Where did she go?

I know I have been gone from WordPress for a very long time.

I have been updating several times daily on Twitter and Instagram:

Twitter: @iusedtobefatter

Instagram: @cteck9

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. πŸ™‚

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. ❀

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Vegetable ‘pasta’ with raw walnut basil pesto

The past couple of days I have been fighting a teeny tiny respiratory infection. Yesterday I fasted, except for water and lemon/ginger/cayenne shots.

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The three combined are a powerful healing concoction. If you can’t stomach the intense flavor in one shot, you can cook it into a tea too. I did 4 of these yesterday and felt good most of the day. Last night was rough again though, with coughing, and my fever kept lingering at the breaking point so it was impossible to stay asleep for more than a half hour at a time. The stinks! I allowed myself to stay in bed a bit later until it felt right to get up.

Before bed and after waking up, I worked on some healing meditations. If you’re ever looking for guided meditations, there’s a ton out there on Google and Youtube – including ones for things as specific as fertility and flying for the first time. I will definitely be using that second one, as I’ve booked a flight (for the first time in my life!) for June to visit my mom in North Carolina. I have an intense anxiety related to public transportation, and don’t even take the bus. So, for me to book this flight, and be willing to go through the process alone, is a big step. I’ve talked through the worry about it with myself. It’s not a fear of the plane crashing. For some reason, I’m afraid of doing it wrong. Getting lost, getting on the wrong plane, looking stupid. That’s the same fear as with even the public bus system. But it’s something I’m working through. I bet once I get on a plane, taking the bus will seem like no sweat at all. πŸ™‚ One meditation I completed for healing involved imagining the production of white blood cells and using these to “go to war” against the infection. That was a funny visual.

Beyond the physical healing, I’ve been working on some serious emotional healing. Again, I’ve been utilizing meditation quite a bit. Last night, I used one on Youtube designed to reduce night terrors. At one point, I vividly visualized caricatures of the words Panic, Anxiety, Paranoia, Stress, Worry, and Fear. I placed these words in jail cells locked behind a big wooden closed door. I also put a collection of images that cause me these feelings, including recent fights and worries and past traumas. I sealed the door shut and put Conan and Thor (my childhood rottweilers) guarding the door. The word-people were also gagged and knocked unconscious with ether. Because hey, why not. It was a funny image that really put things into perspective and honestly made me feel pretty good. I didn’t have any night terrors last night, but it was still a restless night because I’m sick. I’m excited to see what kind of results I get with this process when I’m feeling physically healthy as well. I’ve also spent time just reading and looking at motivational and inspiration quotes online that are reassuring and build strength. My favorite one at the moment which I keep reminding myself of: “Don’t let your struggle become your identity.”

The funny thing about all of these meditations and visualizations that I’ve been doing is that the more I do them, the sillier the anxiety and fear and worry is becoming. What a powerful tool. The goal is to be able to relax on command in tough situations. Today, I had some drama, and I actually got through it and didn’t freak out! Yay!

This morning I had a fresh made juice from carrots, local asparagus, apples, and ginger. It was all I had on hand but I knew I needed the nutrients. Then I had a big bowl of steamed broccoli with a little Earth Balance and Daiya cheese. I wanted to use that up as I’m working on my transition to a mostly raw diet for the summer. I want to do July entirely raw. So I’m building up to it.

I ordered this neat little tool through Groupon Goods a few weeks ago and it finally came in.

You can use it for rings of veggies for salads, curly fries, etc. I was most excited to use it for raw veggie ‘pasta’ and things like dehydrated fruit rings. It will make it very easy to slice thin slices for the dehydrator, which is helpful since I don’t have a good working mandoline at the moment.

So today, I ALMOST decided to just cook pasta with roasted veggies on the side because I wanted something warm, but I decided to give this a go instead. I rarely eat pasta and it seemed too heavy anyway. You can combine the ‘pasta’ mixture and pesto raw and eat as is. I chose to steam the ‘pasta’ for just about 3 minutes just to heat it up. Like I said, I wanted something warm.

Vegetable ‘pasta’ with raw walnut basil pesto

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 summer squash
  • 1/4 cup raw walnuts
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp filtered water (more as needed)
  • 1 small heirloom tomato
  1. Begin by cutting the zucchini and summer squash. If you have a spiral slicer, feel free to make some spaghetti style pieces. If not, cut into small pieces about the same size as pasta.

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2. Combine the walnuts, basil, garlic, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and water in Vitamix or food processor. Add more water as needed to reach desired consistency.

3. If you are choosing to eat the meal raw, combine ‘pasta’, pesto, and tomato in a bowl and enjoy.

4. If you want the meal warm, steam veggie ‘pasta’ for just 2-3 minutes. Don’t overcook or it will become mush. Combine with pesto and tomatoes and enjoy!

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I love new kitchen toys! And THIS- was delicious. I know this will be something I use a bunch this summer to create raw dishes. Mmm sundried tomato sauce.

PS- I’ve got radishes, broccoli, and spinach sprouting in my garden!


Catching up, starting over

(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. πŸ™‚

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.

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The archway into the second half of the backyard.

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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.

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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. πŸ™‚

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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!

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I FINALLY got a Vitamix!…and “You are what you eat.”

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!)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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! πŸ˜€

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. πŸ™‚ 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.

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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. πŸ˜‰

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:Β 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…


Thursday and the open-faced tofu egg sandwich

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 veryΒ  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.

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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. πŸ˜‰

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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?

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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. πŸ™‚

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!

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Admitting to my depression and addiction to food: where do I go from here?

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. πŸ™‚ 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!!

 


Juice feast day 7: breaking the fast, recap, and what’s next

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!

 

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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.

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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! πŸ˜‰

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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.

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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…