Saturday, January 2, 2016

Day 2 in the books

Today was tough but successful! We hosted a dinner party and I avoided alcohol (I only drink sweet girly drinks so they had to go) and turned down dessert!

Green and Glowing smoothie from Whole Foods

Vegan Perfect Bar

Veggie wrap from Sprouts 

Brussel sprouts, salad (dressing may have had sugar), mac n cheese with broccoli, and green beans

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

Earlier this week I read this article talking about the evils of sugar. I wish I could say I was shocked and horrified but sadly I was pretty familiar with the claims. Just a year and a half ago I cut out sugar for these very same reasons. I even blogged about it! But somehow, over time, I loosened the reins significantly and found myself eating sugary treats with reckless abandon over the holiday break.

Now don't get me wrong, I've actually continued to scrutinize ingredients and do my best to choose the option with the least amount of sugar possible. However I know I could be doing better and the article reminded me why I should cut out all processed/added sugar.

The article also mentioned Fed Up, a documentary about sugar's role in the obesity epidemic. I had been meaning to watch it since it came out so I finally did this week. It was eye opening and heart wrenching. I think everyone should watch it, no matter your size or diet. It's on Netflix, watch it now!!

After watching that, I am even more motivated to kick sugar to the curb. All week I've been making some tough decisions like eating fruit for breakfast instead of banana bread, snacking on carrots instead of chocolate covered almonds, and eating a half a donut instead of a whole one... what? I'm still human. It was a really tough week to start since we had family staying with us and the house was loaded with sugary delights. That's why when I read the label for my peanut butter pretzels and saw there was added sugar, albeit a small amount, (seriously Trader Joe's??) I still ate them because it was a better choice than Lacey's Cookies.

Even after family left, we were faced with New Year's Eve so we went out for dinner and I had a sugary drink. So basically I'm considering today my first official sugar free day. And what better day than the first day of the year? I'm not sure I'll post every day... in fact I'm sure I won't. But when I remember, I'll post what I ate, especially if it includes any particularly good recipes.

Green Smoothie (kale, pineapple, banana, frozen mango, protein powder, and water)

Quinoa and Brown Rice Bowl with Vegetables and Tahini
Apple with almond butter

Salad and Brussel Sprouts from R10 Social House

Hot Yoga

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Where do you get your protein?

Okay wipe that shocked look off your face, yes, I know I've been slacking big time!! After traveling here and there this summer it took me a while to get back in the groove. And I'm not saying I'm back, but I found myself with a few spare moments and thought I'd share some info. If you can believe it I've actually had a handful of people ask me where my blog went, that was so sweet! I didn't think anyone would notice if I stopped posting.

Now I gotta be honest for a minute, I haven't exactly been sticking to the sugar free lifestyle lately. It's not my fault! I was on vacation and everyone knows you get to eat whatever you want on vacation, right? Well, I did and when I came back I may or may not have brought a few treats with me which of course I had to eat, I couldn't let them go bad. So here we are, summer is almost over and I'm finally starting to settle back into a more healthy livet.

This post was actually inspired by a friend who was in town this weekend. We practiced yoga together and I was especially sore the next day. She asked about my protein intake and of course my first reaction was, "hey, just because I don't eat meat doesn't mean I don't get enough protein." But when I let my guard down a bit and actually thought about it, I have never really sat down and figured out how much protein I need. I've read plenty of articles touting that as long as you ingest enough calories, your protein is covered (vegan or otherwise). And really, how many of us (vegan or otherwise) know how much protein we need? Well I'll be honest, I didn't.

So I consulted Dr. Google and found enough sources to feel comfortable with a ballpark estimate. The CDC says women aged 19-70+ need 46 grams of protein. However webMD says athletes need about 50% more than a sedentary person. I found this nifty chart by fitsugar that suggests I need about 70 grams so I'm making that my goal.

Then I sat down and kinda guesstimated how much protein I'm getting on an average day. I found another nifty chart, this one by YumUniverse, that shows how much protein is in all kinds of plant based foods. Did you know there's 24 grams of protein in 1 cup of quinoa? That's only about 10 grams less than 1 cup of chicken! Well, based on my really terrible calculations, it appears on some days I am not getting enough protein (mainly because I just don't eat enough food some days).

Not terribly shocking, but definitely concerning. I've decided to commit to daily protein shakes (20 grams of protein each) which I need to do anyways to get my B12. I'll also be paying closer attention to what I eat and striving to attain 70 grams of protein each day. And of course, I'll be reeling in my sugar consumption too!

Oh and just for fun, here's a fast and delicious recipe I made last night: Curried Eggplant with Tomatoes and Basil. And a not so fast, but still delicious, recipe for homemade kind bars.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Why not just use agave?

I heard this question a lot when I was blogging regularly about avoiding sugar. I would often note that I had left out agave in a recipe and people would ask me why. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but I just felt like sweetening it with something else kinda defeated the purpose of weaning myself off sugar. However it wasn't until recently that I found an even better explanation.

If you believe the hype, then you probably agree that High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) should be avoided. Personally this is what I believe. Now let's take a look at a pro HFCS website:  "High fructose corn syrup is basically the same as sugar—both in terms of composition and in the number of calories they contain." So at it's best, HFCS is just like sugar.

Okay now why are we talking about HFCS again? Oh that's right, because we all agree it's the bad guy. Well, I found a pro agave website (a company that sells the stuff) which states: "...Wholesome's Blue Agave is 75% fructose..." which is typical for agave. The same site also states: "...commercial fructose corn syrups contain either 42% or 55% fructose by weight." Now it also says a bunch of other stuff so feel free to read it for yourself, but I wanted to find biased sites that would put their product in the best light to confirm what I read on this site:

"Because of this concern about the elevated levels of fructose in HFCS, some health food stores will not carry any product that has HFCS in it. Yet on the other hand, they carry a full line of agave syrup products on their shelf and carry many products sweetened with agave syrup. But realize agave syrup has a fructose content of about 70-90% which is way higher (worse) than HFCS.

On the one hand, consumers, especially the health conscious, are avoiding HFCS like the plague because the level of fructose in it is higher (55%) than in regular table sugar/sucrose (50%). They consider the higher level of fructose a problem. The fact that is has a lower GI than table sugar is ignored."

Get where I'm going? If I'm avoiding sugar, and of course I'm avoiding HFCS, then I should definitely avoid agave too! The site linked above has tons of of other info, I found just poking around Facebook one day. I don't need that much convincing but check it out if you do, it's pretty good and seems legit.

So now what? Honey? Stevia? What it boils down to, for me at least, is moderation. I've loosened up the reigns on my sugar ban but only to the point that I'm not being ridiculous and going to extreme lengths to avoid it (and its sweet sisters like agave and honey). And of course I still indulge once in a while when the opportunity presents itself. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

I'm Back!

Okay, actually I've been back for two weeks. I've just been way too busy living life and trying to get to bed early to do any blogging. I think from now on I'll try to blog about once per week to highlight awesome new recipes, restaurants, and products that I come across. Speaking of which, I finally got a chance to make the Sugar-free Snickers Ice Cream recipe I found! Well, technically I started making it and then my amazingly wonderful boyfriend finished it. It was only after starting the recipe that we realized an ice cream maker was needed. Never fear, there's a way around that. But alas, I could not find my hand mixer so my super fantastic boyfriend whisked the ice cream by hand!! Isn't he the best?

Thankfully the ice cream was totally worth his pain and suffering and I've eaten two bowls today (tiny bowls because I'm too impatient to wait for it to defrost enough to scoop). I must admit that while it is free of added sugar, and free of refined sugar, it still does have sweetener via the chocolate chips. Some might not see that as a problem and obviously it didn't stop me from indulging, but I just wanted to put it out there. Ideally I like to avoid sweeteners altogether since they don't exactly keep me from craving the real deal since my body doesn't care if they're sweetened with evaporated cane juice or refined sugar.

But back to the ice cream, seriously, make it, eat it, thank me later!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Blog Break

Okay, this is Saturday's blog but I'm writing it Sunday. This weekend has been jammed packed! Saturday I went to Shape Magazine's Summer Shape Up with Jillian Michaels and got a serious butt kicking (well Jillian would use another word, that girl has a serious potty mouth!). Then I met up with some new friends for acro yoga play time. It was so much fun, I love finding people to practice with since you need at least one partner so I can't do it on my own. And on top of it these girls are super cool and fun to hang out with!

Sunday (today) I asked Mike to teach me to surf. Again. We tried this at least 5 years ago and had very little success but I wasn't working out hardly at all back then and things are slightly different now so I thought I'd give it another shot. I wasn't terribly successful at actually standing up on a wave but I still felt good that I wasn't nearly as frustrated or tired as the first time I tried. I can't wait to try again!

I'm going to take this week off because I'll be traveling and because I just need a break! Even though I don't leave for a few days I am taking the whole week off so I'm not even going to post a blog for today (Sunday). See ya next week!

Oatmeal, banana





Jillian Michaels Body Shred
Acro yoga

Saturday, June 28, 2014

I can't

For some reason this week has been filled with inspiring articles and videos about kids and fitness. Everything from an article about how telling kids they can't do something can actually change their ability to be able to do it, to a video of kids talking about how much they like yoga! And then the week culminated with a really amazing video by Always about what it means to do something "like a girl."

These were all very touching for various reasons but I think the biggest one is realizing how much we are held back and how much it affects us as an adult. I know I find myself saying "I'm not strong enough" or "I can't" very often. I am constantly falling back on my lack of background as an athlete to explain why I can't or might never be able to do something and somehow taking comfort in that. Until the next time I am reminded that I really want to do it!

It's actually kind of crazy if you actually make a conscious effort to stop saying "I can't..." You don't realize how much you say it until you try to stop. Like working on 3-position cleans and doing a full squat each time. I kept wanting to say "I can't squat bellow parallel with a flat back due to my tight hip flexors." While it's true that I have issues with my hips and glutes, my coach remarked that sometimes I did it correctly and sometimes I didn't. He was only correcting me when I didn't do it right so I thought I was doing it wrong every time. But when he mentioned that I did it right sometimes it kinda blew my "I can't" out of the water! I think the truth is "It's uncomfortable and takes too long to do it correctly so I'm sacrificing my form." Put like that I realize that it's not that I can't but that I don't want to put in the effort.

That small shift is kind of amazing though. Suddenly you realize you can do anything if you are willing to put in the effort. And sometimes the effort is quite immense, time consuming, and even painful. But knowing that if you are willing to endure it, you CAN do it, well that changes everything!

oatmeal, strawberries, banana

Feel Good Hearty Granola Bar

Speedy Veggie Noodle Bowl

Feel Good Hearty Granola Bar

All Hale Kale Bowl from Yellow Fever