Slaying the Sugar Dragon

SugarDragon

I finished my last Whole30 in May and it was a really great 30 days of strictly clean eating – with the exception of having a small sliver of cake at my grandfather’s 99th birthday party.  I fully acknowledged I would possibly being doing that prior to starting my 30 days in May and I fully made amends with it.  I have done the Whole 30 program so many times over the last two years and I decided that if I wanted to have a piece of cake with my grandfather to celebrate his 99th birthday, I darn well would!  And without the guilt (although I did feel some) and without restarting the program.  Like I said, I’ve committed to 30 days many times in the past and this one indulgence was an exception to the rule.

THEWHOLE30

This book changes everything!

But, since I finished those 30 days and since the start of summer, I feel like I have been overindulging way too much.  I feel sluggish and fat and bloated and kinda disgusting.  So, I decided last week that I would start a new Whole 30 this coming week.

At first I was okay with it.  Then I was feeling a little panicky because I’ve been enjoying my treats this summer.  And that right there is the problem!  Too many treats!  the sugar dragons are slaying me and I need to change that around.  So, now I’m back on board and fully excited about starting fresh on Monday.  I literally cannot wait.

So why wait?  I’m sure you’re asking.  Because I need to get ready.  To be honest, I (personally) don’t find the Whole 30 program that hard.  There have been a few times in the past that I struggled a bit with cravings, but most of the times I’ve done the program, I have been A-OK.  And I’m pretty stubborn, so when I commit myself to doing something like this, I fully commit to it.  That being said, it’s not something I want to jump into.  I need a couple of days to plan it out.  I need to think about food choices and meals and preparation and “it’s still summer and where am I gonna be next week?” types of things.

But I’m ready.  And I am motivated and committed and I can’t wait.  And each time I look in the mirror and I see that weird little belly bloat, it gives me the kick-in-the-butt-motivation I need to ensure I go through with it.

Sugar Dragon

That’s me slaying the beast…I’m the one in pink.

If you haven’t tried this program, I encourage you to do so.  It’s only for 30 days and it can help you rid your body of bloat and inflammation and possibly even excess weight.  The benefit of ridding yourself of sugar cravings and having food freedom – even for only 30 days – can make it all worthwhile.  And you don’t have to skimp on meals or count calories. You get to eat delicious, fresh and whole foods.  And you can experiment with different foods or food combination.  I have never felt less than satisfied when doing a Whole 30.  And Pinterest is a great place to find recipes, guidance (although I fully recommend that you read the book The Whole 30, it might change your life), meal ideas, etc.  Here’s a link for some great lunch ideas.

If you’re not ready to try 30 days of clean eating, maybe ask yourself why.  What would you be afraid of?  That chocolate cake or ice cream sundae will still be there in a month’s time. Going without processed mayo (Whole 30 has several recipes for mayo) is not going to end you.  Check out the book and the website and consider giving it a try.  And if you have any questions, comment below or shoot me an email

~Cheers.

 

Veggie Spring Rolls

This afternoon I got a hankering to make my own spring rolls.  Something I had never done before.  But, I said I’d do it…and I did it.  I wanted something that I could take to work for lunch, something yummy and interesting and I believe I succeeded.  It was actually really simple and cheap and they were delicious.

I picked up a package of rice paper at the grocery store – the only required necessity – and a few more vegetables to add to what I already have in my fridge and went on my merry way.

Rice paper

You dunk the rice paper rounds in warm water for about 20 seconds then spread them out on a plate or platter

I had a gorgeous repertoire of veggies – and an apple for a little bit of sweetness and added crunch and chopped everything up perfectly.

Veggies

Red and orange peppers, red and green onion, cabbage slaw (because I’m really cheap and really lazy to buy it all separately), tomato, cucumber, and apple. 

I tossed heaps of all that beautiful and healthy goodness onto my rice paper and rolled like a pro.

Veggie Rolls

Beauties.

I left most of them cold and raw but wanted to try a couple of them warm so I tossed them in the skillet and sauteed them.

Skillet Rolls

This one looks like it’s had a rough night, but I promise it was just as delicious.

There you go!  An easy meal option when you want to eat healthy and try something new.  (If you have kids you can fake like it’s Taco Tuesday and let them make their own rolls – super fun!)

I’m not a big fan of people who say eating healthy is “expensive”, “too hard”, “gross”, etc. and use that as an excuse to eat junk.  The package of rice rolls was around $3 and I think has 12 or 15 rolls in it.  I made 6 rolls in total – 2 or 3 would be enough for a meal on it’s own (1 or 2 if you’re having it as a side to something).  I have plenty left over for lunches.  AND, you can put as much fillers in as you want – as long as you’re gentle and don’t tear the paper.  Cheap and easy and healthy and decadent.

~FB

Vitamin E and Your Diet (Guest Post)

The Importance of Vitamin E and how to Incorporate it into Your Diet

Daily vitamins and minerals are one of the most important parts of a healthy diet. We all know how important Vitamin C and B12 are—we hear about them all the time. The market is inundated with B12 vitamins. Vitamin D supplements sell well in the winter because we worry we’re not getting enough sun. What about the other, less popular vitamins? Vitamin E is an equally important part of the diet. Today, we’ll talk about why and how you can work it into your daily meal plan.

Vitamins help the body grow and develop. Each one does this in a unique way. For example, Vitamin E is organically built to protect the body from neurological and mental diseases, diabetes, and ailments of the eyes. There are two main types of vitamins: fat-soluble and water-soluble. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin which means that it is more resilient and the effects can last longer in the body. Water-soluble vitamins like B12 are flushed out of our system whenever excess water is. Comparatively, a person would need more B12 than Vitamin E since Vitamin E stays reserved in fat tissue. Taking too many fat-soluble vitamins can be dangerous for the body. Toxicity is often times more dangerous than a deficiency.
A deficiency of Vitamin E can lead to the destruction of red blood cells, which, if severe enough, can cause anemia. The symptoms of anemia include malaise, fatigue, and abnormal heart-rate. Not enough Vitamin E can lead to more serious complications like Retinopathy, which can render patients partially or completely blind. Since Vitamin E is responsible for protecting the body from eye disorders like this, it is important to make sure that you get your daily amount each day. Skeletal Myopathy can also result from a deficiency. This condition is categorized by weakness in the muscles and skeleton.
Vitamin E can be found in oils. Krill oil is virtually tasteless and it is a bounty of vitamins and minerals. While it is most known for containing Omega 3, a daily serving of krill oil can also get you a portion of your other essentials including Vitamin E. Vitamin E is vegetarian and vegan friendly. It can also be found in a variety of plant-sources. Since the vitamin is fat-soluble, you can cook any of these ingredients without worrying about losing some of the nutrients to the heat. Avocados, leafy greens, fruits, nuts, and wheat all contain Vitamin E. You can also pick up a supplement at the pharmacy to give you a boost!
The benefits of Vitamin E are absolutely free so make sure you’re taking the most advantage of them each and every day. All vitamins are important to understand and consider. By building a vitamin-rich diet, you can be a healthier and stronger person.
Writer’s Bio
Meet Jane Grates.

jane-grates

Jane:  new best friend material.  🙂

Jane is an award-winning web lover and the co-manager of RunnerclickMonica’s Health Mag, and Janes Kitchen Miracles (<– Go check out that site!  So cool!).
Jane is a travel scholar, writer, health enthusiast, and food and health practitioner.

The Cravings Almost Got Me

I’m now 36 days into my Whole 60 and have been doing so well. But this past weekend was tough: surrounded by delicious foods and decadent drinks. I was pissed off at my food.

So last night, while gearing up for snowmageddon in Nova Scotia, I made these complian nut butter cups.

butter-cup

I made only a few and they have been serving their purpose. Cocoa, coconut oil, sunflower seed butter. That’s it. Easy peasy! Completely satisfied ( except for the weather. #snowpocalypse )

 

Directions:

Measurements can be estimated.  I made a half dozen cups and used 2 teaspoons of coconut oil, a teaspoon of cocoa, and a another half teaspoon of coconut oil and a tablespoon of sunflower nut butter for the center.

1. Melt coconut oil or butter over a double broiler (you can use a microwave).  Once thoroughly melted, blend in the cocoa until completely smooth as liquid.  Pour half of this into mini muffin tins or ice cube tray and place in the freezer.

2. Melt coconut oil or butter over a double broiler . Once thoroughly melted, blend in the nut butter of choice and stir until completely smooth.  Pour this mixture over the frozen chocolate bottoms and freeze.

3.Re-warm an pour remaining chocolate mixture onto the nut butter cups to complete the third layer.  Freeze.   ENJOY!

 

 

Why I’m Waiting to do the Whole 30

whole30header

If you have been reading this blog for a while you will note that I love the Whole 30 program.  Seriously, I am absolutely in love with it.   (If you’re not familiar with the program, go check out the website: Whole30.)

I love the food I get to eat and the way I feel when I’m doing it.  And I love how proud I am when I’ve finished it.  In fact, I love it so much that I’ve been super excited to get started on a Whole 30 in early 2017.

I’ve noticed that there are currently tons and tons of challengers out there – all who started their programs on January 1st.  And I applaud them.

Me, however, I have opted to wait a week.  Because I’ve done the program so many times over the last year and a half, I know that if I had started on New Year’s Day I would have been setting myself up for failure.  With so much “junk” in my system throughout the month of December (wine, chocolate, cookies, wine, wine, wine), I knew that I would need to ease my way out of Christmas goodness for a good week before jumping into my 30 days.  Which, by the way, I am hoping to turn into a Whole 60. *fingers crossed*

I didn’t eat terribly the entire month, but I did have way more sugar than I normally would.  I mean, everywhere I looked there was chocolate.  And I had more wine date (with and without others!) then necessary.  In fact, I have had more wine in the last month than I have had in the last 3 months.  (And that’s still not saying a lot.)

This week I have been omitting most of the holiday garbage…limiting the chocolate, omitting the other sweets, cutting out down the wine.  And by the weekend, I will have all of it out of my system.

I am really stoked to get going on this though.  And, to top it off, my boyfriend bought me the Whole 30 Cookbook for Christmas and intends on trying the program with me this time.

Whole30Cookbook.png

Another fitness wish come true.  🙂

I really encourage anyone who is planning to do the Whole 30 to read the book.  Spend the money and read it.  It’s worth it.  It may change your life!  I have truly benefited from this program and I think everyone can go clean for 30 days – even just once.

The basis of the program is to eliminate food cravings, sugar dependency, and systemic inflammation.  “Think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.”

This is not a cleanse – that’s what you have a liver for.  This is a program to help you rid yourself of all the garbage that is unnecessary in our current diets and destroy the sugar dragon.

If you’re interested in the program, definitely check out the website or the book.  And if you have any questions about my experiences with it, please send me a note.

~FB

 

 

Healthy Eats

Happy Sunday!  Actually, it’s mid-Sunday evening and back to the grind tomorrow, so some of you might not be so happy.  But, you know what?  It was a beautiful day, I had a great workout this morning, I visited a friend at her new digs, had a date with my nephews, completed two articles, got a bunch clothing donations ready for the Red Cross (#fortmcmurray) and I made a delicious, healthy dinner, and just threw a pan of healthy brownies in the oven!  The day has been great.

Seriously, whoever said that healthy eating is gross or boring obviously was just looking for excuses.

First up I made this gorgeous summer vegetable dish:

Veggies

I found this dish on Pinterest a long time ago and have been wanting to try it.  I finally got around to it today.  It was so good.  And cheap.  And easy.  And other than a little added cheese, it’s completely healthy.

I got the recipe here: http://www.budgetbytes.com/2011/08/summer-vegetable-tian/.  The only change I made was I swapped out white potato for sweet potato – simply because I could only find bags of white potatoes and I only wanted one.  I was able to buy a single sweet potato so that’s what I went with.

I added some spices too.  The next time I make it I’ll likely avoid the cheese.  I don’t normally have cheese in the house and I wanted to use up what I have because I’m starting another Whole 30 again soon and wanted to use some of it – the less I have to waste.

The reason I’m heading back to a Whole 30 again, aside from I love how I feel when I’m on it, is  that my sugar cravings have been outrageous lately.  And that’s the thing with sugar.  The more you have, the more you crave.  The purpose of the Whole 30 program is to eliminate those cravings (and rid your body of systemic inflammation).  I look forward to my 30 and I don’t miss the sugar when I’m on.  AND, I love eating whole foods: fruits and vegetables and lean meats.  My body really does thank me when I’m on the program.

But, because I’m not ready for my 30 yet (you really have to be ready) and I’m craving chocolate like it’s going out of style, I decided to make a pan of healthy black bean brownies.  Yep, you heard me, black.bean.brownies.

peanut-butter-chocolate-protein-bars_3

via Chocolate Covered Katie

I have made these brownies several times in the past and they are soooo good.

I get the recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie (http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2016/01/06/homemade-protein-bars-chocolate-peanut-butter-vegan/).  Katie is a healthy food blogger I’ve been following for years.  She makes incredibly delicious and drool-worthy healthy recipes.  I’ve tried a ton of them (including her crispy avocado fries…you.must.try!).

I don’t follow Katie’s recipe 100%.  I omit the sugar.  I amped up the vanilla. And I added more coconut milk (unsweetened) to make them extra moist and gooey.  And I use dark chocolate bits and organic hazelnut almond butter.

OMG YUM!!

The brownies are currently still in the oven but I’m bunkering down to watch The Walking Dead so I’m sure I’ll have one (or two!) later.  The rest of them are going to be individually wrapped as pre-workout snacks.

Now….doesn’t all that make you want to go out and try a new recipe – something with fresh produce or a healthy alternative to your favorite treat?

~Fit Bitch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get Ecxited! (Day 10)

Excited about Health

I often hear people complain about healthy eating and fitness.

I hear that eating healthy is expensive and exercising is time-consuming – yadda, yadda, yadda.

But I get excited about getting healthy.  For obvious reasons, getting healthy.  But also because it gives me the opportunity to try so many new things – new recipes, new exercises, new fitness classes, etc.

It’s also an opportunity to be social (and be social with people outside of my regular social circle).

Go into your new healthy lifestyle with the outlook that it’s an adventure.  Be positive about it and have fun with it and you’ll love the outcome.

~Fit Bitch

 

 

My Accidental Watermelon Slushy

It’s summer and it’s hot. And when it’s summer and it’s hot I sometimes like to cool off with a big, drippy slice of watermelon. So yesterday morning I picked up some pre-sliced melon from the grocery store and put it in the spare fridge with a few other things that just wouldn’t fit in my regular fridge.

This morning I’ve been sitting outside, reading my book, soaking up the glorious sunlight and watching my cat chase after the wind. And as I felt myself melting into my lawn chair I figured it was a perfect time to grab a slice of that delectable watermelon. Unfortunately, to my surprise, the temperature on the spare fridge had been turned up to ice-age and everything is frozen.

Now, the remaining items in that fridge can be salvaged once they thaw, but have you ever tried watermelon after it’s been frozen and thawed? It’s mushy and gross. So I just chopped it all up and threw it into my Nutribullet and *whoosh* – I have the most delicious watermelon slushy. I literally have to keep stoping typing so I can take sips. It’s so good and refreshing. I dare you to try it.

WATERMELON

🙂

~Fit Bitch

Have You Tried Butter Coffee (aka Bulletproof Coffee)?

butter_coffee_promo
Have you all heard of this Bulletproof Coffee craze? Let me just say that I’m not a big coffee drinker to start (Fact: I worked in a coffee house for SIX YEARS and never had a coffee) and the idea of putting butter – yes, BUTTER – into my cuppa joe really kinda grosses me out.

So what is this all about? Well, this butter coffee, branded as Bulletproof Coffee, has been gaining popularity since people started wielding the benefits of adding a spoonful or two of grass-fed butter such as weight loss* (*people claim to feel full after one full cup of the coffee -at 100-200 calories), higher energy, boosts in brain power.

Watch Jimmy Fallon explain to Maya Rudolph the idea and benefits of Bulletproof Coffee:

Other benefits of Butter Coffee at breakfast:
•It replaces your usual breakfast, which allows for an extended fast period***
•The healthy fat replaces carbs/protein.
•Consuming straight fat also allows you to obtain calories while effectively maintaining the fast through ketosis.
•Intermittent fasting has incredible health benefits.
•It makes fasting much easier and you don’t feel like you are starving.
•Your blood sugar and insulin will remain stable.
•You feel full until lunch and don’t feel compelled to snack.
•It’s also very quick and easy to prepare in the morning.
***Butter Coffee is not magical for weight loss. You shouldn’t substitute this drink for meals just so you can lower your daily caloric intake. While healthy fats do make you more satiated, you need to eat them with other foods, especially those with fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, K & K2 so your body can properly absorb them.

There are also variations of Butter Coffee which include adding coconut oil or butter to your morning brew instead of the butter.

You can check out the Bulletproof website for more info and the recipe* here: http://bulletproof-coffee.net/
*There is a specific way of making butter coffee – which includes a blender. So, dumping a glob of butter into your coffee isn’t going to cut it.

So, even though I said it grosses me out a little, the idea of butter coffee, I AM tempted to try it. And the more and more I read about it the more and more tempted I become.

Have any of you tried it? Comment below and let me know what you thought of – the taste, the texture, did you feel any more energetic?

~Fit Bitch

Cauliflower Popcorn

It’s Friday (Thank Goodness!!)! And with Friday comes Friday night (followed by Saturday and Sunday nights) which means, for many, that it might be movie night. I know that sometimes, after a long and exhausting week, I like to curl up on the couch with my guy or my cat and just veg out with a movie. And, like many of you, sometimes I like to snack.

My guy likes popcorn – microwave popcorn. Me, honestly, if I never had microwave popcorn again in my lifetime I would be okay with it. In fact, if I never have popcorn again I’ll be okay with it. (I say that but I know if I hit the movie theater and smell really popped corn I’d be all “YUM!”)

First of all, microwavable popcorn is full of chemicals and additives and can be just plain yuck. Thankfully, I inherited (and when I say “inherited” I actually mean borrowed and never gave back) my mom’s old fresh popper so if I ever get the hankering for real popcorn I can pop the real stuff.

In the meantime, I’ve completely fallen in love with Cauliflower Popcorn. Have you tried it? It is so good. And the best part is that it’s nutritious and low in calories. It’s chalk-full of fibre and vitamins and contains no cholesterol.

First thing once you choose your cauliflower is ensure you wash it well. You can wash it as a full head or after it’s chopped up, then pat it dry.

via Google

via Google

Once you’ve washed and dried the cauliflower chop it up into bite-sized pieces and toss it in a little olive oil. It’s your choice whether you want to add anything else to your ‘popcorn’ – you can add sea salt, fresh herbs, a little parm, or even regular ol’ popcorn seasoning. Then spread it over a baking sheet.

via Yahoo

via Yahoo

Put the pan of cauliflower into a preheated oven at 425. Depending on how soft or crunchy you like your cauliflower popcorn you roast in the oven anywhere from 15-45 minutes (tossing it every 5-8 minutes), and voila: A healthy and delicious (and inexpensive) snack.

via Pinterest

via Pinterest

~Fit Bitch