Day 1: Elimination Diet

Around Exit 12.  That’s usually right around time when I look over at my boyfriend on our way home from work.  Like clockwork, Laziness rears its ugly head.

“I don’t feel like cooking dinner tonight.  What do you want for dinner?  Chick-fil-a, Zaxby’s, Tokyo Express?”

“I don’t know, whatever you want.  You choose.”  Says Laziness’s companion.

And now on Day 1 of dipping my toes into the deep end of a very strict Elimination Diet (6 weeks of torture), when I saw Exit 12 in the horizon, I could feel the words forming on my lips.  “Chick-fil…?”  But I kept them to myself, resisting the urge.

No joke, old habits die hard, but so does a mystery sinus infection from HELL.  Having gone to Urgent Care, the Emergency Room, to an allergist, ENT, two family practitioners, two dentists, and being stuffed inside of a tube and having my brain baked for twenty plus minutes only to be told, “It could be a mild sinus infection, but other than that, we can’t find anything wrong with you,” I’ve had enough.

I know that’s a mouth full, but that’s been my life since August 15, 2014.  I remember the day well and hope I never have to repeat such a thing again.  Sinus pressure, dry sinus, wet sinus, brain fog, depression, dizziness, balance issues, fatigue, gas, toothaches, nasal inflammation, breathing issues, chest congestion, popcorn popping in my ears (seriously, that’s exactly what it sounds like on a daily basis), and more, OH MY!!!

‘If the doctors can’t do anything about it, then I’m going to take matters into my own hands.’  That’s what I decided last week.  Figuring the only thing left to do now is hook me up to a bunch of machines and have me run on a treadmill or see a nutritionist, I chose to wait on getting a cardio work-up.  It’s not really an option anyway given the amount of moolah I’d have to dish out.  Even with insurance.  I could see a nutritionist, but my insurance may not cover it either and quite honestly, I’m tired of being poked and prodded.  Another possible solution?  Reboot and try an Elimination Diet!

Now there’s an idea.  Something I’ve somewhat experimented with in the past and had great results.

On paper I’m a very healthy young lady, but physically, I feel like crap.  My diet is crap.  Crap, crap, crap, crap!!!!  That’s what I’ve been putting into my body and expecting to feel like a million bucks. And that’s supposed to make sense?

So I’m doing an elimination diet.  What do I have to lose?  Maybe a few pounds, but weight loss is not my goal, People!

As much as I would love to spend the next 30 minutes or so going over the details of this diet, it’s getting kind of late here and beauty sleep is very much needed.  However, I will list some of the things I’ve eaten today and I’m proud to say that I survived Day 1 without chewing someone’s arm off out of starvation.  High-five for that!!!!

Here we go:

Breakfast: Cream of Rice w/ Almond Milk, Coconut Oil, Cinnamon, and a Pear

Snack:  Homemade Applesauce

Lunch: Mushroom Arborio Rice w/ Cauliflower Dressing and Asparagus (Lots of it)

Dinner: Turkey Burger (No bread), 1/4 Avocado, More Rice, and Steamed Broccoli

*Nibbled on more applesauce and a date while cooking.  Drank a lot of water also.

Healthy Journey!

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This Week’s Brown Bag Secret Ingredient REVEAL: Ginger

djumbir

Name: Ginger, Gingembre (french)

Place of Birth: southeastern Asia

Age: Unknown

Types: Yellow, White, or Red (flesh), Brown (exterior)

Commonly Prepared: Fresh, Ground, Dried, Preserved, Crystallized or Pickled

Flavor: spicy, aromatic, pungent

Common Uses: sweet desserts (ground), candy (crystallized), sushi garnish (pickled)

Nutrition Profile:

Ginger nutrition

Health Benefits:

ginger_health_benefits

Sources:

http://howtotreatacidreflux.info/take-ginger-acid-reflux-remedy-to-avoid-side-effects-of-drugs (header photo)

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=72#historyuse

http://www.kew.org/plant-cultures/plants/ginger_history.html

http://nutritiouscalories.blogspot.com/

http://homecooking.about.com/library/weekly/blginger.htm

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Heeeere, Chickpeas, Chickpeas, Chickpeas!!!

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I strongly believe that the more we learn about food, the healthier we become.  Learning about the history, benefits, and how to prepare different foods helps us to make healthier choices and to step outside of our comfort zone.  Maybe the next time you’re cruising around the grocery store, you’ll pick up that pint of blackberries or bunch of cilantro you’ve been eyeing for a while.  Many people are curious about certain foods, but have no idea how to cook them.  Each week I will show you how to cook one basic healthy ingredient such as oatmeal, fennel, almond butter, or chicken.  You can find videos on how to prepare the mystery ingredient on my Youtube channel (links provided below).  I will also add videos that show you five different ways to incorporate them into any meal whether it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, or even dessert.  Chicken for dessert?  Hmmmm, maybe not!  This series is called ‘(food name) All Day, 5 Ways.’

This week’s mystery ingredients are the awesome garbanzo beans also known by many as Chickpeas.  Now I understand some people have never ventured over to the world of chickpeas or have no idea what these things are.  Maybe you’ve dipped a few baby carrots or celery sticks in a pool of hummus, but never knew the primary ingredient, but if your only understanding of hummus comes from a certain movie…well then I hope I can help you out a little bit.  No, I will not teach you how to make a hummus hose!

hummus

Here’s some cool stuff about garbanzo beans.  Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) are from the legume family meaning they are the fruit or seed of a plant.  Many sources trace their origins back to India, but you can also find variations in areas of the Mediterranean, north Africa, and Mexico.  I won’t bore you with extensive fun facts about these beauties, but there are many reasons why you should consider including them in your diet.

Healthy Benefits

  1. Just two cups of these babies will provide you with your entire daily value of fiber.  This in turn could help better regulate blood fat, lower LDL (the bad stuff) cholesterol levels, and lower triglycerides.
  2. Studies have shown that in a short period of time, consuming garbanzo beans could possibly control blood sugar and insulin secretion.
  3. Can reduce the risk of heart disease due to their unique supply of antioxidants.
  4. Also aids in weight loss.
  5. It’s also a great meatless options for vegetarians and vegans.  Heck, if you just want to take a short break from consuming meat, this is the way to go.

Sources:

Photos Courtesy of:

http://www.empirecityblog.com/2011/08/you-dont-mess-with-zohans-head.html

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/playful-sculptures-feature-chickpeas-for-heads

The World’s Healthiest Foods: Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas)

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=58

Health Magazine

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20475957_25,00.html

Youtube Videos

How to Make Chickpeas

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Almond Choco-Cherry Smoothie

Almond Choco-Cherry Smoothie

Almond Choco-berry smoothie

Almond Choco-Berry 

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (40)

1/2 banana, frozen pieces (55)

1 tbsp unsweetened coco powder (12)

1/4 cup frozen dark cherries (50)

½ tbsp almond butter (48)

1 cup spinach (7)

1 scoop protein powder, vanilla or chocolate (120)

*Throw all ingredients into blender until smooth.  Add extra almond milk or water to thin out if you prefer thinner consistency.

Servings: 1

Calories: 332

 

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“Hey, There’s a Pyramid on your Plate!”

Healthy Eating Pyramid (2)

When I first began my weight loss journey many years ago, I decided then and there that I was not going to give up ice cream, my momma’s fried chicken, and chocolate chip cookie dough.  No way!  I wanted to achieve dietary euphoria.  I wanted it all.  Is that even possible?  Well, maybe.  I kept thinking about the bulky hard cover text-book from my sixth grade health class;  the one that weighs a million pounds and has enough weight to rip a hole in a brand new JanSport backpack.  I thought about the Health & Fitness section of that book and the Food Pyramid Guide diagram.  It consisted of all of the basic food groups including a little junk at the very top.  Hmmmm, can I really have it all?  Many years later I met a nutritionist who put me on my a low-calorie diet and provided me with a food diagram/journal with a picture of…..you guessed it……the Food Pyramid Guide.  Euphoria.  Well, not quite.  Although the 1992 version of the pyramid provides a variety of food options, the proportions were way off in my opinion.  I can do without the 6-11 servings of grains/bread.  I settled for 3-4 servings instead.

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I went on to lose quite a bit of weight by sticking to the basics and I think that anyone who is having a hard time trying to figure out how to start a weight loss journey or just want to avoid fad diets, should not rule out this old school goody.  However, I would recommend using a new and updated model such as the one developed by the Harvard School of Public Health.  This model uses more updated scientific data based on our eating, physical activity, and weight control patterns.  Is it a one-size-fit-all solution?  Of course not, but it’s a decent and simple start.  Hey, we’re like snowflakes and none of us are the same, not even when it comes to dietary needs.  For further guidance, check out Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate, a revised version of the MyPlate model, developed by the USDA.

HEPApr2013 myplate_blue

(Check out the link below to see how they compare)

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-eating-plate-vs-usda-myplate/

I like the Healthy Eating Pyramid because it takes into consideration physical activity.  In fact, it’s included in the actual model.  I’m also a fan of how it emphasizes good and healthy fats like nuts, seeds, and plant-based oils.  However, at this point my main criticism is that there is little or no focus on dairy-free or gluten-free options.  There are many revisions of the Food Guide Pyramid and many debates about whether or not they’re really healthy options or just simply marketing ploys, but you know, I think that even the most basic model and recommendations have to be considerably better than the junk many of us consume on a daily basis.  Eat six slices of how whole grain bread or six bags of BBQ potato chips?  Hmmmm!  I choose moderation!

Healthy Eating Plate (2)

(Check out my Youtube Vlog)

Healthy Journey!

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Day 14: Elite Week

This week I’ve added quite a few recipes from the Elite Nutritional Plan (Insanity) to my weekly meals.  I wanted to simplify my meals even more because I need a tiny break from the kitchen.  I’m still eating a lot of fresh food and staying away from the fast food.  With the Elite plan, the meals are very basic, nothing too special except the ratio of carbs, fats, and proteins.  They’re pretty spot on in terms of getting what you need to survive throughout the day, but I just don’t like the fact that it’s the bare minimum when it comes to flavor.  I’m kicking things up a notch!  Many of the recipes from the Elite plan call for ready-made items.  I used some such as veggie patties that were made with all natural ingredients, but I skipped the canned bean soup and opted to make my own.  Black beans mixed with fresh salsa and lime juice.  Boom, Bam, Done!

INSANITY UPDATE:  I killed my second Fit Test.  I don’t know what got in to me, but I did much better this time.  I’m feeling stronger and able to go through most of my workouts without taking too many breaks.  I’m definitely crediting my Super menu for my success.

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Proatmeal w/ Raspberries and Hemp Seeds

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Fruit & Nut KIND bar w/ Greek Yogurt and Chia Seeds

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Black Bean Soup w/ Veggie Sandwich

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Banana Protein Soft Serve w/ Raw Almonds and Coconut

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Lemon Cod w/ Broccoli and Baked Sweet Potato

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