Happier, whole living

Let’s get real.

For the past couple of weeks I haven’t felt like myself. I spoke a little bit about how I felt I had been eating too much sugar. Certainly drinking too much alcohol. And just overall giving in to my indulgences too freely.

In the moment, I get to indulge in simple pleasures. The next day (and for many days after) my emotions are all over the place, I regret the decisions I make, etc. It finally all culminated in all-out emotional crash this weekend. My friends can attest, it wasn’t pretty.

Once again, Gretchen Rubin’s advice on happiness comes to the rescue.

One thing I love about her is that she really explores why things that seemingly should make us happy (i.e. pleasurable indulgences) don’t actually result in happiness.

One of my favorite pieces of advice she gives is in the moderator/abstainer personality quiz where I learned that I, most definitely, am an abstainer.

You’re a moderator if you…
– find that occasional indulgence heightens your pleasure – and strengthens your resolve
– get panicky at the thought of “never” getting or doing something

You’re an abstainer if you…
– have trouble stopping something once you’ve started
– aren’t tempted by things that you’ve decided are off-limits

As Gretchen  says in the post, people are very judgmental of abstainers.

This is one of the difficulties I faced when I first decided to change my life, but I live best when I’m completely dedicated. All in. Don’t take a break.

Listen, you can’t always be perfect, but for me, taking an all-or-nothing approach results in consistency. I don’t believe in  cheat days, or days off.

As I mostly kept to myself this weekend, I had a lot of time to catch up on blog reading and stumbled upon the Whole9 website, creators of the Whole30 program.

Basically, it’s an all-or-nothing 30 day approach to the paleo diet.

For 30 days, you eat vegetables, fruit, meat, eggs, nuts and seeds, and fats like avocado, coconut and olive oil.

You don’t eat grains, legumes, dairy, white potatoes, alcohol, and a bunch of other junk.

Also, I won’t be counting calories.

When I first tried paleo eating, I took and 80/20 approach, which pretty much resulted in me eating a lot of eggs and meat and also a lot of froyo. The wiggle room killed me.

I also like that it’s about confronting the food addictions you have. The program is very clear that you should NOT try to make paleo versions of your favorite foods. It’s about learning to eat a different, cleaner way. Usually I’m not about doing things that aren’t sustainable, but this seems like it could really be an interesting learning experience for me and my body.

The Whole30 program is not about moderation. It’s about doing it. All out. The way I know how to do it.

I didn’t lose 80 (ehhh, ish) pounds by kind of living a different life. I changed everything about it. What I did, what I read, what I talked about, how I ate, how I went grocery shopping. I changed my definition of fun, my definition of healthy, my definition of relaxing. I changed how I hung out with my friends, how I spent my free time and most importantly, I changed how I thought about myself.

You either do it or you don’t. And it’s time to do it.

Breakfast, Whole30 style:

  • 1 egg + 1/3 cup egg whites scrambled with coconut oil
  • Green monster smoothie with 1 cup frozen spinach, 1 frozen banana, 1/2 an avocado, 1/4 cup frozen blueberries, 2 tsp coconut oil, enough water to blend
  • Coffee with unsweetened almond milk

 

Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal

First of all, I was overwhelmed in a really, really good way with all the comments I received on my last post – both on the blog, in person, in text message. Everything. I am humbled and grateful for the support of everyone in my life and on the internet. For that I have to say – Thank you.

It’s really scary for me to talk about things I’ve been strongly avoiding and holding back talking about my whole life. I never wanted anyone to know I binged, or felt out of control around food. It seemed like a weakness or some kind of failure on my part.

At the end of the day, I write this blog because I need to. Because putting words on a page (or a screen) is therapeutic. Writing is a huge stress reliever for me. That people might relate, might in some small way be connected or uplifted or changed by something I write – it fills me with hope and inspires me to keep going in the direction I’m going.

I’m taking each day moment by moment. Being kind to myself. Taking extra time to rest, reflect and feel present as change happens in my life (good change I can share with the blog soon!). I tend to freak out when I’m off my routine…and now that my lovely routine is about to completely change – albeit in a good way – I’m nervous. Part of being healthy is being able to adapt to change. Be flexible. Make room for new things. I’m getting better at it. Writing helps, and hearing from you, dear readers, that you relate, absolutely made my day.

I’m going to write a lot more about this in the future…but for now…a recipe!

Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal

serves four.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups quick-cook oats
  • 2 bananas, over-ripe
  • 1/4 cup of raisins
  • 1/4 cup of flaxmeal
  • 1-1/2 cup milk (your preference – I used almond milk)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

Here’s the thing – I’m impatient. You probably could  mix all the dry ingredients first. Then mix all the wet ingredients. Then combine in some slow, calculated manner. But I didn’t.

I put all of the ingredients in to one big bowl (then added “get more mixing bowls” to my food shopping list) and mashed everything together until it seemed like everyone had kind of gotten to know everyone else at the party. The delicious food party.

Then I divided the mixture into four ramekins, or, as I lovingly call them: Single Lady Baking Cups.

I forgot to spray the ramekins first – but you probably should.

If you don’t have single lady baking cups, or you’re not a single lady, feel free to use whatever baking dish you want. Muffin tins would also work for smaller portion sizes.

I popped the ramekins in the oven at 350 for about 35 minutes then checked every 5 minutes until they were done to my liking. The tops were brown and crunchy and the inside was soft and gooey. Perfect.

After they cooled for a while, I took them out of the ramekins and let them cool even more on a rack before sticking them in the refrigerator to eat during the week. In the morning I stick them the microwave for 2 minutes and enjoy with coffee 🙂

This was my first time experimenting with baked oatmeal and I can’t wait to do it again. It combines everything I love. Ripe bananas. Oatmeal. Cinnamon. And quick and healthy breakfasts.

Happy Friday and have a delicious weekend!

 

All in a day’s eats – WIAW

Hi there!

Let’s talk food 🙂

I have a confession to make, I get stuck on certain foods and just want to eat them over and over and over again.

Oatmeal? Every day.

Zucchini? Three a week.

Bananas? Can’t imagine a world without them.

My penchant for wanting the same foods over and over has solved a few common challenges that people run into when starting to eat healthier – mainly price and time.

There’s a myth that choosing healthy foods costs more money and that cooking (especially for one) takes a lot of time, but this could not be further from the truth.

I change up what I eat from week to week, but within the week I eat the same meal for lunch every day and the same meal for dinner every day. I’m on strict budget with grocery shopping and have a crazy work schedule, but this method of meal planning has been a savior for time, money and my weight. Here’s why:

1. Meal planning saves money. Every Sunday I browse Pinterest and some other recipe sites for meal ideas. I make my shopping list on my iPhone and then go into the supermarket knowing exactly what I need. I always want to try new foods, and if let loose I would buy up the entire fruit and produce section, so having a plan helps me stick to my budget. Before I started cooking I used to waste so much food because it would go bad before I could eat it, but that never happens anymore.

2. Meal planning saves time. With my plan set, I can prep all my lunches and dinners on the weekend so they are grab-and-go ready for during the week. This has helped me break any dependency on frozen meals, convenience foods and it ensures that I’m never tempted to eat out. Sometimes I’ll make one big dish (like soup or chili or a casserole) and portion it out to easily reheat during the week but other times I’ll have a set protein (like a turkey burger, chicken sausages or shrimp) and a few different veggies that I know I can quickly throw together for quick and simple dinners.

Why am I talking about all of this? Because I’ve decided to participate in the blogging phenomenon What I ate Wednesday. Below is every single thing I ate on Tuesday. I get questions all the time about what a typical day of food looks like for me – so here it is!

Breakfast: Stove-top oatmeal (1/2 cup oats; 2 tbsp flax meal; 1 banana; 1-1/2 cups water; tons of cinnamon). A giant cup of coffee with a generous pour of unsweetened almond milk. I also had another coffee with soy milk mid-morning.

Lunch: 2 hard-boiled eggs; a container filled with broccoli, carrots and cucumbers; 1/4 cup hummus (homemade – so much cheaper!); 1 cheese stick; 1/2 oz raw almonds

Snack: 100 g of grapes; 30 g of avocado (Yes, I really do weigh everything. I would cry if my food scale broke)

Dinner: 2 chicken sausages; 1/2 zucchini; 10 asparagus

Dessert: 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt; 1oo g blueberries

It’s also…weigh-in Wednesday…so here we go:

The Numbers:

Starting weight: 243

Last week: 166.5

This week: 167

Change: +.5

Total loss: 76

Ready, set, health!

Are you as happy as I am that it’s finally Friday?? I’ve had a busy week jam packed with all things health. Here are a few highlights of what I’ve been doing, reading and eating.

1. Learning everything I can about shin splints and how to prevent them. The most common factor? Runner’s World says it’s “too much, too soon.”

Here’s some more advice from No Meat Athlete, Live, Laugh, Eat and Gizmodo.

I’m not sure if any of their advice actually works yet, but I hopefully will be able to say that it does in a few weeks!

2. Foam rolling. HOLY COW does this hurt. I can get through a few minutes on my right leg, but foam rolling on my left leg (the one where I have shin splints, duh) pretty much feels like torture. My strategy has been to apply pressure until the moment right before I feel like I’m going to pass out from the pain.

Don’t know what foam rolling is? I’ve been learning about it from No Meat Athlete, Running Times, and One Twenty Five.

3. Lifting weights…and actually enjoying it! While I do go to a trainer once a week, the goal is to get myself comfortable with performing strength workouts on my own. Strength training is important for about a bajillion reasons. The internet says so.

Currently I’m following (and LOVING) an old series from Carrots ‘n’ Cake….Carrots ‘n’ Weights! She puts together great sets of moves that are super simple and definitely do the job.

4. I can’t stop eating chia seeds this week! I first discovered chia seeds last summer when I tried overnight oats. I have no air condition in my apartment, so having a cool breakfast ready for me in the morning is absolutely necessary.

There are many, many people who explain the benefits of chia seeds way better than I can. But I will give you my favorite way to eat them:

Vegan Banana Breakfast Pudding

In the bowl:

  • 1 banana mashed really well
  • 1 TBSP almond butter
  • 4 oz of almond milk
  • 1 TBSP of chia seeds (that’s 12 g for scale junkies like me)

Mix everything together, store in the fridge overnight and devour the next morning.

I also have grand plans to make these coconut flour chia jam power muffins over the weekend:

Source: powercakes.net via Jodi on Pinterest

 

5. True Orange. I’ve been struggling to stay hydrated this week. I usually have no problem guzzling down water, but lately I’ve been turned off by how bland it is. Enter True Orange. This stuff is good. It makes your water taste like orange juice and has no sugar or calories or fake sugar or weird chemicals. I’m in love.

Right now I’m headed off to a session with my trainer…and if he doesn’t kill my legs I plan to do a 2 mile run on the treadmill after followed by another painful session of foam rolling and foot flexing.

What have you done for your health this week??

These oats were made for talking

I was really craving oatmeal this weekend after going without my favorite breakfast for a whole month! I didn’t want to forgo protein altogether, however, so decided to make stove-top oats with whipped egg whites.

I’m not sure why I never tried it before, after seeing recipes for such all over the internet. I think I thought it would be difficult or something. Not true. I followed Andie’s method at Can You Stay for Dinner? but changed the measurements a bit.

In the bowl:

  • 1/2 cup Quaker oats
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup liquid egg whites
  • 1 tsp chia seeds (optional…but I think they help increase the fluffiness)
  • vanilla, cinnamon, honey

Follow the directions from her recipe exactly and prepare yourself for the most amazing bowl of oatmeal you will ever eat. Fluffy, creamy, and really, really filling. I’m officially in love.

In honor of my grand return to oatmeal this weekend, I thought I would share with you some of my other favorite oat recipes, from more of my favorite bloggers.

  1. It all began with the KERF method for making banana-whipped oatmeal. This is, without a doubt, the recipe that got me hooked on oats.
  2. For weekends, I go with oatmeal pancakes, recipe by Carrots ‘n’ Cake.
  3. My fall oatmeal staple: Fannetastic Food’s Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal.
  4. And my go-to summer breakfast: KERF’s overnight oats

Oat-tastic! heh 😉

ALSO.

Have you noticed the changes to the blog?? I finally got my own domain! After freaking out for a bit, I think I finally settled on a design I love. I hope you like it, too!

Also, also – I added a “Contact” page…so you can email me if you have a question or a comment or something. I also added every weigh-in from the beginning under the “Weight Loss” tab. There you can find a link which will open a spreadsheet of my weight loss progression from October 2010 to now.

Happy Monday!

Apple Cinnamon Coconut Flour Pancakes

I have to admit, the star of these pancakes is not the apple. Or the cinnamon.

It’s the subtle sweetness of the coconut milk.

A stroke of genius by Shannon at Nourishing Days, from where I adapted this recipe.

She calls her’s Fluffy Coconut Flour Pancakes.

And oh, are they ever.

Just the right balance of wet and dry ingredients gives these pancakes the perfect texture.

They flipped beautifully, which is the number one factor I look for in pancake recipes.

I kept them small, like she recommends, and eked out three pancakes in a single-fied version of her recipe, with a few changes.

Apple Cinnamon Coconut Flour Pancakes (inspired by Nourishing Days)

Note: this recipe has been adapted to serve one person. The batter will be THICK, not like regular pancake batter. Keep these babies small on the stove. The batter should be enough to make three SMALL pancakes. I left out the tablespoon of sweetener from her recipe because I thought the coconut milk and apple would make them sweet enough, and it did. To make up for the moisture, I added an extra 1/2 tablespoon of coconut milk, which you see reflected below. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Egg
  • 2 TBSP Coconut flour
  • 1/4 Cup + 1/2 TBSP light coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp Baking soda
  • 1/4 Cup Grated apple (about half an apple)
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon

Directions

  • Beat the egg with a whisk until it is frothy. Add in the coconut milk and vanilla and mix again.
  • Stir in the coconut flour, baking soda and cinnamon. Let the batter sit for a minute, it will be really thick! Then stir in the grated apple.
  • Heat a pan to about medium. Use a spoon to get the batter in the pan. For each pancake, I used about three spoonfulls of batter. You will not see bubbles form on top like regular pancakes. I flipped them when they slid around the pan with a little shake, after about 2-3 minutes.
  • These already have a great coconutty flavor, but I also topped with a few drizzles of honey. Get creative!

Weigh-in Wednesday, a paleo update and more!

I feel like we have so much to talk about! Here are 10 things about my week:

1. I’ve been cooking up a storm! So many people say they don’t have time to make breakfast in the morning or don’t have energy to cook after work, but cooking is such a stress reliever for me I look forward to it. I’ve been extra diligent about keeping the kitchen clean as well. Nothing screams “cook!” more than a spotless kitchen stocked with healthy food.

2. I made turkey meatballs stuffed with tons of veggies to eat for dinner this week, inspired by this recipe from Paleo Plan. Meatballs are so easy to make and even easier to reheat for quick work-night dinners, I should really make them more often. I followed the recipe almost exactly, except substituted the green peppers (yuck) for grated zucchini (yum) and added one egg to the mixture. Turned out delicious!

3. For three days I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to put together a recipe for apple cinnamon coconut flour pancakes, but can’t get it exactly right. Either the pancakes come out too dry or they are too moist and take forever to cook and I can’t flip them! But don’t worry, I plan to keep trying…

4. I tried Ethiopian food for the first time on Sunday at Mesob in Montclair. HIGHLY recommend it. The food was delicious and cheap!

5. I made pumpkin coconut flour muffins following this recipe from Cindy’s Table. They came out amazing! I’m currently eating one with one plain Greek yogurt. Can’t wait to have another for breakfast! Also, when I was buying the cupcake tins, I kept thinking they looked so tiny! Working near a Crumbs, which NPR called out for its ridiculous cupcakes, has seriously distorted my portion sizes.

6. It’s supposed to be almost 70 degrees outside tomorrow! Who else is planning to leave work early and go frolic in a park??

7. The other day I was feeling really lazy and had to bribe myself to go run. I said, “Listen, Jodster (yes, I call myself Jodster when giving pep talks), just do two miles.” Later I was thinking, I can’t believe two miles sounds like an easy run for me! It seems like yesterday that I was dreading the 20-minute run in Couch to 5K.

8. Relating to that last point, my bff Tracey totally called me out on my recent sucky attitude toward my body. She reminded me to be conscious of my progress, even though in my head it feels like I haven’t made any lately. Since that talk, I’ve really tried to take her words to heart and recommit myself to being body positive and thankful. Before I started trying to lose weight, I didn’t expect much of my body. I didn’t ask it to run, demand anything of it physically or expect it to shed fat. I’m having a hard time not fighting my body through this process, which is affecting my confidence and self-esteem. I plan to write about these things way more in the future (since the emotional side of weight loss is the whole reason I started the blog) but it’s a tough subject to broach. I will do it, however, because I need to do it.

9. Have anyone else’s allergies been driving them nuts lately? My sinuses are making my whole face hurt and I felt like my throat was on the verge of closing all day and I couldn’t get enough air in. So annoying!

10. I owe you a paleo update. Since releasing myself from a restriction mindset on Monday, I’ve felt much better about all the changes to my diet. I stopped reading paleo blogs completely, except to look up recipes, and almost immediately the panic of “AM I DOING THIS RIGHT” subsided. I have to say, there truly are some benefits from increased protein and decreased sugar. My meals keep my hunger at bay for much, much, much longer than pre-paleo meals. For example, pre paleo my typical breakfast was a bowl of oatmeal and a banana. This had 54 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fat and 6 grams of protein for about 250 calories. The coconut pancakes I’ve been making are also about 250 calories, but have 32 grams of carbs, 9 grams of fat and 10 grams of protein. And tomorrow, the pumpkin coconut flour muffin with half a cup of 2% plain Greek yogurt and 1/2 a tablespoon of sunflower seed butter will be about 300 calories, 17 grams of carbs, 19 grams of fat and 19 grams of protein. I used to be starving by lunch time, but now my breakfast keeps me satisfied for much longer, and I can see why!

I wouldn’t say I have more energy on a paleo diet, but my energy is more consistent through the day. I used to get really tired from around 3-5 p.m. and haven’t experienced that lately. This could be all in my head, since I’ve read so much about the effects of going paleo, but it really feels like I don’t have dips or spikes in my energy levels anymore. I also noticed that when I do start to feel hungry, it’s not with the same level of urgency. I can realize that I’m hungry without an immediate need to eat.

That being said, I was pretty terrible at being consistent this week. Actually, that’s not totally true. I managed to make really great food choices the whole week, except for the amount of alcohol that I drank. I was hungover twice, did many sugary shots and consumed way too many mixed drinks. Not the healthiest choices. I also really slacked at going to the gym. Usually I have plenty of time to get up in the morning, make breakfast, go to the gym and shower before work but the last few weeks my job has been really stressful and I’ve been going in earlier and earlier. I know that’s not an excuse, and I’m pledging to make time for exercise no matter what this week – for the sake of my sanity more than anything else!

Wow that was a lot. Here are the numbers:

The numbers:

Starting weight: 243

Last week: 174.5

This week: 176

Change: +1.5

Total loss: 67

Maple Pumpkin Oatmeal

I know, I know fall is over.

I probably should be thinking about spring, but when I found this last can of pumpkin stashed away in the back of my cabinets, I couldn’t help but dream of the cool weather, colorful leaves and one of my favorite breakfasts.

This fall I totally jumped on the blogger bandwagon and put pumpkin in everything. 

I don’t regret it one bit! Because now I have this recipe to share with all of you.

And trust me, it is delicious.

Worth searching all the supermarkets to see if they have any cans of pumpkin left stashed on their shelves. Which may or may not be my plans for tomorrow.

Maple Pumpkin Oatmeal

serves one

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • A few shakes of cinnamon (or if you’re a cinnamon lover like me, LOTS)

Directions

  • Combine oats, milk, pumpkin and maple syrup in a pot over high heat. When the mixture starts to bubble, turn the heat way down. Stir frequently
  • About halfway through the cooking process (time will vary depending on oats) add the cinnamon and vanilla. Continue stirring until desired texture is reached. I like my oats really soupy!