- Will I choose to eat everything in sight, guilt free, no strings attached, knowing that I'm "back to healthy" after January 1st?
- Will I choose to eat everything I want, but in small portions so I don't hurt my belly and get my joint pain back?
- Will I choose to keep it to one "junkie thing" each day, every other day, or on the weekends only?
- Will I choose to eat only "special junk food" like homemade cookies or special pastries rather than noshing on "plain old junk food" like chips or pretzels that are junkie but that have no "wow" factor?
- Will I make healthier versions of junk food so I can still enjoy indulgences without goofing up my health?
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
Tuesday, December 22, 2020
Monday, December 14, 2020
- I used roasted sweet potato chunks instead of roasted squash ('cuz I didn't have any on hand and I didn't have time to run to the store!)
- Our salad had toasted and salted almond slivers instead of walnuts 'cuz hubby is not a fan of walnuts
- I only added half the maple syrup ('cuz I'm trying to not each too much sugar)
- 3 lbs beef chuck roast (grass-fed and organic if able!) cut into 1.5-2 inch cubes
- Kosher Salt
- 1 T ghee or avocado oil
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 1 lb mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed and quartered
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 3 T tomato paste
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and diced (or smashed!)
- 1.5-2 Cups beef bone broth (you could also use chicken bone broth!)
- 2 T Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 T Worcestershire Sauce (optional)
- 1-2 T Coconut aminos (or gluten free tamari if you're ok with soy)
- 1 tsp Fish Sauce (I use Red Boat)
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried thyme)
- 1 bay leaf
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3-4 large carrots, peeled and then chopped into large chunks
- 1T Cassava Flour (optional...for thickening)
- In a big ol' bowl, toss cubed beef with a little Kosher salt. Let it sit.
- Press "Saute" on your Instant Pot and when the metal insert is hot, add the avocado oil or ghee. Wait for the fat to melt and then add onions, mushrooms, celery and a sprinkle of salt. Saute until veggies are soft about 4-5 mins.
- Stir in the tomato paste and garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
- Add in salted beef cubes, bone broth, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce (optional), coconut aminos, fish sauce, thyme, bay leaf, ground black pepper, and chopped carrots. Give a good stir and then press the "Keep Warm/Cancel" button on your Instant Pot.
- Put the lid on and lock it and be sure your steam valve is closed. Cook for 35 mins on high pressure. (The "Stew/Meat" button will typically do this for you, so you can just press that if you like!)
- When the cooking time is finished your Instant Pot will automatically go into "Keep Warm" mode. Let the pressure release naturally in this mode for 15-20 mins. When you're ready to eat, carefully move the steam valve to "Vent" and let the last bits of steam out.
- Remove the Instant Pot top, fish out your bay leaf and thyme sprigs and eat the stew as is OR if you like thicker stew, take out a bit of the liquid put it in a small bowl, add your cassava flour and make a slurry, add the slurry back in and give the whole thing a good stir. (See tips below if you like thick stew, but don't want to use flour.)
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- For making a thicker stew sans flour of any kind, add peeled and chopped chunks of potatoes and extra carrots to your recipe. When stew is done, take out some potatoes and carrots and mash or blend them into a paste and then stir them back in to make a thicker broth.
- If you like peas in your stew, after stew is cooked and the Instant Pot cover is removed, press the saute button, add your peas and cook until they're done! (Just know, the extra cooking time may make your carrots mushy!)
- Alternate method so your carrots don't get mushy? Cook your peas separately via microwave or stovetop and add them in after your stew is completely done! More dishes to wash, but less mushy carrots! :)
- You can also add other hearty veggies to your stew--parsnip, potatoes, cut string beans, celeriac, turnip, etc. during the regular cooking process.
- For a little boost of greens, you can add chopped spinach in after the stew is completely cooked and just cook on saute for a little bit to soften your greens!
Sunday, December 6, 2020
So Sunday night is my food prep time.
Hubby goes off to play video games, I throw a load of laundry in, flip on old episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and then I start planning, chopping, and processing. I think about what I want to make for the next 4-5 days and then make a shopping list. I think about what I might want to snack on. And then I do a little prep.
I’m not one of those gals who cooks a bunch of stuff, puts it in containers and has full meals at the ready all week long. I’m truly not that organized. If YOU are one of those folks, I give you mad props! Keep it up! It’s a great way to ensure that you eat only healthy meals!
Me? I’m kind of a half-prepper! LOL!
I make carrot sticks, celery sticks, bell pepper strips, radish discs, and cucumber sticks. So they are fully prepped for dips, hummus, and guacamole and HALF-prepped for impromptu salads, stir fries, soups, and side dishes.
I make hummus and one other dip (last week it was Sardine Pate...which tasted surprisingly like tuna) to go with veggies and Mary’s Gone Crackers.
I make an oil and vinegar (or lemon) based salad dressing.
I juice a bunch of lemons (cuz I hate juicing them one at a time--better to make a mess and clean it up once than to have to clean up lemon juice, pulp, and seeds a whole bunch of times during the week!). I use lemons a LOT--in warm water, in hummus, in salad dressings, in marinades, with veggies, with fish, in smoothies...you name it!
I make almond milk that goes into the morning smoothies, saving the almond pulp to make almond crackers.
Sometimes I make salads and put them in “to go” containers, so hubby can just grab one during lunch.
Sometimes I make a broth based soup or chili that can be used for lunches throughout the week.
Sometimes I make Sweet Potato Toast, tuna salad, or salmon salad for snacks or a light lunch to go with the soup or salads.
By the time I make that, the laundry has been washed, dried, and folded in-between my little chop and puree projects.
The cool part is, when the work week comes, snacks are ready to grab and go, breakfasts/lunches are ready (or mostly ready) to grab and go, and the veggie part of dinners is “half-prepped”. Plus it feels like there’s less clean up to do when there’s not as much chopping and dicing to do at dinner.
How about you guys? Do you meal plan/prep? Got any good tips and tricks? Feel free to share below!
Thursday, December 3, 2020
Hey Fruit and Veggie Challengers!
Are you hungry?
I’m finding that if I workout extra hard or don’t eat quite enough for one of my meals, I gett a little shaky and a little hangry between meals. Anyone else?
If that’s you...don’t go hungry...it will only make you more likely to eat mindlessly and ravenously during your next meal and THAT will not make you happy! LOL!
So...what can we snack on? My suggestion is to eat some balanced snacks. The following are pretty good ones and if you have some you love...please share below!
- Hummus with carrots, celery, radish, peppers, or cucumber
- Celery sticks or Romaine lettuce leaves stuffed with tuna salad or salmon salad--you can add chopped tomatoes or brined pickles to your lettuce rolls or add capers to your celery sticks!
- Sweet Potato “Toast” topped with almost anything! Tuna and cucumber. Hummus and sliced radish. Almond butter and berries. Mashed avocado with red chili pepper flakes. Guacamole.
- Apple slices with crunchy almond butter
- A handful of nuts, berries, and coconut flakes
- Hard boiled eggs
- Goji Berries and nuts
- Seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower) with fruit
- A small cup of broth based Soup
- If you do dairy, plain unsweetened organic yogurt with fresh or frozen berries mixed in
- Egg Muffins--NOT to be confused with an Egg McMuffin! LOL! (Egg Muffins are made from eggs and finely chopped veggies whisked together and then baked in muffin tins. After they’re cooked, you keep them in the fridge for a quick little snack!)
- A rice cake topped with hummus and veggies, tuna and pickles, or avocado and chicken
- Mary’s Gone Crackers topped with Sardine/Anchovy Pate (Fancy!)
So how did your day go today? Feelin’ good?
Tuesday, December 1, 2020
OK, so I’m SOOOO excited that a bunch of you are playing along with me and taking the challenge to add more healthy fruits and veggies to your plate! The GREAT IN-BETWEEN-HOLIDAYS FRUIT AND VEGGIE CHALLENGE has begun! LOL! And by the way, if you’re reading this and thinking, “Yup, I NEED this right now!”. You can join in and play along at any time! Make comments, ask questions, snap a pic and share what you’re eating (you never know...YOU might be the inspiration someone needs to commit to eating healthier and feeling better RIGHT NOW!).
So..I got a really great question yesterday on the Facebook page, which was…
“What about bananas? They’re not exactly crunchy or colorful, and I know they are kind of high in sugar. Do you consider them something to be piled on the plate, or no?”
The short answer is, if your goal is to lose weight, minimize blood sugar swings, and keep insulin stable, I'd keep bananas (and other high sugar fruits) to a minimum when you start out on your Fruit and Veggie Challenge. Plus, if you eat a lot of sweet sugary things...guess what? You sometimes end up craving sweet, sugary things even more! It might make it harder to give up the sweets if you’re eating LARGE amounts of very sweet fruits and veggies.
But don’t toss that banana just yet! Bananas are NOT bad for you...in fact, they can be very nutritious--good amounts of potassium, magnesium, and B6, and green ones have gut-friendly prebiotic nutrients . Plus they’re super yummy (and you’re more likely to eat healthy if you like what you’re eating, right?).
So...if you're a person who eats junk food every day and NEVER eats fruit, but you WANT to start eating fruit and the only fruits you like are bananas, pineapples and watermelon...then go for it! I would WAAAYYYY rather see you improve your diet by ditching highly processed Frankenfoods like Ding Dongs and Oreos and adding in natural, nutritive, higher sugar fruits and veggies that have fiber, antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and other goodies inside! That would be HUGE progress!
So are you scratching your head?
“Was that a yes or a no? Do I eat bananas or not?”
As a Health Coach, my job is to help you get where you want to go. I don’t tell you what to eat...I trust that you know yourself well enough to decide what’s good for you and what’s bad for you. My job is to get you thinking about what you want, how you want to feel, and how the heck you can get there in the easiest and most fun way possible.
Want to live longer, age gracefully, have less pain, be happy in your jeans, and rock amazing energy? For most folks that happens by eating nutritious foods, exercising, hydrating, sleeping well, and managing your stress levels. But we all start someplace different, we all have different journeys, and we all have different goals in mind!
So...it’s up to you...eat the banana...or don’t. YOU are empowered to make choices that will bring you the results you want to see!
I’m so glad that my friend posted that question (thank you, Michelle!). Sometimes in order to make good choices for ourselves, we need to know what the impact of that choice might be. Knowledge is power! Ask your doctor. Ask a nutritionist. Ask Google. Ask me. Ask your mom. There are always two sides to every banana and it’s helpful to know what the sides are. ;)
Stay curious and be well!
When using Google to research foods, remember nutrition is not an exact science. If you're not convinced, choose a food and separately ask, "What are the benefits/pros of ____." And then type in, "What are the side effects/dangers/cons of ____?" You will get doctor's opinions, research results and anecdotal accounts that are completely contradictory! It's quite amusing!