Today, despite being a Monday, was my Sunday. Sunday is my meal prep day!
It's one of my favorite days of the week. I think my Sundays would be a hell on Earth for those that don't enjoy cooking, cleaning and organizing but I happen to LOVE being in the kitchen.
This week is especially busy between social activities, board meetings, Lacrosse Booster Club meetings, fundraising events, working out, and the time I usually spend staring off into space.
These are the weeks where planning and organizing my meals is especially important as I won't be home enough to plan out and execute healthy meals. I need things that are easy and I can grab and go.
This will give me breakfast, lunch, and healthy snacks until Friday.
With everything being Vegan, there really isn't anything that will go bad so the longevity of the meals is fairly extensive in comparison.
When I cooked with meat - I had a 1-2 day window (at most) where I'd be willing to eat leftovers or transform left overs into a new meal. It was a 1 day window if I had made something with seafood so me not eating meat / seafood / dairy is an amazing thing from a cost savings perspective.
Breakfast Congee: For those of you that aren't familiar with the greatest most versatile meal on Earth - let me introduce you to congee.
Congee is essentially a rice porridge made by boiling rice in a shit ton of water. Like more water than you'd think appropriate. Get to that point and then add more.
It beaks down the rice into a pudding-like consistency.
Serve it sweet or savory. It's a blank canvas for really anything. This is a breakfast congee so I added sweeter elements to mine.
Congee is often used to promote good health and strong digestion. According to TCM, because congee is so easily digested and assimilated, it harmonizes digestion, and also supplements blood & qi (life energy). Congee can relieve inflammation and nourish the immune system. I actually didn't think of stringing those words together - Scott told me all this like a year ago and it has been widely published in many journals of Cancer & Nutrition, etc.
For me, It's just really yummy ... all the other stuff is added benefit.
For meal prep- I portion out 4oz which comes to about 270 calories - you'd think with everything I put into it it would be massively high in calories but it's not - I throw in enough to give it great taste and texture but I'm not eating a bucket full of this. Very careful with the portion size.
LUNCHES & DINNER
Quinoa & White Bean Burgers
This is another recipe that really encourages you to do whatever you want. Look in your pantry - don't have cannellini beans - so what, use black beans and make it a Mexican spiced burger.
I had a jar of pesto on hand so that was the primary flavor profile in this week's burger.
Note: If I hadn't used pesto which has a high oil concentration I would have added a few tablespoons of Olive Oil to help bind the mixture together.
Hot pan and a bit of oil - Sear them on both sides which will actually crisp up the Quinoa - they have the most amazing texture.
I do a few things with the cooked patties:
1. Burger obviously - I may use a bun or most likely a lettuce cup
2. I add them to salads like a deconstructed burger (sans Bun)
The salad is my lunch tomorrow (estimated calories = 260 calories)
The burger was my dinner tonight ... when I thew everything into MyFitnessPal - dinner came in around 434 Calories because I added avocado, the greens were dressed in olive oil and lemon, and I used a potato bun (130 calories), etc.
The actual burger is 130 calories.
This week I'm having tomato salad and roasted delicata squash as my between meal snacks ... Both insanely simple and fairly calorie net neutral.
Roasted Delicata Squash
Greatest thing ever: One evening, I went next door to my amazing neighbor's house and saw that she doesn't remove the seeds when she cooks her squash.
I would have never thought to do this which is so strange as I love eating roasted pumpkin seeds so why not leave them?
It really makes these so much better and texturally interesting as the roasted seeds compliment the buttery softness of the squash. I love squash and somehow this little trick makes me love them even more, which I never knew was possible.
Sliced relatively thin, seeds and all - I tossed these in olive oil and sprinkled them with:
Roast in 370 degree oven for 35 mins - flipping at half way point.
I'm almost certain that you can't easily find delicata squash this time of year - buy Acorn - it's the exact same process just a slightly different shape.
How do I have so many you ask? Because my neighbor bought several cases of them when they were in season. They will last months and months.
I actually bought a case but had eaten all mine. I feel that I should ration them out so I can make them last a bit longer but it's one of my favorite things to eat.
I don't have a great deal of self control in general so we'll see how long they last.
As a final step after cooking is to portion everything out into individual serving sizes. I weigh everything. I tend to stick to 4oz portion sizes unless it's raw vegetables, then I will eat usually as much as I want.
I'm not stressing over the difference between 2 cups lettuce versus 3 cups but I do watch what I put onto my raw vegetables. I don't avoid fat as it's an essential part of maintaining a healthy body & brain.
In my current approach to eating, I'm entirely plant based, eat no sugar and try to limit my refined carbs. I am comfortable with small portions of whole grains such as quinoa, millet, etc. But I'm not going to freak out over eating a potato bun with my veggie burger.
Combined with what I eat is WHEN I eat - I eat between 10 am and 6 pm. That also explains why I need to be in bed by 9:00 pm and watch television in my bedroom. Otherwise I get very snacky and make my way into the pantry.
I'm up late tonight and am starving. Will have a cup of warm water with lemon and call it a day.
Enjoy your week!!
Day 1 ... Me (as of 2:47 pm)
30 lbs heavier than I'd like to be ... have been eating garbage since July after being so good for so so long.
4 gallons of water = 30 lbs. Having to carry an extra 4 gallons of water around with me at all times is absolutely bonkers.
I also can't fit into my favorite clothes. I'm currently wearing a size 12 ... Most of my clothes are 6-8.
You certainly don't have to be a rocket doctor to know that you can't squeeze a size 12 booty into a size 6 skirt without causing damage to your internal organs.
I was on such a great run with working out - then I stopped as I got incredibly sick. Never got back to it.
I was on such a great run with my eating and portion control - then I stopped as I felt like it, apparently. Never got back to it.
I have a Renewed Focus to hit 47 (this July) looking and feeling great again. I actually feel pretty good but I know I could feel even better if I'd just get my shit together.
90 days of eating well, maintaining proper portion control and by adopting a plant based diet.
I have always gone back and forth between eating meat and being plant based so this is a welcome transition back to something familiar to me.
I came across the Thug Kitchen cookbook series after deciding to go plant based again and immediately felt inspired. I think I found my people.
I also watched "The Game Changers" on Netflix which was amazing. Highly recommended.
Just a few days in, I feel less bloated which is great as nothing makes you feel sexier than being insanely bloated. I'm also sleeping like a little baby which I love as getting into bed at the end of the day is one of my favorite things. It's like rebooting a computer - a fresh start is on the horizon.
This challenge goes beyond just my eating habits - I need to really get back to my daily pilates routine & long walks.
When I don't do pilates my body becomes incredibly stiff and sore. Just 45-60 minutes of barre or pilates 4-5 time a week my body remains completely pain free.
Not to mention Pilates & Barre keeps me be long and lean versus my current state of short and sphere-like.
I also happened to buy the cutest walking shoes on the face of planet.
More importantly, getting back to being Pain Free - if there's something you can do that allows you to move and be pain free or at the very least experience a significant decrease in pain & discomfort you'd have to be out of your mind not to do it.
I have a pilates studio in my basement. As in one floor below where I am now - there is a pilates studio - top of the line Cadillac, Pilates chair / ballet barre / mats for floor work, etc.
Every single thing I need is one flight of stairs away from me.
To not move ... To not take 45 minutes to completely change my body and level of (dis)comfort is incredibly batshit bonkers.
I feel like this 90- day challenge is really an opportunity for me to make myself a priority.
I plan on taking daily photos - I have taken my "Before" photos and let me just say, "yikes". After my 90 days - I'll assess my progress and see how on track I am to hit my goal.
Most importantly - I'm excited to introduce meaningful change into my day to day.
There's a reward (outside of looking & feeling better)
IF I meet my goal by May / June - I am going to treat myself to a week in Costa Rica for my 47th BIRTHDAY!
I have always wanted to go to Costa Rica. It's surprisingly affordable and something that has been on my bucket list for years and years.
I'm obsessed with a little treehouse 100 yards from the beach that looks to be the most perfect spot to spend the week.
I can't even imagine how amazing it would be to just swing in a hammock, lay on the beach, swim in the ocean, get a bit of sun on God's palest skin (otherwise known as my legs), and just completely bliss out in a tropical paradise.
89.5 days to go!
I'm starving ... already.
This past January, during a 2-week business trip, I decided to become a bread baking powerhouse.
I have found, if a work trip spans more than a week, I mentally teleport back to a time when moms stayed home and baked amazing things with one hand while making a perfect gin martini in the other (in heels / while vacuuming). I'm then consumed with guilt and come up with a MP (Mom Project).
Here we are - I'm a baker now, since that was a 2-week trip.
Even though, I knew nothing about baking bread and had no idea how to feed a starter - I bought a tiny bit of an old sourdough starter.
A few days after I returned, the smallest little jar with the smallest little bit of starter showed up on my doorstep. That little bit eventually grew into something amazing that has made countless boules and loaves of bread now!
It was just a little blob with amazing aspirations.
I took my itty bitty bit of starter and added luke warm water & AP Flour. By the next day, it had grown substantially, was bubbly & airy and had the most amazing smell.
I kept 4 oz and the rest became my discard. I fed the held back 4 oz, with 4 oz AP Flour and 4 oz Luke Warm Water. Once mixed it will look like the photo on the left.
The next day, I had a fairly ripe starter but instead of using it, I repeated the process above by holding back & feeding. I did this because you need to have a good bit of starter to be able to bake something and have enough left to feed.
This past Saturday, I made bread so Finn would have it, even with me out of town. I'm only gone for a week this time so I won't come back with a new MP which is great as I am really enjoying becoming a good baker!
I absolutely LOVE making homemade bread. I just wish I knew people that actually ate carbs as my bread making is limited to just a few small loaves a week otherwise they'd go to waste!
I only eat a single slice, each Sunday, due to maintaining a Keto Lifestyle. The way I eat and what I like to bake are slightly at odds but I'm working on a bunch of Keto Friendly recipes as well. Stay Tuned For Those!
Until this past weekend, I never really stopped to think how amazing it is to make bread.
I just felt so completely in awe that with next to no ingredients I can make something to feed my family.
This starter has contributed to the baking of countless - literally countless loaves of bread.
Its origins are from the late 1800's.
When people discard - they often give portions of it away to other homes where it is fed and discarded to another home and then that gets discarded and goes to another home. It's endless, the cycle continues literally forever.
Since having mine, I have given portions to a handful of friends and several of them have given portions to their friends which is just is the coolest thing ever to me.
While I really have a long (LONG) way to go in terms of perfecting my bread making - I am so very taken by the process and found a shit ton of ZEN in my kitchen!
You can bring simplicity to your life while making something timeless, wholesome, preservative free and shockingly delicious. The first bakeries popped up in Greece 2nd century A.D. and honestly - we're still using the same 3 ingredients (yeast, water, flour). Not much has changed.
Something so simple has created a new tradition our home. Every Sunday, our home fills up with the smell of baking bread, it brings us together around the kitchen island where we laugh and talk about our upcoming week - it's just the coolest thing of all.
I love that my son's memories will include such moments.
Oh! Discard - that doesn't mean toss it out. You can make waffles, biscuits, pancakes, etc. That's also what you can give to friends so they can make their own!
I'm a little waffle factory and I make a massive batch for my son as part of my meal prep on Sunday mornings. Just let them cool and store them in the fridge (or freezer).
On school days I warm them up in a buttered cast iron pan. They become buttery & crispy within just a few minutes. To have something easy that a teen will sit down long enough to eat is a massive win.
I was straight up Pizza Shamed the other day - not by a fitness blogger, for me it was a male colleague. I didn't even know that there was such a thing but then I found the above referenced Twitter War and I didn't feel so alone.
Perhaps not many people have experienced this form of shaming, it certainly seems to be a lesser known form of shaming. Think of it like the second cousin of body shaming, tart shaming, parent shaming, mommy shaming which is like parent shaming only it comes from other woman who are hyper critical of other mothers in particular. Especially of those mothers that have a 14 year old that wears athletic shorts in the middle of winter, etc.
Anyways - Pizza Shaming is slightly different - perhaps not something many people can relate to but I'm here to tell you it happens and it's upsetting as 1. everyone loves pizza and 2. no one likes to be shamed for any reason, especially in front of a group of people.
I was sitting in a meeting that spanned several hours, spanning over lunch time. They brought pizza in, which was great - I usually scrape my toppings off onto a plate and eat them sans crust.
This day, I cut myself an itty bitty slice of actual pizza - crust and all. As I went to get another portion as I wanted to pick at the toppings, a male colleague said, "Oh my god, you must LOVE those carbs - are you really having another slice?!?"
Not entirely knowing what I to do, I ignored him. Thinking I didn't hear him, he repeated it, only much louder this time which halted the entire meeting as people looked at me to respond.
Understand, we weren't taking a break from the meeting. We just happened to have food while discussing one of the company's highest priority projects.
I actually had to stop contributing to the actual work effort to say that no one has to be concerned with what I was eating - that maybe we could shift our efforts from my lunch to the topic at hand.
I was absolutely seething and I ended up throwing the food away untouched.
In that moment, I felt reduced from being a significant contributor in a meeting to feeling as though I needed to defend myself and my food choices.
I immediately went from being a thought leader to just a woman who was being scrutinized unnecessarily. As I was trying to refocus, a negative narrative starting running through the back of my mind completely sidetracking me.
I shouldn't have eaten that...
I need to not indulge in such things ...
Maybe I should intermittently fast for a bit ...
How long will it take me to work off that pizza ...
How many calories are in 1/4th slice of pizza ...
I'm so annoyed that it got to me in such as way.
The real work is trying to understand why I'm so critical of myself - why my internal narrative flips to breaking myself down versus building myself up so easily. What should have been an innocuous comment seeped into the cracks of my armor and sent me reeling. I didn't eat dinner that night and I went to bed hungry and angry.
Such perceived scrutiny is apparently my trigger and it's mine to own and process. I realize that but as an open letter to all who read this - maybe you can just STFU about what other people are eating and leave them to it unless you're asking where they got it because it looks so incredibly delicious.
There was an interesting article on the Huffington Post about Public Food Shaming - a lifestyle coach said - woman already feel guilty for eating cheat foods as we're held to very different physical ideals than men - so when someone says something along the lines of "are you sure you want to eat that? You can lose your figure" it will typically reinforce the thought that women should always be dieting or watching our weight.
Which is so completely bonkers ...
Life is hard enough - sometimes a girl just wants a slice without fear of being pizza shamed.
This little chart now rules my life ... The Keto Food Pyramid otherwise known as "I think I may starve to death and hate my life" chart.
I actually think I love it but I'm still in my first week and am just getting over the "KETO Flu".
While adapting rather well I still have an incredibly strong urge to drop kick Finn's bagels through a window so it may not the best time for me to kick off this post. But buckle up - because it's happening!!
Why KETO? Especially since I have been an off and on vegetarian for most of my life. The primary components of KETO are Meat, Eggs, Nuts, Seeds & Healthy Fats.
When I say I was a vegetarian, I became one around 12 - I wasn't just a chill vegetarian, early on, I was a super snarky / confrontational / & way judgmental vegetarian. In High School I was fueled by two things: Hunger and Morrissey rage.
Anyone that was unlucky enough to cross my path, minding their own business, nom nomming a burger - I'd just like to apologize for my behavior. I actually slapped a burger out of someone's hand once. Which now thinking back, the visual is heeelarious. Best Ever!! That said, to that person, I'm especially sorry.
While I ate incredibly well, I never quite felt great and I never looked entirely great either (super pale, often anemic) but I kept trying and trying. Each failure or departure from a plant based diet came with a tremendous amount of guilt.
My issue is and was against factory farming and what most animal endure as they navigate a miserable life met with unspeakable horror, suffering and cruelty. I will never stop being a very vocal opponent against animal cruelty.
I do however support local farmers and locally sourced meat and dairy. It's expensive in comparison but it's worth it to me and that's how the transition to KETO is possible for ME.
So, why KETO?
It's hard for me to drop weight like I could in my 20's and 30's ... I watch every single calorie that crosses my lips. I count points, calories, weigh my food, deprive myself, beat myself up if I eat something I'm not supposed to and I'm still not where I'd like to be. Maybe it's hormonal, maybe the calories are the wrong calories for me, maybe I wasn't eating enough, etc. My "maybes" could go on forever ...
When my dad got sick, I started to gain weight. I had an insanely stressful job, I lived 2000 miles from home, and things weren't great in my own life. For 2 years I was splitting my time between a job that I hated and my father's home in Chesapeake Va where I watched Cancer bring a titan to his knees.
My stress levels remained at a constant 10 / 10 for an incredibly extended period of time which I can only imagine was creating a virtual endless supply of cortisol.
KETO is my path forward. More precisely, it's my path BACK to me.
The more I learn about it, the more it makes sense to me: low carb, moderate proteins, high fat. If you're not familiar with KETO you may think High Fat - that's the exact opposite of what we should do and it's not. Our brains NEED Fat.
Our brains thrive with the proper amount of fat. It's a critical component that we so often drastically cut back when trying to lose weight. If I were to sum up the approach: consume fat to burn fat.
I'm not talking about eating a stick of butter in preparation of bikini season - think more along the lines of eating steak with an smashed avocado, cooking your eggs in coconut oil, dressing your salad liberally with walnut oil - throw in some goat cheese, etc.
My breakfast today was two eggs cooked in coconut oil, and 2 slices of Morning Star "Bacon" otherwise known as "Faken" around here because it's fake bacon but it's super low in carb so it's perfect.
It's all comes down to your "macros" or macronutrients. My macros are as shown below:
This is my meal composition - With a higher fat diet, I'm satiated with small meals of really healthy food & the steady introduction / combination of healthy fats.
I don't pay strict attention to the k/cal - I leverage Myfitnesspal Pro which allows me to enter my personal macro ranges and as long as I stick to the 90/102/17 combination - I'm good.
Lately that's been running about 1500 k/cal a day. I happen to know my resting metabolic rate is 2000 k/cals a day so this places me in a healthy deficit.
I have lost 7 lbs this week - maybe a good bit of that is water weight but I drink about 80oz of water a day so I'm staying hydrated. I did however have to add electrolytes to my daily supplements as I had a ROUGH 36 or so hours starting Tuesday evening that lasted well into the early morning on Thursday.
One of my favorite people in the entire universe, LD and I were supposed to have a greatly anticipated lunch date this past Wednesday but I felt horrible and canceled. She told me to add electrolytes and I should feel better so I did and I do.
Week 1 is in the bag and AND I started a 60 day challenge at the gym this morning. My amazing pilates instructor Alisa is my 60 day coach - looking forward to seeing where I land at the end of December.
Watch out neglected back half of my closet where all my awesome clothes live - I'll see you soon!!
The single greatest invention on Earth may be the spiralizer. I bought one on Amazon with a bit of Christmas money and since its arrival, it has become my absolute favorite kitchen items.
I had Finn spiralize 3 Zucchinis using a 2mm blade to make very thin zoodles. A 2mm blade will create zoodles the same width as Angel Hair pasta.
We decided to Make Zucchini Zoodles with Pesto and Marinara Sauce and for the record, Finn did not eat any of this but the fact that he's touching zucchini is an amazing start. That's the magic of a spiralizer.
From start to Finish - this meal takes about 30 mins and is incredibly easy and satisfying. Not to mention you get to use the Spiralizer which makes any meal fairly awesome.
A few Suggestions:
Over the last few weeks, I have been trying different recipes for Chia Seed Pudding and I have found my absolute favorite combination and wanted to share it with you guys.
I honestly can't think of anything that delivers more nutrients in fewer calories than Chia Seeds. Chia seeds aren't just for making a Bob Ross Chia Pet - nutritionally, they kick ass.
They kick so much ass, the word Chia is Mayan for "kicking crazy amounts of ass" ... actually it's Mayan for "Strength" which is still pretty awesome.
Facts: 2 Tablespoons of Chia Seeds are LOADED with Fiber (11g), are a good source of Protein (4g), Healthy Fat (9g with 5g of which being Omega 3s), <140 calories and naturally low in carbohydrates. They are also Gluten Free, GMO Free and typically organic. I say they are typically organic because I'm not sure ALL are but I have never seen any that weren't.
I have always been a massive fan of Rice Congee. Many people take the savory route with it but to me the most satisfying time to eat congee is breakfast. Especially if you're someone who would rather get their carbs in earlier in the day than later.
The long cooking time of Congee breaks down the grain making this incredibly easy to digest. Many believe that congee strengthens digestion, builds energy and enhances metabolism.
While it may look as though I placed my breakfast directly on the countertop, It just happens to be in my favorite glass bowl.
Scott says: According to TCM, Traditional Chinese Medicine, rice is known as jing mi and is seen as a medicinal for strengthening the Spleen qi, energy of digestion and reducing fatigue.