Not Gutless. Need Gutbliss!

Happy New Year to all of my readers!  Last year was year one of my blog.  While I didn’t get as many blogs written as I would have liked, I loved doing it.  2015 was a crazy year for me, and there were a lot of things I went thru that really made me evaluate who I was and what I am doing on a daily basis.  I didn’t get any closer to my health goals; I got further away.  I didn’t grow a huge Beachbody business; I quit.  What I did do is get help for myself, and for my family.

Over the summer, I made the very hard decision to see a doctor and get help for what my brain was putting me thru; I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.  Admitting this to the world is not easy, and it has taken me months to be able to accept it myself.  Nothing about this disease is fun, but I have learned to think about things differently, see the world differently, be less judgemental, and know when enough is enough for me.

Now that I’ve gotten my brain under control (most days), it’s time to get focused back on the other health goals.  This year my goal is to not give up on myself.  Last year, I became a badass, a blogger, a Beachbody coach, and went thru hell mentally, BUT I came out on the other side.  This year I’m pushing it further.  I WILL get to where I see myself, I WILL be comfortable with who I am (inside and out), and I WILL continue to raise my little girl to embrace who she is (a very strong little girl who is going to be something absolutely amazing and bring so much joy to so many people).

Step one to my health goals?  Figure out what in the HELL is wrong with my digestive system… And D’s, too!  Time to begin a “detox” of sorts… No, not for calories, but to eliminate what the author of Gutbliss, Dr. Robynne Chutkan, calls SAD GAS (Soy, Artificial Sweeteners, Dairy, Gluten, Alcohol, and [added] Sugars).  I’m actually going to be consuming significantly more calories everyday with this more plant based diet (lean proteins only a few times a week), so I will likely be challenged to accept that eating more helps you weigh less.  After reading Gutbliss in one sitting, I have a suspicion that I have either a gluten intolerance or even Celiac.  Perhaps it’s nothing, but I will find out one way or another with this!

Eliminating things from our diets is not a foreign concept here with Mini Me’s allergies, but still requires prep work for two people.  IMG_0858.JPGDr. Chutkan asks those doing the 10 day plan to have green juice and her Magic smoothie every day, as well as a probiotic, and ground psyllium husk.  I spent a large portion of my New Year’s day planning out the meals and snacks for D and I,
and a large portion of the second day of the year in the produce section with Mini Me and in the kitchen getting some of the things prepped here.  This included the very basic task of making space in the fridge for the abundance amount of produce, to making things for the week. I made Homemade Energy Bars and Fruit, Seed, and Nut Trail Mix.

Homemade snacks may take just a few minutes longer than buying them already made, but I find comfort in knowing EXACTLY what is in my food.

 

Homemade Energy Bars

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1 1/3 cups pitted dates
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup dried fruit for topping, optional (I used coconut)

Directions:

  • Put all ingredients in food processor and process until it seems to be sticking together slightly in bowl of processor, about 5 minutes.
  • Pour mixture on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and spread out.  While still separated sprinkle optional dried fruit on top.
  • Using your hands, compress the mixture until it is a solid ‘blob’ on the sheet.
  • Put in fridge or freezer for about 30 minutes so it has a chance to solidify further.
  • Pull out, and slice into 6-8 even pieces.

That’s it.  Seems like there are a lot of steps, but this really is one of the easiest recipes ever… Not to mention TASTY!

Makes 6-8 servings.  113 cal – 6.2g fat/13.7g carb/2.8g protein

 

Homemade Trail Mix

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Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces cashews
  • 8 ounces almonds
  • 4 1/2 ounces sunflower seeds
  • 4 1/2 ounces pumpkin seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups dried fruit (I went with a mix)
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut flakes

Directions:

  • Mix in a large bowl.  Put in serving size containers or serve as-is!

Serving size – 1/3 cup, contains 20 servings.  280 cal – 20.8g fat/16.6 g carb/9.4g protein

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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

What a Whirlwind!

Wow…. This week has been a whirlwind!

Monday I was dress shopping with my mom and Mini Me for my brother’s wedding.  Luck for both of them!  They will look great!  Not so much luck for me…. I just couldn’t find anything that jumped out at me.  Luckily, I still have time.  Looking forward to seeing my older brother marry the woman of his dreams!!

Tuesday it was back to work… But just for a few hours… Got the call to pick up Mini.  Pink eye… Poor girl had a swollen face like no other.

Wednesday it was back to work again (thanks D for staying home with her)…. SWAMPED!!

And today… I has a case of the feels.  Sigh.  I’m sure at some point everyone just feels down for no reason.  I’ve been in a funk lately.  The only thing I can attribute it to is lack of sun.  Time to start taking my Vitamin D again!

The one thing that I have been able to do this week, mainly because it is soooo simple to do, is make bread.  With Mini’s allergies, finding store-bought baked goods is always a bit difficult… And to be honest… I would SOOO much rather feed her and D something I make myself with whole and natural ingredients.  Enter Honey Wheat Bread.

Seriously, this recipe is beyond easy, nutritious, and delicious!

I slightly modified this recipe I found on allrecipes.com.

Honey Wheat Bread (for bread machine)

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Ingredients:

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  • 1 1/8 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (melted or solid, either way works!)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Directions:

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Add ingredients according to the manufacturer’s directions to your bread machine. Use the wheat bread cycle and light color setting.

Let cool slightly and enjoy immediately, or cool completely and slice into pieces for sandwiches or toast.  Yum!

Pepperoni…what??

It’s Friday, it’s Friday, it’s Friday!! Now imagine me doing a little dance while singing that (off tune, most likely). It has been a week of ups and downs. A week of refocusing on nutrition and exercise. A week of nose-to-the grind working in the office. But… It’s FRIDAY!!

Friday’s used to mean ordering takeout sushi with D, and waiting until Mini Me went to bed so we could eat our sushi in peace and watch a movie. There was generally overindulging in food (yum sushi) and sometimes alcohol. Over the past few weeks I realized that things I was doing in the past have not been helping me reach my weight loss goals. I’ve been diligent on hitting my macros this week, inspired by my friend, Austin, and have reaped the reward… A 4.2lb weight loss this morning! Wooo!

As a mini celebration and a treat to myself, I wanted to have a munchie while watching a movie tonight. My macros didn’t allow for my second favorite food today, either… Popcorn. So I set off in search of something flavorful and crunchy (yes I had veggies today) to munch on while relaxing.

Enter… Pepperoni Chips! These little want to be chips are packed with protein and have little to no carbs. They do have a bit of sodium, so remember to keep drinking your water!!

Pepperoni Chips

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Ingredients:

Pepperoni

Directions:

1. Slice pepperoni thinly, or buy precut slices.

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2. Layer a paper towel or two on a plate to absorb any grease. Lay slices of pepperoni on the paper towel covered plate and cover with another paper towel to help minimize any splatters.

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3. Microwave a large plate of slices for 3-4 minutes, or until the centers don’t feel rubbery. Blot extra grease from the top by lightly pressing on the top paper towel.

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Note: my pepperoni didn’t completely crisp up until about 5 minutes after removed from the microwave.

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Now, sit…enjoy…and let’s start our movie!