Showing posts from 2016

Happy Anniversary! Reflections on a year of clean and healthy eating

August marks a year of clean and healthy eating for Kurt and me.  Happy One Year Anniversary to us!  When I asked him why he thinks we have been so successful, he said that we have each other to motivate us and keep us on track.  So true.  His words remind me of the biblical verse Ecclesiastes 4:9-10:
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.  
If you were to ask me what tips I could share with others on getting started with a healthier lifestyle, I’d say a few things.  And here they are in no particular order.
oMake up your mind that this is a lifestyle and not a quick fix. oMake a commitment to clean eating by cleaning out your cupboard of junk and processed foods. oMake time to educate yourself on health and nutrition.  Ultimately the best diet is going to be one you will enjoy and maintain.  And that means making informed decisions about healthy food to incorporate into your breakfast, lunch, din…

Oatmeal Protein Pancakes

After a few months of making whole grain and oatmeal pancakes, I've come up with a recipe that both Kurt and I really like.  It uses Quaker Weight Control oatmeal packets, eggs, cashew milk, and Cellucor Protein Powder.  Let us know if you try it out.  Cheers!

Oatmeal Protein Pancakes
4 packets Quaker Weight Control oatmeal packets (your favorite variety)
2 scoops Cellucor Protein Powder (Cinnamon Swirl or Whipped Vanilla are both good)
2 Tbsp. To Your Health Sprouted White Wheat Flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. Himalayan pink salt
3 whole eggs
1 cup Silk unsweetened cashew milk

Use food processor or blender to grind oatmeal to a flour like texture (about 30 seconds on high). In a medium size bowl, corporate dry ingredients together, then add wet ingredients and mix till well combined.  Use coconut oil spray and pan fry batter in a large non-stick skillet.  Use about 1/4 cup of batter per pancake.  Recipe yields about 18 pancakes.  Each pancake has 65 calories, 2 grams of fat, 7 carbs…

Sweet Potato Salmon Cakes and Coconut Protein Pancakes

A recipe I tried this month that's worth mentioning is sweet potato salmon cakes.  I don't remember where I saw this or if it's something that came across my mind as I was looking at our meal prepping leftovers.  Either way, it's a great combination.
Sweet Potato Salmon Cakes
6-10 oz. salmon (grilled, baked, canned)
8 oz. roasted sweet potato, peel removed and mashed 2 eggs or 1/2 cup egg white for binding 1/2 medium white onion, finely chopped and sauteed 2 Tbsp. almond flour or 2 Tbsp. oat flour salt & pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients and make 4 oz. patties.  Pan fry in coconut oil until nice and golden on each side.  Makes 6 patties.  Serve on top of spring mix salad with some balsamic vinaigrette.  Keep it simple with a few grape tomatoes and some sunflower seeds.

I also experimented with coconut pancakes and boosted their protein content by adding some vanilla protein powder.  They were delicious.  I have made them 2-3 times now as a meal prepping item for q…

The Domino Effect of Healthy Living

There's a domino effect that is taking place in my clean and healthy lifestyle that I did not anticipate.  I've slowly begun the process of sorting through my clothes.  I'm pulling clothes that are too big, or perhaps that don't fit my fashion style any longer, or that are no longer age appropriate.  The up side of losing weight is having an excuse to buy new clothes.  The down side is that you're spending lots of money for clothes that you won't be using for very long if you're on a weight loss journey that gradually moves from size to size, so hopefully you won't become too attached to any of those new clothes.  But I digress.
Back to the domino effect.  This closet cleaning has rippled to organizing other areas of my life now.  I'm sorting through my books, my photos, cleaning and organizing our house more so than usual.  It feels really good and I can't help but wonder if this happens to others who have slowly undergone physical transformatio…

Macadamia and Coconut Tilapia

Last week we were at Costco buying some of our usual staples - Kirkland Brand House Blend coffee beans, Artichoke & Jalapeno Dip, and Kirkland Marcona Almonds.  Except that they ran out of Marcona almonds.  They did however have Mac Farms Macadamia Nuts, so we grabbed a bag of those instead.  Since last week's tortilla crusted tilapia fillets using this You Tube video worked out so well, we decided to try macadamia and coconut encrusted tilapia using the same technique.  Genius.  Take a look.
From the photo above, it looks like I used about 25 macadamia nuts and about 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes to coat six tilapia fillets.  Add salt & pepper or your seasoning of choice.  Place fillets on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

 Next time, I will slightly toast the coconut flakes before coating the fish.  The toasty coconut flakes really add wonderful texture and light flavor.  The only thing we added to …

Dinner of the Week - Pork Loin and Roasted Vegetables

The last time Kurt grilled some meat was a couple of weeks ago, and we had it with grilled zucchini and mushrooms.  This week we planned to grill some pork loin.  He grills the meat and I prepare the vegetables - this is a good weeknight dinner strategy.
But this week I was craving something with a few more carbs.  Not sure why but I decided to be both creative and still healthful in dealing with my carb cravings.  So I bought three chayote squash and four small sweet potatoes (Note:  smaller = more skin and more fiber per serving and less net carbs; smaller is good).
I cut them into long strips like french fries and coated them with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Then I roasted them in the oven at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes.  The result was exactly what I hoped: sweet roasted vegetables on the inside and toasty skin and coating on the outside.
I hope you try chayote squash if you want to satisfy that french fry craving without sacrificing nutrients.  They are pretty and colorf…

Avocado Salsa - Recipe for Week 39 and 40

As promised, here is the avocado salsa that I frequently use for my Southwest Chicken Salad.  My good friend Gina gave me this recipe years ago, and it's usually used for garnishing carne asada tacos along with salsa and pico de gallo.  But I also like how it tastes as a salad dressing.

Avocado Salsa 5-7 tomatillos – hulled, washed and cut into quarters 7 jalapeños – deseeded and cut in halves ½ small onion – roughly chopped ¼ c. chopped cilantro 1/2 to 3/4 cup water 2 avocados 1 tsp. salt (or salt to taste)
Place all raw ingredients except for avocado into blender and blend on high setting until smooth.  Stop to add avocado in spooned chunks.  Continue blending until avocado is completely smooth.  Pour into large bowl and add salt to taste.  This yields about 8 cups of salsa and refrigerates well for up to a week without going brown.

Salsa de Aguacate 5-7 tomatillos – lavados y cortados en cuartos 7 jalapeños – sin semilla y cortados a la mitad ½ cebolla pequeña ¼ taza de cilantro 1/2 to 3/4 t…

Snack of the Week - Yogurt and Almond Butter

This week's favorite snack item was Dannon Oikos Mixed Berry with some homemade almond butter.  The creamy texture of the yogurt reminds me of rich cheesecake, and the almond butter reminds me of a rich, buttery graham cracker crumbles, so I feel like I'm having dessert!  And it's ohh so good for me.  What's not to love?  We recently got a Sam's Club membership and I was so excited to see they had an 18 variety pack of Dannon Triple Zero in both Strawberry and Mixed Berry.  Kurt and I like both.  This week was also the first time I tried making almond butter in my food processor.  More pictures of that next week.  It's super easy and I get to decide how much sweetener to add and what kind - maple syrup, Stevia, honey, or just plain.  Love it!  It does take a few minutes to get creamy, so patience is key.  Happy Friday and I'll see you soon.

Healthy at EVERY Size

This month I'm looking forward to reading Linda Bacon's book "Healthy at EVERY Size."  It will serve to reinforce in my mind how a healthy lifestyle is attainable at every stage of my weight loss journey and that plateaus like this past month are a natural part of human biology.  I truly appreciate all of the literature that is available to me to increase my understanding of how my body works.  

This website "What is Healthy at Every Size" has really helpful advise that puts so many things into perspective.  Some of the best advise includes:

Accepting your sizeTrusting your body when it tells you its hungryAdopting healthy lifestyle habitsEmbracing size diversity I love the affirmations from Dr. Bacon that they summarize at the end: Today I will feed myself when I'm hungryToday I will be attentive to how food taste and make me feelToday I will choose food that I like and make me feel goodToday I will honor my body's signals of fullnessToday I will fi…

Week in Review - Week 37

My grocery haul last week was a good one.  It includes most of the items I get on a regular basis - yogurt, dairy products, fruits, dark green leafy vegetables, eggs, and some legumes and canned goods.  What you don't see it protein like chicken breast, ground turkey, fish, or canned tuna.  I have enough in the freezer and pantry that I didn't need to shop for any this week.

Another thing that I did was take a picture of the chicken pancake ingredients in the food processor just before mixing.  The coconut oil makes them taste so good!  Love the flavors: chicken breast, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, cumin, cilantro, bell pepper, jalapeno, and an egg.  It's an experiment in the making.  I do intend on measuring the ingredients next time so I can share an actual recipe with you.  They're a bit tricky to shape into patties because of the stickiness of the mixture.  Don't get discouraged by this.  Just spoon out the size meat patty you want onto the hot skillet, then sp…

Weekend in Review - Week 36 update

This warm, sunny weekend Kurt and I went to Travel Town Museum in Burbank.  It's a cool place for hosting a kid's birthday party, and some of the trains can be reserved for parties.  It's also free to the general public with some great historical and educational exhibits.  The last time I went to Travel Town was in seventh grade with my good friend Robbi and her family.  It was all a blur except for the cute boy we flirted with in the parking lot.  That's all we talked about the whole ride home...girls, what can I say?

Afterwards we stopped by IKEA, had Swedish meatballs and chicken florentine for lunch, then we walked around the store and found some cool household items like plastic wine glasses.  That will come in handy this summer.  So an order of 10 Swedish meatballs includes mashed potatoes, gravy, and ligonberry sauce.  We were pretty good about not eating all of the mashed potatoes, but we did have wouldn't be complete without just a few bites.  T…

Nutrition & Meal Plan | Erin Stern's Elite Body 4-Week Fitness Plan

I like all of the helpful tips from Erin Stern in this Body Building video.  I take exception to the macronutrient ratio she recommends of 40-40-20 (carbs, proteins, fats).  Speaking from personal experience, I honestly believe everyone has their own ratio that works best for them, but it certainly is a good starting point for at least 50% of the general population.  Mine happens to be 20-25-55 right now (20% carbs, 25% protein, and 55% fat).  And I should also mention that I'm not a body builder, so that could be another reason why the 40-40-20 does not work for me.  But the video is worth watching...had to share.

Lunch spotlight for Week 35: Chicken Tostadas

My lunch twice this week was chicken tostadas.  I can have two for about 305 calories:

Here are the ingredients I use:
2-3 oz. grilled chicken breast (homemade)
2 corn tostadas (Vallarta Botaneras brand, 2 are 98 calories, 16 carbs, and 2 gr fiber)
Rosarita refried beans (1/4 to 1/3 c.)
Queso fresco & cheddar cheese (1/2 oz. each)
Tapatio hot sauce (to taste)
Iceburg lettuce (2 oz.)
Avocado (2 Tbsp.)

I absolutely love having this for my lunch.  I keep the tostadas and hot sauce at work, then simply pack everything else in my Easy Box Bento Lunch box which you can find here on Amazon.  Hope you're doing well and have a great, healthy week!

What does clean & healthy eating mean to you?

I'd like to share with you my thoughts about clean & healthy eating.  I believe clean & healthy eating means a whole foods approach to eating whether you subscribe to a paleo, ketogenic, low fat, high protein, low carb/high fat, vegan or vegetarian diet.  Eating foods as close to their natural state with minimal processing is key, and avoiding foods that are highly processed with long ingredient lists of chemicals, preservatives, and coloring is essential to clean eating.  Refined carbohydrates like white flour, rice, pasta, potatoes, and sugar are very calorie dense but not nutrient dense.  So when consumed in large quantities, they do two things: provide too many calories that then get stored as fat, and they also under-nourish the body which I think is often overlooked when we talk about overeating.  As Gary Taubes pointed out, obesity and malnutrition are part of the same phenomenon.  Staying away from refined carbohydrates allows us to maximize the benefits of good, h…

Our Weight Loss Journey - Pictures and Progress

Some of the best inspiration to keep me motivated and on track has been pictures.  I had no desire to get in photos in my shape, but somehow Kurt and I took some photos this past summer one month before getting serious about our weight loss goals.  These photos were taken in July 2015.  We each weighed about 220 lbs. here.  We actually were good about taking some walks and hikes last summer but had not yet started clean and healthy eating habits.  I ate Doritos way too often when I'd get home from work and usually wanted to eat out for dinner too often.  And anytime we grilled, we had to have at least one beer.  At least.  So there were a lot of eating habits that we needed to slowly change over time.  It all began in mid-August around our anniversary.  Looking back, I still am impressed by how much healthy change we have embraced.  Changes certainly do not happen overnight, and they certainly are not easy to sustain.  Habits take time to develop and grow before they become automa…