Friday, March 22, 2013

Moving Day

I've given this a lot of thought over the last 3 months.

During the first week of January, I realized that I have been approaching this whole thing from the negative point of view, rather than from the positive side. I came to the conclusion that my whole life would be served in a better way by starting fresh on everything, including blogging.

It took me longer still to formulate the full concept for a new blog, even though the name came to me almost right away...

Embrace the Plate. 

I want to welcome food, health, life, love - everything that is right and good - with open arms. Let's start there... not in a place that is ever doomed to be less than it could be. Not by feeling ashamed of my love affair with flavour and aroma.

So I invite you to join me on Embrace the Plate - a new way at looking at my life. I will share recipes, exercise, successes, and discoveries.

I hope to see you soon!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Biting into a New Year

Looking at the last year from a health perspective, I can't help but feel that I've really wasted a lot of valuable time. So much of it has been a step forward, two back, two forward, one back... and me basically staying exactly in the same spot. I'm like the truck I got stuck in the snow two days ago. Rock it forward, rock it back, spin the tires, dig in a little deeper.... eventually just give up and sit there until someone tows me out.

That is NOT what I want for 2013.

I love food, I love life, I love being happy and healthy and spending time with people I care about. When I get into a diet rampage, it seems that I inevitably try to do it in such an extreme way that it becomes unmanageable. I have such high expectations of myself, and I am so very negative when I fail. I set the bar so high that failure becomes the only option other than really being superwoman.

Why do I think I can be superwoman? I've been encouraged and empowered my whole life, and usually at the root of my thoughts is that sense that I really can accomplish anything I set out to. Then, hidden somewhere in the cluttered edges of my interior being, is that slimy sense of worthlessness, of hopelessness... of not being good enough to succeed at anything.

I am great at doing what I do. I do a lot. Too much. I try to be perfect at all of it. And I think that, somehow, I really COULD be perfect - or nearly perfect - at things if I don't let myself get distracted from the goal.

So, is my failure really because I get distracted? Is it because I somehow don't want to succeed? Or, is it just that I set the bar too high? 

While I try to figure out the answer to that, would it help me to set the bar a bit lower for a while? Something almost ridiculously achievable? 

Would it be good to back WAY up on all of this, and start simple? I scoff at myself for needing to be simple, when I think I should be able to just do it ALL already.
Being a meat and potatoes kind of girl isn't a bad thing, until you find yourself wanting to eat ALL the meat and potatoes, for no reason at all.
 How silly I feel, to look at the last two years since my baby was born, and think that I've given up so often, based on the assumption that I'd be just having my next child soon anyway. I've REALLY had that attitude for the last few months. And what has happened? Nothing! I'm not pregnant! And I've never taken so long to get pregnant, which leads me to the conclusion that I'm just too heavy to conceive right now. And since I really DO want to have a baby in 2013, keeping the age gap to something I feel is appropriate, I need to be very proactive in the weight loss department, right now.

Then there's the other voice saying, Screw it, go eat the Christmas cookies.

Here's the thing. I am not hungry. I am not even craving cookies, or anything else for that matter. So why do I want to do this to myself?

Maybe my New Year's Resolutions shouldn't be about so much doing, so much accomplishment, as they should be about liking me. Me, liking me. For real, all the way.

Because then all that positivity in me, all those good things I know I have to offer, won't be wasted by the negative voices that want to bring me down to nothing.
2013: Climb Every Mountain. Or just embrace the one you're on.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Missed two weeks!

Days in: Paused!

Well, the virus that the kids had in September and J got in October finally caught up to me right after our date night (which was FANTASTIC) and the conference I worked (which was also great but not as great as the ballet).

I've been pretty miserable. I have had really swollen glands that are super painful, and my homeopathic practitioner has told me to work on rest and cutting back on stressors before going back to the cleanse. She also wants to keep me on the clean eating diet, which I have been continuing but supplementing with liberal amounts of chocolate and wine this week. Oops. My body has been fighting the bug and processing the gunk I'm releasing with the cleanse, and I overloaded it. Adding in sugar has been a really bad idea. 

My weight stayed the same for the first week, and crept up a couple of pounds last week... and now that I'm starting to feel better physically, I'm going to give it my best shot again.

How I'm feeling: Upset at myself for backsliding. I know better than to give in like that. Yes, my homeopath told me to stop the cleanse, BUT I had no excuse to stop eating clean. I'm also a bit worried about my glands. It's a reaction to continuously elevated cortisol levels, affecting my adrenals in a very negative way. I NEED to slow down. I know I do. I just don't know what I can give up or cut out of my life.

What else I'm doing: J was just away for 5 days, and it's the first time he's been gone on a trip that I HAVEN'T done something majorly renovate-y on the house. I usually use the time to motivate myself to overhaul a room or paint something or build something... the surprise to him when he's home is magic to me. But I decided this time to rest as much as I could to get over the bug. Oh, and I did the laundry. 

Planning for next week: The week ahead looks a bit more "normal", and I've refused to schedule anything for next weekend that wasn't already on the calendar. Huddle time with hubby and kids - something we haven't done for months and months. There's always something planned. I'm looking forward to it!

What I want to tweak or add: I am going to go back to clean eating, and get out cross country skiing at least twice this week. It's so beautiful outside with the fresh snow!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween! Cleanse - week 2

Days in: 14/30
How I'm feeling: Really tired, but usually not too bad.

What's been tough: Eating the way I should. I've been really lackadaisical this week.  
Weight lost: Down another couple of pounds to 209.5

What I've been eating: Mostly the same kind of stuff as last week, but with a lot more carbs thrown in than I wanted. And cheese. Today was cheese and crackers and chips and dip, and I don't even like chips. I find myself reaching for things like that - "bad" things that I don't usually want, when I'm really restrictive.

I did only have 2 Halloween treats today. And I am saving the other one for tomorrow. Sugar.... and then the rest has to go away. Even just out of sight will work. If it's not on my counter I won't bother. Usually.

What else I'm doing: Life has been SO busy. I spent no less than 15 hours last Saturday and Sunday creating my son's minion costume for Halloween. Bonus: it turned out absolutely perfectly (See above). The middle two used store bought costumes because I didn't have it in me to make theirs, too... and the baby was a perfect little hobo. She got right into it, carrying her sack with the stick slung over a shoulder, pulling it down to have candy added. All grins and smudgy, adorable face. We had a blast trick-or-treating tonight. I dressed up, too.

Anyway, with work and then Halloween prep, and home schooling and everything ELSE in my life, I have felt pretty off-kilter this week. I'm really hoping to get back on top this week.  

Planning for next week: Date night coming up! Rule number 1 for this week: no alcohol except for date night. We're going to dinner and the ballet on Friday, then Saturday I am working a conference all day (Subway salad for lunch), and then Monday we're back to the city for a big museum day with the kids but I'm packing a lunch. Eating out can be tricky to do right, so I'm needing to make myself conscious right now so I'll be especially careful with the rest of the week.

What I want to tweak or add: I really, really need to go to bed at a decent time. I feel like I'm coming down with something, but that's no surprise, with how little sleep I've been getting. 

Any advice, dear reader? What can I change to make this process smoother?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cleanse, Week 1 Done - and a recipe for you!

Days in: 7/30
How I'm feeling: Empowered! Invigorated... exhausted. I can definitely tell when I haven't had enough carbs because I get so T.I.R.E.D. 

What's been tough: The giving up off caffeine and alcohol. Coffee and wine. Lifeblood. Two big parts of my daily life. I have had the WORST caffeine headaches, daily. Blargh.    

Weight lost: A schwack! I'm at 211. That's 4.8lbs! This cleanse is putting my innards through their paces - to put it politely I'm definitely cleaning out a lot of old gunk. And I'm feeling confident it is real weight lost. I'm not dehydrated.

What I've been eating: LOTS of colourful food. I am having a limited array of dairy in my diet - low fat or non fat milk and cheese, and that's it. 

I made an awesome pumpkin soup that has been a frequent meal. Clocking in at only 69 calories per cup, it's super satisfying, I can have seconds, and it's tasty, too. I weighed everything before putting it in the pot, and then calculated the caloric totals over at Calorie Count -you can see the recipe and nutrition facts below!

What else I'm doing: I've been drinking lots of herbal tea, and reading or watching things about people who inspire me to be the best version of myself. The reminder that I can do this is a good one.

Planning for next week: I've got a staff lunch, coffee with a girlfriend, and my home school facilitator visit tomorrow, and a very busy week leading up to Halloween. Oh, with Halloween comes that idea that there will be extra treats in the house. I am going to allow myself a few treats ON HALLOWEEN. Only on the day. After that, I'm back to being impervious. ;)

What I want to tweak or add this week: Don't eat within a few hours of bed. 
This is a killer for many people I know - most of them are people who have snack attacks while watching tv, then mindlessly munch their way though a bag of chips or something. 

That's not my issue. I'm not a snacker, I don't mindlessly eat, and I don't watch tv much, either. My problem is the fact that we usually don't have supper until pretty late in the evening. 

I like to have family suppers, and that's really hard when J doesn't get home until late. Annnnd honestly, eating before 7 is really hard when I'm so disorganized. My days are so full that if I just start planning my supper at 5, I'm hooped! I'm the only one who can fix that.

Why do I need to change? Because going to bed - and slowing down your metabolism - with a full stomach just means you're not burning all you could. Also, my cleanse dictates that I take the evening dose "three hours after eating". 

So, menu planning it is. 

Know what I'm cooking, and have things on hand. Check my list, and prep things the night before or the morning of... not just after work and home school is done.

I'm pretty sure that planning out my menu the way I plan my kids' school week will have the same payoff. I'll get things done the way I want them done. 

Guesswork is about to go the way of the buffalo.

Enjoy the soup! Let me know how yours turns out. I didn't include measurements for the spices, because that's the one thing I didn't measure. 

Harvest Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients (Makes 10 1 cup servings)
oz  Pumpkin (a big can of pure pumpkin)

oz  Potatoes, red, flesh and skin

oz  Carrots

oz  Onions

oz  Ginger Root and 4 cloves of Garlic

cups  Milk, Lowfat, 1% 

Dice potatoes, carrots, onions and ginger root, and put in a pot. Barely cover with water, and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer until vegetables are soft. 
Puree the soup (with the water) with an immersion blender, or in batches in a regular blender. 
Blend in pumpkin puree and milk You should have about 10 cups - thin with more water if you like. 
Return to heat and add herbs - I used pepper, cayenne, cumin and thyme to taste.

Key points!

  • Low in cholesterol
  • Low in sodium
  • High in calcium
  • High in dietary fiber
  • High in iron
  • High in magnesium
  • High in phosphorus
  • High in potassium
  • Very high in vitamin A
  • High in vitamin C

  • Wednesday, October 17, 2012

    Starting the Cleanse - The Plan

    Days in: 1/30
    How I'm feeling: Motivated, excited, optimistic.... so, pretty typical for a "new thing".

    What I think will be tough: Keeping the coffee, black tea and booze on the down low. I like my coffee, and I enjoy my sit-down-and-unwind-with-a-drink time. Could be interesting. 
    Weight: 215.8 BLECH. 

    I am not expecting this to "fix me" all at once.  I've done enough obsessing over my weight and my diet in the past, and that is really not what this is all about. (At least, I'm trying to not make it about weight.)
    Fresh, bright, new, happy... and natural.

    So, what is this all about? Well, really it's about me having another baby. I don't want the space between my now 22 month old and the next one to be more than 3 years, so it's about time to start getting on that pony. Buuut.... I have been a real slacker since having baby G, and that leaves me still at about 12lbs heavier than when I got pregnant with her. That has to go.

    It's also about my findings about adrenals.... and how if you have too much cortisol (stress hormones!) that isn't processed, you're going to basically bog down your adrenals. Symptoms can include difficulty losing weight, insomnia, etc etc etc..... and so without all the gory details, I think this is an issue I need to address. Dealing with stress properly (and minimizing stress in daily life) is one thing, and then healing my body and helping it to work optimally is the other. Cleansing my system and supporting my adrenals is the goal.

    I would like to lose some weight - at least 10 lbs - before getting pregnant again. I think that weight loss will be a bonus of being focussed on this cleanse. Weight loss won't be the focus in of itself, but when you pay attention to what you eat and when you eat, for whatever reason, you're going to see positive results. 

    Planning for next week: Wed: school, choir, Thurs: school, piano lessons, work, Friday: school, my sister's art show, Saturday: sewing H'ween costumes and catching up on housework, Sunday: taking a son to Cavalia. Monday: work and gymnastics, and Tuesday work and home school. So, a pretty normal week. Hopefully I'll also manage to sleep a bit more. The insomnia and anxiety seems to hit around 3:30am, keeping me up for a couple of hours while I hash out my to-do list....  

    This week, I will begin taking cleanse capsules on an empty stomach 30 minutes before breakfast and lunch, and then 3 hours after supper. That means I need to eat at regular intervals, and know when that's going to be.  Score one for mindful eating! This will be a fun challenge. 

    What I really want to work on: Eating more often, in smaller quantity. 

    When I'm not focussed carefully on healthy eating and healthy living, I become really bad about getting up, rushing headlong into my day (the way I rush headlong into everything), and forgetting that I need to eat breakfast. And then forgetting about lunch, or thinking that I'll just hold out til supper, and be fine. 

    What? Did I just say I only eat one meal a day? Yes. I'm embarassed to admit that this "career dieter" makes the basic and metabolism-bogging mistake of kicking my body into starvation mode. Often. I might eat as few as 950 calories in a day, but if they're basically all in one sitting, my body just says, "FINALLY! FOOD!" and stuffs it all next to my belly button. No thanks. 

    It's definitely time to recreate some good habits. I've been lazy for months, and that has left me really stuck in a rut. 

    Wish me luck!

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

    A new cleanse and a Kale recipe

    I was sitting down to a lovely lunch of kale salad, and thought to myself, I need to share this salad!

    It's kind of hard to share a salad, I suppose, without having you over, or coming to visit you. I'm totally open to that idea, but all things considered, it just isn't going to happen today. However, I CAN share the recipe!

    This is the most glorious salad. It is good for a few days, doesn't get gross and wilty, and has so many vitamins it makes me giddy!

    I've been easing myself into what will become a fairly intense cleanse-month. For the past little while, I've limited alcohol and caffeine (tough for me to get used to!), eliminated sugar, and have been eating only whole foods that are as nutrient dense as possible. Starting tonight, I'm going to start using the "CleanseSmart" capsules I got from my health food store. The idea is to give my body a good reset, while also doing what I can to get my poor over-taxed adrenal system back in working order! I'm pretty sure that my insomnia of late can be tied to too much cortisol. J and I want to start trying for another baby in a month or so, so this is all part of the plan for a healthy pregnancy.

    I decided to make this salad without the feta, eliminating some fat and sodium. I also used less olive oil on my mix and I'm still very happy with it.

    If you make the salad, let me know! I'd like to feel like I'm enjoying lunch with you. It's almost as good as you coming over. Not quite, but I'm okay with a virtual lunch for now!

    Kale and Feta Salad

    For the salad:
    2 bunches kale
    3 garlic cloves, chopped
    1 small red onion, diced into small pieces
    ¼ cup unsalted almonds or pecans, coarsely chopped
    ¼ cup feta cheese

    For the dressing:
    2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    ¼ cup olive oil
    ¼ teaspoon sea salt or to taste
    1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
    Juice of 1 lemon

    Wash and dry your kale. (Wash it well... curly kale especially can hold a lot of dirt.)

    Combine dressing ingredients. Add kale, garlic, red onions to dressing. Using washed hands, mix and massage the greens well to combine, so that the greens are well coated with the dressing. Allow the greens to marinate for 20 minutes.

    Add the almonds (or pecans) and feta cheese just before serving. Mix well. Enjoy!

    My weight loss journey