Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Veggie Frittata

Breakfast is one of my favorite meals of the day! I like breakfast foods so much, that I often have them for lunch and dinner, too! This is a quick, yummy recipe filled with lots of fresh veggies and plenty of protein!

You'll need:

8-12 eggs
3/4 c skim milk
1 tsp olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic
1/2 an onion
1/2 a bell pepper
1 large broccoli crown
1/2 yellow squash
a generous handful of baby spinach leaves
2 medium sized potatoes
4 strips turkey bacon OR 2 links lean turkey sausage
1/2 c shredded cheese
salt and pepper to taste

First, as your olive oil heats up in an oven-safe skillet, slice the potato into thin pieces and then add to your skillet. Sprinkle potatoes with salt and pepper. As they are cooking, dice garlic, onion and bell pepper and add to potatoes, stirring often. Next, add the turkey bacon or sausage, diced into small pieces. When the potatoes begin to feel tender, add the broccoli and squash after it has been cut up into bite sized pieces (make sure to include the broccoli stem, too!) Stir often. While this is cooking, whisk together the eggs, milk and finely chopped spinach in a separate bowl with some salt and pepper. Feel free to substitute egg whites for some of the whole eggs. Once the potatoes are completely done cooking, shake skillet a bit to even out veggie mixture then pour egg mixture on top of that. Sprinkle the 1/2 c of shredded cheese (any kind will be yummy but I like to use 2% cheddar) on top and then place in a 350 degree oven until the eggs are set and cheese begins to brown.

Add some fresh fruit and a piece of 100% whole wheat toast and you have a hearty, healthy, complete meal!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It's official.

This eating healthfully all the time thing is darn hard work! I feel like the exercise part is almost totally enjoyable...hard work too, but hard work that feels good and that I really like. Not eating junk food, on the other hand, is the sort of hard work that makes me mad! Strange emotion to feel perhaps, but it's anger I feel none the less.

Why be mad? There are several reasons. First, I am mad that I let myself get to a point where I really have to avoid eating treats almost all together because I have so much extra weight to forcing myself to abstain from those treats is a reminder to me of how undisciplined and glutenous I have been in the past.

Secondly, I feel angry that it is so incredibly EASY to get and be fat in our society!! I am not blaming anyone for where I have gotten myself, but our society sure makes it a breeze to get here! The grocery stores are chalk full of calorie laden processed foods. Last weekend, I bought some cheap-o sandwich cookies to give out at our garage sale. I was appalled that just 3 of those little cookies had a total of 170 calories!! The average person probably consumes a dozen of those in a sitting...that's almost 700 calories worth of junk...over half your daily allowance of calories!! The junk is everywhere; in our grocery stores, restaurants, gas stores, vending machines at the YMCA, even our kid's school lunches are made up mostly of high-calorie, low-nutrient, overly processed foods! It makes me mad that everyone is okay with this!! It makes me mad that the "normal" American diet is mostly junk food! The obesity epidemic (which, I admittedly have been a part of) will not end until we drastically change the way we eat...and this makes me mad! And now I realize that to do my part in ending this trend, I should have given out some cut veggies or fruit instead of those evil cookies...but "free carrot sticks" just doesn't seem to have the same draw that "free cookies" does....but it should!

Finally, I feel mad that I can't just do whatever I want...that I can't just eat whatever I want when I want to. Does this make me sound like a spoiled 3 year old? Yes. But that's the way I there! :) Maybe it's different for you, but it is hard for me to be disciplined in so many aspects of my life (kids, dishes, laundry, pet care, vacuuming, church, relationships, etc) and then NOT be able to just eat what feels good at the moment. That doesn't really make a lot of sense, I suppose; if I'm disciplined in so many areas of my life, it should be easy to add just one more, right? Wrong. I have used food as my reward for getting stuff done. I have used food as a stress reliever and when I am avoiding a task....or an unpleasant emotion. I have used food as a time killer, a way to make my down time feel more special, as a placator, and as a way to get back at whatever it is I am angry about. Intellectually, this has never made sense. I have always known the healthy way to eat. Emotionally, it has been an "easy out" and the not-good-for-you friend you turn to when you don't feel worthy of your really nice, high-quality friend.

Food should be food; nourishment and sustenance to give your body the fuel it needs to be healthy and strong. I know a lot of people are able to think of food this emotionally healthy way. These people eat mostly healthy foods without having to go through an emotional tirade inside. They enjoy a "treat" now and again, but are able to eat a regular-sized portion. I hope that, with lots of practice, I will be able to get to a place where food is not such a big, hairy deal! I want to be able to not long for junk that way I do now. I want to be able to not feel like a fight is going on inside me every minute of every day about what I will and won't eat. Until that time, I might just go on feeling mad. :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Warm Turkey Ranch Wrap/Salad

This is a great way to get in several servings of veggies, a lean protein, and whole grains all in one yummy meal! And it only took about 15 minutes to prepare!You will need:

-2 slices of lean turkey breast meat (around 3-4 ounces) I used deli meat...not as healthy as if you cooked the turkey yourself, but this is real life after all.
-1/4 of a bell pepper
-1/4 of a red onion
-1/2 a large tomato (or one whole, roma sized tomato)
-1 tbsp or so of garlic
-1/4 of a cucumber
-a few handfuls of some healthy greens (NOT ice burg lettuce!)
-1 100% whole wheat tortilla (look for a brand that has less than 100 calories per tortilla...I use La Flavorita brand and they only have 80 calories)
-1 tbsp low-fat ranch dressing (one serving is 2 tbs and about 60 calories...but you really only need one tablespoon!)
-salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (I find the little grinder of pepper gives you a lot more flavor!)

Heat the turkey, garlic, onion, bell pepper, and tomatoes in a skillet on medium high heat. Constantly stirring, add a pinch of salt and a good couple of grinds of black pepper. Once it is all heated through (about 5 minutes,) add 1 tablespoon of low-fat ranch dressing and mix until incorporated.

Spread the greens on your tortilla and top with the sliced cucumber. Spoon the turkey/veggie mixture on top of that, fold and enjoy!

I went a little over-board with the amount of greens I used, so my tortilla really couldn't hold it all. I ended up cutting it all up and eating it salad style. Super yummy!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

"Do or do not, there is no try."

Yoda is a wise little dude. Jillian Micheals adds to this wisdom, "Trying is planning to fail."

When we say we will "try" something, we are building in the possibility that we will give ourselves permission to stop trying...permission to quit working hard....permission to fail.

I am not "trying" to loose weight and get healthy....I am actually DOING it! Failure is not an option. I will not give in to what is easier! Doing what was easy is what got me to the unhealthy place I am now. It feels good to work hard and fight through the tough spots knowing that I will not matter how tough it is.

Someday I will reach my destination of feeling and being healthy....I will reach that destination because I did more than merely "try."

What about you? Quit "trying" and, in the sage words of Nike, "Just Do It!"

Every little bit helps!

Moving your body burns calories....and every single movement counts and adds up over the course of day! What a bonus! :) A few extra minutes of activity here and there make a difference and get you that much closer to the new, healthier you!

Studies have shown that several shorter bursts of activity a day can be equal to one longer workout!

Make it your goal every day to look for and take advantage of all the opportunities to add more activity in your day.

-Park in the furthest spot out in the parking lot.
-Take your laundry up or down the stairs one load at a time.
-Use the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
-Take a few laps inside the mall before shopping (and ALWAYS avoid the food court!)
-Walk up and down your street once before retrieving your mail.
-Do 25 crunches (or push-ups, pull-ups, lunges, squats, etc) before every meal.
-Play on the playground with your kids instead of watching from a bench.
-Mow your lawn. Then mow your neighbor's lawn.
-Walk to as many of your errands as possible...if it's not within walking distance, then drive but park further away from your destination and walk the remainder of the way.
-Do a few assisted push-ups off your bathroom counter while you get ready in the morning or before you brush your teeth at night.

The opportunities to move more are limitless! So get moving!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Eat to Live!

Food is a necessity; there is no way to live without it. Drug addicts can abandon their drug. Alcoholics can abstain from alcohol. Those of us who have the habit of eating too much can not just stop eating and avoid food!

Back in the old days, food options were limited to what you could grow, raise and prepare yourself. Most people had a healthy diet that included a lot of veggies and, before refined flours and sugars, whole grains. Today, we have a plethora of food choices! We have almost unending options that are as easy to obtain as driving to your nearest grocery store or even just picking up the phone! I'm sure our ancestors would be quite envious of our ease of life...though I have often thought how, at the same time, they might also grieve for us and the choices we make. So many of the most popular food choices in America actually hurt us in the long run! Too much refined flour and sugar, too much fat, unhealthy fat and not enough fruits, veggies and whole grains do not provide our bodies with the nutrients they need to be their healthiest and can actually hurt our bodies. Furthermore, consuming too many calories habitually leads to extra fat on our bodies...fat that contributes (and causes) a wide array of diseases. Our society went from struggling for food, to struggling because of too much food!

You could look at our culture and observe that many of us are choosing to eat to die; our food choices lead to chronic disease and malnourishment. There are a billion excuses one might employ to back their poor choice of food, but the bottom line is that many of us are choosing to eat foods that will lead to a shortened life span! I have been making that choice!!

I don't want to continue hurting my body because of the foods I eat! Unfortunately, it is what has been easiest to do; but we all know that the things that are the easiest are usually not what is best. I am in the process of making the choices necessary to eat to live! I want to eat the foods that will help my body to thrive. I want to eat foods that replenish my body of the nutrients it needs. I want to eat foods that have good, nutritional calories, not empty, negative calories.

I want my body to be healthy and strong, so I need to feed it the foods that will help me reach that goal. I want to feel good and accomplish other goals in my life. I want to live a long life to watch my children and grandchildren grow and thrive! I want to be an example to my children of eating foods that will help me live! I do not want to feed my children foods that will hurt their health now or later in their lives.

For me, achieving this goal means that I think about the nutritional value of everything I put in my mouth. This means snacking on fruits and veggies instead of crackers, chips or cookies and including as many veggies as I can stand in every meal. I use freshly ground whole wheat flour to make cookies and other desserts. If I feel the need for a treat that is otherwise nutritionally void, I choose just one or two small pieces, rather than a handful. This also means I no longer regularly provide my children the traditional, American "kid" snacks like granola bars, fish crackers, fruit snacks and soda; all of which contain too many empty calories and not enough nutrients.

The goal of eating to live will always be lifelong...and in achieving this goal, I hope that life to be very long. :)

BBQ Chicken Wraps

This is a very simple, quick meal that gives you a few servings of veggies, a lean protein and some whole grains!

You'll need:

2-4 ounces of cooked chicken breast (I used canned chicken)
1/4 of a small onion
1 medium carrot
greens of your choice (I used romaine)
100% whole wheat tortilla
2-4 tsp BBQ sauce*
garlic powder (to taste)
black pepper (to taste)

Put the chicken and half of the onion in a pot on the stove to heat up. Add the BBQ sauce, garlic powder and crushed black pepper and stir. While that heats all the way through, lay out your whole wheat tortilla and layer with a very generous amount of greens. Next, shred the carrot on top of the greens and sprinkle the remaining onion on that. Finally, add your chicken mixture, roll up your wrap and enjoy!

*This can easily be switched out for a low-fat dressing, taco seasoning or any other low-calorie, low-fat substitute!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Thing I am Most Consistent About.

I do not regularly and consistently do things. I clean in bursts. I create in erratic slots of time. I cook in clusters. I get in a groove of doing something and then the groove ends. I forget what I am supposed to be working on. I get distracted. I get bored. I get down. Then the whole process starts over again.

The one thing I am most consistent about is: Being Inconsistent. Really, I am super good at it. It's one of the things I do best; inconsistency. It's usually not a hindrance to mine and my family's happiness that I have a knack for change. In fact, sometimes it's a great blessing. A freshly re-arranged room feels like a brand-new, exciting space where our old "stuff" becomes "stuff-in-a-new-location!" It can get irritating, though, when the house becomes a pig sty because I have not consistently maintained the cleanliness, but that is soon remedied by a few days straight of cleaning and organizing during which I feel energized to get it done...and again, things feel fresh and new!

The one area of my life where I struggle the most with consistency, however, is health. I will get on a kick of good eating and exercising but if anything messes with my perfect groove (like life...), I loose it. Up, down; up, down; up, down...I have always hated roller coasters, but I seem to put myself on one when it comes to healthy habits...or the lack there of!

Two weeks ago I was so happily gung-ho about my plans to change my eating habits and be more active. That first week was AWESOME! I felt empowered with every good choice I made and every potentially negative choice I stepped away from. I felt in control. I felt excited! And I had great success: 4 pounds lost in that first week. Then, hello roller coaster! Week number two I totally flopped. I ate junk. I hardly moved more than was normal for our busy life. I ate more junk. I was relieved, as you can imagine, when at the end of week 2 I had not gained any weight back!

I know that I am the most consistent about being inconsistent....I know this and accept this about myself. There is no berating or beating myself up about this. I will just move forward and do my best! Every change you want to make in your life has obstacles and ups and downs. The important part is to pick yourself back up, get on that horse, and set off on the trail toward your destination! I am doing that. Tomorrow morning I have an appointment set at my new gym to meet with a trainer. I will not waste another week of my life not reaching and striving for my goal!!! I have always preferred the open trail to a smelly ol' roller coaster, anyway! Who's with me?!?!