Saturday, January 2, 2010

Jan. 2 - Today's food

I'll tell ya, school cannot start soon enough for me! I have had so much trouble getting a workout in over the holidays! Thank goodness I can get back into a routine on Monday!

Another fact that makes me happy: Tosca Reno says in her books that success is 80% diet! At least that I can be in control of, if not my current workout schedule.

Here is what today's food looked like:

M1: whole wheat toast with natural peanut butter, apple, iced latte
M2: chicken breast w/ brown rice and salsa, cherry tomatoes
M3: Trail mix
M4: Stir fry with chicken breast, broccoli, cabbage, and carrot, homemade honey garlic stir fry sauce, brown rice
M5: Popcorn w/ olive oil and sea salt (the kids are eating the last of the chips and I am dying for salty bad food!)

Tomorrow is going to be kind of crazy. My dearest friend is in the hospital so we are going to travel to the US to see her. We'll eat after church and then go. I'm going to take some trail mix for in the car but we will definitely be having at least one meal out. I'm going to keep it as clean as possible but I don't know what is near the hospital, so I can't plan ahead. Wish me luck!

Jan. 2, 2010: Meal Planning

The key to eating clean is preparation. I find that most of us fall off the wagon when we aren't prepared. Hunger is a powerful motivator to grab something at Taco Bell's drive thru! I find that if I make a bunch of basics all at once then there is always something to grab quicker than you can say "Happy Meal"!

The best food prep site I know of is this one
Chelle has successfully maintained a large weight loss for over a year. She was featured in Women's Health magazine and I have modified her food prep plan for our family's use. Check it out - I know you will be impressed!

Once a week I do a big food prep and usually there is a little more cooking once or twice a week. I like to have certain basics on hand so that I can put a meal on the table (or in the cooler) in a snap.

I always have the following items prepared because I can change up the flavors and have many different types of meals according to how the day is going:

baked brown rice (recipe below)

chicken breasts

veggie steamer bags (instructions below)

ground meat (usually turkey or chicken, sometimes beef) (recipe below)

These are a few staples I also have on hand:

Canned beans (rinse before using them to remove some salt)

clean salsa

all natural whole wheat pita bread

frozen corn


jalapeno relish (recipe below)

plain yogurt

whole wheat pasta

clean spaghetti sauce

tomato juice and tomato paste

baby spinach




natural peanut butter

clean crackers


If you keep this stuff around you can have a lot of variety. As you work your way through this you will figure out what works best for the tastes of you and your family.

Steamer Bags of Veggies:

This is an invaluable suggestion from Chelle's website. My kitchen would not be complete without steamer bags full of veggies. As soon as I get home from the grocery store, all veggies that are to be cooked over the week get washed and prepped for cooking (cut up, peeled, etc.) Then the veggies are placed in steamer bags with a sprinkling of Mrs. Dash or other seasonings. I always have several in the fridge to choose from. Right now in my fridge I have bags of : cabbage, broccoli, broccoli and cauliflower, cauliflower and carrots, asparagus, and green beans and carrots. They get nuked for 4-6 minutes and then are all set.

If I am in a hurry ( which is most of the time) I steam the veggies before adding them to the stir fry skillet - it really speeds things along!

Ground meat:

1 pound of ground meat ( lean beef, chicken breast or turkey breast)

1/4 cup diced onion

2 cloves of minced garlic

chili powder to taste

1/2 can of tomato paste

Saute veggies in a bit of olive oil. Add meat and cook until browned. Add chili powder and stir in tomato paste. Thin with water if necessary. Cook for a couple of minutes until blended. This mixture is good for a quick taco filling, spaghetti sauce, or chili. It is also good stirred into rice and topped with salsa for an all in one dish.

Baked Brown Rice
(This recipe is a modified version of Alton Brown's Baked Brown Rice - you can check out Alton's version at this link )

1 1/2 cups of brown/wild rice mixture

2 1/2 cups of homemade stock (you can use a clean canned chicken broth if you can find one)

1 cup of baby spinach

1/2 cup carrots

2 cloves garlic

sea salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375F. Bring stock to a boil on the stove. I use a pot that can go in the oven to make things easier. While boiling stock, put spinach, carrots and garlic into the food processor and pulse until it is coarsely ground. Add the veggie mixture and the rice to the pot and immediately put the lid on it to seal it tightly. Place this in the oven for exactly one hour and you will have a big pot of perfect fluffy rice.

I usually have my chicken breasts baking on the other rack in the oven at the same time.

With the rice you have a side that goes with any meal: Mexican, Chinese, Greek - it is very versatile. It's also delicious in a soup.

Jalapeno Relish

6 jalapeno peppers

1 tbs. white vinegar

pinch of organic cane sugar.

Yet another food processor recipe! Remove the stem from peppers. For a less spicy condiment remove seeds. I just take off the stem and cut each pepper into 3 pieces and place in the bowl of the food processor. Add other ingredients and pules until finely minced. This makes a delicious spicy condiment to add to your food. I love spicy food and the kids don't so this is one way I like to add some bite to my chili or tacos.

Here is a list of meals that can be quickly put together using the above foods:

Chicken and broccoli stir fry over rice

rice and chicken skillet with salsa

Pita sloppy joes with ground meat

spaghetti with meat sauce

mexican meat and rice

chicken soft tacos

ground meat soft tacos


Chicken vegetable soup with rice or noodles

Chicken cacciatore with pasta

pita pizza with chicken and veggies

Chicken pita w/ tzatzki and veggies

I hope this gives you a few ideas for meal planning and food prep. This system is working really well for us. It's family friendly and best of all, there is constantly good food ready and available.

Have a squeaky clean day!


Friday, January 1, 2010

Jan. 1 - My Pantry - Phase 1, GB&U

GB&U meaning Good, Bad and Ugly. Today I did Phase 1 of cleaning up the pantry. I am lucky enough to have a big bright walk-in pantry, but danger was lurking within. I got rid of the stuff that would tempt me, and left some items that I will just phase out as the kids eat them.

Top shelf: White sugar ( I decided to keep that bag for the occasions that we do bake-sale goodies for the school, etc.), aside from that the top shelf is storage for jars and containers, etc.
2nd shelf down: Some of this stuff is naughty. I had recently purchased a bunch of Nutrigrain stuff for the kids. I will dole it out in Lunchboxes until it is done. My steel-cut oats, box of sweetener for a diabetic friend, cornmeal, boxed potatoes (they will probably go during phase 2)8 boxes of whole grain, natural pasta
3rd shelf down: Green bin is baking items like, powder, soda, etc., box of granola bars (not clean),lentils, clean tomato sauce, water packed tuna, homemade spaghetti sauce canned last summer, whole wheat flour, pumpkin soup (not clean - kids will eat it one night when I work late) mixer, clean crackers
4th shelf down: natural pb (not opened yet), another bag of oats, can of chicken soup, (not clean)12 cans of beans, mixed grain oatmeal, canned pasta (not clean - for kids lunches), the last microwave popcorn we will ever buy, my beloved crockpot.
Bottom shelf is storage for baggies, foil, etc.

This is the stuff going to the food bank: 4 cans of cream of mushroom soup, 2 jars of jelly, 3 cans of baked beans, white pasta lasagna noodles.
In analysis, I know this can still improve. Like I mentioned before, I'm not in a financial position to just toss everything. I know the un-Clean stuff that remains will not tempt me. I'm planning another Clean-up in one month, and anything remaining will be donated.
Little steps all the way to a healthy home and family!!!

Jan. 1, 2010 - Happy Clean Year!

I always feel the itch of anticipation on January 1st. It is the day of the year that anything seems possible. I feel like I can make big changes on this day.

This year is different. This year, I did not wait for a particular day to change my life. I decided in one emotionally-wrought moment that life was going to change and I was going to be the force to make it happen.

I am going into this year with my fresh start already begun. My resolve is even stronger than when I began this lifestyle. I feel like a different person than I was just one short month ago.

So first: Results from the previous month:

CHEST: -2 inches
WAIST: -2.5 inches
HIPS: -3.5
~The jeans I was bursting out of fit me comfortably now and I don't have to do gymnastics maneuvers to get them up.
~ My depression and anxiety has greatly improved.
~ I am making good food choices because I want to, not because I have to.
~ I began an exercise program and am sticking with it.
~ I feel great - high energy, less tummy problems, and fewer aches and pains in my joints.
~ I submitted a magazine article.
I feel great when I look back on the previous month. I know there will be setbacks but I feel better equipped to handle them. The biggest difference between this and the million other times I have tried to diet is that I have been journaling. I am learning about myself and the connections I have made with food. I know now WHY I am fat, with a deeper understanding than "I eat too much."
I'm not making a big pile of resolutions this year. My only one is to set frequent goals. Achievement through small steps is lot easier than looking at the big picture - I still have 35 pounds to go.
So this week's goals:
1.)Continue working on the current article I am researching.
2.) Find some part time employment to help ends meet during the slow time of year at the store.
3.) Work on my patience - count to 10 before speaking.
4.) Keep it clean this week despite some personal issues that are going on - bingeing will NOT make me feel better.
5.) Clean out my pantry.
6.) Work on my fitness room.
1.) Submit at least one article
2.) Blog daily
3.) Lose 6-8 pounds
4.) Get fitness room up and running - I'll post pics - hold me to it, everyone!
5.) Continue converting my kids to the Eat-Clean lifestyle.
I'd love to hear your goals too!
What do you guys have planned?

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dec. 31 - New Year's Eve Party

Tonight is our annual New Year's Eve party. A few years ago I decided to make it a tradition to throw a NYE sleepover for my girls on this, the most dangerous driving night of the year. Hopefully they enjoy it so much that we continue it until they are adults (I know, overprotective mommy!)

We have around 5-6 girls expected for the sleepover, plus a couple of kids from the neighborhood that may drop in for some goodies and fun.

I'm getting rid of all the crappy food in my house today! Hooray - we will be squeaky clean after this party! I'm also offering some healthy options, because I don't want to feel like crap on the first day of the year! Clean(er) options are denoted by a *

Multigrain tortilla chips*
Commercial salsa
Angus Meatballs in Honey Garlic sauce
Build your own pizza toppings bar*
Greek pitas for pizza bases
Potato Chips
Yogurt and onion soup mix dip
Pineapple cubes*
Fudge, Peanut Brittle and Christmas Cookies
Cherry tarts
Soda pop
Bottled water*
I think I can find enough healthy stuff to eat to avoid going totally off the wagon. I am having a pizza (despite the white flour base) with healthy toppings, a couple of meatballs, some chips, guacamole and tortilla chips and pineapple. I'll stick with my usual water bottle since I'm not much of a drinker. The toughest thing for me to avoid is the ships - I love salty foods. I'm going to lean on the guacamole and the tortillas to get me through it.
Wish me luck in staying up until midnight. I have a great quote for NYE that sums it up for me!
"Youth is when you are allowed to stay up late on New Year's Eve; middle age is when you are forced to." Bill Vaughan, American author and columnist, 1915-1977
Have a safe and wonderful New Year's Eve!

Tomorrow is a fresh new year!

Dec 31 - Bring on 2010!!!

I'm ready!!! This past year was not a good one for our family. The next one is going to be my best, healthiest year ever. Tomorrow I am writing a detailed plan, but for today I'd like to publish my general goals for the year:

1.) Break things down week by week - each week I am going to make a list of mini goals to help me get to my bigger goals. Expect that list on Sunday of each week
2.) Keep eating clean - that is the best thing that has ever happened to me
3.) Help my kids embrace a clean lifestyle - one of my kids could be a bit healthier and I know this is the road for her if I can get her on board
4.) Get my finances in order - I've gone into massive debt to open my store - I need to come up with some additional income to pay off debt and get out from under some of it
5.) Submit a minimum of one magazine article per month - I always said I wanted to be a writer and had some success in the past but this year I am going to make that dream a reality. This is going to be the year that I can say I am a freelance writer.
6.) Continue this blog - writing down my failures and successes helps me more than I ever thought it would. It keeps me accountable and helps me not to make the same mistakes over and over
7.) Embrace fitness! I want to get back to the point where my body craves activity. I was there just a year and a half ago. I know I can get that feeling again.
8.) Incorporate activity into our family life - This year I want us to have active weekends: the indoor water parks (all those stairs), hiking, white water rafting, swimming, indoor rock walls, museums and nature centers. Ontario is full of all sorts of wonderful active things I can do with my kids!
9.) Become more active in our church community - We joined a church in August after my father passed away - it was the last thing he asked of me. He was so wise. I feel happy and recharged every Sunday. I want to incorporate that into my daily life a little more by becoming more active in the community. I'm considering home visits or something along those lines.

So there is the outline! This is my new life. Tomorrow, while all the kids are sleeping I'm going to put it in the format of a business plan - my new LIFE PLAN!!!!

In memory of my father

If you don't want to repeat a mistake, it's important to analyze it and figure out where you got off track. But actually, I don't want to think about my year from Hell. I just want to move forward. There comes a point when analysis is just painful. We as a family suffered a tremendous loss - my beloved father. I want to take a minute and write about the lessons I learned from him, not how I got off track through his long illness.

My dad was 86 when he passed away from congestive heart failure. He had suffered from heart problems for my entire adult life but he kept on moving until the end. The ice storm that struck the South last year left my family without power for 3 weeks, and that is when his health began failing rapidly. He spent the last 4 months of his life in nursing homes and hospitals.

Enough about his death - let's talk about his life. My dad retired in his mid 60s due to some back problems. He had been an optometrist and standing for long periods of time was too hard on him. He didn't stop though. He began taking classes at a local university and at the age of 66 received a doctorate in theology and became an ordained minister. Dad never liked extremes of weather, and 6 days a week, until about 5 months before his death, he went to Walmart early in the morning and walked a mile. He didn't have a rapid pace as he got older but he KEPT MOVING. His doctors were constantly amazed at the way Dad would go and walk, day after day, considering his heart problems and the arthritis that had settled in his spine.

He enjoyed reading, time spent with "all his girls" (my mom, me and my daughters), and looking out the window at the backyard he had turned into a bird sanctuary with feeders and birdbaths in clear view from the window. He kept his weight within 5 pounds of what he weighed in his 30s for his entire life, until illness made him dwindle away. Nutritionally, he didn't eat that well, although he did start every day with a bowlful of a fiber-filled bran cereal. Aside from that he was a fussy meat and potatoes kind of guy. He was the most loving and optimistic person I have ever known, and was and remains a constant inspiration to me.

The lessons I learned from Dad:

1.) Keep moving, no matter what
2.) Enjoy nature
3.) Keep learning
4.) Maintain a steady weight
5.) Be positive
6.) Let faith in God carry you through the rough spots

Those were the keys to his long life, which was a remarkably excellent one. I hope that when I am 86 I can look back and say I have accomplished as much as my dad.

We love you, Daddy, and think of you every day. I know you are watching me now, and you are smiling as you watch me pursue my dreams and re-prioritze my life.

No one has had a better teacher than I have. I want to honor my dad by incorporating his lessons into my life. He would be ticked at me for having succumbed to depression and letting myself get so overweight and out of shape. So now I know he will be happy to know that I've pulled it together and will continue to do so in his memory.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dec. 30 - the Eats!

I almost forgot to list my food today! Well, had I listed it earlier it would have changed so that's probably a good thing. We had unexpected guests for dinner so I had to throw some stuff together that was less than clean. But, you'll see - I think I did pretty well and the leftovers will be great for our party tomorrow:

M1: WW toast, all natural pb, apple
M2: turkey breast burger on 1/2 whole wheat bun, baby carrots
M3: roasted turkey, roasted potatoes, green beans
M4: Trail mix
M5: Angus meatballs (frozen but no crud except excess salt) cooked in commercial honey garlic sauce (loaded with sugar - I let mine drip as well as possible), brown rice that I had made on the weekend, baby carrots and cherry tomatoes, 5 potato chips
M6: orange

Now the really cool thing about that meal # 5: I put everything out buffet style, and also on the buffet was dip made with onion soup mix (I tasted it to make sure the proportions were right and that was it!), fudge, and Christmas cookies. The kids had orange pop and I wasn't even tempted! The chips would have called out to me until I ate them so I had a small sampling. The dessert was not even tempting. And now I'm good, I'm happy and I have a feeling of accomplishment.

Tomorrow is all about the resolutions - and some party prep!

Dec. 30: My Kids and Clean Eating

One of my priorities this year is changing the family diet. I want my kids eating clean also. We are having a last hurrah New Years Eve party, during which the residual junk in our house will be eaten or disposed off. Then that's it - I won't be replacing that junk with more junk.

At this point I would say my girls, ages 14 and 9, are eating about a 75% clean diet. There is still a little junk in my house. I have an evil plan to bring my kids over to the clean side, and here it is:

1.) I'm gradually making the switch. I've mentioned on my blog before that I did not do the big purge recommended in Tosca's Eat Clean Diet Recharged. I think purging the house is a splendid idea in a perfect world, but as mine is imperfect I chose to go a different route. I purged my major temptations: chips, ice cream and cookies, and left the rest for the kids to thin down. This makes the changes more gradual. When the Skippy is gone, the only peanut butter option is my clean, all natural peanut butter. When the ketchup is gone it will be replaced either with the homemade version in the Eat Clean Diet for Family and Kids with something organic and sugar free. The last lunch meat I ever intend to purchase was packed in a lunch box 2 weeks ago, and that has been replaced with thinly sliced turkey and chicken that I cooked myself. There are still some lunchbox goodies like Rice Krispie treats and Jello pudding cups. They will gradually be parceled out when school starts back up, mixed in with some homemade healthy muffins, bars and cookies. I feel that this method will forestall a potential mutiny!
2.) There is nothing else to eat. I am positive their sense of self-preservation will kick in long before starvation prevails, leaving them crawling weakly towards the pantry in search of a Twinkie. They may grumble and gripe, but they will eat an apple, some nuts or some tzatziki and pita chips before dying.
3.) Food is constantly prepped and ready to grab. It would rock their little fast-food worlds if they were required to prepare it as well as eat it. So when I come home from the grocery store I wash the fruit and put it in bowls on the counter or fridge. Veggies are sliced if they are to be eaten raw. There are jars of nuts, trail mix, and clean granola on the counter. Clean crackers and cheese are available. Pitas and tomato sauce are available for mini pizzas, and leftovers are immediately packaged in single serving containers for easy reheating, in the dire situation that a meal might be required.
4.) Clean up old favorites. I have come up with clean versions of many of their favorite "dirty" foods. Some of these are through recipes from clean eating books and websites. Others are trial, error and experimentation. A week's dinners might include:
Turkey burgers on whole wheat natural buns
Sweet potato fries
Steamed veggies
Chicken and broccoli stir fry with honey garlic sauce
"Fried" brown rice
Turkey tacos
with spinach, tomato,and low fat cheese
"Refried" beans
Whole wheat spaghetti
Turkey and spinach meatballs
Clean marinara sauce
Roasted chicken breasts
Roasted veggies: White potato, sweet potato, carrots, and cauliflower
Homemade pizza topped with
herbed tomato paste
grilled chicken and veggies
mix of feta and low fat mozzarella
There are a lot of recipes I am dying to throw into the mix from my Family and Kids Cook book that I just haven't gotten to yet.
And here is a quick list of the things I don't do.
1.) I don't restrict them when we are out. I hope that in time they will naturally make better choices.
2.) I don't preach to them about how "clean" something is.
3.) I don't cave on requests for "just this once" bringing unhealthy food into the house.
4.) I don't force them to have a completely clean menu on special occasions like birthday dinners, holiday meals and parties.
I'm seeing some progress. We have had a dozen cookies sitting in a canister on the counter since Christmas. There are 10 left but the fruit drawer is quickly depleting. When Dad took them to Wendy's last week my youngest ordered Mandarin Oranges for her side instead of french fries (yes, they are loaded with sugar but her head was in the right place.) My oldest has been looking through my cookbooks and Clean Eating Magazine and experimenting with some recipes. She was responsible for some spectacular sweet potato fries with dinner last night! By summer I expect to have more progress to report.
As I make these foods over the next week I will post some photos and some recipes.
Have a squeaky clean day!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dec 29 - Today's food

Yesterday went just as planned - I love it when that happens! Hooray! I am really working hard to keep it clean until our New Years Eve party.

I decided to plan my meal 6 every day and then eat it if I'm hungry, skip it if I'm not. Then when I do get hungry I'm not wandering around the kitchen poking my nose into all the containers and eating too much. Here is today's yummy food agenda:

M1: ww natural toast, all natural pb, apple
M2: Small Cabbage roll (homemade but not by me - moderately clean), orange
M3: Turkey, 3 potato wedges, green beans and carrots, all mised up w/ Mrs. Dash Spicy
M4: HM trail mix
M5 Turkey burgers on 1/2 ww bun, topped with spinach, onion and tomato, sweet potato fries, steamed broccoli
M6: apple or orange

I'm not sure that fruit is the very best choice for the last meal but I chose it because sweets are what I always want at that time of night. The natural sweetness of the fruit does the trick for me.

I love the new little grocery store we have begun using. It is a family store, and they buy as much as possible from the local farms. The produce is competitively priced, the meat, all free range is a little higher, and the bread is all baked there - no preservatives - yippee! And the bread is cheaper than the Wonder bread alternatives. They also have a hot food bar of homemade foods, so in a pinch I can get moderately healthy meals that are prepared. That is where my yummy cabbage roll came from - the kiddos had homemade pierogies for lunch.

I missed my workout today - I overslept and the kids were up so I had no place to do it. Still waiting and about to begin threatening for my workout room upstairs to be emptied of all DD14's stuff! Grrr. Break out the garbage bags! Today was also my first day back to work after all of that lovey time off.'s just heaven to take 5 days in a row to not work!

Have a great day, and thank you to all of you that read this, and especially the ones of you who are nice enough to leave comments!


Dec. 29 - Preparing for Success Mentally

With the New Year rolling in quickly a lot of people are planning their resolutions. Mine is just to keep up the motivation and to find strategies to get me through the rough spots. Writing this blog is really helping me identify those rough spots and their triggers. The feedback from you all is wonderful and if this helps you just a little bit, it is a twofold happiness for me!

I read lots of journals and sometimes seeing the situation from someone else's perspective helps me view things much more clearly. The biggest downfall I see is that a lot of people simply aren't prepared mentally for success. Here are the things I have learned throughout my short journey. These thoughts took 40 years to pop into my head and root there but now I feel armed to meet my goals!

Eating well is self love. You have to reach a point where you look at yourself and feel like you deserve to be treated well. Sometimes you reach a level of disgust with yourself that causes you not to care about your well being. You just want that weight gone! But overeating is a way of abusing yourself. It is a way of putting yourself down. So is starving yourself or going on some horrible exteme diet. If you begin to eat well as a way to cherish yourself and bring forth your good health, the road is a lot easier. I'm not saying self-hatred can't motivate you, but if you don't deal with your dislike of yourself then you will be hard-pressed to find lasting results.

We all stumble. The difference between success and failure is getting right back up and starting again the very next meal. Being angry with yourself and disappointed with yourself leads to the same feelings that cause you to binge in the first place. The downward spiral I was caught up in was binge, feel bad, binge some more, feel worse, binge yet again. The chemical crap in your binge foods can also have a serious effect on your mental state. I am absolutely convinced that a lot of depression issues I have dealt with were related to a buildup of the nasties that I was putting into my body.

Very few, if any, people eat clean 100% of the time. We all have families with birthdays, the holidays come once a year for every single one of us and we all get stuck without food and eat a meal out now and again. It is what you do on the next meal that counts. It is what you do 90% of the time that makes your body reach its potential, not the 10% of the time you decide to indulge.

Make indulgence a decision. Don't let life just happen to you. Decide that on Saturday, when the in-laws are taking you out to dinner, you are going to enjoy some pasta and even a little bit of dessert. If you have been eating clean, overeating will be difficult, even painful, since you just ate 2 hours previously. Sometimes I plan to have dessert and nothing really looks that great or I take a bite and find it painfully sweet. This way I am controlling the food, the food is not controlling me.

Make the best of things when life happens. Did you forget to turn the crockpot on to make your healthy dinner? Did you work late and now you are dashing around trying to get Sally to piano and Sam to hockey? Well, it's going to happen, if not today, then next week. Life just does that to us. Arm yourself with knowledge and make the best choices you can under the circumstances. Some days the best choices end up being your weekly cheat, sometimes they are squeaky clean. But don't beat yourself up. You are only human and life will give you a little poke now and then just to make sure you're awake!

Since I have started really thinking about why I do the things I do, and writing it all down, I see why I failed before on the approximately 7.1 million diets I have tried. These key factors above were missing.

If you are ready, don't wait until New Year's day - start making your changes at your very next meal. Why put off caring for yourself? Would you not bathe your kid for a week because the holidays were here and you just wanted to have a certain starting date? NO! Would you say, "Well, he's just going to get dirty again on New Year's Eve when he goes out sledding!" NO!!!
Look after yourself the way you would look after any other loved one! Eat well, plan for your party and love yourself! This is it! This is the way to lose it and keep it off! It's all about LOVE!!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Dec. 28 - Cookie Misdeeds

I had such a wonderful plan for yesterday. It was nice, it was spotlessly clean. And what did I do? I ate cookies!!! I must get rid of these thrice-damned cookies! And I don't mean by putting them into my tummy!

I was feeling wretched in the morning so I didn't plan my food like I should have. So, later in the day I was absolutely starving! Because I didn't prepare the right type of food, I just began to eat everything in sight. So add to yesterday's menu an apple, an orange, 1 shortbread meltaway cookie and 2 pieces of peanut brittle. NOT on the menu, especially those last two. I was trying to kill the sweet craving with all the fruit, which usually works but yesterday was also quite short on protein. OK - I'm done whining - it's all out of my system. Today is a new start and everything is going well.

I did the weigh in and measurements and I regret to say I am back up .2 so I am exactly 200 pounds today. Yuck. Not where I wanted to be, but to put an optimistic light on it, I can honestly say I lost a pound the week of Christmas. My measurements are down slightly - I am -1/2 inch on my hips and 1/2 inch in the chest (hey - I wanted to keep those!) My waist stayed the same.

The only serious temptation I'm expecting to face this week is New Year's Eve - we always have a big foodfest and sleepover. So that will be my planned cheat this week. I won't go crazy because I know it makes me feel really bad the next day - NOT how I want to start my New Year!

Today's Eats:

M1: ww toast w/ natural pb, banana
M2: Broccoli pita pizza
M3: Trail mix
M4: Broiled chicken breast, baked brown rice, steamed veggies (green beans, zucchini and carrots)
M5: Fruit

The pizza is a quick and easy clean meal. Like all of the quick clean meals, it is all about having the ingredients at your finger tips. This is so simple I'm not sure it could be considered an actual recipe; it's more of a list of ingredients.

Broccoli Pizza
1 cup of steamed broccoli, cut small
whole wheat pita bread (read your label to steer clear of white sugar and preservatives)
tomato paste
feta cheese
other low fat cheese
Spices of your choice
Spread the pita with tomato paste. Sprinkle on the spices of your choice. I use garlic powder, onion powder, basil, oregano, and sea salt. If I am in the mood for spicy I also use a little bit of crushed chili peppers. Make certain your steamed broccoli is well drained, and place it on the pizza. Top with a mixture of shredded low fat cheese and feta cheese. Bake in the oven at 425 for about 10 minutes.
This is a kid pleaser also (at least it is if your kids like broccoli - mine LOVE broccoli!) I think it is really important to have some go-to recipes for those times you will be tempted to dial Pizza Hut, so this is one of our favorite quickies. For the kids, I leave off the feta and just put a little more mozzarella or cheddar on theirs.

Dec. 28 - Good, Bad & Ugly in My Fridge

To all of you who read my Blog: I have ONE PROMISE: I am going to post it all: the good the bad and the ugly. So bearing that in mind, realize this is not a glossy magazine "perfect fridge" - that stuff is staged. This is the fridge of a real person with real kids. It has affordable food that is easy to access. Welcome to my fridge!
2nd shelf: Meat and cheese drawer (detailed below) extra bag of skim milk, whole grain, all natural bread (it goes bad too quickly if I keep it in the bread box - no preservatives!)
3rd shelf: Bowl contains 2 steamer bags of veggies - one with cabbage to steam and add to a stir fry or soup, the second has green beans, carrots, zucchini and Mrs. Dash, family pack of chicken breasts, leftover fruit salad, 2 dozen eggs

The fridge door, or, as I like to call it, "Where the Wild Things Are". Top shelf: real butter (none of this margarine chemical crud!), one last remaining Jello pudding for the little one's lunch box, mustards, liquid smoke (it was so pricey I haven't convinced myself to throw it out - so good in bean soup), an open tin of tomato paste for pita pizzas, hm hot pepper jelly (a Christmas gift - I'll be using it up as an appetizer for our NY Eve party)

2nd shelf: Caesar dressing (going to live with a friend - I won't be eating it!) real Parmesan cheese - all natural, lemon, lemon juice (contains preservatives - it will not be replaced when it is gone), light mayo, all natural salsa

3rd shelf- Raspberry jelly (kids eat it on their toast - it won't get replaced once it's gone), BBQ sauce, (I know, SUGAR!!!) Newman's OV dressing (for me), 2 bottled dressings (for kids - also will not be replaced), Ketchup (will be replaced with all natural no sugar ketchup when it's gone, Tupperware of my homemade salad dressing (CLEAN!)

Fruit drawer - it's all good in here - apples, oranges, a grapefruit that probably will not get eaten (we don't like 'em)

Veggie drawer ( Mixed greens, baby spinach, tomatoes, bell pepper)

Cheese and meat drawer: Feta cheese, all natural New Zealand cheddar, icky orange food coloured cheddar, turkey breast from Christmas dinner

Top shelf of fridge: Big water container, Brita filter, skim milk, yogurt, baby carrots, all-natural peanut butter, leftover broccoli pizza, leftover roasted potatoes.

So there you have it. I didn't go through and do a huge purge like they said in the books. I have two reasons for that:
#1: I can't afford it. I am a single mom, and I just opened a business. I refuse to throw away food. Some things I knew I would never eat again went to the food bank and some things went to a friend. Others, we will replace with healthy alternatives when they are used up (like the ketchup).
#2: I felt like it would be easier to change my kids to EC if it was gradual. I didn't suddenly want all their goodies to disappear at once. That is the surest way I know to have them stage a mutiny and overthrow the kitchen! (Okay, that last part was for dramatic effect!) Anyhow, if they have their raspberry jelly on toast until its gone and then it gets replaced with an all-fruit spread, I think that is a gentler way to introduce this lifestyle to them. A couple more weeks of real jelly after years of consumption is not going to kill them. Little by little I am improving their meals, and they aren't feeling as though they are 'missing out'.
And there you have it, justifications and all. The things I got rid of were the ones that were too hard for me to resist -things like soda pop and chips are simply not things I can have in the house without eating them. I find it easy to resist the icky fatty chemically salad dressings so they get to live here til they're gone. I never really enjoyed jelly that much, so the jelly, too can stay. Chocolate truffles, ice cream, that type of thing, no freakin' way am I strong enough to keep it in my fridge and not eat it - so again - HISTORY!
I'll be back later to post today's food and to confess last night's cookie misdeeds!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Dec. 27- Flu

The flu has finally struck our household. Luckily we don't have it as badly as most people we know have gotten it, but still badly enough to feel cruddy. We woke feeling achy and lethargic, accompanied by pounding headaches.

DD9 and I still got up and went to church but I changed right back into my PJs when I got home. We've decided to have a movie marathon for the rest of the day. The housework, I am quite certain, will stick around to be done tomorrow.

I'm keeping it clean again today. Here is the food plan:

M1: ww toast w/ natural pb, apple
M2: 1/2 ww pita, hm tzatziki, turkey, veggies, light feta cheese
M3: hm trail mix (I was craving candy)
M4: Turkey soup w/ ww noodles, spinach and carrots

I'm not exceptionally hungry today. If I'm starving I will work in some yogurt and fruit.

I make my soup stock from scratch in the crock pot. Here is the recipe:
Clean Soup Stock
Turkey or chicken carcass
6 cups of water
whole onion, whole carrot, half red bell pepper, 6 cloves of garlic, smashed
Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp oregano

I cook the combination on high in the crockpot for about 6 hours. Use a colander to strain the broth into another container. Remove remaining turkey from bones to add to soup. This makes a very tasty rich stock which I then use as a base for soups or when cooking rice. After it cools I pour it into Ziploc bags in 1 cup increments and put them in the freezer to use as needed.
Homemade Tzatziki
1 cup Greek Yogurt or drained natural yogurt
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 large cucumber
sea salt to taste
In a food processor, puree the garlic and cucumber until it is a paste. Stir the paste into the yogurt and salt to taste. Use this as a healthy spread or dip.
I wanted to share those recipes with you today. I find that if I make things that seem familiar my kids eat them a lot better than if I pop some kind of flax seed and tofu concoction on their plate. To that end I will be constantly experimenting on ways to remake our favorites. Ethnic food is always a big hit in our house. Because ethnic food is so flavorful a lot of it is very easy to clean up.
I'm still hoping to get the fridge and pantry photos up this week. As for now, I'm going to curl up in front of the fireplace and watch some more movies. Enjoy your Sunday, everyone!