My Healthy Life: A Manifesto

my healthy life

Before writing this post, I thought I would revisit what I wrote around this time last year. I had just signed up for Weight Watchers again, and had already lost close to 20 lbs since having my baby (she was a month old at the time – crazy to imagine, eh). Since then, I have made some major changes.

While Weight Watchers totally kicked my butt into gear and helped me learn from the food and activity choices I was making, I have opted for a complete lifestyle change and ultimately chose a route where I wouldn’t have to pay a monthly fee to be told how to eat. I also was not completely behind the idea where you get count points based on caloric intake – tricking people into believing that diet food is healthier for you, when it can often be worse.

I don’t want to focus on consuming diet food, but rather consuming food that is real, whole, good for you and delicious. My healthy goals for this year are to: workout for 30 minutes per day, practice yoga for 30 minutes a day and cook all of our meals from scratch. Sure, there will be times where we go out to eat. I am in no way perfect when it comes to my diet, and I think 99% of people can agree with that. But I will be more conscious when I do go out to eat. That’s all you gotta do. Be conscious.

I also want to focus more on remixing recipes by substituting good, healthy ingredients where they are needed and I will continue sharing my concoctions with you.

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In case you are also resolving to get more fitness and healthy food in your life for the next year, here are a few websites that really helped me last year:

  • Greatist: This is one of the first websites I got into when I started this health kick. I attempted many a health challenge through Greatist, and while I barely ever stuck with them – I learned a lot and I love how proactive and fun the writers are. They actually created Renew Year, where they post new challenges each morning and you share on Twitter when you complete the challenge with the hashtag #healthyishappy. I love it!
  • The Gracious Pantry – This is by far one of my favorite sites and has truly motivated me to keep eating real and good food. Her recipes are all clean and she has good ones! My family loves every recipe I make…and that is really saying a lot. Because they hate anything with the word healthy in it.
  • DoYouYoga.com – I love this yoga site, and I love Erin Motz. She always makes yoga practice fun, and they’re always adding new videos. She has really inspired me to pursue a yoga instructor certification, and that is one of my goals now.
  • Fitness Blender – I found this couple through YouTube, and I love their workouts. They’re quick, but get the job done. They also do different challenges that you can join in, and they often post videos talking about nutrition and health – which I love. It’s not about being skinny for them, it’s about being healthy.

While you may not be on your A-game all the time, as long as you are eating good food and remaining active, you’ll be fine. I promise.  Let’s do this not to be skinny – let’s do it to be healthy. Most of all, let’s DO IT.

Have you made a resolution to be more healthy in 2014? Did you write about it? Share your link in the comments and post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google + with the hashtag #myhealthylife. You can also find more healthy inspiration on my Pinterest. Cheers to healthy and happy new year!

If it wasn’t for Pinterest, I wouldn’t cook

SONY DSCI’ve given it some thought, and I’ve concluded that Pinterest is the reason why I enjoy cooking so much. All of the pretty little pictures and cute labels make the food look so appetizing, I just want to make all of it.

What I love the most about Pinterest, is that if I don’t like something in a recipe or I want to do something a little different, there are hundreds of other recipes I can check out. Sure, I could just google all of this, but there wouldn’t be any pretty pictures!

I need the pictures.

So when I decided to make spaghetti and breadsticks tonight, I used three different recipes – one for the marinara sauce, one for the pizza crust and one for the breadsticks. I also had to improvise with penne since I didn’t have any spaghetti noodles. Luckily, I’m a pretty big penne fan.

The sauce came from High Heels and Grills and was a pretty big hit, I must say. I think this will be my new go-to for marinara sauce. I might even start canning it to keep for those days I don’t really feel like making sauce. I’ve been having a lot of those days lately.

The recipe called for basil, which I was able to pull from the garden. Since I didn’t have the oregano it called for, I opted to pull some thyme. Did I mention that I love having a garden?

Since I didn’t have any pizza dough to use for the breadsticks, I decided to make my own dough. And for that, I went to Plum Siena. I followed the recipe, but forgot to dust it with cornmeal. Nonetheless, it was pretty amazing. Next time, I’ll have to make a pizza with this dough! I’m thinking of doing a jalapeno garlic dough next time.

SONY DSCAll of this was inspired from the potao-laced breadstick recipe I got from Spoon Fork Bacon. One look at that picture, and you will know why I wanted to make that recipe! At first, the dough looked a little raw after I baked it but then we realized it was just moist because of the potatoes. Not raw at all, but totally addicting.

This might be one of my favorite dinners, and the whole dinner was only 10 Weight Watcher points. Win/win!

Pumpkin wheat biscuits

SONY DSCThis morning I woke up needing a biscuit. I looked up some biscuit recipes and finally settled on this recipe from joyofbaking.com. Since the recipe looked a little hefty, I thought I would make some changes to make them healthier. This is what I did:

 

2 1/2 cups (325 grams) all-purpose wheat flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon (14 grams) granulated white sugar (optional)
1/2 cup (113 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces pumpkin puree
3/4 cup (180 ml) milk soy milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Topping:
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon milk

The recipe yielded 10 biscuits, but I ended up with 20, and they were only one Weight Watchers point, as opposed to the six points with the original recipe!

They turned out good, but a little dry. I was thinking about adding some dark chocolate chips to the batter to give them some sweetness. I really love dark chocolate. But after I had them with my leftover dinner, I decided that putting chocolate in them might not be the best idea.

So, I think I will add some more pumpkin puree, since I could hardly taste it anyway and maybe add some honey.

Please feel free to add any suggestions to make the biscuits less dry in the comments section!

Well, hello pre-pregnancy jeans

Current weight: 154/ goal weight: 130

After I weighed myself on Sunday (with a teething baby, it has been a little hard to blog as often) I was thinking about how much I weighed before I got pregnant and was reminded that I was heftier then than I am now. Although I did walk and bike everywhere, it was normally to the bar and all that beer and fried food consumption can really get to you!

Not going to lie, I do allow myself some cheat days but I wait to do so after I have accomplished something…so it really feels like an award. And this accomplishment sure did deserve a reward!

SONY DSCI FIT INTO MY PRE-PREGNANCY JEANS!

I’m not saying they fit perfectly and that I didn’t have a little muffin top stickin out, but by golly gosh, they zipped and buttoned and I could move without fear of the button popping! I have been a lot more active with trying to keep this house cleaned and organized and with my renewed love for gardening.

The only thing I have trouble sticking to is working out. By the time I get the babe calmed down in the morning, it’s already 10 am and it’s time to start cleaning and get the day going. Then I tell myself I’ll start working out when Sam comes home, but then we’re eating dinner and I’m usually doing homework and finishing anything I couldn’t get done during the day.

So, when do I work out?

I’m not even going to try doing my workout videos for a while. I think all of my exercises will involve my baby, which is a cool experience that I can tell her all about when she asks what we did ALL day together.

So, my next challenge: to hit 150 by the 15th of this month, 140 by the 14th of april and finally, to hit 130 by the 15th of may.

LET’S DO THIS!

Chilli makes everything better

Current weight: 157/ goal weight: 130

So, I was a little disappointed when I weighed in this morning. I guess I should be happy that I didn’t gain weight (especially after my cheat day) but I was kind of peeved with myself for not pushing myself to work out more.

Dang it, self!

SONY DSCAlas, I do have some good news to report…I made an AMAZING chilli in the crock pot! It’s so simple. I go the recipe from Weight Watchers (turns out they also have recipes…who knew!) and it’s only six points for one serving!

I paired this with my whole wheat bread for a 10 point dinner. Yeah, that’s a little steep but I saved up for the day to enjoy this wonderful meal. And I was even able to enjoy two Caramel deLites after!

Yes, it is lame that I count points for every meal but if it means I will be able to fit into my old jeans and not have to get rid of anything – well, unless it’s too big; then I will totally get rid of it – and not have to buy any new clothes, I will do it!

Plus I love that feeling of being able to laugh in my Wii Fit’s face when it tells me I lost weight. It’s the little things in life.

Recipe below (you will be surprised how easy it is):

If you use my measurement of 1 1/2 cup per serving, there’s about 4 servings…maybe a little more.

  • 1 pound uncooked turkey sausage
  • 15 oz can of pinto beans, undrained
  • 14 1/2 can of of diced tomatoes with chillies, undrained
  • 14 1/2 can of diced tomatoes with garlic and onions, undrained
  • 1 medium uncooked onion, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • I also added some chilli powder to spice it up a little

Put it in the slow cooker and cook on low for 5-6 hours. We had mine about 5 hours after I put it in the cooker and it was amazing! So warm and delightful.

What is your favorite chilli recipe? Share in the comments!

 

a day of soup

I’m pretty sure that there is not one person in the world who loves moving. All of the packing and unpacking, I could really do without that. I can’t wait for the day when I can afford to have movers, that’s my version of achieving the American dream.

But, there is one good thing I can always count on when I move. If you give yourself enough time, it can be like spring cleaning. Of course, if you don’t allow yourself the time, you end up just throwing everything into boxes and bags and promising yourself that you’ll organize when you get there, which you’ll never do. Trust me…I’ve been there before.

Another thing I like to do before I move is see what I can make with the food in the cupboard and fridge so I don’t have to pack it, or even worse…get frustrated with all the recipes I bought food for but never actually used and just get rid of the food altogether.

IMG_2680So, when I looked in my cupboard and saw this little beauty, I figured this would be the perfect time to try it. I made a cup of rice with 1 cup of veggie broth and 2 cups of water. Then I added a cup of the soup on top of it and…voila! My lunch was served…and it was amazing. The soup was 8 points, which is a little high but it was healthy and I wasn’t ready to eat my own skin by the time dinner was ready, like usual.

For dinner, I decided to try another recipe from Skinny Ms. Slow Cooker. This time it was a Southwestern black bean and veggie soup, which at only 3 points for a cup and a half of soup, it was surprisingly filling.

Due to some of the ingredients not being available, I had to make some small adjustments:

  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, sliced into 1/4″ pieces
  • 1 medium sweet potato, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes (regular diced is optional)
  • 1 (4 ounce) can green chili peppers, diced
  • 2 (15 ounce cans) black beans, drained
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, more or less to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Kosher or sea salt to taste
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth, low-sodium

IMG_2679All you have to do is put those ingredients and then cook the soup on low for about 6-7 hours. Did I mention how much I love my slow cooker? I swear it was invented by a stay at home mom to a little baby. I was able to feed her, rock her, cuddle her, feed her, change her diaper, feed her some more and do my homework without ever touching the crock pot. It was amazing!

The best part of this…I have leftovers for tomorrow. You never truly appreciate the value of leftovers until you are the one cooking.

New Year Challenge: just a little lighter

Current weight: 160 (eeek!!)/ goal weight: 130

So I’ve finally learned the trick to not cringing every time I get on my Wii Fit to weigh in. Push the mute button. Of course, the day I figure this out is the same day I actually want to hear what that little Wii Board dude has to say! I finally did it…I lost 3 lbs!

I made sure to track everything I ate and not just ignore the app when I hate something that would rack up the points. Of course, I allowed myself a splurge day at Macaroni Grill on Saturday, but to be fair…I was moving and cleaning that day.

I also started following the 12 Exercises for New Moms, which is way easier than trying to work out through my daughter’s screams and cries. When she gets cranky while we’re working out, I just take a break and let her chill out then we get back to it. Being able to work out with her will make it easier to stay on track.

challenges_aheadI also wanted to start making weekly challenges for myself. In just a couple days, it will be a month since I started this diet. By this time, I was hoping to lose 10 lbs, at 2.5 lbs a week. Since my main goal was to lose 30 lbs in 3 months, I’m a little behind.

So, my goal for next week: do a new exercise routine every day with the baby. If I complete this goal by next week, I can move on. If not, I will keep that same goal for the next week and so on, until I finish it.

One of my biggest issues I have with myself is not being able to finish anything I start, so hopefully this will also boost my confidence a little.

Do you find it easier or harder to achieve your goal when you set yourself little challenges, or do they prove to be obstacles?