Thursday, October 27, 2011

Catching Up....

My computer done went and got the sick on me. We just bought each other new iPads for an early anniversary gift and then *BOOM* computer died. I've run several virus scans, I'm removed various softwares and uploads, I wiped it clean and reinstalled Windows and it still doesn't want to play nice. I'm ready to boot it out the window! The one thing stopping me? It is next to impossible to blog from the iPad/iPhone. So here I am. Let's keep our fingers crossed that my computer cooperates long enough for me to get this post out to the interwebs.

So, I have some catching up to do with you all. That real foods challenge? Yea, it was pretty much dead in the water, but it did introduce some interesting conversations around the dinner table with the kids. They are more aware of their food choices now and over all, we're all eating a bit more healthily. I'll call that a success.

I'm back at the gym. I've finally got our school schedule nailed down enough and I'm scheduling workout times around our school work. I'm planning to work out about six days a week with the following schedule:

  • MWF ~ yoga or intervals and steady state cardio

  • TTH ~ intervals and weight lifting

  • Sat ~ rest day

  • Sun ~ Reward myself with Aqua Zumba

I stepped on the scale earlier this week and was ASTONISHED to see that I was up to 222.0 again. I started to beat myself up over it and get down on myself, but it is what it is. I know it's because I let this fall get away from me, I was too busy and rushed and simply not making good food choices for myself and my family. Afterall, that's what prompted this food challenge to begin with. I'm not sure why I even expected anything different from the scale.

I have a few short term goals ~ below 220 by my birthday (Nov 5), below 215 by our anniversary (Dec 10), below 210 by Christams (Dec 25). They are slow and steady goals, but I do intend to continue losing weight through the holidays. I'm hosting both Thanksgiving and Christmas and I have complete control over the menu. I plan to give myself free passes on those two days only, but the leftovers will be packaged up and sent home with guests.

Ok, I recognize this post is sort of all over the place (hhhmmm, that seems to be a trend around here these days!), but I'm afraid my computer is going to give me the big ole "F! You" any second now. I'm just gonna go ahead and hit publish. Proof reading and copy editing is for people with nice computers.......Maybe Santa will come through for me?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I Should Have Known

~*~ WARNING: This post is emotional and a little all over the place. It is what it is. ~*~

We're two days into this challenge and it's been a smashing......FAILURE. I'm talking epic. Completely ridding one's diet of all things processed takes a lot of planning. A lot of planning. Being already behind on life in general, once I started planning out food for our challenge I immediately felt my blood pressure start to rise. I kept thinking I'd find time to do the planning, but who would have guessed that extra hours don't just magically appear on the weekends just because you need them. Pfft.

Each day I'd relax the rules a little bit more and by the time Tuesday morning showed up, the challenge was pretty much out the window. Going from zero to 60, for my family at least, was just too much at one time.

The fact remains, though, that my family is still eating too much processed food. Tonight at dinner, after fighting with the kids one more time about what they'll eat and how many bites and yada yada yada, we excused them to the living room and I broke down. (oh yeah, forgot to mention that I totally timed this challenge to start the exact same day as TOM, stellar planning on my part, wouldn't ya say?)

I am acutely aware that I've created this food struggle in my family. I'm not blind to the fact that my child will tell me whatever it is he thinks I want to hear simply so I won't nag him about nutrition anymore. I'm tuned in to the reality that said child will go back on his word once the food is actually in front of him, I do stop short of actually shoving nutritious food down my child's throat. I know, I'm just not badass enough.

My husband and I talked and we decided to start slow. Breakfast and snack times are easy to fix, so we'll start there. My kids used to be great snackers: cheese, fruit, yogurt, smoothies, etc...lately, though I've been so busy and stressed out that these snacks haven't always found their way into our kitchen and instead I simply throw a bar at them from the front seat of my van as we're driving from Art Class to soccer practice. I'm also usually trying to multitask and organize 50 things at one time while at the grocery store, emailing someone on my phone, texting husband and adding/deleting things on my grocery list while trying to wrestle the iPad from my youngest's hands. It's no wonder some of these less than healthy snacks have been landing in my cart. I can't handle an arguement with the kids on top of all of that, so I simply say yes.

For the next little while, until the kids "detxo" a bit, I'll be grocery shopping alone. Let me say that again. I'll be grocery shopping alone. Did you miss the important part? Alone. Aaahhhhh. I will be removing all junk from the house (or at least hiding it so they don't see it). If it's not here, they can't eat it. When they get hungry, they'll eat what's there.

Now, on to the emotional side of this ~ I have passed my food issues on to my child and I feel that pulling him so hard towards the other way and making this a big deal is simply compounding the problem. I'm the mom and I buy the groceries, so this should be a no brainer, right? One problem ~ I have food issues of my own. My child has learned these behaviors by modeling me. I'm working my ass off to address these issues, but fixing myself and fixing him at the same time is exhausting. Especially when he's not old enough to reasonably understand why things need to change.

In a nutshell, the no processed foods challenge is still on ~ it's just going a slower pace than anticipated. Stick around while we eliminate this junk one bit at a time....

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My new Go-To breakfast

I have a confession to make. Our mornings are crazy. There, I said it. What? I'm not the only one? Oh thank goodness!! When the school year first started, I had grand plans of waking at 6 am every morning to enjoy a quiet cup of coffee while I perused Facebook (have you liked my page, yet?) and let the dogs out to stretch their legs. At 7 am, I would gently rouse my children and let them slowly wake from their slumber as they watched some quality, educational TV such as The Suite Life, The Wizards of Waverly Place or Hannah Montana. Then, at 8am we would all meet for a home cooked, family breakfast followed by chores, getting dressed & brushing our teeth. At 9 am we would all be sufficiently nourished and ready to start our lessons with smiles on our faces.

That lasted a week. To be honest, I'm surprised it lasted that long. But alas, I still dream of it happening every day. Some day, internets, some day.

In the meantime, on the mornings that don't run so smoothly I've come to count on smoothies to get me through that twitching hour ~ you know, the time between I realize it's 8 am and everyone is still in bed and deciding we really do need to squeeze in a full day of school before art class that starts at 9:30 am.

  • One scoop of Jay Robb Tropical Dreamsicle Protein Powder

  • One cup of milk (whole, raw)

  • Handful of fresh fruit (mango, melon, strawberry, grape & pineapple mix from Costco)

  • ice

  • One raw egg (only pastured, organic for this girl)

And that's it. Give it a whirl and let your tummy smile.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Faux Pho?

How's that for a multi-cultural title? Excuse the poor photo, I'm losing sunlight and I had to push all of our school books out of the way to find a clear spot on the table!

A friend posted a picture on Facebook a while back that inspired this dish. It is soooo gooooodd!! I saw Costco had Soba Noodles the other day and since they don't qualify for our end of the month challenge, I knew I had to make this dish now. Oh my. I don't know how I'm going to survive two weeks without this!

This is what you'll need:

  • Peanut Oil

  • Rotisserie Chicken

  • Julienned Carrots

  • Broccoli, chopped

  • Sesame Oil

  • Mirin

  • Soy Sauce

  • Sambal Oelek

  • Soba Noodles

  • Chicken Broth

  • Cilantro

  • Sriarcha

I swirled some peanut oil in a small sauce pan. I added the chicken let it sizzle just enough to get some nice brown spots on it (remember, the meat was already cooked), then I tossed in a handful of carrots & broccoli and let those sizzle for a few. A dash of sesame oil and few glops of mirin and a spoonful of sambal oelek and I let that all hang out for a few seconds. Then I grabbed a handful of noodles and threw them and let them chill for a bit and start to separate. Then I poured in the broth. Once it all came up to temp I poured into a pretty Pyrex bowl and sprinkled on some chopped up cilantro and squirted some sriarcha over the top. Can I tell you how hard it was to stop and snap a few pictures before diving it?

Next time I will use veggie broth. The chicken broth is just a little too heavy for this dish. I also added a little fish sauce to this and next time I'll leave that out. It doesn't need it. You could totally add mushrooms (I don't care for them), or cabbage (I didn't have any) or bean sprouts (again, not a fan), or anything else you fancy. Just go with it. And dig in.

The Rules

Do you remember that book The Rules? I bought it. I read it. I don't remember any of it, but I'm married now, so maybe it worked? When I typed the title of this post, I just remembered that book. Sorry, back to the task at han ~ hey look! Something Shiny!!

Ahem. Ok, back to the challenge. The rules of the original challenge, while fabulous and no doubt extremely healthy were a little too extreme for my family. At least for our first go 'round. After discussing it with my husband and my oldest son (my youngest doesn't know about it yet, but he'd live off of melon & tomatoes alone if he could, so I'm not too worried about him) we decided on the following rule:

~*~Basically only eat things that my grandmother could have made at home~*~

Ok, so it's not exactly that simple, but it's pretty close. Here's the thing: If I didn't allow any prepared foods into the house two things would happen: My children would stage a coup and I'd be stuck in the kitchen all day. I'm looking for health, not insanity.

  • Dairy: We will continue to consume our raw milk, all other dairy will be organic (when possible) and absolutely rBST/rBGH free. There will be no stabilizers, preservatives or other unknowns in any of it. We typically buy Tillamook Cheese and we'll continue to do so. In my opinion, yogurt is no place for "modified corn starch" (GMO), Gelatin, Artificial Flavors, HFCS or atificial sweeteners, so I'll either be making my own or buying locally made, small batch yogurt for this challenge. I read somewhere that most commercial yogurt is only "cultured" for a just a few hours, but I can't find the article now. To truly get the benefit of probiotics, yogurt needs to be cultured for quite some time. I simply don't trust most commercially made yogurts.

  • Fruits & Veggies: fresh is best, organic frozen is tolerable.

  • Grains: I'll make pretty much all of our bread products (I can't think of any off the top of my head that I won't make).

  • Fats: You will not find any vegetable oils or canola oils in my kitchen. Haven't for years. I use olive oil, coconut oil, butter, ghee, animal fats & I'm learning to use palm oil.

  • Meat: all meat will be organic and pastured/grassfed and free of nitrates, preservatives and other nasty junk

  • Sweeteners: No HFCS, no artificial sweeteners. Maple Syrup, raw honey & organic evaporated cane juice in moderation.

  • Prepared/Packaged Foods: Ok, I know I said there would be zilch ~ but then I started to really think about that and well, at least right now, that's not possible in my house. So here's the standard ~ if the ingredient list is all recognizable and indicates that I could theoretically make the item in my own kitchen, it's a go.

  • Beverages: We'll drink milk, water and a very very small amount of 100% fruit juice.

This challenge isn't going to be about losing weight. I'm going to use sugar, I'm going to use flour (freshly milled), I'm going to cook (for the most part) the way the Amish still do today. This challenge is about breaking the addiction to preservatives & snythetic 'food'. It's about getting back to the basics. I'll deal with weight issues afterwards.....

I'll blog our food, my recipes, our moods, our medications, everything. By the end of the two weeks, you'll know more about my family than you'd ever wish to! My goal is to teach my children about real food and the connection nutrition has to our health. Ok, who's with me?!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Real Foods Challenge

The other day, I stumbled across this blog. This woman and her husband chose to take 100 days and eat nothing but whole, real foods. No processed foods at all. Zip. Zero. Zilch. I love this idea.


Let me back up a bit. I have a confession to make. My oldest son is a processed food carb addict. I take full responsibility for his food issues and I lose sleep over it nearly every night. I recognize that a lot of his pickiness is a direct result of his personality type, I had a huge part in creating this monster of a nutritional nightmare. It's not lost on me that this child is also the one with chronic asthma and allergies. I do not believe in fighting my child over food, as we are both control freaks and it quickly deteriorates into a battle of the wills, but I also do not want to send him out into the world as an adult with no knowledge of what these foods that he's so helplessly addicted are doing to his body. He's not old enough to understand it on a logical level, so I've been trying to devise a plan to show him in a more tactile manner.


Enter the real foods challenge. When I read this blog, it was like a light bulb went off in my head. Why hadn't I thought of this? It's perfect! My family is going to do a trial run, a mini version if you will, of her 100 Days of Real Foods Challenge.

At this point, I'm not sure I could get my children on board with 100 days and with the holidays coming up and all of the parties and dining out that comes along with it, we will not have enough control over the food in front of us to take this on. We've decided to start with two weeks.

Starting on Oct 18 and ending on Oct 31 my family will eat nothing but whole, real foods. We will not buy or consume processed foods and I will blog the whole thing. Everyday, right here on this blog. Won't you join us?

~*~Stay Tuned for the Official Rules We'll Be Following~*~