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

Hearts Full of Protein

I woke up this morning with a new sense of determination.  Went searching for my P90X DVD set.  Allas, P90X grew legs and walked away.  Gosh darnit!!  Up pops my P90X3 DVD set, almost like it was trying to save the day!  Okie Dokie then, its a sign… I’m going to do P90X3 for the next 90 days!  Add in a few runs here and there when the winter weather allows and hill runs come spring, along with staying on track nutritionally and I expect to see good things by the time I need to board a flight to Vegas in 89 days!

Because I’m focusing on eating super clean, and know that I like my treats, I decided to do a little creating of my own… Enter Cookie Dough Protein Hearts.

This recipe was adapted from this recipe from Fit Foodie Finds.  The recipe looked delicious as it is, but I didn’t have chocolate protein powder, just vanilla.  Looks like my decision was made for me!

Hearts Full of Protein

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  • 1 cup vanilla protein powder (I used EAS Vanilla Whey Protein)
  • 2 1/4 cup oat flour (I just ground up steel cut oats in my food processor)
  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup nut or seed butter (I used Sunbutter)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Directions

Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  The batter will be quite thick.  If it is too dry, add a tiny bit more milk.  Once combined, scoop and roll into balls, or add into a silicone mold like this one from Wilton.  Cover and put in freezer until frozen, pop out, and put into freezer safe bag.

Recipe makes approximately 24 servings of 2 tablespoon portions.

Approximate nutritional information: 122 cal/9 carb/4 fat/11 protein

Hope you all enjoy!

Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

Come on let’s go and play…  Don’t judge… I’m a mom of a three year old.  I know that movie word by word, gesture for gesture, note for note.  Sigh.  weather reportIt is pretty fitting for the weekend we are having here in Chicago.  It started snowing last night (rain into snow), and we woke up to about 6 inches of snow on the ground at 6:30 this morning.  As of this moment (1pm) we have about a foot of snow, and its still coming down.  Winds are expected to pick up later today and blizzard conditions will be beginning.  Guess we aren’t going anywhere for the Super Bowl.

I had planned on getting up and getting some lifting done down in my ladycave (roar – home gym), but decided to make my workout more fun.  My workout today consisted of shoveling the long sidewalk in the front of the house, along with about half the driveway, and the piles the plows left on the end of the driveway (of course they came around RIGHT as I was finishing the driveway so I had to do it twice…).  Doesn’t sound like a lot, but 10″ heavy snow… Woo – workout!!!  Wore my HRM to track my burn (more so because I was curious than concerned)… 521 calories burned in 74 minutes.  I’ll take it for round 1.  I got some playtime in there, too.  Meanwhile, D and Mini Me built the biggest snowman on the block, and with the donation from a sweet little girl down the block, we were able to give him a face and a tophat.  So sweet.

Who wouldn't sunbathe in this weather?  Note:  Chair is resting on top of the snow...

Biggest snowman on the block!!       Yeah!!!  Snow!!!

As disappointed as I am that we won’t be going anywhere tonight for the Super Bowl (gotta keep the family safe), it won’t stop me from preparing a snack or two for the big game!  During my brief stint with the Whole30, I was able to refocus some of my unhealthy eating habits, and make conscious decisions to snack smarter when I feel I “need” or just want a nibble of a snack.  I have been eying baked coconut chips for a few years now, and decided to order  a giant bag of coconut flakes from Amazon (found here), and planned on making good use of them.  I am a total sucker for the sweet and salty flavor combinations, so wanted to really nail that down.  And I did!  Total winner, and a super filling snack!

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Sweet and Salty Cinnamon Coconut Chips

Ingredients

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  • 3 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1.5T coconut oil, melted
  • 2.5T honey
  • 2.5t cinnamon
  • 2.5t sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Put coconut flakes in medium sized bowl. IMG_8064
  3. Whisk together melted coconut oil and honey; pour over coconut flakes.IMG_8063
  4. Pour cinnamon and sea salt over flakes and stir to combine all ingredients.          IMG_8061
  5. Pour flakes on a (preferably parchment lined) cookie sheet.  I love my gigantic cookie sheet – it’s sized for the shelf of my oven (found here).  IMG_8060
  6. Put flakes in the oven and STAY CLOSE!  Flakes will be done in about 6 minutes, and will continue to crisp when they are out of the oven.  I made the mistake of putting them in a little too long (don’t worry, I altered the timing here for you)… Whoops.

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Once cooled, enjoy!!!

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!