Dinnertime in our house is some kind of special. There should be an award for moms who cook clean meals that a 3-year-old successfully consumes. I REALLY try to avoid having to cook 2 different meals; but sometimes, that’s the easiest route. Easier than having to negotiate, bargain, convince and persuade a 3-year-old about how delicious their food is if they’d only take a bite. Just. One. Bite. There’s nothing worse than a 3-year-old spotting that one fleck of black pepper than got away from the adult version of dinner and pointing at her meal as if it’s frog’s legs topped with snail gravy, and pushing her plate away, while I hang my head in defeat. Once I get that first bite in, I’m golden.
So, when I find a dish that the whole family LOVES and it’s on my meal plan, I consider my whole day to be a success. This meal is one of those times I hit the dinnertime jackpot. I’m currently doing a 3 week Beachbody program called Shift Shop. The nutrition plan is pretty intense and gets more intense each week. It eliminates grains and gluten from the diet. Basically, just sticking to meats, fruits, and veggies. I’ve had to branch out with my dinner ideas since many of my tried and true backups aren’t Shift Shop approved. So, this here is a healthier, CLEANER spin on an old classic. I ALWAYS make my own spaghetti sauce from scratch, as opposed to the jarred stuff. Those contain lots of preservatives, unnecessary sweeteners, dyes, and other ingredients that add absolutely no value to me. Plus, I think my sauce tastes better :)
Kid Tested, Shift Shop Approved Spaghetti Squash Turkey Spaghetti
1 Spaghetti Squash (more if you want to make bulk, plus it freezes well)
Olive Oil (or any cooking oil, a couple of drizzles per squash)
1 tbsp olive oil (or any cooking oil)
1 lb ground turkey
1 tbsp minced garlic
8 oz. sliced mushroom
1 can diced tomatoes (you can use fresh)
1 small can tomato paste (canned)
1 can tomato sauce (canned, make sure it’s just pure tomato sauce, no additives or other ingredients)
1 can water
2 tsp. basil (fresh or dried)
2 tsp. Italian seasoning (get it HERE)
Salt and pepper to taste
I usually make a large batch of the spaghetti sauce and freeze in freezer bags. To thaw, remove from freezer and set in room temp water until thawed. Once thawed, heat in a sauce pan until heated through. I froze 5-6 bags when I was pregnant, which made for easy and speedy freezer meals after baby was born.
I hope you and your little ones and families enjoy this dish as much as we did!
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.
I’m a runner. If you’ve read previous posts, you’d know I run…I run a lot. Or, rather, I ran a lot. Competing in at least one race each month.
BS (before Saylor) I ran 6 days a week. I didn't focus on strength training, and I could feel it in my running. I couldn't lose weight, I was flabby, and running was causing me injuries due to lack of core and leg muscle strength. Other parts of my body would over compensate and end up injured. BUT I needed that mental challenge that running provides. That feeling of knowing I'm doing something hard. Something everyone is capable of doing, but few people actually do.
AS (after Saylor) fast forward - weight gain, nausea, fatigue, and a lack of motivation would keep me from running during pregnancy. Throw in a stroller, and I found myself really hating running. It made me sad to not enjoy or even DO my favorite hobby. I needed a workout, one I could do from home with minimal space and minimal time. Beachbody was it! And it’s working for me. I've seen more improvement in strength, agility, and muscle tone/weight loss than I ever did with running alone.
If you can read my shirt in the pic, it says RUN. That's right people! Instead of pressing play on my Beachbody workout this morning, I pressed play on my outdoor run on my GPS app. GASP! It's okay to take on a self challenge with your own workout every once in a while. As long as you aren't pressing play on your 1.5 mile stroll around the block. It’s easy to say “instead of pressing play, I’ll do my own thing today”. Eventually, your own thing turns into sitting on the couch binge watching Netflix. TRUST me…I’ve been there more times than I can count. The momentum of being active needs fuel. The less you fuel it, the faster it burns out and the faster you’re asking yourself where that 20 lbs came from!
This morning, Jose watched Saylor so I could have some ME time and focus on the physical and mental challenge of running on my own. As you can tell by my beet red face (this is after showering and sitting down), I had a phenomenal run! That's no filter, people! The strength I've built over the last month made me feel like I have a much smaller gap to close to get to my personal best run. I don't have to run 6 days a week! I just have to be active! I've also learned the importance and value of adding strength training to my workouts as opposed to exclusively cardio. Not only does it make me a better runner, but it makes daily tasks like chasing Zoë, cleaning the house, unloading groceries easier than running alone did. From now on, I'll save my morning run as a special treat to enjoy when I need some me time
By the way, if you’re ever looking for something to give you that extra energy when running, walking, working out, etc. I use sport beans by Jelly Belly. They are MUCH tastier than Gu or any of the liquid energy packs and come in a variety of flavors. I could actually eat these like candy. Here’s a link to them on Amazon.