Nov 22, 2012

Begin as you Mean to Go...

Today is Thanksgiving. A day celebrated by food.Thanksgiving to me, has always been about food.

I was so busy tending to Grady today, that I never got a picture of our food table. There must have been 15 different casseroles/veggies on it. All of which used to be apart of my "former life". Did I eat them today? YES! But I can honestly say that I ate very small portions and I did not go back for seconds. It's amazing after you stop eating a certain way and then revert back to "your old ways" how different you feel after a meal. I can truly tell you that when I was eating processed foods on a daily basis--- I constantly felt full and miserable after a meal.Since changing my eating habits, I now walk away satisfied and content. never thought I'd be writing that word when talking about food! It's so incredible to me how much I truly never took the time to "think" about what I was putting in my mouth. I allowed my cravings to control me. If I felt like fast food--- I'd go get fast food, if I felt like chocolate---I'd go to the vending machine and grab a snickers. Yes, I knew it wasn't good for me---but there was always "tomorrow". If you've ever struggled with your weight, I'm sure you can totally relate with me here. I would justify whatever I wanted to eat---saying that, "Oh I'll start eating better... TOMORROW!" Well tomorrow would come and go...and change would never happen.

I have stayed away from all things fried since September 1st. I really think this is what has made the biggest impact on my weight loss. It wasn't easy at first to never have fries or chicken fingers (considering that is truly one of my all time favorite meals)---but it has become second nature to me now, to just order something else. I had a huge breaking point this past week. I went to pick up lunch for Brian and his Dad at one of my old frequent fast food stops--where everything they have on their menu is fried. The smell that consumed my car of chicken fingers and fries honestly made me sick. Whatever craving I had for either of those two things while sitting in the drive thru was quickly erased.

I have really struggled to find snacks for Grady that aren't processed. I can see why we (society) never think twice about what we offer our kids. The things that they make for kids are one thing--- Convenient! I have broken down and given him Goldfish (the kid could live off of them) and Nutra Grain bars. He also loves 100% whole wheat Graham Crackers (can only find these at Whole Foods), no sugar Applesauce and Cheerios. I need to get better about "thinking and planning ahead" for him. I need to carve out time from my schedule to get in the kitchen and make him some things to have on-hand like homemade cheese crackers and whole wheat pancakes.... now if I could only find the time to do it! I will keep you posted on that one.

The holidays will be tough for me---within the next month I go on a cruise for work, attend and host several parties and then add in Christmas and New Years on top of all of that. There will be lots of sugar and butter in the days ahead! I am really going to have to remain faithful and walk away from things at times. (which is easier said than done.. I am going to miss my Trader Joes Peppermint Joe Joes!) I had set the goal for myself that I would like to loose 20 pounds before Christmas. The Lord had different plans---I woke up this morning and got on the scale---and I was officially down 21 pounds! I think he has humor like that---knowing that I was praying for something that was weeks away---but instead allowing me to see how much my faithfulness and hard work have already paid off!

So as you can read.. we're still on the "whole foods/clean eating" way of life... Best decision we've made in a long time! If you've been thinking of making the switch---JUST DO IT!  Keep in mind that nothing is easy at first---but after time, it becomes the only way you know. We have a saying in our small group that has really changed my thought process in life... "Begin as you mean to Go." How true is that---in EVERY aspect of our I leave you on this Thanksgiving with that saying... "Begin As You Mean to Go!".....

Recipe Collection

Oct 26, 2012

A Month and 25 Days...

I wanted to give you all an update on our progress after moving to "Clean Eating."

First off, WE LOVE IT! (I'm including Brian in this statement, though I know he'd agree).

I have never in my entire life been this content with food. God heard my cry and answered my prayer! I have spent the better part of my life planning my next meal at the meal I'm currently eating. I took joy in planning dinner during lunch! I craved food. Looking back now, I realize how much food consumed me. What I just thought it was a passion, was really it was an obsession. Isn't it interesting how we confuse the two? I have come to realize that my PASSION is investing in my family and not all things food.

I have a dear friend who has a gluten allergy and I used to crack up when we'd go out to eat... she would ask a thousand questions, pick food part and have a ton of special request. I have to admit, it was annoying...but now I realize that I've become her! My questions are endless when I sit down at a restaurant---I now try to make the best choices possible. I will say though sitting at a table and have to pass the bread basket on to the next person is one of the hardest temptations I face. I LOVE A GOOD BREAD BASKET!
I'm finding it natural now to say, "I'll have a water with lemon, does that salad dressing have sugar in it?, or do you know if that bread is 100% whole wheat?...." Yes, I have had to stay away from some of my old favorite restaurants (ex: Mexican and Chick fil A)---but the more time that passes and I haven't been, I don't find myself thinking about it...or craving it. It took a lot of willpower for me to pull up at the drive-thru at Chick fil A a few weeks ago and order an 8 count Grilled Nuggets and a water. I basically used to live off of the #5 combo, 8 pack with sweet tea and 3 Chick fil A sauces! 

Throughout this change, we truly have enjoyed cooking and eating at home. Brian and I get in the kitchen together and cook. It's not just me taking over and being territorial of the kitchen ( I was looking for praise from him after I cooked a good meal). Its really turned into being our "couch time" as we call it in small group. It's our time to talk about our day,dreams for the future (like how'd we arrange the layout of the kitchen, if we could afford it!haha), what's going on the following day, etc. We both have found it challenging to go out and find stuff that we can eat. (I have more willpower than Brian with this...but I have a lot more weight to get off than I let him slide!) I think the biggest thing is that at home, we have control over what goes into our food. Let me state, we have not sacrificed flavor during the switch...we now use REAL products. It's amazing when you use real butter or real sour cream, how much less of it you really need.

 During my birthday weekend, I found myself almost having a panic attack about eating my birthday cake. I was scared that If I had a taste of the cake, that I would fall off the wagon and never get back on. (considering this is what I've always done before) I had to have a "come to Jesus" with myself and realize that IT'S OK to eat "bad" things every once in awhile. If I am going to really make this work for the long haul, I need to be realistic. So in the past Month and 25 days... I've had cake on special occasions (birthdays and at weddings), we've ordered pizza (when I've been too overwhelmed or tired to cook) and I have split a piece of cheesecake at Cheesecake Factory. Through all those times, I've still managed to bounce back and get back to my plan.

My biggest accomplishments have been that I have given up fried food and soda. Also that we have moved to 100% whole wheat and natural sugars. (Brian is still having a tough time with the pasta and rice...he loves white rice and pasta! I don't really taste a difference.) I would also say changing the way I grocery shop is another one of my accomplishments. We used to go to the store several times a week. Now we go once. I spend an hour on Sundays planning out our entire weeks worth of meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner). We shop on Sunday afternoon for an entire 7 days. Our grocery bills have been averaging $120-$150 per week.  The majority of our shopping occurs in the outter aisles--- consisting of Veggies, Fruits, Proteins and Dairy. Our new "chips" are triscuits and occasionally we will have cereal (Cheerios, because I buy them for Grady) with a banana and walnuts. I've started a binder of "Clean/Whole Grain" Recipes that I reference weekly for inspiration, as well as I utilize Pinterest and blogs.

I'm officially down 15 pounds, Brian is down 8..But more importantly...what I feel like once controlled my life, isn't anymore. I'm not living to eat... I'm eating to live.

Don't forget to follow me on Pinterest for my collection of recipes.

Sep 14, 2012

Who have I Turned Into ?

I am turning 30 next week---and I sit here wondering who I've turned into!

I have asked for a blender for my birthday (I want to start making smoothies!), I have a coupon binder (thanks to my friend Kristen), My entire refrigerator is filled with fresh fruit and veggies and organic WHOLE milk. Our freezer is stocked with only Organic Free Range Chicken and Grass-fed Beef. My pantry doesn't have much of anything other than Triscuits,Peanut Butter, Nuts,100%Whole Wheat Bread and Coconut Oil.

Some might say that I'm going through a mid-life crisis. I call it God intervening in my life and finally making me see how much I idolized food. Not that I ever sat around eating chips from a bag or pints of Ben and Jerrys (though I do love my B&J Coffee and Toffee Ice cream!)---I just realize now how much I loved food. I mean who doesn't, right?
I have always tried to lead a "good life". The life of a Baptist Christian Girl---one who grew up in a "bubble" where everything was always very black and white. Where if you smoke, drank or had premarital sex--then you were a sinner. Never did I relate this belief to food though. But, if we truly take a moment and think back about the Bible, God used food as his first means of temptation---which in turn, turned into the first ultimate sin. So why shouldn't I look at food (for myself) any different? Here I am constantly tempted by food---and I can either choose to fall into that temptation or I can choose to walk away. I have found myself many times this past week---praying that God will eventually make me like some of the things I'm eating. (ex: Salmon... I've got a lot of praying to do for that one!)

A few things that I've learned since moving to all Whole Foods---and no Processed Foods.
 1. Grocery Shopping takes you forever (You need to prepare your grocery list and menu out before going to store---and stick to your list!). It took me an hour and half tonight to shop for the upcoming week. I looked like such a mom---my cart was overflowing with stuff! I am proud to report that 90% of my shopping was done on the outer aisles of the store. Also, be prepared to spend more money. We are making it our goal to eat in every meal---so really it's coming out cheaper in the long run.

2. Organic, Free Range Chicken and Grass-fed Beef are worth the extra money

3. Freeze your bread (or you'll have mold on it within a few it doesn't last like regular bread)

4. If any item has more than 5 ingredients listed---PUT IT BACK-- I repeat--- PUT IT BACK. Just because it says "Organic" that doesn't mean it's Heathly

5. Justin's Almond Butter and Chocolate Almond Butter is AMAZING

6. You can eat out!---just be educated on what you choose. Ask questions like, does that have sugar in it?  Or White Flour? We went to dinner this past week and it about killed me to not eat the bread...but I steered clear! (It was even Carrabba's bread!! Can I get a Hurraaaahh?!) Also, I went to a party this past week---and did not touch one sweet... I stuck to what I knew was "ok options" and left proud of my decisions.

7. There are so many blogs with resources (and recipes) to utilize... Pinterest has been extremely helpful with planning our weekly menus. Also, make sure you make extras of your dinner to eat for lunch the following day.

8. I am not nearly as hungry as I was before I started this change over---and I find myself eating a lot less. (Don't get me wrong... I have gone to bed hungry some nights---but I just make myself go to bed...and ya know what? I wake up in the AM fine! Who'd ever thought, right?!? haha)

9. I find myself constantly craving water. (Never thought I'd say that!)

10. I lost around 7 lbs during week one--- and only have 3 more to go before I'm back at my pre pregnancy weight (I'm determined to get there by next Friday, which is my big 3-0!)

I've been amazed at my will power over the past 10 days. I've been in several situations where normally I wouldn't have thought twice about what I was eating: A Party, Traveling Out of Town, Going out to Eat, a Chick-fil-a Lunch run for the Office, A client made us a Homemade Pie, 2 days of being sick and Disney Day at work (we had Sno-Cones and Popcorn!!). I think last week was a great representation of my crazy life these days. To know that I can make this switch to all Whole Grains during one of the busiest Seasons of my life (NOW!)--- it makes me realize that ....I can do this!

Things I've cooked this past week:
Salmon with a little butter and Rosemary
Arugula Salad with Canalope, Feta, Sunflower Seeds with Balsamic

Spaghetti made with Grass-fed Beef, Oranganic Marinara Sauce, Peppers and Onion--- Served on Whole Wheat Pasta

Cilantro Lime Grilled Chicken Breast

Don't forget to check out my Pinterest for Recipes--- I add more daily. 

Sep 6, 2012

The Blog is Back!

Dear Friends and Readers, 

Since my last post, life has drastically changed. I am now a MOM---one who has been... BUSY trying to juggle it all. (I'm sure a lot of you can relate) Between parenting,work,church, family, friends and just life in passions have shifted during this new season of my life. My kitchen has really been neglected over the past year. We have been eating a lot of quick meals consisting of tacos, Trader Joes frozen meals, Crockpot dinners and Take Out. (gosh, isn't it easy to just pick up a pizza!)

Needless to say--- NOTHING HEALTHY! I started my pregnancy with the goal of eating healthy... I mean I was carrying our child for goodness sakes... only to get half way through my pregnancy and all of the sudden live off of Cereal, Chick fil A and Cane's Chicken Fingers. I joked that Grady would come out with Chick fil A Sauce all over him... and I kid you not--after my water broke and on our way to the hospital...we went through the drive thru to stock up on food. (only to get to the hospital and not be allowed to eat it!)

So much of my life revolves around the word F-O-O-D... I mean really, we are seriously sitting here watching Julie and Julia as I write this post! I think God has a purpose for my love for food---I really do... But I just have to figure out how that purpose is best served. I have started cooking a lot for church (Sunday mornings for our Worship team, Cooking meals for those in need during a time of Sorrow or Celebration and just making myself available when a time arises and I'm needed.) I've been saying for years that I would like to write a cookbook... maybe that is my purpose. Only time and prayer will reveal it... join me in praying for my Cooking with Purpose! (disclaimer: I kinda like that.."Cooking with Purpose"...nobody steal it!)

 Brian and I have decided that there is no better time than the present to really change our eating habits. Grady is on the brink of eating what we eat---and I honestly can't imagine him eating some of the crap that we choose to eat. If there is one thing that I can do as a parent, it's that I can instill in him a love for Food...but the RIGHT FOODS. When interviewing pediatricians---that was one of my big questions and concerns to express... I do not...repeat... DO NOT want my children to grow up obese. I did it...and though it has never held me back from ANYTHING I've set my mind on... It has played a major role in who I am. To constantly have to count calories, dread getting on a scale, weigh more than your friends (or even your husband!), shop in the plus size section when all your friends are shopping at the GAP, to never really know what it's like to be all adds up after time and truly starts to wear you down. Some of you know this---but I was given an amazing gift a few years ago and was able to have Lap Band Surgery (pretty much's a 30k surgery ya'll!) and I was extremely successful immediately after my surgery... only to now be weighing the same thing (plus a few extra pounds more) than when I had the surgery to begin with (yes, I had a kid, etc...but sill... I am not where I should be...or where I thought I'd be) So here I am again---I've even gone to the extremes to have weight loss surgery and yet, I'm still not skinny! ....or Healthy.

Last week I read a book that totally changed my mind, view on food and my life (it was like Hypnosis for weight loss...only I didn't have to pay to wear light goggles and listen to a man tell me that I love healthy food in my ears (yes, I've even done hypnosis for weight loss!)). The book is Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst. It talks about satisfying our cravings with God instead of food. She expressed multiple times that this isn't easy--but that it's lifelong journey. Well folks, I'm officially on the journey...I've surrendered this part of my life and now I am picking up the pieces and rebuilding.

While on our cruise last week (funny I am surrounded by all this food and I'm reading a book on weight loss!... God's funny that way... cause I had bought the book after Grady was born...only to put it on a shelf and never pick it up...then at the last minute decided to throw it in my bag) I truly set my mind to returning home and making some radical changes to my life. Once home, we decided to start eating WHOLE FOODS---meaning no more processed foods...filled with tons of ingredients that we don't know and tons of high fructose corn syrup. Do you know how hard this is?? Well I am here to tell ain't easy! I am having to retrain my brain on what I can and can't eat---and what I can and can't make. I've spent most nights researching blogs and looking for recipes. See, what I am trying to do isn't a diet... it's a way of life. I am proof that diets don't work. I've done just about every one of them (well with the exception of the HCG drops...but I've done about 95% of them out there). This time, I am not concentrating on a number... I have no goal of how much I want to loose...or what size I want to wear. I am just merely changing my life.

Just to give you an idea of what we've eaten the past 3 days:

Lunch: Chicken Salad made with a little organic mayo, peanut butter, grapes, cashews and apples---served in lettuce cups--- Triscuts with humus,1/2 and apple
Dinner: Roasted Zucchini, Black Bean Goat Cheese Enchiladas (on corn tortillas) 

Breakfast: 100% Organic Whole Wheat Bread, Peanut Butter Banana Sandwich
Snack: Mixed Raw Nuts
Lunch: Left Overs
Dinner: Organic Chicken with a small amount of homemade honey mustard on it---baked with Goat Cheese and Pistachios, Bulgar Salad with Okra, bell pepper and red onion

Breakfast: 100% Organic Whole Wheat English Muffin with Cheese on top
Lunch: Left Overs
Snack: Apple with Peanut Butter 
Dinner: 100% Whole Wheat Tortilla with Sour Cream, Tomatoes and Pot Roast (pot roast wraps), Kale Chips and 1/2 an orange
Snack: Banana 

Follow me on Pinterest to See my New Collection of WHOLE FOOD Recipes: 
My Pinterest Recipes

So... With this novel of a blog post... it is my ATTEMPT to bring Thaw, Heat and Serve back...I can't guarantee it will be as frequent as when I first started---but I will do my best!

Join me in praying that I find my Purpose for Food in my Life---and that one day... I'll actually really want to eat a Banana instead of a Brownie! :)