Thursday, January 13, 2011

Two steps forward, one step back.

I posted over HERE yesterday, that I took a step back in my plan. A super hero I am not. And I am truly trying to make this a life style change in a more permanent fashion because I cannot tell you what that little cookie dough binge did to me yesterday after eating "raw" for about a week. It was not good. Not good at all.

It was then that I realized that this really is much better for your body, and even if you don't lose a TON of weight, it is definitely better in helping you curb cravings. . . (did you know, that eating sugar/butter makes you CRAVE more of it?) I mean, it is not rocket science. Anyone who has a love of sugar and butter like myself will tell you that eating some only makes you want more. HOWEVER, once you have it cleaned out of your system a bit. . it does really nasty things to you like it did to me yesterday. Oy.

Anywho. I posted a BUNCH of recipes on my food blog yesterday.(Not all of them are healthy!:) ONE of which is a recipe I cooked this week. ASIAN CHICKEN WRAPS . Again, I am mainly staying on this plan for breakfast and lunch, and at dinner, I am trying to make 'normal' family meals, but I am amping them up on the veggie side of things. Everyone but Kaylie at the Chicken wraps, and I added more mushrooms, cabbage and I added carrots to the recipe to amp up the veggies. It was great! Very yumo.

I also made a meatball recipe that I found in an Everyday Food Magazine. It is in the current issue, and it is called Sriracha Marinara and Meatballs. I deviated from the recipe quite a bit. Actually, I just made my standard spaghetti sauce that I make for my family (no recipe, just a bit of this and a bit of that) and I added a red bell pepper, zucchini, minced to my sauce to make it more veggie intense.

Then I made the meatballs, but the recipe called for 1 lb. ground pork, and 1 lb ground turkey. I was great with the turkey, but rather then get the pork I took a can of chick peas and ground them up in the food processor. Then, I added a piece of garlic, and instead of the bread crumbs for normal meatballs, I used some left over Quinoa that I had. The kids never knew the difference. Seriously.

So, here is the meatball recipe that I ended up putting together.

1 lb. Turkey
1 can chick peas
2 gloves garlic
1 cup cooked Quinoa
2 packages frozen spinach thawed and squeezed dry
2 large egg whites
3/4 tsp. oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Add chick peas, garlic and quinoa in a food processor and pulse into a meal. Add mixture to turkey and egg whites and spices and mix well. Form into balls, and broil until golden brown. 10 Minutes, rotating sheet halfway through.

There you go! Throw those meatballs in your sauce and you have spaghetti and meatballs for dinner! I have found a great whole wheat pasta at Costco that I use regularly for dinner, and I ate my sauce and meatballs over farro. (From Costco too!)

The recipe made tons of meatballs and so I am planning on roasting some veggies this afternoon and making a salad kinda like this one. Super delicious. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Menus Menus

The first thing we always want to know is. . .WHAT SHOULD I EAT??? That is always the hardest thing to figure out. Especially if this kind of thing is a big departure from what you normally eat. The internet is a huge source of help in this area, and I suggest taking it one day at a time.

Start with something comfortable. Like changing breakfast. I gave you a few suggestions here. Some of my favorite places for looking for recipes of this sort are on Martha Stewart. Even just typing in Quinoa, or Black Beans on her website will open up a myriad of ideas, and they are usually things that you can make without too much fuss. I tried a new recipe this morning with some Quinoa I had left over in my fridge. It was awesome!

Once you find a blog you like, you can find other resources as well. I love Cafe Johnsonia, and Fresh Clean Start. She has links to blogs she likes, and you can hop around from there. Don't have time to blog hop? Buy a vegetarian cookbook! I recently purchased Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone that was recommended by my other cookbook that I get each month in the mail, Everyday Food (a Martha Stewart Publication) but you can just pick one up in the grocery store if you want. They usually have them in the check out aisle. I plan on making vegetarian cooking part of my families dinner repitoire as well.

If you really want an easy idea of how to get started, please read this post by Celia Fae. She gives a great outline of what the diet is and how to get started quickly. I actually kinda hate calling it a Diet, but for right now, I don't know what else to call it.

As I mentioned, right now, I am doing the "plan" (how about that?) for breakfast and lunch. And then I modify my families dinner to include more veggies, or a big salad.

For lunch today I had a "flat out" wrap (whole wheat with flax seeds) with Hummus on it, piled (and I mean PILED) with black beans, cucumber, red bell pepper, mushrooms, farro (a wheat alternative that I had cooked and put left overs in the refrigerator-looks kinda like rice) avocado, spinach, and salsa. I put a small dab of sour cream on it and ate it up! It was awesome! It just tasted like a big old veggie burrito.

Just think of making your favorite sandwich at subway without the meat. Give that a try for starters! If I am in a hurry, I do a salad (because I can throw one together pretty quick). Celia says she doesn't eat salad hardly at all because she feels like she is depriving herself, so, she has veggie chili on hand all the time. I am planning on making a red bean chili and adding some lentils to it to store in my fridge for next week. The options on that are endless. You can just heat it up and eat it, or you can put it on a wrap and eat it like a burrito or throw it on top of a salad, hot or cold.

When it comes right down to it. You have to start thinking outside of the box. Good luck! And if you try it, let me know! I would love to hear what you are making and what you like!

Update: Last night my husband and I went to our weekly dinner and a movie. We went to Outback where I did have a steak (see? I haven't gone completely vegetarian!) But I ordered veggies instead of the potato. My husband CANNOT go to a movie without popcorn, candy and sodas. I had him get me a small bag of my favs at Fuzzywigs, and I got the popcorn and sodas. I totally expected to lose it upon tasting the popcorn and wanting to eat the whole salty bag, and sucking down that soda like crazy. I had a handful, and nothing. . . I mean, I had another handful, but I didn't crave that salt like I normally do, and didn't even have to eat anymore. And I only drank 1/2 my soda. Another miracle. Seriously. I do think this kind of eating changes your cravings, and body composition so that you don't have those cravings as bad. Skeptical? Try it! So far, 7lbs lost.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

6 week challenge

Last Monday (I think I actually started on Tuesday) I started a 6 week challenge with some Facebook friends. Holly decided we all needed a little kick in the rear to get back into the groove with taking care of our bodies. She has a 6 month(?) old baby, and I have a 2 year old. Hey, it is still baby weight okay?!?!

I was excited to get on board because to be honest. I need a little motivation. A little competition. It always works best for me.

I couldn't figure out why I was so UN-motivated to lose my baby weight. I had lost 10 lbs of it over last spring, but quickly put it back on during the summer months when I was on the road for 3 weeks, and came back to 115 degree weather. That kind of weather will really stunt the desire for exercise. That is for sure.

I did figure out that my major motivation for losing the baby weight in the past was so that I wasn't compounding my weight through each pregnancy. I always wanted to get back to point B, before I was pregnant so that it wouldn't turn into point C, and that wouldn't turn into point D and so forth. It was pretty good motivation, until we has determined that we had had our last baby.

So, I took the 6 week challenge. Nothing extreme. Just good old fashioned doin' it.

Here is the just of it.

No treats (I did it last year for a month as well)
No eating past 7:30
7 hours a sleep at night
NO overeating (no second helpings)
1 hour of exercise 6 times a week
8 8 oz glasses of water a day

I had been doing it for just a day or two, when I decided that I was going to look into the book Eat to Live. I read up, and adjusted just my breakfast and lunch, and altered my dinners like I had mentioned before. Not only that, Dr. Furhman, the author of the book gives you his blessing to EAT AS MUCH AS YOU WANT. As long as it is a veggie or a fruit. You heard me . . .Holly, I am EATING AS MUCH AS I DANG WELL WANT TO. I am so glad I did. Because for the first time in my life, I am not really struggling with losing weight. It is coming off, and coming off quickly, AND I don't have the cravings that I usually have. And isn't that what we ALL hate about dieting? Denying the stuff that our bodies WANT?

Well, think of this?

What if . . .

You didn't crave it.

Just a thought.

Because I don't.

And that is pretty much a miracle, since I have lived on a serving or two of cookie dough at least a few times a week. Not to say that I wouldn't LOVE to shove some cookie dough in my mouth, but it is a whole heck of a lot easier when aren't craving it!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Do as I'm Doing

My husband asked me a great question today. He said, "So, I read Cjanes blog post about dieting. . . and here you are. . . going on a diet. How does that make sense?" All I could say, is that. . . what I am doing is NOT a diet. It is a lifestyle change.

Plain and simple.

I actually started doing "changes" to our families' diet back when Jaxon had to go GFCF. I have never really used pre-packaged or processed foods when I made dinner, but I didn't always pay attention to the nutrition quality of either. If I wanted to make something creamy, I made something creamy. . . it was always homemade and delicious, but not necessarily healthy.

I started making the transition with breakfast, which I think is the easiest way to go. Kids love pancakes and waffles, why not just make them healthier? Sure they try to slather it in syrup. My hope is that I can get them enough nutrients in what they are eating to counter the syrup. Rather than serving up some Bisquick . . . and THEN slathering syrup on it! I started to make the Whole Wheat Oatmeal pancakes a couple of years ago. They were met with VERY little resistance. And I like them because I can have the mix in my refrigerator ready to go, making it just as easy and convenient as a pancake mix. Just add milk, and eggs and you are good to go. Making the pancakes with Buttermilk, or some milk and low fat some sour cream make them extra light, fully and delicious. I have started to keep buttermilk in my refrigerator at all times now.

My kids have adjusted so well to that change that when I put two new recipes on the table this week, they were JUST FINE, and didn't even blink.

The first was Quinoa Cakes from one of my favorite cookbooks, Everyday food. You can buy one at the grocery store next time you go. They come out with a new one almost every month, and it only costs a couple of bucks.
Does this look like super food to you? It is.

Quinoa is a "super food" like blueberries. It is packed with things that are good for you. I made up some Quinoa the night before because it does take some preparation, like rice, but made pancakes in just a few minutes this morning. Give it a try. My kids didn't even blink an eye. Let's face it. Kids are just happy if they are getting pancakes in the morning.

The other recipe I went with this week was Blender Waffles. This one was great, but I HIGHLY recommend letting the batter sit for 5-10 minutes before cooking. The batter thickened, and cooked much better when I was serving up my last few waffles. I liked them a little thicker! :) The great thing with batters and breads is that you can throw in things like Flax Seed for additional nutrition and it goes completely unnoticed by everyone. I made whole wheat pizza dough for dinner tonight, and threw a few heaping tablespoons of ground flax seed from my freezer. (It needs to be milled fresh, or be frozen) And voila, they ate something good for them and didn't even notice.

Jessica asked me on my last post if I am going Nutritarian. I had to Google it, because I have NO IDEA. Turns out, it is the term for the book the Celia Fae is using for her diet plan. I hadn't actually read the book yet. I had just looked at what she is doing, and thought about it. I am doing a "CHALLENGE" with some facebook friends for 6 weeks, and decided to incorporate the Eat to Live methods into it (What Celia is doing). In order to be a Nutritarian, I would have to become a full vegetarian. Something that I don't think I will do completely. But I CAN tell you, that I eat that way for breakfast and lunch, and I am amazed at my lack of cravings including diet soda, sugar, and fats. It is amazing.

For dinner, I made my regular dinners. . . last night, Cashew Chicken. I amped up the veggies in the regular recipe, and doubled my veggies when I ate my dinner. I also ate mine over Farro, which is an alternate wheat product with tons of protein and fiber. And, it tasted just like brown rice to me, which is another great alternative. My kids ate it with white rice. . . baby steps.

Tonight, I made pizza. I used my regular old pizza dough recipe except I made it with whole wheat flour, and threw in some flax seed for good measure. I made a small pizza for myself with spinach, broccoli, olives, artichoke hearts and small amount of feta. It was fantastic. I made my kids side with spinach (put it on the bottom!) turkey pepperoni, and pineapple. Very healthy, and they loved it! Honestly, with just a few adjustments to your cooking, you can make it VERY healthy.

With that said, I HAVE bought a few vegetarian cookbooks, and I am planning on going veggie for dinner a few nights a week too. I will let you know what my family likes! :0

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Something to Try

I have been reading The Enlightened Homemaker for at least 3 years now. Since our move to AZ. I relied on her HEAVILY with my introduction to the world of Autism here in AZ. I was inspired by her ability to care for the needs of her family in such and essential way. She is like a health food GURU.

Her wealth of knowledge is completely inspiring/amazing. I would never profess to know as much as she knows, and that is why I read her blog. Kinda like cliff notes. She does all the research, I get all the benefits.

Now, trust me when I say that her blog will change your life forever, so, if you visit, be careful. She is persuasive and radical. But I know that all the changes I implement because of her are for the better. Not to say that I do them all, because I don't. But we all really really should.

She is the queen of GLUTEN FREE, and I depended on her heavily when I was doing the GFCF diet with Jaxon. We did not get the results that we wanted from the diet, but I still use some of the tips and tricks I learned from when I was doing the diet with Jaxon that I feel brought a stronger sense of "healthy" into our home.

She posted this today about a yummy breakfast idea. I am trying to move away from cold cereal for my kids because of the sugar content. Yep. See, I told ya. . . RADICAL. We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day (no, it is NOT a wives tale) and I feel like if I can do ONE thing to help Jaxon focus for the day, that is it. Feed him well before I send him to school.

I do scrambled eggs one day and home made whole wheat toast one day. Whole wheat Oatmeal Pancakes another day, and I think I am going to be trying THIS recipe tomorrow. Just take a look. Who doesn't like PIE for breakfast.

Baked Apple Wedges

The Beginning

I know, it seems nuts. But I have thoughts running through my head all of the time, and I just can't seem to keep them out! This might be a stream of consciousness, so beware.

I was inspired today by a blog post at Cjane. It was beautiful. And it embodied so many of the thoughts that I have in my head. I have believed this kind of thinking for a long time, and was able to embrace it at a young age.

I am Big/Tall.

My entire life, I have been 6'2" tall. Okay, not for my entire life, but since I was 15. And honestly, for my entire life, I have been larger than my group of friends. I have never fit into the standard mold. Even at my smallest as a teenager, I wore a size 12, and I was SKINNY! But because of my body size, I could not fit into anything smaller. When I got married, I wore a size 16 dress, and I looked HOT BABY. But most people would have never guessed that was a size 16. I am definitely not that size now. For sure. I never felt pressure to "fit the mold" because I was never going to. Ever. I was 6'2". I was always going to feel "larger" than my friends and so, I was okay with it. I always have been. I have never felt the pressure some people do to look a certain way, or be a certain size. I am grateful for that. I hope I can teach it to my girls, but in this world, there are so many images that are different. That set some kind of expectation.

I like to cook.

But not only do I like to cook. I love feeding my family. I love knowing that what I made them for dinner not only filled their tummy's, but NOURISHED them. It is important to me. I have not gone all "organic" but I have tried to make improvements and adjustments to help them along the way. I have even gone so far as to pureeing veggies and legumes into their food. However, I found it time consuming and not always fun. But I do think it is a great way to sneak in Veggies if you don't get enough. Not long ago on my other blog, I tried to express how it feels when I get to feed someone. I love it. I love food. I love cooking it, making it, baking it and eating it. I wouldn't say that my love of food is unhealthy, but I would say that baking is my form of stress relief, and consequently, when I am stressed out, my body shows it.

I have a child with Autism.

In the world of Autism, there are people who are very concerned with nutrition. I am too. Many of them are more dedicated that I am at feeding their families good food, and worry much about chemicals, and processes and all sorts of things that quite frankly could make me build a greenhouse and shack up for the rest of my life in there. I have to be careful when I absorb that kind of info because sometimes it can be alarmist. And although I think it is VERY important, I also have to find a way to work it into my life for ME.

I would like to loose some of that stress weight.

I have been reading another blog call Ground Hogs Day with Celia Fae for at least 5 years now. I think. I have watched her on her blog as pounds have just melted off her body. It is completely inspiring. COMPLETELY. She has pretty much turned vegetarian. Something I don't think I could EVER do. Not completely anyway. And not something I really WANT to do. However, I am completely intrigued by her claims of loving it and feeling so "healthy" and my total reliance upon protein to satiate my hunger when I am watching what I eat. I decided to do it the other day. I had a green smoothie for breakfast and one whole wheat oatmeal pancake. I had a salad for lunch, packed with veggies (no protein- except for a few nuts) and you know what? I was fine. TOTALLY FINE. And you want to know the OTHER crazy thing? I wasn't hungry. AND, when I went out to the garage at 9 at night to get some milk from the spare, I saw my Diet Dr. Peppers sitting there and it occurred to me that I didn't have ONE. NOT ONE. And I didn't even think about it NOR did I ever have a craving for one, or a headache. I was stunned.

So, this is my new spot. I hope you will join me, because I would really like this to be interactive. I would love to know what you do, and how you do it, and what you like. I already have about 5 posts lined up in my head, and I can't wait to share them with you.

Join me, will you?