“Small Change, Big Gain”

Last month I wrote a post on my Top 5 Wellness Favorites.  Included in that post, was mention of the company Elysium Health.  Elysium is all about the small, daily habits that lead to a healthier and better life.  And since my post, the team at Elysium has come up with a great infographic and included quotes from some wellness sites – MINE INCLUDED.  (That’s me at the bottom – NSFitBitch.)

ElysiumSCBG

Thank you Elysium for providing this great infographic and for including my post.

~FB

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Whole 30 Experience – Days 19 thru 23

Day 19

I skipped my walk this morning and attempted to sleep in, but I basically got up at the same time and got some things done around the house before heading out to work and away for the weekend.  (I settled on a mini-walk around town before work started.)  For breakfast I had two eggs and coffee.

Throughout the morning, I snacked on and off on plantains – and I had a second cup of coffee.

For lunch I had a piece of fish and left over zucchini.  I also snacked on some apple slices mid-afternoon.

I had a Larabar post-workout, and for dinner I had some broccoli with beef.

Later in the evening I snacked on half a dragon fruit and some plantains.

Day 20

Today was my day off – from work and from working out!  Loved it…but I always feel a little guilty about not working out.

For breakfast I had 2 eggs and a breakfast sausage, and of course, coffee.

I spent most of the day in the City doing some shopping and celebrating a birthday, so for dinner out I had a small steak with onions, mixed veggies, and potato.  This was a really great meal out and it kept me satisfied and feeling full all night.  Which worked out well because I had a wedding reception to go to and there was food and booze and dessert…and this gal did not indulge in any of it.  I just enjoyed the company and the atmosphere.

Day 21

Breakfast this morning was one egg, a breakfast sausage, a very small peach, and coffee.

At lunch, I hit the gym and then did some grocery shopping as I’m getting a little bored with veggies and meat.  I also picked up some pumpkin spice coffee because I am a nut for everything pumpkin.  (I also found some pumpkin spice wafers but I’m not able to eat them until October.)

Post-gym/post-shopping, I snacked on a Larabar to tide me over until dinner.  I spent the weekend away so I had some cleaning and laundry and food making to do.  When I finally had dinner, I made a fish taco bowl.  I’ve never made this before but it was so good and I’m definitely going to be making it again.

I had large leaf romaine lettuce (which formed the bowl inside my bowl, but eventually, I made into tacos), diced cucumer and green peppers (I thought I had red onion, but I was wrong – next time, onion for sure), baked haddock, and baked heirloom tomatoes drizzled with olive oil, diced black olives. I tossed in a handful of the veggies on top of the lettuce, then added the fish, and spooned some pesto onto it, and added in some avocado, then tossed on some more veggies.  SO GOOD!

Taco

I was sort of bored last night and decided to make Whole 30 compliant cookies/pancakes (they’re pretty flat).  I mashed up two bananas, mixed in two eggs, and some cinnamon.  I blended it up really well then poured it onto a baking sheet and tossed in the oven.  Once they were cooked, I ate two of them. They’re not bad.

Day 22

This morning was a walk/run before work.  It was cool and dark (still dark when I got back home) and the only bad thing about being outside this morning was that a skunk had been hit right by my house.  I could smell it all thru the neighborhood.  I was trying to plug my nose while running but 1. it’s not easy/it’s hard to breathe thru panting and a closed nose 2. I really must have looked stupid to the passersby.

This morning I was happy to (finally) indulge in some pumpkin spice coffee!  So excited. For breakfast I had two eggs and one of my cookies/pancakes with some homemade pumpkin butter spread on.

Pumpkin Butter
 
What You Need:
2 15-ounce cans plain (organic) pumpkin (not pie filling)
1 cup good quality apple juice or apple (I diced mine and threw them in the food processor)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of cloves
pinch of nutmeg
 
To Make:
if cooking in a saucepan:
put all ingredients into a saucepan, and bring to a boil, immediately after mixture comes to a boil, reduce to low, partially cover to (help prevent splattering) and simmer about 30 minutes stirring frequently. The pumpkin butter is done when is is slightly darker in color, and you can run a knife through it and the line will stay in the butter. Allow to cool. Store in the fridge or freezer.
 
if cooking in a crock pot:
place all ingredients in a crock pot, and cook on low for a whole day, about 10 hours. Once finished cooking, stir, and let cool. Store in the fridge or freezer

For lunch today I had Eggs in Purgatory – which is a simpler take on Shashuka.  I love this dish.  It’s warm and, although it’s only tomatoes and eggs (I also added mushrooms and spices), it’s hearty.  I have made it with meat before – sometimes chicken and sometimes ground beef or sausage removed from the casings.  It’s really good.  If you like eggs, then I suggest you try this dish.

I had a Larabar mid-afternoon as a pre-workout snack.  And for dinner, I made cauliflower rice stir-fry with chopped up sausage.  Before dinner, I also had 2 of my pancakes with pumpkin butter.  And later in the evening, I snacked on a handful of coconut bites.

Day 23

This morning I was up at 20 to 6 to meet a friend for a pre-work run.  We walked/ran for just under 5k.  We could have gone further but she has to be to work an hour before I do, so we headed back before 7.  Great morning tho and we’re intending to do it again tomorrow.

I had my regular breakfast of coffee and two eggs.  For some reason, this morning they were extra spectacular and tasty.

Once I got to work, I snacked off and on on nuts and cranberries.

For lunch I had leftover Eggs in Purgatory and a lot of water.  I was really full.

Late afternoon, I ate a mango as a pre-workout snack.

Post-workout, I made Pumpkin Cauliflower Rice-otto (instead of risotto).  Oh.Em.Gee.  I’ve made regular pumpkin risotto before, and the cauliflower-rice version is just as good. And super easy to prepare:

Risotto

Here’s my recipe:

I sauteed 1/3 onion and 3 small garlic cloves in ghee (clarified butter) – but you can certainly use olive oil.  I sauteed them for a few minutes then added in 1/2 cup of mushrooms.  Once that was sauteed for about 2 minutes, I dumped in a big bowl of riced cauliflower…I used up what I had left which worked out to be about 2 cups.  The regular calls for vegetable or chicken stock, but for the healthier version I just added in water. You have to add in a bit of water every few minutes and stir it in.  Eventually, I also added in some more ghee, about a half a teaspoon.   Cook the rice for about 7 minutes and then add in the pumpkin.  Because I had so much rice, I used close to a cup and a half.  Mix it and keep an eye on it.  You may have to add a little more water (the cauliflower is very absorbent).  Cook for another 5-7 minutes, add in salt and pepper, and serve.

I have to also admit that, since I went shopping after teaching my boot camp class, and by the time I showered and did laundry and was making dinner, I totally snacked on some plantains and coconut.  🙂

~FB

Whole 30 Experience – Days 16 thru 18

Day 16

This morning I only managed to get a 25 minute walk in because I had physio before work. But, 25 minutes is better than nothing.  I followed up my walk with 2 eggs and a homemade pumpkin spice latte (see my healthy recipe in my last post).

During the morning, I snacked here and there on date bites.  And for lunch I finished off my salad with chicken and had a half a cup of cherries.

At 4:30 I had an apple for a little carb snack prior to my gym sesh.

For dinner I had leftover mixed veggies and half a pork chop.  And later in the evening I was still really hungry and had an early morning workout planned for the next morning so I chowed on some salad and plantains.

Day 17

I was up bright and early this morning to get a good workout in at the gym.  It’s going to be a long day as I have to teach boot camp after work and then I’m going on a little hike with a friend.  That being said, I refueled with two eggs and one of my hash browns.  As well as my morning coffee.

This morning and this afternoon I’ve been snacking on and off on coconut date bite things. They’re a good little snack and dates are a perfect pre-workout fuel (even better with coconut).

For lunch I had mixed veggies, half a chicken breast, and leftover soggy salad (try not to be jealous).

Prior to boot camp, I snacked on an apple.  And for dinner, post-boot camp and post- hike, I had Rappie Pie.  This is an Acadian dish and it’s my favorite food in the whole world.  It consists mostly of potatoes, chicken broth, and chicken.  It looks gross but it makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

Rappie

The crust of rappie pie is made from butter, so I couldn’t eat what little crust there was on mine…but I did add some ghee to it.  🙂

Day 18

I wanted to sleep in soooo badly this morning.  I was exhausted and cozy and my cat was sleeping by my head, purring away.  But, I dragged my butt out of bed for an extended early morning walk.  When I got back home I indulged in my coffee and had eggs and prosciutto for breakfast.

Thursdays are my big day at the gym.   I head to the gym right from work and work our for 1.5-2 hours, then I finish my evening off with a Zumba class.  (The last two weeks there has been no classes.)  Therefore, on Thursdays, I normally try to fuel up moreso than on any other day of the week.  So, at 11 am I snacked on a blueberry smoothie I made this morning (blueberries, a few cherries, unsweetened almond milk, water, and a spoonful of ground flax and ground blueberry powder).  It was perfect and I needed the boost.

For lunch I had a salad of mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, mandarin oranges, red onion, cranberries, and almonds.  I also added some tuna in for protein.  I have to say, I wasn’t sure when I dumped the tuna on top of the oranges and cranberries, but it was actually really good.

This afternoon I snacked on apple slices.  It was my pre-workout snack.  I hit the gym right after work and aside from my warm up, I spent most of the two hours lifting.  At about 7:15 I ate a Larabar to keep me going thru Zumba class and to tide me over until I could finally eat dinner.

Because I’m working out for long on Thursdays, I usually fully expect dinner to be a late one and I almost always eat a bit more pre and post-workout.  But this night I wasn’t overly hungry.  I made a medley of mixed zucchini and cherry tomatoes and had a pesto glazed pork medallion as my protein.

Zucchini

Aside from the clump of herbs and pesto that hasn’t been swooshed around yet….doesn’t this look so good?

~FB

Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte

I am a huge pumpkin spice fan.  Huge.  In fact, I look forward to this time of year – all the time!  I am obsessed with everything pumpkin and I love me a good pumpkin spice latte.

Pumpkin-Spice-Latte

That being said, although I love a good PSL, they aren’t the healthiest option and are loaded with sugar (and who knows what else!).  So, if I deem myself favoring one, it is definitely a treat.  In the meantime, if I feel like I want to partake in the seasonal goodness, I make my own healthier version of a Pumpkin Spice Latte (I made one this morning).

Here’s what you need

  • 1 cup milk of choice (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 1-3 tbsp pumpkin purée (I went on the side of 3 tbs)
  • 1 tsp of pure vanilla (not vanilla extract)
  • ⅛ tsp ground cinnamon
  • tiny pinch ground nutmeg
  • tiny pinch ground ginger
  • ½ cup strong coffee
  • *1-3 dates
  1. Add the milk and pumpkin to a small pot. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a whisk, until the mixture begins to simmer. Add in the vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg (*if you like your latte a bit sweeter, this is where you add the dates. Let them simmer in the wet mixture and they will literally sweeten the pot). Whisk the mixture until it becomes frothy.
  2. Add the coffee to a large mug, and pour the milk mixture on top.
  3. If you fancy yourself a Frappuccino type, let both the pumpkin mixture and the coffee cool (make the night before and let sit in the fridge), toss in the blender or Bullet with some cubes of ice and blend away.

If you want to make your drink even fancier by adding whipped cream, make this healthy version:

  1. One can of full fat coconut milk (Put in freezer to freeze). Once it’s frozen, remove and let sit in room temperature for 30 minutes.  Flip the can upside down and open from the bottom.  The coconut water separates from the milk (you can save the water to drink or for other recipes).
  2. Dump the coconut milk into a mixing bowl (or blender) and whip it on high until you get a nice whippy, fluffy consistency. Add in a little vanilla (or a dusting of Stevia or teaspoon of date water if you prefer it a bit sweeter) and continue whipping.
  3. Add the whip to your drink and dust with cinnamon.

~FB

Whole 30 Experience – Days 9 thru 15

Day 9

After my morning walk I indulged in 2 eggs and coffee for breakfast.

My lunch consisted of left over zucchini noodles (zoodles) and a 1/4 pork chop.  I also had a small peach and some cherries before heading to the gym.  I did not eat a lot or enough.  On the way home from the gym I had errands to run and I could feel that my sugars were getting low (I’m Hypoglycemic) and I was getting light-headed, so I snacked on a Larabar.

For dinner, I made mixed veggies and steaks.  We don’t usually eat red meat and it was kinda gross.  I snacked on dried cherries and nuts afterwards because my palette was not satisfied.

Day 10

I was up way too damn early this morning to get to the gym and I worked my ass off.  Therefore, I was near starving by the time I got to work.  I had two eggs and a hash brown for breakfast (along with an ice coffee I drank on the way to work).  Mid-morning I was still really hungry and decided to inhale yet another hash brown.

For lunch I had a can of tuna (packed in water) mixed with avocado and chopped up dill pickle.  I also sucked back another iced coffee.  I’m very tired.  During the day I snacked on a few plantain chips and dried cherries.

Dinner was spectacular!  I made spicy crab stuffed avocado and it was so delicious that I can’t wait to make it again.  (Cut the avocado, remove pit and scoop out the fruit.   Chop up crab meat (I put mine in my blender – kinda gross but did the job) or use canned crab, a little red onion, and a little cucumber and mix in a bowl with the avocado, a little lime juice, and a little paprika.  Once mixed well, spoon it into the avocado shell.  You can eat it cold but I popped mine in the oven for a bit.  #sogood

I also had a little of the sweet potato brownie as I was prepping some for Day 11.

Day 11

Post-morning walk I had 2 eggs and some turkey bacon – plus coffee.

I do not know what was wrong with me today but mid-morning I was starving.  My sugars were down, I was light-headed and a little dizzy, and completely hungry.  In fact, I was so hungry I kinda ate two lunches.  First, I had packed with me some mixed veggies with a few pieces of shrimp.  This equaled about a half a cup and did NOT satisfy my hunger.  So, about 45 minutes later I picked up a piece of chicken and some potato.  I also had a half dozen cherries to go with it and felt satisfied.

To be perfectly honest, now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t know if my hunger was a result of just being really hungry today or if it was for lack of water.  I normally drink a couple of liters in the morning but it was a busy day and this morning I only filled my water jug once (which is about a liter and a half).  I think that had a lot to do with it.

After hitting the gym, I was excited to get home to eat.  I made the rest of the spicy crab from the night before and also had a slice of prosciutto to go with it.  I snacked on some coconut balls while I was making dinner and meal prepping for the next day, and a bit later I also snacked on some plantains.

Day 12

I was up at 5:25 this morning so that I could get to the gym bright and freakin’ early (got there just before 6 *barf*).  I actually really enjoy my morning workouts – whether I’m just up for my morning walk or hitting the gym to lift heavy.  I feel very accomplished afterwards.  But since I was up so darn early (it’s really dark that time of the morning), and because I lifted so much this morning, I made sure to prep a good breakfast.  I had cauliflower pancakes (eggs and cauliflower) and some prosciutto.  And I’m on my second coffee already.

For a mid-morning snack I had a Larabar and for lunch I had the remaining leftover crab and avocado salad, a pork medallion, and some cherries.

I snacked on more cherries in the afternoon.  And for dinner I had some basic (compliant) bacon and eggs.  I went out with the girls later in the evening to a local pub and, unfortunately, there was not a single thing on the menu that I could order.  This particular restaurant is a bit on the pricey side and I really didn’t want to spend a lot of money on something I couldn’t eat.  So, at 10pm, I ordered a basket of fries while my girlfriends shoved super delicious treats in their faces.  Technically, fries are compliant but certainly the Whole 30 program wants you to shy away from them.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, because this is, like, my 10th round of the Whole 30, I have made peace with having to go “off-program” here and there and this was one of those times that I had to.  I also was running a 5k obstacle race (Foam Fest) early the next morning, so I tried not to feel overly guilty about the fries.

Day 13

The next morning I was up again at 6:30 to get ready for the Foam Fest.  One thing I will admit to – on or off the Whole 30 – I hate exercising on a full stomach.  I absolutely cannot do it.  And as such, I did not eat breakfast this particular morning.  My BFF and I split a date/energy bar a bit before the race but that is all I ran on.  Oh, I also made half a cup of coffee.

After the race, BFF and I had to stop at the grocery store and while she was shopping she was eating taters from the store’s deli…She shoved a few of those at me to tide me over until I got home.  And once home, for brunch I made eggs and prosciutto and another cup of coffee.

That afternoon I went shopping with another bestie and she and I grabbed coffee.  I almost never have 3 coffees in a day but I was exhausted from my early mornings all week and from the run in the morning.  Black iced coffee was my bff that afternoon.

I did not eat again until dinner that night.  I roasted a chicken, carrots, and cauliflower.  I basted my chicken with a little olive oil and mixed herbs and garlic.  It was perfection.

Day 14

Once again I had eggs for breakfast (are you at all surprised?  Eggs are my staple.).  I had a lot of work to do to finish up my preparing for my online boot camp session to launch before I headed out of town for the night.  Hence, why I made the chicken dinner the night before.

For dinner, my other half decided to go to Subway.  I already had my chicken dinner but decided to pick up a chopped salad at Subway and throw in some of the chicken with it.  I also had half a dragon fruit.  And in the evening I snacked on some plantains.

Day 15

After finally having a semi-decent night’s sleep, I got up and made eggs and coffee for breakfast.  Once my honey woke up, we went out for a mid-morning coffee.

For lunch I had some leftover salad and chicken.  It was a very lazy day (Labor Day!) and I didn’t do much until I had to leave to teach boot camp.  After class, I came home to meal prep and make myself dinner of eggs and a small pork chop and some cauliflower.

I will fully admit that this weekend I did not eat enough and went off chart a bit.  I usually stick to my guns when it comes to staying compliant.  And I feel like if I hadn’t been so darn tired this weekend, I would have made more choices, better choices, and would have eaten more.