Thursday, February 4, 2010

Feb. 4 ~ Some recipes

It's been a while since I posted recipes. I have some today that I have also posted to the New Eat-Clean community, so this may be a repeat for some of you!

I love this recipe because it is quick and versatile. Feel free to mix and match ingredients based on what you happen to have on hand. If the ingredients are precooked, this is about 10 minutes to the table! It's ready before you can say "Drive-thru!"
1 svg of lean protein for each person: chicken breast, steak, pork tenderloin, turkey breast
1-2 cups of steamed veggies per person: broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, mushrooms, green or yellow beans, peppers, onion
4-6 cloves of finely minced garlic
2-3 tbsp honey
1 tbsp EVOO
2-3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
optional: crushed red chili peppers
~ Steam veggies in the microwave until al dente
~ Heat oil on medium in a skillet or wok - I use a cast iron frying pan
~ Saute garlic and onion until it is tender and fragrant, stirring often
~ Add lean protein and continue to stir
~ Add steamed veggies and stir well
~ Turn the heat up to high and add honey and soy sauce stirring constantly
~ The stir-fry will begin to lightly caramelize after a couple of minutes
~ Remove from heat and add crushed chilies if desired
This sauce works well to dress up veggies as a side dish also. My kids love it!


This easy side is a family favorite.
2 large sweet potatoes
2tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tbsp EVOO
to taste: garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt, black pepper

~ Preheat oven to 375*F
~ Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
~ In a large bowl, mix syrup, oil and seasonings
~ Toss sweet potato chunks in mixture to coat
~ Spread the coated sweet potatoes on a cookie sheet
~ Bake for 30-45 minutes, until lightly browned. Stir frequently, as the maple syrup will scorch slightly on the bottom of the pan. Don't worry when this happens - it still tastes great!

I always sprinkle these with a little chopped fresh parsley for color.


My biggest non-clean craving is potato chips. This recipe gets me over the hump when the cravings strike. If you eat the entire potato, you've only consumed 284 calories and 5 grams of fat. Add a seasoned yogurt dip for protein and you have a healthy, balanced snack.

1 large potato
1 tbsp EVOO
Season with: sea salt, Mrs. Dash, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper

~ Preheat the oven to 350*F
~ Thinly slice the potato - the thinner the slices the crispier the chip will be
~In a bowl, mix EVOO with all of the seasonings except the salt and pepper
~Dip each slice of potato in the mixture and then lay them in a single layer on a cookie sheet
~ Top potato slices with sea salt and cracked pepper
~ Bake for 10-20 minutes, watching very closely. As the slices get brown, remove them and place them on a paper towel lined plate
~ They get crispier as they cool - if you can wait that long!


I had a roommate from Mexico when I was younger and he had a tiny little "salsa garden" in our flower bed that contained all of the ingredients for this delicious salsa. You will never want the grocery store kind again after eating this fresh, delicious concoction!


2 large cans of diced tomatoes, drained
4 cups of diced fresh in-season tomatoes
1/2-1 red onion, diced to preferred size
1 large green bell pepper, diced to preferred size
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
juice from either 1 lemon or 2 limes
4 cloves of garlic
1-3 jalapeno peppers to taste

~ Drain the tomatoes using a fine colander. I reserve the juice for soup stock or cooking rice.
~ In a food processor, place peeled garlic cloves, cilantro, jalapenos ( leave in seeds for a spicier salsa) and lemon or lime juice. Pulse until a chunky paste forms.
~ In a large, non-metallic bowl, mix all ingredients well. Store in the refrigerator.

The original version also contains a splash of tequila for a rich, smoky taste. Mmmmm. I love salsa! Use it as a dip, a taco topping or a topping for baked chicken breasts.


I hope you enjoy today's recipes - let me know if you have any questions!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Feb.3 ~ Toxin of the Day: Sugar

In 1937, American anthropologist Edward Hooten published his book, Apes, Men and Morons. In it he said, "Let us go to the ignorant savage, consider his way of eating and be wise....Let us cease pretending that toothbrushes and toothpaste are any more important than shoe brushes and shoe polish. It is store food that has given us store teeth." Also in the 1930s, Dr. Weston Price traveled the world to review the health of aboriginal peoples. He noted that they consumed natural foods from their own habitats, and they all had excellent general health and teeth. It wasn't until "civilization" began to supply them with processed and refined foods that their health began to take an immediate decline.

White sugar has been called"white poison","legal heroin" and "as addictive as cocaine" by a wide variety of experts. Indeed, the addictive properties of sugar is easily demonstrated. Who among us hasn't found the candy dish irresistible, calling to you to eat more and more?

North American table sugar comes from sugar beets or sugar cane. It undergoes an 8 step process to become the fine, uniform sparkling powder that is familiar to us. That process includes the addition of lime and/or carbon dioxide to bleach it, followed by filtration through beef bone char. (This rules out standard sugar for a vegan diet - that was news to me!) Lime (calcium oxide) can cause severe stomach pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.When mixed with water it can become combustible.

In 1793, a group of sailors were shipwrecked and had only rum and sugar to consume until they were rescued. Five survivors were marooned for 9 days until rescued. All five were nearly dead of starvation. A French scientist named F.Magiende was inspired to experiment on animals and discovered that without variation, a living creature could survive far longer on simply water than on water and sugar.

Consumption of refined sugar is linked to weight problems, diabetes, psychiatric problems, heart problems, kidney problems, and clogged arteries in the extremities.

Sugar is also addictive. Studies on addicted rats show the same type of brain activity when deprived of the substance as seen in rats addicted to nicotine, alcohol, and hard drugs. That means your 3:00 o'clock sugar craving has a scientific reason.

I used to eat 2 large bags of peppermint candy per day. I'm talking about the big bags from the dollar store you might get to fill a candy dish two or three times. I broke myself of the sugar habit cold turkey, and now avoid it religiously.

Many substitutes are available, and some are better than others. I DO NOT RECOMMEND artificial sweeteners. They are possibly even more harmful than sugar itself. I use sucanat, which comes from sugar cane but is far less refined. I use about a teaspoon per day in my morning coffee. Other options are stevia, agave nectar, honey or maple syrup.

Sugar definitely lives up to the name "Toxin of the Day!"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Feb. 2: Inspiration and the Road Less Traveled

What is your inspiration to become a happier, healthier you? What is that thing that keeps you plugging away, even when you would really rather pull the covers over your head?

I have a couple of inspirations. First is the fact that I want to repair the example I have set for my daughters. I have taught them by example that bingeing on ice cream and potato chips is the way to deal with your problems. This is by far my biggest regret in life - the one thing I would give my soul to do over. Since I can't have a do-over, I am hoping to teach them now by my example that when life sticks a foot out to trip you, you go over it, under it, or around it. You don't stop and say, "Well, I can't get past that foot - do we have any Oreos?" Against the odds, I intend to be the happiest, healthiest version of myself ever by the end of 2010.

Second is my late father. I want him to look down and smile at the healthy fit daughter he raised, not shake his head in sorrow that my grief over the loss of him sent me spiralling out of control.

I'm taking such a different route - maybe this is my mid-life crisis. Right now I am unemployed, overweight, and flat broke. My oldest daughter is so unhappy with the changes that have occurred in our house she is temporarily staying with her dad. But I know I have to focus past all this. I spend time every day picturing the buff 41 year old published writer I intend to be at the end of the year. I'm taking a roundabout way of getting there, but get there I will.

And in changing my future, I hope to change the future of my children, and to get a big smile from heaven.

What inspires you to make the changes you are making? What prompts you to take the next step on your journey, no matter how much you might want to stop and take a little break?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Feb. 1: Einstein's Definition of Insanity

More crazy quotes from Daisy. I LOVE this one by Albert Einstein:


This post is for those of us who might be on a plateau, have the scales going opposite of the desired direction, or find their progress occurring slower than expected. If you keep doing the same thing, you have to expect the same results!

If things aren't going the way you want them to, then you have to shake it up. Examine what you have been doing and be critical. You may find you were slacking on a particular macronutrient. You may find you aren't giving your all to your workouts. You may find you have been doing absolutely nothing technically "wrong" but you just aren't reaching your goals.

Here are a few ways to shake things up:

1.) Change your ratio of macronutrients. Some people go for a 33/33/33 split between protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Others are 40/40/20. Play around with it and make a change from what you have been doing. Different bodies respond to different things. It could be a hormonal issue, an exercise issue - any number of things. Don't be afraid to shake things up with your diet! Give it at least 2 weeks to see if your change is working.

2.) Shake up your workout! I have been plodding along for the last month, putting in my time on the bike/ elliptical like it is a prison sentence. This is NOT getting me anywhere. So today I began a new program of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). I am also doing push ups and crunches in a quick secondary workout. I am worth 30 full minutes a day of intense effort! Consider adding HIIT to your cardio routine, join a group class, get a new DVD for a type of exercise you have never tried before, or add heavy weights to your routine.

3.) Greatly increase your water consumption. Figure out how much water you are consuming on an average day. If it is reasonable, then add a liter. (That is one of my goals for the month.)

4.) Examine the previous month and see where your planning could have been better. Then instantly resolve to find a solution for the future. My example of this was my doctor's appointment. I have resolved not to leave the house even for an hour without one more water bottle and snack than I expect to need.

5.) Research! Read everything you can get your hands on about successful people. See what they are doing that is different from what you are doing. Try one of their tips for a couple of weeks and see if it makes a difference for you.

6.) Create a vision board! How can you get to where you want to be without having a clear picture of where that is? I am working on two vision boards for myself: one is professional and the other is health and fitness related. Paste on workouts, bodies that correspond with your goals and favorite healthy foods. Maybe add some vacation brochures and rewards you plan to give yourself, as well as some photos of goal outfits you want to wear. I'll post my boards when they are finished.

I hope this has given you some ideas on some ways to shake things up this month. Personally, I plan to ROCK February!

Feb.1 - New Month, New Start

There is just something about turning that page on the calendar to a fresh new month. On the first of the month, I feel a little frisson of anticipation for the good things to come. I love the concept of a new beginning! It's like looking out into the back yard after a snow and seeing the pristine surface unmarred by footprints. Hooray for February!

This month I am going to cut back my servings of starchy carbs and replace with lean protein. I think that may have been part of my issue last month. I was dissappointed with only a 6 pound weight loss - I did better than that the month of Christmas, for crying out loud!

Today's wonderful meal plan:

m1: Toasted cranberry pumpkin seed whole grain bread (mmm), natural pb, grapes, skim milk latte
m2: Skim milk
m3: Extra lean ground beef, corn tortilla, salsa, baby carrots
m4: Healthed-up nuts and bolts (link to recipe below)
m5: Broiled salmon, maple roasted sweet potatoes, steamed broccoli
m6: grapes or strawberries

Here is the link to the nuts-n-bolts recipe - it's awesome!

Check out the website the recipe is on - it's great - and I'm a frequent contributor, if you happen to like my blog! :)