My alarm went off waaaaaaaay too soon this morning. I was NOT finished sleeping. It was so dark outside, rainy and cold. Everything in me wanted to stay in bed. If it wasn’t for my puppy needing to go outside, I might have done just that. There is nothing better than sleeping in on a rainy day.
A little disclaimer before you read any further – these photos are TERRIBLE! It was so dark all day that I had a very difficult time getting any meals in during daylight hours, so I had to resort to the lighting in my home verses natural lighting. What I ate today looks quite unappetizing, but hopefully you’ll get the idea.
After pulling the kids out of bed and making their breakfast, I blended up a green smoothie. I put spinach, celery, cucumber, mango, apple, and almonds in this one. I needed to eat early because this morning is a Pilates morning. I do Pilates with my good friend/tennis partner a few mornings a week at Get Reformed. Rebecca is the owner and pushes us to the limit every time. I swear I’d give up if I wasn’t with a friend, as I’m pretty sure it’s only my pride that gets me through it. Today she had us do the jumpboard on the reformer. The first few “explosive jumps” were kind of fun. After 4 modules of them, not so much. I could hardly roll over to get off the machine when our session was over.
I was ravenous after my workout, so I had a spoonful of almond butter after coming home to get some work done. Some people can’t eat after exercising, but I do not have that problem. I prefer raw almond butter to the roasted kind. I think it tastes better and it’s raw, which I also like.
I love sushi rolls, and I love avocados, so naturally I like avocado rolls. I buy these small strips of nori at Whole Foods and spread a little mashed avocado with lemon, salt, and cayenne on the sheets of nori, roll them up and have a little homemade sushi roll. Nori is a type of seaweed, so it is like a supercharged leafy green veggie that is rich in vitamins and minerals soaked up from the ocean. Because seaweed is like a sponge, it also absorbs the bad stuff from the ocean like heavy metals, so it is important to pick out organic seaweed. In addition to my avocado rolls, I spread lemon hummus on a couple of hardboiled eggs to get a little more protein. Although I know it’s popular to discard the yolks of eggs due to their cholesterol and calorie content, I prefer to eat them because they provide some good nutrients like choline and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.
Late in the afternoon, when my cravings hit, I was hungry for some pumpkin seeds. So I lightly toasted a handful and sprinkled a few dark chocolate chips on them. I know that has to be the most bizarre craving, but I crave pumpkin seeds often. Maybe it’s the zinc? Maybe it’s the crunch? Maybe it’s really the chocolate I’m craving?? I’m not really sure, but I’m okay with giving in to this craving.
This photo wins the prize for the worst I think I’ve ever taken. I promise what you see really is edible!! We had a tennis match for my daughter this afternoon and then volleyball this evening, so earlier in the day, I put together a meatloaf (if you can recognize it) with veggies, quinoa, and buffalo meat for the family to eat between activities. I had some left over massaged kale, so I made a quick salad with kale, oranges, radishes, sesame seeds, raisins, sesame oil, tamari, and a tiny bit of honey. I got Kayley off to volleyball after dinner, cleaned up, finished this post, and now I am determined to get back in my comfies and spend the last bit of this rainy day doing exactly what I wanted to from the start of the day – NOTHING. 😉
Since getting back in town from my short weekend trip, I have been craving vegetables. That happens to me when I’m on the road away from home like I was this past weekend. I start missing all the colors and flavors and crisp freshness.
Another thing that happens to me when I’m out of town for a weekend is that my whole system around my house gets all messed up. So, here it is Wednesday, and I haven’t made it to the grocery store yet this week. Thank goodness I stocked up on plenty of fresh produce last week. This week’s mission is to use it all up before it starts wilting and looking a little less appetizing.
For starters this morning, I ate…a big nothing! I got so busy getting the kids to school, fitting in a workout, phone calls, and finally getting Kayley’s backpack with all her make up work back down to school (yes, she forgot it, and yes, I took it back down to her – I’m sure the best parenting books would say not to so a lesson could be learned, but I was a big softy today and didn’t want her getting late grades on 3 days of work).
Around 10am, I made some green juice with kale, cucumber, green apple, lime, a little kiwi, and ginger. I’m always amazed at how much fresh juice fills me up. I had hardboiled a dozen eggs earlier in the week for snacks, so I grabbed a couple of those and drizzled a little Dijon mustard on top to add a little protein to my morning.
After a mid morning meeting, I settled in for a haircut. I mentioned on an earlier post that my stylist is one of my closest friends, so I always look so forward to the uninterrupted few hours of time with my friend getting my hair colored and cut. She has this really nice man that comes around her salon every day at lunch with his cart of homemade entrees for sale that never disappoint. I actually look forward to his meals, as all are healthy and fresh, and I don’t have to make them. Today I chose a tuna salad on greens with avocado, tomato, and another hardboiled egg. And, I snuck a little chocolate from the candy bowl for something sweet.
Rob is in New York this week, which is another reason it’s a good week to use up all the food I already had in my fridge. The kids and I just start pulling stuff out that looks appetizing each night he is gone to see what we can come up with that sounds yummy. Tonight, I peeled and sliced some sweet potatoes, tossed them in melted coconut oil, and sprinkled them with spices: cumin, chipotle chili powder, chili powder, garlic, and sea salt. Then I baked them at 350 for about 45 minutes, and topped each slice with a little bit of avocado. For some protein, we rolled up slices of Applegate Farms turkey with a little jalapeno hummus inside. The kids peeled some cutie oranges to have with theirs too. I’ve got to say that as much as I don’t like when Rob is out of town, I really do like these casual evenings that I get to spend with my kids. Volleyball was moved to Thursday night this week, so we’re even able to fit in a movie before bed.Read More
Well, I met my kitchen idol last week – the chef on my brother’s boat Sea Bass. Kai is from South Africa, and she and her husband Alan not only take care of everything aboard Sea Bass, but they also have first class hospitality mastered. Every part of our trip was perfect, but you know me, the FOOD was the highlight of my experience.
Not only are all of Kai’s meals gluten free, but she also focuses on fresh healthy fruits and vegetables, using no recipes to make them taste great – just her creativity with local herbs and spices.
Upon arriving, she served us dinner at about 9 at night. I didn’t think to take pictures – not realizing just how amazing each meal would be. She started us off with melon wrapped with prosciutto, grilled chicken and pineapple skewers, and fresh tomatoes with mozzarella and basil for a delicious Caprese salad. Not one lick of it was left over. So fresh, so fabulous, and so simple, which was the best part.
For this week’s what I ate Wednesday post, I thought I’d take you through a typical day for us on the boat with pictures of three of her amazing meals.
Every morning, we started out with what I would call a European breakfast. My husband’s family is from Holland, so many years ago, I joined him for a weekend trip there. We toured his family’s tulip farm and enjoyed their hospitality and traditional foods. Kai’s breakfast reminded me of our breakfasts in Heemstede – fresh vegetables, meats, cheeses, and fruit from the market that morning. Two mornings, Kai even made us fresh gluten free bread using a combination of almond and potato flours, which was a huge hit with my kids. The picture below is of my dad on our first morning aboard Sea Bass.
My brother planned an active and very fun itinerary every day (my kids are the first youngsters he has hosted, so he took extra care to make sure they did no less than about 10 activities each day!), but we made our way back to the boat for lunch to enjoy one of Kai’s healthy meals. One of my favorites was this grilled shrimp salad with tomatoes, red peppers, sun dried tomatoes, olives, and a tangy honey mustard dressing. After refilling our tanks, we set back out for more activity.
At about 4 or 5 each day, we generally settled back on the boat to be served a late afternoon snack. One example was a melted brie cheese with herbs and preserves (I think fig, but Kai will never tell – each meal is a secret) served with radishes, roasted red bell peppers, salami, olives, and Glutino crackers for dipping. And of course she and Alan surprised us with a different cocktail each afternoon – my favorite being her version of the Bushwacker, a local favorite in the BVI. So sweet and indulgent but very worth the splurge in calories! My kids enjoyed virgin versions, and we all agreed the fresh grated nutmeg that garnished each drink was the best part.
Dinners were a slightly heavier version of lunch. One of my favorite meals was the day we had barbeque ribs. Confession – I think I’ve only eaten ribs maybe once or twice in my life! For whatever reason, they haven’t sounded appetizing to me, but that changed aboard the Sea Bass. I will have to learn how to make ribs like Kai’s. They were ridiculously delicious! She served a beautiful salad (her presentation is as amazing as the taste) of artichokes and avocados on romaine with a garlic dressing. And, to go with the ribs, we enjoyed “mealie”, which is the South African name for corn, that Kai had made into a warm salad or side dish with tomatoes and chives. Again, not one morsel was left over.
What I wouldn’t give to be Kai’s shadow for a day, so I could see how she shops and comes up with her ideas for such simple and elegant meals. Just from spending one week at her table (as I said, what goes on in the kitchen, stays in the kitchen – a surprise), I gathered these four tips we can all put into practice for healthy and delicious meal planning.
- Kai shops without a list necessarily, but instead focuses on buying whatever is local, fresh, and looks good that particular day at the market.
- She uses fresh spices and herbs in every dish.
- She focuses on naturally gluten free fresh foods instead of trying to mimic those gluten-containing foods we all remember. This results in healthy meals with plenty of clean protein and fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Kai adds a little something naturally and gently sweet to most of her dishes, such as apricot or fig preserves, honey, or roasted red peppers. This was a refreshing surprise!
what i ate wednesday
What I ate today – my simple, healthy gluten free foods. I do not profess to be a gourmet chef, but rather one who loves natural, whole foods – the variety, colors, flavors, and capacity of food to heal. I also love creating delicious tastes from simple foods – it’s like a challenge to me, a creative outlet. A good day to me involves experimenting in my kitchen. I am inspired by food and what it can do for me – how it has the power to completely change how I am feeling – my strength, focus, sleep, mood. And, I love hearing other people’s food stories as well, so please share with me how food has impacted your life! I live for that kind of stuff.
To start my day, I pour myself a cup of coffee or green tea. Coffee is my favorite, and I first heat a cup of almond milk, add stevia, and then top it off with about ¼ cup of actual coffee. I buy organic fair trade coffee, as coffee is one of the most chemically treated foods. Fair trade ensures the workers are paid and treated fairly. After getting the kids off to school, I typically punch out my most productive writing and working hours with my morning cup of coffee to keep me company.
For breakfast, I had my usual smoothie. Like I said last week, I am striving to add more protein to my diet, as my activity level has kicked up lately. I’m not a huge advocate of protein powders, as I believe in eating real foods, and to isolate the proteins, some level of processing must take place. But, in moderation, I add them to smoothies to give them a protein boost and make them a well-balanced meal.
I choose protein powders with the least ingredients – only things I recognize and sweetened with stevia. Today, I added egg white protein by J. Robb. I also like a vegan protein powder by Sunwarrior made with cranberry, pea, and hemp protein. Both are sweetened with stevia, and I find I digest these powders easier than others. I avoid whey and soy – whey because it is a dairy protein and I do not digest it well, and soy because I do not believe in supplementing with a lot of unfermented soy products, as it is not a health food (but that is a whole other blog post!). I combined 1 scoop vanilla egg white protein powder, ½ avocado, 1 cup water, 1 cup spinach, ½ cup berries, ½ apple, a little cacao powder, and ground flax – 325 calories.
Confession – I am not a clothes shopper. I do not enjoy it; I just want to get what I came for and get out. This results in me making a lot of mistakes and leaving the store not even seeing all of the options. I have a dear friend who is also my stylist. She has completely changed my look and in turn boosted my confidence in the process. When I met her almost 10 years ago, our kids were babes and I had hair up to my ears in a not very attractive layered bob like style (if you could call it that). I wore mostly turtlenecks, which is now a joke between us, as when we first shopped together I continued to gravitate to and pick out these matronly tops. Now, I still love for her to shop with me because she stretches me to try new things (we all need friends like that!), is honest with me with me before I purchase anything, and basically helps me stay current with trends and put a style all together. Did I mention I am not a shopper and don’t enjoy it at all?? But when I go shopping with her, it becomes a fun and almost relaxing day. Today is one of those days. We shopped, lunched, and I enjoyed it (and got a couple of cute things too!). We ate at Seasons 52 where every dish is under 500 calories. We shared the shrimp and scallops ceviche with pineapple, lime, coconut, and jalapeno, and I ate the ahi tuna salad. YUM!
Dinner is turkey burger stacks – chopped lettuce, turkey burger patty seasoned with lemon pepper, onion, tomato, avocado, and Dijon mustard. The kids opted to reduce the veggies and add a bun, and of course they smothered theirs with mustard, ketchup, and pickles. We had some left over mashed rutabagas as a side. Doesn’t get more basic than a burger, but everyone was satisfied and happy.
Thank you to everyone for the positive comments on Rob’s guest blog of “what he ate Wednesday” last week! Hopefully I can get him to contribute a little more around here – he has a wealth of knowledge to share when it comes to training and nutrition.
This week marks a new beginning in my world – the first week of 2013 TCD starts tomorrow. TCD is a rather competitive (as far as middle aged women goes) tennis league here in Dallas. So my tennis hiatus is over, and it’s time to get back down to business, which will most likely be a rude awakening for me tomorrow. In the off-season, I only play maybe once a week, and I won’t admit how much I play during the on-season. So, it’s time to get back into court-scrappin’, net-rushin’, ball-crushin’ shape.
For me, that means I need to boost my protein for strength and stamina, as I am not a naturally strong kind of person. For breakfast today, I warmed up some left over roasted vegetables. One of my favorite go-to sides for our dinners is a medley of roasted vegetables. I will start pulling out all kinds of veggies from my fridge, chop them, toss them in a healthy oil, season them up, and roast them until they are cooked through. I always make a huge batch, so I can munch on them for additional meals. This week I combined Brussels sprouts, all colors of sweet peppers, and cloves of garlic, and I tossed them in olive oil, a little salt and pepper, and dried rosemary.
For a little protein to top my veggies, I fried a couple of eggs in raw coconut oil (the most delicious way to fry eggs!), and served them over my warmed veggies. Lots of fiber, protein, and fat to keep me full until lunch.
A little side note – I’m enjoying the first week of using my new Le Creuset pan (so fun using something shiny and new! my second Le Creuset item) that Rob got me for Valentine’s Day.
Lunch was a treat. I met one of my good friends for sushi. My favorite at this restaurant is a riceless roll called the Spring Roll that has avocado, crab, mango, and radish – YUMMY and light but filling enough to get me through the afternoon. We also snacked on some edamame. And, of course I forgot to take a picture, so close your eyes and imagine my colorful roll.
I’ve been away from home most of the day, so easy goes it for dinner tonight: cauliflower soup with a simple salad. I’ll warm up a chicken breast I have on hand to make it a complete meal for the family. I have an easy formula I use for my salads, and somehow if I include one of each of these categories of ingredients, my combos turn out pretty tasty:
- Leafy green like spinach, romaine, or other lettuce (I used a Super Greens mix)
- Crunchy green like celery, asparagus, green pepper, cucumber, broccoli, etc. (I used celery)
- Colorful crunchy food like beet, radish, apple, pear, etc. (I used an apple)
- An allium like purple onion, shallots, chives, garlic, etc. (I used purple onion)
- Fresh or dried fruit for sweetness like berries, peach, apricot, etc. (I used dried cranberries)
- Creamy like feta, goat, or parmesan cheese, avocado, squash, sweet potato, etc. (I used avocado of course!)
- Nuts like chopped pecans, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, pine nuts, hazelnuts, macadamias, cashews, etc.
- Optional: serve with a piece of chicken or fish
- Couple tablespoons water
- Couple tablespoons oil like olive, walnut, avocado, hazelnut, sesame, etc.
- Couple tablespoons of something tangy like balsamic vinegar, infused balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice, etc.
- Sprinkle of spices like salt and pepper, Bragg Organic Sprinkle, or any spice combinations you like
- Optional: something creamy like a couple tablespoons plain Greek yogurt, couple tablespoons of soaked nuts, ¼ avocado, etc.
A little background – about 18 months ago I started to invest more time and energy into my overall health. Prior to that I really didn’t pay much attention to it. I’ve never been overweight and have always been very active in different sports, such as ice hockey. However, I certainly wasn’t fit. I didn’t pay much attention to what I put in my body, ate a lot of sugar, and was lucky to get in a couple glasses of water a day.
I don’t know why, but in September of 2012, I decided to sign up for a triathlon (indoors at Lifetime Fitness) and something happened: running, swimming and biking soon became something I was addicted to, and to be competitive, I wanted to shed the unnecessary pounds and invest in myself.
I’m incredibly fortunate to have an in-house nutritionist to guide my eating. Courtney buys really healthy food and we don’t keep any junk food in our house or soda — most of the bad eating I did was at work or traveling. I travel a lot for work and this makes it even more difficult to make healthy choices. But what has helped me the most, besides dramatically increasing the cardio I do, is tracking my calories.
I use MyFitnessPal on my iPhone. I’ve become very diligent about tracking what I eat and I’ve found – and other studies have proven this – that tracking what I eat helps me manage how much I eat. It wasn’t as much about losing weight, but making sure I ate the right foods for the type of work my body was doing. My food goal was to decrease my bad carb intake (harder than you think), increase my protein, and to cut out as many processed foods as I could.
I’ve still got a long way to go. But I have found that over time as I’ve eaten less processed foods and cut back on the carbs and sugar (excluding fruits and whole grains) that I feel better. I haven’t completely cut out gluten from my diet, but I’m definitely gluten-lite.
Here is what a typical Wednesday looks like for me. I’m early in the season for training for my next triathlons.
6:30 AM – Breakfast
- 1.3 cups of Fage 0% Greek Yogurt
- 1/2 sliced apple
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- Tbsp honey
7:25 AM – Gym
- Whole Foods 365 Chocolate Protein + water
11:35 AM – Lunch
- 3 Barbacoa hard tacos (no sour cream), but added guacamole
3:45 PM – Snack Time
My weak point of the day, I start cruising our office scavenging chocolate.
- Hershey mini
- Cutie Orange
6:30 PM – Dinner
- Harvest Soup with Chicken Sausage: onion, garlic, red potatoes, fennel bulb, carrots, broccoli, chicken sausage, and seasonings
7:45 PM – Gym
- Whole Foods 365 Chocolate Protein + water