Friday, January 29, 2010

Bad Omen

So....I was making my green smoothie this morning when I left the inversion mixer in the container and it tipped the whole thing over!!! Talk about a nasty mess.....dark green slime everywhere (I had only made it so far in the process to have the greens and banana done so it was definitely "slime"....) Hoping this isn't a sign for how my day will go. I am working 12 hours today (between both jobs) so I need better mojo than this.....Just a note to self - Never take your hand off the mixer!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Keeping on Track

So, since we are close to finishing up the first month in 2010, I thought it appropriate to re-evaluate my New Year's Resolutions and see if I am staying on track.

Things have been really busy around here and will continue to be until I start school. (Then I suppose it will turn into a whole different kind of busy!) I have been working extra shifts, getting my first aid qualifications finished, getting all my medical info in line for school etc. etc.

The challenge has been to continue my exercise routines in the midst of all my chaotic scheduling and trying to spend time with Travis. (He will leave in about 8 weeks so we are trying to enjoy the time while we have it!) I will say that my time at the gym has drastically dropped. I'm only going in to lift about two (maybe three) days a week now. I find it hard considering that I walk to the gym so it's at least an hour and most of the time lately I don't have an hour to run, an hour for yoga, and a hour for the gym....I'm hoping that once school starts this will be easier because I will already be on campus. (My plan is to lift over my lunch break, but we will see how that turns out.)

While I have slacked on my weight lifting, I have been continuously faithful to my yoga practice and my running. My distance run is now up to 6 miles and we have faithfully been running the 7K races every Tuesday (Which, last week I set a PR for coming in at 43:22!!)

On the weight-loss spectrum, I'm down to 138 so only 6 lbs left to go!! Good thing since I only have four weeks left before my challenge ends. Not sure if I will make it all the way, but I'm still trying....

And lastly, my other goal was to cut down on processed bread and jam etc. (since that is like the last thing in my diet that isn't "whole food".) I have swapped for a more healthier/nutty bread with no preservatives (which none of the bread in NZ has anyway) that's about as close as I'm going to get. I only eat it on occasion as a toast at night. I decided that a little jam can be my one vice and I will accept that. I just haven't found a decent substitute yet.

Pretty much my diet consists of a really big breakfast (oatmeal with flaxseed and wheat germ) and a green smoothie (frozen fruits, soy milk, spinach, barley grass, spirulina). I don't get a lunch break until around 2 or 2:30 so that's why I eat such a big breakfast...Lunch is usually something decently filling like a big salad or left over lentil soup/stir fry etc. Afternoon tea I usually have some raisins and seeds (pumpkin/sunflower) and then dinner I usually have a very small portion of whatever I cook because I eat after my evening run and I'm not usually that hungry. Then around 9 I have a piece of toast, or the past two nights Travis and I have been splitting a bag of pop corn....That's pretty much my "usual". I have converted everything to fresh/whole foods and grains and the only thing in our whole house that is pre-made or bottled is the little bit of hoisin sauce used for stir fries and perhaps jelly. We never eat out, so pretty much I would say we have been detoxed of all the preservatives and stuff that we used to eat. I definitely want to continue in that because I cannot begin to say how much better I feel...It's amazing the effect that food has on our bodies/moods/health etc....

So, that's my update after the first month of 2010...How are your resolutions going? What changes do you need to make to get back on track? It's easy after the first month to just loose your focus. Sit down and really evaluate where you are at and decide what changes you need to make to get yourself back on track, or simply to re-commit yourself if you are still on track!!! Share your progress with your friends, start a blog, or start a personal journal. Throw your thoughts out there and see what comes of it! =)

"The strength I feel inside me is enough to sustain me during any experience I have today" ~ Namaste

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Best Pumpkin Soup EVER!

So, my project the past few days has been to make a lot of things for the freezer in preparation for school starting. Today I made new variation on my pumpkin soup and I thought that this was definitely blog worthy.....Especially for those of you who love to use your crock pot!

Spicy Carrot and Pumpkin Soup
(No picture, because it really ends up just looking like a pureed soup!)
1/2 pumpkin diced
1/2 squash diced (Or extra pumpkin)
2 large carrots diced (If they aren't big enough, throw in an extra one)
2 potatoes diced (you can sub sweet potato)
1 large onion diced
2 cloves garlic
3 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp curry powder
dash chilli powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 1/2 tsp paprika
3 cups vegetable stock
freshly ground pepper
freshly chopped coriander
coconut milk

Soften onion and garlic in oil. Add flour and all pre-diced vege. Coat everything well with the flour and let the flour absorb the oil. Pour everything in crock-pot and add all spices and stock. Cook on low for roughly 6 hours or until vege is tender and falling apart. Add in coriander and coconut milk. (additional, you don't have to add this if you don't have it on hand.) Puree until consistency is creamy or as desired. (You can leave some chunks depending on how you like it.)

Such a beautiful soup and it's really soothing. This is definitely my favorite - I might have to make this again next week and freeze some more!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Progress Report - Starting Week 10

Today started week 10 in my 14 week challenge. My goal was to get back in great shape before school started and to hopefully get down to 132 so that I could get really well-fitted nursing uniforms.

Looks like the whole vegetarian thing is working out for me in more ways than one - I'm down to 139 so not far off! I am actually almost exactly the same measurements as I was at my very healthiest back in Korea. (Actually my legs are even smaller now.) But because I have built so much muscle through running and yoga, it will take a little more effort to get down to 132 this time around.

The exciting part of losing this weight for me has been that I did not diet or deprive myself. I just changed my whole lifestyle and priorities. I'm eating what is right for my body and that has made all the difference in the world. No more struggling, no more cravings...The changes I have made for myself are lifelong. I am setting goals for myself that I never dreamed possible before (like my desire to run a half marathon in 2010).

While there are those who still make fun of me for going all "healthy" and stuff; I will gladly accept the joking for the reward that I get from feeling great about my accomplishments. (Travis still laughs at me when I drink my "green smooties" in the morning, but I just go about my business and slip into my clothes feeling great that I can wear them so comfortably now!!)

So, the exciting thing for me today was that I tried on my very tiniest pair of hiking pants and they fit!!! They actually fit really nicely too, not tight at all.....These pants were smaller on me even back in Korea and I got them as a light-weight hiking pants there. I have NO idea why I ever kept them, and when I was unpaking stuff here in NZ I could not for the life of me figure out why in the world I even brought them. (At the time I couldn't get them even up past my hips!) We only brought over a suitcase of clothes and a duffle bag so I was frustrated with myself for taking up the space to bring a pair of pants that I couldn't even wear!! Then, this morning I remembered them and thought I would give it a go - What do you know!? Progress is finally taking place and all of my hard work is paying off.

My runs this week have been really nice - some good paces going on and I even got a good six miler in this week too - I have been averaging around 25km (15 miles) a week, so that's exciting progress on that front as well. - I'm looking forward to our next 7K this coming Tuesday and hope it will be a great one.

Tonight for dinner I made home-made pizzas which were fabulous. I made the tomato base from scratch and then topped mine with all sorts of yummy vege and cheese and then Travis got to have his with sausage which made him really happy. I did get the crust from the store because I didn't want to do the whole dough thing today; but overall it was all really healthy. (The breads here don't have preservatives and stuff like in the states, so it was still rather healthy.)

My goal for the next few weeks is to make a lot of freezer food before school starts. I got a ton of fruits that were pretty cheap today and froze them which will be so wonderful for my morning smoothies. Friday I had made a huge pot of soup with different lentils and barley to freeeze, then Saturday morning I had gotten up before work and made a mung bean casserole and I froze most of it, then today I made a lentil soup and froze all of it. (unfortunately the recipe called for spinach and somehow the combo of spinach and lentils really reaked. I mean, it smelled really bad! Bummer..hope it tastes better than it did look pretty- Travis was VERY happy that this was a freezer food for me later and not our dinner! ha....)

I am taking a first aid class on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, so it will be a busy week for me.

That's the latest progress report, I will post my next one at the conclusion to my 14 week challenge. After that I begin training for my 10K and 13K races....More to come!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Summer in Palmy

The weather here in Palmerston North has been totally amazing this week! So warm and sunny and it just makes me want to go to the beach! (Can't convince Travis to go - bummer.)

Last night we had dinner with some friends from church, which was really nice. There were a few others there that we had not met yet, so it was nice to get to know them. One of the girls will be in my nursing program so it was really cool to meet her. Dinner was fabulous (I love how people here cook so healthy...mostly roast meals...we had peas, carrots, roast pumpkin and roast potatoes, an orzo salad - fabulous - and they also served lamb....It was so great having so many vegetable choices because no one even noticed that I didn't eat the lamb!) Lovely dinner and felt great that we were able to still eat a healthy meal!
This is me in my sun dress that Travis bought me to wear in NZ! =) Not the best picture, but you get the idea...

Tonight is our second 7K race in the Super Seven Series so we are both looking forward to that - although we are likely to have heat stroke if the weather holds as it is now! (Our Alaskan natures are just not used to all this warm weather! ha)

The past few weeks I have been focusing on increasing my running distances and really getting in some good yoga sessions every day. I haven't been back at the gym as often as I was before Christmas so I am working on that - just hard to fit in everything, and I would rather make sure I get my yoga and run's a compromise and in an ideal world we would have time for it all, but you know...

I thought I would share a super easy recipe real quick since it has become one of my new favorites! I have been drinking green smoothies every morning with my breakfast and continuing to eat really healthy, so I'm very happy with how that's coming together. I am down to 64kg this week so very happy with that as well. (Still a little ways to go, but I'm content on taking it slow.)

Chickpeas and Roast Vegetable Couscous

  • Combination of diced vegetables of choice: I chose root vege like kumera, carrots, parsnips (my first time EVER eating or cooking these - and I LOVE them!) potato (if using a white potato you will want to boil them a little first...mine did not cook fully) onion, red pepper, and cauliflower
  • Chestnuts, Almonds, or Cashews - I just tossed a handful in with the roast vege
  • Olive Oil
  • Dried Sweet Basil and Oregano
  • Chickpeas
  • 1/2 Cup couscous
  • 125ml Vegetable Stock
  • 1 tsp paprika
I adapted this recipe from some other ideas, so it's really basic. Just coat all vege and nuts in olive oil and dried herbs, salt/pepper. Turn into a casserole dish and roast in oven on 200c stirring occasionally to cook evenly. I cooked mine for about an hour, but just watch and remove when all vege is roasted thoroughly. Cover 1/2 cup couscous with hot vegetable stock and mix in the 1 tsp paprika. Let sit covered for about 5 min. until couscous absorbs the liquid. Mix the chickpeas and couscous with the roasted vege and serve!! It is fabulous and makes a ton!

I served this on the side of a pesto pasta (fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, cashews, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese pureed into a pesto) and for Travis I served chicken as well. Makes a lovely dinner! (Next time I will steam some asparagus or broccoli because I felt like it could have used some more greens on the side.)

"What is good for the body, is good for the whole man" ~ Fred Rohe Zen Running

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Enter to win a FREE yoga mat bag!

I found this amazing website through another great blogger, and wanted to share.....LaRae is a yoga and pilates instructor and she started designing and sewing all of these fantastic items that are used for relaxation/yoga/even cooking!! Her website is awesome, and the items she sells are truly beautiful as well as reasonably priced. Check this website out if you want something nice to treat yourself, or as a really nice gift. The website is yogagrrlie and you can read all about LaRae's projects and see the various items she makes.Also, if you want to win one of her yoga mat bags, check out Monica's blog and enter to win!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fabulous Lentil Quiche

So, I promise that all of my blogs aren't going to be food related in 2010, but I have seriously been coming across some amazing recipes that I have to share! This one is a really neat twist on your traditional quiche. (The thing I love about it is there is no pastry!!)

I made this when I got home from work tonight and it was fabulous!! Travis' first comment was, "There's a lot of green in here!" but he asked for a second piece and seemed to really like it......Because it takes over an hour to make, I served a pumpkin dahl for an appetizer. (I had made that a while back and froze it. I chopped up some chicken in Travis' for him and he was content to wait for the quiche to finish.)

Lentil Quiche
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli (roughly about one big bunch)
  • 1 chopped tomato (next time I might try sun-dried tomatoes so you could substitute that.)
  • 1/2 cup dried lentils
  • 4 eggs beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • dash nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • chopped fresh herbs - parsley, basil, coriander
  • dash of dried oregano
  • dash of dried sage
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese - Parmesan and mozzarella (just what I had)

Pre-heat oven to 350F or 190C. Stir-fry the onion in oil until softened and set aside in a bowl. Using the same pan add lentils and cover with water. Bring to a boil - about 15 min. or until just tender, but not fully cooked - Drain access water off until just a small amount is remaining. Return to stove and add broccoli on top. Put a lid on the pan and let the broccoli steam while the lentils soak up the remaining liquid - about 5 min. Stir all vege together with cheese and pour into a greased deep dish pie plate (maybe two?) or a small casserole dish. Whisk together eggs, milk, all spices and herbs. Pour over vegetables. Bake for 40-45 min. or until set. Let cool for 5 min. before serving.

Healthy choices, mean healthier futures ~ Namaste

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Super Seven Series

Last night was the first 7K race in a seven week series here in Palmerston North. I finally convinced Travis to go along and race with me, and it turned out to be a really wonderful event! So glad he went. We had a lot of fun together and it was great walking home and talking about the event!

We decided to walk to the race since it is only about 1 1/2 miles from our apt. (We figured this would be a great warm up/cool down as well.) We got there way early because we had been warned that the crowds could make for long lines during registration etc. We were some of the first there, so our numbers reflect our "early bird" mentality - Travis was #7 and I was #8 - There were 1,095 who turned up to race last night!! It was a great turn out.

The weather was actually rather chilly at first (we were both sporting our Texas A&M sweatshirts - courtesy of Kari Howell - so I'm sure we stood out as Americans! ha...) We tossed the sweatshirts right before the race and it turned out to be perfect running weather! (cloudy and a bit cool)

The race was fantastic. The only other two races I have run were both really small and I always was running alone (usually in the back). This race was different in that regard, because there were a lot of other runners around my speed that I could pace off of, and quite a lot that I passed! =) It felt great, and I really enjoyed running in a group like that - very motivational and keeps your mind focused elsewhere.

Travis definitely was rockin' it yesterday and placed 13th out of 1,095!! He clocked 28:24 so was cooled off and had finished his bratwurst by the time I crossed the finish at 43:42! =) I was still very happy with this time, as my goal was to finish in under 45.

Overall the whole event was just spectacular - great turn out, great organization, well marked, great route etc...Kudos to the Manawatu Striders and thanks!

We will be back out there next Tuesday night for another great race.

"Running is a big question mark that's there each and every day. It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'"

Monday, January 11, 2010

Some Healthy Choices

For all of you who have been emailing me about recipes, I am posting two really nice ones that make a wonderful lunch dish. You can also serve either dish as a side for your main course.

Indian Chole

I just made this today to have for lunches this week. I will warn you that it is extremely spicy. If you aren't into spicy food, I would highly recommend that you use less green chillies and less chilli powder! =) It is really delicious though.

  • 1 small bowl of cooked chick peas (roughly 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 large tomato diced
  • 2 handfuls of chopped coriander
  • 1 large onion diced
For Paste:
  • 1 medium tomato chopped
  • 2 spoonfuls of tomato paste
  • 1 onion
  • 4-5 green chillies
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1-in strip ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsp sunflower oil (or olive)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon or a little extra
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp stevia (or 1 tsp sugar)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Salt to taste

Blend together tomato, one onion, cumin seeds, chillies, cinnamon and cloves to make a paste using a little water. Set aside.

Heat oil in large frying pan (or electric skillet) and add the bay leaves. Add the diced onion and fry until golden brown. Now add the tomato paste mixture and fry for a few more minutes. Add the dry powders (chilli, turmeric, sugar, coriander, and masala). Now add the chopped tomato and coriander and bring to a soft boil.

Boil for 5 minutes and serve with chapati bread as a side dish, or on top of rice for a main course.

Lentil and Coriander Soup

  • 1 Tbsp sunflower oil (or olive)
  • 2 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/8 Cup brown lentils
  • 1 small onion, cut in half
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 Cups of water (more or less depending)
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Freshly chopped coriander leaves

Add all ingredients to your crock-pot, turn on high, and let it go!! Depending on your machine, it may take a few hours. The amount of water you use will depend also on your machine. The first time I made this using 5 cups of water, but that was too much. Soup is finished when lentils are tender. Remove onion and bay leaf.

Coarsely puree the soup with an immersion blender, or scoop a little out and blend in your food processor. Return the blended paste to the soup for thickening. Serve with a large portion of chopped coriander and a dollop of yogurt if desired. This is a delicious soup, although I admit that it isn't very pretty. =)

I took this to work all last week, and it is great with a little hummus and vege on the side!

Happy cooking this week, everyone!

You are what you eat ~ Namaste

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Finding Peace and Equanimity in Challenging Moments

My focus today has been to quiet my mind in moments of struggle and to find a sense of calm in challenging moments.

1) During my weight-lifting session this afternoon I was definitely challenged. Mostly in the last 5 min. when I finished my gym workout with my usual core routine. (It's a 5 min. session of holding bridge where you alternate sides every 30 sec. without ever coming out of the posture.) It was so challenging but in that moment I was breathing calmly and reminding myself of this focus until the last second passed and the challenge had ended.

2) During my six mile run this afternoon I kept this focus at the fore-front of my mind thinking about how I could release tension and just relax and enjoy the run...constantly reminding myself to "let go" in that moment and to breathe through the challenge.

3) Finally, as I released the strain from my various workouts today in a wonderful and relaxing yoga session; I focused once again on finding equanimity and calm in that moment. It all comes full circle here - through yoga.

The reason for my focus today is to hopefully carry this thought with me throughout the week. When I am feeling stressed at work, or challenged by any number of things; I will try to bring my thoughts back to the moment of "letting go" and the feeling of peace within the challenge.

For those working on adding those healthy additions to your diet, I include here a wonderful hummus recipe that is fantastic with raw vegetables or healthy crackers for a snack!!

Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus
  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained (or I just cook about a cup dried beans)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • Juice of lemon (or about 2 Tbsp lemon juice)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp tahini (If you have trouble finding tahini, just substitute water. I just love tahini.)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Add all ingredients to your food processor and voila! (You may need to add a little water depending on your preference for consistency.) I have been taking this to work with a few organic rice cakes and some lentil soup for lunch! =) Yum....

Focus your mind on the present moment and finding equanimity even in the most challenging situations. ~ Namaste

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Vegetable Kashmiri

Last night I made a wonderful Indian curry dish that was so fantastic. I thought I would share it here since I have been talking about healthy living and vegetarian eating etc.....I served this over brown rice and also made Travis a side bowl of ground beef and sausage I just poured his meat mixture - which I added a little green chilli and oil to - over the rice and then topped with kashmiri. He loved it.

Vegetable Kashmiri

2 tsp cumin seeds ground - or use half cumin seeds and half ground cumin
fresh ground pepper
2 cardamom pods - seeds only
2 in. cinnamon stick ground - or about a 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg - or substitute extra cinnamon or allspice
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 inch fresh ginger root
1 fresh green chilli
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 large potatoes - cut into tiny cubes
8 oz cauliflower - in small pieces
8 oz broccoli or other vege - last night I used broccoli and peas
2/3 cup natural yogurt
2/3 cup vegetable stock
Toasted flaked almonds and fresh coriander

Grind all spices together. Heat oil in a large skillet or pot (keep in mind how much vege you are cooking so you have room to stir!) and fry the chilli and ginger for 2 min. Add the chilli powder, salt and ground spice mixture and cook for 2-3 min. Stir in the potatoes and cover and cook for 10 min. (if needed, add a little of the vegetable stock if spices are sticking to pan. I have found that if you add just a little stock gradually it keeps it all flowing.) Add the other vegetables and cook 5 min. Add the yogurt and stock. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer 20 min until vegetables are tender and serve garnished.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Changing your eating habits forever

I dedicate this blog today to everyone out there who has ever tried dieting and found that after a while all the progress that was made is now regressing and slowly slipping away. (This has been me throughout my whole life....I have done Weight Watchers, South Beach Diet, Cabbage Diet, Detox Diet, etc. etc. etc....) I have tried everything and with each diet that I went on I had great success followed by the inevitable return of the weight....

So, as many of you know, I have gradually moved into a vegetarian lifestyle over the past 6 months or so. I read a wonderful book called The China Study that really opened my eyes to lifestyle choices and the things we chose to feed our bodies....I have also watched various movies such as Food Inc. (which if you haven't seen, you DEFINITELY should) and have done a lot of research on healthy living and lifestyle choices.

I have made some serious changes in my life and it seems that there are others out there who wish to do the same this year. I wanted to do a post on "How to change your eating habits forever". I'm not a professional and I don't claim to know the answers, but I just wanted to share what worked/is working for me. I hope that something here will inspire you to seek the path of health for your future.

Firstly, you must have a passion and motivation for change. Why is it that you want to change your eating habits? Do you really know what is bad and good for you to eat? Do you really know the impact that food has on your health and life? Where is your passion for this change coming from? Take some time to ask yourself these questions and really contemplate your answers. Until you identify your motivation I think that change will not only be difficult, but very likely it will not be forever....To make a change that will last forever it has to really mean something to you personally. You have to feel that it really is "life or death" and it has to hold that kind of motivation for you. Wanting to lose weight is NOT motivation enough to make a change that will last forever. It has to mean something more...

Secondly, you must identify the easy habits to kick. If you know right off the bat that you could easily give up cheese because you don't really like it anyway, or bread, or meat, or alchohol or whatever it is....give that up first! Then move onto the harder stuff....Once you identify the reasons you have for quitting it is so much easier to give it up...I just gradually took this approach with each thing - coffee, chocolate, meat, sugar, etc....I identified why it was bad for me, what it was doing to my body, how I would feel if I gave it up, what it would mean for my life and future if I did etc.....Once you start seeing the results in your life you get excited about it and want to eliminate more and more things! (For example, after giving up caffeine and chocolate my headaches started going away! I am definitely excited about spending less of my life suffering and more of it living...This has motivated me to eliminate other things as well)

Thirdly, you cannot give something up without replacing it. (Depriving yourself only makes your lifestyle choices more of a diet than really a change.) In order to make these changes last forever you have to find something that will satisfy you in the same way. For example, to satisfy the need for sugar you might eat fruit or something with a natural sweetness. The way I felt less deprived when giving up meat was to treat myself to new foods and buying new ingredients. I had never cooked with legumes or grains like bulgar wheat and stuff. I had never even heard of cardamom pods and never dreamed of cooking with ginger enough to buy a whole root of it! Basically when I moved to NZ I started a whole new pantry and I took that time to fill it with only the good stuff! I don't cook with flour or lard or anything like that anymore, I have a huge selection of grains, beans/legumes, spices, herbs etc...If a recipe calls for cream or something that I know my body doesn't like, I skip it and find a new recipe! Look for recipes that are totally different than what you are used to making and it will add a new element of excitement to these lifestyle changes.

For me the key is not buying it....I never buy sweets or candy or chocolate or cakes or anything like that, I never buy ice cream or cereals or snack foods like granola bars. I just don't buy it!! If I need a snack I eat a few raisins and some pumpkin seeds or some carrots or something. After the first month of getting past all the cravings I don't even need snacks anymore. I feel totally satisfied with what I have eaten and I hardly ever crave sweets. (I think that part is directly related to my lack of meat intake though.) I have never felt healthier and more energetic. I don't have any pain like I used to have, and I just feel refreshed. If you are offered a small chocolate or a bit of cake or something, you can feel awesome about indulging in that since it may have been months since you had a treat. And you can enjoy it knowing that it isn't part of your every day lifestyle and therefore a small bit isn't going to hurt you. =) I think it makes the indulgence even more intense.

The biggest part for me is finding things to cook that will attract my husband to eat them! (he is definitely a meat eater!!) I have found that he totally loves Indian food and Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern so I stick with a lot of recipes like that. I do a lot of soups where I can make some meat on the side for him, and I also just adapt things....if he ever complains (which is very rare) I just use the reasoning "I'm trying to save money, love; it's so much cheaper to cook without meat!" He has no response to that and will usually smile politely and recognize that I'm trying to honor his desires to save money! =) And yes, it is true - meat is so much more expensive...especially if you are buying organic meat! If you have children I would encourage you to start NOW to help them eat healthier and make better food choices.I think that as a parent you have a wonderful opportunity to help your children learn how to eat things that will help them grow happy and strong and help them avoid the many pit-falls of our American diet.

I hope that this helps to motivate you to make life changing choices for your future, not just a quick fix diet for today......It's about what is going to help you live a healthier, happier, longer life! It definitely takes dedication to do an overhaul on your diet like this, but I think that it is well worth the sacrifice. I promise that if you commit to changing your eating habits for life, it WILL bring life back to you!!! It won't be a diet that you have to constantly be starting over, it won't be an up and down road, it will just be your new lifestyle, and it will be so worth it!!! If you need encouragement, please feel free to write me. By making these changes for myself it has changed my life, and I hope that you will find the same to be true.

We all feel, struggle, laugh, and cry...We are a supreme universal spirit ~ Namaste


So, I just wanted to share that the gym opened again today after the holiday break and I got to weigh in - roughly 142lbs (64.5kg) - I am so excited!!! I am really starting to feel a huge difference. I am down to the very last 10lbs and my goal was to hit the mark by the start of school...That leaves me 7 more weeks since I am half way through my 14 week challenge! Definitely doable!!! Yeah for progress!!!

"The pictures you hold in your mind form the reality of your existence." ~ Namaste