The Cleanse

Well here I am again. It seems that I have finally gotten a moment of quiet to update this beast! Who knew that a new job and moving to a new house could be so demanding? I’m not complaining because both are major blessings- I just am acknowledging that my wide open calendar is non existent now.

I did my best to stay on point during the move itself but the new job has tempted me in big ways. Due to his parents request, my charge finds himself getting happy meals at least once a week after hanging out at baby gym. I went from never being around fast food to it being every Friday. Now, the actual fast food has never really been tempting and being g-free doesn’t give me much to work with but I used to always turn to a good ol’ milkshake in high school. Since Jax always has his sippy cup it was too easy for me to just order the small shake. Let me tell you though- one shake a week for the past two months is enough to make you feel gross. Between that and the convenience foods often found when moving- I found myself back at 195ish range. I sighed when I saw it and new it was time to get my act back together.

Thanks to Nate, I got a new iPod to help me in my quest to stay on track with my weightless and blogging goals. I have had it a mere week but have already found some neat apps. I’m sure I will share more on them later.

Today I started the advocare 10 day cleanse. I had heard about it when student teaching but thought it was a scam at the time. It then popped up a ton on the blogs I read so I ordered it back in October to try. Right before I was going to start it I got a positive result on pregnancy test. We were excited since we had been told we would never have children. I read it shouldn’t be used during pregnancy so I didn’t start. However, after two weeks of waiting to go in to the dr we discovered that it was a false negative. I could have done the cleanse then but thought it futile with Christmas around the corner. It seemed like every time I went to try it… I got sick or we had crazy stuff happen. I decided yesterday that enough was enough. I had already bought a weeks of clean food and had been using my fitness pal to log my food. So I pulled out the box and started this experiment this morning.

Today I weighed myself and found that I am at least close to what I weighed before the move (191). I’m hopeful to hit the 189 mark by the end of these 10 days!

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Menu for Week of Feb. 9th

Hello Everyone!

I have been super busy the past two days! I just started a job as a nanny for a very energetic one year old! Boy, does this little man keep me on my toes. I was plumb tuckered out last night- which was just fine for meal prep because I had thought a head and had a slow cooker going all day. I LOVE that appliance for when I am out and about all day. I am hoping to expand my repertoire of gluten free/low carb choices though.

Remember, I am working on a carb cleanse the next two weeks… so you won’t be seeing some of the usual suspects such as rice or quinoa on here.

For Breakfasts this week we have:

  1. Eggs- poached or scrambled or over medium. I always try to add some sort of veggie to it… for example, today I put in mushrooms and tomato. Also, being from the great dairy state of Wisconsin, I had to put sharp cheese in. Can’t help it.. it is in my blood!
  2. Grain free super cinnamon ‘oatmeal’ that I made this past weekend. I found the recipe on one of my new favorite blogs Low Carb One Day.  This ‘oatmeal’ is actually made out of chia and flax seeds. The cinnamon and coconut flakes add a delicious sweetness to it! I can’t wait to try it in the morning. I found a vast number of egg free breakfast options on Karen’s Low Carb One Day blog and am excited to be able to mix it up!
  3. Finally, I am making up this recipe from All Day I Dream About Food. Low Carb Chocolate Hazelnut Granola- At first I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the chocolatey hazelnut goodness and the name. There is no way that this can be ok for you! Guess what, the ‘sugar’ in it doesn’t raise your blood sugars and cause the icky highs and lows! I haven’t tried it yet but I imagine that it is going to be hard to put down once I start.
  4. Apple Chicken Sausages with eggs are planned for brunch this weekend. We had tried a form of these a few months ago and Nathan fell in love. The only thing was that they were $5 a pack! We are cheap… we normally don’t pay a ton for extras. We had a coupon for the new Johnsonville ones, and I couldn’t find anything that contained wheat on the package. I guess we will have to eat them and see what happens.

For Lunches this week we have:

  1. Lots and lots of left overs from dinners
  2. chicken cobb salad

For snacks:

  1. celery and peanut butter- not going to lie… I ate a ton of peanut butter yesterday. I don’t know if it was because I was babysitting and on the go more than usual or just not starting the day with carbs, but I was starving! I brought only my lunch and two snacks for work, yet I was famished by 2pm. It took all I had to not just eat the whole mini container of pb that I brought with while the little one was down for his nap. It was a triumphant yet sad moment when I said no and packed it away.
  2. Broccoli
  3. Sugar Free yogurt- I am not sure why it says to limit dairy products but cheese and sugar free yogurts are ok.. I took it anyway since I knew I would want something sweet at some point
  4. Sugar free jello- usually I am not a jello person.. something about the texture and the fact that it is basically food coloring. I decided to give this old nemesis a go again.. still haven’t touched the stuff I bought though.
  5. almonds and pistachios
  6. string cheese

For Dinners (this is the part you have all been waiting for!):

  1. Sunday night we had stir fry, brown rice (this was my last day with it.. I wasn’t going to go out without a bang) and I made up some filling for Asian chicken lettuce wraps.  The recipe was pretty good so I will have to see about getting it on here. I thenk took the chicken as lunch for Monday.
  2. Monday- was slow cooked beef tip chili- awe-some!!
  3. Tuesday – Roasted Chicken and eggplant and zucchini with mozzarella
  4. Wednesday- chicken and lentils in the slow cooker with roasted asparagus
  5. Thursday- Baked Spiced Tilapia with Green Beans
  6. Friday-Happy Valentine’s Day!! We are celebrating with Shrimp Scampi with zucchini noodles and stuffed mushrooms. We are having a mocha ricotta creme for dessert. I plan on posting the recipes for this by Wednesday night!
  7. Saturday- Slow cooked Beef Roast with ‘mashed potatoes’ (read cauliflower)
  8. Sunday- Mediterranean Chicken and Spinach Bake

Hope you all are having a fantastic week!

It’s All About the Menu Baby!

I am not sure how many of you have discovered the wonderful stress saver of making a menu, but let me tell you right now that if you aren’t making a menu each week- you should be!

When I was living off campus at school a few years ago, I used to spend so much of my time worrying thinking (during class of course) of what I was going to make for dinner each night.  By dinner time each night, I was a bucket of stress. Who wants to come home to that? About this same time, my wonderful friend Lisa told me one day that she would meal plan a week or two out, grocery shop every Saturday, and prep as much as possible on Sunday and then spend little time in the kitchen the rest of the week. I remember thinking ‘Well of course you have it together! You are like Martha Stewart!’

I reached my wits end when I was student teaching only a year later. We had recently gotten married- so of course I wanted to impress Nate all the time with my meals. If I made good meals before we married, I wanted them to become GREAT meals.I would literally spend my lunch hour/prep hour quickly trying to find a recipe that had all the things we had at our house.  I usually gave up and then picked something that sounded good. After long day at school, I would go to the grocer (almost every day mind you) to pick up what I needed for that meal. This of course, would result in me finding a lot of excess that we did not need. I ended up only spending a lot extra cash and filling our itsy bitsy flat to the brim with junk.  I may have been cooking healthier and more delicious meals than when we were merely engaged… but coming home to a woman crazy  stressed out about preparing the food is just as depressing.

Then I had an epiphany- What if I meal planned? So I began making menus on extra lined sheets of paper. Within a few weeks, I was finding that I was less stressed out… our meager bank account wasn’t dwindling as quickly as it had been before… in fact it was beginning to look healthy again! I discovered that the half hour after I got done teaching could be spent putting my feet up for a well deserved rest. My husband was no longer afraid to ask questions during meal prep. What had I stumbled on?

It has been about a year and a half since I discovered the power of a simple meal plan.. and I refuse to go back. We have a few things in the house that can be go- to items in case we just have one of those days- you know the ones- where you just can’t bring yourself to spend time in the kitchen.. you just want something fast. We also don’t necessarily eat the food always in the order that it appears on the list… you can pick what sounds good off that list for each day. It may be organized but you can be flexible within it.

My MIL was so impressed by watching how our system worked that she has begun to incorporate it too. Give it a shot for yourself- I promise that if you will like it!

Later this week, I hope to share the menu I have for this week, along with the recipes for our Valentine’s Dinner! I will be sure to keep you all posted as well to how this week is looking for weight stuff. I will be starting a new job as a nanny to a 2 year old which I am sure will be its own workout. My duties as a nanny in conjunction with the carb cleanse I am starting tomorrow should help kickstart something

Something Exciting

Afternoon readers!

I have been trying to follow a gluten free diet for about three weeks now. I discovered at the beginning of the week that some of the sauces and such that I use in cooking were not gluten free. It was hidden in the products through the use of aliases. Upon this discovery I cleaned out the cupboards. I was appalled to find that I had two bags worth of groceries that I somehow missed upon my first cleaning binge! The local food pantry was quite pleased with the purge though.

In addition to the extra cleaning, I have been trying to radically reduce the number of carbs I have been eating. I think this should make it easier and cheaper to be gluten free. If I fill up mostly on low carb items, I won’t be as tempted to be buying and consuming and entire $5 loaf of GF french bread. Plus, I just read that some of the starches and flours used in gluten free items can increase your blood sugar more than 5 tablespoons of table sugar!! WOWZA!

As someone with PCOS, I am supposed to be careful with sugars anyway. This syndrome puts me at a significantly increased risk of diabetes. A majority of my family over 30 has type II. I have seen the destruction it can leave in its wake, especially if it is not cared for. It doesn’t just hurt the patient.. it hurts the family. I have no intention of letting myself get to that point… it may be futile but I am going to fight it; even if it means given up on many carbs.

I am only about a week into this semi-restriction on carbs but I figured I would weigh myself and see if it made any difference. Last Friday, I weighed in at 194.4. This has essentially been my average since about June. I believe I described in my bio that I had put on 20 lbs in a matter of 8 weeks after starting to work as a teacher- mostly from stress because I had cut back on eating! I then couldn’t lose the weight no matter what I did. I always fluctuated between 191 (May-ish to early July)-197 (on occassion- like after weekends away with family). The lowest number I have seen since this summer was 193.

Then this morning happened:

Sorry about the blur line.. I realized after I uploaded it that you could see the reflection of my undies. Modest is hottest people!

Sorry about the blur line.. I realized after I uploaded it that you could see the reflection of my undies. Modest is hottest people!

There are little words right now to describe the sense of excitement that I feel right now. I have not seen numbers this low since I think July. After working my tail end off I may have finally found something that could be key to my search for getting healthy again!

Can you see the joy behind the sleep crusted eyes?

Can you see the joy behind the sleep crusted eyes?

I hope your day is going as well as mine is!

-Meg

Wrecked Knees and Taste Guru

Have you ever vowed to work out the next day and then woken up sick… or injured? That is just what happened to me today. I had injured my back slipping on the ice two weeks ago. I finally felt better and was planning on working out today. Then I woke up today… completely unable to bend my right knee. A few years ago I had wrecked it bad when I slipped on some water at school. My roommate was going to school for physical therapy. She was fairly certain that I had torn something slightly. I was laid up for a few days but was able to eventually walk it off. Weather occasionally has made it angry in the past.

With the arctic cold that seems to plague my state currently my knee had been a little angry. It popped two days ago and hurt but then went away. This morning, however, my knee was throbbing something fierce.  Bending it is atrocious… so needless to say… zumba isn’t happening today.

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YAY for wrap around ice packs!

In other news, I received my first Taste Guru Box.  This mail service is something that I suggest highly for anyone who is trying to go GF. I was appalled when I first started to look around for GF options. The price was outstanding and the nutritional value was not always better. In some cases it was worse! I found a Groupon for this service and ended up getting three months worth of boxes for $40. It was so worth it!

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This box came with six products. As you can see, I opened the chocolate almond milk immediately.. it was frozen and so it was like slushy. As one who is lactose sensitive, I get my kicks with chocolate milk products when I can. The kettle corn is divine! I only took a handful though because it was super sweet. The Punjabi curry is something that I am intrigued to try. I may not be too familiar with curries but I did try Cooksimple’s cowboy chili a few weeks ago. It was fantastic!

As a recovering carb addict, I am excited to try the baguettes. I have seen them in the store but was afraid to spend the 5 dollars a loaf on them… just in case they were awful. This may be the start of something beautiful… then again.. I haven’t taken a look at the nutritional information. I will let you know how that turns out.

The BBQ sauce is much appreciated because I didn’t realize how in depth wheat and all its associates have infiltrated the food system. To know that I have a safe sauce to turn to if I don’t have time to make up my own is comforting. I may be trying to get into shape… but I am still human and BBQ on occasion is good 🙂

Finally, the oats. Many people are either all for or all against oats when it comes to gluten free eating. My current opinion is that as long as you are careful to get the gluten free ones… you are alright. I used to love eating the instant flavored oatmeal packs on cold winter days. I have since seen that this is not the healthiest option. Making them from scratch is the best but when you are in a jam it could be helpful to have something for on the go. In comes these:

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Vigilant Eats, the producers of this product, have created these fun to-go cups. They come in crazy flavors that I would not have thought of. I may take these and borrow them for inspiration for my oatmeal later this winter. Flavors such as goji cacao, coconut maple vanilla, and espresso. Just be careful sending them in the mail. I was sad to find that mine had exploded all over the taste guru box. I was able to save about half of it… but the rest was lost… and later picked over by my cat that has an affinity for boxes.

Gluten Free Resources

When I decide to do something I tend to research a lot. The case of gluten free eating is no different. I was blessed to find a plethora out there. I know that a few years ago there was not as much press about the matter. It seems, however, that there is a plethora of blogs and websites that are now dedicated to the issue. Here are some of my favorite:

BLOGS

Elana’s Pantry-Elana Amsterdam is one of the guru’s in grain free living! She has authored several cookbooks that have made the NYTimes Best seller list. She has been grain free for almost 10 years and is a health nut that I love to read!

All Day I Dream About Food– The author Carolyn is a diabetic foodie who has discovered the healing benefits of gluten free eating. She has fantastic family friendly recipes that I am always more than excited to try.

The Healthy Apple– Amie learned the benefits of clean gluten free eating after years of medical issues. She has found relief from the symptoms that plagued her and has developed a healthy lifestyle consulting services. She is based out of NY and travels all over. I love to read about her latest recipes and travels.

Gluten Free Fix– Michelle is a legit trained chef and a mommy. She was diagnosed with Crohn’s and decided to see if going gluten free would free her of the terrible symptoms of both the disease and the side effects of the meds. She has lovely recipes and I adore that she bases many of them off of some of her old favorites.

DEALS

Taste Guru–  This was a company that I discovered via groupon. I just received my first box and I love it! It is a monthly subscription that you order and pay in advance. Each month you will get a box in the mail featuring about 6 or 7 products that are totally gluten free. The idea behind the box is that you can try different products without having to commit to paying full price for them. I originally bought a three month subscription through groupon but am thinking I will extend it. I was quite happy with the products!

Gluten Free Saver– This website reminds me a bit of groupon. Each week different deals are featured. These deals usually involve a variety of flavors and are offered at a discounted price. This could help keep your grocery tab down if you find products you like. This could be helpful when trying to determine what you like and what you don’t like.

BOOKS

Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis: Doctor Davis is a cardiologist who has studied the affects of wheat free eating. This book discusses all the biological systems that are changed by eating modern day wheat. I never understood until reading this book how wheat went from being good for humans to bad. I now understand all the modifications that have been made and recognize that our wheat is a GMO. This author has also come out with several cookbooks that are excellent.

500 Best Quinoa Recipes by Camilla V. Salsbury: Some people are against grain completely. I am not yet one of those people. I may get there… but not yet. This is why I LOVE this cookbook. Thank you Meem for this awesome Christmas gift. I have the tendency to mark all my cookbook with the neat little post it tabs. This one… it is marked full!

The Intolerant Gourmet: Glorious Food Without Gluten and Lactose by Barbara Kafka: Many people who are gluten free also have issues with dairy. This book provides options for people with both. Awesome Goodwill find!

I was not paid nor am I receiving any type of reimbursement for featuring these products on my blog.

Healthy Sexy Hair- Leave in Conditioner

Oh winter.. thou can be heartless! Not only do you leave us frigid in the snow and winds, but you leave my hair dry and frail! You don’t care that I don’t blow dry my hair and rarely put it up… you still dry out these treses to no end! I was hoping that this product could help soften your cruel blow…

NO SUCH LUCK

picture taken from sexyhair.com : product website

Healthy SEXY Hair Leave in Conditioner Spray- I had some big hopes for this product. Many of my friends swore by this line of products. Perhaps I would have luck with some of the other stuff.. but not this product. I received it in my IPSY bag this month. (For those of you who don’t know, IPSY is a company that sends out a make up bag worth of stuff every month to its customers to try out and review. It is 10 bucks a month and has given me the opportunity to try a lot of neat products. Check out their link to find out more.)  I spritzed the product into towel dried hair as the directions state and brushed it through. I was excited to feel how soft and smooth the product would make my hair. This winter is destroying my locks! Within a few hours though it became quite clear that all I had done was make a greasy mess out of my hair. Instead of feeling smooth and sleek- my hair felt like a oil well. Yuck! Not really what I had in mind. Thankfully, I didn’t spend a fortune to get the whole bottle. I shall be seeking my conditioner from the normal sources from now on.

Have any of you used this product? What were your thoughts? Suggestions on how to get it to not make me as slick as an oil well?