I know I have been gone from WordPress for a very long time.
I have been updating several times daily on Twitter and Instagram:
Photos and thoughts on nature and food mostly, in many different aspects.
I’ve found myself in this transitional phase of life where this blog hasn’t been my priority. Things are going well and I’m quickly finding a rhythm of life and dealing with my food addictions and depression. Mostly, I’ve finally been able to spend a lot of time outside and I’ve been doing a lot of reading and writing, which is also fantastic for my mental health.
I have starting to find my niche in a community of people, both via the internet and in person, that I can relate to and that my end goals in life, and even in what I want to accomplish daily, seem to resonate the same. People with a passion for clean eating (whether that be vegan or not), respecting the earth, appreciating nature, and living simply. So, beginning July 1, I am giving up my apartment and going on the road. Between camping and couch-surfing, I plan to spend 3 months traveling New England. I will use this time to further my education in the things I am passionate about. I feel like I have 20 years to catch up on, as many of the things that I am passionate about now were not necessarily things that were accessible or instilled in me growing up. I don’t mean values, because my parents did a fantastic job at that. I mean, learning about the woods, plant life, growing and sustaining food, etc. There is so much more that I want to know, and while I have this opportunity to do so, I feel eager to get on the road and connect with nature and clear my head before I finally delve into something else (a job, what have you.) I do plan to see how I can make a living by repurposing trash furniture and items that are found free on Craigslist, and also, clothing at Saver’s. I used to make cute deconstructed t-shirts, dresses, and skirts from oversized used T’s. I am going to learn to do these things. This summer is going to be great. But I probably won’t update this blog very often, since I’ll be mostly living outside. I do have a SmartPhone so I can update Instagram and Twitter very easily.
So follow me on there, and follow my adventures and occasional rantings. 🙂
I’ll leave you with some photos from my most recent camping trip at Wompatuck State Park in Hingham, MA.
I hope everyone takes care and has a fantastic and safe summer. ❤
(Sorry that this is kind of a ‘messy’ entry… I started writing a few days ago and never finished, so I started rushing through the end to get this posted and move on. It’s just a part of me reorganizing myself.)
Well, then, where has the past week gone? Time is flying by incredibly quickly. I’ll admit that the past week has held its share of challenges for me, and I have had some tougher days. Tuesday through Friday were good days, and I worked on continuing to enjoy the weather. I find that a fantastic motivator to eat well and be active, but then I do find I don’t spend enough time working on the blog and cookbook research. I need to find the balance between the two and then I’ll be good. After all, on the sunny days last week, I was just spending 5-6 hours a day walking. Oops!
My Vibram FiveFingers from last year have finally had it. I have walked hundreds of miles in them…. Honestly maybe even over a thousand. I did a lot of hiking last summer in these ones as well as my commuting. They are just fantastic. I ordered a new pair, and decided to go with the cuter, more feminine mary-jane style instead of the clunkier more athletic ones. Thanks to REI membership… I had 20% off, plus it was free shipping, plus I had dividends so they were only like $50 down from $100ish. But, I hated the style when it came in. It reminds me of pool floaties and may be just fine and as durable, but I think that for the type of walking I do, the closed-in style is better. So I got these ones:
I was a little iffy on the coral color, but now as I relook at them… I’m excited! These are actually pretty awesome. And I’m even more (extremely) excited for the feel of a new pair that’s more sturdy and fresh. Like I said, the ones I have have been through a lot, both on city streets and in the woods. They’ve been in rivers and on rocks. And the walking that I’ve done this year so far has led to nothing but huge painful blisters on the BOTTOM of my feet. Not calluses, but water filled blisters in the bend of my toes where my toes meet my foot (the armpit of your toes, if you will.) I think it’s because of the way I walk that it only happened on my right foot… I think I mentioned before that I have a numbness/tightness to the outside of my right thigh. Well, recently, after switching between the Vibrams and a regular pair of sneakers, I noticed that when wearing regular shoes, I walk on the outside of my foot. Only on the right side. The muscle in my thigh is less engaged which causes my leg to bow out, just a bit. So when in the Vibrams, the stride is corrected and all the right muscles are engaged. This is why that muscle was so sore after walking. I just need to get it stronger. (At least this is all just my deductive reasoning anyway. I recently decided that I’m perfectly tuned in with my body and mind. I do a great job of reading when something changes and what’s different. The only problem is that I’m like, watching the Spanish channel because even though I see the picture, I can’t understand any of it! So now, I’m working on figuring out the “why” behind the way my body … and especially, my mind… work. I think if I know the “why” it can help me understand how easy it is to be in control of it.)
I did okay with food the past week, I really only feel like I overate on Saturday. And even then, it was probably about 25% of the food that my “binge” would have been in the past. Although, throughout the week, I didn’t eat quite as healthy as I would have liked. I did end up getting food on the go a few times. I have to do a bit better planning next week. I’m realizing in the past that I just have no idea how to shop to feed one. I mean, I do, obviously. But I get so stressed out after getting food on the go for a few days and wasting calories, nutrition, and money $$$, I clear out the fridge and go back and stock up! What I need to do, cooking just for myself, is take one to two days at a time and respond to what’s on sale and what’s already at home. Plan just a couple meals at a time. Because then if things do change, much less will go to waste. Its fairly obvious. Especially since the market is only 3/4 mile walk away. And besides, if I’m only planning for a day or two, it’ll be so much easier to carry home while climbing up that hill. 🙂
I did get plenty of exercise in the past week. I did a ton of walking. I think I’m ready to move up to a morning jog/walk combination and then a longer walk in the afternoon. I didn’t do enough yoga though and I am feeling stiff as hell to be quite honest. I think tonight I will spend just slowly stretching out the kinks. It’s a bit windy to wander around town and I’m taking the day to catch up mentally to where I should be with work.
There were a few days that weren’t so good either though… I’ve been dealing with some things that have thrown me for a bit of a loop, and found myself overwhelmed, panicking, and slipping off track in a lot of different ways. Food, alcohol, emotions… I actually smoked cigarettes too. Awful! I’m not a smoker, or was I ever really considered one, but I’ll have a cigarette every now and again socially. I got the American Spirit Organic Mellow… and even those are a little harsh, ha. I think I got that out of my system though, I don’t know what came over me.
Anyway, at this point, the most important thing I’m trying to do is get a firm dig on my heels into the earth so I don’t slip any further. It’s taking a lot of effort. I wish it didn’t have to always be this hard. But at least I’m finding and using my tools. I dipped pretty low Sunday through Tuesday, but now I’m getting back on track. I find that even though I’m moving at a snail’s speed in rebuilding myself to functioning again, I think I’m doing it in a very healthy way. It’s the same as with weight loss. Slow and steady for permanent healthy change. I think I might actually be ready to sit down and accomplish some serious stuff next week in the way of my self-education and really getting started with Sprout Out Loud. It’s so embarrassing that it has taken me six months since stepping down from my full-time job to get to this place. But it’s done, so now, I just move forward positively.
Today I have been working on reorganizing and regrouping myself, putting a plan in place to really tackle stuff next week. I’m trying to regrasp some of the motivation and organization I used to have when I worked the busiest job ever as a marketing manager and I used to somehow cram 14 hours a day of work into 8 hours. One big thing I did was have several lists going at all times so I could just squeeze in and accomplish things on those lists. I would also set time limits for certain projects or map out my day on how long I should put towards each one. One big thing I need to do is work on my obsessive compulsive tendencies when it comes to cleaning. Some days, I spend 4 hours cleaning before I can even get started on my work, and it’s not necessary! A few minutes each day and then a weekly detailed cleaning is plenty. Balance – isn’t that the absolute bottom line?
I’m also going to be changing my approach to blogging. Currently, I’ve been going for more of a timeline kind of thing, but that’s not what I’m really trying to accomplish… what I’ve ended up doing is having days where there’s nothing really enough to constitute an entry, but then I don’t write at all. Instead, I’m going to start writing on specific topics and making sure something gets posted every day as I begin to expand my mind and really through myself into the work on sprouting and the work on myself. I think this will help reinforce the knowledge and growth and it will make for a better and more interesting (and more consistently updated!) blog.
My focus moving forward will be on living foods (sprouted, raw, etc). I should be clear that as I am working on this blog and these recipes, that I’m doing everything from scratch (almost). I have general understanding but I’m looking to delve much deeper into the benefits on a physiological level, mental connection with food, and most importantly to me – how to keep up this lifestyle while sticking to some kind of a budget. I am ridiculously terrible at budgeting, and when it comes to food expenses, I’ve far from nailed it down as I mentioned earlier. So while I delve deeper, I’m also going to be looking for ways to save money. And lots of meal planning!
I’m just going to end this entry with a few photos…. Cut ties and move on and start fresh with this on Monday!
Picnic table in my backyard, with purple wisteria vine canopy!! This has smelled so good over the past week and the cute bumblebees have been super aflutter.
The archway into the second half of the backyard.
My cinderblock raised veggie garden… I have okra, spinach, broccoli, carrots, radishes, chard, beans, and cucumbers attempting to grow. I got kind of a late start in planting, but not too bad. As of this morning (1 week after planting), I’ve got a few radish sprouts peeking through! I’m going to give it a couple weeks and if nothing really takes, I might just work on growing flowers this year instead. Even if they’re edible flowers and herbs only, I hear those are easier to grow and I’m a first-timer. It was nice to see the sunlight exposure this area was getting though.
I found this other spot to sit in in my backyard near this cinderblock garden that’s very comfortable, secluded, and gets great sunlight. It’s also blocked from most of the wind so I have a feeling I’ll set up camp sometimes out here during the day for reading and meditating. 🙂
Fiddleheads at Borderlands State Park in Easton, MA! I did the disc golf course in completion with my friend Hal last Friday. It was beautiful and sunny and a great workout to hike through the woods for a few hours. There were beautiful wild fiddlehead ferns growing everywhere, which is making me hungry to eat some!
Wow, so the past week came and went and I haven’t even been on here to post and say what’s going on with life. Especially after I just stated my commitment to it! Gah! But now I’m back, and the past week has been good in a lot of ways. I’ve spent some time hanging with some good friends, worked on some sprouting stuff (a separate post later), got some good recipes tested (included in this post), gotten good exercise, and started gaining serious motivation. So, I’ve just been working on myself. Now it’s time to catch up here and record the ups and downs of the past week to continue moving forward.
I’ll just recap my week with whatever I can remember according to the photos I took…
This was a big meal for dinner, I know. It was last Monday, after my crazy productive/busy day and I went without eating the whole day. So I loaded up for dinner. I prepared the tofu just with some Bragg’s, rice vinegar, and garlic, then pan grilled it. The veggies were just sauteed with some herbs and butter. The soup was made from potatoes and other veggies that I had boiled during my juice fast and then froze. I defrosted them, added some fresh parsley and almond milk, and then blended in the Vitamix to make soup.
The wrap: grilled sprouted tofu wrap with heirloom tomatoes, spinach, and hummus.
On the side: sauteed shiitake and zucchini.
In the bowl: homemade cream of potato soup.
I’m regretful that I don’t have photos of the process just to illuminate the description but it’s very very easy to make homemade broth AND cream of veggie soup at the same time, reusing the ingredients for the broth for the soup. For the quantity you make of both things, you bet you’ll be saving money. And both of these are typically high sodium items in the market, and in this recipe, there’s NO salt added. Yay! You can store both of these items in the fridge for 3-4 days and they also can be packaged into individual serving sizes and frozen to extend shelf life.
When making the soup, you will need a Vitamix or other blender (an immersion blender would work well too.) This will fill the Vitamix pretty much to the top, or as safely as you want to get to the top. Feel free to split into two batches for a smaller blender or to avoid creamy soup explosions. 🙂
Homemade vegetable broth and cream of potato soup (made with one set of ingredients)
- 2 russet potatoes
- 1 yellow onions
- 2 1/2 cups broccoli
- 3 carrots
- 4 stalks celery
- 1/2-1 Tbsp fresh minced garlic (to taste)
- handful of chopped fresh herbs of choice
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
Part One: Vegetable broth
- Chop vegetables. Add to pot and cover with filtered water. Add enough water so there is approximately 2″ of water above the veggie line.
- Bring to a boil, stirring often.
- Lower to a simmer, cover. Allow to simmer for 90 minutes, stirring occassionally.
- Remove from heat. Let cool completely. (To speed up cooling time, I would stop by the stove every few minutes between doing other things and give the broth a good stir to release heat.)
- Once cool, strain broth away from vegetables. Save veggies!
Part Two: Cream of potato soup
- Combine vegetables and almond milk in blender or large pot, if using immersion blender.
- Blend on low to medium speed until mostly smooth with some small lumps.
Tuesday, I worked on my sprouting setup because my new half gallon mason jars came in. I love them! Jars are my lifeline now in the kitchen, for drinking out of and for food storage. I got this little crate from Benny’s and rigged it with some duct tape tied to create a “ridge” for the lip of the jar to rest on so it wouldn’t slide. It fits 3 of the half-gallon sizes on bottom and 4 of the regular quart size jars on top. I put a thin towel underneath to collect water drainage. A pan or something else would work nicely too. You wouldn’t want a fluffy towel to prevent air flow to the opening of the lids on the bottom level.
This picture still has some of the sprouts in the soaking stage, but you get the idea. (Garbanzo beans, split green peas, wheatberries, quinoa, kidney beans, brown rice, and sunflower seeds.)
I’ll go into more separately with sprouting details in another post as I begin to write recipes for each type of sprout and the entire process including soaking and sprouting times and details.
We had chili for dinner that night. I used onion, garlic, celery, butternut squash, kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, corn, tomatoes, spices, and fresh parsley and cilantro (added towards the end to preserve dinner.) I absolutely LOVE butternut squash in chili.
And then, instead of cheese or sour cream, top with 1/2 an avocado and some toasted sesame seeds. This chili is vegan, gluten-free, and free of refined oils and sugars.
Wednesday and Thursday I deemed my “days off” and didn’t honestly do too much except keep an eye on the sprouts, go bowling, and… well I’m sure I did other stuff around the house and regular errands and such, but nothing important to remember.
Friday I went with Bryan and our friend Hal to play disc golf in Easton, MA. (On a side note, Bryan’s mono seems to have just about fully subsided after a miserable 2 months. So happy to have him back and feeling healthy and himself again!) This is great exercise, it’s an 18-hole course plotted in the woods, so there’s a fair amount of tromping around. If you’ve never played before, it’s basically just golf with a frisbee like disc. It’s a bit more sturdy than a frisbee though. Anyway, it’s a very fun, active day out. About halfway in, I ran and chucked the disc at the opening of a field and totally threw my right shoulder out of socket. It was close to the worst pain I’ve ever felt, up there with dry socket and broken tailbone. I barely – BARELY – held my tears in and then made the guys go ahead so I could try to pop it back in, if that’s what needed to be done. A little stretching and it was too sore to move, so it must have been inflamed. I didn’t play a hole or two, and then attempted some left handed. Honestly, I was kind of better with my left hand, surprisingly. I gotta look into that more. Over the past few days, I’ve been taking care of the shoulder including heat compresses and gentle stretching and now it’s almost back to normal. It does feel slightly pushed forward, but I expect it to slide back during a good yoga session.
The weather was beautiful again on Saturday (love it!) I drank pretty late on Friday night, so I did wake up a little hungover, but I knew that I wasn’t going to waste that sunshine. I drank some water and wandered off for what I goaled to be a 6 hour walk around Providence. It was going to be like a “city hike” since I don’t have a car. There are some good hills here! Providence is kind of tiny and boring to walk for 6 hours though, you’d be surprised at how quickly you’ll get from end to end. I hadn’t been over to India Point Park, so I ventured that way and then walked up and down the water for a while, there was great sun exposure here. Then I decided to walk the East Bay Bike Path! Brilliant! It’s close enough to get out of the city, it’s sunny for your Vitamin D, and it feels a little more secluded. Unfortunately, not too far into the actual path, it’s under construction and closed for a 3 mile strip. So I had to turn around and head back to Providence. If it had been open, I would have easily reached the 6 hour mark, but after heading back over the bridge again and back into the city, I just felt exhausted. It gets hard to breathe for a while with the stuffy heat and car exhaust of the city, at least on the bike path there are some trees and fresh air. I think that’s the real main reason I want it so badly! I got a teeny bit of a sunburn just on the very tops of my shoulders and an overall tan. Why does being tan make me feel so much more motivated and healthy?? I don’t get it. Maybe it’s because I know being tan means I’ve been outside in the sun soaking it in. I feel miles better in the sunshine. I’m an addict.
And I was in for more sunshine on Sunday! I started the day early, getting to the grocery store at 8 a.m. right when they opened. I did my shopping, and per usual, bought more than I intended. But I strapped the heavy stuff on my back and divided the rest into two reusable bags and got ready for the trek home. It’s not far, less than a mile, but there’s a pretty big hill to climb. I definitely felt the burn in my back and shoulders carrying all the weight. When I got home – 42 pounds! (Jeez that’s a lot of groceries, haha. The more raw and really healthy foods, you get to eat a LOT.)
I started the day with an open-faced tofu egg sandwich. This is a recipe I’m working on perfecting because it’s something I crave quite often and I know it can be made very healthy. It’s also one of the foods that I long for when I’m hungover. They serve it vegan at two places in Providence, but I can make it for cheaper and healthier. 🙂 I tried out a cashew hollandaise sauce this time, and I actually liked it. It was the first one I’ve made without vegan mayonnaise or Earth Balance, so it didn’t have any refined oils, and of course, is way less processed and nutritious. It had a ‘brightness’ to the flavor. The thing with Hollandaise is that I never had it traditionally made, only the vegan version. So I don’t really know what it ACTUALLY tastes like. But whatever, it was good, and the brightness of the lemon came through nicely which I read is how it’s supposed to taste, so. We’ll see.
Then I kicked my backyard’s ASS! I spent about 5 1/2-6 hours doing yardwork (weeding and raking leaves) and then fiercely pressure washing the whole backyard. There are two separate patio areas, a side cement lot where the garden bed is set up, and two brick pathways. It was a big, muddy, wet mess. I had to keep unplugging the pressure washer (very heavy!) and carrying it to plug in near the other area while one side dried and then returning to continue with all the dirt and mud. I couldn’t believe it. This is a dangerous job for someone like me with a touch of OCD. Once I started one area, everything had to get done. This is the wall, and the difference one stroke over with the pressure washer made. It didn’t LOOK dirty for some reason before hand, but when you see it like that, whoa.
I figure I burned about 300 calories an hour. I felt so tired after but I felt so accomplished. I remembered it was Sunday and booked it to the liquor store with just 3 minutes to spare. The one closest to me was closed and I had to hustle up Hope St to make it to a different one, haha. Cracking open that beer when I got home was such a reward, and I got takeout veggie nime chow when I was out too. My roommates and I sat outside that night and it was glorious. I felt sore, tired, exhausted, accomplished, and everything smelled fresh and clean and watered down and the weather was perfect.
I drunkenly ate popcorn and almonds kind of late and very close to the time I actually fell asleep last night, and this morning my stomach was very mad at me from the late food and alcohol. I drank a bunch of water and ate a mango and was going to get my day started but I decided to just sit for a little and drink more water. I did some internet work. Then I finally felt right and got walking around 10:45. I did some errands on foot and then went to Old Navy to use a coupon and return a couple of things. I also specifically wanted to get a strapless dress for tanning purposes. I needed something that I could wear without a bra in my backyard without looking ridiculous and that was short so my legs could tan too. Trying on clothes at Old Navy was a mixed back. There were a few things on sale that I really loved that just didn’t fit. Specifically, there were two dresses with buttons. I can’t do anything button up and fitted, and it’s a look that I absolutely love. It’s all about the hips. Two pairs of jeans I tried on were bloody ridiculous. Oh well. I found a few nice things after a good hunt. Ended up with pants, yoga pants, belt, t-shirt, 2 dresses, sunglasses… for $42! Not so bad. I am going to build my wardrobe back up by watching for sales and shopping smart. I’ve also gotten better at keeping receipts and staying organized. Oh, and I started entering those customer service surveys that print on the bottom of receipts. I figure if the paper is already wasted, and someone’s gotta win, why not me? Come on, baby!
I ended up finding a cute polka dot dress at Forever 21, of all places. I can’t believe I can fit into their clothes. I worked there when I was at my heaviest, and when you’re fat like that, you view clothing stores completely different. I forget that I can just walk into most stores and find clothes! Granted, I’m on the edge still, depending on how the clothes run. I can usually do okay with tops and dresses. Pants are still at a 16 but it’s a bulbous butt 16 so that makes it much more tricky. My waist is easily a 12 or 14 but my hips and thighs will have none of that.
You can see the remnants of my sunburn if you look closely for the ghost white imprint of a tank top.
The sun felt great again today, but I was smart about exposure and kept my shoulders hidden. Well at least until I got home and settled into my backyard. I did put on the “tanning” dress for back there. The sun isn’t quite as hot as it is walking around the city because the trees and all the brick really cool it down. In fact, today it was kind of not very hot at all. It was the last time it was 80 degrees, but there were just a few too many clouds this afternoon to really get the sun in on you back there. But I sat outside for a few hours and did some research and planning and ate some lunch. I made a smoothie with fresh almond milk (I’ll be writing a post all about this soon – value in both nutrition and cost), banana, blueberry, vanilla protein, and kale. Then I cut up a bunch of veggies and gobbled those up with a sprouted chickpea hummus (again, I’ll write all about the sprouts soon! Promise!) The hummus is just sprouted chickpeas, lemon juice, water, cayenne, cumin, and boatloads of garlic. It took me about 2 hours to get through the whole meal and the whole smoothie, and as I was eating it, I really took my time to taste the different veggies and chew them and think about how they were nourishing me. I felt very full and satisfied after all of it. I also felt very hydrated and refreshed after having been out in the sun. My body LOVES the sun and loves the heat, but it hates to feel fatigued and gross during the summer. I gravitate towards raw when I’m outside. Last summer especially, I found myself eating entire days full of raw food just by chance. The rehydrating properties of fresh foods, my gosh! Plus, your body doesn’t have to expend energy and heat digesting food and can save that energy for crazy hikes and climbing mountains. omg.
Every time I eat something that’s really healthy, I try to consciously focus on how I feel connected to that food and to engage with it and understand why I’m eating it. It’s not mindless eating. I’m eating to live. That’s what they say right? Sure, the meal above may not appear appetizing to a lot of people. But that’s the trick. Don’t take out the junk or processed foods you love. Begin your transition by adding a meal like this in. Maybe once a week? Three times a week? Every day? Because what will happen is you will end up filling up on the good stuff and the nourishment you receive will outweigh the appeal of that junk food. Everywhere I read, the change to a clean, more organic plant-based diet is recommended to be attacked in the same way. Don’t give up everything all at once! It’s about what you add in, not what you take out. And pretty soon, the good will crowd out the bad. You will lose hunger for these foods and they will even begin to look foreign to you. Did you ever notice the most beautiful foods are fresh fruits and vegetables? Look at all the color. There’s a reason they look beautiful to us: your body is screaming, “EAT ME!”
So it’s true that not every bite of those fresh veggies or smoothie tasted amazing and I didn’t want to scarf it down like an insatiable vulture. But the more I ate it, the more I realized that I was making a good decision and that the more I choose these foods, the more my body really will crave them. I try to think about things like cucumbers being good for skin health, and as I eat the cucumber, picture my skin feeling smooth and hydrated and blemish free. Visualization can be a powerful tool, ya know.
And then it was happy Monday to me when my new knives and cutting board came in! For someone who cooks, and prepares a LOT of vegetables and fruits every. single. day, I’ve never owned a nice knife set. This is a Ginsu set, I guess like medium range? At least they cut awesome right out of the box. Preparing dinner was a treat!
Tonight’s dinner was excellent. I’m excited to share the recipe for two reasons: 1) it’s my first time cooking sprouted kidney beans and they were awesome! 2) the tofu sour cream is also a new recipe that I’m trying.
Sprouted Red Bean Burritos with Tofu Sour Cream
For the bean filling:
- 2 cups sprouted kidney beans
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1-2 Tbsp garlic, to taste
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp chili powder
- hot sauce to taste
For the tofu sour cream:
- 1/2 pound sprouted extra firm tofu (any firm or extra firm will work, start with less water if using a softer tofu)
- 3 Tbsp filtered water
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice,
- 3 Tbsp chives
For the burrito:
- Whole wheat tortillas
- Mixed leafy greens
- Fresh cilantro
- Heirloom tomatoes
- …anything else you want!
- Sprout kidney beans (soak for 8 hours, rinse and drain every 8-12 hours for 2-3 days).
2. Add kidney beans to sauce pan with filtered water going 1-2″ past bean line.
3. Bring beans to a boil.
4. Beans will produce a white foam from excess gas being released. Skim this foam off.
5. Cover and simmer on low for 30-45 minutes, checking softness after 30 minutes.
6. Remove from heat and drain.
7. Preheat a separate pan over medium-high heat until warm enough to make water droplets dance.
8. Add onion. Make sure to keep onion moving to prevent burning. Don’t use oil! Motion and heat are all you need.
(Beautiful caramelized onions – NO OIL!)
9. Add garlic after cooking onions 4-5 minutes and sautee with constant motion for 1-2 more minutes. Finish when golden brown.
10. Add caramelized onions and all spices to the pot with the beans in it.
11. Heat over medium heat, stirring and mashing with a wooden spoon. Add a little vegetable broth if beans are sticking to pot or burning, or are not mushy enough to create a refried beans like texture.
12. To prepare tofu sour cream, add all ingredients into blender and puree until very smooth.
I doubled the chives because I was craving that flavor and the sour cream came out with a nice mint green hue, haha.
When I went vegan, I stopped eating sour cream, of course, but I never adapted into the substitute. It was the same with cream cheese and shredded cheeses – until Daiya. I love the originals, but since the flavor and texture in the vegan substitutes was never quite right and honestly I really never liked it. I have dabbled with some nut based replacements for sour cream, but with no success really. But here! This is the winner by far. Creamy, tangy, sour. If you taste it on its own, it tastes like exactly what it is – sour cream made from tofu. You can taste the tofu. But once wrapped in the burrito, it blends in AWESOME and just tastes creamy sour creamy deliciousness.
After dinner, I took a fireball shot to wash it all down. That’s fresh squeezed lemon juice, with cayenne pepper and ginger. I’m working on incorporating 2 of these every day as well as 2 “shots” of straight up cherry juice to help work on inflammation while I drastically up my exercise routine. They both have a ton of antiflammatory and cleansing properties. Yay!
This shot kicks you in the sinuses, the stomach, the forehead, the muscles, and you feel totally energized and amazing in literally 3 seconds!
I might go have another one right now….
Sorry for the very long post. It’s taken me over 2 hours to recap all this! I will definitely start doing a better job keeping up with my daily postings as I throw myself into food and exercise in the best way possible. Here’s to a happy and healthy week!
On Friday morning, I was feeling blah and bored and was going to spend the morning doing a whole lot of nothing since I’d be meeting up with my friend in the early afternoon to go out for a walk anyway. But then – I checked the mail and *BOOM!* My Vitamix was sitting there, in all its glory on my front porch, and I felt this crazy burst of energy. I literally jumped up and down and clapped and squealed. It’s been my dream to own one since I started using one at my old job and experienced the quality foods that are produced in the Vitamix. Yes, it’s crazy expensive for a countertop kitchen appliance – but it’s worth every penny in quality, time-saving, health, and longevity.
Already since Friday, I’ve had a greens smoothie with protein powder every day, and made homemade salad dressing with no refined oils.
My first smoothie was frozen blueberry, banana, spinach, almond milk and protein powder. I use the Lifetime Basics Vanilla flavored, it’s made from hemp, chia, pea, and brown rice protein. It’s got Stevia in it, which I’m not crazy about the flavor. (Amazon.com now offers the unsweetened vanilla, which I placed on order today. It’s about half price as it as at Whole Foods, and you get free shipping with the “Subscribe & Save” feature, which automatically sends it every month!)
My old blender would have taken 20 minutes of cycling on and off and opening and stirring to blend everything down. And even then, it would have been chunky and full of seeds. The biggest, nicest difference about a smoothie like this from the Vitamix is that it keeps its smooth consistency. In a normal jar of smoothie or juice, I have to stop and shake it up over and over and the smoothness is hard to find. Separation is inevitable and ruins the smoothie. But this one was smooth as ever and I drank it over a couple hours.
My goal has been to eat a nice big salad every day, and to help the transition, I’ve decided to start making nice homemade dressings in the Vitamix using nuts or avocado to add a filling, healthy fat. I’ll also be adding a warm protein to every salad. My first try was an avocado/orange/cilantro dressing.
Orange Avocado Dressing
- 1 avocado
- juice of 2 oranges
- 3/4 cup cilantro
- 1-2 tsp garlic
Blend all ingredients together until smooth. I like the dressing very thick, but if you want it thinner, add more orange juice (will create stronger orange flavor), water, or unsweetened milk substitute to get to desired consistency.
I didn’t take a photo of the dressing on its own, but it was absolutely delicious. Of course, lime would be a great substitute in this for the orange juice too. I pan seared some sprouted tofu that I had marinaded in Braggs’, rice vinegar, cumin and chili powder. The salad was spinach, spring mix, green bell pepper, plum tomato, the tofu, and the dressing. Delicious and crazy filling! One thing I’m learning about eating salads every day is that a huge salad is okay, duh! Use a huge mixing bowl to toss the salad first and then compact it into a regular size bowl to eat. You’ll feel like you’re eating forever and the different textures and flavors will be spread throughout the salad, making sure you’re not left with half a salad that’s nothing but lettuce in the bottom of your bowl. Oh, and the neat thing is that since the orange juice contains natural acid, it prevents the avocado from oxidizing and the dressing stays a nice bright green even days later. In fact, I’d recommend preparing the dressing a day or two ahead of time because the flavors really melded and the dressing was more “full” flavored when I finished it a couple days later.
Until maybe two weeks ago, cilantro was never an ingredient I sought out. Then I saw “Hungry for Change,” in which they mentioned that cilantro and parsley are extremely cleansing. So, I decided to try and work on incorporating it in. The taste is still very odd to me, I’m on the fence if I like it. But I can’t stop craving it now! I don’t know if it’s subconscious because of what I learned, or what, but every time I eat it, I like it more and more and I crave it more and more. Perhaps it’s got a specific vitamin, mineral, or antioxidant that I am in low supply of and my body just keeps saying, “MORE!” I noticed an increase in my cilantro cravings at the same time as I started to incorporate parsley into my daily juices. They must go hand in hand. Either way, I’m excited to have them more into my diet.
Don’t forget when storing parsley or cilantro, a clean paper towel dampened with some filtered water and rubber banded to the bottom will make a HUGE difference in keeping them fresh and crisp for longer.
So Friday ended up being a pretty good day for food overall. I had the smoothie, the salad, a peanut butter and jelly whole wheat tortilla wrap, and some veggie bee bong and veggie nime chow. For takeout, both good options, as there are much more fresh ingredients than fried anything or even pad thai. We did drink some wine and other alcohol, so there were some calories there.
Saturday morning, for breakfast: pumpkin chocolate chunk pancakes! Mmmm…. I know it’s not fall, and we’re not really in pumpkin-flavored-season, but it was the only thing on hand that can sub in for oil/egg. And it’s delicious and nutritious anyway. I make pancakes without any refined oils or sugars, even though I still top with Earth Balance and 100% organic maple syrup. It decreases unwanted fat/sugar/calories in the dish overall because either way, those pancakes are getting butter and syrup! 😀
As we’re gathering the ingredients, I asked my boyfriend what he had for milk substitute. He usually has hemp milk, and he has made fresh almond milk a couple times since purchasing his new Hurom juicer, but I haven’t tried any and certainly didn’t think there was time or ingredients to make some that morning. I thought for sure we’d be using boxed milk, but he pulled out almonds soaking from the fridge and whipped up a batch of raw almond milk in minutes. *SWOON* I don’t know what’s more adorable – the fact that he made raw almond milk for our pancakes, or the fact that HE was so excited about it. 🙂 We threw in a couple dates to add just a hint of natural sweetness. The amazing thing about this fresh, raw almond milk was the FLAVOR. Holy cow – it tasted divine. Such a clean, crisp almond flavor. I really have to make some in the Vitamix now and compare the two. And in general, I need to have more raw almond milk on hand. I priced it out and it’s cheaper or equivalent to purchasing it in a box and you’re gaining an incredible amount of nutrition by not using cooked almonds. Hurrah!
Vegan Whole Wheat Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Pancakes (found here, and slightly adapted to as follows)
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- scant 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp raw agave nectar or 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks
- coconut oil, for preventing sticking to pan
Mix everything together. Preheat pan until water drops dance on top. Use just a tiny bit of coconut oil on the pan to non-stick-ify it. A very little goes a long way! Whole wheat pancakes tend to cook better if you’re patient since they are so dense.
Oh yea, and while I was making the pancakes, Bryan made fresh green juice. I don’t know what he put in it, but I know for sure that was red kale because he was exclaiming how he liked the dark red/purple color the juice came out. I’m sooo jealous of his juicer!
We spent a good amount of the rest of the day on Saturday doing some heavy duty cleaning, about 4-5 hours which adds up to some calories burned.
We had leftover takeout for dinner, and had a few drinks afterwards too. I actually drank some coffee, which I haven’t had in FOREVER. It was delicious, but I got ahead of myself and drank too much black coffee and got extremely jittery and shaky and felt terrible. It subsided in an okay amount of time, I just focused the energy into knitting. (If this ever happens and you have Theanine on hand, it cuts the jitters immediately! He has some, but it was in a gelatin capsule so I didn’t take any and just waited it out.) I had a good conversation about food and health and weight loss with his roommate. She and her boyfriend have recently gone gluten-free, which is something I’m considering (not entirely right away, but working towards it and beginning to substitute other flours and ingredients for gluten.) I don’t necessarily have a problem with eating wheat, but after the juice fast, I definitely notice that I’m not as crazy about it as I used to be. When I do eat it, it feels heavy and hard to digest. I’ll be trying out alternatives soon as I begin my sprouting adventure and work on making all my own homemade sprouted baking flours!
Sunday, I started the day with another huge protein/greens smoothie exactly like the one above. Then I used the leftover dressing to make another salad. The same, again, but if it’s not broke don’t fix it! That’s the biggest challenge with eating healthy is finding things that actually satisfy all your cravings. The tofu particularly in the salad is nice and dense, and the marinade makes it salty. The sprouted tofu has a firmer texture that holds together and crisps up nicely. I’ll definitely be getting it again and using it on the regular.
My goal right now is to increase protein to increase energy and the potential of building muscle and recovering from workouts. On Sunday, it worked because after the protein smoothie and the salad, I felt extremely energized and went out for a speed walk. I walked for about an hour, and absolutely loved it. This time of year, the key is to go out late afternoon. Sure, there’s only a couple hours that you can actually feel the sun, but those couple of hours just feel so good. Once I feel the warmth of the sun, I don’t care what I’m doing, all my other troubles go away and I just feel happy, positive, charged, and ready to go. So, I’ll be restructuring my exercise to the afternoons instead of trying to go out in the morning. I’ll give the sun a chance to warm up the world first. 😉
After the walk, I still felt like I wanted more activity, so I worked out while watching TV for about 3 hours! I did some really deep stretching, focusing on my right hip and quad which have been having weakness/stiffness. I lifted hand weights, did some calisthenics, and also did 2 segments on 10 Minute Target Toning on Netflix Watch Instantly. I even held the hand weights while I did the workout, which adds a degree of difficulty and engages more muscle across the whole body. For the first time in a while, I got that really good feeling of your heart pumping fast and sweat pouring down. It’s been a while since I got that much of a workout going, and it felt FANTASTIC. The endorphins were surely raging. The feeling of drinking down water in between gasping for breaths – I forgot how much I missed it.
Bottom line, and what I need to remember: you are what you eat. Over the past few days (thanks to the Vitamix and a little planning), I’ve increased my raw greens and protein intake substantially. What I’ve already noticed is a decrease in my cravings, and a HUGE increase in my energy (but not just mental, physical energy, strength, and stamina). Smoothies especially are my number one favorite thing, so much nutrition and so easily absorbed. I definitely think adding the protein powder back into my diet has done wonders in just a few days.
Today, I ordered more mason jars for working on my sprouting projects, a new knife set, cutting board, and dry erase labels for the jars. My roomate is probably going to wonder what the hell all the packages are coming into the house. Haha, price I pay for not having a car. Luckily, you can find almost anything online these days for the same prices as in stores, and its easy to find free shipping too.
It’s actually been a very accomplishing day overall. I woke up at 5:15 a.m. for no reason (OR because of my increase in nutrition!) didn’t feel tired after only about 4 hours of sleep. So I watched a little Netflix, and then actually got up and out of bed and walked to do my errands. Total I walked about 5 miles. On the way back from the supermarket, I took the way home that had a bigger hill to climb just to burn more calories. When I got home, I weighed the groceries – 30 pounds! I hadn’t even really gotten winded going up the hill. I used to climb the same hill at 265 pounds and would be so defeated afterwards that I would literally collapse on the couch and be too tired to even go get a cold beer. Now, it was hardly anything. It’s hard to imagine I used to carry around all that weight. I would have had to have two backpacks on to equate to what I used to weigh. And now, my muscles are stronger and more able. Particularly, my heart feels stronger and can handle the strain of an additional bag like that.
After errands, I started in on the rest of the spring cleaning: the walk-in pantry and the bathroom! Total, all the cleaning took about 5 hours, burning a nice chunk of calories as well. I bet you’re wondering where all this cleaning has come from. Well, I’m doing the whole, empty every shelf and wipe off every food item and actually account for what’s there and what I need. Making those decisions to let go of food that you haven’t even thought of or craved, or half empty bags that have been open for months and months. Condensing. Cleaning. Starting fresh.
I watered the soil in the garden bed I’m construction, giving it a thorough soak and stirring the soil/produce scraps quite thoroughly. I then mixed in some dry leaves and twigs to aid in the composting process. I plan on planting next week, I’ll be going to check out the Farmer’s Market on Saturday to pick up some local seeds and seedlings. Overall, I got through almost all of this crazy to-do list I made for myself throughout the weekend. I expected it to take a few days to gradually chip away at, but there are only two big things left to do: organize & back up computer files, and then setup my new printer & work on vision board. Once those last things are done, my time can all be focused on researching, cooking, blogging, sprouting, and all those fun things. I put some things on to sprout, too. I’ll be posting photos and more information as I go and as I start using them in recipes. Right now, I have kidney beans, sunflower seeds, and brown rice sprouting. Follow my progress on Facebook.
Phew! What a day and what a post! I think I might just go to sleep now… oh, but wait! I got a new disc of The Sopranos in the mail today. Time to unwind…
Last night I went bowling with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. We bowled 4 games, which took 2 hours and it was enough to make me warm. Not to sweat or anything but it was definitely good to move and kept my heart rate just above resting. I bowled most of the night with a 12 pound ball, which is a pretty good size too. I actually threw a few strikes in the first two games…I got a 125 and a 109 or something, which is decent for not having bowled in a while. And I picked up a 7-9-10 split which was sexy as all hell, to be quite honest. But over the night, I did have a few drinks (Jack and Coke’s) and got a bit buzzed. I had a late-night bagel when I got home to help soak a bit of the alcohol. Then I started chugging water. I woke up parched several times and downed an entire Mason jar full each time, and never even had to pee! So dehydrated. (Note to self: get some coconut water!)
This morning, all I could think about was easy food or something made with Daiya cheese. I debated back and forth about takeout (no, keep your goals in mind) OR walking to the store (it’ll be a little exercise and be okay to eat the junk for, ha) but decided in the end that I had plenty of food here and that I should really get creative and try to find something that would still meet my cravings. My mind came to tofu eggs since I had a block of sprouted tofu in the fridge that I’d yet to try. I came across this Vegan Hollandaise Sauce recipe and decided that would be my inspiration.
My pledge in yesterday’s post included a high protein and high fiber meal to start the day. With the sprouted tofu and the sprouted bagel I had, I’d be having 28 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber, once you count the protein that would be added from nutritional yeast. (I liked this overview on nutritional yeast if you’re unfamiliar.)
So I grabbed a banana for a little energy and hit the shower. I forget how nice it is sometimes to take a long hot shower… It feels so energizing and renewing to let the hot water and steam cleanse you out completely. On the days that I have extra time, I like to use a body brush to exfoliate and then apply coconut oil or lotion. I’ll work the leftover into the ends of my dreads for moisturizing too. I feel extra refreshed after taking the time to do this, and always feel ready to start the day a bit better.
I tend to ravage for snacks or eat handfuls of raw nuts while I’m prepping a time-consuming meal. I knew the tofu egg sandwich would probably take an hour including the cleaning I had to do before hand to get the kitchen ready. There are a few steps involved in making the sandwich too. To avoid the extra calories and fat that those handfuls of nuts add to my day, I decided to make a juice! Kill two birds with one stone. There’s no better cure for a hangover, juice would be very hydrated, nourishing, and healing and a great way to start the day. I made a juice from celery, cucumber, bokchoy, parsley, carrot, apple, and ginger.
Then I started in on prepping the tofu. I’d be trying this Nasoya brand sprouted super firm tofu for the first time. PS- I’m sorry I don’t have an actual recipe and I just have a collection of my steps. I didn’t really measure anything when making the sauce and it wasn’t really perfect anyway. I’ll work on it and get a recipe for you someday. 😉
The package has a tab and is very easy to open, no knife or scissors required. And it was less mess, contained just a little tiny bit of liquid but hardly needed any pressing whatsoever. I cut off a sliver and put it into a container to marinade with Bragg’s amino acids (3-4Tbsp) and rice wine vinegar (1-2Tbsp) and a little ground black pepper. I made sure to continue flipping it over and soaking the liquid into the tofu. It absorbed rather quickly and sponge like, more so than regular extra firm tofu. And just so you know, for storage it says to put in a container with a little water and change the water every day and use within 3 days. That’s a reminder to myself too ha.
As the tofu was finishing marinading, I started in on the sauce. I began inspired by the link I found above, but then I kind of just went on my own, haha. I melted about 4 Tbsp of Earth Balance in a small sauce pan, whisked in a little whole wheat flour, turmeric, cayenne pepper, 1/2 an avocado, and a bunch of nutritional yeast. I crushed up the avocado with the whisk as I went. I added a little salt and pepper, and some unsweetened almond milk. I simmered and whisked until it got a consistency I like. Toasted a sprouted grain bagel and topped with a slice of tomato, fresh spinach, the tofu slices, and the sauce.
Overall, it was pretty healthy, but I would like to find a sauce that had less Earth Balance in it some day. For now, I’ll allow myself just a little indulgence if it made me eat such a healthy breakfast otherwise. I think a pine nut or walnut sauce would work great in this recipe. Perhaps similar to this one that I used to top veggies last month?
Hmm… that gave me an idea and later on in the day I used the leftover sauce from the tofu egg sandwich to coat some steamed cauliflower, carrots, and broccoli. Delicious! I had a big salad too with spring mix, spinach, bean sprouts, avocado, mango, cilantro, and oil-free balsamic vinagrette. For dessert, I had a smoothie made from frozen banana, raw cacao powder, peanut butter, raw agave, and almond milk.
I did eat more than just what I’ve talked about but I don’t want to write all of it. I know we’re talking transparency and everything from the last blog post but let’s just suffice it to say that out of the goals I set in my last post…
No takeout when alone(I don’t know what my addiction is to sushi but I got 3 rolls delivered, only one tempura though. I am going to teach myself to make my own sushi next week to start saving money and so I can use brown rice instead.) No eating in bed(I didn’t eat laying down or anything but I sat on the edge of my bed watching Netflix on my computer while I drank my milkshake. Still not great.)
- Eat 3 meals and 3 snacks each day
- Start each day with a high-protein, high-fiber meal
- Eat a large green salad every day
- Accomplish at least 1 form of exercise every day (walk, bike, gym, yoga, etc)
- Journal all food intake, exercise, and emotions dealing with food/eating daily
Meditate for at least 30 minutes a day(I fell asleep listening early when I usually do some meditation before bed to chase away bad dreams.)
My exercise for the day was about 90 minutes total spread throughout the day of stretching, calisthenics, and hand weights. I really need to get some stronger hand weights because the 5 pound weights are not offering enough challenge for me anymore.
Despite the fact that I didn’t do quite as well as I was hoping with food for the first day of my new beginning, I did incorporate a LOT of nutrient dense foods and more protein into my day, and I look at that as a WIN. I also got back some exercise in, which also felt good. My arms muscles are feeling pretty strong. My VitaMix is supposed to come in the mail tomorrow so that’ll be a huge motivation to play and make really healthy raw foods and smoothies and all kinds of fun stuff. 🙂
Oh by the way – here’s a photo of the raised cinderblock garden bed I’m working on in my backyard! I have a small layer of soil covered with compostable goods that I’ve been collecting for a month (especially there’s a TON of juice pulp which will absorb quickly into the soil.) Then there’s more soil on top. I plan to turn it quite often and then in about 2 weeks add more soil and start my first vegetable garden ever!
I want to start this post by explaining that in November, I basically left my job to begin pursuing self-employment and working hard to focus on my health and personal development. I’ve worked full-time or more since I was 16 years old and I’ve always just barely made ends meet. I have recently felt a huge deficit in my mental health, and turning 24 has really made me want to get a move on in working towards the goals that I have (more on that later.)
It’s true that I have lost 80 pounds over the past couple of years through change in lifestyle. There was no diet, there was no hardcore exercising. It was just a gradual shift into eating better and exercising more. I have pledged to update this blog daily as I am currently out of work and have the time to do so. I am hoping that through blogging I can establish a platform for me to make a living in the health/weight loss community. I have a story to tell and a passion for nutrition, diet, and lifestyle because of how personally successful I feel already in this journey. I still have more of my journey to go. I still am bordering on “obese” according to some standards, and easily could lose another 30-40 pounds to really be at the weight my body would be healthiest at. But I sit on this fact: that I’ve already lost 80 pounds and yes, I do eat healthier overall than most people I know. I feel like I’ve earned the right to sit comfortably around 190-200 pounds because I used to weigh close to 270. The truth is that now, I eat a LOT of food. The food itself isn’t unhealthy, but the quantities are not a joke anymore. It used to be funny to kid about the amount I eat. But I’m not laughing anymore. I need to find the proper amount of food to fuel a healthy active lifestyle and maintain it.
The holidays are a particularly hard time for me, and it’s not something I want to really write about the “why” at the moment. In general, cold weather and less sunlight also really leave me in a ditch, so to speak. Depression and anxiety set in hard, and I found myself in bed for an entire month before I realized it was time to get help. I started some therapeutic measures, and a week of random 80 degree weather in March lifted my spirits and pried me out of bed. But then, I caught my boyfriend’s mono, and found myself bedridden for another 2 weeks! I felt conflicted every day with the thought of pushing myself. I was sick of being in bed and I had already spend literally a month away from my friends and away from my life. I was ready to get back into it, to start cooking and sprouting and everything else. Then my boyfriend and I did a juice fast, and I felt uplifted and renewed and READY.
However, I’ve been feeling pretty fatigued again (lingering depression, leftover mono symptoms?) for the past few days and haven’t updated my blog or really taken time to cook myself good healthy meals. I’ve barely done anything except sleep. I also tend not to post unless I’m having a successful day with recipes, food, exercise, etc. So on these days when I barely get out of bed, I tend to not blog either because I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything worth sharing. What I have done over the past few days is begun to network with other blogs and really get into the nitty-gritty of health food and weight loss blogs. One common thing I found is that the most interesting and inspiring blogs (the ones I will actually read the entire posts instead of seeking out recipes – another confession) are the ones that tell the truth NO MATTER WHAT.
So I am working on that whole transparency thing which I know is so valuable in the blogging community. I’m working on it, and I’ll get there soon. I think the hardest part of it is actually writing things like, “Today I ordered 8 rolls of tempura sushi and ate them all.” I’m ashamed of the money, calories, and health wasted on the food and maybe a part of me thinks that if I don’t write about it or tell anyone, that it never even happened! But then my stomach yells at me the next morning and I get depressed looking at my checking account, and maybe transparency and accountability to someone (even a blog written mostly to myself) can help handle some of these recurring feelings of failure and guilt and help me break my issues. I’m ashamed and embarrassed to blog some of these (okay, ALL of my failures) because I don’t want to be perceived as a hypocrite. But what I should be embracing instead are the steps to my recovery and the realization that addiction and food disorders are a real and serious thing. If I keep trying to hide it, I’ll never address the real problem and more importantly, break the vicious harming cycle. This idea of transparency will also help me in my emotional and mental struggles, as next month I begin therapy for anxiety/depression/mood disorder as well.
I’m slowly coming to the concrete conclusion that yes, I do have “disordered eating”. I don’t know how to properly classify it, but it falls somewhere between compulsive eating and binge eating. I’ve also had trouble with binging and purging (through both vomiting and laxatives), as well as extremely restrictive diets, and of course EMOTIONAL EATING. One site suggested the term “Partial Syndrome” and that seems to fit the best. My quick understanding of it is that those who suffer from partial sydrome swing through extreme cycles with food. Ultimately,I am a food addict. And I need to treat that like a real problem, the same as I would if it was alcohol or drugs or gambling or any other damaging addictive compulsive behavior.
I think over the past few years I’ve attempted to fuel my obsession with food into a healthy one, and I’ve certainly gone a far way in doing so. But it’s still an addiction. It’s everything I think about from the minute I wake up until the minute I go to sleep (and then often as I wake up many times in the middle of the night.) I am now concentrating fully on it through my blog while I unemployed, attempting to turn this addiction into something positive. But it’s still a fine line. Because as I attempt to portray myself one way through this blog, I then find myself engaging in more binging/compulsive eating, claiming every time that, “Tomorrow will be the day you start your blog and get on track correctly! Better get takeout.” That’s another big issue with me because it’s easy for me to have food delivered and not leave a trace even to my roommates. No dishes or trash in the kitchen. I can eat it in my room.
My other big issue is trying to correct everything at once, thinking that a huge life overhaul is better accomplished by “starting fresh.” This doesn’t have to be the case. As the day goes on and I gain the energy to begin thinking productively, I make to-do lists that are ridiculously way too ambitious, and then beat myself up for not being able to accomplish them. But there is a sense of overwhelming anxiety when I try to think about making all these changes (which sometimes include things like: cook 2 recipes (one for blog and one for cookbook), walk for 2 hours, yoga for 1 hour, meditate for 1 hour, read 100 pages in XYZ book for research, run XYZ errands, etc). What I realize anyone would say to me as I try to get back into the swing of things as I deal with a major episode of depression accompanied by mono is that GRADUAL changes are better. Incorporating one or two small new things into my day and resting and taking things at my own pace is not necessarily a bad thing. I also find that there are days when I do get everything done, but then I’m so drained that I sleep an entire extra day to make up for it. That’s not healthy either.
I’ve decided that this time that I am able to take off of work really needs to be the final home stretch in my goal to establishing permanent healthy habits and truly dealing with my negative relationship with food. I am going to channel that addiction into a positive light, in hopes to inspire and help others to make permanent healthy changes as well. I want to share my story, and I realize now that the only way it will be relate-able is by finally admitting those ugly things that I know so many people deal with and showing how I’m finally getting past the addictions and obsessions that have plagued my health (mentally, emotionally, and physically) for well over a decade.
So I’m setting small attainable goals. Isn’t that what they say is the first step of weight loss, too? These will be pledges to myself so to speak, but I am pledging them out loud to this blog. For transparency, for accountability. For myself. Because that’s what’s really important. Many of these things I do on the regular basis, but I don’t do them all every day, and this is what I want to build up to. NO MORE EXCUSES.
- No takeout when alone
- No eating in bed
- Eat 3 meals and 3 snacks each day
- Start each day with a high-protein, high-fiber meal
- Eat a large green salad every day
- Accomplish at least 1 form of exercise every day (walk, bike, gym, yoga, etc)
- Journal all food intake, exercise, and emotions dealing with food/eating daily
- Meditate for at least 30 minutes a day
These are reasonable goals and I will post on my progress as I work on them. Then, once they become habit, I will set more goals and work towards them. Baby steps. 🙂 This post, in itself, has been a huge step for admitting and accepting my issues and beginning groundwork for real, positive, permanent change.
Happy Hump Day!!
Day 7 of my juice fast saw me still at 192 pounds, down 8 pounds from the beginning. Like I mentioned in my Day 6 post, I was feeling like today might be the day that I started to incorporate solid foods back into my diet. I really want to get back at the gym and get a lot more exercise into my routine starting Monday, and for me, this isn’t accomplishable on a juice fast. The energy isn’t there to raise your heart rate and sweat off fat. And if you do try to exercise on a juice fast, fat can be very difficult to burn because our bodies start to panic that not only is fat and protein intake gone (due to juicing), but now you’re energy output is increased as well. So our bodies hold on to fat as dearly as it can. It’s what our bodies are trained to do.
I also believe that with any change in our diets or lifestyles, we should listen to how our body responds. At first, I could feel my body working like a Hazmat team, clearing out toxins and literally flushing out and healing an overworked digestive system. As someone who normally maintains a pretty clean low-oil vegan diet, does not smoke cigarettes, and has significantly cut back on caffeine and alcohol, the process of detoxing was able to cycle through in those 5-6 days. I felt a boost in motivation, energy, mental clarity, and a cleanse of my cravings. But then I started to feel fatigue as I tried to increase my energy level to match what I was feeling like I could and wanted to accomplish. So I listened to my body, and decided it was time to break the fast gently.
If you decide to break a juice fast early, make sure to remember a few things. Don’t break the fast because you were running late for work and a coffee and donut sounded more tasty than your morning juice! Don’t break the fast because you got invited out to dinner and that was easier than juice! Don’t break the fast because you can’t pay for your gasoline without grabbing a chocolate bar or potato chips. Break the fast with healthy, whole raw foods when your cravings are FOR healthy, whole raw foods. When you can think about eating a huge salad and your mouth drools. That’s a good sign! That shows us that we’ve gotten past the point of needing that processed food fix. And after the juice fast, remember to continue incorporating fresh juice into your diet on a daily basis whenever possible to maximize nutrient intake and healing potential.
When you’re trying to lose fat and gain muscle, a juice fast is a great way to start. I learned when watching “Hungry for Change” that our bodies have difficulty losing fat when we are toxic, because the toxins would then be released into our body making us feel worse unless we’re doing something to detox as well. A juice fast can be the right way to get started on a healthy lifestyle as it helps us release both toxins which make us physically dependent on unhealthy foods but emotions and cravings that go along with this processed food, chemically-laden lifestyle as well. And now that the juice fast has served its purpose, I’m ready to move onto the next phase of clean eating and an increase in healthy exercise to burn fat and gain muscle! My body wants to move!
Day 7 started with a juice made from bokchoy, celery, asparagus, radish, zucchini, pear, kiwi, and apple. I then speed walked 3 miles to my boyfriend’s house to meet up with him to see “Hunger Games” – which I really liked by the way.
My first solid meal in a week! We went to a local restaurant, The Garden Grille in Pawtucket. I got the Reggie’s Raw Heaven salad, which was arugula, avocado, mango, beet-infused jicama, and ground cashews. I think there was some kind of oil on the salad, but it was fairly light regardless. Every bite of this salad was freaking amazing, but particularly the avocado and mango were incredibly bright and full of flavor. I also had a nice hot cup of green tea, which was to die for. I struggled back and forth between getting a regular meal and something raw, but was happy I made the right decision. The salad was huge, I even had leftovers to take home.
For dinner, we had brown rice sushi with cucumber and avocado, I had about 5 pieces I think. I also had 2 squares of Raw Matcha Green Tea and Peppermint Chocolate from Fearless Chocolate. I think it was the perfect ease back into eating…
Except for the gin drinks! Haha. We hung out with a friend we hadn’t seen in a while and wanted to show him the cool Hurom Slow Juicer. We did up some honey dew melon and fennel and mixed it with some gin. Look how pretty in these glasses! I only had maybe 3 drinks over a couple hours and remembered to drink plenty of water to help flush it out. I will admit that I wish I had waited a few days to have alcohol, not a great idea the first day breaking a fast. But we can’t be perfect all the time! 😉
So Friday, I had whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and a juice. For physical activity, I got in a 3 mile walk and probably about an hour total of stretching/light yoga. I did the 10 minute segment for thighs on Target Toning on Netflix Watch Instantly, I’m trying to build up to do the whole video 3x a week. I’ve been having a significant amount of numbness and nerve spasms in my right thigh though, and have felt it’s been bothering me more since I’ve increased my walking so much. I’m just concentrating on hip openers and lower back stretches to try and release it through there. Maybe its a pinched nerve.
Today I ordered in brown rice noodle bee bong. I had some chickpeas earlier too. For exercise, I did 7 hours of heavy duty housecleaning! I know, crazy right?? I started by emptying all my kitchen cabinets (well I have a few more to do) and cleaning them inside and out. Then I did all the window frames and inside windows. Then I moved all the furniture out to clean and mop every corner of both the front parlor and regular living room. On average, the consensus is that cleaning burns about 150-250 calories an hours, so it was a good day for slow steady calorie burning! Tonight I remembered just in time to watch “Hungry for Change” before the free online premiere ended tonight at midnight. It was a great introductory film to health and wellness through nutrition and I think it has a lot of accessible information. It makes it seem like a nobrainer! I learned a few things too. I liked their comparison of white sugar and white flour to cocaine – ha. Pretty clever. When they started talking about juicing, I realized I hadn’t had a juice today! GAH! what was I thinking. I had to pause the movie to go make one quick. I threw one together with red cabbage, celery, parsley, carrot, pear, and lemon.
I am going to turn Sunday into my juice day of the week and will be juicing entirely to begin the week off right. A lot of people think to gorge Friday-Sunday and then try to start Monday off restrictive. However, if our stomachs are stretched and overworked from eating heavy meals and processed foods, it won’t be as easy to turn that off cold turkey. So, I will give myself Friday and Saturday nights as leniency nights (note I say ‘lenient’ and not ‘cheat’). I won’t go completely crazy but I may have a couple drinks or go out to eat. Then Sunday reboots to get back on track first thing Monday morning. Tomorrow I am going to attempt to use ZERO fruits, carrots, or beets in my juice and turn it into an entirely GREEN juice day.
Then on Monday, I officially get started on my journey to (attempt to) write a cookbook, “Sprout Out Loud!” It’s going to be all about sprouted foods, including how-to’s, nutritional info, and duh – lots of delicious recipes. The first stage is going to involve a lot of research and recipe testing, and I’ll be blogging the whole way. It should be fun!
Now off to do some relaxing yoga before bed…
If there’s one thing I’ve learned since I’ve started “getting physical,” it was that every small thing you do adds up. You read on websites that “15 minutes here and there make a difference.” So you add in a 15 minute walk 1 or 2 nights after work. That’s not a bad start, but it’s true that they mean these quick bursts of exercise to happen much more frequently. I aim for 3-4 a day, because that then means I’ve added one hour of physical activity in each day! That’s the kind of time that will make a difference.
Doing my best to remember this, whenever I find myself shunning my workouts, I start adding back in a few minutes here and there of simple movements until I begin craving an actual more intense workout. That’s where I finally got back to today. The winter time is especially hard for me to keep up with working out. It’s not necessarily the cold, it’s more the lack of sunshine. I lose my motivation. I’m not good at being active inside. But I’m going to make an effort. It’s my goal to get my body strong enough and my mind confident enough to bike wherever I need to go in the city by the spring. In fact, it’s supposed to be like 45 degrees tomorrow, so I am promising myself I am going to get a bike tire pump and get on my bike, for at least an hour tomorrow.
There are two things which I think really pushed me over that barrier into saying, “Okay, it’s time to seek out a workout.” First, I’ve been consuming a large fruit smoothie every day this week with a greens powder and almond milk. I haven’t had any fruit in a really long time actually. This was a great boost to my overall well being the last few days, so I’ve been feeling physically ready to do a workout. No fatigue, good digestion, free from aches and pains. The second thing that really got me itching for some endorphins was when I went out to sweep the front porch. Sounds strange right? Well our front porch and stairs and sidewalk all connect, and I kind of started getting carried away. When I went to return the broom to the backyard, I decided the whole thing needed cleaning. So, I went to work. My heart rate definitely picked up and I could feel the muscles in my arms and back working. It felt great.
So, to ride that high, I decided I’d download some Workout of the Day Apps on my phone, and I went through the Arms and Butt one, both the 10 minute versions. They were definitely a good reminder of why I need to get back to working out, haha. But really, even though I was feeling a little shaky, my muscles were almost screaming out with gratitude.
Then I did the 45 minute Crunch: Candlelight Yoga on Netflix Watch Instantly. If you’ve never checked it out, I highly recommend it. It’s very soothing and easy and it’s a great full body stretching workout. It always gets me feeling significantly more limber after just a few days in a row, and you’ll become motivated to maintain this type of stretching in your daily routine. Not to mention, you’ll sleep better and be in a better mood. Or at least, that’s what it does for me. My muscles get so angry at me if I add yoga back in regularly and then take it away. But once you remind yourself the difference it makes in everything from posture and weight loss to digestion and stress management, you won’t deny your muscles the privilege either.
Let me perfectly clear. There are plenty of days that I do not want to work out and there are plenty of weeks that go by that I do not. The same with unhealthy eating, the best way to break it is slowly. Like I talked about at the very beginning of this post, a little bit here and there makes you crave more. It really is exactly the same as the process of incorporating whole, nourishing foods. Give your body a little, and it will ask for much more. It’s a great cycle to be in. The more I continuously exercise, the more my body continues to avoid empty calories, and literally, those foods do not taste as good to me. If you’re taking the time and making the effort to work your body hard, why negate all that? Healthy foods lead to a quicker recovery rate (that means less sore for less time, but still able to work hard!), healthier digestion which aids endurance and overall performance, and it also allows your body to develop muscles and shed fat with more ease (and you’ll have more of a shot maintaining it.)
Everything I’ve said, of course, is just my personal experience. In fact, I’m thrilled that I’m finally writing it all down because when I’m feeling that the last thing I want to do is get off my butt and do 10 squats, it will help motivate me. Eventually, remembering these positive feelings, and embracing the feeling of being strong, limber, and fit, will help me maintain a consistent exercise schedule. At least, the gaps between times when I’m working out consistently and times when I’m spotty are getting shorter in length and less frequent. Victory!
How do you motivate yourself to stay working out or get back on the wagon if you’ve taken a little too much time away? How do you feel when you consistently maintain a workout schedule?
After a gross hiatus from exercise, I am getting back on track officially today. That means at least 1 hour of physical activity each day and also a protein smoothie to add nutrition and help build fitness. I got rid of my vehicle lately, which has forced me to start walking everywhere. I have done this before, and every time I’m in a pattern of walking, I tend to get more and more motivated to work out and get stronger and be able to zip around town on my own two feet. I will be biking again soon, but feel not strong enough quite yet. I need to exercise for a week or so and then hop back on. My plan is to gain energy and confidence in myself again before my 1 month vacation in January (heading back to my hometown in California – 29 palms! I’m even doing a 10 day silent meditation retreat, but I’ll have to write about that later.) I do feel pretty good most of the time, but I’m getting a bit squishy after this hiatus from real exercise. So yea, time to step it up again.
Today’s workout was 45 minutes on the Cross Ramp, interval setting, alternating between resistance 1 and 8. I hovered around 115-125 strides per minute. (This is my first attempt at actually tracking progress with speed, resistance, and when it comes to strength training, the weight that I’m using.) I also walked 4 miles total, as it’s 1.5 miles each way to the gym and then another mile to the grocery store.
I feel GREAT right now. Remember that! Note to self: you feel GREAT right now. I can’t wait to go sweat it out some more.
That’s how it’s really been my entire weight loss journey. I’ll begin by really buckling down and keeping a food log and exercise log. Then eventually I get into the rhythm of how good it feels to maintain health, and I stop tracking it, but then that leads to me cheating here and there and falling a bit off track. My “off track” days used to mean slices of vegan carrot cake and 300 calorie vegan cookies and chocolate bars and salt and pepper potato chips and fried buffalo seitan and popcorn drenched in Earth Balance (all former cravings even after lifestyle change!) I don’t crave most of those things too often now. My cravings tend to centralize around savory foods and not sweet ones. I do have a very fond attachment to Daiya Cheese and like to use it in several dishes. I had been using a lot of Earth Balance and Daiya lately, and that’s my “off track” cheat now. But today? Right now? After hitting the gym and sipping on this smoothie? I don’t feel cravings for ANY of that. I think this really the key in weight loss or any type of struggle really. Remember, make a mental note (or physical – write it down!) about how good you feel, your energy level, your confidence level. If you feel sexy, remember that! It will help motivate you on the days when its a bit harder to get your workout in. And another thing to remember, that food that nourishes, such as this protein smoothie, will taste even better the more your body needs the nutrients to refuel. The more you feed your body the fuel it needs, the more you’ll actually feel like working out. And the more you feed your body nutrient-dense foods, the less you’ll crave empty calories. Your body won’t want that crap anymore, trust me. It’s a positive cycle.
So, I’m going to make a protein smoothie with baby spinach. The reason I specifically start any kind of reset or “back on track” period of time with a smoothie is because of how much nutrition it packs in for not a lot of calories or really energy to digest. It’s already liquid!
OKAY – so what’s in my smoothie today??
- 2 cups organic unsweetened soymilk
- 1 large organic banana
- 1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
- 1 heaping scoop Lifetime Life’s Basics Plant Protein (hemp, chia, rice, and pea)*
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil**
*This protein is my absolute favorite. It tastes GREAT just even on its own. Even to someone not used to protein powders. It’s soy-free, gluten-free, dairy-free. And it packs a great nutritional punch. Find it on Amazon.com for the best deal. They have a Subscribe & Save program where you can get it on autoship each month (or however often) and you get free shipping and 15% off too. Crazy!
**In a recent post, I explained the benefits of getting healthy fats from whole foods and how I’m a supporter of limiting (or eliminating, ideally) all refined oils. I have never cooked with or consumed coconut oil. I have heard through the grapevine that it is extremely healthy for you, even from people who generally don’t consume extracted oils. (Must be virgin coconut oil – unrefined.) The consensus seems to be that coconut, flax, and hemp seed oils are still very beneficial to our bodies. The big difference being that these oils are often just extracted and not refined. Since they haven’t gone through that processing, many of the healthy fats are still intact and have not been destroyed through heating.
The benefits of coconut oil that I’m interested in gaining include nicer hair and skin, healthier digestion and metabolism, effective weight loss, and increased immune support. Before beginning to consume an oil like this on a regular basis, I want to make sure I understand WHY it is so beneficial. The knowledge behind the healthy benefits of certain foods is really what motivates me to try new things and increase the nutritional density of every meal.
So let’s start with the benefits to hair and skin. I have been using coconut oil externally for approximately 6 months now (on and off) as both a deodorant and moisturizer. What I’ve noticed is that my skin feels smoother for longer, it tends to have a nicer overall hue, and just looks generally more healthy and less blemished. Coconut oil is also antimicrobial. Using it as a deodorant helps kill the bacteria which cause bad body odor. (Of course, body odor is affected by what we eat as well. A clean diet will definitely result in less of a toxic smell from your pits.) And since its moisturizing and antimicrobial, it works great to help heal cuts or skin abrasions or other problems. It also makes sense that if coconut oil has these properties, that consumed internally, it would help boost the immune system in fighting free radicals. Also, the healthy fats will help increase skin elasticity and keep it looking healthy from inside too!
As far as metabolism and weight loss are concerned, it seems to be that coconut oil behaves differently than other oils due to medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs). When fat is consumed, the fat is broken down and sent into the bloodstream and directly to the cells. The MCFAs in coconut oil are actually sent to the liver instead, where they convert to energy the same way that carbohydrates would. This quick efficient boost of energy speeds the metabolism, which could help boost weight loss!
And now that I’m way off track… how about a photo of that smoothie I’m sipping on? And then I’m off to work on some sprouted grain breads!
Approximate Nutrition Facts
Calories from fat: 211
Total fat: 23.6 g
Saturated fat: 13.7 g
Sodium: 384 mg
Potassium: 1356 mg
Carbohydrates: 67.4 g
Fiber: 13.2 g
Sugar: 36.57 g
Protein: 42.8 g
Last night, I did yoga for the first time in probably a month or more. My favorite to get back into it is a relaxing routine found on Netflix Watch Instantly, “Candlelight Yoga.” It’s perfect for right before bed.
I was feeling like I wasn’t going to be able to get much of a good stretch in, but that at least I would be starting the routine. Once I got going, though, I actually surprised myself. It always amazes me how quickly the body responds. And then I remember, if I do this every day, think of how great and limber you’ll be!
It took me a long time to get into yoga, because the “fat girl” perception is that it’s about twisting and contorting your body, requiring a lot of flexibility, and really, that’s not what makes you good at your practice. It’s all about the breathing and learning to release tension. Sure, that can eventually translate into releasing tension on and around the muscles to get very flexible and limber, but in the beginning, it should just be about breathing and feeling where the breath goes. Once I figured out how to “breathe out” a muscle, the stretching came very easily and naturally and felt correct for my body. That’s another thing to remember. Sometimes you’ll get a full stretch on in one pose, and then others you might only get 1/3 or 1/2 the way. Don’t tear anything, yoga’s a workout but also supposed to RELAX, remember?
I think yoga would have benefited me especially when I was heavier to allow me to connect more with my body. I had no care of really how I felt, or what I was doing to my body, because I didn’t understand that it was so valuable. I didn’t understand that there was another CHOICE (I believe now that obesity is a choice. There’s a way out of it for everyone, if you really want to live.) I had no knowledge that stretching and exercise could really make me feel better, despite how difficult and depressing it may have been during my attempts. Once you start to learn that your body is not just some blubbery flesh sock filled with blood and guts, and realize that your body is more of a vehicle, a home to yourself. Think about what happens when a car sits without moving. Tires rot, rust creeps up, engine gets filled with dirt and dust. You have to get it moving, get it running. Our bodies are no different.