Last night I went out for dinner and drinks with one of my good friends from work. I honestly don’t go out very much, which allows me to avoid the common pitfall of friends being bad influences on your eating habits and food choices. Last night I realized why this is such a problem. I think I could have eaten healthy and not overdone it, but since it was a rare occasion for me to go out to dinner I kind of just said “the hell with it” and went all out. I got a coffee martini, butternut squash macaroni & cheese, and a brownie sundae, followed by another chocolate martini at the bar. I haven’t felt that full in at least over a year. Not since I was still battling my ED. Anyway, I was proud of myself for not reverting to old habits or beating myself up over it, BUT I do feel really crappy this morning. It’s okay though, one thing I’ve learned over the course of this journey is to take one day at a time, to start fresh with every meal, every workout, and not let one mess up consume my thoughts and decisions.
What I really wanted to post about was the Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese. It was AMAZING! Seriously. So good. Since I’m trying to cut out most animal products whenever possible I’m now inspired to come up with a Vegan version of the dish. Like I said (I think,) I’m not going completely vegan as of yet, but I am trying to make as many swaps as possible and experiment with new recipes and so far I’ve loved everything I’ve tried.
Avoid your triggers. Spend a day taking note of where you are and what you’re doing when you experience cravings; then try to change one trigger at a time. “Take a different route to work if it’s impossible to drive by the doughnut shop without stopping,” suggests Kathy McManus, RD, a FITNESS advisory board member and director of the department of nutrition at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Take control. Develop strategies for the triggers you can’t avoid. For example, if someone brings cupcakes to a meeting, resolve that you’ll split one with a colleague or take just a couple of bites. “Remember, you have the power to make healthy choices,” Gearhardt says.
Stick to a schedule. Aim to eat only at set meal and snack times — about every four hours — to help prevent mindless grazing.
Get some satisfaction. If you bring a salad for lunch every day, it’s no wonder you’re likely to ditch it for pizza. Include indulgences a few times a week, but keep portions reasonable. “Packing a few cookies to satisfy your need for something sweet is a better strategy than depriving yourself until you rebel and eat a huge sundae,” says Leslie Bonci, RD, a FITNESS advisory board member and director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences.
Cut back on coffee. ”Too much caffeine can lead to a sugar craving, because you’ll need a pick-me-up a few hours later,” Koff says. Drink no more than two cups of java a day and pair them with protein, like almonds, to keep your energy level steady.
Give your meal a happy ending. Come up with an “enough” signal that lets you know when a meal is over. Nutrition and psychiatry pro fessor Roberts, for example, likes to finish dinner with a cup of decaf tea: “I enjoy it, and then I know eating is done for the day,” she says.When a Craving Hits…
Wait 10 minutes. ”If you still want the food, take a little and then wait another 10 minutes,” McManus advises. Ask yourself if it’s really going to satisfy you or if you’d rather have, say, a homemade brownie later. “Make sure you’re going to get maximum enjoyment from it,” she says.
Eat something smarter. When junk food catches your eye, figure out a satisfying nutrient-rich option you can have instead. Nonfat Greek yogurt with some roasted peanuts and a drizzle of honey is a healthy alternative to a Drumstick cone from the ice cream truck.
Have some good with the bad. If you want chips but you’re watching your weight, portion out a handful of them with a healthy salsa and some vegetables, Roberts says. “You’ll end up eating fewer chips but still feel full.”After You Overindulge…
Don’t beat yourself up. ”Too often we think, I’m a terrible person for eating that,” Bonci notes. “Or we say, Oh well, I already had the chips; I might as well eat the ice cream, too.” Associating food with guilt or negative emotions can cause a snowball effect. “Tell yourself, I enjoyed my treat, and now I’m done,” Bonci says.
Limit the damage. If you guzzled sugary drinks all day, prevent it from happening in the future by weaning yourself off the sweet stuff. Roberts suggests mixing 90 percent juice or soda with 10 percent water or seltzer for a few days. Then go to an 80:20 ratio and so on, until you hit 10 percent juice, 90 percent water. “Transition gradually and you’ll barely notice the change,” she says.
Stop the second meal effect. The day after a big splurge, eat a half cup of high-fiber cereal (eight to 10 grams a serving) with your usual breakfast, then again as an afternoon snack and after dinner. “This will help counter your increased hunger by putting a layer of slow-to-digest fiber in your stomach” Roberts says. It’s easier to resist cravings when you feel full.
Funny how I can only be productive when I’m overwhelmed. If I don’t have an overflowing plate, so to speak, I’d rather not have anything on my plate at all. I’ve had the past month off from school and I spent the majority of it just relaxing, going to work, and relaxing. I could have been working out, blogging, playing keyboard, cooking, learning, etc. but like I said, if I don’t have a lot to do, I’d rather not do anything.
Anyway, now that I’m back in school and busy again, I’ve decided to get back on track and start blogging again. It’s really such a great way to stay motivated and organized, and I love knowing that there are some people out there reading to hold me accountable.
With that being said, now that I’ve embarked on this diet change I plan on posting a lot more recipes, and information about food, health, and nutrition, and a lot less thinspo. I know working out is just as important as what you eat, but I don’t really like working out, as hard as I try to make myself, and I really do love food and cooking. I’ve also realized since resolving to try new foods, that a lot of the healthy foods and meat substitutes that I have been eating, I know virtually nothing about. To be honest, I don’t even know what half of the stuff is, and that’s almost just as scary as not knowing where your meat comes from. One thing I plan on doing is researching and posting information on the new foods that I try. You can also expect more personal posts on what it’s like to try and live healthily when your a broke college student, living with two guys, who works at one of the most unhealthy restaurants in America. So stay tuned!
It’s so funny how our taste buds change throughout life. I used to HATE beans of all kinds, ESPECIALLY black beans; I just thought they looked gross and I wanted nothing to do with them. However, since my boyfriend can only cook one kind of food (Mexican), I started trying them in burritos and other things, and gradually realized that they aren’t so bad. Since then I’ve also realized the nutritional value of legumes, and now I LOVE them. This recipe is absolutely one of my new favorites, and it’s a really well balanced, completely plant-based meal full of flavor. If you don’t try any other recipes I post, try this one!
- 1 tsp. vegetable oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup frozen or canned corn (I recommend frozen because they are usually fresher, but I had a bunch of canned veggies to use up and it turned out just as good).
- 2 cans (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Heat the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic and saute until lightly browned.
- Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.
- Stir frozen corn into saucepan, and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through (if you are using canned corn, skip this step and add the corn with the beans and cilantro).
- Mix in the black beans and cilantro. Continue to simmer until everything is hot, but do not overcook the quinoa. Enjoy!
I found this recipe on http://ohsheglows.com/, a great resource for anyone considering a plant-based diet or looking for some delicious vegan recipes. I recommend only trying this recipe is you have a food processor, as I did not when I made it, and using a regular blender made the process a little harder. It was still super creamy and delicious, and I recommend it if you’re ever craving a creamy pasta dish, like I sometimes do!
- 1 medium Avocado, pitted
- 1/2 lemon juiced, plus lemon zest for garnish
- 2 garlic gloves (add more or less depending on how much you like garlic!)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 cup fresh basil
- 2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 6 oz. of your choice of pasta (I used Whole Grain Spaghetti)
- Fresh ground pepper to taste
- Bring several cups of water to a boil in a medium sized pot. Add in your pasta, reduce heat to medium, and cook until Al Dente.
- Meanwhile, make the sauce by placing the garlic cloves, lemon juice, and olive oil into a food processor. Process until smooth. Now add in the pitted avocado, basil, and salt. Process until smooth and creamy.
- When pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse in a strainer and place pasta into a large bowl. Pour on sauce and toss until fully combined. Garnish with lemon zest and black pepper. Serve immediately. Makes 2 servings.
PLEASE NOTE: This dish DOES NOT reheat well due to the avocado in the sauce. Serve immediately.
- 1 1/4 Cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour
- 1/4 Tsp. baking soda
- 1/8 Tsp. salt
- 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1/4 Cup (white) Vegan Sugar
- 1 Stick or 1/2 Cup Soy Butter (I use Earth Balance)
- 2 Tbs. Ground Flax mixed with 3 Tbs. of warm water (this is your “egg”, we want it slimy!)
- 1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 Tsp. Cinnamon
OTHER STUFF -
- 1 Cup Vegan Chocolate Chips and Walnuts (Combine in any ratio you like!)
- Preheat oven to 300 Degrees
- Sift or combine your “dry stuff”
- Wisk or mix your wet stuff” thoroughly in a seperate bowl. (Do not beat.)
- Mix your wet stuff and dry stuff together with a spatula - you should have a nice, stiff, mousse-like dough.
- Form your cookies with wet hands and place on a greased cookie sheet.
- Bake for 20-23 minutes until golden brown.
About three months ago my boyfriend decided to become a vegetarian. His reasons were that of compassion for animals, and his strong beliefs that killing any living thing is wrong. At about the same time I was also going through a change, dedicating myself, for the first time, to a serious workout routine (Jillian Micheal’s 30 Day Shred). Even though I still had my ups and downs and didn’t work as hard as I could have, I gained a new appreciation for working out as well as the importance of healthy eating. After a lifetime of inconsistent effort, I could do push-ups for the first time, my endurance improved, I could see my abs, and I felt great; I actually craved working out when I went a few days without doing it. I finally realized that I am not just a person trapped in a body with a mind of it’s own. My body actually reacts to how I treat it and what I put into it. Pretty crazy idea, huh?
Not exactly, but it was new to me. For as many issues of Women’s Health that I have read, or diet websites that I have signed up for, or tumblrs that I follow, I had to see it for myself to believe it. Since that realization I have continued to work out a few times a week, and make as many healthy choices as possible. I’m not overweight and have a lot of other things to focus on, so as long as I wasn’t eating chinese food every day and I was still getting cardio at work (waiting tables 30 hrs. a week) I was satisfied. Always keeping health in the back of my mind, but rarely in the front.
With my boyfriend being a vegetarian, my roommate and I loving to cook, and my subtly peaked interest in health, I started investigating vegetarianism, watching more movies about the meat industry, trying new recipes, shopping at Whole Foods, etc. I’ve learned A LOT recently and have come to the conclusion that a whole foods plant-based diet is the way to go. It combats cancer, disease, obesity, and has many effects on our overall health and well-being… or so I’m lead to believe.
So, my goal for the new year is to find out. I would continue to elaborate, but it’s late and I’d rather wake up early, head to the grocery store, and start cooking up some Vegan noms. Now, I’m not going vegan, per se, but I have decided to cut out meat and just be healthy from there. It does seem to me that avoiding animal products as much as possible, as well as refined and processed food is the way to go, but I’m not perfect, and I know that every journey begins with a single step. With that being said, I’m taking this journey for lifetime optimal health, one day at a time.
***I plan on posting more frequently to record this new adventure in order to keep my motivation up, as well as organize my recipes, inspiration, and record my struggles and successes.***
Happy New Year, everyone! What are YOUR resolution, and how do you plan to reach them?