Clean Eating, Health, Health and fitness

Travelling and Clean Eating: Fail

Last week we decided to go visit my parents, who live across the province. Literally. We drove all the way across the province. With an infant. Yes we are crazy.

Normally, road trips are fuelled with gas station grub including, but not limited to, beef jerky (read: sodium overload), chocolate bars, chips, candy, and pop.  I decided to try and make our trip a little healthier.

The night before we left I cut up a couple carrots into match sticks, created my own trail mix using dark, organic chocolate chips, peanuts, almonds and walnuts. I had my two Brita water bottles filled and chilled, ready to go for the morning.

I forgot the water in the fridge when we left, despite being beside the rest of the food I had packed. The carrots were gone by 10:00am (about 4 hours into our journey), but my husband really enjoyed the trail mix. The nuts really gave him that extra energy needed before we stopped for lunch.

About half way into our journey we really needed to stop to stretch our legs and get the baby some time out of the car seat. It was about 6 hours in and I’m sure it was time to feed him. (My breasts were huge and starting to leak!)

Thats where my clean eating took a nose dive. Not that I went for McDonald’s but it probably wasn’t the cleanest of eating either. We stopped for lunch at a popular sandwich shop that I am not going to name (Hint: it has been said that their bread contains the same ingredients as yoga mats??).

My husband and I shared a larger sandwich of spicy italian deli meats, probably loaded with preservatives and salt.

Once we got to my parents house it was pretty late and my mom had ordered pizza. I cant turn down my gracious host’s offering, so I ate pizza. Four slices of pepperoni goodness.

The rest of the weekend wasn’t much better. I went out with friends for some lunch to catch up. While I did order a spinach salad, I also ordered a cranberry juice which I am pretty sure was cranberry cocktail (i.e., sugar water with flavour).

We went out for a fancy prime rib (not so lean) dinner loaded with homemade spatzle and steamed veggies. I ordered the 10oz cut.

Mom made spaghetti with white (gasp) pasta, and before that we stopped for appetizers and snacked on pulled pork sliders and a margarita flatbread washed down with a caesar.

We did have one good clean meal with BBQ chicken, grilled shrimp and a garden salad.

On the trip home we loaded up on the pop, candy and chocolate bars at the gas stations, Tim Horton’s for breakfast and ended the day with a pizza, because by the time we got home, I was not cooking. Plus we had no food in our fridge.

So not the greatest time to write up a blog post on clean eating. Road Trip: Fail.

However, when I weighed in the next morning I remained at 125.6 lbs. But I didn’t feel good about it, mentally and physically. I know when your on vacation you should let loose and not worry about what you eat. But by the end of the trip, I am back to feeling exhausted, my son is irritable, and I am losing the motivation to keep eating clean and healthy.

My cravings for the sweet and sinful are returning. I must get back on track. We have been back for 4 days now and it’s time to get my (our) butts in gear. I feel like I haven’t exercised in months. I am going to start walking everyday now, eventually leading up to running.

Starting tomorrow.

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Clean Eating, Health, Health and fitness, Uncategorized

Meatball Problems

I don’t know what the hell is wrong with ground chicken but it’s not normal. You know that rumor that a certain fast food chain’s chicken nuggets are made out of pink goop? article-0-1B2DDB7B00000578-134_634x630

Photo courtesy of http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2551238/McDonalds-reveal-EXACTLY-chicken-nuggets-note-not-pink-goop.html

It’s not goop, that’s fricken ground chicken!

I tried to make these chicken meatballs stuffed with goat cheese. Key word: “tried”. I used ground up rolled oats in place of breadcrumbs and added 1/8 cup of almond milk instead of 1/4 cup of regular, but otherwise followed the recipe to a T. The mixture was very wet and sticky and I knew there was no way of forming little balls out of this goop!

I ground up extra oats to, hopefully, dry the mixture out a bit, but it still wasn’t forming balls. I dumped all the oats in my cupboard into the blender and ground them up but still ended up with a giant bowl of pink goop that would not form.

Ready to give up and order a pizza, my chef husband jumps in to save the day.

He threw the large glob in a large skillet and scramble fried it until it resembled crumbled sausage.

Meanwhile I made a basic tomato sauce:
In olive oil, sauté one medium, diced white onion and two minced cloves of garlic in a large pot on medium for 3 minutes. Add one diced red pepper and continue to sauté until softened. Add a 28oz can of crushed tomatoes, 1 tbsp Italian seasoning, one bay leaf, pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper and simmer for half an hour.

I asked my Facebook friends for help picking a delicious alternative to white pasta and, thankfully, my good friends Jax and Brooke pointed me in the direction of brown rice pasta. I tossed the brown rice linguini with the chicken, the sauce, and the goat cheese, topped with fresh parsley and grated Grana Padano.

It was fantastic! Thank you Jax and Brooke! The brown rice pasta tastes like the white wheat pasta! And if you use the gluten free rolled oats instead of breadcrumbs you have yourself a delicious gluten free meal.

20140804-201239-72759832.jpgYou can feel good about going in for seconds of this clean eating pasta dish.

Do you have a favourite gluten free, go to? Leave me a comment!

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Clean Eating, Health, Health and fitness

2 Month Mark

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I was so excited to see this on the scale this morning! Especially after the Blizzards we splurged on last night! If you remember, I started this clean eating experiment at 135.6 and am now down 10lbs in just 2 months while remaining quite sedentary.

I also have a TON of energy today. Here’s how the day went:

7:30am           Get up early and eat my strawberry overnight oats for breakfast.

8:00am          Half-ass watch Rachel Ray while contemplating my new blog post.

9:00am          Enter a few invoices, print off a couple cheques for suppliers and gather the necessary paperwork for a trip to the office.

10:00am        Pack baby in carseat, grab diaper bag and laptop bag and head out the door.

10:01am         Lock the door

10:01:30am   Baby loudly expels his breakfast into his diaper.

10:02:45am   Unlock door and go inside to change baby.

10:45am          Arrive at the office and let co-workers coo over the baby while casually talking about dropping our children on their heads (by accident) and the different types of poopy diapers.

11:15am           Said baby starts fussing and boss is no where to be found to touch base with before the long weekend, so I pack him up to leave (the baby, not my boss).

11:16am           Boss arrives. Unpack baby.

11:45am           Finish touching base with my boss before the long weekend then head home where I completed some more work, getting statements out to all of our customers.

1:15pm              Realize I haven’t had lunch yet so I make fried eggs on whole grain toast with grilled tomatoes, spinach and hummus.

1:20pm             Sit down to eat said lunch.

1:21pm              Baby decides he’s hungry. Feed said baby.

1:35pm              Eat cold lunch. It’s still good.

1:50pm             Get some house work done. Cleaned the kitchen, cleaned both bathrooms, tidied the living room and bedroom, and did a load of laundry.

2:30pm             Enjoy nice play shesh with the little guy.

2:45pm              Monster wants to eat again.

3:00pm              Said monster finally falls asleep.

4:45pm              Fold laundry. Child still sleeping.

4:57pm              Realise I forgot to send out some important work emails before the long weekend. Quickly start up the computer and fire them off. Baby still sleeping

5:00pm              Tired, starving husband arrives home from work. My little angel is STILL sleeping.

5:15pm               Make vegetarian black bean chilli from the clean eating challenge.

6:00pm               Serve up said chilli.

6:01pm               Child wants to feed again.

6:30pm               Finally wolf down dinner. Husband goes in for seconds.

7:30pm               Husband baths the baby while I clean up the kitchen and watch Jeopardy (it’s my guilty pleasure).

8:00pm              Husband wants to retire early but I still have so much energy so I decide to write this post.

8:05pm               The monster wants the boob again.

 

It is now almost 9:00pm and I am just completing this post. The terror is driving my husband nuts, as he is trying to relax and fall asleep, so I better sign off for today.

By the way, I accomplished all of this without any coffee!

 

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Health, Uncategorized

Slowing Things Down

It’s been 30 days since I’ve started this clean eating experiment and I feel really good about it. My body is not quite back to where it was pre pregnancy, but it’s getting there.

I am sitting pretty at a healthy 130lbs, my skin is clear, my energy levels are great (for a new mom), and my waist is slimming down. AND (tmi coming up) my poops have gotten so much better! You can always judge how well your diet is by your bowel movements. I found this cartoon that helps explain my point:

20140714-081011-29411129.jpgCourtesy of http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/25/poop-and-health_n_5530202.html

Lets just say, I was eating way too much fatty foods before.

I have decided that telling you day to day what I am eating is getting monotonous and, frankly, I am getting bored with it. Because of this, I will not be updating this blog daily unless I find something worth discussing and feel inspired to do so.

Also, until my fridge and pantry has been cleaned out of it, I will sort of, kind of, be reverting back to not-so-clean ingredients. I just can’t throw out food when there are still cliches in Africa. Plus, my budget for groceries is running out and I can’t run to the store every time I run out of something healthy when I have a perfectly good, albeit, not so healthy alternative in my cupboard. I will only do this occasionally and sparingly, however.

For instance: I have some white flour left and I am running low on whole wheat flour. I will use half and half in my recipes until the flour is gone. I still have some artificial coffee creamer in my fridge (notice how these expire like 6 months later?) and I will use it up in my morning coffees before buying sweetened condensed milk (which is the same price!) to make my own. I will keep my white pasta but only because whole wheat pasta is disgusting. I will, however, limit my pasta intake to once or twice a month.

Well I hope you enjoyed reading about my clean eating experiment as much as I enjoyed writing it and I hope you continue to enjoy what I have to say about the clean eating revolution. Thanks for all your support. Happy reading, happy eating.

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Health, Uncategorized

Day 29: Revamping Old Classics

Today’s post is going to be a little different. Instead of telling you what I ate for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner, I’m going to share with you a classic recipe that I swapped out some ingredients to make more “clean”.

That’s right I’m not going to tell you that I had strawberry overnight oats for breakfast and Albacore Tuna Niçoise salad for lunch. I’m not.

Instead I’ll tell you about just dinner:

My dad used to make us this Spanish rice casserole all the time when I still lived at home and we all loved it. Except for mom. Three against one, sorry mom.

Anyways, when I started making it for my husband a couple years ago, it became a weekly staple in our house. The recipe used ground beef and white rice. Well I thought I would take it to a whole new level today by substituting lean ground turkey and quinoa.

An interesting fact I found after was that, nutritionally speaking, there is not a huge difference between extra lean ground beef and lean ground turkey. In fact, the beef might be a better option, I am now reading.

Similar in calories, extra lean beef actually contains less fat, more iron and less sodium.

What ever animal you choose just make sure it’s grain fed, and hormone free if you are eating clean.

Where my revamping really makes a difference is swapping out the white rice for quinoa. Quinoa packs a punch in the protein department as well has more fibre, folate, iron and zinc than rice. It even beats out brown rice.

So here it is:

Turkey Spanish Quinoa (serves 3-4, unless your really hungry like my husband usually is)

Ingredients:

1 lb lean ground turkey breasts (or extra lean ground beef)

1 onion (I used red), diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 sweet bell pepper, diced (I used red)

1 large (28oz) can of diced tomatoes, no salt added

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained

1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley (or 1 tsp dried)

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1/8 tsp salt

Fresh ground pepper, to taste

1 bay leaf

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 Celsius.

Sauté turkey, onion and garlic in large skillet until no longer pink. Drain.

Add red pepper and cook until slightly soft, about 3-5 minutes.

Combine cooked turkey mixture and the rest of the ingredients in a 3-4 qt Dutch oven. Make sure all the ingredients are incorporated and you don’t have all the quinoa concentrated at the bottom.

Cook in oven for 65 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes then fluff with a fork. Remove bay leaf before serving. Enjoy! 20140713-091554-33354147.jpg  

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Health

Day 28: I Flippin’ Did It!

I flipped an almost perfect omelet! Here’s the trick:

First I sautéed my veggies in olive oil then set them aside. I used spinach, red peppers and cherry tomatoes. Then, I poured the eggs into the pan and kind of let them set, only lifting the very edges with a rubber spatula. I tipped and swirled the pan around so that the liquid on top would run off the edges and hit the pan to cook. I continued until very little liquid remained. Then, using TWO pancake flippers, I flipped the eggs over, loaded the top with mozza cheese and my sautéed veggies and folded in half.

20140712-084242-31362326.jpgPretty good looking, if I do say so myself! Well I’m getting there.

It’s been four weeks of clean eating and I am starting to feel like I am in a rut.

For lunch I had a bbq chicken sandwich with hummus, romain, tomato and avocado. Nothing new there.

For dinner I couldn’t think of anything I really wanted to make. I had some roasted beets in the fridge, a spaghetti squash, black beans and chickpeas in the cupboard, but I sill could not put together a meal.

My grandmother brought us some meat pies from the bakery (I know, who eats meat lies these days?!). I was hesitant about eating them because a)I haven’t eaten these since the 80’s b)my grandmother and I haven’t seen eye to eye on food since as long as I can remember and c) they’re made with white flour! But we are trying to save money and I have no idea what to make so I threw them in the oven. There were too kinds but I’m not sure what exactly were in them. Beef and something. When she told me what they were I stopped listening after “meat pie”. The first ones we tried were delicious! The second ones were not our favorites but we ate them. I whipped up a roasted beet and arugula salad with chopped peanuts and goat cheese and served that right along side these mini pies.

I decided that I will get out of my rut by meal planning the rest of the week. I got to Monday. If anyone has any ideas they would like to venture forward, I’m begging you!

 

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Health, Uncategorized

Day 27: Piquant Poached Salmon with Veggies

Worst feeling ever when you realize you’ve ruined your overnight oats. Well there goes breakfast! Not going to lie, I still ate it. First, I realized I forgot to add the chia seeds, so it was rather runny. Second, my fresh oats, bought a week and a half ago at the farmer’s market, have gone bad. Well, bad enough that they are not good for overnight oats. Perhaps they will be ok for toasting for granola, or cooked for traditional oatmeal. It tasted very yeasty.

For lunch I made a wrap with half a leftover bbq chicken breast (sliced), some romain lettuce (fresh from MIL’s garden), leftover lentil and cauliflower taco filling, sliced avocado and diced cherry tomatoes. I spread some hummus on the homemade whole wheat tortilla before wrapping it all up.
I may be biased, but it was delicious!

For dinner my husband brought home salmon, courtesy of my MIL (thank you!). I have a go to recipe for poached salmon I’ve been using for years. It’s from The Best of Bridge series cookbooks. I can’t seem to find the original recipe from them online but it’s in the “That’s Trump” book. Anyways, I changed some stuff around so here’s my recipe:

Poached Salmon with Piquant Sauce and Veggies
(Serves 2)

Ingredients:

For the salmon:
1/2lb salmon filet, bones and skin removed
1/2 lemon, sliced (reserve the zest)
1 tsp chicken bullion (I didn’t have any but found a box of Lipton chicken noodle soup mix in the cupboard. I just sorted out the noodles from the soup base and used that)

For the sauce:
3 tbsp mayonnaise (you could sub plain Greek yogurt and I think that would taste just as good and maybe even more healthy and clean. I used Hellmann’s)
2 tbsp Dijon (I used peppercorn Dijon)
1 tsp dried dill
Zest from lemon

First boil 3 cups of water in a large to medium pan. Add the lemons and bouillon and simmer for 5 minutes with the lid on. Add salmon fillet and poach on low for 8 minutes (until flakey). While that’s going on you can whip up be sauce by throwing it all in a bowl and mixing it. The recipe in the book calls for capers and their juice but I didn’t have any. So add a tsp, chopped capers and a tsp of juice, if you want, but it’s not necessary.

For sides, I boiled some fresh farmer’s market carrots in some water with chicken bullion (Lipton soup mix) until tender and sautéed some spinach, red pepper and cherry tomatoes in some butter (not margarine) with a pinch of salt and pepper. This was the final product:

20140710-221744-80264969.jpgIt received rave reviews. Well one to be exact. Two, if you count myself, which I don’t because of course I like it: I’ve been making it for years! Try it and tell me what you think.

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