Coconut Flour and Pumpkin Pancakes

Healthy Recipe

If you weren’t aware… my right leg is currently in a cast and I am stuck at home recovering from my most recent surgery. One struggle I have, aside from being on crutches, is cooking. Most of my meals are prepared by someone who can easily get around the kitchen, carry items without dropping them, and can stand for longer than 2 minutes straight without getting tired.

Today, I was hungry and realized there were no leftovers for me to easily prepare by simply pressing a few buttons on the microwave. My options were to figure out something simple to make, wait to eat until dinner, or indulge on four butterfingers for lunch. The last two options were out of the question. In order to heal, I need to eat relatively healthy. I don’t need to stick with all veggies or anything, but butterfingers are probably on the “do not eat” list.

I searched our pantry and there it was… Coconut flour. Not too long ago, I made coconut flour, rice protein, and banana pancakes. They weren’t my favorite, but they were very easy to make. I decided to go ahead and make those pancakes again until I saw the best ingredient I could ever imagine appearing before my eyes. PUMPKIN! I know that seems like a random ingredient, but there is SO much you can do with pumpkin puree.

One recipe I love to make with pumpkin is from Hungry Girl. She uses pumpkin puree and devil’s food cake mix to make brownie muffins. They are moist, chocolaty, and only 181 calories per muffin. I figured there had to be a recipe out there that combined coconut flour and pumpkin. After a quick Google search, I found my lunch recipe!

13460878_295633677444886_979553079_o

I chose to stick with the pancake theme and make “Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes” that are also gluten-free. I do not have a gluten allergy, so that was not a part of my search criteria. It just worked out that way. So for those of you with gluten allergies… this is a recipe I 100% recommend.

These pancakes are SUPER DUPER easy to make. They taste incredible and I will definitely be making them again. I could make the entire meal sitting in my chair… Granted I did stand up like two times to flip the pancakes. But, it was no strain on me at all. Thank goodness!

So, let’s get to it, shall we? Below is the Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes from Paleo Grubs. All credit goes to them! Thanks for the awesome recipe. I did make one or two changes based off of what was in my pantry, but I do not think it made much of a difference. For example, we only had soy milk, so I had to use that. Usually we have almond milk. They must have been out at the grocery store. Also, I chose to ditch the nutmeg. I cannot stand nutmeg. I added extra cinnamon and vanilla instead. I much prefer those flavors anyway.

13461153_295633594111561_91075537_o

Ingredients
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
3 tbsp almond milk
1 tbsp honey
3 eggs
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted, plus additional for pan
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda

Instructions
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients – the coconut flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and baking soda. Then in a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients – the pumpkin puree, almond milk, honey, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir together until just combined.

Heat a griddle or non-stick skillet to medium heat. Coat pan with coconut oil. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto the skillet. Cook for 2-4 minutes until the bottom is cooked through, and then flip. Cook for another 2-4 minutes until lightly browned. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve warm and enjoy!

This recipe made 8 pancakes for me. It all depends on how big you choose to make them. I used an ice cream scoop to measure out the amount of batter per pancake. The choice is yours! I also chose to top the pancakes with a little bit of 100% pure maple syrup. I find pancakes to be dry, so the syrup helps with that. Keep an eye on how much you use, though. Too much sugar will ruin the pancakes (and your body).

13441959_295633527444901_1050377373_o

 

Please let me know what you think of this recipe. Check out Paleo Grubs for more, interesting, recipes! I am not on the Paleo diet, but I do find a lot of those recipes easy and tasty. Enjoy your pancakes! 🙂

Completely unwarranted life lesson from a married woman #9: Remember to make extra of a great recipe for your significant other to eat when they get home or for breakfast the next morning. (I forgot… oops!)

Recipe of the Week: Açaí Bowl

Açaí Bowl

When in Hawaii, David turned me on to açaí bowls and I will never be able to live without them ever again. These bowls gave me so much energy and was packed with vitamins, natural sugars, and best of all, they were cold! I know that sounds silly to love that these bowls were cold, but after a long hike, we needed something to cool us down.

Being that it is hump day and I am recovering from my recent surgery, I needed a pick-me-up, much like I did almost daily in Hawaii. About a week or so after our trip, I made it a priority to perfect the açaí bowl so I could get my fix. What I realized is, nothing will EVER top the açaí bowls in Hawaii. The fresh fruit, honey, and atmosphere there completely changes the recipe. I can promise you that. However, I was still determined to make a bowl that at least made me feel energized and happy, just like I felt in Hawaii.

Before diving into the recipe I follow, I wanted to discuss a few facts/benefits of açaí bowls:

  • Açaí is a fruit native to South America that is high in antioxidants, minerals, and fiber.
  • Açaí is low in sugar, too!
  • Açaí bowls are essentially smoothies in a bowl with whatever you want on top! What is so great about these bowls is that you can determine exactly what you would like to put in them. The choice is yours!
  • These bowls are a hit in Brazil… especially on the beach. I can see why they are popular in Hawaii, now.

Okay, enough about the bowls. I highly recommend researching more about açaí, though. There is a lot you can do with this amazing fruit!

On to the recipe. As stated above, açaí bowls are a fantastic opportunity for you to get creative and make a bowl exactly how YOU like it. I am still an amateur bowl-maker, but I am branching out from my favorite recipe slowly but surely. It is important that I stress that this bowl can include almost any fruit or veggie you desire. Some fruits/veggies add extra creaminess while others simply add more flavor. Consider what benefits you are craving the day you make the bowl and go for it!

Below is my favorite (so far) açaí bowl recipe that I wish could hold a candle to the ones I craved daily in Hawaii 😉

Ingredients for smoothie:
1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk/coconut water/other preferred liquid
1/4 cup of frozen blueberries
1/4 cup of frozen strawberries
1 medium-large sized banana (can be frozen or room temp)
1 unsweetened açaí smoothie pack
1 tbsp of vanilla extract
1 heaping tbsp of organic raw white honey

Ingredients for topping:
granola
organic raw white honey
blueberries
strawberries
banana

Recipe:
Begin by blending the almond milk, blueberries, strawberries, honey, and banana. The fruit does not have to be frozen, but I find that it helps with the thickness of the smoothie. Next, give the mixture a stir with a spoon or spatula and add the vanilla extract. Before adding the açaí smoothie pack, break up the pack using a hard surface or crab mallet.

*Note, the açaí smoothie pack instructions may say to run under hot water, but I found that this liquefies the pack too quickly. This can affect the thickness of the smoothie.

Untitled design (1)

Add the smoothie pack to the blender and continue to blend the ingredients until desired consistency. Remember that the consistency should be thicker than a regular smoothie. The thickness of the mixture is part of what gives the açaí bowl its charm! 🙂

Either after the mixture is prepared, during, or prior, prepare your toppings. Personally, I prefer to have the toppings prepared before blending the ingredients. This keeps the mixture from melting before assembling the bowl.

To prepare the toppings, I slice strawberries and bananas relatively thin. Again, this is an opportunity for you to be creative. If you prefer more bananas, add more bananas. If you prefer no honey, totally go ahead and nix it. After slicing the banana and strawberries,  I prepare the raw honey. This type of honey is in a solid form, so it needs to be melted in order to drizzle it on top of the bowl. Microwave it to your desired consistency. I microwave in 15 second increments until it is just right for drizzling!

Before adding the smoothie mixture to the bowl, I like to sprinkle granola on the bottom of the bowl. This allows me to get some granola in every single bite from top to bottom. I then pour the smoothie in the bowl and level it off with the back of a spoon. I proceed to layer the top of the bowl more granola, then strawberry slices, a small handful of blueberries, and the slices of bananas. My last step is my favorite part… drizzling honey on top and watch it glisten in the light!

Untitled design


This meal can be very high in sugar. Between the natural sugars from fruit, the honey, and… well, the drizzle of honey at the end, you can go overboard. I always try to be conscious of how much sugar I am adding to the bowl. I cut sugar in certain aspects of the bowl wherever I can. If you notice in the ingredients list, I use unsweetened almond milk and the unsweetened açaí frozen smoothie pack. Many recipes call for vanilla almond milk, but that, too, can have added sugars. This is why I add vanilla extract! You control the amount of sugar that is added in this recipe, so just be aware.

Below is a list of all the products I used for my açaí bowl. You do not have to use these products, but I definitely recommend giving them a shot. I will post another version of açaí bowls once I perfect more recipes.

Products I used:
Sambazon Pure Unsweetened Açaí Berry Superfruit Pack
Heavenly Organics 100% Organic Raw White Honey
Silk Original Unsweetened Almond Milk
Ninja Blender
BetterBody Foods Organic Bourbon Madagascar Pure Vanilla Extract
Michele’s Granola in Original (Locally handmade in Baltimore)
All fruits from Mom’s Organic Market

Untitled design (2)

Thanks for checking this out and be sure to send me photos of your bowls! Use the hashtag #FaithfulElephantAcaiBowl so I can easily find yours on social media.

Completely unwarranted life lesson from a married woman #7: Compromise when it comes to dishes. Whoever cooks shouldn’t have to clean. At least… that’s what I tell David. 😉

Things To Do While Snowed In!

If you are anywhere located near the DC area, you probably have heard about the blizzard watch. One day it is 60 degrees, the next day we are expecting 12+ inches of snow. Just a normal day here in Maryland, everybody!

blizzard.gif
Photo Credit: Giphy.com

This entire week, I have been thinking of fun ways for David and me to spend time at home if we were to be stuck inside during the storm. David and I LOVE to play outside like children, but we can’t do that all day long. To fight the cabin fever, we knew we would have to create a list of things to do while snowed in. Below is a list of our suggestions for a fun weekend snowed in (or any weekend where you want to stay indoors). I decided to utilize the five senses in this list. Enjoy!

  1. See: The first sense I chose to focus on is sight! What better way to use those eyes indoors than to binge on Netflix? This HAD to be included. Enjoy the free time and catch up on some of your favorite shows or movies. David and I love to put on a show that makes us laugh, drink some hot cocoa, and snuggle up with the dog on the couch. It’s a great way to unwind.
  2. Feel/Touch (physically): This is easy… go outside and touch the cold, soft, wet snow. Or curl up with a soft blanket 🙂

    netflix.gif
    Photo Credit: Giphy.com
  3. Feel/Touch (emotionally): Why not get in touch with your feelings, too? One way I know how to “feel” is by reading. When you find a great book that allows you to express emotions, it is truly spectacular. Currently, I am reading Wildflower by Drew Barrymore. So far it is fantastic and I have felt a wave emotions in three chapters alone. Check it out!
  4. Smell: I love smells. They trigger so many amazing memories for me as a child. One way I like to emit smells in my home is to boil fresh ingredients on the stove. The scents you make are all natural and it is fun! Check out this YouTube video from Ingrid Nilsen’s homemade fragrances tutorial/DIY project. She provides other fun options to consider for fulfilling your need to smell! Click here for a few more recipes for smells to consider making.
  5. Taste: Weeee! Taste is the best, isn’t it? Senses are amazing. But, let’s be real for a moment… taste reigns supreme. When I think of tasting things that are decadent and wonderful, I think of chocolate. To combat the feeling of boredom when snowed in, bake some cookies! I have a new favorite cookie that I made during Christmas time. (Obviously you will need to buy the ingredients in advance. My guess is you will know about a potential blizzard at least two days prior, like me.) The cookies are Chocolate Peppermint Patty Cookies. Doesn’t that just sound perfect? MMMM I WANT IT NOW!!! Okay, I will dial it back a bit. Sorry. Click here for the scrumptious recipe.
    cookie.jpg
  6. Hear/Listen: One word for you all… MUSIC. Have an amazing jam session. Turn on the tunes, dance, and listen to the artistic geniuses who have blessed our fine earth with musical art. My suggestion is to listen to a wide variety of music. Start of slow and steady. Then, work your way up to a faster beat. Use this time to get your steps in and dance off some calories consumed from the peppermint patty cookies. Music is marvelous. Listen to whatever makes you feel at peace. Dave Matthews, Zedd, Chris Brown, Fetty Wap, Billy Currington, Led Zep… the list goes on. Rock on!

I hope you get in touch with your senses while snowed in this weekend (if you are stuck on the East Coast). Have fun, be safe, and most importantly… STAY WARM!

doge
Photo Credit: Giphy.com

12 Days of Christmas – Day Three

christmas!

The prompt for day three is to share your favorite Christmas recipe/food! You all know how much I love food. Although food is a big reason why I adore Christmas so much… I have no recipes that are specifically meant for Christmas. I do have one recipe that has become a Christmas morning tradition in my family because of how simple it is.

Other than during Christmas, this recipe was made maybe one other time to be ready for a Redskins tailgate a few years back. We can consider this a Christmas dish… right? 🙂

Let’s begin my discussion about this recipe: On Christmas morning, the last thing someone wants to do is cook a large meal and miss out on the kids opening presents. Instead of spending too much time in the kitchen, my mom always preferred to have a dish ready the night before that could easily be tossed in the oven right when my brother and I began opening our gifts.

This particular dish my mom always prepares on Christmas Eve is a Blueberry French Toast Casserole. My mouth is watering right now as I type this blog post!!! This casserole is not only beautiful, but it tastes incredible.

The super easy recipe feeds our family of four, but there typically are some left overs as well. Another great aspect to this casserole is it is easy to modify. Not interested in blueberries? No problem… add strawberries, cherries, peaches, or no fruit at all. My mom is a blueberry lover, so we always go that route. No complaints here!

French Toast
Photo Credit: Foodnetwork.com

Below is the recipe my mom uses, by the oh so amazing Giada De Laurentiis, each Christmas. Although Giada prepares and bakes this casserole on the same day, you can easily prepare everything, refrigerate the dish, then place in the oven the morning you plan to bake!  🙂 Happy Baking and enjoy this delectable dish!

Giada
Photo Credit: Giphy.com

Ingredients
Butter, for greasing
6 eggs
3 cups whole milk
3/4 cup maple syrup, plus extra for serving
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, plus 1 tablespoon
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 lemon, zested
3 (1-inch thick) slices (8 ounces) day-old challah or sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups (12 ounces) fresh or frozen, thawed, and drained blueberries
3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Directions
Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Add the milk, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, and lemon zest. Add the bread cubes and mix until coated. Stir in the blueberries. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

In a small bowl, mix together the remaining cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the egg mixture in an even layer. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the top is golden and the filling is set.

Spoon onto serving plates and drizzle with maple syrup.

Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis – Click here for more about this recpie!

Want to join in on the blogging challenge? Click here for the rules to start this challenge by ScaleSimple! 🙂

Clean Eating Challenge: Take Two (and Becoming a Better You)

If you have been following my blog for at least a year, you will know that my mom and I completed Buzz Feed’s Two Week Clean Eating Challenge last summer. After completing that challenge, we both felt INCREDIBLE. I decided that, since the wedding is about 6 months away, David and I would give it a shot together. I know this is only a two week challenge, but we will be using it as our detox to begin a more strict diet.

We are not doing this diet to lose weight, we are doing this to be healthier. With birthdays, weddings, and other events, I’ve come to realize that we eat way too much sugar and other processed food lately. We feel lethargic, unmotivated, and just down right crappy. To combat this, we decided to detox and diet.

Diet
Photo Credit: Giphy.com

I will not be blogging about this challenge nearly as much as I did last summer. It just seems repetitive to hear my thoughts again. However, for you men out there who would like to hear from a fellow male detoxing and dieting. I am going to feature David on this blog! Well.. I will be featuring his comments and feedback. Personally, I think David’s biggest issue here will be the lack of meat. He LOVES burgers. Unfortunately, in this two week detox, there is NO red meat allowed. I love that, but he will not, haha. I am eager to hear his praises, complaints, and everything in between!

Our detox will begin on Monday, October 19. The two week detox challenge technically starts on Sunday, but we have already committed to plans Sunday that may require us to deviate from the detox. Plus, it just works better with our schedule to begin when the work week starts. For those of you who did not read my past segment about this challenge, click here.

Each day is already planned by Buzz Feed and there are strict rules which you must follow in order to successfully complete this challenge. You eat a breakfast, snack, lunch, dinner, and snack (in that order). If I remember correctly, you eat approximately 1300-1600 calories per day. The number of calories you intake depends on your weight, typically. In this case, David will intake more than me, obviously. He is much taller and weighs almost 100 pounds more than me haha. I am pretty petite. Again, I want to reiterate that this is not to lose weight, look better, or fit a magazine’s idea of the ideal body type. This is simply to feel better and healthier.

Lea Michele
Photo Credit: Amazon.com

Finally, I recently purchased Lea Michele’s book, “You First: Journal Your Way to Your Best Life.” In this book, it discusses how to be a healthier, stronger, more confident YOU. I am using it as a guide to really get myself in a better mindset since my health issues earlier this year. It inspired me to get back into my previous healthy lifestyle. I will be blogging/journaling my way to a better me (with tidbits from David, too, haha). I want to share my journey through this book with you all. I know many followers/readers who have requested blogs about this topic, so why not, right?

Let me know how you remain mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy!

xoxo,
Kristin

Clean Eating Diaries: Far From Perfect

I wanted to give a quick update regarding my clean eating journey. The holidays are throwing a wrench in this journey, I must say. I chose a PERFECT time to begin the change, so I can only blame myself.

Regrettably, I am not writing this post with happy news about the diet. Since Thanksgiving dinner, I have not been consistent with clean eating. Ugh. It upsets me to admit it, but I would hate to put on a front. I think an important part of success is learning from failures. The word “failure” is a bit extreme in this case, I think. My point is that I am disappointed with my diet decisions.

I am happy to say that tomorrow is the start of a new week and I am getting back on track with clean eating. I will have to learn that an entire day does not need to be sacrificed because of one meal. If I am unable to get organic food for a meal, the whole day is not “ruined.” Just one meal was ruined. I learned the hard way, unfortunately.

I am not completely dissatisfied with my decisions, though. I found out that my body was adapting to the new diet and I had SO much energy up until I went back to old ways for a few days. The meals I ate that consisted of junk food, were high in sugar, and not organic made me lethargic, put me in a bad mood, gave me stomach aches, and contributed to weight gain. My weight fluctuates a lot, but I could see and feel a difference after a few short days. I am SO glad I noticed it sooner rather than later. I do not want my body to suffer more than it already has in ONE WEEK. Can you believe it?

Like I said above… I learned the hard way. My training for the half marathon has slowed and my discipline/motivation has definitely been lacking. I can only hope that my “Clean Eating Diaries” serve as an educational tool to each of you who keep up with it. I often go back and read past posts for motivation and a reminder myself.

Just when I thought I took ten steps forward, I feel like this one week put me thirty steps back. I look forward to using all of this as inspiration to improve. I refuse to let future holiday dinners (or any meals for that matter) impact all of my progress. Going into this, I knew clean eating would be tough. Stick with it, y’all! If you fall, get back up again. Share your experiences with others so they can be prepare their minds and bodies for it as well. Remember, that it’s only a mistake if you do not learn from it. Plus, now you can learn from me and skip a step! 😉

Thanks for reading and be on the lookout for more clean eating and marathon updates. Enjoy your Sunday evening!

learn

Clean Eating Diaries: The Two Week Jumpstart

I think we can all agree that the first few weeks of a diet change are the worst. Even with proper planning it can be a struggle. I found that during the day, I was most hungry right before or right after lunch, and I had an immense craving for sweets. Fighting the urge to dive into the leftover halloween candy is a big deal for me. I am notorious for ditching a diet so I can indulge in a Kit Kat bar (or two).

In order for me to survive the first few weeks of this lifestyle change, I needed:

  1. A very strict plan. By this I mean, I needed each meal chosen for me, with a list of ingredients that I could prepare the night before, and a step-by-step guide explaining how to prepare the meal. This way I could not deviate from the plans and if a meal was already waiting for me, I would be less likely to run to a pantry to binge eat salt & vinegar chips.
  2. To allow myself to eat sweets if necessary. Listen, you do not have to deprive yourself from what you love. If you love chocolate, grab an organic chocolate bar and eat. The difference is, instead of eating two bars, how about an ounce (or less). At the start of this change, I craved chocolate A LOT. As I began to wean myself off and limit the amount of chocolate I ate, I could satisfy my cravings in new, less fatty, ways. I am proud to say that there has not been a chocolate bar in the house for three (yeah you read that right… three) whole days. This is a huge deal for me.
  3. A partner in crime: my mom. If you can, get someone to join in on the change with you. Trust me, it is a lot easier to overcome obstacles with someone by your side to encourage you and hold you accountable. My mom and I guilt trip each other when we notice that one of us is eyeballing the chocolate bar or jar of almond butter.
  4. Less junk food in the house. My final suggestion for the first two to three weeks of a diet change is to eliminate all opportunity to cheat. This can be especially hard when you have other members of your household who choose not to partake in the change. Lucky for me, it is two against one. My mom and I do the grocery shopping so my dad has to live with what we buy. Instead of a bag of UTZ chips, we buy something from the organic market that is the equivalent (minus all the crap). He seems to be accepting of that. Soon enough, I think he will join in on this change with us. Also, when you go out to places with friends, bring organic snacks with you. I know this is tough for men who do not carry bags around all day, but even an organic granola bar in your pocket or keep something in your glove compartment of your car to snack on when you feel tempted to cheat, helps.

Now, on to the fun part… the actual recipes I have been eating during this two week jumpstart. Like I said above, I needed a strict plan. I found so many diet plans online, but none of them really appealed to me as much as the one I am going to link below. I wanted to find a plan that encouraged clean eating, eliminated red meat (just for the first two weeks), and did not include much gluten or any for that matter. Given that this was a jumpstart, I wanted it to be a detox in some ways. So, I Googled “two week clean eating detox plan” and boom there it appeared. BuzzFeed, as if they couldn’t get any greater, had a two week clean eating detox that is SO detailed and amazing… it really was/is the perfect plan for me.

CLICK HERE FOR THE TWO WEEK DETOX CHALLENGE FROM BUZZFEED!

I will warn you, some of these recipes aren’t amazing. My mom and I had to tailor it to fit our preferences a bit, but for the most part, it is spectacular. Also, this plan does not specify that you have to eat organic. I changed it a little to be ALL organic food items. If it calls for a pear, I get it from the organic section. If it calls for tamari… obviously I get it from the organic market. If you do not want to go organic, that is fine. Use this as a stepping stone towards change.

Now, I want to give you an idea of my eating schedule, so you understand when I eat and how it matches up with the plan.

5:00 a.m. – I wake up and have a cup of coffee. (The plan calls for you to ditch coffee… but that isn’t going to happen so I ignored that. However, I did choose organic coffee to make me feel better about it.) After my coffee I go to the gym and run/lift/stretch/sauna.

7:00 a.m. – I eat whatever breakfast is for the day. If it is a breakfast that lacks protein, I choose one that is higher in protein because I need more food after an intense workout. I lift pretty heavy weights and my end goal is to be a lot toner than I am. I need all the eggs I can get 😉

7:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. – This is when I am working. If it is the weekend, who knows what I am doing. The weekends throw my eating schedule off, but not by much.

10:30 a.m. – I eat whatever lunch is on the day’s menu. I know you’re probably thinking… what? Lunch at 10:30? Keep in mind I have been awake since 5:00 a.m. For me, 10:30 a.m. lunch is perfect.

10:50 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Back to work or whatever it is I am doing that day. During the time I am not eating, I am usually drinking water or a Kombucha drink. I prefer GT’s drinks.

2:00 p.m. – Snack time! Typically a snack is a vegetable with hummus, a smoothie, berries, or a fruit with almond butter. I change this up a lot depending on my cravings.

2:10 p.m.- 5:00 p.m. – Same as usual… I continue the workday or do something productive to keep my mind off eating, haha.

5:00 p.m. – I begin preparing the dinner for the day. Some take longer than others so always be sure to look at the process beforehand. If you know you will not be home until late, consider making the meal in advance.

7:00 p.m. – I eat my final snack for the day. Usually this snack is the lightest. I have found this is a good time for me to satisfy my sweet tooth with an ounce of chocolate or a nice cup of hot chocolate to sooth me before I go to bed.

8:30 p.m. – I am usually in bed by this time and asleep by 9. This way I have at least 8 hours of sleep before waking up at 5 for the gym. On the weekends, I do not go to the gym, so I allow myself to go to bed and wake up as I please unless plans are made in advance.

So that is my eating schedule. Obviously, you do not have to follow my plan. I just wanted to give you an idea of how the BuzzFeed diet can be used. Below are some pictures of the meals I have created thanks to the BuzzFeed plan. Obviously, the plate presentation is not nearly as appealing as the photos on BF, but come on… who has time for plate presentation when there is scrumptious food sitting in front of you? Not this girl. Thanks for reading and be sure to let me know your thoughts on this two week jumpstart. Happy Eating!

Clean Eating Diaries: “What exactly are you eating?”

health

“What exactly are you eating?”

It is safe to say that I have heard that question at least twenty times in the past week and a half. I have no problem with people asking me about the food I am eating and why I am choosing to eat it. What I find to be frustrating during this lifestyle change, though, is how people feel the need to impose their opinions in regards to my decision to eat all organic/non-GMO/clean. To help resolve this issue… I have compiled a short list of “things to consider before judging an organic foodie.”

  1. Yes, I am well aware of the fact that organic food is more expensive. However, did you know that if you chose to eat all organic (like me), you are taking a stand against all the companies that are poisoning your body with “food.” Okay, so I pay an extra 50 cents or a little more for a non-GMO tomato. In doing so, I have chosen to support organic farmers, I am keeping agricultural chemicals such as pesticides out of my body, and I am protesting (without even realizing it) against companies like Monsanto.
  2. Yes, I realize that I can get a Big Mac for cheaper than an organic, non-GMO apple. But at what cost to my body? And don’t you find that to be a little upsetting? Sure, I will gladly invest in my body so I do not have health issues, weight problems, and who knows what else could come of eating junk like that.
  3. Oh for Pete’s sake… YES. I eat kale. Have you ever tried kale? Don’t knock it until you try it. Kale is awesome and you can do so much with it. Just this morning (around 6:30 a.m.), I threw some kale in the cast iron skillet with organic olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. I put the cooked kale in a bowl and topped it with two organic, sunny-side up eggs. I won’t be hungry until 11 a.m. when it is time for my snack. It tasted amazing, by the way.
  4. I am not vegan. Did I say I was without knowing it? I eat meat. Instead of meat that is packed with growth hormones, though… I eat grass-fed beef. Trust me, I love steak as much as the next person.
  5. I don’t need a Hersey’s bar, you guys. Stop trying to tempt me with crap. I am just fine with my 75% Cocoa Organic Dark Chocolate. It satisfies my sweet tooth and I don’t need to eat an entire bar to do so. I feel like 100 bucks after I eat a chunk of that chocolate bar.
  6. The hippie jokes are funny the first two times. After that… you just sound silly. Leave me alone. The food I eat is so flavorful, I enjoy it, and I am not forcing you to join me. Granted, I think you should, but I know you won’t anytime soon. So let me eat my overnight oats with blueberries in peace please.
  7. If you are going to ask me why I changed to all organic, then actually take what I am saying into consideration. I am not part of a cult who is trying to lure you. I have done my research and I refuse to let companies like Monsanto harm my body. I get to choose what I eat and I do NOT choose a bag of Lays Potato chips, a genetically modified carrot, or a Whopper from Burger King.
  8. Yes, I screw up sometimes. That is why in my last post about clean eating I mentioned how important it is to plan ahead. I learned the hard way by having to eat something that was not on my approved list. I paid for it because I felt like crap afterwards (not kidding). Over the weekend I chose to have one beer. Just one. The next morning I wish I went back in time and ditched the beer completely or at least asked for an alternative to it. I don’t leave the house without a water bottle or an organic banana.
  9. I said this about kale, but I want to say it about other foods in general. Don’t knock it until you try it. I know some of the stuff I eat looks unusual. It actually tastes fantastic, though. For example, I brought a Kombucha drink to the Redskins game this weekend. At first, everyone was skeptical. Once they tried it, though, they admitted that it was great! Don’t judge a book by its cover. 😉
  10. Last but not least… juicing is awesome! I do not juice a lot, because I don’t find it to satisfy my appetite as much as two eggs and turkey bacon would. However, as a mid morning snack or if you are on the go, it is fantastic. I know it seems like a trend lately and everyone is going crazy about it, but it really is yummy.

I just started this new lifestyle and I already feel the pain I used to put the organic lovers through. Before starting this diet change, I could not fathom living without Vocelli’s Pizza, Kraft mac and cheese, and other junk that I constantly put in my body. Once I made the switch, I started to feel so differently (in a good way)! I am afraid to ever relapse into the junk food world because I think my body would go through shock.

The last thing I want to do is be the annoying person who tells you what to eat. That is why I only provide my two cents when asked. Do the same for me. This change is hard enough as it is when your entire household does not practice the same eating habits as you. It takes a lot of time and effort to make this change. We do not need anymore criticism.

No matter what the circumstance, we should all just encourage each other to be happy and healthy. If you do not want to eat all organic, that is fine. I promise there are other aspects to me that you’ll like, if that is not one of them. Be happy and healthy, y’all! 🙂

Clean Eating Diaries: The Beginning

I want to begin this post by saying how challenging this experience has been so far. I know, I know… starting a post with what seems like negativity, isn’t ideal. However, I do not mean it to be pessimistic or negative in anyway. I am simply stating the truth about my lifestyle change (so far). If change were easy, wouldn’t every person do it? I love that this is a challenge. In the end, when I overcome this challenge, I will be a better and stronger person for it. So, view that statement as what it is: a statement.

Photo Credit: Google Images
Photo Credit: Google Images

A clean diet may be different from person to person. My diet does not eliminate any specific meats or gluten, at the moment. Eventually, I may get to that point. For now, I am making one small change at a time. In this case, my clean eating diet is by switching to ALL organic and NO junk food. What constitutes as junk food? Chips, cookies, ice cream, cake, etc. On occasion, I will indulge, but it will be portioned. I do not want to take any steps backwards.

My cousin e-mailed me some resources that will guide me during this life change. I am thrilled to continue reading and learning about this topic. She explained that, “Every time you buy organic and choose not to put garbage on your plate, you’re voting. You’re taking a stand against the food industry poisoning us. Make cooking a priority and eventually you’ll save money (not to mention your health)!” That, alone, was enough for me to take this change a lot more seriously than I had in the past. 

I will provide a separate post to explain the top reasons why I made this change. In this post, I wanted to give a little update on how the diet change has been going. Officially, it has been 3 days since the change. The only aspect to my past diet that I have not eliminated is coffee. I did switch to organic coffee, though. I will admit that Starbucks has made its way into my body on more than one occasion. I love coffee too much to cut it completely. I do not drink more than two cups a day… that’s okay, right? There are benefits to coffee, as you may have read from a previous post this summer. Maybe one day I will be down to half of a cup or one full cup only!

Change
Photo Credit: Google Images

The meals I have been eating are somewhat bland, but tasty overall. I already feel a change in my body. Two of the biggest changes are in my digestive tract and my skin. Also, if you didn’t know, I exercise/lift six days out of the week. Sunday is my rest day. I am up at 5:00 a.m. and finish my workouts by 6:30. This allows me time to relax before work in the morning, prepare my lunch and mid-day snack, and I have an opportunity to research more about the clean eating topic.

At the end of each post, I will provide some advice or tips, based on my experiences. My advice for today is to stay motivated! If that means posting a cliche quote on Twitter, reading motivational speeches online, or simply looking at yourself in the mirror and saying, “I can do this.” THEN DO IT!

Another piece of advice is to create a meal plan for the week in advance. This will make for a smooth grocery store trip and a less stressful week overall (in terms of choosing meals). Before planning my meals, I would shop frivolously when at the grocery store. Anything that looked tasty would make its way into my cart. Now, I not only save money by sticking to a list, but I do not have Oreos in my pantry tempting me to break from my diet.

My final tip is to not be too hard on yourself. It takes about thirty days to get into a solid routine. It is okay if you skip the gym, mess up a meal, or even cheat at times. Learn from your mistakes and use that as fuel to power through the next day! Change is great if it is in the right direction. Be sure that the direction you are headed is best for you and your body. Happy Tuesday and keep working hard. Check out this documentary below to learn more about why I have changed my diet.