10 Things from 10 Days

Today is the 10th day of the 10 Day Gutbliss Detox that D and I are doing.  With how crazy work is right now for both of us, and the winter weather kicking in, meals haven’t gone quite as well as we had hoped, but I can tell you that we are feeling a TON better, and both of us have shed some “bloat” weight these past 10 days.  I have dropped about 7lbs, and D had already dropped 7lbs by day 5 (men!!).  We are both eating more now that we were, and feeling pretty good, too!  I am looking forward to adding foods back in and figuring out what exactly was the cause of the many issues I had been having, and that D had been having.  I’m thinking mine was gluten, and his might be dairy.  We will find out!  Adding gluten back tomorrow and will see what happens.

 

A quick 10 day recap for you…

 

10 Things from 10 Days of Gutbliss

 

  1. Wow.  Need lots of water with lots of fiber.
  2. Green juice in the morning works just as well as a pre-workout or coffee. I have had enough energy in the mornings (even with crappy sleep) to push myself hard in the gym.
  3. When you add ground flax seed and psyllium husk to smoothies, you don’t need protein powder or dairy elements to make you feel full.
  4. My PMS symptoms improved *exponentially*
  5. My skin is actually more clear. Attribute to added water or the mainly plant based diet?
  6. I miss cheese.
  7. I can eat more calories and lose weight if I’m eating the right calories. I’ve averaged about 2,000 calories a day on intake, versus the 1,600 I was having before (and not eating back workout calories).
  8. Apparently all rice is not gluten free… Only brown rice.
  9. I haven’t had a headache in 10 days!
  10. When I have a craving, eat it – just make it work. Example:  Turkey Burgers with guacamole and caramelized onions on sweet potato “buns” when craving a huge burger.

The end… And…SUSHI!

Yesterday I made the tough decision to end my adventure into the world of my second Whole30. I had decided at the beginning of this year that my healthy lifestyle was going to be something I enjoyed and not despised. While I agree with the principles of the Whole30, I do not want to deprive myself of some of my favorite foods because they don’t fit into a bucket created by someone. It did give me a chance to be able to refocus my nutrition on healthy and natural sources of foods, remind me that most of my foods at meals should be vegetables, and that I need to be mindful of the other “crap” that I consume. However, I need to be able to enjoy things like sushi and the occasional beverage. So, back to my norm – eat what I enjoy, in moderation, and find new ways to serve healthy foods to my family.

Now, back to sushi…  Mmm… Sushi.  We ordered takeout from our favorite sushi place last night for dinner, Aodake.  Fantastic place, three locations in the Chicagoland area now. Woo!  The two below are my favorites.

Baked scallop, crab, shrimp and cream sauce
Baked scallop, crab, shrimp and cream sauce
Spicy salmon, avocado, cucumber in soy paper, with assortment of fresh fish, tobiko on top (12pc)
Spicy salmon, avocado, cucumber in soy paper, with assortment of fresh fish, tobiko on top (12pc)

The dynamite roll is AMAZING!!!  And the perfect rainbow is, well, perfect!  Anyone I have introduced to these two rolls love them, and I have not been able to find anything like them at any other sushi place.  Now, if they could somehow come up with a frequent diners card my life would be complete!

I start working out again tomorrow.  After hurting my knee last Sunday during goblet squats, I gave it a rest week.  I can’t wait! I feel like I’ve gotten soft this week even though I have been eating very well.

Hope everyone has a great Saturday!

Who got me a stripper??

It has been a busy week and a half for me!  Just about two weeks ago I got to help one of my best friends celebrate her 30th birthday with an amazing party at a local bar.  I donated a hotel room to the cause, which was the site of a little girl bonding time while we were getting ready and an after party.  Of course, it wouldn’t be a party that I was at (or hosting) unless there was a random pop-in by the police.  IMG_7651No… We weren’t that awful!  I am in my 30s… I am somewhat respectful (shush).  The people a few rooms down weren’t all that respectful, though, and filled the hall with some very rank weed smoke.  Blech!  The cops heard our music, stopped by, and of course I made friends with them.  Sometimes, making a police officer laugh (in this case five police officers laugh) is enough for me.  Brings me back to my birthday when my cousin, Sarah, and I moved into together when I was right out of college.  We were pre-gamming prior to going out to the bar when there was a pounding on the apartment door.  Me, being me, got up to answer the door and on the way to the door says loudly… “Which one of you guys got me a cop stripper???”  I open the door, and who else would be standing there but  a police man.  I don’t know whose face was more red… Mine or his.  Turns out he was looking for the previous resident.  Good laughs all around for that one.

The Monday after my friend’s birthday I started the Whole30 again.  I did this downloadonce before a few years back to help get my body rid of toxins and launched into a year of paleo eating.  I have pretty much eaten clean since, taking learning’s of my paleo stint into my cooking, but felt the need to get my system clean of hormones and toxins.  I’m now a week and a half into it and feel pretty good.  Not going to lie… The first few days were hell… My body wanted SUGAR!!!!  I stayed strong and maintained composure (sorry to my coworkers if I was snappy last week).

Last night I wanted to do something different for dinner.  I was doing just meats or eggs and veggies for dinners and lunches since I was low on time, but last night I felt inspired.  I had a leftover cooked acorn squash from the previous night that I wanted to use for D and I, and I wanted to stuff it.  One of my favorite acorn squash recipes is a turkey stuffed acorn squash with rice and butter and cheese… Well, three of those things are not allowed on the Whole30, so I got to brainstorming, and this is what I came up with.

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Creamy Cauliflower and Zucchini Rice

Ingredients

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  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 2T bacon fat
  • 1 cup coconut milk (canned, light or full fat)
  • 1T nutritional yeast
  • 1t sea salt
  • 1t black pepper
  • 1t herbes de provence

Directions

  1. Prepare food processor with the shredding blade attached.

2.  Slice cauliflower so that it fits in your food processor funnel, and go to town. Mini Me enjoyed helping me with this.  She was the official button-presser.

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3.  Once all of your cauliflower is “riced”, pour into a bowl and set aside. Cut the ends off the zucchini, and shred away!  Pour into a bowl and set aside.

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4.  Repeat shredding process one last time with the onion and garlic cloves.

5.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2T of bacon fat until melted.

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6.  Pour in onion and garlic combination and sauté for a few minutes (until fragrant).

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7.  Add coconut milk, cauliflower, zucchini, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and herbes de provence. Stir to combine, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 12-15 minutes stirring occasionally.

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This cauliflower rice can be used alone as a side, topped with a meat, over easy eggs (yummy breakfast this morning), or as a stuffing for various other vegetables.  Hope you enjoy as much as we all did!!

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Makes around 6 large servings.

Cal – 145, Fat – 9g, Carb – 15g, Protein – 5g

No, Mommy… You can’t go run. I want pancakes.

Sunday morning.  The first morning in a week that the temperatures have been over 20 degrees.  This means… RUNNING!!!  I’ve been waiting for this morning for a week.  The arctic temps here in Chi town have been insane.  Time for them to move on and make someone else miserable (sorry if you are that someone else).

Going to bed last night, I triple checked to be sure I had my alarm set so that I could wake up and get a run in around 7am.  I wasn’t planning a long run, just a quick 30 minutes out getting some fresh air, shoes to the pavement, enjoying the “me” time.  Alarm went off, I got up, slowly started getting myself to wake up enough for my brain to tell my feet to move one in front of the other, and suddenly I hear…”MOOOOOMMMMMMMYYYYYYY!!!!!  MOMMMMMMMYYYYYYYYYYY!!!” coming from the room next to mine.  Mini Me was awake.  I suppose I can’t really complain when she sleeps 12 hours, but darn it… I wanted to be out the door when she woke up.  I go in, give her wake-up snuggles, and asks if she wants to hang out with me while I finish getting dressed for my run.  She looks at me all innocent and says, “No, Mommy.  You can’t go run.  I want pancakes.”  I explained to her that she can get up, have some milk and a banana while I was running and when I got back I would make her pancakes.  Told her I would be gone for 45 minutes, max.  She seemed ok with this rationale.

I finished getting dressed, getting my new ear buds in (thanks to my bro-in-law) and my runner’s pepper spray (thanks to D and mom-in-law… we have coyotes around here), and get to moving.  Finished my run at a pretty good pace, and entered the kitchen, knowing that Mini Me was probably getting hangry at this time.  If you don’t already know this, a hangry three year old is no good.  I am pretty sure that is how wars start.

Enter… Pancakes.  Now, as a quick reminder, Mini Me is allergic to eggs, milk, peanuts, fish, and shellfish.  Baking is constantly difficult, and breakfast foods are one of the most difficult things to work around.  But a few years back, I was lucky enough to stumble across a Banana Oatmeal Pancake recipe from the Colourful Palate.  These have been a lifesaver for me!  I did alter the recipe slightly from theirs, making them less gummy and a bit more toddler approved.

Chocolate Chip Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

Chocolate Chip Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

Ingredients:

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  • 1.5 cups quick cooking oats
  • 0.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp sea salt
  • 1.5 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • Mini Chocolate Chips (mine are allergy free)
  • Canola Oil Spray or Coconut Oil (for pan prep)

Directions

  1. IMG_7342Blend all ingredients until combined, except bananas and chocolate chips.
  2. Add bananas and blend until smooth.
  3. Pour batter onto a hot skillet or griddle prepared with spray or coconut oil (I use my electric skillet because I can fit more), and sprinkle chocolate chips onto the pancakes as desired.  Wait until bubbles form in the center of the pancakes and flip to finish.

Recipe will make around 12-15 medium sized pancakes.

IMG_7341        Chocolate Chip Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

After all was said and done, Mini got her pancakes.

BONUS – these refrigerate and reheat really well for quick grab and go breakfasts during the week!

Go home Mother Nature… You’re Drunk

brrrrr

Brrrr…. This extreme winter weather is about killing me!  Woke up this morning to -9 degrees with a feels-like temperature of -28.  That’s in Fahrenheit to all my international, folks.  IMG_7220  Not even kidding.  Right now, it is actually warmer in Antarctica than it is Chicago.  It’s a nice 29 degrees Fahrenheit there.  See ya later folks, I’m moving to Antarctica.  Go home, Mother Nature… You’re Drunk.

The temperatures are more than just cold, they are draining.  I used to be able to get outside for a run in the mornings, but when it is this cold (anything lower than 15 degrees I don’t run outside) I don’t even bother – too dangerous for me.  No outside run, means no fresh air, no Vitamin D, no energy.  I’ve been supplementing with my ½ bottles of 5 hour energy pre-workouts, a nice little shot of espresso after my workouts, and a mug of coffee on the way into work.  This is probably waaaaayyyy too much caffeine, but I’m dragging.

Because I’m dragging, and it’s the first full week back to work, I wanted to have some easy meals to be able to fix for us.  The GIANT batch of soup I made this weekend helped with warming me up throughout the week, and Mini Me loves eating soup, but sometimes you just want a little something different.  Different, yet easy.  Enter cobb salad.  To me, it feels a little more like summer when I eat salads.  Don’t ask me why, but cheers me up a bit.  I’m funny like that, I know.

Easy Cobb Salad for Two

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Ingredients:

  • 9 ounces romaine mix (one bag, I used Dole)
  • 2 hardboiled eggs, chopped (I cheated, bought precooked and peeled eggs from Eggland’s Best)
  • 1 ounce blue cheese, crumbled
  • ½ avocado, about three ounces
  • 4 ounces ham, chopped (cheated again, bought the pre chopped stuff)
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons ranch dressing (I like Walden Farms)

Feel free to add other ingredients for your tastes or macros!

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Directions:

Prepare all ingredients.

This took me about two minutes.  I split the bag of lettuce between two bowls.  I used a fancy egg masher (like the one in this little set – Multi Function Kitchen Tool) and easily mashed my eggs.  Measured and crumbled my block of blue cheese (less expensive than the already crumbled cheese).  Sliced my avocado and weighed it to be sure I was getting the right amounts.  I was a little over, so I let Mini snack on some pieces – she loves it and I really can’t blame her.  Weighed and split the ham between the two bowls (chicken would be a good addition for extra protein, too).  Used my kitchen sheers to cut my green onion directly into the salad bowls.   Measured and poured my dressing into the bowls.

Viola!  Yummy salad done and in a hurry.

Sure – I could have done something fancy or taken the time to prep all of the ingredients myself, but if it’s healthy, yummy, and makes us all happy and think of summer (ok maybe that is just me), why not?

Enjoy!

31,536,000 Seconds

Today marks my one year streak of logging into the fitness and nutrition website, MyFitnessPal.  52 weeks… 365 days… 8,760 hours… 525,600 minutes…  31,536,000 seconds… Committing to my health and fitness.

The Good

 

I started off strong last year, and was given P90X by a friend to help give me a kick start. I ate right (or so I thought), got stronger, and expected to see HUGE results.  I did not.  I believe I only lost 5lbs during that time.  Sure, I lost a couple of inches.  Sure, I was stronger.  But, I was still so new to fitness and nutrition at that point that I didn’t realize that I was actually sabotaging myself with my nutrition.  The important lesson I learned during P90X is that I was strong, I could do it, and I kicked my own ass.

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I learned I LOVE yoga (even though at the beginning you had to bribe me to do it).

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I learned that I could do push-ups.  A lot of push-ups.  Push-ups until I fell on my face.  And I learned that I want to kick Tony Horton’s ass and give him a hug at the same time.

After P90X, I was ready for a new challenge. Since I like the flow of P90X, I ventured into another Beachbody program – P90X3.  I was not a fan of this program, to be honest.  I kept with it thru about 60 days.  Meh.

At the same time, I was challenged to start running again.  I despised running.  I would even venture to say that I hated running.  I was not only challenged to start running, I was challenged to run 5 miles.  I had trouble running 1, and felt like I was going to die running 3.  But, what did I do?  I decided (because I don’t like being told I can’t do something) to run a 10K… That’s 6.2 miles.  Yeah.  As soon as it came out of my mouth, I wish I could have taken it back.  So, like a little machine that I sometimes I think I am, I started running.  I started slow using a 10K training app.  Each day was hard.  Really hard.  I pushed thru.  Soon enough, my normal route became too short and I had to explore new routes – running thru the neighborhoods in the early morning hours and sometimes in circles so that I could keep going until the app told me to stop.  There was one morning, around 4.5 miles into my run, that I realized I suddenly LOVED running.  Sure, it was hard.  Sure, I was sore.  Sure, every morning that I woke up I wanted to keep sleeping, BUT when I got into my zone it was just me.  Finishing my runs I felt accomplished.  I felt badass.  I felt like I was becoming the person I knew I could be.  At the end of August I finished my first 10K with a friend I had met on My Fitness Pal.  We had a blast!

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I also completed a few rounds of the 21 Day Fix in the middle and towards the end of the year.  I recommend this program if you are needing to get moving a bit more – it really does work!

After all the video training programs I did, I decided I wanted to lift heavy.  I wanted to be a badass like so many of the people I have grown to love and call my friends on My Fitness Pal.  I picked up my book that I bought a while back, Strong Curves: A Woman’s Guide to Building a Better Butt and Body by Bret Contreras and Kellie Davis (available here).  While I read this book a few years ago, and tried it out, I was nowhere near as experienced with health and fitness as I am now.  I understand what Macros are, and how they work for your body (http://iifym.com), how to have correct form, and why I shouldn’t be afraid to lift heavy weights.  So I started… And I started on the Advanced program.  Yeah me!  I LOVE it.  If you are curious if the program works…Just ask my favorite pair of nice butt jeans.

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The Bad

I’ve been distracted.  Distracted in life, distracted at work, and distracted from my family.  I’ve been caught up in things that don’t really matter in the long run.  I’ve self-sabotaged myself, and am starting 2015 at the same weight that I started 2014 at.  You can make excuses for me all you want, say that you are stronger and smarter, yada yada yada.  I don’t want to hear it.  I don’t want to say that to myself.  I’ve said it enough already.  It really isn’t ok.  The truth is… I know better.  So, as I sat here in tears writing this portion or my post, I sucked it up.  The past is the past.  I’m not going to let myself down this time.  I won’t let myself make excuses.  Sure, I’ve lost over 100lbs at one point.  I’m not at that point.  It doesn’t matter how much I have lost.  It matters where I am going and that I am not going to let myself get in my own way.  There will be no “can’t”, no more comparing myself to others, and no more celebrating the past victories, only my future ones.   This morning I took pictures.  I will be taking pictures every week, and stepping on the scale every Monday.  No excuses.

So, cheers to a new me.  Not a new year.  Every day is a new start.  Don’t wait for a new year to make changes.

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Starting Somewhere

The illusive first post…  Bahhh!!!!

Having some time off work for the holidays, I found myself being drawn into the kitchen rather than the gym.  (Ok, ok…  I also spent my fair share of time eating and drinking in the kitchen over break as well, but we will get to that later…)  My brain was in creative overdrive.  I was able to be creative without the constraints of work bogging me down.  I knew I needed to get back on track with eating right, and being the healthy caregiver that I am deep down I knew that had to start in the kitchen.  No more chicken nuggets for Mini Me or takeout for D (the hubs) and I.

Cooking from scratch is something that I love to do, but I usually haven’t just put recipes together on my own.  I’ve usually started with someone else’s and adjusted.  I suppose that is what most chefs do, right?

Well, yesterday I made my interpretation of a Jambalaya (no shellfish because of Mini Me’s allergies).  After serving it, D says, “This is good.  Remember this recipe to make again.”  Crap.  I was so busy winging it, I failed to record what it was… I’ve never actually turned a meal I made into a recipe before.  I was able to piece it together so you can taste it, as well. Hopefully you like it!

Jambalaya

Jambalaya 1.2.14

  • 1lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 14oz package andouille sausage (I would have prefered this, but had kielbasa to use), cut into 1/4″ coins, sliced in half
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 package of frozen three color bell peppers (or fresh peppers)
  • 14.5oz crushed tomatoes
  • 1T olive oil, separated
  • 1.5T cumin
  • 1.5T paprika
  • 1T oregano
  • 1T dried cilantro
  • 1/2t cayenne pepper (or to taste)

Directions:

  1. After prepping all ingredients, heat 1/2T olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add chicken breast to sear on all sides.  Remove from pan until later.
  2. Add remaining 1/2T olive oil to pan, and add in onions and garlic. Saute until fragrant and onions are becoming translucent.
  3. Add the package of frozen peppers (or fresh), and cook until peppers are no longer frozen.
  4. While peppers are cooking, mix cumin, paprika, oregano, cilantro, and cayenne pepper to the crushed tomatoes and stir until combined.
  5. Add chicken back into the skillet, and add sausage.
  6. Pour tomato mixture into skillet. Stir to combine.
  7. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Enjoy!

Serve over rice or quinoa if desired.