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!


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wow... Challenge Day 17 Already

I am so happy to say I have made it to day 17 and am still holding strong.  I do occasionally still have cravings for things I can not have.  Just last night I so wanted some chocolate chip ice cream.  I was just driving down the street past a Baskin Robbins all of a sudden I was saying to my husband, "oh my gosh, chocolate chip ice cream sounds so good right now".  Then I immediately followed it with saying, "but, I can't... I want to but I can't".  And the good news is, I didn't!!!  I haven't had anything chocolate the entire 17 days, which for me is definitely some kind of record!  Okay, so enough talking about foods I can't have.  I do better if I just don't think about them!

As for what I have been eating... I eat allot of fruit and vegetables.  I eat organic whole grain oatmeal or raisin bran each morning.  Lunches usually include avocado in some form.  I eat it either in a sandwich on whole grain bread or on a spinach salad with other veggies too.  I keep a bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen island at all times so whenever I want a snack I just grab a piece of fruit.  I eat a handful of raw almonds each day.  Dinner is usually either chicken or fish with veggies either steamed or grilled.  I am learning different ways to prepare my meats and veggies to give us some variety.  The food choices are pretty basic right now.  I hope to get a little more creative with spices, but I'm still learning what works and what doesn't.

For those of you that are doing this challenge along with me, continue to stay strong and keep eating healthy whole foods...  It is not always easy, but I know that if I can do this, so can you!

Until next time,


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Stone World Bistro - Organic Healthy Dining

So over the weekend we went to San Diego for my brothers birthday and we were invited to go out to dinner at a place called Stone World Bistro & Gardens.  So I was thinking, oh great, another meal "out to dinner"... What will I eat?  The night before we went I decided to go onto the website of the place and see if there was anything I could possibly eat.  When I got to their site I couldn't believe what I found.  I read their philosophy on food (see below):


At Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, we use in-season, locally, regionally, and organically grown produce. We do this not just for the simple principles of freshness and sustainability, but also because fresh, local and organic tastes better. It's also better for you and the world in which we live. It shouldn't be surprising to hear that we also use 100% naturally raised meats. The same fresh/artisanal/natural standard goes for all our food. It does cost more, and our prices reflect some of that reality. However, we also feel it is the much, much better way to go.

I was so excited after I read that!!!  I have never seen anything like it on a restaurants menu or website!!!  I was completely thrilled... I could actually go out to eat and enjoy what I was eating and not have to worry.  My husband and I were able to split a dinner and a salad and the food was completely amazing!!!  Yes, it was a little pricey but it was totally totally worth it!  It is a brewery and a bistro, but I chose to drink only water with lemon (my drink of choice).  It is about 80 miles from our home, but I know I will eventually go back!

I wish there were more places like this that actually cared about the quality of what they were serving to their guests!  Maybe over time there will be more... In the meantime, If you are ever in the Escondido, San Diego area... definitely grab a meal at this place!  You won't be disappointed!!!

Until next time,


Monday, April 23, 2012

What to Eat? Engagement Party

This weekend my husband and I went to an engagement party and again came the dilemma!  What can I eat???  I was smart and planned ahead and ate a tuna & veggies sandwich before we left our house.  But knowing that there would be lots of food and drinks at the party, I wondered what it would be like for me.  Eating right when I am at home has become pretty easy... It's when we go out that it becomes much more difficult!

When we got there, they had all sorts of snacks out on the counter... Margaritas were mixing in the blender and there was a huge chocolate cake (which happens to be my favorite).  I could easily skip on the Doritos and snacks that I saw, and I could handle drinking only water while everyone else drank margaritas... but that cake was going to be a major challenge!!!  It was pretty much calling my name.

We didn't know what their plan for dinner was, but after we arrived we were told we were having barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs with all of the fixings.  It's a good thing I had eaten a sandwich a couple hours before!  Honestly I haven't had a hot dog in probably a year.  And I know they are full of nothing but crap!  But something about the smell of hot dogs cooking on a barbecue seriously made me want one.  Of course I didn't have one, but it did smell very good.  So while everyone ate their burgers, dogs, chips and potato salad.  I took two pieces of lettuce and put a tomato and some onion in the middle, then rolled it all up and ate it like a burrito.  The picture below is my plate just before I rolled it together.  I also had a piece of watermelon and a piece of cantaloupe.  I had to say NO to so many things that I wanted, but knew I could not have.  Obviously the lettuce and tomato were not likely organic, but when you are out you have to just make the best choices that you can.

As the evening progressed, I did allot of people watching and I noticed that many people are social eaters... several of them were nibbling on chips for the majority of the four hours that we were there.  It was interesting to see.  It made me wonder if I would be doing that same thing, if I wasn't being conscious of every bite I was taking?

I had handled the evening pretty well up to this point.  I had a few temptations, but had managed to "Just Say NO"!  My husband and I were thinking of leaving when we were told "No, you can't leave until we cut the cake"... Uhg... did we have to stay for that???  No offense, but I'd rather not be around when they cut it.  It's way easier to avoid this kind of "BAD food" when it isn't right in your face!!!  Lucky me, my husband decided we should stay a little longer.

As they cake was cut and passed around, I was offered a piece about five different times.  So not only did I have to say "NO", No thank you.... "NO"... and "no" again.... but the smell of chocolate cake and frosting completely permeated the room as it was distributed (torture!!!). Twenty or so people were standing all around me, gorging on this chocolate cake.  It was absolutely the single most difficult moment of this entire past two weeks, since I started "EATING RIGHT"...  For about 15 minutes I was being completely tortured by the smell of that cake and I had to listen to everyone talk about how amazing it tasted.  Even writing about it now, my mouth is salivating... but I am doing this challenge... and I am giving it 100% of everything I can.  So I ended up eating a few grapes and I watched as everyone else indulged in that cake.  It was so NOT EASY!!!  But I can proudly say that I made it through.  Another day of success!

Until next time,
Healthy eating!


Friday, April 20, 2012

Date Night - Healthy Food Options

Last night my husband and I were talking about what we were going to do on Friday night (tonight).  For us Friday night is usually our date night.  We normally would go out to a nice dinner (usually sushi) and then we go see a movie and have movie snacks (like popcorn with an Icee and some Dibs ice cream - my favorite).  Since I have decided to do this EAT RIGHT Challenge I control everything I eat (only healthy) and I do my best not to put any chemical additives into my body.  I had to figure out how to still have our date night out, without the going out to eat part and figure out an alternative for the bad movie snacks!  

Date Night Eating Out - My Healthy Solution: Our weather is absolutely beautiful today, in fact it is supposed to be 80 degrees at 6:00 tonight.  Instead of going to a restaurant I have decided to pack a healthy picnic dinner and take a cute little picnic basket and blanket for a picnic in the park.  I am making tuna sandwiches with celery and onion bits mixed in for flavor on whole grain bread.  We will have some raw veggies on the side for crunch and then fresh sliced pineapple for a light dessert.  Then we will go to the movies.  I wanted to see Nicholas Sparks new movie "The Lucky One".  We both have read the book and loved it, so hopefully the movie will be good too!  I decided to pack/stash us a few snacks in my purse.  I am taking some raw almonds and a Ziploc bag filled with Organic Honey Nut Oats (the honey makes them a sweet crunchy snack).  Add a bottle of water to drink and we are set :)    

It's pretty easy to think of healthy alternatives, I just hope my taste buds and brain will cooperate when we walk into the movie theater and smell all that popcorn popping!!!  It will smell amazing... and once again I will have to tell myself "NO"... It's not good for me!  and remind myself that I can do this and that I will do this.  I want to eat healthy and be healthy and that is much more important than the taste of junk!

I've heard it said that nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.  I don't think it's about what size we are... but rather "Nothing tastes as good as HEALTHY feels"!  But don't get me wrong, I imagine skinny would feel pretty good too (hehe)... I'm just not there yet.  Maybe someday :)

Until next time,
Healthy eating!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Weight Loss Update & Lessons Learned

All of this eating healthy is paying off in more ways than one!!!  I am finding that organic foods definitely taste better, I have more energy, and the scale has actually become my friend (which it hasn't been in a long long time).  As of today I have officially Lost 6 Pounds... Woopwoop!!!  Yippee, Hooray... I love seeing the progress!  Although my intention was never weight loss, but rather getting healthy and feeling as good as I could.  The weight loss is a major major plus and I find it is helping to keep me totally motivated!

The picture to the right is not me and that scale definitely does not reflect my weight... In fact it's not even close!!! But I can dream, right?   That is like a supermodels weight.  I think that may have been my weight in maybe middle school, but it is unrealistic and I don't really want to be a waif.  I just liked the picture of the scale :)

It is my desire to get healthy while eating organic and whole foods.  While doing this my body will naturally get to the weight that it is comfortable at.  I do not have a specific goal weight and I am not starving myself.  In fact, in addition to my three healthy meals a day, my snacking has become more often and I am liking a little variety in my snack foods.  I am now snacking on more than just carrots!  I have added raw green beans, raw almonds (just a handful), and cherry tomatoes, also tangerines and strawberries (which are great for a sweet tooth).  I don't eat these snacks all at the same time, but I make sure that when I feel hungry, I grab one (or two) and I'm good to go.  I no longer go around feeling hungry all day.

I know from past experience that the worst thing you can do is go hungry.  When your body is overly hungry it goes into starvation mode.  When you don't eat something every four hours, (except during sleep), your body will hoard any calories that you put into it, and rather than burning those calories it stores them as fat.  If your body doesn't know or can't trust that you will be eating again in a few hours, it will go into this mode.  It is important to eat something every four hours to keep the furnace burning, so to speak.  You have to put fuel in the fire to make it burn.  Your body is like a furnace and it needs some fuel to properly burn.  Just remember to always choose "good fuel" each time you eat!
Broccoli and cross section edit.jpg
I found out that asparagus, broccoli and spinach can all be eaten in large quantities.  You can pretty much eat them as much as you want.  Since they are all super low in calories, you body actually burns them pretty much just by chewing.  So they are pretty much a free food and super healthy too.  However, remember if you aren't used to a bunch of fiber, eating so many "whole foods" with all of this fiber will totally regulate your bathroom trips!!!  TMI???  Maybe, but it's so true.  Lots of fiber = lots of "cleaning out".  This probably plays a huge part in my weight loss (LOL)...  

We have all heard that we should eat our fruits and veggies every day.  But I really had no idea how many benefits there are from each one of these veggies.  I learned a bit more about their amazing benefits from Wikipedia (see below).  

Asparagus is low in calories and is very low in sodium. It is a good source of vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium and zinc, and a very good source of dietary fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, rutinniacinfolic acid, iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese and selenium, as well as chromium.

Broccoli is high in vitamin C, as well as dietary fiber; it also contains multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties, such as diindolylmethane and small amounts of selenium. A single serving provides more than 30 mg of Vitamin C and a half-cup provides 52 mg of Vitamin C.

Spinach has a high nutritional value and is extremely rich in antioxidants, especially when fresh, steamed, or quickly boiled. It is a rich source of vitamin A(and especially high in lutein), vitamin Cvitamin Evitamin Kmagnesiummanganesefolatebetaineironvitamin B2calciumpotassiumvitamin B6,folic acidcopperproteinphosphoruszincniacinselenium and omega-3 fatty acids. Recently, opioid peptides called rubiscolins have also been found in spinach.

So far my journey is going very well.  I admit, I still think about sushi, which I am not eating since I like all of the sauces and many fancy rolls with the white rice and other goodies they put inside.  I have not given it up forever, in fact I look forward to rewarding myself with a sushi dinner at my favorite restaurant at the end of my 60 day Challenge.  However, I do plan to "Eat Right" as a way of life, with only an occasional treat (maybe one a week as a reward).  Those occasional rewards will not start until my 60 day journey is complete.  

This is by far the most will power I have ever had in my life!  So far so good...  And I keep telling myself, one day at a time, I can do this... I will do this.  (Oh, and I pray for help daily!)



Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Healthy Sandwich Idea

My absolute favorite sandwich is avocado, sprouts and cheese!!!  My daughter who is also eating healthy and also doing the 60 Challenge, sends me pictures of her meals.  I love that she added spinach to my favorite sandwich and she also found an organic multi whole grain bread with flax seed.  She used mustard as her only condiment.
Myself, during this challenge I am skipping the cheese.  Surprisingly, I don't miss it like I thought I would.  Since she is young and doesn't need to lose weight, she can handle the extra  calories!  She did an amazing job on this sandwich!  It looks so yummy :)

Avocado, Sprouts, Cheese and Spinach Sandwich on Whole Grain.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Challenge Eat Right - Day 6 & 7

I am now one week into this challenge and eating healthy is getting much easier.  I find I am not craving the "bad stuff" nearly like I was the first few days.  Over the weekend I incorporated a few new foods into my diet.  I got some organic yogurt, which tastes amazing when I cut up fresh strawberries and mix them together.  This weekend, I picked up some fresh green beans, asparagus, broccoli and zucchini, in addition to more avocado (my favorite), chives, carrots, onions, bell peppers, mushrooms and spinach.  I've found that fresh green beans make a great snack when eaten raw.  They are quite sweet and because they are crisp they make a great replacement for the potato chips I used to eat with a sandwich at lunch.  I had a tuna sandwich on whole grain bread with cut up celery and onion mixed in with the tuna.  Then  add raw carrots and green beans on the side...  Delicious.

Saturday we visited an organic produce farm/orchard where they let you taste samples of everything before you purchase it.  The tangerines are so sweet and juicy that they taste like candy.  The apples are amazing and my friends daughter even loved their lemons.  I would never just bite into a lemon, but I did buy some since I enjoy drinking my water with a slice of lemon in it.  They also have local honey, organic peanut butter, almond butter and several jams and preserves that are all made fresh, without preservatives.  My husband loves their jams and blackberry and boysenberry syrups.

I thought I would share a few of the pictures we took Saturday while we were in Oak Glen, California.  Although it has only a little to do with eating right, it was such a joy I thought I would share several of the pictures.  This area is about a half an hour from our home.  We've been here several times, but never when it snowed.  Here in Southern California we really don't get much snow.  This day was an awesome surprise.  Our weather was in the 70's two days prior to this snow.  Needless to say, this snow won't last very long, but it is so much fun for the short time it is here!

We had friends visiting from Orange County and this was only their second time to Oak Glen, so it was a perfect day to visit and play in the snow, without the hassles of travel, tire chains or crowds :)  Oh, and the fruit and veggies at Mom's Orchards were amazing too!!!

Oak Glen is a quaint little town in the mountains just above Yucaipa California.  It is made up of mostly apple orchards where you can "Pick Your Own" during season, and also make your own cider at a few of the orchards.  It's kind of like visiting wine county, only it's apple cider country :)  There are a few cute gift shops (most open year round), a couple of small restaurants (most with good food & most of the food in the area is made from scratch).  There is also a small petting zoo, which is actually pretty big.  For a $3 fee you can both feed the different animals and stroll down a long meandering paths.  They have just about every kind of farm animal...  from peacocks, turkeys, goats, horses, pigs, sheep, to several others I can't think of right now.  Many are caged, but their is an area where you can go in with the animals (if you like that sort of thing).

 We got hot apple cider from Los Rios Rancho Apple Farm and it was perfect as we played out in the cold.

 I, Diana, am on the left and one of my best friends, Karey is on the right... We have been friends for about 19 years and this is the first time we've ever been in the snow together... Total winter wonderland, would make a great postcard!!!

My husband and my friends daughter first had snowball fights and then built a snow man...  

If you are ever in the area, I definitely recommend a visit.  Don't forget to go to Mom's Country Orchards and try all of the organic fruits.  Obviously the fruits available depend on what is in season, but they always have something great and they are super friendly too :)

Until next time...
Healthy eating!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Wonderful Breakfast Idea

My daughter sent me this picture of her breakfast.  I think I definitely need to try this.  It looks so good!  It is whole grain oatmeal with apple slices and fresh blueberries.... Yummy :)

I can't believe she got this great of a picture from her i-Phone.

I would love to receive pictures of your healthy meals from anyone who is doing this challenge or who is eating healthy.  If you can include what is in your dish or a recipe, I would really appreciate it and might post it here on my blog.  You can send pictures and/or healthy recipes to  I'd love to hear from you!

Until next time,
Healthy eating!


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Healthy Foods That Make You Feel Full

Here is some very helpful information that I found on healthy foods that help you to feel full longer:
Oatmeal is a complex carbohydrate which takes longer to digest — hence it releases energy slowly, keeping you feeling full for longer. It also keeps blood sugar and insulin levels stable, which helps prevent fat storage. Oatmeal is the most satisfying breakfast cereal, providing more protein per serving than any other grain. 
Almond and Walnuts
Raw, unsalted nuts, especially almonds and walnuts, provide essential roughage, protein, fat, minerals and micronutrients. Munching on handfuls of these nuts keeps you full and energetic for longer without adding to your waistline.
Fatty Fish
Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring and sardines contain large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids which, besides lowering cholesterol, also hasten the metabolism rate. Omega-3 fatty acids alter the level of leptin — a hormone that directly influences metabolism and determines whether you burn calories or store them as fat. Fish also provides ample protein.

Low-Fat Dairy Products
Skimmed milk, low fat cheese and yogurt are a good source of calcium, which helps break down fat cells. Some studies indicate that not getting enough calcium may trigger the release of calcitrol, a hormone that causes fat storage.
Citrus Fruits
Fruits such as grapefruit, lemon, sweet lime, papaya, guava and tomatoes are rich in Vitamin C and fibre. Vitamin C helps the body process fat faster and also stimulates the amino acid known as carnitine — carnitine speeds up the body's fat-burning capacity. Citrus fruits also have high water content and provide around 50 to 75 kcal, leaving us satiated for a longer period of time.
Green Vegetables
Spinach, asparagus and broccoli have a high thermic effect on the body and a low calorie density. This means that it's almost impossible for them to be stored as fat because most of their calories are burned off in the digestion process. Apart from that, the fiber in these foods provides roughage and contains antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that help you feel full.

High water content and ample fibre is the reason why you feel full after eating an apple. An apple's skin contains pectin soluble fibre that is a natural appetite suppressant. 

Beans are high in fiber and a good source of protein. They also take longer to digest, making you feel full for a longer time. Also, protein has the highest satiety index (which determines how long will you feel full) than any other element.
Whole grains 
High in fiber, take longer to digest making you feel fuller for a long time.  Studies show that eating whole grains instead of refined grains lowers the risk of many chronic diseases.  (I will post more on the many benefits of eating whole grains in the future).

Other Good Information:

Whole Wheat Pasta

Pasta has a bad reputation as a source of lots of empty calories, but that mainly refers to white flour pasta. "Health" magazine suggests whole grain pastas because they contain up to 300 percent more stomach-filling fiber, often with 200 calories or less in every 1/2 cup serving.

Brown Rice

Reading "unrefined brown rice" on a label means that the fiber and nutrients of the grain are still in tact. Not to mention it's high in vitamin B, magnesium, and fiber.

Lunch Suggestion - Meat & Whole Grain Sandwich

The Mayo Clinic recommends pairing a lean meat, such as poultry, with whole grain bread as a nutrient-dense yet low-calorie lunch. This will help you "feel full longer," reports the clinic. Boost its health factor by adding extra fiber like dark green, leafy vegetables and a side of fresh fruit for dessert.

(Article Sources:;;;, WholeGrainsCouncil)