Archive for the ‘processed foods’ Category

Ok, So I Didn’t Work Out But..

I got a little, teensy weensy bit closer to doing so! I actually put on gym clothes this morning – but then things got busy.

I woke up and it was snowing! What is up with that? It’s March, people! Anyway, after cleaning off my car I dropped my daughter off at spring break camp ar0und 9:00. Then I drove to my ophthalmologist appointment. My vision has changed a bit but the more worrisome piece of information was he said my blood vessels looked curvy and asked me if I had high blood pressure. I didn’t think so but if your eye exam indicates you might I’ll just assume that I do. That means less salt, more exercise, reduce stress, healthier foods and less caffeine. As if I wasn’t already trying to do these for the past year .. but there’s nothing like the looming threat of heart attack or stoke to make you more motivated.

After the eye exam I had and appointment with a psychologist to go over my daughter’s testing. It was very helpful to hear what she had to say, even if it was a 2.5 hour consult  at $250.oo/hr. Ouch! Yeah, that hurt but I am working on reducing stress so (amazingly) I didn’t freak out about it. And I didn’t scarf down a pint of ice cream after leaving her office! Yay me. So, though I didn’t get to the gym (these two appointments with travel time took almost six hours) it could have been a lot worse.

Here’s what we had for dinner:photo-20

– homemade black bean and pumpkin soup
– sweet potatoes baked with honey, coconut oil and pumpkin pie spice (she put hers on her salad)
– romaine with vinaigrette, additional olive oil and avocado
– nitrate-free chicken apple sausage
(and she also had an organic pear and some water–see the core on the left?)

What did you eat for dinner? Am I the only one who tries to prepare homemade meals instead of relying heavily on processed foods?


Been Cooking Up a Storm!

For someone who used to not enjoy cooking AT ALL, and we are talking as recently as a few years ago, I have come a LONG way. I started cooking a few years ago when I cut back on processed foods and then I moved overseas. Let’s just say that having a live-in cook for two years really spoiled me! When I returned neither my daughter nor I enjoyed much of the processed foods so readily available (sadly our tastes are starting to re-acclimate to the processed American way) so it was on me to do the cooking.

Yeah, that sucks.

Cooking takes TIME which I have none of but I make it a priority because I don’t want to eat junk and I surely don’t want my daughter eating it! Sure, we slip up from time to time and end up in the McDonald’s drive thru line ordering some french fries but not often. Here are a few things I have whipped up in the past few weeks:

1. This is a soup/stew I created off the top of my head. I know, it doesn’t look too appetizing but don’t let fool you. It has ground beef, chick peas, onions, carrots, acorn squash and a broth base. I also threw in some cinnamon and raisins cause I felt they needed them. I threw everything except the raisins in the crock after browning the beef first and cooked it for 6 hours or so. I didn’t follow a recipe; I was just trying to use up some of the produce in my house (I always, always buy too much) but it turned out really good!


2. This is another soup I made up. I looked online for a coconut cream kale soup and referred to three different recipes when coming up with this one. Turns out I had cooked some Swiss chard I was trying to use up but it was fine. I browned some onions in oil and spices and then added them to a pot with coconut cream, broth, the swiss chard and some broccoli. Cooked it up and used an immersion blender to mix it up. Yummy! I used to be so in awe of my mom when she could whip up a delicious soup from ingredients around the kitchen. Turns out it’s not that hard.

IMG_2526 IMG_2535


3. These were interesting! I made some gluten-free brownies with black beans. I was AMAZED that  you could substitute black beans for flour but let me tell you, you can! I was so impressed with how they turned out. Yummy!



4. Cranberry sauce. Again, had some cranberries on their last legs so I whipped this up with some cane sugar and cinnamon. Still a bit tart but I am looking forward to eating it with a chicken I am going to make later in the week.

IMG_2510That’s all for now.

What have you been cooking lately?

Feeling More Committed

I haven’t been perfect by any stretch of the imagination but that’s okay. I am just checking in to say that I have been eating many homemade meals and am drinking tons more water. I have also noticed that by default my daughter has been eating much healthier and has even stopped asking for dessert! In fact, it’s been several days, a couple of weeks maybe. This is great! It means that my healthier eating is either rubbing off on her or she is feeling more satisfied by eating the real food that I am preparing. I am so happy about that! I haven’t been sugar-free but I also have decreased my refined sugar consumption by like 85%. Love it!

Meanwhile, I bought myself a flat-screened TV today so kettlebell workouts and Pilates and yoga are in my near future. I think I will cancel my gym membership.

Always Some Excuse

So breakfast was juice and lunch was a smoothie. But the weather was cold and I was heating up lunch for my daughter.. and I broke down. I ate some cauliflower with cheddar and butter and some black-eyed peas with carrots that had been prepared using smoked turkey and chicken stock. Did I eat any grains? No. Anything processed? Not really. Anything with refined sugar? No. But I had animal products and beans which I said I wouldn’t have. Was I asleep by ten? Yes. Did I wake up early and do yoga? Yes. I am proud of what I accomplished but annoyed with myself for not sticking to my plan, especially as I look in the mirror and see my checks are still covered with hives or this rash or whatever this is.


It is winter. We got a ton of snow yesterday. I want warm food. In the movie Joe fasted when it was warm weather. So did the other guy they highlighted, Phil. I’m pretty sure it was warm when Daniel and Jesus  and Gandhi and other religious figures fasted. Who solely drinks cold juices when it’s 20 degrees outside? I’m sure people do it but gosh darn it if it doesn’t make it more difficult. Though, then again, some folks fast without any food or drink and do it when it’s 100 degrees outside. It’s done. It’s not comfortable. It’s not supposed to be easy or fun or comfortable. I think this really illuminates what kind of person I am. I want what I want when I want it. I gave in. I indulged myself. I didn’t persevere. I gave up.

I gave up.

It got too hard.

It wasn’t fair.

I did the yoga, I got some sleep. I avoided grains and sugar… so I justified eating the food. I did part of it.

But I didn’t do exactly what I set out to do.

Why not? Why was I okay with doing just a half-assed job? Or rather (because I was not okay with it) why did I give up? My skin/energy level/health are suffering! Isn’t that enough?

What is my deal?

I have no idea. This is interesting though. Depressing. Enlightening. Maddening. Infuriating! Sad.

On to Day 2. Or rather Day 1 again. Wish me luck.

Feeling Discouraged

I have been pretty good about not eating any wheat or sugar. Really good in my opinion, but I’m feeling discouraged because I haven’t seen any dramatic changes and it’s been three weeks into eating this way. I have been really hungry so that certainly factors in (large intake of calories) and I haven’t exercised at all–so okay, it shouldn’t be that surprising I suppose, but since I haven’t eaten a single cookie, not one sip of soda, no pizza, etc., well I just thought I would have lost some weight or noticed some amazing changes. Certainly part of the problem is I have been eating maple syrup and lots of chips. Those are fattening! Duh! So, okay no weight loss for that reason (and no exercise). And although I have been avoiding breads, pastries and pastas I haven’t been 100% gluten-free so that explains why I haven’t noticed any  earth shattering changes (if wheat is the cause). So what then has been the point? I am asking myself that. I weighed myself this morning and the scale read 152.8. I started October at 153. Woo hoo!! Almost one pound in three weeks! Yay. (Yeah, that sucked). So have there been any positive outcomes at all??? Yes, in fact there have! Here are five:

1.  I am rarely bloated after a meal and have rarely gotten a stomach ache from food. When we moved back to the States this summer (after living overseas for two years) I noticed that my stomach often hurt after eating in a restaurant. Well, now that I am preparing most of what I am eating I am not having stomach aches. I still don’t know what was causing the stomach aches but it’s nice to not be suffering.

2. I have made some amazing dishes! I have absolutely fallen in love with acorn squash (baked and then broiled with butter)and I have made some delicious wheat-free pancakes that my daughter also loves.

3. I feel good about knowing what is in my food and feeding homemade dishes to my child.

4. I realize how much sugar, baked goods and processed crap I used to eat and am astounded. I honestly didn’t realize how much I used to consume before this challenge (knowingly and unknowingly). Reading labels has been an excellent exercise.

5. This one is good!! The rash under my chin is almost gone! Here is the before picture from three weeks  ago:

image and here it is right now:imageI wish I knew what caused it in the first place but I am glad to see it has almost completely cleared up. This challenge has a week left. This week I am going to drink more water and start exercising. I visited a gym yesterday and they gave me a guest pass to use for the rest of the month. At the end of the month they are running a special and I can decide at that time if I want to join. Though I prefer hiking and playing tennis, I have done that zero times since being home. Zero. Makes me sad. What makes me sadder though is the weather is starting to get colder and if I don’t join a gym I likely won’t work out much for the next six months. Ain’t no way I’m going to be fierce by fifty without exercising! So, yeah, three weeks into October Unprocessed (also known as my sugar and wheat free challenge) and progress is slower than I had hoped and that’s discouraging. But I do see small glimmers of progress and it’s just enough to keep me motivated.

October Unprocessed

Okay, I signed up for another challenge to see if I can make it for a sustained period of time with a support network. It’s called October Unprocessed. Check out Andrew Wilder’s blog, Eating Rules, which explains it all (click on his logo), but in a nutshell for the month of October you don’t eat anything that someone with reasonable skill couldn’t replicate in their kitchen. He says you can do this for every meal for the entire month or just dinners or just weekdays–basically whatever works best for you. My plan is to completely eliminate wheat and maybe dairy and sugar. I’m not going to do “unprocessed” per se as I think it’s better for me to eat the frozen veggie burger than a loaf of homemade bread. Plus, to be honest, I have way too much going on right now to cook every meal from scratch. Better for me to just eliminate something(s). I was going to start after the hamburger buns and bread and pasta were eaten, but you know what? That is just an excuse to delay it even further. No! I am starting tomorrow. Goal is to eat NO WHEAT for October. I’m pretty convinced it is at the root of my problems (well, that and sugar) but it is one I am pretty confident I can stick to (so much easier than raw!) and I can eliminate something else once I am able to conquer this hurdle. I hope to see the rash under my chin and on my left thigh go away, eliminate post-meal bloating and regain some energy.

Won’t  you join me in the challenge? It’s not too late to sign up!

October Unprocessed 2013

Hello, America

Being healthy is hard if you live in the United States. There is fluoride in the water, GMO “foods” sold without labels in the markets, processed food everywhere and so many overweight people that  you start to think of your extra twenty pounds as being no big deal.

I  have been eating a terrible diet for the past two weeks. I started my new job and they have been providing a lot of meals and most of it is stuff I shouldn’t be eating. It’s a shame, really. In Asian countries it’s acceptable and normal to eat rice, broth, fish and vegetables for meals with unsweetened tea or water. Americans, meanwhile, chow down on pasta with sauces, sugary drinks and desserts. Trying to choose just the salad and water when everyone around you is eating lasagna, lemonade and chocolate cake is really hard. No wonder there are so many fat people here and I am slowly becoming one of them.

This weekend is dedicated to organizing my life so health and wellness are the focus. I need more sleep, more water.  healthier foods and exercise. I don’t have a choice. How? Well, for one since I have to be at work at 7am, it’s going to be “early to bed and early to rise”. New bedtime? 9pm – or 10pm at the latest if occasionally necessary. Then I am going to unpack my overseas shipment and locate my cutting boards, juicer, etc. and start using them. I haven’t figured out yet where exercise is fitting in but the other plan is to be vegan until 6pm. Have you heard of that book? I don’t know where I first read about it but here’s the Amazon link:

The basic premise is to eat vegan (fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds specifically) until 6pm and then for dinner you can eat what you want in moderation. I think this is great! I am busy at work so I won’t have much temptation anyways but then it allows for me to go to happy hour, go on dates or hang out with friends without being on some crazy restrictive diet plan. I love it and the author had great results with it.

Now if I could only find a time and place to exercise..