Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cucumber Salad with a Korean Twist & Food Journaling

Our cucumber plants are still going strong, and we have been enjoying lots of cucumber slices with hummus or just a little salt.

I very much enjoy Korean cucumber side dishes (Korean side dishes = banchan). I like them fresh as well as pickled/slightly fermented and decided to make a quick, fresh Korean-inspired cucumber salad. It’s very tasty and gets even better with age.

Cucumber Salad with a Korean Twist

  • 2 - 3 cucumbers
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar (I buy a brand that does not have added sugar; many rice vinegars have added sugar)
  • 3 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free soy sauce (I used Tamari)
  • 1/2-2 teaspoon(s) gochujang (Korean red pepper paste; 2 teaspoons will add quite a kick; also, gochujang does contain some sugar, so if you want little/no added sugar in the dish reduce the amount or leave it out and use some ground red pepper instead)
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  1. Cut the cucumbers in half, thinly slice them, and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Mix together the rice vinegar, sesame oil, Tamari, and gochuchang.
  3. Pour the dressing over the cucumbers and let them marinate for at least an hour, longer is even better.
  4. Enjoy!

Andy and I ate the cucumber salad with some smoked salmon mixed in, and it was delicious. The spicy salad dressing went really well with the salmon.

Back to Food Journaling

During the summer, I took a little break from food journaling, and I have realized that it is time to get back to it. While I enjoy lots of apps and online tools, when it comes to my food journal, I prefer an old-fashioned pen and a paper journal. I don’t use it to calculate calories or other stats but like to see overall trends in what and how much I eat. Just writing down everything I eat in a day as well as my daily steps and other workouts makes me more aware. It’s often very helpful to look back over the past few weeks and detect trends and then adjust things when necessary.

Questions: Do you like cucumbers? What’s your favorite way to eat them? Do you food journal? If so, what’s your favorite way to keep track of what you eat?

Be well,

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

What You Eat = How You Feel

The older I get, the more I make the connection between how I feel based on what I eat. When I was younger, I was aware of calories and the nutritional value in foods, and I tried to eat “pretty healthy.” However, I didn’t make as much of a connection between how what I ate made me feel and that there are overall healthy foods that do not work for my body.

I’ve always known that eating a big, fresh salad “felt good” and that when I ate other foods, for example bread or eggs, I didn’t feel so good. Yet, for some reason I didn’t investigate how individual foods made me feel until I did my first Conscious Cleanse almost two years ago. I also never considered not eating the foods that made me feel not so great. Why I didn’t even consider stop eating foods that made me feel bad is still a mystery to me today…

When I visited my family in July, I made some food choices that were not so good for me (even though I ate overall healthy foods with plenty of vegetables and just an occasional “treat food.”). I drank some coffee, wine, and ate a bit more sugar than usual. And those foods and beverages certainly had an effect on how I felt. Coffee makes me feel on edge and makes my natural tendency to worry worse. Wine contributes to mood swings and more often than not makes me feel somewhat “down” or sad the next day. Sugar, even “natural” sugar in fruits, makes me feel always hungry – a feeling I truly don’t like.

When I came back from my trip, I had some eggs, which my body can’t digest and was left with a tummy ache. Yet, I had eggs on more than one occasion. I also know that small amounts of gluten snuck into my diet. Gluten not only gives me a stomach ache but also contributes to “brain fog” and a general feeling of not being well.

It took me feeling really terrible to decide that it was time to truly clean things up again because not feeling as well as I can is just not an option. Plus, if I don’t feel well, I’m sure it’s not good for the insides of my body either.

So it’s back to warm lemon water, green smoothies, big, colorful salads, grilled fish, and grass-fed beef. Plus, there will be a bit of cheese. Feeling as good as possible sure tastes great!

Here is an example of a recent, simple, delicious lunch that left me feeling good: Portobello mushroom, spinach salad, and Caprese salad.

Feel Good Lunch

Questions: Do you actively investigate how what you eat makes you feel? Do you sometimes eat/drink things that don’t make you feel your best? Why or why not?
Be well,

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Vacation and Getting Back to “Normal”

The kid and I got to spend several precious weeks with my family in July, and we are very grateful that we got to see everyone.

While on vacation, I relaxed my “rules” a bit more than I had in the past when I was on vacation – I drank some wine most days, had coffee (decaf as well as regular a few times) almost every day, and didn’t follow my eating window very much. I didn’t go completely “overboard” and made sure to eat plenty of healthy foods, especially lots of veggies.

Here is some of the food I ate. Everything was delicious, and I loved that I didn’t have to cook. While I love to cook, it’s nice to get a break once in a while…

While I enjoyed all the food and “treats” while I was gone, when I came back I definitely noticed that I didn’t feel my best. My digestion was not what it should be, and I had very little energy (jetlag may have had something to do with that, too…). So for the past week or so, I have been trying to “reset” things. Warm lemon water, green smoothies, big salads, walking, and yoga have all helped. And I am feeling more like myself again.

While I’m pretty much back to “normal,” it wasn’t that easy, and I realized that a few weeks with a few too many treats have not only consequences but may be the beginning of “new habits” – habits which I now had to “unlearn” again. The key is definitely not to let those “new habits” stick…

Next time I am on a long vacation, I think I will try to stick to my “rules” a bit more (without being too strict). Not feeling my best just isn’t worth the indulgences… But, it’s also good to know that it is possible to reset everything by doing what I know works for my body.

Questions: What’s your vacation “strategy” when it comes to food? Do you go all out, indulge in moderation, or follow strict rules?
Be well,