Husband Health Challenge, Day 2

Day two for my husband, Kevin's first week eating Nutritarian.... Went fairly well. We went to help with my church's Last day of Vacation Bible School and we happily ate fruit for breakfast, but when lunch time came around and our church started to set up for a community BBQ, the tempting smells of fried and grilled meats started wafting towards Kevin. 

In his words: "This is just torturous!"  To my surprise, Kevin was the first to crack into the soup and biscuits I had packed for lunch and made the day before. He didn't even take time to heat up the soup, but it was actually pretty good chilled, so we went with it.  

Since Kevin had to work in the late afternoon and early evening, I was on my own for going to the gym today. Kevin wrote down what I was to do on a scratch pad, and apparently he wanted to torture me just as badly as he was tortured at the BBQ (in a good way). Here was my workout:

10-15 minutes of stretching
30 minutes on the stationary bike doing the fat burner setting
100 jumping jacks
10 minutes resting and stretching
30 minutes MORE on the stationary bike doing the strength building setting
80 calf raises
250 crunches (sets of 50)
10 minutes stretching

In the end I was sweaty and exhausted, but felt more energized for our evening out dancing with friends. My abs are sore from yesterday, but it is nice to feel the muscle building there. Now I'm looking forward to what else he has in store for me for the rest of the week!

Here was our general meal plan for today:
Breakfast: bananas and apples
Lunch: chilled leftover broccoli mushroom bisque, veggies, fruit, baked beans, blackberries
Dinner: Mexican Quinoa (recipe below) and black beans in butter lettuce "tortillas", apple slices, fresh broccoli

Mexican Quinoa

1 small onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 fresh jalapeño, chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1-15 oz can diced tomatoes
1-4 oz can diced green chiles
1 packet of taco seasoning
1/2 tsp liquid smoke

2 cups dry quinoa, rinsed

1.  Sauté the onion, bell pepper, jalapeño, and garlic until tender. 
2.  Placed the sautéed veggies and the rest of the ingredients (except the quinoa) into a high speed blender, and blend until smooth. Add enough water to bring the sauce up to 4 cups. 
3. In a large saucepan, stir together the rinsed quinoa and sauce.
4. Heat to a boil, then cover and simmer on low for 15-25  minutes, stirring every 5.  Take a taste to make sure the grain has cooked, and then remove it from heat and keep it covered for 5 more minutes. 
5. Serve with your favorite Mexican toppings and with or without taco shells (we used butter lettuce instead). 

Amy's Notes:  This recipe makes a lot.... A LOT!  This is great for having leftovers or feeding a big crowd. I added 2 cans of black beans to my recipe, but feel free to have yours plain or with any type of bean you like. Enjoy!

Have you ever tried quinoa before?  What is your favorite way to eat it?


Carnivorous Husband Health Challenge (and My Gym Challenge) Day 1

Hello Readers!  It has been way too long since I have posted!  I realized I was on day 3 of week 5 of my 6-week Eat to Live health challenge the last time I posted, and for those of you who have been following.... To sum it up: I cheated and let things slip, I tried my best to stick with it, but then certain events came up including my birthday, having house (apartment*) guests stay for nearly a week, having a large basketball tournament downtown and eating on the go, eating out often with friends and family, and then a trip to the other side of the state for 4th of July weekend and staying with the in-laws. I'd like to think that I made the best choices I could in the situations I was in, but those choices ended up becoming further and further away from the Nutritarian lifestyle.  This is sad for me to admit, but we all have mistakes and setbacks and this was one of mine.  What do you tell yourself when you fall off the wagon?

In other news.... I have some pretty crazy news that I never thought I would ever hear: my very meat and potatoes carnivorous husband is going to try the Nutritarian diet.... For one week.... With a catch.... I will have to do everything he says at the gym for the week.  The reason this "deal" came about was when we had gone to our small apartment gym yesterday after not having worked out since all of the commotion that led me off of my 6-week challenge. I wanted to go because I was needing to read a bunch of blog emails and was going to power walk on the treadmill while I did. I thought I was being quite productive since I would normally sit my lazy booty in the back porch and do the same thing. Kevin, who went hard on the stationary bike, told me that when I go to the gym I should be dripping in sweat and pushing myself to work hard and improve. That is all fine and dandy, but not something I would normally do. 

Later on that evening Kevin decided to make me a deal: he would eat however I wanted him to for a week as long as I would do whatever he said at the gym for a week.  One week of hard working out to get my husband to seriously try eating Nutritarian?  I'M IN!  So this is what brings me back to blogging after my shame of not completing my 6-week challenge: documenting my husband's first tracks in Nutritarian shoes!

We started all of this today, and I have to say that it didn't go half bad. Here is how Kevin (and I) ate today:

Breakfast: Dr. Fuhrman Antioxidant Rich Breakfast Bar (find the recipe in Dr. Fuhrman's Member Center), 1 apple

Lunch: large romaine (me, spinach) salad with broccoli, cucumber, chickpeas and OMG Walnut Dressing (recipe from My Beef With Meat), 1 apple
Dinner: corn on the cob, Broccoli Mushroom Bisque (recipe in the Dr. Fuhrman Member Center), Better-Milk Biscuits (My Beef With Meat), sugar snap peas, and blackberries

Overall, Kevin was a great sport other than thinking the soup was way too bland, but he liked it with the biscuits I made. He said this was so much more food than he was used to eating (volume-wise), but that he liked the fruit. He was disappointed that today happened to be Free Slurpee Day and he wasn't allowed to have one. As for my hard work out, I was definitely sweating much more than I am used to at the gym, but feel energized and ready to go for tomorrow. 

I'm looking forward to the rest of the week and taking on new challenges at the gym and in the kitchen. My husband will not be the easiest person to cater for while eating Nutritarian, but I will make it work, and hopefully he has a longer list of vegetables and Nutritarian dishes that he likes by the end of the week.

Do you have any recipes you would suggest for a meat and potato guy going Nutritarian?  He loves broccoli, romaine lettuce, and cucumbers.... But not too many other veggies. 

Oh, and here are some fun pictures from our shenanigans over the last few weeks since I have posted:


Day 3, Week 5

Ah, today was a long day....

Food log: 

  • Breakfast: steamed spinach, cashews, nutritional yeast, spicy balsamic vinegar
  • Lunch: spinach salad with carrots, celery, red onion, broccoli, and cannellini beans with tahini dressing
  • Dinner: Happy Herbivore enchilada casserole, watermelon
  • Extras: 3 beers (dinner and trivia)
My salad for lunch
Enchilada Casserole
Topped with vegan nacho cheese, guacamole, and salsa
Exercise log: yoga in the morning

How I felt:  Today I felt just exhausted.... Let me tell you why: before Kevin and I got married last September, I went on the pill a few months before to get used to it and had been on it up until I started this six week challenge a few weeks ago.  I went off the pill for several reasons, the most important reason being that I had extreme fatigue and migraines from it.  So, today started my first "time of the month" since going off of the pill.  It has been hell!  I haven't had this heavy of flow or this bad of back pains since I can remember. :( It's as if I wasn't having a full period since I had been on the pill, and my body is taking its wrath on me because of it.  I hope as I continue with my Nutritarian lifestyle and rebalance my hormones, that it gets better.  My eating for the day went very well.  I forced myself to eat steamed greens for breakfast (maybe it will grow on me), then had a large lovely salad for lunch. After work I went over to my parents for dinner.  My mom made a dish from Happy Herbivore, one of her favorite cookbooks, for the first time: Enchilada casserole.  It. Was. Delicious!  I had to stop myself at one serving, but I could definitely have eaten more.  On top of it I put the nacho cheese recipe from the book, some homemade guacamole, and salsa. Yum!

What is your favorite Nutritarian-friendly cook book?


Day 2, Week 5

Here is a quick (and unformatted) daily log.... This work week will be a long one!

Food Log:
Breakfast: 1 apple, 4 small plums
Lunch: romaine lettuce topped with Mexican black beans, pretzels on the side, 1 peach
Dinner: steamed collard greens with mango balsamic vinegar, 1 peach
Extras: 2 beers at our weekly friend meet up

Exercise log: we were planning on going on a hike in the afternoon, but instead went on a wild goose chase to figure out why my husband's laptop wasn't working... Waking up tomorrow for some at home Pilates and yoga... Very early tomorrow.

How I felt:  Today went by so quickly. It seems to be such a busy week at work, and in the evening it was just as busy running around for computer errands (grr!) and meeting up with friends.  I was inspired for dinner tonight by a post earlier this week on Healthy Girl's Kitchen about how Chef AJ eats steamed greens for breakfast in the morning, so I decided to give it a try for dinner.  It was plenty filling and tasted great with this new spicy mango balsamic vinegar I got a week or so ago. I think I might give greens for breakfast a shot tomorrow morning after my work out.  Also, Kevin and my Chive shirts came in the mail yesterday! Any fellow Chivers that read?  I was pretty happy to see that the shirt I ordered fit perfectly... Hopefully it will be a bit oversized as I keep moving forward with improving my Nutritarian lifestyle. :)

Have you ever eaten greens in the morning besides in green smoothies?


End of Week 4 & the First day of Week 5

I hope everyone had a great weekend.  I did much better limiting my drinking than I have in weekends past.  Although this is technically my 6-week challenge, I have not stuck to it 100%... but you could have figured that out from looking at my logs.  I am just trying to focus on changing bad habits.  Since the start of the challenge I have not had any coffee, no SAD desserts, and have exercised more than I was before.  I think these are definitely good habits I can continue even when the challenge is done.  For the rest of the challenge, I hope to eliminate all processed breads and grains (except for Dave's Killer Bread, which I eat only once or twice a week), to increase my bean/legume intake to 1 cup a day (now at 1/2-3/4 cup), and to add more cooked greens to my dinners.  Now on to my daily logs...

Saturday, Day 6 of Week 4
Food Log:

  • Breakfast: 1 apple, 1 banana
  • Lunch: veggie sandwich with hummus, guacamole, and spicy mango balsamic; 1 slice Greek artisan bread; whole grain chips and hummus; strawberries
  • Dinner: salad with cashews and tahini dressing, bean burger on 1 slice of Dave's Killer Bread
Exercise Log:  Walking along the beach

How I felt:  On Saturday, Kevin and I went with my parents to go boating on our favorite local lake.  I was a fun day, but at the end of the day I felt a bit dehydrated.  In the evening Kevin and I watched a couple of movies that we have been meaning to get to on Netflix.  Overall it was a good eating day, but perhaps with a bit too much processed bread/chip products.

Sunday, Day 7 of Week 4
Food Log: 
  • Breakfast: 4 small plums
  • Lunch: green salad with nuts, black beans, and homemade tahini dressing; 1 beer
  • Dinner: tomato, onion, and shrimp bruschetta; Red Lobster Cheddar biscuits; 1 beer
  • Extras: dessert of homemade vegan strawberry milkshake
Exercise Log: walking around the mall, shopping

How I felt:  We spent most of the day out and about with our couple friend on the North side of Spokane.  This included going to Flamin' Joe's (wing and burger place), where I ordered a plain garden salad and brought my own nuts, beans, and dressing to add to it.  I was a little ticked, because the menu said "mixed greens" for the salad, but when it came, it was clearly all iceberg lettuce.  Not to be a greens snob, but that is one of the least nutritional of all greens.  I wish it was more of a spinach or spring mix.  Bummer.  After hanging out with our friends for the afternoon, Kevin and I decided to stop in at Red Lobster to use up a gift card my work had given me.  I ended up getting a bruschetta covered with tomatoes, onions, and a little bit of shrimp.  I was happy to see so much tomato on the dish, but unfortunately, I filled up on Cheddar Biscuits (I know!  It's a huge No-No!), so I didn't eat too much of the appetizer I ordered.  Then, in the evening when we got home, I made myself a strawberry smoothie, while Kevin had angel food cake* with strawberries and whipped cream.  At least I didn't cave for that!  Overall, not the healthiest day of eating, but I tried my best and gave in to a little bit of temptation.

Monday, Day 1 of Week 5
Food Log: 
  • Breakfast: 1/2 cup blueberries, 1 apple, 1 peach
  • Lunch: spinach salad with broccoli, red onion, cashews, black beans, and tahini dressing; tortilla chips
  • Dinner: salad with leftover tomato bruschetta
  • Extras: 2 beers in the evening
Exercise Log: Engine 2 workout in the morning (Morning!?  I know, I did it!)

How I felt:  Today I felt a bit bloated, probably from a bit of the saltier foods I ate the day before.  Overall, I'm feeling optimistic to finish out these last two weeks strong, and probably continue with what I have been doing.  This morning I did a work out before I got ready for work.  Normally I am not a morning exercise person, but I actually kind of liked getting it out of the way.  I made sure not to let it be an excuse not to do well on the other aspects of my day.  Hopefully I can get in 3-4 more solid work outs in before the end of the week.

What time of the day to you try to exercise?  How does it make you feel for the remainder of the day?


Spinach Melon Green Smoothie

Happy Friday to everyone!  I spent the morning cleaning, the afternoon with my mom going around town, the early evening shopping with Kevin, then a quick workout before my dinner smoothie (see recipe below) and watching the Mariners while relaxing on the couch. First, is my daily log, and stay tuned for my super simple green smoothie recipe after!

Food Log:

  • Breakfast: lots of water
  • Lunch: Ethiopian Vegetarian Combo Split with my mom... (check out the pictures below too!)
    • Veggie Sambussa Appitizer: delicate pastry filled with lentils, onions, and spices
    • Vegetarian Combo: Yatakilt alicha (potatoes, carrots, and cabbage delicately sauteed with onions, garlic, ginger, and tumeric), Yemisher kik we-t (split red lentils cooked in berere sauce), Shiro (ground chickpeas mildly spiced and slow cooked with chopped onions and tomatoes), Yaterkik alicha (yellow split peas cooked with tumeric, garlic, and onions), with a bunch of Injera (spongey fermented flatbread) to dip and scoop
  • Dinner: Spinach Melon Green Smoothie
  • Extras: drinks with my friend in celebration of his grandma's life (she passed away peacefully today)
Exercise Log: Jogged for 20 minutes, abs, squats, stretching

How I felt:  Today was a fun day, and definitely a different food schedule than usual, but in the end, I think I did fairly well.  I didn't get in a true salad, but after my evening workout, I wan't in the mood for making a salad, let alone eating and having one sit heavy in my stomach.  My solution to that... this awesome new smoothie!

Spinach Melon Green Smoothie
Amy's Notes:  Feel free to use whatever melon you prefer for this recipe.  I used cantelope (rock melon) because I needed to use mine up, but I bet honeydew melon would go wonderfully as well!

  • 2 huge bunches of spinach
  • 1 cup fresh melon
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2 dates
  • splash of non-dairy milk to thin
Directions: Place all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth and creamy.  Add more non-dairy milk to thin to your desired consistency.

Have you ever tried putting melons in a smoothie?  Crazy right!?


Day 4, Week 4

Another short post today since it seems to have been a long long day!

Food Log:

  • Breakfast: 1 banana, 1 apple
  • Lunch: Qdoba beans, rice, and veggies
  • Dinner: Mac n cheese sauce over noodles and rice, leftover salad from yesterday
  • Extras: 2 beers
Exercise Log: Nope, skipped that today. Let's shoot for being better tomorrow. 

How I feel:  Exhausted and feeling like my progress has slowed. It's been almost 4 weeks and I still feel like I haven't made much progress. I have gained back a pound or two from losing my initial 9 pounds. Not very encouraging :(. I probably have been not eating enough veggies and definitely not having enough salads.  

Ever feel like this some days?


Chive Hummus

& Days 1 & 2, Week 4

Hello my lovely readers!  Are you getting a bit tired of my daily logs?  Honestly, I am too.  While I have been taking less time to edit photos (and proof read, sorry!), it still takes a good chunk of time out of my day to write them.  As of right now, I am halfway through my 6-week Eat to Live Challenge.  I'll be blogging a bit less after it is over.  Have I done perfectly on my challenge?  No, but I am getting better and better at making the right choices, and resisting my old ways.  I'd say an improvement is better than nothing.  Anyways, thanks to anyone who is following along, and remember to check out the new recipe that I have been promising, below my daily logs....

Monday, Day 1 of Week 4
Food Log:
  • Breakfast: 1 apple
  • Lunch: black bean mexican stir fry with peppers and onions in lettuce wraps, 5 small apricots
  • Dinner: side salad, corn on the cob, sauted potatoes and onion
  • Extras: afternoon snack of crackers and hummus, dessert after dinner of Dr. Fuhrman's no-bake Key Lime Pie (recipe here if you have a membership)
Exercise Log:  Engine 2 beginner/intermediate work out with my mom, walk to a nearby cemetery with my family to see my grandparent's graves for Memorial Day

How I felt:  This day I still felt like I was detoxing from my bad choices of the weekend (not eating enough food, not having enough fruits and vegetables, and drinking too much), but I'm happy my mom was able to get me to get my heart pumping with some exercises from the Engine 2 book I had "let her borrow" by sharing my Kindle password.  Overall, it was a fun day, but I was ready to get back to work and back to my regular eating routine (weird, I know).

Tuesday, Day 2 of Week 4
Food Log:
  • Breakfast: 1 apple, 2 bananas
  • Lunch: curry red lentils with kale and onion over brown rice, 1 apple
  • Dinner: homemade bean burger on a thin bun with fixins, side salad
  • Extras: 1 beer with dinner, 1 beer with friends watching the Mariner's game

I think this is my best bean burger yet!
Exercise Log: Stretching before bedtime

How I felt:  I felt happy to get back to work today and have a more structured eating schedule.  I feel like my eating schedule is often something to worry about on the weekends.  I find that if I am going out in the evening and want to look and feel good in my outfit, I tend to eat less throughout the day.  I know that is a no-no, but it stems from my days in college when I paid more attention to calories and would do the same thing.  Now I know that eating the right foods is never going to make me gain weight, and acquiring the right nutrients during the day is key to my health on the cellular level.  Tonight I made bean burgers (one to eat, the others to freeze) out of the mexican black bean mix I had yesterday with lettuce wraps.  I have been making bean based dishes into bean burgers more and more often lately.  Since I am the only one in my household that eats the Nutritarian way, this is a great way to use up too many leftovers, and to be able to save them for way longer in the freezer.

Now on to my promised recipe that I have been raving about:

Chive Hummus
Amy's Notes:  I made this hummus for the first time a few weeks ago when I had gone to the farmer's market (first one of the season, yay!) with my friend Stephanie before she was to host a BBQ at her house.  At the farmer's market, there were a plethora of seed starts and baked goods, but not too much in the fresh produce department.  I did find some fresh herbs that looked divine, so I decided to get a big bunch of chives for $1.  After putting them in the nutritarian potato salad I had made for the party and barely made a dent in my supply, I decided to make a hummus with it.  After all, I don't think it's a real party until hummus is involved!

  • 1 can chickpeas (or 1 1/2 cups cooked) drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup tahini (homemade tahini recipe here)
  • 1/2 cup fresh chives, chopped (extra to top)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2-4+ Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce

  1. Place all ingredients except for water in a food processor, and process until smooth, but there will still be whole chive pieces.
  2. Add in water and process, tablespoon by tablespoon until you have reached the desired consistency.
  3. Top with extra chives and serve with chips, crackers, and veggies.  Enjoy!

Have farmer's markets in your area started for the season yet?


Memorial Weekend

Days 5, 6, and 7 of Week 3

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend whether it included camping, BBQs, or picnics while remembering the men and women who have died for everything we have today.  My weekend included 2 birthday parties, 1 BBQ, and a few more drinks than I would like to admit.  Let's start with my daily log from the weekend:

Friday, Day 5 of Week 3
Food Log:

  • Breakfast: watermelon
  • Lunch: spinach salad with broccoli, chickpeas, and hummus
  • Dinner: veggie burger and fries
  • Extras: a few drinks out
Exercise: couples dancing at a the Iron Horse
From right: my high school friend April, Marley the birthday girl, Kevin being creepy, and me :)
How I felt:  On Friday, our friend Marley came into town to celebrate her 21st birthday with us.  We ended up starting the evening at a close by martini bar, then made our way into Idaho to go around in downtown Coeur d'Alene.  Overall, it was a pretty decent day of eating, other than I waited to eat dinner till very very late in the evening, and I'm sure that the drinks I had that night didn't help me with my health/weight loss goals.  Although I am not perfect in that regard, I still have to remind myself that I am ahead of the game with eating for health when it comes to comparing myself to others my age.  Eventually, we will get older and drinking with friends will be less and less of our social focus.  Till then, I'm going to say cheers every now and then, and enjoy myself.... While eating a bunch of salads during the day!

Saturday, Day 6 of Week 3
Food log:

  • Breakfast: none, we slept in
  • Lunch: slice of Dave's Killer Bread and celery with hummus
  • Dinner: hummus dip with chips, crackers, and veggies
  • Extras: beers throughout the evening
Exercise log: very little :(

How I felt:  During the day on Saturday, I took some me time while Kevin was visiting with a friend who was in town.   I learned how to better apply makeup for a "flawless face" with this video, and I dyed my hair dark brown.  I generally jump between dark brown and light brown throughout the seasons, and I was getting a bit sick of my grow out from my last dye, so dark it goes!  I also spent the afternoon making two different types of hummus for a BBQ/party for our friend, Danielle's birthday that evening.  I made my usual Sabre mock hummus as well as my new favorite Chive Hummus (recipe coming later today or tomorrow, I promise!).  When we arrived at the party, there were the usual burgers, so I stuck to my hummus with a few veggies and chips over the night.  I got quite a few compliments on them from hummus lovers and even some newbies to hummus.  Yum, it is my favorite!   Overall, I don't think that I ate enough in the day, let alone enough veggies or any fruit.  Not the best day, but at least I didn't go for the grilled meats (never again!). 

Sunday, Day 7 of Week 3
Food log:

  • Breakfast: potato, broccoli, and pepper breakfast skillet with a bit of hollandaise sauce
  • Lunch: whole grain chips with hummus
  • Dinner: sweet veggie curry with brown rice
  • Extras: 2 Dr. Fuhrman brownies
Exercise: Helping my parents put in their new door. Does that count?

How I felt:  Yep, just about all day Sunday was my body being angry with me for how I ate and drank over the weekend.  I felt severely dehydrated and lethargic.  It really made me realize how great eating healthy makes me feel, and how terrible deviating from the Nutritarian lifestyle makes me feel.  In the end, it was ok that I was on the couch all day nursing my food and drink hangover since Kevin and I were watching the new episodes of Arrested Development on Netflix (and other Bluth family fans out there?).  Today (Monday) I am ready to get back to it and to keep progressing with my health transformation.  My goals for this upcoming week (#4 of my 6 week challenge) are to get in some form of exercise daily, to get in raw and cooked greens daily, and to cut out processed chips and breads. 

Do you feel like you have to reset your goals every week? What do you do to assure that you achieve what you set out to do?


Day 4, Week 3

It has been a long long day, so will make my daily log short:
A progress pic, down 9 pounds in less than 3 weeks!

Food log:
Breakfast: watermelon
Linner: corn on the cob, baked beans, broccoli, BBQ potato chips
Dinner: beans and potatoes, watermelon
Extras: 3 beers

Exercise log: Yeah right! Maybe tomorrow :)
See some corn on the cob there?
Look at that view!
How I feel: Today was my big work BBQ that I put together and planned... And cleaned up after.  Let's just say, it was a long day.  I did still stick to my guns and did not eat any grilled meats (never again!), and even avoided the cookies that were for dessert.  I did reach for a bit of the BBQ potato chips to have with the canned baked beans, but I found that those items gave me stomach cramps and I needed a bunch of water to make me feel better.  When I got home from work, Kevin was out with his Big Brothers Big Sisters kid, so I was able to sit on the back porch and relax and meditate by myself for a while.  This is almost never the case, so part of the evening alone was much appreciated. 

How often do you get time to yourself to just BE and relax?


Homemade Tahini

& Day 3, Week 3 
*Homemade Tahini recipe below

Happy hump day to everyone!  I feel like this week has been going by rather slowly.  Probably because we have such a fun weekend coming up.  On Friday, our good friend Marley is coming into Spokane from our college town of Pullman to go out for her 21st Birthday.  Then, on Saturday, our couple friends, Ian and Danielle are having a BBQ at their new house and a party through the evening for Dannielle's Birthday.  One other thing that is quite eventful this weekend is.... Arrested Development coming out on Netflix!!!!!  Kevin and I will, probably spend any second we get watching all of the new episodes.

Tonight for dinner, I ended up going to my parent's house to catch up with my mom and help her make dinner since she has been working all week.  We ended up making a sweet Thai curry with a bunch of veggies and a spice mix I got this weekend from this great local spice store.  All I can say is, YUM!  Check out the picture in my daily log below. 

Food log:
  • Breakfast: 2 bananas, 1 apple
  • Lunch: mixed greens with broccoli and chive hummus, 1 apple
  • Dinner: sweet Thai curry over brown rice, sugar snap peas
  • Extras: my Mom's homemade guacamole with whole grain chips as an afternoon snack, (1-2) beers in the evening at trivia

Exercise log: Walk with my parent's dog around the neighborhood

 How I feel:  I weighed myself this morning to find that I was one pound down from last week. That makes 9 lbs total since I started the 6-week Eat to Live plan.  I'm happy with this progress, but I think what shows even more of my success is my appearance. I feel like I can feel the fat melting off the many places it has been hanging on to, and the muscle underneath developing and showing through with each trip to the gym.  My husband Kevin even has said that, while he always thought I was skinny (thanks dear), he is noticing that I seem "smaller", like somehow my bones are shrinking me to be leaner.  I'm hoping that is not the case, and that my fat I have been holding on to for too long is coming off.  That reminds me of this picture I saw the other day (source unknown):
So, over the next week I have two BBQ's that I am going to.  One tomorrow for work, and another for our friend Dannielle as I mentioned above.  For BBQ's my go-to food to bring is always my hummus (recipe here).  It is great because it is healthy, but on the "approachable healthy-side" for most people.  Since a large part of hummus is tahini (sesame seed butter), and buying it in the jar generally costs up the ying yang, I decided to try to make my own.  Here is how I did it:

Homemade Tahini
  • 2 cups unhulled sesame seeds
  • 1-3 TBSP sesame or other oil
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  Place the sesame seeds on a cookie sheet and shake to evenly spread.  No need to stray your pan, the sesame seeds produce their own oil. (In a toaster oven, toast at 400 and do 1 cup at a time). 
  2. Toast for 8-12 minutes until the some of the seeds turn a very light brown.  During toasting, make sure to take out the pan and lightly shake to move the seeds around.
  3. Once toasted, immediately scoop into a food processor with a small amount of oil.  Process and scrape the sides periodically.  It will take a few minutes to go from seeds, to crumbles, to liquid-y tahini.  Be patient!
  4. Store the tahini in an airtight container in the fridge and use for dressings, hummus, or spreads. Yum!
Amy's Notes:  Like I said above: be patient with the tahini!  It will come together.  I don't have too heavy duty of processor (although it is quite loud and I was worried the neighbors might come knocking to see who was running a chain saw), and mine was able to get the job done with about 8 minutes of processing.  This recipe makes about 1 1/2 cups of tahini, which is about how much comes in a jar at my local grocery store (for nearly $7 a jar!).  When buying the sesame seeds in the bulk section, I was able to get 2 cups of seeds for about $2.  That's over a 70% savings!  

What sorts of foods do you make at home to save money, or avoid preservatives and other additives?


Weekend and the Start of Week 3

I hope everyone had a great weekend!  Mine seemed to go a bit too fast, unfortunately.  Since I missed posting my daily logs, today I will have the logs from Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and today.

Saturday: Day 6, Week 2
Food Log: 
  • Breakfast: 1 apple
  • Lunch: lentil chili with polenta jalepeno biscuits
  • Dinner: Dr. Fuhrman's Rainbow Potato Salad, whole wheat bread with chive hummus (recipe coming soon), and corn on the cob
  • Extras: 2 beers with dinner, 3 beers in the evening
Exercise log: Nada... let's call it my rest day

How I felt: On Saturday I just felt like being lazy, lazy, lazy!  All I did in the afternoon was hang out on the couch with Kevin and then make the potato salad and chive hummus for the BBQ that evening.  My friend Stephanie (check out here blog here) hosted the BBQ at her house to have friends come and help her finish a very mighty bottle of beer from Rogue brewery.  It was about three times the size of a champagne bottle, I estimate.  To avoid eating too bad of foods, I brought my own corn on the cob to put on the grill, as well as Dr. Fuhrman's Rainbow Potato Salad, and a new creation of mine: chive hummus (recipe coming soon once I polish off this first batch!).  After the BBQ Kevin and I headed up north of Spokane to our friends' new house to play some games.  Overall, I think I did better eating this Saturday than I did the last, although there were plenty of temptations.

Sunday: Day 7, Week 2
Food Log: 
  • Breakfast: none, we slept in
  • Lunch: peanut noodles and veggies
  • Dinner: Dr. Fuhrman's Rainbow Potato Salad, 2 slices Dave's Killer Bread with chive hummus
  • Extras: watermelon, 1 Dr. Fuhrman brownie
Exercise log: Does housework count?

How I felt:  On Sunday I felt like in the evening, I just ate to eat.  I even had so much watermelon in the evening to feel painfully full.  At least it was watermelon that got me to that point and not something that doesn't mostly consists of water.  All the same, I know I shouldn't eat past the point of being content.  Gotta work on that!

Monday: Day 1, Week 3
Food Log:
  • Breakfast: watermelon
  • Lunch: Dr. Fuhrman's Rainbow Potato Salad, kale salad massaged with avocado and lemon juice, and 1 apple
  • Dinner: brown rice with Indian red lentils, kale, and onion
  • Extras: watermelon for dessert

Indian red lentils with kale and onion over brown rice
Exercise log: Work softball game

How I felt:  I felt happy with my food choices for the day.  My "exercise" wasn't too extraneous, but our team did end up winning.  Because we had our softball game in the evening, I didn't get around to making and eating dinner until nearly 9:30.  From a girl who grew up in a house that served dinner at 5 P.M. sharp, this threw off my grove a little.  I ended up not being able to go to sleep until nearly midnight and felt a bit sluggish the next day for that.  I guess we learn from our mistakes.

Tuesday: Day 2, Week 3
Food Log:
  • Breakfast: watermelon, 1 banana
  • Lunch: brown rice with Indian red lentils, kale, and onion; 1 banana; 1 apple
  • Dinner: 1 slice Dave's Killer Bread with chive hummus, 1 apple
  • Extras: 2 beers

Exercise log: 20 minutes on an inclined treadmill, push-ups, sit-ups, stretching

How I feel:  I was proud of myself that I made it to the gym after, let's say, not my favorite day at work...  Let me explain: I am the party coordinator for all of the events around the two offices I work at.  On Thursday, we have planned a Spring BBQ to boost ccamaraderie and enjoy the decent weather we have been seeing.  To prep for this, I made my shopping list and.... cleaned out the grill.... that hadn't been touched in over a year, and it didn't seem like it had ever been cleaned.  I am not normally a squeamish person, but while cleaning this, I gagged several times and nearly threw up twice.  As I worked on cleaning the scum from burned meat of the past off of the grill, I got to thinking that if this black tar was created on the insides of this grill after a year or two, think of what a lifetime of eating these meats does to the inside of someone.  Certainly not black tar, but I'm sure just as greasy plaques inside of their arteries.  I can say this for certain: I will never eat any sort of grilled meat again.  At least that unpleasant activity reaffirmed why I am doing this 6-week Eat to Live Challenge.
How I felt about that nasty grill....
I just want to say, thank you to all who have been following, or partially following my progress.  It means a lot to me to have an audience to keep me accountable and are so encouraging.  I'm sorry that this post is a bit lack luster, but like I said earlier: my recipe for chive hummus is coming soon, and it is crazy good!

How was your weekend?  Do you find it harder to stick to your health goals over weekends or holidays (especially as we are getting into BBQ and picnic season)?


Kale Orange Creamsicle Smoothie

Hello all!  Very sorry I wasn't able to post my daily log yesterday.  My day was jam-packed with errands and a lot of fun.  First, I woke up and did some household chores before my mom and I were to have a girl's outing.  My mom ended up canceling, unfortunately, because she is a substitute secretary at a local school district and had accidentally gotten signed up for a shift when she had thought she had marked out for the day.  Bummer!

I then stayed around the apartment in the morning doing a bit more housework and rearranging the living room.  Feng shui anyone?  I also finally hung up some pictures that had been sitting in the corner since we moved in over a month ago :/.  After that, I made Kevin lunch and brought it to him at work since when he went to make it himself this morning his deli meat had gone bad (I think that's a sign he should go Nutritarian with me, don't you?).

After making Kevin his lunch and I made myself a green smoothie to-go (see below).  Once I brought Kevin lunch, I went to run some errands for the rest of the afternoon.  This included getting a new screen protector put on my iPhone, getting a birthday present for a friend, going to a local spice and vinegar specialty store, trying to get Rip Esselstyn's newest book My Beef With Meat (which I decided to probably just get on my kindle iPad), going to spend a gift card at a novelty store, and getting some things at Target.

At Target I was browsing the clearance clothes rack and decided to treat myself to a new dress to wear out last night since I have been well at sticking to my 6-Week challenge.  I posted the picture on Facebook to the group Dr. Fuhrmans Eat To Live - Nutritarian Plant Based Diet.  I got a lot of great responses and encouragement from the group.  Later, when my mom had seen the picture online, she told me she was so surprised that that was me and that I was looking so great.  Thanks mom, for always being my #1 Cheerleader :).  Here is that "progress" picture:
After running errands, I did a small workout (more about that in my daily log below), then got ready for our fun evening out... you guessed it, in my new dress that is one size smaller that I would have been two weeks ago!  First, we parked at my work that is by the Spokane Arena, and walked across the Downtown Riverfront Park to go to dinner downtown at The Steelhead Bar and Grill.  It is an upscale gill that makes great fresh food. 

Normally, while eating out, I would try to get a salad, but all of their salads here had meat included.  I know I can ask for no meat, but I'm always worried that I will still get charged the meat price for the salad even though I ask for it off.  I don't think that's fair, do you?  Instead, I ended up ordering a portobello sandwich with a side salad.  It was a big sandwich, but this ended up being my lunch and dinner, so the portion worked out perfectly.

After dinner, we went back across the park to the arena for a Spokane Shock indoor football game. Since Spokane doesn't have its own NFL football team, we have the Shock instead, which is essentially  a team with fairly professional-grade players on a field about a quarter of the size of a normal football field.  That means lots of action, lots of scoring, and lots of crowd fun!  My dad was able to score us ticket is one of the suites through his work, so we got a great view!
During the game they had a raffle toss where you donate $5 to a local charity, and you get 6 small footballs (think tiny stress-ball size) to attempt to throw into a car that drives slowly around the field with its windows down between the 3rd and 4th quarter.  The balls that make it in get put into a raffle to win half of the money from the proceeds.  From where we were seated, this is nearly impossible, but we gave it a shot anyways.  I threw two of them, Kevin threw three, and one we gave to another guy in the suite that is a client of my dad's.  It turns out that the client had thrown the ball down to the lower seats, and someone has picked it up and tossed it in.  We surprisingly won the raffle!!!!! We ended up walking away with over $300!

Luckily, that night we were also going to the casino for a friend's birthday.  No big money was won, but we did have a lot of fun.  We didn't get home till later in the night, so there was no blog post, and I will report my weekend log on Sunday or Monday.  Now, my daily log, and make sure not to miss my smoothie recipe below!

Food Log:

  • Breakfast: Kale Orange Creamsicle Smoothie (recipe below)
  • Linner: Portobello sandwich on a focaccia roll and a mixed greens side salad
  • Extras: 2 beers at the casino
Exercise Log: 1 mile outdoor run, abs, push-ups 

How I felt:  Yesterday I felt very confident and happy. For the first time in a long time, I felt good about how I was eating and my body image.  At no point during the day was I temped to eat any SAD (Standard American Diet) foods, although there were plenty around.  Today (Saturday) will be a bit more of a challenge, as I am going to a friend's BBQ in the evening.  Instead of grilled meats, I'm opting to bring two corn on the cobs to grill for myself. Yum!  Hopefully the BBQ will have a couple of healthy sides.  I did hear that someone was bringing hummus!  Now on to my recipe....

Kale Orange Creamsicle Smoothie
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 handfuls of chopped kale
  • 3 small oranges, peeled (about 1 cup or so)
  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed (optional)
  • Several ice cubes

  • Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Add more ice to achieve the thickness you desire. 

Amy's Notes:  
This was the perfect serving side for a meal on the go.  For this, I used cashews and water because I didn't have any non-dairy milk, but you could easily substitute 1/2 cup+ for that portion of the recipe.  Also, feel free to leave out the kale if you want more of a traditional orange creamsicle taste.  The great thing about this recipe is the oranges are sweet enough that extra sweeteners (dates, stevia, etc.) are not needed.  I put my smoothie in a to-go water bottle since I was running out the door to Kevin's work.  Green smoothies are great for a meal on the go!  Enjoy!

How often do you enjoy green smoothies?  


Day 4, Week 2

I am happy that today is my Friday!  At my work we have every other Friday off as a company-wide initiative to save on energy and gas.  Yay for being environmentally friendly AND giving me some three day weekends :).  Since tomorrow is my day off and my mom is back in town, we are planning on spending the afternoon together and going to check out a spice store close by.  I'm hoping to find some Indian spices I have been looking everywhere for!  Perhaps some new spices tomorrow will bring inspiration for a new recipe post.  But for now, on to my daily log...

Food Log:

  • Breakfast: 1/2 small watermelon
  • Lunch: whole wheat crackers, small cup of leftover chili, kale salad with cucumbers and ginger dressing
  • Dinner: thai tofu lettuce wraps, a bite or two of creme brulee
  • Extras: 1 beer, 1 Dr. Fuhrman brownie

Exercise Log: Be prepared to be proud of this blogger...
  • 20 minutes on the treadmill, jogging for one mile and walking the rest of the time
  • 5 minutes solid of ab workouts
  • legs and hip flexer workout
  • squats and lunges
  • 5 sets of 5 pushups

How I feel:  I'm happy that I was finally able to get my booty to the gym!  Positive talking is where it was at!  Yesterday I said, I will go to the gym, and I did not let myself down.  In the end, I felt great for sweating out some of my thoughts and stresses, and it was nice to feel my muscles warm and working.  As for eating today, I feel like I did pretty well at sticking to it, even though I had dinner out with some girlfriends tonight.  In the past I maybe would have ordered a pasta or pizza from the restaurant we went to, but instead, I ordered an appetizer of lettuce wraps.  Not only did this keep my check costs down, it kept my portion of food at a reasonable level.  Although I could tell the food was way over-salted, I was happy to have so much lettuce to offset it with.  Overall, I feel like I need to get more fresh fruits in, but I am needing to go to the grocery store to stock up tomorrow.  Perhaps I'll take a walk over to a local fruit stand about a mile from our apartment.  Exercise and fresh fruit?  Doesn't get much better than that!

What is your motivation to get yourself to go to the gym?  Do you find it a chore?  How do you feel when you are done?


Day 3, Week 2

Wednesdays mean trivia night!  Every week we go to a local sports bar called Flamin' Joe's with family and friends for trivia.  Flamin' Joe;s is well known in the region for their spicy wings.  Generally, our team does fairly well (at least 3rd place), but this week we were shy of placing by about 5 points.  Darn!  My mom and sister-in-law just got back from their cruise vacation and were able to muster up some extra energy to still join us at trivia tonight.  Besides wings, Flamin' Joe's has tons of different foods, most of them fried, unfortunately.  In past weeks, I would have allowed myself to eat fried chips or fried potato bites, since they are technically vegetarian, but I am in a better mindset this week to know not to touch the stuff!

Today was actually filled with several temptations.  First of all, I refilled the M&M jars at work, then I set out the Costco cookies for the office, this time away from my desk and in the kitchen.  Then, in the evening, when having dinner with my family, my dad brought us each out a little cup of real mint ice cream.  It was such a nice gesture from him to my mom to give her a treat when she got home like she had been having on the cruise, but to me it was a bit torturous!  Luckily, someone else happily snagged up my portion of the ice cream (thank you!), so I wouldn't be tempted.  Then, later in the evening at Flamin' Joe's, our table ordered a basket of fried chips.... with spicy seasoning, which made it smell delicious!  Again, I said "No thank you", and stuck to my goals.  Yay me!

After the 6 weeks is over, I hope to be less tempted by things I shouldn't eat.  I think at this point it is less that I really want those things, and more that I am reaching for them out of habit.  Hopefully soon I will have better habits, such as reaching for a piece of fruit, that are easier to stick to.  Now on to my daily log....

Food Log:

  • Breakfast: 1/2 small watermelon, 1 banana, 1 apple
  • Lunch: salad with baby romaine lettuce, chickpeas, red onion, celery raisins, apples, and cilantro curry almond dressing; carrots and hummus
  • Dinner: Indian Chickpeas and Curry, Whole Wheat Vegan Naan, sweet curry kale salad, watermelon
  • Extras: Guacamole and chips snack before dinner, 1 beer at dinner, 2 beers at trivia
Exercise log:  I'm starting to think I shouldn't even include this in my log.... Ok, so I did nothing today, but I will come home from work tomorrow and go to the gym before my evening out with some girlfriends.... I will!

How I feel:   I am feeling so much more awake lately!  I have noticed my energy levels gradually increasing over the last two weeks.  And when my mom got back from her vacation today, she said that it seemed like night and day for how I am now, and that is a great thing!  Before the start of my 6-weeks on Eat to Live, I was very sluggish and tired all the time.  I had had issues with migraines starting from "TMJ" pains, but I haven't gotten the hint of a migraine since starting last Monday.  All I can say that if this is just the start of the benefits of truly committing to Eat to Live, I can't wait to see how I feel after 6 weeks!

What health issues have improved or seemed to disappear with a healthy change in your diet?  Does this give you more incentive to really stick-to-it?


Whole Wheat Vegan Naan

& Day 2, Week 2
I am officially down 8 lbs from my starting weight!  I know I shouldn't go off of my weight day-by-day, so I will wait till next Monday to check it again.  It is just so encouraging to see such progress!  This week so far I have eaten at least one salad as a main meal a day, and I plan on continuing this for the rest of the week.

My mom and sister-in-law get back tomorrow from their cruise, and I offered to take care of making dinner for the family so that my mom didn't have to worry about grocery shopping or cooking right away.  When she called the other day while in a port, and I let her know I would take care of dinner she asked, "Can you just cook for us forever?!"  Haha, that would be fun for the first few weeks, then become quite a job!  I think I'll stick to cooking as my hobby, mom :). 

For tomorrow night I am making one of my favorite FAVORITE dishes: Indian Chickpeas and Greens.  I'm making a double batch for dinner, and with it we always have rice (probably pink Madagascar rice), and naan bread.  The chickpeas and rice are nice and easy to make, but the naan takes a bit of time and care.  I decided to make my double batch of naan tonight and share the recipe with you.  It is not salt, oil, or sugar free, but for how much it makes, it isn't very much per serving.  And my recipe is vegan and 100% whole wheat.  But first, my daily log...

Food log:
  • Breakfast: 2 bananas, 1 apple
  • Lunch: bit of leftover Kale Mac N Sweet Potato Cheese, small cup of leftover chili, 1 apple
  • Dinner: 2 smaller naan breads, and a salad with baby romaine lettuce, chickpeas, red onion, celery, raisins, apples, and cilantro curry almond dressing (inspired by this recipe)
  • Extras: Dr. Fuhrman Brownie in the afternoon, 1/2 mini watermelon, Dr. Fuhrman Brownie after dinner
Exercise log:  Ok, this is almost embarrassing that I am so bad at getting my butt to the gym.  I always originally plan on going when I get home from work, but then I see a bunch of chores that need to be done, and before I know it, it is in the evening and time for dinner.  Can we count housework and cleaning as exercise?

How I feel:  I had my first real tempting moment of the 6-weeks so far.  My coworker goes to Costco about once a month to get supplies for both of the offices I work at.  She generally gets coffee creamers (I've quit!), M&M's for the front desks (which I have learned to tune out), and a big box of cookies (this was the difficult part).  For the Spokane office she set the cookies right at my front desk to make sure those who wanted one would see it.  At first, the sight of it didn't bother me, but the second someone cracked them open and that very slight smell came my way, I had to start pep talking myself into not even thinking about it.  In the end, I walked away without a cookie, but came straight home to have a Dr. Fuhrman brownie.  I wasn't necessarily hungry when I had it, but it is loads better than if I were to cave and have a SAD cookie.  In the end, I can say I'm proud of myself and have one less food demon to face in the future.  Once I say no once and make a better choice, I know I can do it again!

Now on to the naan...

Whole Wheat Vegan Naan
Single Batch (suggested):

  • 3/4 cup warm water (at least 100 degrees F)
  • 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar (raw, natural, and organic if possible)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 cups whole what flour, divided
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Double Batch (pictured):
  • 1 1/2 cup warm water (at least 100 degrees F)
  • 2 Tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp sugar (raw, natural, and organic if possible)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4-6 cups whole what flour, divided
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1.  In a large bowl or stand mixer, whisk together the warm water, yeast, and sugar.  Cover with a towel and let sit for 10 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.  If, after 10 minutes, the yeast mixture hasn't become foamy, your yeast may be too old of your water too cold.  Start over and try again if this is the case. 
foamed yeast mixture
2.  Whisk together the non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar, set aside.
3.  Next, whisk into the yeast mixture the coriander (or cumin), salt, and 1/2 of the oil.
4.  Stir in 1 cup (2 for double) of whole wheat flour and the baking powder.
5.  Next, add the milk and vinegar mixture to the mixer.  Mix until well combined.
6.  Add more flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough comes together, but is still sticky.
7.  Move the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead by hand, adding more flour to reach the correct constancy of firm and not sticky but still moist.

8.  Prepare a boil coated with the remaining oil and place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat.  Cover with a towel and set in a warm place to rise for at least one hour, until it has doubled in size.

9.  Once the dough has risen, punch it down (Kevin's favorite part) and lightly knead it again.  Heat a skillet or cast iron over low medium heat and keep at a low temperature throughout cooking.

10.  Cut the dough with a pizza cutter into balls just smaller than your fist.  Roll them out with a rolling pin to be around 1/4 inch thick.  Try not to use extra flour to do this, as it will make the final naan a bit floury and gritty to eat.
11.  Place flat down in a preheated skillet and cook on each side for 45-60 seconds, until each side has lightly browned, with bubbles browning a bit more than the rest.
12.  Cook each in the same way and stack them on a plate together to stay warm and moist.
13.  Serve with your favorite Indian recipe or use like pitas with dip. They can nicely be reheated in the microwave, oven, or stovetop. Keep leftovers in a ziplock bag for up to a week.

Amy's Notes:
I made a double batch for the bigger dinner I'm prepping for tomorrow, and so I could have extra leftovers, but I would suggest doing a single batch till you get the hang of it.  I have a KitchenAid stand mixer and for this recipe I use the whisk attachment at first, then the dough hook once the first flour has been added.  It is NOT necessary at all to have a mixer, this could easily be done my hand (my mom does this).  Regardless of whether you have a stand mixer or do it all by hand, make sure to knead it by hand when adding the final amounts of flour.  Actually touching it by hand will help you better gauge how much extra flour is "kneaded" (hehe), and doing it the old fashion way just works best.  My double batch ended up making 24 naan, so a single batch should make around 10 or 12.  I tend to make mine very thin (yeah, so I can eat more), so you may end up with more or less. Enjoy!

Have you ever tried naan?  What is your favorite thing to eat naan with?

This post was entered into Healthy Vegan Friday hosted by the following lovely bloggers:
Carrie @ Carrie on Vegan:  http://www.carrieonvegan.com/2013/05/17/healthy-vegan-friday-recipes-upcoming-vegan-event/
Katherine @ Green Thickies: http://www.greenthickies.com/healthy-vegan-friday-43/
Gabby @ The Veggie Nook: http://veggienook.com/2013/05/17/healthy-vegan-friday-43/