Eat the Rainbow

“Eat the rainbow.” all the health nuts say. Well, not only is it good for you, it’s mighty tasty! Monday is a good day to get started on a healthy food kick (well, ANY day is, but Monday just seems fresh for some reason). Here’s what I did for my lunch…

Picked some kale from my garden! I planted the little plants a month or so ago and now it’s harvest time. First time I’ve ever grown kale and it’s easy. 🙂

Then, I chopped up some yellow squash and halved some cherry tomatoes. Heated some olive oil on medium heat, tossed all those things in and added grated carrots and a drained can of great northern beans. Cooked about 15 minutes with some salt and pepper and topped with some Italian blend cheese. Let me tell ya, it’s good eatin!

What’s your healthy meal that’s easy and ready in a pinch? What are you growing in YOUR garden this year?

Today's lunch!

Today’s lunch!

kickin’ sugar habit and lovin’ it

christianfitness

I’m leading a team of 5 folks in a weight loss competition right now – we have 2 weeks left after this one and so far, my team members are doing great. When I say “leading”, I’m the personal trainer for the group. I meet with them once a week for an hour to discuss nutrition and we do a workout. Anyway, the past two I’ve led, I was pregnant, so weight loss was not on my personal list. However, now I’m 3 months postpartum and really trying to get back into shape. I was losing some weight, but then I got stuck. Then, I contracted the stomach bug and lost 3 pounds over a weekend. After that, I was on a roll again and I think I’m back down to my pre-baby weight of 155 pounds (within a pound depending on the day).

A lady that was on my first weight loss team came to speak with the current team members about how she has lost 36 pounds in 10 months. It’s pretty much common sense, but she has opened my eyes to the devil SUGAR! It’s in everything (which I already knew), but I’ve really started paying attention to it.

Did you know that adults shouldn’t really consume more than 24 grams of added sugar in a day? That’s the equivalent of 6 teaspoons. Check out this recent article by Reader’s Digest that backs it up and also gives some recipes and tips on breaking your addiction. My friend that gave the lecture brought me a newspaper article just this morning with even MORE sugar info. Here’s a short excerpt to put it into perspective:

So it pains me to use M&Ms as an example, but one ordinary-size packet (1.69 ounces) contains 31 grams of sugar. This year, the World Health Organization recommended that sugar consumption should equal no more than 5 percent of your daily caloric intake. For the average adult, that’s about 25 grams of added sugar per day. The WHO isn’t just worried about the 69 percent of Americans who are overweight or obese. Diabetes and obesity are rapidly becoming a global concern.

My packet of M&Ms already exceeds 25 grams of sugar. If on a day that I eat the M&Ms I also have a 12-ounce Coke (39 grams of sugar), a one-cup bowl of Raisin Bran Crunch (19 grams), one serving of Campbell’s tomato soup (12 grams) and a 6-inch turkey sub from Subway (7 grams), that puts me at 108 grams of sugar, or over 400 percent of the WHO’s daily recommendation. And that’s in 950 calories. So either the WHO’s recommendation is ridiculously low or much of the reason the world is getting so fat — and not just fat, but sick — is that we’re swimming in an ocean of sugar and don’t even realize it.

Either way, about 2 weeks ago, for some reason the desire for sweets just kind of left me. I still add a teaspoon of raw sugar to my coffee each morning and I like my iced tea mildly sweet, but I’ve really cut out the cookies, cakes, etc. I feel better and I’m dropping the weight that is normally hard to get off.

I encourage you to look at your sugar intake and see where you stand, then make modifications if need be. There are TONS of resources out there to help, but let me know what your hurdles are. My best piece of advice – DON’T BUY IT! If you don’t buy it, you can’t eat it. 🙂

Next up…how to get my toddler down to 16 grams or less of added sugar. This one is gonna be fun…

recipes and halloween

I got on a kick this week and cooked a bit more than I have in a while. Baby Elam is finally starting to take some longer naps, plus I had Wednesday off which allowed me to cook a bit. Here are the recipes I used:

  • Wheat Beer Bread – I’ve always wanted to make bread, but it seems so daunting. This recipe was easy-peasy and I whipped it up in just about 5 minutes last night. I liked the bread, but my husband wasn’t much into it. I also baked fish my dad had caught in the river and then I sauted up kale in oil olive and threw in a can of drained black eyed peas. Good supper.
  • Apple Muffins – I follow the blog “100 Days of Real Food” and she posted a neat muffin recipe to try. I didn’t have walnuts and I only had 1/2 the syrup it called for, so I left out the nuts and did half syrup/half honey for the sweetener. Ezra gobbled his down and Mike (hubby) even liked them.
  • Baked  Eggplant – A vegan man that is a member of the gym where I work brought me an eggplant earlier this week that I needed to use, so I made this dish for my mom and me. I added Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and onion powder. I liked it but mom loved it and made it again at her house. I served it over raditorre pasta with marinara sauce.
  • Monkey Bread – This one I learned in middle school home economics and it just stuck. You take a can of biscuits and cut them into quarters, then roll in melted butter. After that, dip them in a mixture of sugar and cinnamon and bake at 350 for a few minutes. Ezra actually helped with this one and ate the raw dough (just a little). He’s such a picky eater that I let him just about anything that won’t make him sick! 🙂 It’s not the most healthy dish, but it’s a nice little treat from time to time. I need to find some wheat biscuit dough or make some from scratch.

Speaking of picky eaters, earlier this week I downloaded some neat docs and watched a short video by Tribe Wellness about picky eaters and how to remedy the issue. I learned some good tips and I encourage you to check it out if interested.

Another cool thing on the “100 Days of Real Food” blog was alternatives to Halloween candy. My son is having a pre-school party for Halloween and I think I will take some non-candy treats for that. The teacher sent home a list of what each kid needs to bring…the list included cupcakes, cookies, chips, cheese puffs, and pizza. I am responsible for the chips and I think I will bring some fruit salad to show folks you can still have fun with good foods…

Well, let’s get ready for the weekend. I hope yours is filled with fun, good food, and some physical activity!

19 signs you’re a foodie fanatic

I got this in an email today and liked it so I thought I would share (check out the article online to see cute little animated images). If you’re not familiar with Take Part, check them out! I’ve bolded the ones that apply to me and added a few notes along the way. 🙂

The eating habits of Americans are changing. Kids no longer cry for Happy Meals, people who aren’t hippies are reaching for Kombucha instead of soft drinks, and organic grocery stores are popping up in the most unlikely places. Last month, McDonald’s saw its biggest slump in sales in 10 years. Other food industry giants, such as General Mills, are taking note.

Obesity rates are still soaring, and the government still needs to better regulate Big Ag, but there’s plenty to celebrate, thanks to a growing community of conscious food consumers. So really, there’s no shame in being particular about what you eat. Here we list 19 signs you’re a foodie fanatic.

1. You own all of Michael Pollan’s books. (I own one…)
2. You think Monsanto is pretty much the worst company in the world.
3. You have strong feelings about GMOs—and your friends (and some strangers) know it.
4. You obsessively check food labels, and you know which ones are bogus.
5. You roll your eyes at beef that’s not grass-fed.
6. You consult a phone app before eating seafood to check if it’s sustainable. (I probably would if I had a smartphone).
7. You jumped for joy when Ben & Jerry’s announced it was going GMO-free.
8. You have an excessive number of reusable bags on hand at all times.
9. You have a garden.
10. You spend a lot of time perusing restaurant menus and peppering waiters with questions.
11. Watching your friends gobble up junk food physically pains you.
12. You freak out when you oversleep and miss the farmers market.
13. You ask baristas where the coffee beans come from and whether they have hemp or quinoa milk.
14. You started drinking coconut water before everyone else did (and are now considering maple water). (I just cannot get on the coconut water bandwagon…it’s so gross to me, no matter how good it is for you).
15. You love Trader Joe’s.
16. You get irrationally angry about food mash-ups and wish you lived in simpler times.
17. You spend most of your money buying organic everything.
18. You Instagram every meal. (Again, I probably would if I had a smartphone). 
19. You’re considering naming your child Kale…or Quinoa. (I have a friend whose dog’s names are Basil and Olive!)

http://www.takepart.com/article/2014/09/12/19-signs-youre-foodie-advocate?cmpid=tpfood-eml-2014-09-13-foodie#article-comments

i’m back

Holding my sweet baby Elam

Holding my sweet baby Elam

I’m back…back to work and hopefully back to blogging a bit. What have I been doing? Spending a lot of time holding a baby and chasing a 2 year old. But, I returned to work last week, so now I am back to being a lifeguard, personal trainer and hopefully group exercise instructor in October.

I’ve missed blogging and have had a million ideas of what I could blog about, but never could find the time to actually sit down and write it out. But now that I’m back to work, I can get my thoughts out during my breaks and such.

Baby is doing well and is already 7 weeks old, which is hard to believe. His brother likes him and is good to  him, so that makes my life easier. Having two small kids is chaotic and I thank God that I have a good husband to help me out.

I really enjoyed my break and bonding with my boys. I miss spending time with them already. My older son started preschool two days a week last week and that went well, thankfully. Here’s a shot my sister caught of him on Labor Day weekend playing with an old Halloween decoration we had in the yard…

Ezra and the skull

Ezra and the skull

Now, it’s time to get back into shape (just did a good 20 minute workout) and get back into a groove. And, get back into meal planning/cooking. I really miss eating well, so that’s one of my biggest goals. Here goes nothing!

a new normal

Little Elam is 2 weeks old today and our family is settling into a new normal. Ezra is a great big brother. Yesterday, he shared his building blocks and asked “Can I touch his leg?” It was very sweet. Thankfully, my husband has had 2 weeks off work and still has one more before it’s back to the daily grind. I am off until the week of Labor Day, thankfully. Physically, I feel almost back to my old self again and my stomach is quickly disappearing. I took a 20 minute walk yesterday for the first time since Elam arrived and it felt good. I hope to keep walking a few times a week and incorporate some light strength training as well. Need to get some of this jiggly tightened up!

My garden is producing an abundance of tomatoes and those sunflowers are even more gorgeous. I’m so glad I decided to have a garden and that it’s turned out so well. I have a few zucchini still coming out and there are some butternut squash ripening nicely. I found a watermelon the vine that’s about 2 inches around, so we’ll see if it turns into anything. I found a recipe for crock pot spaghetti sauce I’m going to try with all these tomatoes so they don’t go to waste.

I’m so thankful for the blessings the good Lord has given me. It’s like the song my son has learned to sing…

This is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made
I will rejoice, I will rejoice and be glad in it

Rejoice and be glad today!

nesting? perhaps.

I left work at 1:30 today to come home and take a nap, which I did…for 2 hours! My mom has my son today, so I thought I would take advantage of a little “me” time before this baby gets here. It’s decided to incubate at least till its due date (tomorrow) and I’d been wanting to bake up some zucchini bread since the garden is being generous.

First, I made a blackberry peach cobbler that I’d made last year. Then, I made a double batch of zucchini bread. Next, I cleaned up the house and lastly, finished packing my hospital bag. I’m getting ready to light into dinner for my husband and me. I hope he’s as tickled as I am when he gets home to a clean house and the smell of fresh baked goodies! I think this might be my sudden burst of energy that folks talk about before you go into labor. Who the heck knows? I thought I’d have this baby by now! 🙂

I had forgotten about something my son said this morning. He got up early (around 5:45 am) and came to get in bed with me (his daddy was already gone to work). He had been laying there a few minutes when he took out his paci (still trying to kick that habit) and said “I like you.” Now, doesn’t that mean the world to a mommy? It sure did to me.

Enjoy some photos of what I was up to this evening and a visit to a friend’s house the other day.