Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Home from Cruise & I Admit I Cheated

Okay so for 40 days I ate completely good and healthy foods.  I am so proud of myself for having such strong will power and accomplishing my task for the 40 days...  But then we went on a 10 day vacation, which 7 days of it was on a Carnival cruise.  I figured the buffet would always be open with salads, veggies and lots of fresh fruit and that would be mostly what I ate, but on the second day the buffet wasn't open when we decided to eat a late lunch the only places open were the pizza place and the grill that served burgers and dogs.   I resorted to a cheeseburger and fries (ummm.... don't tell, but I'm being honest here, so I'm telling).  I admit the cheeseburger and fries were very good.  After eating that burger and fries I decided I was taking a week vacation from my healthy eating right plan. I didn't go hog wild crazy, but I did eat some things that I wouldn't have otherwise.  The dinner menu was nice because it actually offered several healthy choice options, like grilled salmon and steamed veggies, which I did eat the first night.

One of my favorite desserts is chocolate melting cake (flourless fudgelike cake) with vanilla ice cream.  The first time I had it was on a cruise two years ago.  I loved it so much when we got home I found a recipe for it.  It is something they have on the cruise dinner menu every single night.  I resisted it the first night while watching my husband and a few others at our table eat it.  But on night number two I caved in.  The dessert was amazing and I proceeded to have it most nights on the cruise.  I didn't go crazy eating food in volume, but I did enjoy the dinners with shrimp, lobster, prime rib, veggies and salads.  I don't regret it.  I think if I had gone on the cruise and not eaten anything that I wanted (deprived myself), I would have regretted it.  I still practiced portion control and made some good choices, but I was definitely on vacation!

Eating like that for a week zapped my energy more than anything.  I kept finding myself feeling tired early in the day.  Surprisingly I didn't have headaches and I didn't have stomach issues... but feeling tired was a daily thing.

Yesterday and today, since being home, I have gone back to healthy eating.  I am thinking of sweets a bit too often, but I'm resisting temptation.  I figure this week will probably be the hardest as I get back fully on track.  I know I am no longer on vacation and I am back to eating healthy whole foods.  I still feel tired.  I hope to regain my energy again in the near future!  It makes me realize how what we eat definitely directly affects the way we feel.

Today I had oatmeal with blueberries and raisins for breakfast.... and an avocado and sprout sandwich on whole wheat bread for lunch.  I think I will go eat a piece of fruit now.  No more junk for me!  Well, not until my next cruise (hehe, I can dream can't I?)...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Eating Right on My Birthday

Today is my birthday :)  Happy Birthday to me.  I got to go out to lunch with my hubby to my favorite sushi restaurant.  I know I said I wasn't going to be eating sushi while I was on my 60 day challenge, but I decided to allow myself just a little bit.  I ate a Washington roll which is basically a California roll with Raw Salmon on top and avocado.  I had a little ponzu sauce with it.  I have to say it was sooooo amazingly yummy!  The good news is that was about six hours ago and I still feel great.  No stomach issues or food headaches from eating out!  I did eat white rice in the roll (which is definitely something I that is not on my good food list), but the rest of the roll was healthy.  I did avoid eating my favorite roll that is full of tons of stuff.  But being that it was my birthday I did enjoy this little splurge!

The most difficult part of my entire challenge is that we have decided to go on a cruise for my daughters college graduation.  Obviously I can not bring my own food on the Cruise Ship!!!  So, all next week I will be doing my best to make healthy choices and I will be eating allot of fresh fruit, salads and steamed veggies!  I will take plenty of pictures of the foods I find I can eat when we are on the cruise.

Until next time,
Healthy eating!


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Officially One Month of Eating Right

Yesterday marked one full month of my choosing to eat completely right.  Well, other than one meal (biscuits and gravy, when we were at my in-laws, which tortured my stomach!!!).  Otherwise, during the entire month I did make all healthy food choices and managed to avoid junk food, processed food, fried food and desserts.  I have learned to say no to the many things I used to just say yes to.  I was amazed how many times during the month people offered me things where I had to say "No Thank You".

Fruits and vegetables are much more a part of my life than they used to be!  I find that they are quite satisfying (most of the time).  Sure I still have an occasional craving, but it has become pretty easy to get past them.

I am happy to say I have lost a total of eight pounds.  Since this challenge has not been about weight loss, the 8 pounds is a total bonus!  I do feel healthier and I definitely have more energy!!!


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Eating While Out of Town

We went out of town (to Arizona) for a few days because my father in law had a stroke this past week.  He has had a few strokes in the past but each time he seems to get worse.  This time he lost much of his eyesight and his  equilibrium is way off.  He is very disoriented at times and completely lucid at other times.  Doctors said there isn't much they can do for him.  He is now walking with a walker and bumping into walls often.  He needs assistance doing most things. We ask for prayers for him to be healed, but most importantly the God's will be done in his life!  ♥

While we were away I did my best to eat as healthy as possible.  I made chicken breast sandwiches on whole wheat, packed carrots, watermelon, cucumber slices and oranges along with a bunch of water bottles in an ice chest.

I was able to stick to eating all the things I had packed up until Sunday morning.  Even though they had cookies, chocolate cake and Twinkies in their house, I was able to ignore them.  However, on Sunday morning my mother-in-law made us biscuits and gravy.  At this point, it was not about my having will power.  Being that the family was dealing with this health issue, and my father-in-law is in the worst shape we have ever seen him... the fact that my mother-in-law made us our favorite breakfast during this time, I felt that being rude to her efforts and telling her no to breakfast would have been inappropriate.  I decided to eat one and a half biscuits with just a little gravy.  I happen to know that her gravy is made from packaged (processed) ingredients.  I hoped it wouldn't be that big of a deal.

By Sunday evening, my stomach was in major knots.  I was having tons of intestinal cramping, felt like I had to "GO" bad, but nothing came out (sorry for the details)...  I haven't had that kind of stomach issue in a long time.  I went an entire month without putting any processed foods into my body, and pretty much the second I did,  my stomach felt ABSOLUTELY horrible!!!  The yucky stomach and intestinal issues literally lasted through Sunday night and the entire day Monday.  Needless to say, getting all of the "JUNK" out of my body has been really good for me... But, putting some of that crap back into my body was a horrible horrible idea and it was so not worth it.  

I need to figure out a way to politely say no, even in difficult situations.  It is hard to bring our own food with us everywhere we go.  Eating at home is easy, it's so much harder when we get away from the house.  

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Shopping for Organic Foods

On a recent trip to my local grocery store I was able to find Organics in almost everything.  This was not a health food store, but my normal neighborhood market.  Do organic products usually cost a little more, Yes... However, I found for many products they were the same price.  I found organic whole grain cereals for only $2.99 a box.  They use vitamin E as the preservative.  Amazing when we realize that there are actually natural ingredients that can be used as preservatives, instead of the chemical crud they put in most packaged food.  

I do my regular grocery shopping at a store called Stater Brothers.  They are a Southern California grocery chain.  They have a full line of organics, brand name "Full Circle".  I have found that these organic foods cost pretty much the same as other junk products, yet their ingredients are so much better.  I have been very happy with all of the organic items I have tried.   

My favorite organic foods of all is organic fruits and vegetables!  Yum :)  They taste so so much better when they are not messed with.  No chemical fertilizers or bug poisons have been used on them.  They are locally grown and picked at the appropriate time for eating.  Did you know that most grocery store fruits are picked way before they are ready.  Then they are shipped from other countries and they are refrigerated so they won't ripen, and then they are put into special gas rooms to ripen when the store wants to rush them to be ready for the consumer.. That is just nasty.  Did you ever wonder why that plum or peach was nothing but mush and had very little taste?  That is why!!!  If you buy organics or at least locally grown, you get fresher tastier produce every time!

Organic chicken is fed an organic vegetarian diet.  There are no hormones or antibiotics injected into the birds.  The meat is fresh and natural from free range birds.  This is the way all meats should be!!!

Organic salad dressings ran about $5 each... but when you read the ingredients, they are worth the extra!

Organic ketchup.  Made with ingredients like organic tomatoes, vinegar and organic raw cane sugar... and it tastes so much better than the junk brands of ketchup!!!

More and more companies are becoming aware of the importance of good nutrition.  Many stores are carrying more products for the consumer who wants to eat healthy.  However, you must still read labels.  Just because something says it is natural, you can't always believe it.  Read the ingredients and know what you are putting into your body!  If you don't know what an ingredient is, look it up on Wikipedia.  It will tell you flat out what it is.  Odds are, if you don't recognize an ingredient, it usually is not good for you!

Until next time,
Healthy eating!


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Healthy Pizza Recipe - Half the Calories

Okay, this is absolutely my new favorite recipe.  I got the idea for this amazing pizza alternative while watching the Dr. Oz show last week when they made a No Dough pizza by making a pizza on Naan Bread (a flat bread found at most health food stores). A few of my ingredients are different than what I saw on the show, but I think I have improved on the recipe!  I found Naan bread and also Artichoke hummus at Sprouts Farmers Market, a healthy, natural and organic foods grocery store.  Naan bread comes in whole wheat, garlic and spinach, you can use whichever is your preference.  This dish is approximately 350 calories per serving, which is way less than traditional pizza!

Ingredient List for 2 servings (2 personal size pizzas):

Naan Bread - 2 pcs.
Artichoke Hummus - 2 tbsp.
Organic Ricotta Cheese - 2 tbsp.
Organic Skim Mozzarella Cheese - 1/4 cup                
Cherry Tomatoes - 7 small
Baby Spinach - 1/2 cup
Fresh Basil - 1 bunch
Onion - 1/8 cup chopped
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 1 tbsp.
Lemon Juice - 1/2 tsp.
Sea Salt - 1/8 tsp.

Optional items that I've tried include mushrooms and chicken...  You can put on anything else you might like on your pizza :)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

Put your Naan bread onto a foiled cookie sheet.  Brush the top of the bread with a dab of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  Then mix the artichoke hummus, ricotta cheese and the diced onion into a bowl.  

Put half of the mixture onto each of the breads and spread around evenly.

Use the balance of your olive oil (just under a tbsp.) and add lemon juice and salt to it.   In a separate bowl, put cut up basil and spinach. 

Pour EVOO, lemon juice, salt mixture onto spinach basil and stir.  Then set aside.

Place tomatoes and any other toppings around each pizza.  Sprinkle thin layer of skim mozzarella cheese on top.

Put into preheated oven for 8 or 9 minutes (until cheese is fully melted and edges of bread will be crispy).

Remove from oven, spread spinach/basil mixture across top of pizza and serve. 

This last picture is a version of this pizza that I made for my husband with chopped up chicken breast and a drizzle of an organic barbecue sauce on the chicken.  Basil was put on and cooked with the toppings just under the cheese...  No spinach mixture was put on this version.  It came out amazing too!!!

I'd love to hear from you if you try this recipe.  Let me know how you like it!

Until next time...
Healthy eating!


Monday, April 30, 2012

Artichoke Hummus - Yum!!!

Sorry I haven't posted in a few days.  I've been totally busy but I'm still eating completely right.  I can happily say that I am not cheating.  We even did a 5k on Saturday.  All of this eating right has me feeling pretty good, full of energy and I find that I get totally excited now when I find healthy alternatives to favorite foods that are tasty and satisfying.

This past weekend I came up with two wonderful new recipes that are a huge hit at my house.  So much so that I've eaten each one twice.  One new recipe is for a pizza alternative (that is pretty much still pizza, but less than half the calories... and it is absolutely amazing!!!   And the other is for a new sandwich.  At the core of both recipes is artichoke hummus which tastes so good that I wish I came across it sooner!!!  I found it at Sprouts Farmers Market, which is a Healthy/Natural/Organic grocery store.  Artichoke hummus is low fat and low calorie and is good for you.  If you haven't tried it, I totally recommend going out and finding some.  I imagine that most health food and nutritional type stores carry it.  I'm pretty sure Whole Foods has it too.  Tomorrow I will post the two recipes and pictures of each new wonderful dish :)

Tonight I packed my hubby a great healthy lunch for tomorrow that includes my new sandwich creation.  Jim has been eating better than he used to.  He eats the dinners I make nightly and most of them he is enjoying.  However his lunch choices at work haven't been all that great.  He still eats out for most of his lunches (Monday - Friday).  I asked him tonight to try it my way for one week and he said he is willing... as long as I pack him his lunch. Yeah!   In addition to his sandwich, I packed him carrots, cucumber slices, an orange, a handful of raw almonds and some watermelon.  I probably packed him more than he needs, but I figure this way he has snack options throughout the day.   I hope and pray that he finds eating right can be a fun challenge... and that real whole foods actually taste way better.  Especially after you get all of the "crap" (chemicals and additives) out of your system.

This challenge has gotten much easier this last week.  Making the right choices is not near the struggle that it was at first.  Sure I still have the occasional craving, but it's becoming much more rare!

My 22 daughter, Britney, is also eating right.  Not that she was ever really a bad eater, since she has always been an athlete (gymnast growing up), she didn't eat too poorly before.  But as a college student, she still ate junk on occasion.  Recently she started training for a half marathon (one of those things she has always wanted to do, sorta like a bucket list item)...  so she has been running a ton lately and is eating right!  She is more disciplined with her food choices now than ever before.  She often sends me pictures of her meals which I completely enjoy!  It's fun having someone else to share the challenge with!

Okay, for now I am done rambling.  Tomorrow I will post pictures and recipes for the amazing Pizza Alternative and my new favorite sandwich.

Until next time,
Healthy eating!