Small Changes Equal Big Results

Because it’s the new year, a lot of people are jumping on the health train. As a person who has been doing the healthy thing for a while now, I am always nitpicking at images of what to do and what not to do. There are all kinds of them floating around; the lists of things to cut out, the things to stop doing, the things to start doing. The problem I find with these lists is that they are a massive change for most. They are setting people up to fail. One of my favorite things to tell people is that “small changes equal big results.” You don’t have to change your entire diet to see results. You don’t have to give up EVERYTHING to see change. And you definitely don’t HAVE to take on an entire list of changes all at one time. Start small and start slow. In this post I am going to take the time to dissect a very popular post I’ve seen lately.

20180106_110440

No chips: I can get on board with this one as far as just cutting chips out completely. But if you are a chipaholic, I have a suggestion. Just change the type of chips you eat. Start looking at labels. Hold up a bag of Cheese Doritos next to a bag of organic corn chips and look at the difference. I don’t know exactly what’s in Doritos but I am pretty sure there is a ton of fake stuff, chemicals, and things you and I cannot pronounce. In a bag of organic corn chips there are usually 3 ingredients; corn, salt, and oil.

No potatoes: Another one that I don’t think is the hardest, but again, can just be modified. First, if you eat taters as a side for dinner, how about eating a smaller portion. Eat half a potato rather than a whole one. You could also change the toppings of your potato. You could opt for plain or just a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Instead of going for the loaded tater with butter, sour cream, and bacon, try adding some broccoli and a little sprinkle of cheese. Another suggestion, rather than having a potato as a side dish, only eat the potato with the broccoli on top. Changing your portion sizes will work wonders.

No Ice Cream: A lot of people eat dessert every single day. Stop that! You don’t need dessert every day. Save dessert for special occasions. And I don’t necessarily mean birthday parties, but maybe on a Friday or when you go on a date. Next, stop buying ice cream at the store. If you don’t have it in the house you won’t eat it. I cannot tell you how much that helps me. If I get into one of those moods where all I want to do is eat junk (yes, it happens to me too), it helps that I don’t have junk in the house to eat.  There is also the option to opt for healthier ice cream. One of our favorite frozen treats is frozen bananas, almond or peanut butter, and a splash of yogurt or almond milk, all blended. It isn’t the candy and sugar-filled ice cream you’d get a Baskin Robbins, but it will quench that urge for something sweet and cold.

No Fast Food: Again, just change where and what you’re eating. Stop eating fake meat at McDonalds. If McDonalds is the only thing you have time for, maybe eat one of those chicken wraps without the dressing. Don’t they have salads? Try one of those without the dressing too. But if you have other choices for fast food, opt for a healthier fast food. Chipotle is my absolute favorite. The portion sizes are ginormous, but you don’t have to eat the entire portion. At least if you do it’s something healthier than a quarter pounder, fries, and drink. Another fast option is a grocery store. Tons of them have salad bars or you can grab pieces of a meal from all over the store. One time in a pinch I grabbed a plastic container of mixed greens, a small thing of hummus, a fork, and an avocado. Boom! But if you do decide to cut out fast food, meal prep needs to be your new best friend. That way you don’t have to decide which fast food place to go to, you already have your lunch.

No Fried Food: I don’t really have a load of suggestions for this one. Maybe don’t eat fried food while you’re out. Here’s a good reason why…you’re french fries may be fried in the same oil as the fish sticks. And you have no idea how long that oil has been used and then reheated the next day. So if you’re going to eat something fried, eat it at home and use fresh oil. You can also opt to use a healthier oil like coconut oil. Most of the time the coconut smell and taste is not there so you don’t know you’re not eating the vegetable oil you’re used to.

No Chocolate: 2 words… Dark Chocolate. I know, I know, it doesn’t taste the same and you’re used to milk chocolate or the fake stuff they use in candy bars. Seriously, check labels with this too. Sometimes what you’re eating is chocolate “flavored” and doesn’t really have any chocolate in it. Try dark. Start with something that has a lower percentage of cacao, like 50% rather than 80%. I love the kind that has mint in it as well. What I notice about dark is that I can’t and don’t want to eat a ton of it. A little bite here and there is enough to satisfy the want. So you won’t eat the same amount you’d eat if you choose a Snickers bar.

No White Breads: I agree with this one. Most white breads have no nutritional value; they just taste good. Go for whole wheat or whole grain. There are even breads that have no flour in them at all. Those are the best kind. Just wholesome goodness. Also check labels with your bread. Try to find wheat bread that has no added sugar and has only a handful of ingredients rather than a long list.

No Soda or Juice: I’ll back the giving up soda 100%. I haven’t had soda in 4 years. Stop drinking that poison immediately. You do not need that shit in your body. Maybe instead of giving up both soda and juice, just give up soda. And instead of eliminating juice completely, only drink a glass with breakfast. Start drinking more water. That should really be the number one thing you decide to do. Add more water into your diet. Instead of soda and juice, drink water and tea. Even coffee is better than soda.

No Cakes, Donuts, Cookies, and Candy: I lumped all these together because they are all so similar. The biggest thing in this list is sugar. You don’t need the added sugar. But here’s the thing about this list again, sometimes these items are eaten on a daily basis. That’s where eating certain foods becomes a problem for health. Eating a piece of candy isn’t going to kill you. Eating a handful every time you pass by the candy jar is not a good thing. Eating a cookie won’t kill you. Having 3 with lunch and dinner isn’t great. Eating a donut on a Sunday morning is a fun treat. Eating one for breakfast every day is not good.

The common theme I see in this list is giving up sugar. Once you start reading labels, you will see that there is sugar in almost everything you eat. So I would say that instead of giving up everything on this list, and instead of giving up sugar all together, give up things with ADDED sugar. This means that natural sugars like what you find in fruit or juices and other foods is okay, but try not to eat the foods that add more sugar. Like in bread. When I started buying wheat bread I thought all wheat bread was created equally. Not the case. A decent amount of breads with the words “100% whole wheat” have added sugar. Why? Peanut butter is another one. Even the ones that claim to be the healthy kind still add sugar.

Even if you only take one thing away from this blog post, I hope it’s this… you do not have to give up everything to live a healthier life. You don’t have to give up everything to lose weight either. Just modify. Eat smaller portions. And make small changes. You can still eat the same types of food but with better ingredients. Stop eating fake stuff. Read labels. Make better choices one small step at a time. “Small changes equal big results.”

Advertisements

I ate Vegan and Survived! YTT Part 2

When I started getting more into yoga, I started to follow a lot of yogis on IG. I quickly noticed that a good number of them were vegan but I never understood why. I thought it was kind of like Crossfit and Paleo, they just go together. It sort of is that way but there is a little more to it. I didn’t understand it until I went to the ashram.

When I found out that I was going to be eating vegan for about a month during my yoga teaching training I was super excited. I’ve never gone that long without eating meat or dairy and I was very interested in what it would do for my body. I suffer from acne so I thought this would be an awesome test to see if that would change. I normally eat a LOT of chicken so I wondered what would happen if I stopped eating it. And then just in general, how would I feel?

The first 2 days I was gone I had terrible headaches. That was the detox period. After that, smooth sailing, easy peasy! The easiest part was that someone was cooking for me and I didn’t have a choice in what I was eating. But if I had to say anything negative, and believe me this isn’t even really negative but I figure I have to have a down with my ups, it would be that I didn’t have a choice, LOL! There were a handful of days that we had the same food and that just got a little boring. But I ate it, and I was never hungry, so really not so much negative, just something that wasn’t 100% positive.

The acne didn’t go away. Actually, it got worse. This could be for a couple of reasons. One, I was surrounded by women the entire time and that meant hormone disruption the entire time I was gone. That said, I was getting zits in places on my face I don’t usually get them, so I don’t think it was all hormonal. Two, it could have been detoxing, stuff coming out, but I don’t think it should have lasted the whole time I was gone. So I am going to say that dairy does not have an effect on my skin. I think it’s time to see a dermatologist.

When I would tell people I was going to eat vegan, the number one response was, “You’re going to lose weight.” I sure didn’t want to. But I was interested to see what would happen so I took some measurements before I left. The only thing to really note here is that the two weeks before I was at the ashram were go crazy eating weeks. I was in California, I went to Disneyland where they have the best churros ever, and I wasn’t eating as clean as I normally do. So I started out about 5-7 pounds heavier than normal. So when I got home from the ashram here’s what happened weight/size/feeling wise. I felt bigger. I felt bloated the whole time I was gone. My clothes (yoga pants) still fit for the most part, but you could see it in my face. I actually had a friend tell me she’s never seen my face that round before. I did lose weight though, sort of. I lost the extra weight I had gained prior to going but nothing more. I was eating fabulous food, but I was eating a SHIT LOAD of carbs. My body is not used to that. So I think that is where the “side effects” came from. When I got home and went back to eating less carbs, the weight in my face fell off! The same friend who saw me and said my face was round saw me only a week later and said I was back to usual. Other people who see me regularly said I didn’t look like I had lost weight but I looked more toned. That surprised me because I wasn’t exercising like I usually do.

So to sum up, I learned that my brand of acne is not from food, and I should continue eating minimal carbs so I don’t feel bloated. But other than that, vegan eating was awesome! Oh, and the part about yogis being vegan? It all comes back to Ahimsa, non-harming/non-violence, the first of the Yamas and Niyamas, aka Yoga Rules. To sum that up without going into great detail. don’t kill anything, which would include animals for your food. Pretty basic stuff.

You’re probably waiting for some photos. So here are a couple of my favorite meals!!

20170819_130730

On the left is a frittata made with chickpea flour. Soooooooooo effing delicious!! On the right is a 3-bean salad. Also major yum! But really, that frittata!

20170812_123430

I have absolutely no idea what is in that patty, but it tasted like a burger and was amazing!

20170804_121305

Quinoa stuffed zucchini! This is something I would normally do at home already so it was great!

 

20170817_120136

MEXICAN FOOD!!!! Beans and spanish quinoa! YASSSSSS!!!!!

20170815_175726

Something I NEVER thought I would eat…palm hearts and okra with green beans. Delicious! Just weird because it was very new.

The next photo is the thing we ate, in my opinion, too often. Mung beans in various forms. If I never eat this yellow bean again I will be okay. I get it, it’s quick and it can be mass produced for a large group, but it wasn’t my favorite.

20170807_174340

The day I rebelled and decided to eat whatever I wanted was day 21. It wasn’t because I missed meat, it wasn’t because I was craving meat or dairy, I was just wanting something different. And so breakfast at a diner was the way to go! And I did it right! Eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, toast, and pancakes. And I ate it all!!!!!

20170823_100250

Since being home, a couple things have happened. At first, I went back to eating like I normally did. Clean and healthy, meat, low carb. And I felt just fine. No adverse effects from adding meat back into my diet. But as of a little over a week ago, my family and I are now vegan/vegetarian. It wasn’t just the ashram that made us make the change, I will blog about all that separately, but living it for a month helped sway me for sure. #ChangeIsGood!

Cheese with Cheese and a Side of Cheese

The other day my husband posted a video (click it) to my Facebook page. There is a restaurant in NY that serves tacos in shells made of cheese. We are a family who loves cheese so this seemed right up our alley. I commented, “Why the f*** have we not done this before?” We decided to try this last weekend. I bought the ingredients (cheese) and went to work.

20161217_182510

Cheese in pan.

20161217_182858

Annnnndd it’s melting. And it’s getting greasy!

20161217_182922

Flipped it!

20161217_184319

And it became a shell. Time to fill it and eat it!

20161217_185625

Annnddd here’s my review…

I DON’T recommend this. I looooooovvveee cheese but this was too much.

In the video you see a lady pull the shell apart and it’s still stringy and melty. My first mistake was cooking the cheese too long. I think my second mistake was having too much time lapse between making the shell and filling and eating it. The shell hardened way too much as it sat there. And my third mistake was thinking that a cheese shell would taste like cheese and not a hard greasy weird shell. Fourth mistake was thinking this much cheese would be a good idea. My daughter took one bite and gave up. I took two bites and gave up. My husband muscled through it and finished his; good job, sweetie.

In conclusion, if I ever go to this restaurant where they have perfected this recipe, I will most definitely try it and probably love it. But I will not be trying to make these at home again. Good luck to anyone who does. I’d love to hear a good review of a homemade cheese shell.

Super Delicious Pumpkin Cookies

Have you ever eaten one of the pumpkin scones from Starbucks? They are soft and the frosting is amazeballs! This cookie is as close as you are going to get to making your own! And you can make them year-round, not just that one week during late September when they first start selling the PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte for the non-Starbucks peeps) and all the scones sell out so you have to be the first person in the door. Yeah, they’re that good!!

I came across this recipe because one of the times I was making a pumpkin pie I had left over pumpkin and I didn’t want it to go to waste. I am that person that only buys what I need when I need it for baking, so I also had to find a recipe that didn’t require baking powder (that one thing you either don’t have or you have an expired can) or some other “one-time use” ingredient. This one was perfect and the cookies are perfect so it worked out perfectly. 🙂 If you buy a large can of pumpkin that is enough for 2 pies, you will still have a bit left over after the cookies. It works out well.

Here’s what they look like right before they enter your mouth….

20161123_144755

I’m not going to list the ingredients and everything here because it would just be plagiarizing, but I will show you photos and give you a couple tips before I give you the website. Or you can scroll past all this and just get to the link. I won’t be mad. 😉

Tip 1: Follow the instructions. Easy right? Not for everyone.

20161123_141854

Tip 2: Cook them until you think they are not quite done. Does that make sense? I put mine in the oven for 10 minutes, look at them to make sure they’re still snuggled up on the baking sheet and didn’t run off, then I turn the timer on for 3 more minutes. When they come out they are still soft and almost look uncooked in the middle. And I immediately put them on a cooling rack so they don’t cook any longer.

20161123_143604

The buttercream recipe is pretty freaking fantastic too! So follow those directions too. But these cookies are also 100% delicious without the icing.

Tip 3: If you cook too many (we are a family of 3 and we also had brownies and pie the last time I cooked these so yes, there is such thing as too many cookies) you can totally freeze them for later. I just took some out of the freezer today and they were still amazeballs after defrosting. They didn’t get soggy or weird or anything.

Okay, here’s the link. Betty Crocker Pumpkin Cookies

Enjoy!!!!

Groceries and Stuff

I am doing this mainly for my Facebook support group, but I am sure that if you happened upon this for health and wellness reasons you won’t be disappointed. Stick around!!

My bff and I are always talking about food; what we ate for lunch, what’s for dinner, why she should throw away the margarine, you know, really important things. I told her that I should make her a grocery list. So that’s what this is.

I guess I should tell you first that over the years, my husband and I have gone back and forth and up and down in the health and weight department. We are both very active people but we both actively like to eat as well. Years ago we were eating low carb. It worked out great! We would always say, “It’s more of a lifestyle than a diet.” But then you start to add cookies back into the mix annnnnndddd we were eating carbs again. Somewhere along the lines we decided to just be “healthy”. So that meant eat whatever as long as it was healthy. I was running a lot and staying active so I would also eat cookies because I was totally going to run off those extra calories and then….we’re eating shit food again. Once we left Arizona, I think we left a lot of shit behind us. Living out here in the country, away from friends and family, gives us time to focus on what we really want out of life. We want to be happy, healthy, active people who teach our daughter about being happy, healthy and active and that there is so much more to life than the hustle and bustle of everyday crap. You know what? You can’t be all those things if you are eating shit food, putting chemicals into your body, and living the lazy life. So, we’ve made super changes and they have all been for the better.

This summer we started listening to a podcast called “Fat Burning Man.” The guy who hosts it is named Abel James and he wrote a book about this lifestyle called, “The Wild Diet.” It’s basically Paleo, which I am sure you all are familiar with, but in the book he also talks about what’s really in the food you are eating. We now base our eating on this style, eat as organic as possible, eat very low carb, and find foods that have good wholesome ingredients and less chemicals, hormones, and other things you can’t even pronounce. We still buy some things for us and our daughter that aren’t “healthy” because a) we’re human beings who can’t do everything 100% correct, b) we do what our budget can handle (one income and that’s a military income. My husband likes to say, “You don’t join the military to get rich.”) and c) my daughter is 8, picky, and I don’t want to force her to eat every single healthy thing on the menu and not be a kid. Basically, we eat tons of meat, green veggies, and eggs, and we drink water and tea. We limit our sugar and we eat REAL food. Now, on to the shopping lists!!

I am a list person. I have to write things down or I’ll forget them. And when it comes to food shopping, we shop at several different stores so I write things in separate little boxes for each different store. I usually have a box for Kroger where we do 80% of the food shopping, a box for Whole Paycheck where we buy a few select items and usually eat lunch while we’re there, a box for Sams Club for dog food and toilet paper, and a box for Walmart where we buy cotton balls and other household items.

One thing to also keep in mind is the low carb trick at the grocery store…only shop on the outer isles. Think about it. If you walked the outer rim of your favorite grocery store you’d go by the veggies, the meat, and the dairy. All the boxed, processed crap and carbs are in the middle of the store. Okay, let’s go shopping!!!

Whole Foods:
Peanut Butter. We buy their 365 brand that is peanuts with a pinch of salt only. No other ingredients. (pictured)
Heavy Cream. We don’t always buy this, but when we do, it’s for making our own butter. Heavy cream is different from heavy whipping cream because of the milk fat percentage. I can’t think right now but one has more.
Stevia sweetener. We don’t use it often, but it’s the most natural sweetener we can get.
Fish and Meat. If we want a super good piece of meat or really fresh tuna (we like to make poke) we buy meat here.
Deodorant and soap. For the past maybe 3 years, we have been using all natural deodorant. We used to use the salt stick stuff but now we use Jason’s, Tom’s, or Stink Bug. The soap we use, Dr. Bronner’s, could really be used for EVERYTHING in the house but we use it for our bodies and for the animals, sometimes the laundry. (pictured)

other stuff

Kroger:
This store has a really awesome selection of natural and/or organic products. Their own brand is called “Simple Truth” and it’s always no hormones and no additives. Again, based on budget, we don’t always choose organic, but we do strive for less fillers.
Veggies we always buy: broccoli, organic baby spinach, zucchini, yellow squash, spaghetti squash, brussels sprouts, onions. If we know we are wanting to make something specific we will buy other veggies but the ones I listed are always in the fridge. When cauliflower isn’t almost $5 a head that is also a staple. We don’t buy a ton of fruit but if we do, it’s what in season. For example, so much money is spent on cherries but only during summer.
In the health food section we buy
Cereal. My daughter is the only one who eats it and it’s the healthiest one we can find. (pictured)
Frozen bread. We buy the 7 grains organic that is made with grains only. No fake stuff and no sugar. (pictured)
Syrup. Plain ole maple syrup. If you’re going to eat something sweet it better be as natural as possible. No refined sugar. (pictured)
Eggs. We usually have the hookup when it comes to eggs. My husband works with a guy who has a farm and he is usually swimming in chicken and duck eggs. We normally get eggs from him but if we don’t, we buy super expensive, free range, grass fed, no extras eggs.
Granola bars. My daughter needs snacks at school so we buy her the Kashi bars or something similar. (pictured)
From the meat counter we get bacon. Lots of bacon!! We eat a ton of bacon and it’s always the freshest and thickest stuff from the butcher section rather than the packaged stuff. If we are feeling fishy, we’ll get fresh fish as well.
From the healthy meat section…
The same Simple Truth brand can be found in the meat department as well. Free range, grass fed, no extras chicken, beef and pork. We usually stock up on chicken breasts, thighs, whole chickens, ground beef, ground bison, and steaks. This is where all our money goes.
From the rest of the outer rim of the store:
Whole fat milk, orange juice, Gogurts (for the kid), cream cheese, cheese, real butter, ham, smoked salmon (for the kid to eat on bagels)
From the middle and the frozen section:
Tea. We drink a lot of tea. Bagels for the kid. Waffles for the kid. Frozen pizzas for the kid for “those days”. Packaged fruit cups for snacks, with fruit and fruit juice only, no sugar or extras. Cheezeits because if there is one thing my daughter and I love more than pizza it’s cheezeits. (Gotta have something you still love right?)

breakfast

snack other

And that is pretty much it. Looking at our fridge (pictured) you’ll see that most of the stuff we buy is perishable. This is good and bad. Bad because obviously, if we don’t eat it it goes bad. But good because we are forced to eat what we bought. That’s where that budget thing comes in again… we spent our money on it, we better eat it.

the fridge

On a typical day, our dinner is a meat and a veggie or salad. Lunches are leftovers, salads with leftovers, or eggs.

My typical salad. Spinach, hard boiled egg, cheese, croutons, leftover chicken, and hummus (Simple Truth organic) as dressing rather than Ranch (do you know most ranch dressings have MSG in them?).

lunch

My eggs are always ham, spinach, and cheese. In this photo I also had some bacon and salsa over the top. The salsa is the BOMB and it’s a salsa verde from Whole Foods.

eggs

For breakfast, I always eat one slice of toast with butter and peanut butter. I’m not a huge breakfast person but I love to drink tea in the morning and I can’t on an empty stomach. If I could, I would just drink tea and go until lunch, but I’ve tried and I’d rather eat something small than be nauseous all morning. Bleh. My daughter, who is 8, is adjusting to our improved healthy eating quite well. The only time she eats things we can’t control is at school, but I am super proud to say that she does eat the veggies given to her at school. She also chooses what days she wants to eat at school and she is making great choices. She always skips fried food days but loves the days they serve baked chicken and vegetable soup. I feel like we are winning in that department. Dinner time used to be a super struggle but now she knows that she has to eat what’s on her plate. I no longer give in and just give her cereal or a pbj.

And because you are probably thinking, “This is good and all but does it really work?” I will add this photo to prove it. The left picture is me September 8th, 2015, about a month after we got here to Virginia and decided to get our asses in gear. The right is December 8th. And if you read my most recent blog updating about me, you’ll know that I don’t run anymore. So all the inches, fat, and weight lost is from regular exercising and food choices.

me

Happy Shopping!!!

%d bloggers like this: