How I’m Eating These Days

As I mentioned I’m eating more these days.  I’ve been slowly increasing my calories (100-200 every week or so) so my body can adjust easier to eating more on a regular basis.  I’ve been hitting my goal each day and often exceeding it which is fine by me:)  So today I thought I’d share a day of eats with you so you can see how I’m nourishing my body with not only healthful food but some treats as well.

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~1/5 cups of organic (non-gmo) cheerios + 2 bananas + couple spoonfuls of crunchy peanut butter + fresh almond milk

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Lunch was one of my favorite salads.  Well my version of it anyway:) Included in the salad was spinach+kabocha squash+raw buckwheat+tempeh+blueberries+zucchinni+1/2 avocado+a tahini dressing. The dressing is excellent (I like to add a little lemon juice to mine) and it’s super filling.

20140702_151458-1Later I snacked on an apple and some slice dates with a couple more spoonfuls of peanut butter and almond butter

20140702_183354Before dinner I sipped on this.  One of my favorite flavors.

20140702_183855-1Dinner was a quesadilla made with 2 whole wheat tortillas + sliced tomato+ spinach + hummus + cilantro +

1/2 avocaod and a sliced cucumber all sprinkled with this vegan parmesan

This dinner was excellent.  I need to make it again:)

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(sorry for the blurry photo!)  After dinner Dom suggested we get some ice cream so I went with it!  I wasn’t super hungry but I had a small bowl with some more peanut butter and cinnamon and it was perfect:)

 Letting go of my food rules has been amazing!  Before starting my journey to really heal my body and repair my metabolism I tended to avoid having sugary treats during the week and I would not have them very often (once every several weeks maybe) and I would generally eat a little too much of it and feel sick the next day.  Now that I’m allowing myself to eat what I want, when I want I don’t feel the need to eat myself sick when I do have a meal higher in sugar than I would normally eat.  I was completely satisfied with a smaller serving this time.  (although I’m totally ok with a bigger serving too)  I’ve had coconut milk ice cream probably 4ish times in the past 2 weeks and guess what I feel great!  And it’s been fun being more laid back and really just enjoying a treat with my husband!

So there you have it.  A pretty typical day of my meals lately.

I hope everyone has a great 4th of July!

What’s been one of your favorite meals lately?

Any fun plans for the 4th?

 

Eat the Food to Heal Metabolic Damage

Warning:  This is a longer post  but it’s an important one.  It was important for me to write it down anyway.  I hope you get something out of it.

When I first got into health and fitness (about 5-6 years ago)  my goal was to tone up a bit.  Maybe drop just a few pounds.

Well, that’s what I did.  And then I did some more. I’ve always been on the smaller side so I really had no business losing as much weight as I did.  I also became really strict about “eating clean”, restricting my calories, doing cardio 5-6 days a week plus strength training several days a week, plus eating 5-6 times a day, and making sure I was eating a carb, a protein, and a fat but not too many carbs or fat.  blah blah blah.  My story is not unique in this sense.  I know of many people through blog reading that have gotten caught up in this trap.

For awhile I was ok with being in this trap.  I was fine because I was toned and I had a flat stomach with visible abs.  But guess what I didn’t have.  A period.  Spontaneity.  A dinner out with my husband that didn’t include me being a stressed out grump because I didn’t know what exactly was in my food.  A life.  I hardly ever wanted to go anywhere or be away from the house too long because I didn’t want to mess up my eating schedule.  How responsible of me.

I looked good on the outside but the inside (which is what really matters) was struggling.  My body was shutting down just after a few months of this craziness when my usually very regular period stopped.  It shut down even more when I began having lots of digestive issues about 3 years into it.  I suffered from a lot of pain, bloating, and constipation (sorry tmi, I know).  I tried to fix things.  I cut out grains for awhile and then just gluten for an even longer time.  I cut out peanut butter for a time (some of the saddest days;), I cut out beans.  I tried a lot of things.  Eventually I became a vegan.  That helped a lot!  At least for a time.  Eventually I reintroduced eggs and fish back into my diet.   And although in the long run being a vegan hasn’t fixed my issues I have no intention of going back to eating meat.   But anyway, the point is I became even more restrictive than I already was which only put more stress on my body.  I had no idea what was happening to me.   Why was this happening to me?  The truth I soon found out was I did this to myself.

The first part of my healing started around the beginning of last year.  I still didn’t have a period (that’s 4 years, no period.  Kind of awesome, but in the long run, not awesome)  I knew I needed to get it back if I wanted my body to start acting normal again.  I had learned about how not having a period can really affect your hormones which can affect pretty much every part of your body including digestion.  So I started trying to eat a little more (although still not consistently enough), stress less, eased up on cardio, etc.  In March I stopped calorie counting which reduced my stress because calories weren’t consuming my thoughts anymore.   Eventually in July after about 6-7 months of focusing on this I got my period!!  There is still more work to do though.  I have had it a few more times since then but it’s not yet regular or consistent.  Fast forward to the beginning of this year.  My priorities shifted even more to really healing my digestion.  I went to a holistic doctor who put me on an elimination diet (no gluten, soy, peanuts, citrus, vinegar, yeast, nightshades, etc.) for a few weeks.  I’ve recently been able to reintroduce all the foods and guess what, as far as I can tell no food intolerances!  Not even gluten.  Actually I feel really well eating gluten:) (yay for that because sometimes you just need some fresh baked bread with avocado!!)  I’ve also had to take a high dose of probiotics and some digestive enzymes.  I’m very happy I don’t have any food intolerances but if I don’t have any intolerances, what’s wrong with me?

As I’ve learned recently, calorie restriction can cause a number of digestive problems among other things.  See this post for more info.  Or listen to this awesome and super helpful and insightful podcast.   Basically, my body wasn’t getting the energy it needed to perform all of its functions.  So it conserved energy by shutting down my reproductive system and slowing down the digestion of food also know as Gastroparesis.

“Gastroparesis is a survival mechanism whereby the stomach doubles its emptying time to the small intestine, meaning the food is churned in the stomach for longer to try to allow for the small intestine to maximize the too-little energy coming in to the body.”  This is totally me.  Whenever I did try eating more I was always so full and even when I ate a small amount I felt like my body took forever to digest it.  This made it hard to eat enough because my body was still digesting what it ate 5 hours ago!  Not fun!

Also, when you’re not eating enough, the good bacteria in your gut dies which only makes things worse.  Thus the reason I have to take probiotics to repopulate my intestines with helpful bacteria.  This leads us to the good news.  If you eat a low calorie diet or have eaten a low calorie diet for even just a few months (it doesn’t even have to be extremely low.  for the past 5 years I ate anywhere from 1100-1800 calories, more recently I would say around 1500-1600 which is NOT ENOUGH!!) and are suffering from any of these symptoms, you can fix it!  Please take my advice and change things!  After reading this post and this post I have decided to increase my calories in a major way so I can retrain my body to thrive on more calories which actually is more like the right amount of calories.  After calculating my calorie needs with an online calculator I should be eating closer to at least 2200 cal a day.  Although I’m not into calorie counting anymore I will be for the next little bit just to make sure I’m getting enough.

It’s day 5 of me eating more and I’m feeling better already.  For real.  My goal for this week is to eat 1900-2100 cal and add about 100 cal every week until I’m eating 2500-3000 calories a day. (Which is the amount recommend to fully restore metabolism which will include restoring my period and digestive function)  Doing it slowly will reduce any fullness, bloating, discomfort as well as reduce the amount of fat I gain.  The first 2 1/2 days I was very uncomfortable (bloated and full) but I ate anyway.  Our bodies are smart and things have normalized.  I’m actually feeling hungrier during the day and I have lots of energy.  That’s a good sign.  This means it’s working.  It can be scary to eat a lot more-no one wants to gain a bunch of weight/fat but even if I do, it’s ok because I know my body/metabolism will eventually normalize and any weight/fat I gain will drop off and things will be normal again.  Until then  I’m going to enjoy a few (or several) extra servings of guacamole and nut butter.

I know this is long but I hope it helps somebody.  Our bodies are a gift.  Our bodies are all we really own.  Lets treat them right.  We need so much more food than the media tells us.  Don’t listen to them.  Listen to your body.  Listen to your mind.  Don’t let food and exercise and having the perfect eating schedule run your life.  Run your own life.

Food is good.  Lots of food is even better.  Food is not the enemy.  Food is just food.  Rules and restriction are the enemy.

It takes time to heal but it is worth it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, post them below!

 

 

Quinoa Veggie bowl with Lemon Dill Dressing

Apparently I love dill and lemon together.  I already have this recipe on here and now I’m adding a new Dill and Lemon dressing to the mix!!

What can I say, dill is one of my favorite herbs!  And did you know dill is full of so many health benefits?!

Here are a few of them:

  • Plant-based source of calcium
  • Anti-bacterial-fights off  infection internally and even externally, ancient cultures applied burnt dill seeds to wounds in order to prevent infections. Pretty cool!
  • Dill can improve digestion functioning by managing stomach acid levels which can reduce acid reflux and soothe an upset stomach

I had no idea dill was that cool:)

So anyway onto the recipe!  This was my dinner last night:

dill dressingBoy was it good.

Definitely a plantpower powerbowl.  It is very light and refreshing too, which is perfect for springtime!

Quinoa Veggie Bowl with Lemon Dill Dressing

Serves: 1

  • 3 smaller carrots, shredded
  • 1/3-1/2 zuchinni, shredded
  • 2-3 kale leaves lightly sauted (or you can leave raw)
  • 1/4 cup of kabocha squash
  • 1/3 cup of quinoa
  • 1-2 scoops of sauerkraut
  • sundried tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 sheet of nori, torn
  • 1/4 avocado

Dressing:

  • 2 Tb lemon juice
  • 1 Tb sauerkraut “juice”
  • 2-3 tsp sunflower seed butter
  • 1-2 tsp dried dill weed
  • 1 TB nutritional yeast

1.  Mix together the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl.

2.  Put all veggies and quinoa in a bowl.  Top with dressing.

3. Devour.

Note:  You can really use any veggies your heart desires.  This sure was a tasty mix though!

I’ve used the dressing as a marinade for tofu before as well and loved that!  I’m sure it would be great on chicken or fish also!

Let me know if you try this out!

What is your favorite herb or flavor duo?

Tropical Chia Pudding

Hello friends,

Today I have a new recipe to share.   Since I started following a mostly plant based diet I’ve been finding new ways to get my protein in at breakfast time:) For me if I don’t get a good amount of protein in at breakfast I feel pretty hungry soon after eating.  This is one of my favorite breakfasts and snacks lately and it’s packed with protein, about 15 grams of pure plant protein!! It also has a great balance of carbs and healthy fats.  It is vegan, gluten, and grain free and of course  tasty. IMG_20130215_163602

This is also a great basic recipe because it is very customizable to suit your taste buds.  And if you’ve never tried chia seeds before, I encourage you to do so.  They are pretty awesome.  They are full of plant-based protein, fiber, and good for you fats.  They can also be used as an egg replacement in baking as well:) Pretty cool stuff!  Here’s some fun info I found about chia seeds:

Screen-shot-2011-06-10-at-1.48.27-PMPretty amazing little seeds, eh?!

So onto the recipe.

Tropical Chia Pudding

Serves 1

  • 1/2 cup plain soy yogurt (or other non-dairy yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup almond coconut milk
  • 2 TB chia
  • 2 TB coconut flour
  • 1/2 – 1/3 banana
  • Stevia and cinnamon to taste (optional)

Mix all ingredients together, mashing the banana as you do to really incorporate the taste and sweetness of the banana.

Let sit for about 10 minutes so it can thicken up.  Top with anything you’d like and enjoy!

If you like a thinner pudding use more milk or less chia or flour:)

Topping Ideas:

  • Berries
  • frozen mango (or fresh;)
  • more banana
  • buckwheat groats
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • coconut oil, butter, or flakes
  • flaxseed

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IMG_20130407_094610Let me know if you try this out.

Until next time.  xoxo

Nutty Dill Sauce Recipe!

It’s been FOREVER!!

But I’m back now so don’t worry;)  I am alive and well.  It’s been a pretty busy first month of the year!

There have been some big, but awesome changes at my work, I’ve been trying to be more involved in my church, and one more thing that I haven’t mentioned yet:

I’ve been studying to become a certified personal trainer!  I’m pretty excited about it!! I will hopefully be certified within a few months but we will see how it goes:)

For now though, I have a recipe to share!  It actually started out as something else but that was a big fail so I turned it into a delicious sauce/dip!!

Over the weekend I made some lentil burgers and had some left over sunflower seeds and cashews that had been soaked so I wanted to use them up!  I decided to make some Cashew sunflower seed butter but it did not turn out!!

Raw sunflower seeds don’t make a great butter in my opinion.  It turns into a sticky play dough of sorts.  Oh well, next time I will roast them:)

I didn’t want the mix to go to waste though so I decided to make a yummy sauce/dip out of it.  I wanted it to be kind of tangy so I went with a lemon dill flavor and I ended up with this:

IMG_20130204_192736It’s pretty yummy if I do say so myself.  I’ve made a few things with it so far.

I’ve been dipping raw veggies in it,  using it as a sauce a couple times for my spaghetti squash (my fave way!),

In the mix:  Spaghetti squash, peas, romaine lettuce, artichoke hearts, and nutritional yeast

In the mix: Spaghetti squash, peas, romaine lettuce, artichoke hearts, and nutritional yeast

and I also used it in Lasagna roll-ups in place of ricotta.  Dom Loved that;)

So here is the recipe:

Nutty Dill Sauce

  • 3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 4 TB nutritional yeast
  • 2 TB lemon juice
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp dried dill
  • 2 tsp-3 tsp mustard
  • 3/4 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 2/3 cup water

1.  Blend all ingredients in a food processor  or blender.  Adjust ingredient amounts to your liking!

Makes about 2 cups

I love cooking!  Especially when things turn out well after a fail!

If you try this out let me know!

have you had any kitchen fails/successes lately?