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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Transitions....not instant flips....

While there is a part of me that would love to say that this past week has been filled with a diet of only whole, plant based food and that I am on top of the world, alas, I can not.  I have never really been one of those people that can grab an idea for habit change and immediately go on a fad diet and lose 20 lbs in 2 weeks and 60 pounds in 3 months.  Though, most of those people that I know who can do that, after the three months is over, gradually go back to their old habits and gain back all of the weight they lost plus some. 
So, this is more about who I am.  I am a slow changer.  Change does not scare me and I am not actually resistant to change (some people are, but I don't mind change).  I am however a creature of habit, and while not afraid of or resistant to change, I find that having the tools I need to get out of the well ingrained ruts is a challenge.  So, rather than beating myself up about the fact that last week I decided I was going to stop in my tracks and go green, whole foods all the way, and then not being able to do that, I am going to be more reasonable and hope that the current approach will work better for true lasting change.  So I am building ladders out of the ruts, instead of trying to springboard up the side of the ravine and tumbling back down. So I am adding good habits while decreasing bad habits, replacing them.  Jumping form a bad habit to a good habit does not work for me--it would be like asking a TV addict to just shut off the TV without giving them the tools to fill that time with something else.  So they would be sitting there staring at an empty screen, which would not bode well for being able to break the TV addiction.  SO I am shifting my consciousness, my subconscious, and my daily living habits from patterns that are not so good to patterns that are more life affirming.  I have been on a road to transformation for quite some time now and this is just another step, another transition is the very important process of a life in transformation.

My affair with green smoothies is becoming a real relationship now.  I am drinking one a day (and two on a couple of days) and I LOVE it.  I have more energy, my body feels freer, and my mind is clearer.  Getting plant based food--raw, whole, fresh green, red, yellow, orange food into me in good quantities on a daily basis has helped increase my overall sense of well being.  I have been starting my day off blending a nice green smoothie.  I have been experimenting some, like varying what greens, fruit and other veggies I put in and in what quantities.  My favorite two so far are:

KCA: (makes 1 1/2 to 2 smoothies)
1 handful of Kale (4-6 leaves)
1/4 Cantaloupe
1 apple
1/2 cucumber
2-3 celery stalks
1/2 lemon
7-14 grams Spirulina
1 tbs Flax seeds
4-5 ice cubes
8 oz water

KMC: (makes 2 1/2-3 smoothies)
2 handfuls Kale (8-12 leaves)
1 Mango
1 Cucumber
2 celery stalks
1/2 lemon
14 grams Spirulina
2 tbs flax seeds
4-5 ice cubes
8-12 oz water

My least favorite two were:
blended salad:
4 large romaine leaves
1 tomato
1 cucumber
1/2 green pepper
2 carrots (peeled)
1 tbs dressing
4-5 ice cubes
8 oz water
(YUCK!!!!--better to just sit down and enjoy the salad which is very tasty, but blended into a drinkable form--shudder{{}})

1 handful Kale leaves
4 Romaine leaves
1/4 cantaloupe
 2 celery stalks
1/2 cucumber
1 tomato
1/4 pineapple
7 grams spirulina
1 tbs flax seed
4-5 ice cubes
8 oz water
(it was palatable, but not enjoyable, and not something I want to repeat)

Over all, I have found that too much romaine lettuce is a bad choice--it is too bitter.  Though I have included 2 leaves with at least twice as much Kale and other ingredients and had a fine smoothie.  Pineapple is okay in some smoothies, but not in others.  I have only tried tomato twice and it was in both of the ones I did not like, so I am still unsure on tomato as a smoothie ingredient.  But they are yummy to just eat, so maybe I don't need to keep tyring.  Carrots are okay in certain combinations, but use just one, not two (unless they are small).  And apple and Kale and celery are a great combination--those three seem to be able to support a wide range of additional ingredients.  Mango and cantaloupe are two other base fruits that have worked REALLY well.  I am going to be sad when they are out of season and thus are cost prohibitive.  But for now, the sales are great and the fruit plentiful.

So now, you may be wondering if my kids have gotten on this kick--well not so much.  they like an all fruit smoothie--especially if I put a little ice cream in it for them.  I am being a mean mama and making them have a bit of spirulina in juice every day (like 1 gram spirulina in 2 oz juice) and take it like medicine, because the micro nutrient value is so important, and I want them to benefit for the great abundance of micro nutrients in spirulina (which is a natural blue green algae often eaten in the tropics--very nutritious and a taste that grows on you (I now LOVE it in my smoothie and feel its lack if I do not put it in).

BUT the smoothie is not the only thing that I have done to add whole plant based food to out diet as a more prominent contender in meals.  I am in the transition of considering vegetables a side dish to considering them the most vital part of the meal.  Twice this past week I made the best stir fry in the world--I made it first last Tuesday, and could not stop thinking about it the next couple of days, so I made it again on Friday before we went to the circus.
World's best Stir Fry:
1/2 large eggplant (cubed)
1/4 large head of cabbage (cubed or shredded)
1 small-medium zucchini (cubed)
3 carrots (peeled and cut into bites size slices (wide))
2 celery stalks (cut in bite sized chunks)
1 small head of broccoli (cut into bite sized trees)
1 clove fresh garlic, diced fine
1 tbs dried onion flakes (I did not have any fresh onion)
a shake of mixed herbs (oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme)
2 tbs apple cider vinegar
1-2 tbs extra virgin oil
1 cup water (added as necessary)

I heated the oil on medium to medium-low heat for a few minutes, then added the diced garlic.  Let simmer for 1-2 minutes.  Add carrots and coat evenly (if you have fresh mushrooms, which sadly I did not, add them now too).  Let simmer with occasional stirring for 3-5 minutes, add onion flakes and other herbs/spices (if using whole onion add it right after the garlic) add egg plant, broccoli and zucchini. Coat evenly, add 1/4 cup of water or so.  simmer another 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add remaining vegetables and 1/4 cup of water.  Mix and let simmer 3-5 minutes.  Add vinegar and 1/4 cup water and stir.  Let simmer for another 3-5 minutes.  Serve hot.

While that was cooking I sauteed some frozen scallops and shrimp in a little oil with garlic and taragon leaves and a dash of vinegar and a little water. 

I served both pans hot and without a major carb (the kids had been munching on crackers and M&M's so the need for a carb was not really there--Friday we did have brown rice with it for the kids, though I did not eat the rice). 

It was the most delectable stir fry I have had in a long time.  Just writing about it makes my mouth water.  Next time I will make sure I have both fresh onion and fresh mushrooms to make it even better.

As for other meals we had last week--well, Wednesday we had box macaroni and cheese with hot dogs and green beans.  Thursday we had pan fried talapia fish fillets (fried with just a touch of oil and some fresh garlic and taragon), brown rice, and salad.  Friday we had the stir fry and then ate a bunch of over prices junk food (cotton candy, popcorn, peanuts, soda) at the circus.  Saturday can't remember what we had--I know there was corned beef hash and eggs for lunch, but I am drawing as total blank on dinner.  Wait, I remember!   A picked up some fresh shaved ham at the deli and we had ham sandwiches on whole wheat bread with American cheese lettuce and tomato, and potato chips and grapes on the side.  Sunday we had sausage, eggs and toast for lunch (the kids are fruit and ready to eat cereal breakfast eaters--habits from leaving the house on a one hour car ride to school each morning with a baggie of dry cereal, a baggie of grapes or berries or apple slices (if we have them), and spill proof cup of either milk or juice--so other breakfast foods become lunch specials).  For dinner we had chicken breast cooked on the grill, potatoes (cooked wrapped in foil in the charcoal) and salad.

Yesterday I woke up late and had to rush to get the kids to school.  We stressed out and did not have time to make a smoothie.  So did I make a good choice and go to the grocery store, NO.  Instead I want to McDonald's and got a Sausage mcMuffim with Egg meal.  Then grabbed a premade hot chicken sandwich from Stewarts for lunch with an apple.  Not the best choices.  For dinner we made burgers on the grill, and I used buns (which I rarely do), and had chips and salad and corn on the cob bought from a local farm stand. 

So as you can see, it is a slow transition.  I am including what I have been eating to let others know that they are not alone in the difficult trek from unhealth to health. 

My commitment is to add more healthy choices to my lifestyle, more whole foods, more raw veggies, more plant based food, and get away from refined and processed foods, grain and meat focused ways of eating.
I have been feeling the need fro more protein in the morning after my smoothie so I have added 1-2 hard boiled eggs as a mid-morning snack.  Lunch has been a chef salad (premade from Cumberland Farms if I did not get a chance to make it at home), and some seeds or sometimes some whole wheat crackers if I feel the need for it.  I have been drinking too much iced coffee with sugar, so I am going to cut the sugar out and maybe cut out the iced coffee eventually.  I love iced tea, which I drink black anyway, so that is an easy switch as long as I remember to make it the night before.  Of course, I am still drinking 8-12 cups of ice cold water every day.  And most days I walk 1-2 miles.

So, since I started this blog in March, there are already some good habits that are truly becoming ingrained habits.  And my life is still a life in transformation.  I had blood work taken last Friday, so I will be able to see kind of a baseline of where I am at the beginning of this trek into eating a more Nutrient Rich focus.  I have been spending time on Dr. Furhman's website and am going to be checking his book out of the library that details more about Nutrient dense foods.  "Eat to Live" By Joel Furhman, if anyone wants to join me in reading this book.  Hi site is really informative, and I saw him first on the documentary "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead"  which still just inspires me so much to changing my habits and living a better life.

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