Saturday, December 28, 2013

Two Things that Changed My Life in 2013

In January 2013, I stumbled upon two things that changed my life for the better.

Fitbit Oct 9

The first one is my Fitbit. I got my Fitbit on January 7, and it has made a definite impact on how much I move. There is really no way of knowing how many more steps I walk each day because of my Fitbit since I know that I have been moving more from the minute I got it! My estimate is that I walk at least 3000 to 4000 more steps (1.5 - 2 miles) each day (if I’m right, that’s 1,095,000 to 1,460,000 more steps per year, or between about 547 and 730 miles!).

Because of my Fitbit, I’ve become really good at “sneaking in” steps. Since getting my Fitbit, I walk more at work, go for longer daily walks, and walk more with the kid and Andy (who both have their own Fitbits).

I learned to add in steps whenever I can, even if it’s just walking around for 5 to 10 minutes every hour while I’m grading big stacks of papers. It all adds up! And seeing the numbers right there on my Fitbit really motivates me.

Also in January 2013, I came across the Conscious Cleanse, and it has also changed my life for the better as it helped me determine my sensitivity to gluten and eggs. Gone are daily stomach discomfort and pain. I have also lost some weight and started numerous healthy habits because of the Conscious Cleanse (warm lemon water, green smoothies, lots of veggies, mindfulness, and much, much more).

If you want to try the Conscious Cleanse for yourself, the next cleanse starts on January 11, 2014. It’s a great way to start the year feeling your best and working on some lasting eating and living changes. Click here for more information and to register. 

Questions: What are some things that changed your life for the better in 2013? What changes do you want to make in 2014 to be healthier and/or happier? I will refocus my weight training routine and also start the day with a 5-minute meditation before my short morning workout.

Be well,

Saturday, December 21, 2013

All But Gluten

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Weston Bakeries who make All But Gluten products and asked if I’d like to try some of their products. Weston Bakeries is a Canadian company that will soon launch in the U.S.

I haven’t eaten gluten since I did the Conscious Cleanse in January. During the cleanse, I eliminated gluten and determined after reintroducing it that it caused severe stomach and other problems.

Since then, I simply cut gluten out of my diet but didn’t buy any gluten-free products. Lately, I experimented with nut flours and have been baking some grain-free and gluten-free breads and cookies. I’ll review some winners soon.

When I was contacted I decided it would be a good time to taste test some gluten-free products as it would be nice to have some convenient baked goods once in a while. Luckily, the All But Gluten products did not disappoint.

Here is what I was sent:

  • Sliced white loaf
  • Multi grain loaf
  • Cinnamon raisin loaf
  • Blueberry muffins
  • Coconut macaroons
  • Mini brownies
  • Chocolate chip cookies
Here is the overall winner: the coconut macaroons. We all very much enjoyed the taste and texture of these cookies. In fact, they were dangerously delicious and I had to make sure to stop at two!

I also very much enjoyed the mini brownies, but for the kid they were a bit too chocolaty. 

While the kid gave the chocolate chip cookies two thumbs up, I didn’t love the texture, but the flavor was good.

The kid loves blueberry muffins, and he and Andy fought over the last one!

While I normally wouldn’t eat white bread, the slice I had was delicious, and it’s a nice once-in-a-while special treat. Since we got a whole loaf, I froze most of the loaf for a later time.

The whole grain loaf was also delicious, and I really enjoyed the flax seeds and sunflower seeds in it.

Finally, the cinnamon raisin loaf was a nice, slightly sweet treat. I used some of it to make French toast, something I hadn’t had in over a year, and it was a nice special treat. 

Since doing the Conscious Cleanse, the majority of my diet is greens and unprocessed foods. The Conscious Cleanse has the 80/20 rule after the cleanse. That is, you should eat lots of greens and follow the Conscious Cleanse principles 80 percent of the time and eat other foods 20 percent of the time. That way, a healthy lifestyle is maintainable. The All But Gluten products are certainly a nice, convenient once-in-a-while treat, and I love that we can all enjoy them. 

Questions: What’s your favorite baked treat? Do you like bread? If so, what’s your favorite type? Do you follow an 80/20 or similar rule? 

Be Well,

[Disclaimer: I was sent the All But Gluten products for free but all opinions are my own. I was not compensated to write this review.]

Monday, December 16, 2013

CSA Box and Food Journaling

I’m really glad that I signed up for a CSA box again. Longtime readers will know that I used to get a CSA box for years but then stopped for a while due to some billing and other issues.

It’s always such a joy to open the box – it’s like receiving a present!

Here is what we got this week, and what I plan on doing with it:

  • Beets (gold & red) – I’ll roast them and add them to salads. The beet greens will go into beet greens smoothies. I love the 2 for 1 when you buy beets with the greens! Smile 
  • Romanesco cauliflower – I’ve never had this! And I would have probably not bought it, but I’m glad we’ll get to try it. Apparently, like broccoli and cauliflower, it can be eaten raw or cooked. I think I’ll steam it.
  • Fennel – Another item I wouldn’t have bought. I’ll roast it.
  • Carrotssnacks
  • Chardgreen smoothies
  • Spinach –  green smoothies – I love the variety of greens we’ll have in our smoothies this week!
  • Leekspotato/leek soup
  • Butternut squashroasted butternut squash soup
  • Fingerling sweet potatoes – I’ll roast them. Yes, I love roasted vegetables!

Food Journaling

The other day I was at Target with the kid, and I came across a pretty journal. I decided to pick it up as I had been thinking about food journaling again for a while. I think writing down everything I eat in a day is a good way to see if I truly eat as healthy as I think.

After journaling for a week, I noticed that I hadn’t had any fish! That’s something I’ll be working on for sure! Also, since it’s been unusually cold around here (for this area), we don’t have a green smoothie every morning. I need to be more conscious on those days to get enough greens the rest of the day since I’m not starting the day with a huge dose of greens.

I’m not too specific when it comes to writing down everything I eat. In other words, I don’t weigh or measure my food or calculate calories. I just write entries like “bowl of carrot soup” or “spinach with sautéed ground beef and mushrooms.” I’m at a happy weight at this point and what I’m eating is working, so there is no need to calculate calories, etc. However, several years ago, when I was losing weight, I kept a very precise food journal with calories, etc. I also used MyFitnessPal on my phone for a while, and it worked well.

Besides everything I eat, I also write down my daily steps as well as any other exercise I did. Finally, I finish with what I’m grateful for that day. That’s actually my favorite part of the journal. I always finish the day thinking about what I’m grateful for, but writing it actually down is very powerful.

Questions: Do you journal (any kind)? Do you have/ever had a food journal? Do you write down what you are grateful for on a regular basis? Are you a member of a CSA or have ever thought about joining one?

Be well,

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Curried Carrot Soup: A Conscious Cleanse Recipe

I love making and eating big pots of soup. Fall and winter is perfect for soups, but, honestly, I make and eat soup year round.

One of our favorite soups lately is a curried carrot soup. It’s a Conscious Cleanse recipe, and Jo and Jules, the founders of the Conscious Cleanse, have given me permission to share their recipe with you. It’s super easy yet very flavorful.

Curried Carrot Soup
from The Conscious Cleanse book, p. 254

Yield: 8 bowls

  • 3 TB coconut oil
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 8 medium carrots, peeled and sliced thin
  • 4 medium stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a medium saucepan over low heat, cook coconut oil and curry powder, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  2. Stir in carrots, celery, and yellow onions; toss to coat, and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in vegetable broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes or until vegetables are very tender.
  4. Allow to sit for 1 minute, and skim grease from top of soup.
  5. In a blender, working in batches of no more than 2 cups, puree soup.
  6. Return soup to the pot, and heat through.
  7. Season with lemon juice, sea salt, and black pepper, and serve.
  8. Refrigerate leftover soup in a glass container for 3 days.

This soup is great over brown or black rice or quinoa. Thanks Jo & Jules for letting me share the recipe!

Conscious Cleanse Thoughts
Andy and I did the pre-holiday Conscious Cleanse in November, and I am very glad we did. Since doing my first Conscious Cleanse in January, I have been incorporating quite a few things from the Conscious Cleanse program into my daily life, such as:
  • starting the day with 32 ounces of warm lemon water
  • having a big, green smoothie most days for breakfast
  • eating lots of veggies (even more than before I did the cleanse)
  • being mindful of when, how much, and why I eat
Friends sometimes ask me why I’m doing yet another cleanse when I am already eating so healthy. I tell them that doing the official cleanse is always a great way to fine tune things a bit further and to eat as clean as possible for a few weeks and thereby giving my body a “break.” It’s also a great time to recognize that I don’t need quite as much sugar and salt (condiments!) as I can get used to at times…

It’s also a great time to make some “me time” as self-care is an important aspect of the cleanse. It’s really about so much more than just food.

I’m very thankful that I changed my eating in January because of the Conscious Cleanse. I have lost some weight and feel great. Most of all, I’m truly thankful that my painful stomach issues are gone because the cleanse helped me confirm my sensitivity to gluten and eggs.

The November cleanse was Andy’s second cleanse, and this time around he noticed how gluten affects him a bit more. We took pictures before the cleanse and after the cleanse, and he is clearly a lot more puffy looking before (and after he added gluten back into his diet). He also gets flushed and tired after he eats gluten. His symptoms aren’t bad enough for him to completely eliminate gluten, but it’s good information to know.

The next Conscious Cleanse starts on January 11, 2014. It’s a great way to start the year off right and work on some lasting eating and living changes and make 2014 a great year. Registration for the January cleanse opens on Friday, December 6, 2013. Use code EBCC114 for $25 off registration valid through Sunday, December 15th. Click here to register.

Questions: Do you like soups? If so, do you eat them more in fall and winter, or do you eat them year-round like me? What is one eating/drinking habit you’d like to “clean up?”

Be well,