Reboot!

There have been many changes in my life recently and surely and hopefully there will be more.  As I continue on my journey, I look for new and exciting ways to reset when I get stuck in a rut.  One rut I was stuck in was beginning to show up in every area of my life.  I was not eating the way I should.

Since returning to the workforce a little over 2 years ago.  I slowly began trading my healthy clean food for quick and easy solutions.  A few pounds started to find there way back to the places I had worked so hard to keep them away from. My skin started to break out again, I was tired and irritable, and I was catching colds.  It was clear that I needed to reboot!

A couple of days ago I purchased another juicer.  I gave my old juicer to my brother.  I remember when I got my first juicer and made my own juice everyday with fresh fruits and vegetables.  I felt great and I didn’t have those annoying cravings for junk.  Now I am back on track and my son has jumped on the bandwagon with me.  I have so much energy and I am getting back in the groove.

I have also made meal plans for the week and beyond.  What a difference!

Now that I have so much more energy and a renewed spirit, I will also be writing more blog posts (another thing I had quit doing in my slump).  I have so many wonderful experiences to share.

I would like all of us to find little ways to reboot.  We should search for those things that make us happy and do what it takes to add them in our lives.  Sometimes you need to reboot or build a tribe to help you along the way.  Whatever the case my be, renew and refresh!

Is Instagram helping me lose weight?

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As I mentioned in my last post, I am very open to new experiences.  The most recent new experience has been with Instagram. My cousin loves to cook and so do I, but cooking was one of the things I stopped enjoying when during my season of unfortunate events.  Fortunately, with some inspiration from the culinary artistry of my cousin, I revived my joy of cooking.

Recently, my cousin  has also been challenging me to learn more about social media.  I had opened several accounts in the past, but rarely attended to them.  One social media outlet neither of us  had tried was Instagram.  So, we both opened accounts and began learning what it was all about.  I can’t speak for him, but I was hooked. He suggested that I post some of the food I was cooking on Instagram.  I couldn’t wait.  So I posted my first dish.  I made sure that every morsel was placed perfectly, that the lighting was just right, the plate was attractive, but not so much that it over shadowed the food.  Then I posted my culinary masterpiece. The whole staging process took about 15 minutes.  It was beautiful and I was so proud of it.  The portion was adequate, but not too much.  There was a lot of greenery to make it pop and the presentation was lovely.  Then I ate it and was satisfied.  Now the amazing thing was the portion size.  The portion I staged for the photo was about half the size I would have chosen for myself had I not planned to photograph it.  Also, from plate to mouth there was at least a 15 minute time span. As I mentioned, the portion was adequate and I was satisfied after eating it.  I took time to really savor the food before I ate it.  I took in the beauty of the creation before consuming it. Taking that time quelled my appetite and I was able to enjoy and be satiated with a much smaller portion.  I supplemented part of my desire for the food by taking the time to prepare and admire it.  Additionally, the need to add color and visual interest to the dish caused me to add more vegetables.  In a sense, Instagram is helping me eat healthier.

So far I have only posted two dishes to Instagram, but I have still been preparing my meals as if they are going to be posted to Instagram.  I take time to prepare it, admire it, and eat it.  Taking to time to truly enjoy the experience satisfies me. A larger portion of food only filled my belly, but savoring the experience fills my soul.

I would like to challenge all of us to stop, admire, and savor all of our creations. Use all of your senses. Allow your soul to be fed.

The 7 Spiritual Laws of Mindful Eating | The Chopra Center

Are you looking to improve your health without having to diet? Try mindful eating—when you start listening to your body, healthy food choices will come naturally. Check out these seven simple ways you can learn to eat mindfully.

Source: The 7 Spiritual Laws of Mindful Eating | The Chopra Center

Don’t Sacrifice Health For Convenience: Eating REAL Fast Food

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We have all done it.  Fast food restaurants make it so easy with their drive thrus and dollar menus.  I fell into that trap when my son was an infant.  As soon as I stopped breast-feeding I turned to fast food.  It was so easy.  While I was driving around running errands and my little one was sound asleep in the car seat, I would pull into the closest drive-in restaurant, park, place my order, and enjoy a huge burger, fries or tator tots, and huge fountain drink in some strange blue color.  This was what I found peaceful.  I didn’t have to get out of the car, my son could sleep, and I was getting pleasure from my meal.  The crazy thing was that I would find the time to make my son a healthy meal and my husband and I felt that we were treating ourselves with junk food.  Quicker than I thought possible the pounds were piling on.  I had won such praise for losing all of my baby weight plus 15 extra only to gain it all back.

When I began my new healthier lifestyle, I began observing other healthy people.  The one thing I noticed was that they always had food with them – a little bag of almonds, a small container of fruit, a granola bar, etc.  All the time I felt that I could not swap the convenience of a drive-in for real food, but actually what is more convenient than having your own  REAL fast food with you.  So I took the advice of a fitness trainer friend of mine who seemed to have a limitless supply of food on his person (actually he kept a cooler in his truck stocked with fruit, baked chicken, nuts, grapes, you name it).  He told me that I shouldn’t be caught without healthy snacks and that you should never resort to eating junk when you could just as easily go to a grocery store and grab a healthy snack.  Then he added, “Is it going to kill you to get out of your car and walk a few paces?”  That made me feel really lazy, but he was absolutely right.

So I purchased a cute little pink cooler of my own and I began carrying around my own “fast food”.   Whenever I want something to eat I  just reach in and grab something healthy.  I try to keep it with me most days, but when I am without it I no longer succumb to the drive thru.  I now will get out of my car and walk the few paces to a grocery store or farmers’ market and get something real.

I would like to challenge all of us to choose REAL fast food.  Keep some nuts in you purse or car to hold off that hunger until you can get your hands on something healthy.  If you want to make a stop at a grocery store make sure that if you are buying fruit and or vegetables to eat, keep some fruit and veggie wash with you.  You can also make your own.  I would suggest if you are always on the go to keep a cooler with your healthy favorites.  Be a REAL fast food junkie!!!

Fasting

One thing that I have incorporated in my life and fitness journey is fasting.  At first I was very skeptical, but once I tried it, I was able to see its benefits.  I believe that just fasting one day a week is a great start.  I feel rejuvenated after fasting.  During my fasting period I was able to better handle my healthy lifestyle transition.  I became grateful for good, whole food.  After not eating anything a carrot stick looks mighty good.  Also processed or refined foods began to taste artificial.  Sugary foods began to taste too sweet and the aftertaste of sugar substitutes appeared even stronger.  It was as if my body was yearning for something real.

I believe fasting is a great way to make your body crave real food again.   I would like to suggest that we all  give it a try for at least a day.  During that time occupy yourself with visions of your body reprogramming itself to a better way of eating.  Look forward to the delicious tastes of good, clean food and how it is going to build a beautiful, healthy body.

“The philosophy of fasting calls upon us to know ourselves, to master ourselves, and to discipline ourselves the better to free ourselves. To fast is to identify our dependencies, and free ourselves from them”.

Tariq Ramadan

Push It Real Good

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During my journey to a healthier lifestyle I realized that my previous attempts were thwarted by feeling that I had to throw out everything I loved and replace it with something that I didn’t.  That is why my previous successes were short lived.  I still craved the foods and activities that made me unhealthy, and found it difficult to give them up.  Eventually, I went back to them.  Now I have a new outlook on life, and am no longer interested in unnaturally rapid results.  Slow progress is still progress.  The the progress I have been making now is permanent.

What has truly helped me is learning why the things that were making me unhealthy were bad.  I read books, searched the web, watched documentaries, and talked to doctors and health professionals about what did and did not belong in your body.  After doing this, I found it very hard to put harmful things in and on my body.  Although I was equipped with all of this new knowledge about some of the harmful ingredients in my food, I was still craving them and submitting to those cravings.  As I learned about the harmful things is some of the things I was putting in an on my body, I was also learning about things that are extremely beneficial to my health.  Although it was difficult completely cut out all of the products and foods that gave me comfort, it was very easy to incorporate some new good things.

Many of the resources that I used taught me a lot about how much our wonderful earth provides for use.  There are so many naturally wonderful things that we can use to make us healthy.  As I began to learn about these things, I gradually incorporated them into my diet, my beauty routines, and my entire life.  The more good I put in, the more bad was pushed out.   I didn’t feel like I was giving up anything.  I literally pushed out  the junk.

The more I added healthier, natural products and foods into my life, I began to loose the unhealthy cravings I had for the harmful things.  Seeing the way these healthier more natural things positively changed my life was an added bonus.

What I would like to do is to challenge all of us to add something healthy too our lives.  Don’t focus on taking something away.  In my opinion, that is a blueprint for failure.  If you are focused on eliminating all of the things that you love out of your life, you can’t help but feel deprived.  Instead find some wonderful things to add to it.  It is much more fun and eventually all those harmful things will have no place in or on your body.  You will have lasting satisfaction and success.

What’s for Dinner….or Breakfast or Lunch?

I love to cook, but I don’t always have a lot of time.  I also love to introduce my child to healthy options that he will also enjoy eating.  My best friend turned me on to a food that I had not  been very familiar with, but now I eat it almost everyday–Kale.  Her exact exact words were “Kale is King.  Kale is King”.  She actually said it twice so I felt I should at least try it.  She was absolute right.  Kale has so many good things in it.  It is super high in Vitamin K which  is necessary for a wide variety of bodily functions, including normal blood clotting, antioxidant activity, and bone health.  Kale is also has a  high concentration of vitamins A and C.

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Another food that I have fallen in love with is quinoa.  Quinoa is a great alternative to pasta or rice.  It high in protein and fiber and is a desirable addition to a vegetarian or vegan diet.   It is also a great filler for soups, stews, and chili when you want to add more protein, without adding lots more calories and animal fats.  You can cook a large batch of quinoa and store it in the fridge and use it as needed, but I don’t recommend longer than 2-3 days.  It cooks fairly quickly so it can be prepared at a moments notice.

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I have a simple recipe that combines both of these two foods that I love and has become one of my 7-year-old son’s favorites.

iBourgie’s Quinoa and Kale

(I only use exact measurements when it is absolutely crucial to the success of the meal. In this case it isn’t. Use your own taste and judgment when planning this meal.  Tailor it to you needs.)

What you will need:

Kale

Quinoa (cooked)

Pesto optional (you may make your own or use store bought.  I prefer Classico)

Olive oil (about a teaspoon)

Water (about 1/4 cup)

Cook quinoa according to directions and set aside.  In a large bowl add the olive oil and toss in kale for an even coating. Lightly saute kale on medium heat with the water until it turns bright green.  Then stir desired amount of pesto to the quinoa.  Next you may add the kale to the quinoa or eat separately.  My son and I prefer to mix the two.

This is a great post-workout meal and it also tastes good warm or cold.