Monday, May 26, 2014

Sometimes Life Gets in the Way of your #daileysteps

If you follow me on Instagram or we are Fitbit friends, you know that I usually walk a lot. My goal is to walk at least 10,000 steps per day, but it’s often considerably more. Not so in the last week as life has been unusually busy with grading papers and getting ready for the older kid’s graduation party. To be honest, I could have gone for a long walk this morning, but I got buried in a good book, and then Andy and I watched Mad Men while the kid was still away at a sleepover.

I also ate a few too many treats over the last few days. As a result, I didn’t feel my best today. After another low step day, I went for an hour-long evening walk and feel a lot better after hitting the 10,000 step mark.

In the past, I felt guilty when I didn’t eat the way I should or didn’t move as much as I could have. But guilt is really a useless emotion. Now, instead of feeling guilty, I come up with an action plan for the coming week. Here is what I plan to do this week:

  • Walk at least 10,000 steps per day and at least 15,000 steps on three days
  • Start every day with a short yoga routine
  • Drink 32 ounces warm lemon water after yoga
  • Drink a big green smoothie every day
  • Eat a big salad with some protein each day
  • Take a break from chocolate 

Here are some photos from the older kid’s college graduation. We are so proud of him!

Chris Graduation 04

Questions: What was the highlight of your weekend? Definitely the older kid’s college graduation. Am I really old enough to have a kid that is “all grown up”…. What do you do when your eating and/or workouts/activity level aren’t what they should be? Any tips to get back on track?
Be well,

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Fig Banana Soft Serve, Meal Prep, and Two Hikes

It was quite hot here last week, and I continue to enjoy a nice banana soft serve quite regularly these days.

I usually buy two bunches of organic bananas at Costco. Once they are ripe (but not too ripe), I peel them and cut them into thin slices and put one sliced banana in each bag. I then freeze the bags. They are great for smoothies or banana soft serve.

I usually use my mini food processor to make banana soft serve as it’s so easy to clean. To not overtax the mini food processor, I let the frozen banana slices slightly defrost for about five minutes.

I have been reading about a new Trader Joe’s item for a while now – frozen green figs. I bought a bag a few weeks ago but then forgot about it. But the other day, I added two frozen figs to a green smoothie, and we all agreed that it was the best green smoothie ever. I also enjoyed a few slightly defrosted ones as a nice half-frozen treat.

Trader Joe's Frozen Figs

So then I thought, “why not add the figs to banana soft serve?” The figs are whole, so in order to not kill my mini food processor (which I have done before…), I defrost them for about 20 minutes. Then I cut them into quarters, and process them with the bananas.

Fig Banana Soft Serve with Pecans

2 servings

  • 2 frozen bananas, peeled and cut into thin slices before freezing, defrosted for about 5 minutes
  • 2 green frozen figs, defrosted for about 20 minutes, cut into quarters
  • Pecans, cut into small pieces
  1. Defrost figs for about 20 minutes and then cut into quarters.
  2. Defrost banana slices for 5 minutes.
  3. Process in a mini food processor until smooth. If you are using a Vitamix or another more powerful food processor, you don’t need to defrost the fruit.
  4. Top with small pecan pieces.
Fig Banana Soft Serve

The fig banana soft serve is a sweet treat with some texture from the figs. It’s a great dessert, and it’s even cleanse-friendly (minus the nuts). In case you are curious, the next Conscious Cleanse starts on June 7. I did my first Conscious Cleanse in January 2013 and discovered several food sensitivities, which helped me improve my quality of life a lot. Click here to read several post about my experiences doing the Conscious Cleanse as well as some post with recipes and meal ideas.

On Saturday, we went on a family hike. If you follow me on Instagram, you have probably already seen these photos.

Weekend hike

We had a low-key evening on Saturday – like pretty much every Saturday evening. The kid had a friend sleep over, and hubby and I were going to watch some recorded TV. I decided that I wanted to get a head start on my weekly meal prep and looked through the fridge and cupboards. I realized that I had all the ingredients to make a pot of bison chili. So after some cutting and sautéing the meat and veggies, the chili simmered by itself while we watched TV. It felt great to have several lunches and dinners for the week taken care of! Meal prep doesn’t have to be stressful; the key is to “sneak” in little prep sessions. 

Bison Chili

Making the chili on Saturday night was especially a good idea because friends invited us to go on another hike on Sunday, so there was less time for meal prep on Sunday. The hike was well worth it.

Questions: Do you like figs? I love figs and always splurge on some fresh ones when they are in season. But having the organic frozen figs around is awesome. Do you have any new (to you) food finds? Please share! What was the highlight of your weekend? I love that we went on two hikes this weekend. It felt great to be outdoors and get plenty of steps. 

Be well,

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Conscious Cleanse Friendly Beverages

When I did the Conscious Cleanse, a food-based cleanse, for the first time, I changed what I drink quite dramatically. Before the cleanse, I had to start every day with several cups of coffee, and I continued to drink several more cups during the day. I always liked water, but with all the coffee I was drinking I didn’t drink as much plain water as I should have. I also had a glass of wine many nights.

If you had told me before the cleanse that I would give up coffee completely, I would have laughed at you. Coffee had been part of my life for 25 years, and I *knew* I couldn’t give it up. Well, I was wrong. To be honest, giving up coffee during my first cleanse was the hardest thing I had done in a long time. I was so used to my coffee that I had severe withdrawal symptoms and was quite miserable for several days. But once I got over the withdrawal symptoms, I honestly didn’t miss it anymore, and I realized I didn’t need coffee to get me going in the morning.

I had read that warm lemon water would soon take the place of coffee and I would be looking forward to it. When I read it before the cleanse, I didn’t believe it, but that’s exactly what happened.

I know many enjoy a cup or two of coffee a day and it works for them. And there are even some health benefits. But I didn’t like being so dependent on coffee as I wouldn’t leave the house without some “emergency” instant coffee in my purse just in case I needed it…

Also, I realized that I didn’t need to drink a glass of wine so frequently. As I’m getting older, there isn’t that much room for extra calories, and I rather eat them than drink them.

Here is what I’m drinking during a “typical” day:
  • 32 ounces of warm lemon water to start the day
  • Green smoothie with lots of greens, usually made with 2 cups of water
  • Lots and lots of water, sometimes I add lemon or cucumber slices to make it more interesting – Jo and Jules, the founders of the cleanse, recommend you drink at least half your body weight in ounces, more if you exercise a lot or live in high altitude. This is in addition to the 32 ounces of warm lemon water in the morning.
  • Ginger tea – ginger slices steeped in hot water
  • Herbal teas

Once in a while I also bring out my juicer (not as often as I should) and make some green juice.

Since I’m not drinking coffee anymore, I don’t get the “crashing” feeling that I used to experience quite frequently. I also think my skin looks better because I’m drinking more water.

Changing what I drink was only one of the changes I made because of the Conscious Cleanse. The other “big ones” were gluten and eggs (because I can’t digest them) which I was able to determine after eliminating them during the cleanse and then reintroducing them one by one to determine their effects on me.

The next group Conscious Cleanse starts on June 7. There is lots of support via daily emails, a private Facebook group, and six live teleseminars, and support is essential when you are doing a cleanse, especially the first time. Here is more information about the Conscious Cleanse and the registration link. Early bird registration is happening through Sunday May 18. Use code EBCC614 to get $25 off.

Questions: With what beverage do you start the day? Do you drink enough water? Do you keep track of how much you drink? I started to keep track of how much water I drank when I did the Conscious Cleanse for the first time and tracked what I drank on my phone. Now I usually drink automatically enough. But when things get stressful I have noticed I tend to fall short, so I have to be especially mindful.

Be well,

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Tasty Banana Soft Serve and Finding a Way of Eating that’s Right for YOU

When it’s getting warmer, I enjoy a nice cold treat once in a while. Lately, I have been making banana soft serve with some twists. Here is a combo we have been enjoying a lot:

Creamy Banana Almond Butter Soft Serve

2 Servings

  • 1 frozen banana (cut the banana into thin slices before freezing it)
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 – 3 Tablespoons raw, creamy almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Stevia drops (optional)
  1. Process all ingredients in a food processor until the bananas are incorporated into the yogurt.
  2. Enjoy!
My Way of Eating

Recently, I have been getting quite a few comments and questions about the way I eat. I often get asked why I eat the way I eat. I tell people that my current way of eating has evolved over a long time.

While I have been focused on eating healthy for many years, I made major changes to the way I eat when I did the Conscious Cleanse for the first time in January 2013. After doing the cleanse, where I eliminated and then reintroduced numerous common allergens, I determined that I couldn’t digest wheat and eggs. So I eliminated them. I also got used to starting my day with warm lemon water and a green smoothie. Since the cleanse, I am also even more focused on eating greens and keeping added sugar to a minimum. I also keep an eye on my dairy consumptions, but I haven’t eliminated it completely.

Sometime in summer 2013, I came across the documentary Eat, Fast, and Live Longer by Michael Mosley about the numerous benefits of intermittent fasting. I had read about intermittent fasting before, and I was intrigued. Mosley discusses numerous ways of intermittent fasting. The way that worked for him was eating very few calories (about 600 calories; he recommends 500 calories for women) two days of the week, and the other five days he eats the way he has always eaten.

I tried the 5:2 way of eating, but it didn’t work very well for me as I didn’t like the very low calorie days. I also read numerous blog posts about intermittent fasting, and it is often suggested to not eat breakfast but start eating sometime around lunch time and finish eating around 7:00 p.m., thereby creating a smaller eating window. But not eating breakfast doesn’t work very well for me either.

What does work for me is eating breakfast around 6:00 a.m. and then eating a big lunch between 12:00 and 2:00 and then not eat for the rest of the day. That gives me an eating window of about six to eight hours, which works very well for me.

So here is what a typical day of eating looks like for me:

Breakfast (6:00 a.m.):
  • 32 ounces warm lemon water – I usually drink the water as soon as I get up, around 4:00 a.m.
  • 32 ounces green smoothie with lots of greens and a protein add-in like hemp seeds
Second breakfast (between 9:00 – 10:30 a.m.):
  • Raw veggies and hummus OR
  • Greek yogurt with veggies or dried fruit and various seeds OR
  • Cheese and almonds or walnuts OR 
  • Bircher muesli (a version of overnight oats) OR
  • Avocado cream and veggies OR
  • Leftover lunch from the day before (veggies & fish or meat, etc.)
Lunch (between 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.)
  • Large salad with spiced beans OR
  • Large salad with grilled salmon OR
  • Roasted veggies with sautéed ground bison OR
  • Lentil soup with lots of veggies OR
  • Vegetable soup with beans
After Lunch Treat
  • A small piece of dark chocolate OR
  • Banana soft serve OR
  • Fruit with almond butter
  • Various herbal teas
Once or twice a week, I eat an early dinner around 5:00 p.m. so that my body doesn’t get too used to only one eating window.

I’m not sharing my way of eating with you so that you can copy what I’m doing because chances are it won’t work for you. I am sharing the way I’m currently eating with you to let you know that you’ll often have to try out different things and see what will work for you. Chances are that you’ll have to adjust a particular way of eating. I get a lot of inspirations from Paleo blogs and books, but I don’t follow a Paleo lifestyle to a “T” (I’m eating some dairy and legumes, eat less meat, and eat several “veggies only” meals) but am adjusting it to fit my life and my body.

For me, the Conscious Cleanse is always a great way to see how different foods affect my body as each cleanse creates a clean slate. And when I’m re-introducing the foods that are off limits during the cleanse, I can really see how different foods make me feel. And things are always changing, and I know that I’ll have to adjust things as my body changes, and I’m getting older.

Questions: Do you have a favorite frozen, healthy treat?  How do you decide what you eat and what’s best for your body? Do you follow a particular food template? If so, what is it? How do you decide when it is time to adjust the way you are eating? 

Be well,