream puffs… and champagne… and steak… and ok, we’ll stop there. So with that being said (and done) I began my 10-day Clean Eating Reset Cleanse on the Monday after Valentine’s Day. I am on day 9 today.

I was first introduced to Clean Eating Reset Cleanse (the name I have dubbed it) by a good friend of mine, Amy who had been given it by a friend. Now compared to The Whole 30 my little reset is kids stuff. This is not a cleanse where you eat nothing for days on end and pretend like you wouldn’t murder your closest friend for a candy bar. This is not a juicing cleanse where you get nothing solid and am supposed to be ‘totally fine’ with that. This is a 10 day return to what is good and healthy and what your body is meant to consume. It is an elimination diet of sorts and that means it’s going to be hard, you are going to miss the foods that you eat all the time, the junk, the bread, the candy, the coffee, the alcohol, etc. You are going to crave them, your nose is going to linger as pass by the bakery at the market, the neighborhood Starbucks, heck, the burger joint your family is going to eat at that you simply does not coincide with your diet plan. I have done this cleanse twice, both with great success, I felt great, I lost weight, and I learned about what eliminating some food categories from my diet could do to help me feel like this all the time.

To help me with my goals, I set myself (silent) alarms on my phone as little reminders at different times of the day, like “make good choices” (keeping myself accountable), “your willpower is stronger than your craving” (for encouragement), etc. Sometimes you just need a little affirmation to help you get past that moment or hour of wanting something that you shouldn’t have. And because I believe in the saying “A goal without a plan is just wish” so I also made sure to make myself a meal plan on excel a couple days before I began the cleanse so that I would know exactly what foods I needed to buy and what I was going to be eating, this allowed me to think outside the box on what different foods I could eat and get some variety. One of the most important things to me is not getting caught in a situation where I don’t have any ‘cleanse friendly’ foods and either lose my mind because I am starving and cannot eat anything, or worse, eat things that are not in the plan. I was able to use the plan to effectively grocery shop in advance to be sure I had all the items I need on hand, since getting to the market after working all day and commuting with two kids under 5 at their dinner time, in the dark – is pretty much my nightmare.

Rules: Never: alcohol, dairy, caffeine, sugar, artificial sweeteners, processed food, wheat
Day Rule
1,2,9,10 Eat only: white meat, fish, beans, nuts, fruits, vegetables, & whole grains
3,4,5,6,7,8, Eat only: fish, fruits, vegetables, & whole grains

Here is a sample of my plan: Day 3:

Breakfast Hard boiled egg(s)
Lunch carrots/celery and plain hummus, banana
Snack natural popcorn- no butter
Dinner Oven baked salmon with roasted brussels sprouts

The original cleanse called for 20 minutes of low impact exercise- such as a walk each day, but I am working out in the gym with cardio and weight lifting as well as doing some videos of no-equipment workouts I’ve found online (thanks Pinterest!)  like this Bikini Belly Bootcamp video from Pop Sugar (fitsugar.com).

For me, the processed foods (i.e. bread and crackers), candy, cookies, and cheese were by far the hardest. I have offered the cleanse plan to friends who are interested in doing something more regimented than just ‘cutting calories’ but often they cannot part with their coffee or soda habits, my very lactose intolerant friend ironically cannot part with cheese for 10 days. I’ve found though that it’s not that your body cannot take the withdrawal, it’s your mind setting up limitations for you. Do I want a grilled cheese sandwich right now? O my, yes! But I know that this is a challenge I can complete and I will.

I know that I can live without these things that are not good for my body, I know that I can be a stronger, healthier me without them. I feel proud that I have not swayed, even though I was so tempted to (with my hubby eating all the remaining  truffles and my niece selling us 5 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies). I hope that you can take a challenge, this challenge perhaps and feel as good as I do.

Here are some of the meals I have made:

Baked eggs with sauteed spinach, garlic, & red bell peppers.

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Oven baked salmon with roasted Brussels sprouts and a quinoa vegetable pilaf.

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Chicken seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne powder sauteed with green beans.

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It’s Been A Long Time

5 Jun

We’ve been pretty busy in the past 6 months prepping our little house for a big new edition- a lil’ dude will be coming soon. We’ve been in each of our busy seasons at work as well so time is passing as quickly as it can when you’re growing a tiny human in your belly.

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I had a rough go at it in the first three months but fortunately the last couple have been much easier for me. However not feeling sick all day, everyday means that I have had plenty of time to do what pregnant women do best- eat. I’ve gained more than I would have liked to by now so it’s time to get better about what and how much food I’m putting in my body. Of course cooking and eating comfort food is more fun (at least for me) than ‘healthy’ food. So now it’s become important to me to try and reincorporate my healthy meals into my routine. Making eating healthy into something enjoyable is my new challenge (oh and getting the house ready for baby #2).

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Last night we grilled chicken breasts (that we marinated in Italian dressing for 30 minutes in the fridge) sliced some fresh mozzarella and Roma tomatoes sprinkled it with kosher salt and pepper and drizzled it with balsamic vinegar. I served it roasted asparagus that I had drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, and dashes of kosher salt and pepper. It’s quick, easy, doesn’t require too much prep, and is pretty healthy.

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This morning I had some leftover egg whites from a new recipe I made earlier in the week so I decided to make us an egg white scramble. I took a good assortment of vegetables in my refrigerator and chopped them into small pieces. I used carrots, asparagus, zucchini, and spinach (which I wilted whole rather than chopping).
I heated extra virgin olive oil over medium heat in a medium frying pan and added the carrots, asparagus, and zucchini and sautéed them till just about tender, I added a clove of minced garlic and the spinach and sautéed until it had wilted. Once the vegetables were cooked, I added salt and pepper and poured in 8 egg whites. I cooked the eggs with the vegetables until cooked through. It was simple and light but filled me up on good stuff rather than my usual carb heavy breakfasts. This vegetable scramble can easily be made with any kind of vegetables you have on hand.

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For lunch today I made a spinach salad with sliced strawberries and sliced roasted almonds with a light honey Dijon dressing (I like Ken’s Steakhouse).

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Veggie Chili Goodness

1 Apr

Veggie Chili Goodness

I love chili, I love the warm, cozy feeling it gives you. I also love that it’s super easy and my recipe is relatively fast from start to finish. I love it all alone, over pasta, over rice, over a baked potato, with chips, etc. I pretty much just love it. Before the Veg Project I also would add in a pound of ground turkey that I browned with a little olive oil and then added the rest of the ingredients per the directions below. I have adapted an old recipe that my mom used to make when I was growing up, it’s got a lot more kick than mom’s and some move veggies as well (just the way I like it!).

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Veggie Chili

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ yellow onion chopped

1 red bell pepper chopped

1 green bell pepper chopped

1 15 oz. can chili beans

1 15 oz. can black beans

1 15 oz. can great north beans (drained and rinsed)

1-1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ tablespoon ground black pepper

2 cloves crushed garlic

Toppings:

Chopped cilantro

Sour cream

Shredded cheddar cheese

Tortilla chips/strips

Chopped red onion

Instructions:

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in chopped onions and bell peppers, sauté over till vegetables are tender (not browned) about 4-5 minutes. Stir in chili beans (with liquid), black beans (with liquid), great north beans (drained and rinsed), add in chili powder, garlic powder, and cumin, crushed garlic, salt and pepper. Turn heat down to simmer, allow flavors to develop for about 15 minutes and then add frozen corn. Continue cooking for about 10 minutes till corn is fully cooked through. Serve hot with any of listed toppings above. (I like it with cheddar, cilantro, sour cream, & chips!)