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.
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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

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!

What’s After Christmas, Mommy?

IMG_6821     After all the holiday celebrations were completed in our house, the question we kept hearing from Mini Me was “What’s after (fill in blank with a holiday)?”  I would get her a calendar and explain to her when things happen, but (1) she can’t read, (2) she has no concept of time (nap time and night time are the same concept to her – she sleeps and wakes up), and (3) she will just forget anyway.  Oh, to be a young child again.

“What’s after Christmas?” Mini Me questions me one night while I’m making dinner.  I open the fridge, faced with leftovers from various gatherings.  Yes, indeed… What is after Christmas?  A fridge full of leftovers and a puzzle of how to put them all together.  One item is glaring me right in the face, taking up an entire shelf in and of itself – The Veggie Tray.  Every one of my family’s gatherings has one, and every family gathering there is one left over.  Too many other yummy things to feast on, I suppose.  My cousin was gracious enough to let me take it home (thanks, Sarah!), knowing that we eat fresh fruits and vegetables every day.  But, the holidays came and went, and the ominous Veggie Tray was still taking up shelf space instead of space in our bellies.

I decided that I was going to use that Veggie Tray once and for all, cleaning out additional fresh veggies from our produce drawer along the way!  Challenge….. Accepted!

Enter….  Veggie Tray Soup.


Veggie Tray Soup

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Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
7 ounces celery, diced (about 6 stalks)
7 ounces carrots, diced (about 1 ½ cups baby carrots)
1 large onion, diced
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon herbes de provence
80 ounces reduced sodium chicken broth
14.5 ounce can of diced chipotle chili tomatoes
1.5 ounce sugar snap beans (about ¾ cups)
3.5 ounce grape tomatoes, quartered (about 1 cup)
15 ounces broccoli, chopped (one 12 oz bag, plus around 2 cups)
7 ounces (half package) polish kielbasa, cut into ¼” coins and quartered
1.5 pounds chicken breast, cut into small cubes

 

Directions:

Prepare all ingredients as listed.  I chop all vegetables, then sausage, and finally chicken so that the raw food is the last thing to go on the cutting board.  Even though it all gets cooked together in this meal, I’m pretty methodical on how it gets prepared.

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Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Add celery, carrots, onions, salt, and pepper.  Saute until fragrant and onions are translucent.

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Add all remaining ingredients.  Stir to combine.

Cover and bring to a boil (about 5 minutes).  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-25 minutes.

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Makes 8 large servings (around 3 cups each).

Cals – 320, Fat – 13g, Carbs – 15g, Protein – 34g

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I think she is satisfied with what came after Christmas.

Hash House a Snow Snow

Yesterday was a cold winter’s day in Chicago, and all was quiet…  Except for the plows going by the house every 10 minutes starting at 3:45am, knocking over garbage cans, the garbage men coming through the neighborhood, and the insanity of a three year old little girl who loves chasing two little barking dogs (a 5lb Chihuahua named prince and a 7lb mini dachshund named Isabel).  Ahhh… This is my life.  While it is chaotic, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

After deciding at 5am when my alarm went off (after listening to previously mentioned plows go past the house for a good hour) that I was not going to be able to get a morning run in, I rolled out of bed determined to do something with my day.  I had HUGE plans.  Plans that included cooking, cleaning, and having a dance party with mini me.  Like I said… HUGE plans.

I downed a cup of coffee, made some breakfast (pictured below – sauteed spinach topped with egg whites, Babybel cheese, and sriracha), and started with my day.

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My cooking plans for the day included making a sweet potato hash, inspired by my mom’s farmhouse hash she had made for our Christmas celebrations with our family.  It was the perfect addition to eggs.  Don’t get me wrong – I love my eggs, but I was in search of something to make them more exciting.  I knew that I wanted to add some more veggies (let’s be real – who has a hard time getting all their veggies in every day??) and use sweet potatoes (more nutrient dense than white potatoes).

Here is what I came up with.

Sweet Potato Hash

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Ingredients:

  • 1.00 container (16 slices ea.), Low Sodium Bacon
  • 2.00 lb(s), Sweet potato – Cooked, baked in skin, without salt (Sweetpotato)
  • 0.25 cup(s), Oil – Olive
  • 13.50 oz(s), Onions – Raw
  • 2.00 lb(s), Squash – Zucchini, includes skin, raw
  • 12.00 oz(s), Spinach – Raw
  • 5.00 clove(s), Garlic – Raw
  • 1.00 tbsp(s), Spices – Thyme, dried
  • 0.20 oz(s), Spices – Rosemary, fresh
  • 2.00 tsp, Salt
  • 0.50 teaspoon, Crushed Red Chili Pepper Flakes

Directions:

Peel and chop sweet potatoes into small cubes, toss with olive oil and roast at 425 for 25 minutes, flipping once in the middle of baking.

While potatoes are baking, chop onions and zucchini into small cubes; mince garlic, and chop rosemary.  Chop Bacon into small pieces.

Saute bacon in a large skillet until crispy.  Remove from pan leaving the bacon grease for sauteing vegetables.  Add onions, garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes.  Cook until fragrant (about 1-2 minutes).  Add zucchini.  Cook until softened (about 5 minutes).  Add spinach and stir until wilted.  Add bacon and sweet potatoes back in and heat through to combine.

Makes 14 servings (¾ cup per serving, around 6 ounces).

Cals – 169, Fat – 7.7g, Carbs – 19.8g, Protein – 6g

This recipe turned out amazing, and was just what I was looking for!  Would be a great side dish for dinners as well as a nice addition to a morning meal.  I ended up packing up half of mine and freezing it for next week.  I scooping the rest out into pre portioned containers for easy grabs in the morning to bring into the office.

Hope you all enjoy!

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.