Okay, so I want to post some tips about clean eating. It can get a bit overwhelming. The number 1 thing I can’t stress enough is to READ THE LABELS. I’ve posted an example below from a popular breakfast cereal:
This example has corn syrup, hydrogenated vegetable oils, caramel color, artificial flavors, BHT to add freshness to the packaging (wtf?!). Not to mention the vitamins and minerals the company adds to the product to give it some sort of nutritional value.
If you can’t pronounce it, put it back on the shelf. A good rule of thumb is if it has more than 5 ingredients, move along. I know what you’re thinking “but it tastes so good!” Well, of course it “tastes good”. These processed food companies make sure of that. If it didn’t taste good, you wouldn’t buy it, and they wouldn’t make money. These ingredients aren’t found in mother nature and add to the color, flavor, texture, or preserving of food items. Those unclean ingredients are responsible for a plethora of ailments, including:
These foods are addictive. When you first cut them out by switching to a clean diet, you can experience some withdrawal and detox symptoms. The good news is, that is your body’s way of showing you it’s getting rid of bad stuff. Make sure to drink tons of water to help with the elimination of these toxins. Once you get over that hump, it’s smooth sailing. The cravings go away, you’ll feel better, get sick less often, can think more clearly, and just be an all-around happier, healthier YOU.
Eating clean also allows your body to work at it’s highest level of efficiency. Without all the toxins and chemicals bogging it down, it can focus on using food for fuel and speeding up metabolism. Per a reader’s request, I’ve included the recipe for my Shrimp and Chicken Curry. This turned out delicious, and it looks pretty too J All of the fat content (coconut milk and oil) is good, healthy fat that actually boosts metabolic rates.
SHRIMP AND CHICKEN CURRY
I adapted my recipe from JoCooks.
*Note: This dish can be served on its ow, or paired with rice.
12 shrimp (I used frozen)
Juice of one lemon
1/8 tsp cayenne
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp coconut oil (divided, you can find it HERE)
1 lb chicken breast (cubed)
1 cup chopped broccoli (fresh or frozen)
1 Green bell pepper (diced)
1 onion (diced)
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger (I get mine HERE which is a HUGE time saver)
1 can Organic coconut milk (full fat, I get mine HERE)
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Curry powder (I get mine HERE)
1 can diced tomatoes (drained)
Salt and pepper to taste
I hope you enjoy! Let me know how it turns out. Chow!
What is clean eating? The short answer is: clean eating means one refrains from eating processed foods. If you can't pronounce the ingredient, or it didn't come from God's green earth, it's out. The details of this can vary slightly from individual to individual; but in the long run, it's a healthy take on what you put in your mouth.
Clean eating has been a priority of mine for the last 4-5 years or so. I used to have the WORST diet! Fast food, processed, prepackaged, gimmicky diet. I loved going out to eat, ESPECIALLY during my lunch break. Talk about calories and $$$$ down the drain. I packed on the pounds FAST. I was not eating to fuel my body. Even when I started to lose weight by tracking my calories, I still wasn’t properly fueling my body. Granted my bank account was healthier, but the Lean Cuisines I took to work were far from nutritious. I was still eating packaged junk. BUT, it was a start. Baby steps to begin making the right choices I needed to take my body to optimal health.
Depending on where you’re starting, it can be overwhelming to think about making a change when you picture where you want to be. Which can lead to lack of motivation and success. That’s why it’s important to start with just one thing. Get that down, then add on another component. Once I had the portion and tracking in place, it was easy to start incorporating other changes throughout the months.
So, I have a lot of people asking me about my recipes. I'm going to start documenting them, not only so I don’t forget what I put in something the next time I’m craving it, but also so people can make their own version. I’ll set up a quick link on my page that goes straight to recipe posts. Easy peasy! Sometimes I just come up with something on my own, and other times I get inspiration from Pinterest or Google, and then modify the heck out of it. Hey, being in the service industry for so long made me become a major recipe modifier offender. It got boring eating the exact. same. menu. item. every. single. day.
I’ll start with the recipe for this super summery, light shrimp pasta. I completely made this up off the top of my head, so I’ll try to get the measurements right.
LEMON AND GOAT CHEESE SHRIMP PASTA
1 tbs. butter
1 head broccoli
3 cloves garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup (uncooked) Red and White Quinoa Macaroni (get it HERE)
¼ cup shredded parmesan
2 tbs. goat cheese
I don’t think we ever get to a point of perfect, healthy living. Do I eat clean every meal of every day of every week? Heck no! But, I don’t beat myself up about it, and I pick back up when I stumble. Tracking what I eat is a really eye opening experience. If you’ve never kept a journal of what you eat throughout the day, I challenge you to give it a try. If only for a week. I use MyFitnessPal to help me keep track of my meals. Once you start doing this, you’ll be amazed at how many calories there really are in that sandwich, or “healthy salad” or side of ranch dressing. These things start adding up. It really takes a mental shift in how we perceive food for a lifestyle change to happen. And that’s when you’ll start seeing results.
Let me know if you have any tricks, or helpful apps in keeping your diet on track. Anything that makes it easier and convenient will help us remove the excuses that keep us from sticking with it.
A quick update on me. The accident prone, clumsy-ass that I am fell last Sunday while visiting my parents. I have a micro fracture in my left patella, and a sprained right ankle. I’m a limping, groaning mess. I’m not able to run for a couple of weeks, but I hope to be back up and running in time to run my May race. Fingers crossed. I’m thinking of signing up for one in Arizona when my sister and I take our Southwest road trip toward the end of the month. Here’s to a speedy recovery!
So, a topic that I've been meaning to bring up is about some of my health and beauty routines. Back when I was attempting to rid my life of all unhealthy toxins I experimented with quite a few, interesting techniques. Everything we use on a daily basis, from our beauty routine to our cleaning supplies, is chock full of chemicals and toxins. Since our skin is the largest organ of our body, and the first to come in contact with these chemicals, you can imagine the overtime our body has to take in order to detox and rid our bodies of these foreign molecules. Many studies and experiments have been done on this subject and the results are staggering (I won’t go into them at this time, but you can easily google them). Since I knew my body was working so hard to when I was eating clean, I figured I could help it out a bit by removing a few of these items from my lifestyle.
For a short time, I did no-poo for my hair wash routine (I know it sounds gross, but google it). I have since settled on a low-poo hair care routine that is much more manageable. I’m slowly switching out beauty products and cleaning products to more natural versions (don’t trust the name, READ the ingredients label, people!) And I went on a totally clean diet at one point. Well, we all know how that’s going now with my gummy bear diet, and all. I've actually restrained the sugar monster, some. It’s a work in progress. Anyway, I really wanted to become a much healthier person than I’d been. I've read so much about how “you are what you eat” and so many chemicals in processed food contribute to anxiety and depression (something I know we are all familiar with) and the impact to the overall quality of life. The main change that I've made and kept is with my dental routine. I know what you all are thinking, that is a really risky routine to mess around with. Trust me, I know. I have an odd obsession with my teeth and I’m fairly proud of them. So, I really did not want to jack this experiment up. I believe my mom even said I would have to pay her back for all the dental work she paid to make my teefs look so pretty.
Alright, so you’re probably wondering, what did she change?! Well, for one, I started making my own toothpaste. It took a while to get used to, since the marketing and commercial world have convinced us that if something is super sudsy and foamy, then it must not be working. Well, I hate to break it to you, but those suds and foams and bubbles are most added using chemical ingredients that have a chemical reaction when you use them, the by-product being the glorious lather. The suds aren't serving any purpose to the effectiveness of the soap, shampoo, toothpaste, etc. except to invade your body with unnecessary evils that it will later have to work to detox. Poison. Why do you think it says to call poison control if ingested? Not good, y’all. This is the recipe that I pull from to make my own toothpaste. Here are the ingredients that I buy from Amazon:
Tea Tree Oil
And another added bonus? I save soooooo much money making my own. With this version, I really just add bentonite clay, peppermint castile soap, and filtered water. I switch it up each time. Eventually, you will find your own concoction that you like best.
Okay, so that’s not the end of my dental care routine. The most important part of my routine is possibly the most difficult to adjust to. But, man, once you get used to is, you can’t stop. So, I was always told (along with most Americans) that once your enamel has worn down, chipped, eroded, you can’t replace it. Well, I’m here to tell you that that is all a bunch of hokey. Sure you can’t remineralize your teeth if you’re applying harsh chemicals and abrasive crap to them. I’m sure that’s what the ADA and Colgate would love you to believe. Have you ever thought about how people kept their teeth clean BEFORE there were blue striped pastes and gels (don’t even get me started on the toxicity of the dyes they add). No, they did not just let their teeth rot out of their head before reaching adulthood. They used natural remedies to keep their teeth healthy. One of these old as time techniques is oil pulling. I started practicing oil pulling about a year and a half ago, and I've never looked back. you want to know more about oil pulling, look here. Or you can google it to find all the interesting, nerdy history stuff about it. Oil pulling is a method of dental and oral hygiene by pulling oil through your teeth. Take a teaspoon or more of oil (high quality, unrefined oil) and swish it in your mouth for 15-20 minutes. I know this sounds like torture, but you get used to it after the first week or so. It cleans, strengthens, and is even reported to help your body detox and rid toxins (something I know all of us could use). If I do it every morning after I wake up. While the timer is counting down, I pack my lunch, put away dishes, pick out my outfit, and I don’t even realize that I’m swishing. And it’s not like you have to do the dramatic, forceful swishing, just move the oil around your mouth enough to pull through all of the hidden nooks and crannies that your toothbrush can’t reach. When you’re done, spit the oil out in the trash can (never the sink!). Oil pulling actually allows the enamel on your teeth to strengthen and remineralize. Don’t listen to the lies of “once it’s gone, it’s gone.” Now, I’m not saying that it will eliminate the need for a root canal or grow back a missing tooth, but I've read that it can strengthen weak teeth and even repair small cavities. It also whitens your teeth (don’t expect them to whiten like you've dumped bleach or peroxide on them) and freshens breath. What’s not to love?!
I use a good quality, unrefined coconut oil (you can find it HERE), but I've heard you can use unrefined sesame oil or other oils. I buy coconut oil by the bucket because I use it for so many things that I will get to in other posts. Coconut oil is naturally antimicrobial and kills bacteria. What are cavities? Tooth damage caused by bacteria eating away at the enamel of your tooth. So, you all might be wondering what the dentist thinks of all this. Well, you can imagine how nervous I was at my first appointment after making this switch. I’m here to tell you and quote my dentist “my, this is one of the cleanest, healthiest mouths I’ve seen.” I don’t floss, unless I have something stuck in my teeth, because the oil pulling acts like floss moving through your teeth. It takes them no time at all to clean my teeth (and this is after waiting a bit longer than the recommended 6 months for a checkup). I've had two appointments since I've started this routine and each time he has just raved about the cleanliness of my teeth and I appreciate the no cavity report! I’m scheduling my third checkup soon. I will keep everyone posted.
So, there you have it. I oil pull for 15 minutes every morning, and follow up with a once over with my tooth brush and homemade toothpaste. I brush again before I go to bed and that’s it!
Okay, so this is just one of my little secrets for living a healthy lifestyle. I've even gotten my sister hooked on it!
I recently finished the The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell. Here is the description of the book by Amazon:
The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate. This widely acclaimed bestseller, in which Malcolm Gladwell explores and brilliantly illuminates the tipping point phenomenon, is already changing the way people throughout the world think about selling products and disseminating ideas.
If you're looking for an entertaining read that builds your personal development library, I highly suggest this book.
I ran my April 5k last weekend. I ran my fastest time and beat the goal I set for myself. Here is a pic of all of us at the finish line.
The weather has been unseasonably cold and snowy in Dallas. We typically get 1-2 ice days per winter, and usually in December or January. Here we are in March and we are snowed in...again. With actual snow, I might add, instead of sheets of ice and muddy slush that is typical of this region. I’m so ready for spring! Our average temps are easily in the 60s this time of year. I want to get outside, soak up some vitamin D, and be active OUTDOORS!
I’ve started collecting weights and other exercise tools so that I can still get a good workout in my home when weather or time does not permit me to go to the gym or get outdoors. I’ve found that when I don’t exercise, I crave the bad stuff more. Staying active is important for curbing those cravings or bouts of moodiness.
My house is spotless. I go around cleaning all of those nooks and crannies that normally get neglected on my cleaning days. Not to mention, it’s a great workout to move around and clean all day. I’ve also rearranged all of my living room furniture about 5 times. I think I’ve finally settled on a position for everything.
I’ve decided to dump cable and cut the cord. I watch too much TV as it is, and I don’t mind saving the $100 per month that I waste on rotting my brain. I've invested in a Roku to watch shows on apps. So, still rotting my brain, but at a cheaper price.
I’ve been collecting books from my family and friends to add to my reading list. I also found out that I can check out ebooks from my local library online. Not sure if this is a common thing with all library systems, but check with your local library! A reading habit can get expensive! The most popular reads for free? I’m sold!
So, to keep moving in the right direction with improving myself mind, body, and soul!
Here's a snowy pic from a Texas winter wonderland. Enjoy!
HI’ve picked up a long forgotten passion for reading. I mentioned this in previous posts, and I want to make sure that I’m documenting everything I’m reading whether it’s a book related to recovery or not. Last night I finished the book “Outliers:The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell. Now, many of you have probably read this book or at least have heard of it. If not, I highly recommend picking up a copy or skimming over the synopsis. This book is applicable to any individual in some aspect of their life. Basically, Gladwell discusses individual stories of success, such as Bill Gates. He analyzes the specific events that lead up to a person’s success and identifies details that are unique to their current situation and that which their success is dependent upon. Here are some quotes that stood out to me:
“Working really hard is what successful people do...”
This last quote really stands out to me. My whole life I’ve always used the excuse that “I was not born with that talent, skill, etc.” Well, I’m now realizing that thinking that is just exactly that. An excuse. I thought my body wasn’t made to run. But now I’m a runner. I’m tired of making excuses for my laziness, lack of motivation, or will. I’m a believer that if you are willing to do something, then you can do it. If you aren’t willing to do something, then you never will. Nothing you truly want comes easy; you have to work for it. Like Malcolm Gladwell says, it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become perfect at something. I think that’s true for anything, whether it be flying a plane or running. So, those of you struggling out there to live a healthier lifestyle, just think that the minutes, hours, days that you are successful contribute to your 10,000 hours of perfecting your life. That’s just under 417 days worth of hours. If you have the will, then you will. That doesn’t mean you won’t experience bumps in the road. But, when you do, just jump back up, and continue racking up those successes.
With those thoughts, I will end with saying, here’s to getting closer to my 10,000 hours.
Continuing on with man’s search for meaning, this weekend I attended a free lecture at my university. The topic was over Egyptology and the speaker is a celebrity in the field of all things Egypt. The nerd in me geeked out at the idea of voluntarily spending my Saturday night in a lecture hall learning about Egypt. In the past, I would have eventually talked myself out of attending such an event. Now, don’t get me wrong, the introvert and social anxiety within me bubbled up and tried to talk (more like YELL) me out of going many times. However, the new and improved me kept saying “what else are you gonna do? Sit at home and watch TV? You can do that after the lecture!” So, I went to the lecture with all of my anxiety buzzing and oozing out of me. Naturally, I was the only person under the age of 60 present in the room, which garnered quite a bit of attention from the older gentlemen who insisted on knowing my life’s story. Perfect scenario for a wallflower…NOT! I just wanted to put on my invisibility cloak and slide in under the radar. But, I made the best of the situation and mixed some smiles and mundane small talk in with my mumbles and nods. Overall, I’m glad I went and I look forward to attending similar events in the future.