Book and Video Reviews, Kids Health, Plant-Eating Challenge

Day 7 Plant Eating Challenge


My daughter and I have made it one week eating only plants!

It’s amazing how our bodies adapt to what we eat! When I was in a slump a few weeks ago, I was eating food that my heart knew was wrong for me. I ate processed junk food (aka: CRAP) and animal products such as: chips, McDonald fries, pizza, chicken fingers…I mean…YUCK!

The reason I kept eating crap is because my body wanted more. Why?

1. The salt and fat (probably some sugar in there somewhere too) in those processed foods is addictive. Companies design the food that way. And, I knew this while I was eating it, and I didn’t care! That’s how bad my slump was. I couldn’t get enough of it. If you want to learn more about the addictive powers of sugar, salt and fat, check out the book with the same title:

saltsugarfat

2. My taste buds wanted more fat and more salt. I craved those foods. In fact, I frequently turned up my nose at any vegetables. Now, my taste buds are as they are meant to be (not manipulated by the concoctions of processed food). When I eat cooked potato, WITHOUT any butter, it tastes good. I will be honest here, and say that I still use salt, and my husband often thinks it is too much. But, if I have to use a little more salt than I need to transition to plants? So be it. I can work on decreasing it later.

3. For me personally, part of my slump was related to my braces (just got them three months ago). Eating salad greens is not a whole lot of fun with braces. So, that had me drawn to soft foods and away from crunchier vegetables. Now, I just eat more green smoothies, and basically, my smoothie is my salad.

4. Another reason I kept eating that way is because, well, like I said, I was in a slump. It was easier to buy something premade than it was to think about preparing something. It was easier to just give in. I could see my weight increasing, so that didn’t help either. Slump continued.

I am so happy to say that my slump is over!

Each day, I am focused on accomplishing my other goals at the moment: working out every day (almost) and staying on top of my work commitments.

I don’t think about food at all, unless it is to think about what I might throw together for dinner. I don’t fantacize about the food I am going to eat later, like I used to. I don’t dive into bad food when I feel stressed.

First off, I feel way less stress.

And secondly, I deal with my stress in other ways, at least so far. I really like deep breathing. If I am on my way home from work, I often take many deep breaths, and push out the leftover busyness/stress from the day.

We just finished dinner: kale chips followed by baked sweet potato and regular potato fries. All cooked in my oven.

I don’t feel bloated or guilty. I feel satisfied and at peace.

What a concept!

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Kids Health, Plant-Eating Challenge, Risky Kitchen Recipes

Day 2 Plant Eating Challenge


How did I do yesterday? Pretty darn good…except for the plain Ruffle chips (my fave!) with some Helluvadip (another fave). We were visiting someone, and I gave in.

I did have homemade sushi. I actually made sushi! I just gave it a whirl, and it was a big hit. I put the seaweed on my cutting board, and scooped brown rice on top, spreading it out. Then on one end, I put some cucumber strips with avocado strips and rolled it. No added sauces, or anything. It was easy…you just need to remember to moisten the last bit of seaweed, after it is almost rolled, so it will stick when completing the roll.

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Oh, and my daughter and I also made some snacks for her to take to school: date bars! We mixed 1 cup of soaked pitted, mashed dates with 1/2 cup of raw cashew pieces and 1/4 cup of raw sunflower seeds. We rolled half the mixture in balls and the other half, we experimented with bar sizes. The picture below shows less than we made because my daughter ate some of it…she couldn’t resist.

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Oh, I almost forgot, we also made kale chips! I only have a before picture. I put a whole bunch of kale, broken up in pieces and with the stems removed, into a big bowl. I put only one teaspoon of oil in my hands and then squeezed my hands around all the pieces of kale. Then, a little sprinkle of sea salt, and pop in the oven. I am still perfecting the time, but these were done at 400 degrees for 4 minutes, then flipped/tossed and put back in for another 4 minutes. I found a few a bit too dry, so next time I will try 4 min. and then 3 min.

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My daughter loves these!

 

Today? Was super awesome!

I started the day with a 20 min. run on the treadmill (I do HIIT: warm up for 2 min., then run super fast for 30 seconds and cool down in a jog for 90 seconds, then I repeat until I have only 2 minutes left, and then, cool down).

I had two green smoothies (swiss chard, spinach, arugula, bananas, frozen pineapple and water): one for breakfast and one for an afternoon snack.

My lunch was a homemade stew that I’ve been making a lot lately. It has water, organic veggie broth, carrots, celery, onion, potato, brown rice pasta and herbs/spices. Add a bit of salt and pepper, and I am in heaven!

For dinner, I had baked sweet potato fries, that were every so slightly sprayed with canola oil. I have to figure out a way to make these without oil. I guess I should just try a small sweet potato and see what happens.

To go with the sweet potato, I had a little mixture I wrapped up in half a swiss chard leaf (mashed chickpeas, mango, cilantro and sea salt).

My daughter was craving some ice cream, so we made the healthy vegan version in a blender: frozen bananas, frozen blueberries and a little bit of rice milk (homemade: 1 cup rice blended with 3 cups water, and then strained through a fine strainer, twice, or with cheesecloth). yum!

We forgot to take pictures…oh well.

After prepping food for the week (two stews, rice and sushi), I got on the treadmill again..only for 10 minutes, but it felt great!

Kids Health, Plant-Eating Challenge

Day 1 Plant Eating Challenge


This is it…I am making a public declaration that I want to eat a Whole Foods Plant-based (WFPB) Diet.

This is really scary because now I can’t try it, and then just give up. Instead of keeping it to myself, I am putting it out there!

And…my 13 year-old daughter is doing this with me!

Let’s be clear. I don’t mean “diet”…I mean lifestyle: a permanent change in how I eat.

I have attempted this many times. I usually go through phases of doing really well, and then I get off track and find myself eating cheese (a true love of mine).

My goals:

  1. Write on my blog about my experience at least once a week, preferably more.
  2. Be consistent: stick to it.
  3. Go one week at a time
  4. Continue until at least the middle of December, before the holidays.
  5. Continue further, so I can turn 50 in 2015, and feel terrific!

What will I Eat?

1. Whole Foods (the WF in WFPB)

Foods that are not processed, especially if they are highly processed. Even things like veggie burgers are out. Have you ever looked at the endless list of ingredients in these things? Yuck!

I will process my own foods with a tool like my Blentec high-speed blender. I will eat salt, spices/herbs, as well as the odd condiment that is not filled with sugar or fat, such as:

  • Horseradish
  • Mustard
  • Frank’s hot sauce

Occasionally, I will use a low-sodium soya sauce or a low sodium vegetable broth.

2. Plants (the PB in WFPB)

  • Vegetables, including greens
  • Fruit
  • Starch: potatoes, sweet potatoes and squash
  • Grains: whole grains like rice and quinoa
  • Legumes: peas, chickpeas, black beans, lentils etc.
  • Nuts/Seeds: only small amounts (they are high in fat, of which excess in the body is harmful, even if they are good fats)

Ok, so I will eat whole foods, that are plant-based.

3. Off-limit Foods

    Oil: it is a fractured food, not existing in nature and is highly processed. Now, I will occasionally use oil in a very small amount if I feel I have no other options. For example, I do not how to make kale chips without a little oil.

    Coffee: I actually gave up coffee in February of this year, so that is not an issue. I weaned myself off over about a week’s time. No headaches!

    Sugar: this is out too. What a dangerous culprit. This won’t be too difficult, because if you look at my food list above, none of them have added sugar, only natural sugars already found in the food. Sugar is mainly found in processed food, so if I stick to whole foods, this one shouldn’t be troublesome.

4. Alcohol: Ok, this is a tough one…I really enjoy a nice glass of red wine, or two. I haven’t fully decided where I am at with this one. I will continue to drink wine, but I will likely put an effort toward noticing how much or how often I have it. It is still a sugar.

 

Kids Health

Teach Kids about Food


There is definitely something wrong with our society when we need to explicitly teach kids about what food is, which foods are healthy, and which foods to stay away from.

It is essential, in my opinion, to teach children about what our world of food is like today.

Every family is different and has different beliefs about what is healthy for their children and what is not. But there are some basics that we all know as fact:

  1. Processed food is of little nutritional value and can cause harm.
  2. Whole foods, in their natural raw state (fruits and vegetables) do your body good.

Start simple with your kids.

Get more of the good stuff into their bodies, and less of the bad stuff.