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.
It's been a loooong while since I've posted, and most people have no clue this blog exists. I spent quite a bit of time debating on starting a new blog, or leveraging this one. After many arguments with myself, I've decided to resurrect it, modify it, and begin to document my progress from post-baby bod to beach-bod...or at least a bod I don't mind walking around half naked on a beach with. So, here it goes...
Many of you who've known me for a long time, know that I've always been chubby. Until about 6 years ago, I'd gotten fed up with feeling uncomfortable and insecure all the time. I'd pushed past my heaviest. Clothes didn't fit. I was miserable. It clicked that the only way I was going to become happy, healthy, and confident was if I put in the effort and determination and did it myself. No one could do this for me.
So, I began a journey on my own of health and fitness that got me to a 50 lb weight loss. I was happier, more comfortable, and more confident than I'd ever been in my entire life. I maintained this weight loss until I became pregnant...
I rapidly gained weight for a total 50 lb pregnancy weight gain, far surpassing my max weight goal. I felt anxious during and after baby if I'd be able to lose the weight. I'm older and have less time to focus on my health, so thought for sure I wouldn't be able to lose it and I'd have to buy a whole new wardrobe I didn't feel comfortable in.
So, I decided I needed to tackle this with a full arsenal. I needed to add some tools to my toolbox. After thinking about it for nearly a year, I committed to become a Beachbody Coach. It encompasses all the practices I followed the first time around, but adds in so many tools to keep me accountable and on track...that way I'm not having to come up with tracking, scheduling, recipes, etc. on my own.
As uncomfortable as it is to put myself out there and share my weight loss story, I'm sharing a before pic from 2011 and after pic from 2013.
Also, here's a pic of me and Saylor opening my Beachbody Challenge pack. I'm too excited about it, so I had to add it in. It's like Christmas!
So, here's to being accountable! I'll be sharing videos of my workouts like my VERY first Beachbody workout, recipes, nutrition information, tips, all things wellness.
Comment if you’ve found yourself nodding along as you read my post or are interested in joining me on my journey to becoming the healthiest, fittest, milf-iest mom in town!
July 17th Blog Post – 1….Me – 0
Okay, so maybe the 6th time’s the charm with finishing this blog post. I seriously don’t know what my problem is with finishing this one! Sorry if this post is a little choppy or all over the place, as I was in a different mood every time I picked it up, so bear with me. ..
I’ve continued with my running and have done my June and July since my last post. Talk about sweltering heat in Texas. It doesn’t matter what time of morning, it’s hot, hot HOT! Here are a couple of pics from those races.
“There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still.” FDR
I’m breaking my routine. I’ve always hunkered down and followed my routine, resisting anything that might cause me to deviate from the norm. This usually means sitting on the couch and watching my shows. Anything that I was obligated to do outside of this would give me anxiety. I’d count down the minutes until I could get home and back on track. Now, I enjoy doing different things. And I don’t get upset, or thrown off if it’s not part of the routine. Dinner in the middle of the week? Sounds fantastic! Moving my evening run to a morning run? No problem! It is actually a refreshing feeling to be free of my former self. I never thought of myself as a high maintenance person, but now I’m seeing that on the inside, I really was high maintenance on myself.
I’ve been getting back into my running groove. Slowly and surely, since injuring myself. And then a bout of the stomach flu. I’m not quite back to where I was, but I’m slowly getting there. I realized, I didn’t post anything about my May race. This one was a 5k that started at my old high school. I ran it by myself, but my dad actually came up and watched me start and finish. That was really special to me. Then, we went for a huge breakfast. I also recorded my personal best time in a race making it in under 28 minutes! I have my June race this weekend. It’s an obstacle course race that I’m doing with some friends. It will be really fun and messy!
My sister and I recently took a road trip to the Grand Canyon as like a last sister trip before she moves to Florida. Here are some highlights of our trip...
Our camping trip got cut short. We fell asleep shortly after setting up camp due to sheer exhaustion and the fact that it was too cold to be outside of the tent. The next day was spent checking out our surroundings and touring the Grand Canyon.
That evening, we got hit with an unexpected and unseasonable cold front, which we were not prepared for in both attire and bedding. At first, it started with a little rain. Okay, we can deal. Then the freezing rain started to pelt our campsite. Um, sure… no problem. Then, the thick snow started to fall. Having left our parkas and snowshoes at the outdoors store, these Texan gals were not cut out for that, so we quickly shoved everything into the SUV (soaking wet and covered in mud) into the car. Now, take note that we had strategically packed everything into the car so that it fit just so, with no room to spare. We did not have the time, patience, or warm clothes to take the time to do this. We made an unexpected, hasty getaway to beautiful Sedona. Imagine opening the trunk to the car when we got to the hotel that night. We spent the next day in a parking lot reorganizing all of our gear. I don’t want to complain too much, this was our view while we loaded everything in.
I want to take a second to marvel at the beauty that is Sedona. I have never seen a place so spectacular in its beauty. Even with the overcast weather, I still got a glimpse at how incredibly beautiful this place is. I think, if it can take my breath away in this kind of weather, imagine what it will do when it’s sunny, clear, and 80 degrees. Arizona made me feel calm, at ease, in mind, body, and spirit. I felt like my heart truly belongs there.
Like David Bowie sings about, changes are on the horizon for me! The time has come for my graduation. All of the years, hard work, and especially the writing and effort put in this last semester has made this moment much anticipated. I wrote my Capstone and created the presentation to deliver to the Capstone Forum. This semester was very demanding, but it was a wonderful experience. I can’t imagine doing it not sober. I would not have appreciated the experience and my Capstone would not have turned out as good as it did. Now, I feel like I hardly get a break before I start all over again. I’m working on compiling all of the requirements to submit my application to another master’s program in rehabilitation counseling. This type of education will be completely different from the type that I’m accustomed to. Not only in content, but in style since it is a distance learning format. I’m very excited about this endeavor and moving toward a career change. It will be hard, but totally worth it.
A lot has been going on with me as of late. It seems that I’m at the doctor or physical therapy multiple times a week. I used to be terrible about going to the doctor for any kind of ailment. I’d often schedule appointments and then cancel them as soon as I sensed any kind of relief. Anything that threw me off of my routine was not something I wanted to sign up for. I’ve really made a point to make this year a year that I take care of Me. Now I’m working on getting the rest of me in tip top shape. Ironically, I’ve had a few setbacks with injuries, but these have sort of been blessings in disguise. I’m learning more about my body and getting to know myself physically.
One of the many things I’ve done to improve my health is to start taking daily supplements. I was always a skeptic of supplements. And part of me still is. The old me would have stuck with taking a daily supplement for a week or two and then given up. My mom always nagged me to start taking a multivitamin. I would scoff and think it’s a load of crap. In part of taking care of Me this year, I had my general practitioner do a blood test to test for vitamin deficiencies. I highly recommend you get a vitamin deficiency panel done. This can help you more accurately pinpoint any issues, whether mental or physical ailments.
When I got the test done, I’d already started taking supplements, but I could feel in my body that something was a little off. It was the dead of winter and with enough research I figured I had a vitamin D deficiency. Here is a link to symptoms of vitamin D deficiency. Some of these symptoms are very unpleasant and most commonly result in depression. So, if you find yourself feeling a little down in the winter months, this could very possibly be a contributing factor. Sure enough, that was the really significant deficiency that came back on my results. I added a vitamin D supplement to my daily intake and made sure to stand in the limited sunlight that was available during the winter months.
I experiment with a variety of vitamins and supplements that I contribute to improving my quality of life. A year and a half ago, I ate an extremely clean diet. No processed foods or refined grains or sugar. It was a very hard thing to do and ended up consuming my life. Granted, I was still consuming copious amounts of alcohol while “getting healthy”. Everything I learned during that time of clean eating has helped me find a happy medium. I avoid most dyes and additives, to an extent.
The things I learned while living a clean diet surprisingly became useful when choosing the supplements that I would take. I found that certain brands like Nature Made add the toxic Yellow # whatever to many of their capsules. What the hell for?! I don’t get it. I can’t stress enough, ALWAYS READ THE LABELS! The name of a product is no indication of what actually goes in it. I found a multivitamin formulated for women that I really like. You can check it out HERE.
There are some supplements that I take that I probably won’t continue once I finish the bottle. However, here is a list of everything else that I could not live without.
I know this seems like a lot of vitamins, but I just portion them into a weekly pill case once a week. It doesn’t take a whole lot of time, and I feel much better since taking them. In fact, I stopped taking the Sun Theanine, being the skeptic that I am. About two weeks after taking it, I noticed a significant change in my mood. After analyzing what might be causing this, and trying to wait it out in case it was a monthly thing, I ordered my Sun Theanine and I’m back in business.
What are some supplements you all can’t live without?
Next week, my sister and I will be heading on a week long camping trip to Arizona. I will be able to disconnect, go off the grid, focus on my health and fitness, and connect with nature. Hopefully, I will come back refreshed and relaxed…though, my parents may end up down a daughter with our head butting! But how can we argue when we will be staring at views like this…
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!