Clean Eating Update

I am coming into my 34th day of clean eating from my Digestive Spring Clean and I am starting to feel pretty fantastic.  I was able to stick to my clean eating program while sick, and in all likelihood it probably helped me to recover from my cold a lot faster than I would have normally.

After getting over my sugar withdraw everything has been pretty spectacular.   My eczema (reappearance from my not so optimal food choices) is almost all cleared up, my digestive system is starting to feel way less taxed than normal (less bloating and general uncomfortableness), my face is clearing up and a whole bunch of other positive benefits like more energy and better sleep.

I also think my new organic food delivery has a lot to do with this.  Yes, I am eating clean and changing my diet has a lot to do with starting to feel better and yes, I have started taking my vitamins and supplements again. However the food box that is delivered opens me up to a larger variety of different organic and non-GMO products.  I mean when I do the groceries I load up on vegetables and fruits but being completely honest I go for the same ones time and time again.  With the food box I get a varied assortment of different fruits and vegetables that I would likely only buy on occasion or never (what do you do with a star fruit?) Which leads me to an important part of clean eating, which is mixing it up.

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I find that when I start modifying my eating I end up finding a handful of things that work for me and then just stick with them until I become so sick of them I pretty much never want to eat them again.  Not only do I get bored of the foods I am eating but I am also limiting the type and amount of nutrients (vitamins and minerals) that I am feeding my body.

Our bodies are complicated amazing things that require support from a wide array of nutrients to function and if we want our bodies to function optimally we, as the owners of said bodies, have to do what we can to provide ourselves with a variety from various sources.

So give it a try this week. When you are doing your weekly grocery for the up coming week try and add two items (fruit or vegetable wise) to your cart that you normally wouldn’t select.   Pick something bright and colourful, or maybe it is that yucca everyone is always talking about.   Regardless of what it is try two new things, maybe make it a bit of a challenge for yourself, picking more and more and more new things each week to keep a healthy mix of vegetables and fruits in your diet, who knows you might find a new favorite food.

Happy Thursday Everyone!

 

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Day 13 & Another Weekend

well you have made it this far!!! 13 days into the challenge and 2 weekends under your belt, I am sure you are all started to feel the great benefits! You are probably less bloated, more energy, and feeling lighter. I hope for you all these positive side effects of eating clean are making it easier for you to resist temptation throughout the days.

This weekend may have been a bit tricker for a lot of the ladies out there, especially the moms seeing how love and pampering can often come in the form of a good glass of wine and a nice slice of chocolate cake, so hopefully you either used a cheat meal to avoid driving yourself nuts or you were able to navigate the treats and stick to your clean eating, either way I am sure you made the right decision for you and your situation.

This weekend was a little tough for me because we were at my inlaws and my mother-in-law is a particularly amazing baker, so it took a little bit more willpower to resist the delicious chocolate chip cookies and cherry cheese cake that were waiting for us when we arrived. Even though I didn’t partake in any of the decadent sweets my mother-in-law made sure to have loads of fruits, veggies and pre-cooked lean protein for me so I never felt like I was missing out, and boy was I ever grateful for that. It is easier to say no to a slice of cheesecake when I had a bowl of fresh strawberries specially prepared for me.

Besides resisting the temptation to stuff my face with all the sugar treats my belly could handle my husband and I got to visit with his family. It was a great weekend filled with good conversation, catching up, and getting to marvel at how grown up our niece is getting. Kids really do grow up so quickly and it is pretty exciting to see such huge changes. The little lady had a better idea of what was going on on my iphone than I do.
Lucy Collage

We headed home after some more visits and a nice mother’s day breakfast, and headed right into the regular grind of life, so that means my mind is back on food prep, routines, and the Gingersneezes run club. Although, I do enjoy breaks from my regular routine, I always seem to miss it after an extended period of time, so I am happy to be returning to my routine. I understand that I might have a love for routine, that sentiment might not be felt by all, and see how we are moving into our THIRD week of the Gingersneezes Eats Clean challenge I wanted to throw in an extra challenge for everyone.

Starting tomorrow, for the next 7 days I want everyone to start having a glass of warm lemon water in the morning. Warm is the ideal temperature, but if you are like me and know you won’t make your way to the kitchen in the morning to warm up the water prepare your lemon water the night before in a bottle or cup with a lid, and set it on your nightstand for you to have first thing in the morning. The goal is to have your glass of lemon water within 30 minutes of waking up so your body has some time to process it before you eat your breakfast.

Lemon Water

Why lemon water? Well besides tasting GREAT lemon water helps to clean you out (it is a natural diuretic), it will help balance out your internal pH, it will help to clear your skin, give you energy, boosts your immune system and aids in weight loss (as if you needed anymore reasons why).

So get ready to experience some awesome benefits to adding this extra step to your morning routine.

I hope everyone has had a wonderful weekend and I hope that positivity translates into your week.

Happy Monday!

P.S. Gingersneezes has a competition for everyone in the coming days. So keep your eyes peeled for the details!

What’s so Special about Radishes?

Happy Food Friday! This Friday instead of giving you a homemade recipe I figured I would take a minute to talk about the amazing little cruciferous vegetable the radish. To be honest radishes are not my first choice in a vegetable, by a long shot, but after reading a couple of books and setting up a meal plan for myself to break through this plateau I am at I realized it popped up quite a bit. So I thought to myself “why in the world does everyone want me to eat radishes?” Instead of looking it up right away I just tossed it into my meal plan on a regular basis, but the more I cut the little guys up the more I wondered why am I eating this all the time.
radishesUnable to handle the suspense anymore, and wondering why I had started eating radishes every day I went to the internet and started looking up radish nutritional facts. I was definitely not expecting the results I found. These little vegetables and their leaves are packed full of great things.

Like their cruciferous friends (kale, brussel sprouts, broccoli, etc.) they are great at helping to prevent cancer. The bulb or root being full of fiber, vitamin C and folic make it a bit of a natural detoxifier which helps to clean you out and keep your colon healthy. I think it is important to note that when I say they are full of fiber I mean full of fiber, a radish has about 1g of fiber in it which is approximately 4% of your recommended daily intake, for something so little that is great!

Not only are they full of fiber but they are also full of water, which makes them a great tool in anyone’s weight loss tool box. Adding some radishes to your meal will increase your fiber and water intake helping you to feel satisfied quicker and longer. Them being packed full of flavour will also help to entertain your taste bites, giving your salads and other meals an extra punch of taste. Along with filling you up they will make sure to deliver a good dose of some essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, the Bs, K, as well as other minerals like potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and many others.

To think such a small little vegetable would be capable of delivering all of these things, while making sure to keep you healthy boggles my mind sometimes. But it is times like these that I am extra encouraged to continue eating clean and exploring new fruits and vegetables because you never know what they might offer.

HAPPY FRIDAY!!! I am not sure why but this week I am extra excited for it to almost be the weekend.

Have you been amazed by the healthful potential of a fruit or vegetable lately? If so which one?

References:
Livestrong
Organic Facts
Every Nutrient

The Veggie Patch

I have now gone on two runs and everything is feeling great.  The runs are nice and short, and the pace has been great, and there are enough walking breaks scheduled in to make sure my knee doesn’t get too much of a pounding. After working up an appetite I was so excited to get cooking!  I planned my supper out several nights ago and have been pretty excited about making eating.

I have been asked about how to use the pre-made tubes of polenta, when you search on the internet or in a good old fashioned cookbook it is all about making your polenta from scratch and well if you already have the loaf these recipes aren’t always helpful.  So here is a recipe based on using a pre-made loaf or making your own loaf. Once you see how easy it is to make your own polenta you will never buy from the store again!

Home Made Polenta Loaf:
(you will want to make this the night before)

Makes 12 slices or 6 Servings

1.5 cups Corn Meal
5 cups of boiling water
Salt to taste

Bring water to a boil in a pot, add corn meal and salt, whisk together.  Stir until the mixture becomes thick and creamy, this should take about 15-18minutes.  Transfer mixture into a loaf pan and refrigerate for 2-3 hours. It will be fine over night, and doesn’t need to be covered.

Mediterranean Polenta:

Makes about 3 servings 
polenta

Ingredients:

6 pieces of polenta (homemade or store bought loaf)
2 tsp peanut oil
2 cloves of garlic diced
1 small red onion chopped
4 large brown mushrooms ( about 2 cups of diced mushrooms)
2 cups chopped zucchini
1 medium tomato chopped
1/2 cup sliced kalamata olives

Mix veggies Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray cookie sheet with olive oil, place pieces of polenta on sheet add salt and pepper to taste.  Cook polenta for 20-25minutes flipping halfway through.

While the polenta cooks prepare all vegetables, and heat peanut oil in a large frying pan with a lid to medium heat.  Add garlic and onions and cook for approximately 5 minutes or until onions begin to become transparent.

Then add in the zucchini and cook for another 5 minutes allowing the zucchini time to absorb the flavour of the onions and garlic. Add tomato and cook for 2 minutes until the juices start to come out.  Add in the remaining vegetables stir everything together and cover for 3-5minutes, remove lid and stir vegetables allowing to cook for another 5 minutes.

Once polenta is finished cooking place two pieces of polenta on a plate and top with the vegetable mixture, serve immediately.
finished product
If you like olives you will completely love this dish.  You could also use this mixture to top nachos or add some black beans and avocado and put it in a wrap!

Do any of you have a favorite polenta recipes?

Happy Friday Everyone…the weekend has almost arrived!!!

 

Juicin’ It

Okay I have mentioned a couple of times now that I have recently fallen in love with a juicer. Now I am not going to lie my first couple attempts to wing it on my own and just throw in some fruits and veggies lousily based on recipes has been absolutely revolting.
Untitled Revolting may be a strong word to use, but I am going to stick with it. Luckily we were saving the plup from the juicing process so not everything was lost. So here are some of the things I have learnt before I leave you with a delicious recipe.

Lessons Learnt:

  1. WASH YOUR FRUITS AND VEGGIES! it is important to wash them off. Even if you are using organic products it is best that you wash your fruits and veggies to make sure they are as clean and chemical free as possible.
  2. Follow a recipe. Much like everything else, once you get the hang of it, and understand the different flavours I am sure you won’t need to follow a recipe exactly, but until that happens, and if you are new to juicing I strongly recommend it.
  3. Use ginger sparingly. Even if the recipe calls for say a two inch chunk of ginger I recommend putting it in a bit at a time and tasting it as you go. Ginger is great for your body and your metabolism but too much ginger is really hard to drink down.
  4. Unless you LOVE celery (why by the way I thought I did) I would not put it into a juice until you become a veteran juicer. The flavour is way over powering!
  5. Put loads of leafy greens in the mix, you can barely taste them and they add so much in the way of nutrients and health promoting wonderful to your drink.
  6. Your juice is never going to look like those V8 Splash drinks. How they make their veggie and fruit combos anything but brown or dark green is something I would prefer not to think about, having been someone that used to drink them. Be prepared to drink something that isn’t a brightly coloured fruit beverage.
  7. Experiment with peels on and off. Not all recipes tell you to peel lemons and oranges, seeing how the peel can be bitter, and seeing I am new to this I have been taking them off, but I will eventually attempt it with the peel on. Who knows it might be delicious.
  8. Save the pulp for things like veggie broth, veggie burgers, meat loaf, turkey burgers, carrot bread/muffins, zucchini muffins, and various other baking and cooking goods.
  9. Lastly, it really doesn’t take a load of veggies and fruit to make 800ml of juice, until you get the hang of how much it takes to make some juice, follow a recipe.

So since I have started juicing we have tried a couple different combinations, and I am always surprised at how much you can actually taste each fruit and/or veggie that has been put into the mix, but I am also often surprised at how delicious it is when you get it right.
UntitledHere is how the juicing process looks. I will post some pictures later on with pictures of the actual juice all mixed up, it isn’t appetizing to look at but delicious to consume. So basically assume as gross as it looks it tastes about 100 times better.

Now for a recipe that really worked out nicely.

Pineapple Surprise:

1/2 pineapple (cleaned)
1 green apple
6 strawberries (fresh)
2 cups of spinach
6 stalks of Kale
1/2 lemon (peeled)

This makes about 800ml. It shouldn’t be kept in the fridge for more than a day or over night.

Happy Wednesday! I think Wednesday is my favourit day of the week. It marks your halfway point, and having lunch time yoga really pushes it over the edge as a great day! Anyone else feel the same?

 

Dirt and Vegetables!

The glory of the Ottawa Farmer’s Market is back in town, and has been for some time now.

The Farmer’s Market is one of my favourit parts of the summer. All the delicious local veggies, cheeses, eggs, meats, flowers, herbs, sauces, ice creams and everything. When I first started making my way to the market there weren’t many vendors, but over the years the Farmer’s Market here has grown and there are more and more options to choose from every summer. This definitely makes it difficult to control yourself once you arrive there, but it is so wonderful to see it grow.

ice cream (source)
Since my first time going, I have learnt to relax and take a little bit more time before pouncing on all the delicious looking produce. Going to the Farmer’s Market on Sundays has become a bit of a ritual and is a fabulous way to start off the last day of my weekends.
radishesBeing the beginning of summer there isn’t much for the picking but soon enough there will be more produce than I will know what to do with, and I can’t wait!

This weekend I also created my own jumping jack workout. On Saturday I had attempted to go to my regular Saturday morning yoga class, but due to rain I had decided to drive instead of bike. Arriving at the yoga studio I drove around for 20minutes, before realizing that the class had now started and I was over it. So instead of just totally giving up on any sort of physical activity for the day I decided to just start moving and make up my own jumping jack challenged based on so many other workouts I have seen on the internet.

So here it is. It lasts about 30-45minutes, depending on how fast you are moving. Go through it twice, your legs should be raging afterwards.
jumping jackI hope everyone had a wonderful indoor weekend due to the rain. Here’s hoping the rain lets up a little for next weekend.

Under the Weather

So originally I was going to write this post about workingout when you are getting sick. Seeing I am not a doctor and that there are so many theories out there I thought it might be fun to see what works for me. Personally I am a believer in if my body is getting worn down enough to get sick chances are my body is pleading with me to take a break.

Not that I have been training overly hard or anything like that, because I do make a point of listening to my body when it comes to that (too many injuries in the past due to ignoring warning signs). But this time around it is probably a combo of the wonderful change in weather (this is not sarcasm I am really excited), work stress, wedding planning stress, and everything else that goes with your life.

All of that to say an entire post about how I feel when I attempt to workout while under the weather would have turned out a lot like my workouts, short and unproductive. So instead I figured I would talk about food, something we can all get behind.

Recently I have been thinking a lot about the foods I have been eating. With the weather getting nicer and spring getting closer the local Ottawa Farmers Market has definitely been on my mind! It has become a bit of a ritual for me in the summer months. Every Sunday morning I get up bright and early empty out my backpack and bike over to the farmers market. Pack my backpack to the brim with fresh fruits and veggies and then I make the ride back home just waiting to eat some of my fresh local produce.

Now that is me in the summer. In the winter it is a totally different story. I mean I know there are a lot of seasonal Ontario produce that I can eat, but I normally end up caving and going with Mexico or USA produce so I can have strawberries, oranges, and a variety of other fruits and veggies. But then it dawned on me, I actually don’t even know what is in season during the winter months here in Ontario. I mean I assumed a lot of rutabaga, winter squash, potatoes and other starchy produce, this is one of the main excuses I have used to avoid going out and filling my fridge with local veggies, and I don’t even know what is actually in season.

So recently I decided to look into it. I figured assuming probably wasn’t the best route to go when you are trying to eat healthy local foods. So I went onto the Ontario Food Land webpage and was surprised to find out there are actually quiet a few delicious veggies that are in season right now (albeit some are greenhouse, but shocking all the same).

veggies

This list besides the parsnips is pretty much a list of a lot of my favourit veggies…who am I kidding I love mostly all veggies. See I am one of those odd balls who would pick carrots and celery over strawberries any day (weird I know don’t judge). I am sure the pickings in Ontario aren’t this plentiful during all winter months but it was definitely an eye opener to me. Just a little reminder that it is good to inform yourself, even about little things. I also found a seasonal food blog (Seasonal Ontario Food) that I would recommend checking out to anyone looking for ideas on how to prepare seasonal foods.

Hope everyone has had a pretty awesome week so far, and no one else is starting to come down with someone. Have a great Thursday.