Life Update: It’s So Worth It

Hey all!

It’s been awhile so that means it’s time for a life update.

As you know, towards the end of June I set out to really heal my body and metabolism by eating more food without restriction.  If you haven’t read that post yet, you can find it here.  Well, it’s been just a little over 2 months and I’m happy to report things are going great!  My body has adjusted to eating more food (aka  a more normal amount for my body and activity level).  I find myself feeling hungry more often which is awesome because for a long time I very rarely felt truly hungry for food and I felt like it took forever for my body to digest a meal.  I am also very happy to report that my digestive issues (severe stomach pain, bloat, etc) that I dealt with for a very long time seemed to have gone away almost completely.  I used to have to be very careful with what I ate and how often I ate, etc. or I would be in severe pain.  Not these days though!  Even when I decide to have a treat (like a bowl of coconut ice cream) I feel fine the next day.  This just blows my mind.  I felt like I was never going to get over my issues but eating the right amount of food has helped so much.  I also believe not stressing about food anymore has helped a ton.  I know that by eating more food it gave my body the extra energy it needed to heal itself.  And that doesn’t just include my digestive system.

Another goal of increasing my food intake was to get my hormones in check and getting my period on a regular schedule again.  I’ve mentioned before but just to refresh, I got my period for the first time in 4 years last July (2013).  It hasn’t been regular since then.  It would come every 2-4 months.  Since eating more I’ve had it twice with only 1 month in between which is my normal.  I’m hoping this continues!

I know this may seem strange to some to speak openly about such personal things but if it helps just one person that it is worth it to me to share.  If you have a history of calorie restriction, over-exercising, stressful food rules, etc.  I hope you will consider taking the step towards healing your body and increasing your food intake.  It is absolutely worth it.

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One more thing I’ve done is to not stress about exercise so much.  I love working out but I knew that I needed to give my body time to rest and heal itself.  I needed the extra calories my body was getting to be used to heal my insides not get burned away during exercise.  I didn’t stop working out completely but I decreased it a lot.  I did GPP workouts a couple of times a week but I didn’t do any cardio.  If there was running or a lot of jump roping in the workouts I skipped those parts and stuck with the weight training parts.  I went on walks a couple of times a week and did a bit of yoga as well.  I also took naps during the day if I felt like I needed too.  (which is recommended here).  I felt very tired the first couple of weeks but that has passed and Inow have a steady amount of energy through out the day.  Probably next week I will start doing a little bit more workout wise but only if I feel like it.  And I will workout however I feel like that day.  Whether I feel like lifting, running, yoga, dancing, etc  that is what I will do.  I know if I respect how I’m feeling and I will feel much better after my workouts.

Now there were some bad days-some hard days throughout the past couple of months.  It definitely wasn’t smooth sailing.  Especially in the first few weeks.  I experienced a lot of pain, bloating, edema (water retention) all over my body, and weight gain (carried mainly in my stomach).  It was not fun.  I felt huge.  I felt unattractive and uncomfortable.  A lot of my pants weren’t buttoning anymore.  I felt like it was never going to stop but it did stop.    My body adjusted to my new normal food intake, the bloating went away, the little bit of weight I gained (about 8-10 pounds overall)-that I needed to gain-has now evenly spread out over my body, not just in my stomach anymore.   And my body seems to have reached it’s optimal weight set point because I’m no longer gaining but maintaining.  And I bought some new pants that fit my new body.  These days my head is in a much better place.  I am grateful for my body and I love my new body because it is a healthy and beautiful one.  Every body is beautiful.  To be honest, I’m surprised at how quickly things seems to have  gotten better.  I thought it would take so much longer to reach this place.  And for some it will.  Every body is different.  I am grateful to be feeling so much better and happier these days.  I’m also so grateful to my husband for encouraging me everyday to stick with it and loving the heck out of me grumpiness and all.

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Well that’s all for now.  Next post will be about some fun things I’ve been able to do since I’ve let go of my food rules!

Post any thoughts or questions you might have in the comments below! 

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Calling Out the Mainstream Media #1

First of all, thank you for all the sweet words after Thursday’s post.  I felt so loved and supported!

I mentioned briefly in that post that I got the idea to cut my calories in the first place from the mainstream media.  Low calorie diets are touted all over the place from magazines to the news to talk shows.  EVERYWHERE.  As I’ve learned over the past couple of years, cutting calories is not the way to an all around healthy life.  It’s not the most important factor when trying to lose weight.  It’s not the way to happiness.  It’s really just a bad idea.  Our bodies are not calculators.  The numbers we put into our bodies are not the secret.  The actual food and ingredients and nutrients we put into are body is what really matters.  And of course getting enough of that good food plays a major role!

With that being said, I’ve been thinking a lot lately (over the past year or so) but especially over the last few weeks about what terrible advice the mainstream media gives to us as the audience.  It’s not just the bad health advice they give.  It’s also the importance they put on beauty and looking/dressing a certain way over being a genuinely good and interesting human being.  It’s the emphasis they put on body parts instead of the person as a whole.  It gets old.  So I’ve decided to start doing posts hopefully once a week or once every couple weeks where I either debunk some “health” advice found in the mainstream media or call them out for being so materialistic.

For this week, I want to talk about a part of this clip from Matt Lauer’s interview with Pippa Middleton from Monday, June 30th.  (the part I’m talking about is at 2:40)

You might remember that after the royal wedding, Pippa became a pretty big deal.  Actually, just her backside.   I remember a lot of “news” segments on talk shows and photos in magazines being all about how great her bum looked in her bridesmaids dress.  Umm…what?!

That’s what your going to talk about?

The part of the video that I find so annoying is when Matt asks her about all of this.  He says “…people started talking about you…and how your dress fit.”  If I were being interviewed on a big news show, I would feel very embarrassed to be asked this question by anyone let alone a man.  It’s just not appropriate in my opinion.  I totally would have said something letting him know that I had no interest in talking about how my “dress fit” with him. It’s just not important.  It’s so sad to me that in most cases when a woman is interviewed it’s all about what she eats, what exercises she does, how she is a sex symbol.  I don’t know much about Pippa but she seems like a friendly and smart person; one who isn’t looking to be asked about this sort of thing.  Of course this wasn’t all they discussed but the fact that it was even part of the interview is crazy to me although not surprising.  That’s how our society is-we value looks and beauty over brains, heart, and talent.

Today Show, I used to like you a lot but you just keep letting me down more and more these days.  Not because you’ve changed but because I’ve changed and grown up.  If only you could too:)

Have any thoughts on today’s post?  Share them below.

Liebster Award

This is going to be a fun post today because I was nominated for a Liebster Award!  Sweet Amanda from Amanda Browning Nutrition nominated me:)

I “met” Amanda on Instagram.  Amanda and I both share a love of food, health, and fitness; especially in the form of kale salads and big nutrition packed smoothies!  She is always so kind and supportive of my posts and I just love her positivity!!  She has plans of becoming a Registered Holistic Nutritionist one day and from what I can tell, she really knows her stuff.  Not only that, she lives it!  She will do great things I’m sure of it.

Thank you, Amanda, for the nomination!

Here are the rules of the Liebster Award:

1.  Thank the blogger who nominated you.

2.  Answer the questions you were given.

3.  Nominate other blogs with less than 500 followers.

4.  Post questions for your selected nominees to answer.

5.  Tag and link the nominees and post a comment to let them know you have nominated them and appreciate their hard work.

Here are the questions Amanda asked me:

1.  What “comfort food” reminds you of your childhood?

I’m going to have to go with tacos for that one.  In my house we would have homemade tacos every first sunday of the month.  I try to keep the tradition up because I love it.  The tacos I make look a little different now that I don’t eat meat but beans and veggies are a great sub for that!  Tacos were probably the first thing I really learned how to cook besides toast and ramen;)  My toppings of choice:  tomatoes, lettuce, corn, and hot sauce.  These days I add avocado as well.

2.  What helps keep you grounded in today’s busy world?

Counting my blessings and my husband Dom.  He has the ability to stay very calm, even when I am not.  He brings me back down to earth when I’m going out of my mind for one reason or another.

3.  What is your favorite kitchen appliance and what do you make with/in it?

These days it’s gotta be my Ninja blender.  I use it daily.  I use it to make almond/coconut milk, peanut butter, almond butter, blended soups, sauces, and of course smoothies!  So thankful I have that blender, it saves me lots of money on store bought nut milks/butters!

4.  Is healthy eating important to you?

Yes, absolutely.  For one, I feel a lot better physically when I’m making healthy eating choices.  I want my food to provide me with health, energy, mental clarity, stamina for tough workouts,  and happiness of course.  Healthy eating does that for me.  Also, for me, eating healthy also means buying organic when possible and avoiding GMOs.  This is also important to me because I prefer to support companies/farmers that are doing good in the world and not companies who just want to make a buck by creating inferior products and calling it food.

Now I nominate:

Maria at Maria Trains.  I met Maria at the GPP Intensive Training last July and have kept up with her through Instagram.  She is awesome and very inspiring.  She is a health expert and personal trainer.  Her recent journey of intuitive eating has really inspired me to keep listening to my own body, treat myself with love, and to always keep a positive body image!

Here are my questions for you:

1.  What is your favorite music to listen to during a workout?

2.  What is your favorite vegetable? Least favorite?

3.  What or who inspires you to live a healthy life?

4.  What is your dream job?  Or do you already have your dream job?

5. What is your favorite place you’ve visited and why?

_______

I’ll be back later this week with a new recipe!

Have a great day!

If you’d like, you can answer the questions in the comments below!

 

Green Smoothie Girl Lecture

Welcome to Friday my friends!

Last night I had the opportunity to attend a class/lecture by Robyn Openshaw aka The Green Smoothie Girl.  I went with my Mom, 2 of my sisters, and a friend.  I’m really glad I was able to go to it.  I had heard of her blog before but  for whatever reason, had never checked it out!  Because I didn’t know much about Robyn, I wasn’t sure what to expect at the class.  I was happy to find out that she teaches about how following a plant-based, whole foods diet (or at least eating more plants and a lot less animal protein and processed foods) can be extremely beneficial to your health.  As you know I absolutely agree with this 100%.  I have been eating this way for sometime and it has helped me in a lot of ways.  So although I didn’t learn too much that I didn’t know already, it was great to get a boost of energy and get excited about living a healthy life!

After the lecture I wanted to challenge myself.  Since I don’t need to eliminate anything from my diet since I avoid processed “foods” anyway, I decided I could start adding more smoothies into my life again.  I feel really good inside and out when I’m having a smoothie a day on a regular basis:)  My challenge for myself is to have a quart size smoothie once a day until my birthday at the end of the month:)  By then it will hopefully be a healthy habit of mine.  It might be a smoothie for breakfast, snack, lunch, whatever!  So I have 23 more days to go.  Day 1 is done!  Oh, and I even got Dom to have a smoothie along with his cereal today! Proud wife moment;)

Banana+apple+blueberries+raw coconut milk+spinach

Banana+apple+blueberries+raw coconut milk+spinach

 

If you want to join me, please do!  Follow me on instagram and post your smoothie photos so I can see!  I will be using the hashtag #quartofsmoothieaday.  Feel free to use it too (even if it’s not a quart, any size will do)!

One more thing that I loved from the lecture was a quote she shared.  I believe it was her Mother-in-law that said it.  I could be wrong though!

“It’s not what you do once in awhile that will kill you.  It’s what you do everyday that will save you.”

I loved that and it stuck with me because for a long time I was very strict with my eating and exercise habits.  I would not leave room for any fun foods or extra servings of food that I loved.  That is not health.  And it’s not how I want to live.  I’m a lot less strict now which is a good thing.  I still struggle from time to time though with allowing myself something I’m craving that I feel isn’t good for me, even if it’s just an extra scoop of peanut butter!  Luckily this doesn’t happen too often and I can usually go with the flow and eat what my body is craving.  And because I tend to eat very clean the majority of the time I know I need to be easier on myself.  Anyway, that’s why I liked the quote so much!

That’s all for now I guess!  I hope you all have a great weekend!  And definitely check out Robyn’s blog.  She’s got some great information on there!

 

 

 

MIMM #1 New Gym and a Birthday!

Happy Marvelous Monday Everyone!

Today is extra marvelous because  it’s my first time participating in Katie’s Marvelous in My Monday Link up:)

Top: new home gym set up complete with rubber flooring bottom left: this morning's workout bottom right:  a delicous lime smoothie

Top: new home gym set up complete with rubber flooring
bottom left: this morning’s workout bottom right: a delicous lime smoothie (see below for recipe!)

Marvelous is getting new gym equipment!!

Yes they always look that beautiful:)

Yes, they always look this beautiful:)

Marvelous is having wonderful friends to help you haul the aforementioned gym flooring.

My beautiful, cool Mom!

My beautiful, cool Mom!

Marvoulous is also having lots of family in town and surprising my Mom at church on her birthday!

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Mmm…avocado

Marvelous is enjoying a birthday dinner of taco salad at the park.

It was a great weekend indeed.

This morning started out pretty great as well.  I was very excited to workout on the new gym floor today (I’m such a weirdo, but whatever!)  I did this GPP workout, lil’ kate. And then refueled with a new protein smoothie.  I loved this one.  The consistency was very thick and smooth just how I like it!   It was very refreshing after lots of running and burpees:)

Sweet Avocado Lime Smoothie

Serves 1

  • 1 frozen banana, cut into chunks
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/8 of an avocado
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (I used this one)
  • about 3/4 cup of water
  • 4 ice cubes

Blend everything together until smooth and enjoy!

Now I’m off to enjoy the rest of the day!

What made your weekend marvelous?

Or, what’s making today marvelous?

Get Vegucated.

I did.

As I mentioned in my previous post I have adopted a plant-based (or vegan) diet for my own personal health.  (which I’m still loving.) And although I had no intentions of adding animal products back in to my diet besides the occasional egg, I have decided there is definitely no going back now.

Last week after the recommendation of a friend, Dom and I watched the documentary Vegucated.  All I can say is wow.

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It was a very eye-opening and intense film while still being funny and light-hearted at times.   I understand that this film was a little biased but the basics were there.  Although it is not a pushy or judgmental film at all I felt so selfish by the end of it.  Selfish for relying so much on animal products to try and build more muscle.  I didn’t realize how unnecessary that was, at least for me.  It’s really not hard to build muscle on a vegan diet.  I’ve noticed some good gains since eating a plant based diet.  Like some really good gains:)

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Anyway, the film follows 3 people who are meat and cheese lovers who adopt a vegan diet for 6 weeks in hopes of losing weight/getting healthy.  It uncovers the hidden parts of animal agriculture and factory farming.  It’s pretty sad and disgusting to say the least.  I won’t get into all the details, but I encourage you to watch it for yourselves.  Even if you have no desire in becoming vegan/vegetarian I think it’s good to watch just to educate yourself so you can make better choices when deciding where to purchase your meat and dairy.

I have seen a few documentaries and videos about factory farming and animal cruelty in my life but still made no changes in my diet except buying organic when possible.  But for some reason this really got me.  I guess I’m just in a different place in my life where I’m realizing that the way we get our meat, milk, eggs, etc is just not ok and I do not want to be a part of it.  I do not want to be a part of such a careless and violent industry.    Of course I believe in doing what is right for you.

I don’t believe meat is unhealthy.

It can absolutely be a part of a healthy diet.  But I’m also realizing that we do not need  it to survive; we can get all the vitamins, protein, etc that we need to from plant foods.   I enjoy meat and eggs but for myself I just can no longer give my money to an industry that THROWS AWAY animals because they are sick instead of giving them the care they need.  I’m not trying to be preachy and saying that veganism is the only way.  Of course not.  I’m in no place to say that especially because I’m so newly vegan.  I just think it’s important to be aware of how things are done so we can fight it and make smarter/kinder choices.  That is the only way things will change.

I’ve done some research of my own and here are some other reasons why I am choosing to stick with eating mostly plant based:

  • Farms used for meat and dairy production are huge sources of waste and air pollution. Just one large farm can create more waste than the entire city of Los Angeles!
  • Over 70% of grain produced in the US is fed to animals raised for slaughter.  To get just one pound of meat, it takes a full 15 pounds of grain. If this grain were given directly to people, there would be enough food to feed EVERYONE.  Plus the land the animals are raised on can be used to grow significantly more food than the land currently provides.  Now that’s a big deal.
  • With droughts happening all over the country, water is getting more valuable.  I found out it takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce just ONE pound of meat, as opposed to just 25 gallons for one pound of grain. CRAZY!!

Dom has also decided to adopt a mostly vegetarian diet eating meat only when we go out to eat or are at someone’s house which is amazing I think.  This will also make cooking a lot easier:)

Anyway, sorry if I sounded preachy or self righteous.  I don’t mean to be at all!  You have to do what’s right for you!  And for me this is it.  My eyes have been opened and I’m excited for all of the different things I am learning about fueling my body and workouts properly on a vegan diet.

Congrats if you made it to the end of this post;)

Be kind everyone.

Slashing Sodium

Alliteration is fun.

You know what else is fun?

Going Apple Picking with the hubby:)

And that is just what we did on Saturday.  It was great.  I found out that I actually do like red delicious apples!! I’ve only ever tried a red delicious from the store and I found it to be very bitter.  But let me tell you fresh off the tree red delicious apples are yummy.  Sweet and crispy:)  The farmer told us that the apples from the store taste like that because of the amount of time they sit after being picked.  Very Interesting.

We picked about seven pounds of apples.  Today is my day off so I finally got around to doing something with them.  I made applesauce in the crockpot and will hopefully be making some apple crisp for Dom soon.

On my days off I tend to do a lot of cooking/food prep.  Along with the apple dishes I baked a pumpkin and attempted to make pumpkin soup.  I will have to work on the recipe for that one, it turned out so so.  I made some turkey burgers to have on hand for quick meals, and protein brownies.  It was a busy but enjoyable day:)

Anyway, so for the past couple weeks or so I’ve been trying to cut down on my sodium intake after realizing I probably over do it sometimes.   That’s what happens when you are trying to get a lot of muscle building protein! You tend to eat a lot of eggs/egg whites and protein powders (Vega, I’m looking at you!)  among other things.     I rarely eat processed/packaged foods so I don’t really have an issue with a ton of added sodium but I tend to buy store bought marinara sauce and canned tuna which contain a bit of sodium.  Some other not so obvious things that can have high sodium content whole wheat tortillas/wraps (the one’s I buy have 300mg!) and breads, store bought hummus, salsa, and turkey lunch meat.

So for example if I were to have a wrap with 2 egg whites and a serving of turkey that would be around 850 mg of sodium alone!!  And that’s just at breakfast!

According to the CDC,  in general our bodies only need 180-500 mg of sodium/day!  Recommended intake is between 1500-2300 mg/day.

Of course we need sodium in our diets.  It is important for fluid maintenance in our bodies as well as playing roles in our heart’s performance, glucose absorption, and nervous systems. But a having a diet high in sodium can lead to high blood pressure, stomach ulcers, brittle bones, kidney failure, and fatigue just to name a few.

Here are some ways that I have been reducing my sodium intake:

I love vega protein powders! They are a great tasting and great quality protein source but they have over 500 mg of sodium per serving!! Luckily I found a great protein that is very comparable to vega quality, ingredient, and taste wise.  It is called Vegan Proteins Plus.

I really love it and I love the fact that it has only 230mg of sodium per serving.  That may still be a little high but after a good sweaty workout a little sodium is helpful:)

A great low sodium, high protein breakfast option is this TVP Protein “Oatmeal” .  Laura is a genius for coming up with it!   I’ve had it several times now.  I like to mix in pumpkin, sunflower seed butter, or strawberries and almonds.

Also instead of using a (high sodium) tortilla I’ve been using a sushi seaweed wrap to wrap my eggs in.  It may sound odd but it’s actually very delicious (and leaves room for some delicious clean carbs in the form of squash:) Ezekial wraps also have half the sodium as regular whole wheat tortillas so they are a great option as well.

I’ve also recently switched to soy yogurt instead of Greek yogurt for other reasons than reducing sodium (more on why later).  But as a plus soy yogurt only has 25 mg of sodium compared to greek yogurts 100 mg on average.

Just a few other ways to reduce sodium are:

  • using regular yellow mustard (60 mg)  more often than dijon mustard (120 mg.)
  • making homemade hummus
  • using low-sodium broths
  • flavoring foods with fresh herbs, spices, and lemon juice instead of salt or salad dressing.
  • Choose fresh protein sources (Chicken breast, fresh fish, Beans, Lentils) instead of reaching for the easy canned tuna or egg whites.

I hope these ideas help!

Stay happy.

Have you ever gone apple picking?

What are some ways you reduce sodium in your diet?