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, Uncategorized

Day 5: My Husband Cooks Better Than I Do

Wow! I never thought I would have made it this far! Today I learned that I should leave the omelet flipping to my husband. Actually, I should leave all the cooking to my husband.

I was a little skeptical about today’s breakfast, as there was no cheese involved in the cauliflower omelet, but it turns out it didn’t need it. The cauliflower took on a really creamy texture amongst the egg and it was actually quite nice. I would have liked some bacon and hash browns alongside it but that wasn’t in the recipes.

After lunch we decided to go for a walk. The City of Nanaimo puts on this Golden Bucket challenge every summer where, each week, they hide a child’s yellow beach bucket around various parks and give clues on where to find it. The bucket has a question in it, usually pertaining to the location it is at, and you send in your answer to be entered to win prizes.My son and I have been doing this for the last two weeks.

Today brought us to a sea side nature park where you can walk a trail that runs along the ocean. The sea air did wonders on my sinuses and I felt more energized, albeit sweaty, than I have all week. Also the crashing waves and the bouncing of my steps (I had my baby in a carrier) lulled my son to sleep.

After our walk I decided that, since I was doing so well in this clean eating experiment, that I would reward myself with a glass of wine. The challenge says I can limit myself to two glasses over the two weeks. Well they didn’t say how big the glasses had to be! I had the 9oz. Red, of course.

I felt a little tipsy afterward. It wasn’t my first drink since giving birth so I was quite surprised how hard it hit me.

By the time we got home from our drinks and shopping for more diapers it was 7:00pm. I needed to cook more lentils since I used up all the left overs a few days ago. I forgot that they take an hour to cook so the salmon dinner wasn’t ready until after 8:00pm.

Since I didn’t get my first snack in after lunch, I snacked on my carrots and hummus as we prepared dinner. My husband brought home a large fillet of salmon bought locally from the marina in French Creek, BC. Caught right off our very own coast.

Not only is it clean and fresh, but sustainable as well.

We decided that we would bbq the fillet instead of baking it in the oven. It gave it such a different but tasty flavor. I would say that we had an 8oz portion of salmon and half a recipe of the big batch of lentils each. So, needless to say, dinner was filling and there was no need for an after dinner snack. Plus by that time is was 9:00pm.

Even though I drank way more than the recommended 60oz of water today, I ended up with a migraine that has been trying to rear it’s ugly head for three days now. I’m not sure if this is another one of the side effects of changing the way I eat or that maybe I was just due for a migraine. It has been a while since my last one (since before I was pregnant).

It’s now 4:15am as I am writing this and I am wide awake. But I feel great after day 5 of my clean eating experiment!

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Not today’s bucket, but an example of the Golden Bucket Challenge

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Clean Eating, Health, Health and fitness, Uncategorized

Day 4: Really, That’s All The Snack I Get?!

If you can flip an omelet, you deserve a medal. This is what my breakfast looked like:

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The instructions said to turn the heat down to low and cook the eggs for one minute until the eggs are not very runny. Well it took me over 5 minutes on low, a lid, and one minute cranked up to medium before I could get my eggs to set. Overall the “omelet” looks like crap, as you can see, but it tastes alright. I would use less green onions next time.

Speaking of using less or more of the ingredients, I wish they would be more specific about the amounts used. For instance this recipe called for 4 scallions (green onions). Well what size are your scallions? Mine were too big.

Today’s lunch, a Greek salad using the left over lentils from last night’a dinner, calls for one red pepper and half a cucumber cut into pieces. Last I checked there is a wide variety of sized cucumbers and peppers. So my salad ended up being huge! It could have fed two people.

Oh, and about lunch: I used up all the lime vinegarette in last night’s cabbage wraps and had no more limes to make more. I thought substituting bottled lime juice would have the same effect. It didn’t.

Word of advice: DON’T USE BOTTLED LEMON OR LIME JUICE IN PLACE OF FRESH SQUEEZED. It does not taste the same and it does not taste as good as fresh squeezed. I know lemons and limes are ridiculously expensive right now but it is sooo worth it, especially in salad dressings.

I had to go grocery shopping again before dinner. Since my husband works from early mornings to later at night, the only meal I have to prepare for him is dinner. However, when I did my initial grocery shop I forgot to take into account that I have to feed my husband too! That is why I have had to hit the store almost every day so far. He is also off for the next two days so I bought more supplies to accommodate him. I will have a running total for all of you at the end of each week.

Dinner was good. I roasted up some more chicken breasts (boneless, skinless because I wasn’t wrestling with chicken on the bone again, plus, I don’t like all the waste) alongside the fennel. I threw some more cauliflower in the oven since I burnt the florets last night that I was supposed to use in tomorrow’s breakfast.

My after supper snack was a joke. If you aren’t following along with the challenge from BuzzFeed, it was two dates and two almonds. You were supposed to stuff the almonds in the dates. F*%# that. I threw a handful of dates and almonds in a bowl and snacked on that while I caught up on work.

I have to say I felt really good today. I never really felt tired or worn down. I got lots of work accomplished, both my paid work and my house work. Although, I didn’t get much exercise or get my full 60 oz of water in. I have I say, though, my tummy is looking a little round with bloat and an unfortunate side effect of the challenge is my body trying to rid itself of poison in the form of noxious gas.

Seriously. And since having gone through childbirth, it’s not as easy to hold it in when the timing isn’t right. Like at the grocery store when there is a line up behind you in the check out. It’s even passing onto my son. His poops have gotten quite explosive and foul. I’ll leave you with that.

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Clean Eating, Health, Health and fitness, Uncategorized

Day 3: Upping the Caloric Intake

Today’s menu can be found here.

Did you know breastfeeding burns 500 calories a day, I figure that is what is leaving me exhausted by 2:00pm everyday.

Since my main goal is gaining energy and since I need to take care of my sons needs first and foremost, I am going to up my caloric intake. I am still going to use the same recipes and menu plans but I’m going to eat more, if I want to.

For example: half a cup of hummus instead of quarter, the men’s recommended portion of protein instead of the woman’s, etc. But keeping conscious of salt intake and making clean, healthy food choices.

Unfortunately that didn’t start at breakfast. I did not even have enough Greek yogurt to make up a cup that was required in the blackberry almond parfait. (I had to run to the grocery store anyways to grab some Napa cabbage and limes for today’s lunch anyways, so I got to pick up more then.)

I think the recipe had a typo, as there was way too much ground flax seed. I think it should read two teaspoons not tablespoons. Here’s what my parfait looked like:

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As a new mom I did not have time to waste to make it all layered and pretty so excuse the mess I called breakfast. It tasted pretty good but very powdery with all the flax.

For lunch I used a whole breast of chicken rather than just a half and three tablespoons of the dressing (since I never used any for dinner last night) in my salad. By the way, if you are following along and are having trouble finding Tamari, it’s next to the soya sauce.

I think that being cooped up indoors when the weather is gloomy zaps ones energy. Today was a decent day and we got out for a walk. The cool breeze and the fresh air really re-energized me and there was so need for an afternoon nap.

The lemony, avocado snack I had after the walk left little to the imagination. I suppose given a tight time frame it’s a great option as it’s just a scooped out avocado with some lemon juice and salt and pepper. Since I didn’t use the quarter of an avocado in last nights dinner I ate the whole avocado. I still felt a little hungry so I ate some carrots and hummus to tide me over until dinner (not in the menu for today but clean and healthy, none the less).

Even before my roasted cauliflower and lentils are finished cooking I’ve decided to make the Napa cabbage wraps that were supposed to be from last night in addition to tonight’s supper. I’m not planning for dinners for two and I’ve stretched my cauliflower reserves so thin as it is that the cauliflower and lentils is more of a side dish than a main meal.

I don’t think I would make it again. Even as a side. The lentils are alright but the cauliflower is not my thing. The cabbage wraps are alright as well. I was right about my mango not being ripened enough and I ate all my avocado during my afternoon snack, so they were lacking in flavour a bit. I think I would substitute romain hearts next time instead of cabbage.

I was really looking forward to my night time snack: hot chocolate made with almond milk and shaved dark chocolate! It was just ok: needed more chocolate.

I must say I am starting to feel more energized today. After finally getting my son down for the night I actually got an hour and a half of uninterrupted work done! I can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring and I am looking forward to a hot breakfast for a change.

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Clean Eating, Health, Health and fitness, Uncategorized

Day 2: Cravings

I won’t go into too many details today about the food but you can follow along with these recipes for day 2.

I just want to say how great overnight oats are! I discovered these a few months back. So quick and easy: just throw a few ingredients in a jar, shake and leave overnight in the fridge. Breakfast is waiting there for you in the morning. And tasty too!

I will admit that I’m not entirely sure my oats are gluten free but I already had them on hand and I wasn’t going to buy more.

What I find most difficult so far in the clean eating experiment is the cravings. I am the girl who doesn’t care a lick about what I eat. I eat what I want, when I want it. McDonald’s or some other fast food take out once (or twice even) a week, always some sort of desert (chocolate) after dinner, loads of cheese and sour cream on almost everything and always morning Tim Hortons coffee.

So I found it really hard to run my errands whilst refraining from burning through Timmy’s drive thru. Or when I passed the cake pop maker in Walmart.

Word of advice for anyone trying to eat healthier: stay away from Pintrest and the food network. I found myself salivating at the pin about the Oreo cheesecake squares and drooling worse than my infant boy at Bobby Flay’s fabulously delicious looking T-bone grilled to perfection in a heaping wad of butter.

Tonight I strayed away from the menu for dinner and snack #2 as it was Father’s Day and we had a BBQ at my in-laws.

Luckily for me, my MIL is supportive of my quest and is also health conscious as well. So while the boys ate steaks us girls had chicken thighs, I still used the same proportions as was recommended in the challenge, chose sweet potato instead of russet and passed on the bread. There was one point, just before dinner I was tempted to sneak some bread and spinach dip but I held out.

Desert or snack #2 was three chocolate covered strawberries and a rendition of a peanut butter cup. Now before you walk away from me and think that I failed, I will let you in on a secret: the chocolate was made from three ingredients: Cocoa, coconut oil and maple syrup. The peanut butter cups the same plus all natural peanut butter so no harm, no foul! All natural ingredients. Homemade. Clean eating. Curbed cravings.

It’s ok if you have to stray from the plan once in a while just choose better options: pure maple syrup instead of sugar; lean, white meat instead of red meat; veggies instead of starch; always whole wheat over white breads.

I have to say I still don’t feel more energetic but my son sure does. He just won’t sleep anymore. Day or night! Tonight was another late one as I didn’t get him to bed until after 11:00pm again. Tomorrow is going to be hard without that coffee.

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Clean Eating, Health, Health and fitness, Uncategorized

Day 0: Shopping and Prep.

I wanted to see if this challenge was affordable first before I decided to commit to anything (being on maternity leave has left us very conscious of our spending habits and bank accounts).

I wrote out the shopping list (probably should have just printed the PDF and saved time) and priced out all the ingredients from online prices and the flyers I had, just to get a rough idea of what I would be spending.

Some items I already had on hand like eggs, oats, chia seeds and carrots, so I didn’t include those in my pre-pricing. The rough estimate was $200 for just the first week! So I took to the internet and tried to find some coupons. Do you know how hard it is to find coupons for whole, non processed foods? Impossible it seems!

So it was looking pretty bleak. However, I started to think smarter. I thought to myself: if I shop in the bulk section I can shave a few bucks off and if I only get two large tomatoes instead of four and use up the cherry tomatoes I have already and only get three chicken breasts on the bone and get the rest later or use the boneless frozen one I have the freezer, I can save a few more bucks on this trip, etc.

So off I went to the store! With a baby strapped to my chest, an empty cart and no coupons, I got almost everything on my list. I couldn’t find the Napa cabbage at this particular store nor could I find clementines but I know a different store carries these items. I’ll get them a different day.

In total I spent only $135. I did redeem 2000 points to get $5 off my blueberries but because I spent over $100 I got 4000 points so there was no net loss there. (I am a points hoarder, I plan on saving until I can get either an iPad or a trip somewhere.)

Upon returning home, I threw the turkey in the freezer and prepared my smoothy packs. There’s only six, each with only one or two ingredients in them. The mango I have bought seems a little on the underripe side. It is hard to pick a good mango! Don’t judge.

Tonight is the last night before the challenge so I cooked the last of the bacon in the fridge (so I don’t waste, of course) and toss it in my salad. Tonight I will enjoy my last cheese burger from McD’s. Tomorrow the experiment begins! Wish me luck.

20140613-174436-63876369.jpg my fridge is stocked with fresh fruits and veggies!

 

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