Archive for the month “March, 2012”

Ponderings

If we’re not willing to settle for junk living, we certainly shouldn’t settle for junk food.

-Sally Edwards

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The Green Eyed Monster

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This green concoction, better known as the Green Monster, has become my latest and greatest food obsession in the last week. I promise it’s a lot tastier than it looks. It’s a mixture of spinach, kale, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, chia seeds, banana, pineapple, (apple at times), (blueberries from time to time), vanilla whey protein powder, and ice. You can barely even taste the kale and spinach. Honestly, I would probably never ever throw these fruits and veggies in a bowl together and chomp away at this blend. The blender is a magical device just pureeing all the “eww” combos and blending it together to become this tasty delectable that you would never think goes together so tastefully. The banana really does complement the spinach by adding a creaminess. I have found myself really craving this! You can really make a Green Monster with any smoothie as long as you have your classic blend of spinach, banana and a base (any milk and yogurt would do). I feel like I’m doing my insides the biggest favor and my body is loving me back for it by giving me energy. Maybe I can start weening off coffee (ha! – that was funny and wishful thinking).

If I could, I’d have it for all meals and get all the needed vitamins and nutrients every time. Yes, I sound like a crazy person. A year ago I would have never in my right mind considered such a mix and now my mouth salivates for it over a donut. What’s wrong with me?? Am I reaching enlightenment of this transformation? Far from it – unfortunately, I hate to admit that I’ve had my share of splurging on sugary treats and had a few binge sessions since I started. The good news is, it’s definitely decreased and I don’t have such strong cravings anymore. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but hopefully it takes a lot faster than that.

You are what you eat

Bahaha. Good motivation to remind myself we really are what we eat.

You are what you eat

Hanging out to dry

I have a sweet tooth the size of Everest. My day isn’t complete unless I’ve had some form of chocolate or sweet treat. Even worse, in the last month or so I’ve had a craving for gummy bears that has become hard to ignore. What scares me though for these gelatin candies is the long list of ingredients, half of which I can’t even pronounced topped off with artificial food coloring. The best alternative to get my sweet fix has been dried fruits, especially the dried mangos from Trader Joe’s. What I love even more is that they offer unsweetened and unsulfured – so pretty much all you’re really getting IS really ONLY mangos and no added sugar or additives. Thank you all natural sugar fix!

My wallet has really taken a hard hit from my new addiction though.

Enter dehydrator.

We have an old dehydrator that’s been in our family since I was in elementary school, which means it’s about 15 years old. I took the initiative to resurrect it back from the dead (meaning the scary black hole in our garage where all appliances go to die).

My dad had to conduct some open-heart surgery and rewire the thing and fix the fan.

Now we have it up and running again (most of the time).

I just did my first round of dehydrating with some apples. YUM!

Here’s what I used:

Apple chips

10 pink lady apples (with the skin on for more fiber)

Few tablespoons of lemon juice

A million dashes of cinnamon to taste

I laid it all out flat and had dried apple chips 8 hours later. I really had to keep an eye on it though in case it blew up into flames (since it hadn’t been turned on in 15 years). Seems like a long time to wait though, but it was worth it. They turned out uber yummy!

Second round of testing.

Zucchini chips:

5 zucchinis sliced (skin on again)

Couple tablespoons of apple-cider vinegar (bonus because it’s so good for you!)

Salt to taste

Same process again. I had to wait overnight – and the longer you wait the crispier they turn out (which is something you want for veggie chips). It was a success. To know that I can substitute my fried potato chip s with veggie chips that only have 3 ingredients – AMAZING! AND it’s actually GOOD for you!

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I have to admit, dehydrating takes a lot of patience. On top of it, your fruits and veggies shrink to almost half their size so it doesn’t feel like you get as much as you put in. This picture is what 10 applies and 5 large zucchinis look like. If I could, I’d run this sucker every night to have a week’s supply of healthy snacks. I guess you really get what you pay for. I have to decide if I want to pay with my time or burn a hole through my wallet. Either way, the sacrifice is worth it and it makes me feel better about my choices. To know that I can snack without putting laboratory grown preservatives into my body is definitely something to feel good about.

Hopefully making these new changes won’t be so hard after all?

Ch-Ch-Chia

I feel like I’m always getting caught up in the latest food trends and never stick around long enough to know if they’re legit. I’m sure these foods work and are beneficial, but I’ll never reap the benefits if I try something out only for a week. I’ve been a sucker for Kombucha, juicing, raw foods, magical “ all natural mango caffeine” pills, and the like. The latest craze in the health food world has been these Chia seeds. That’s right. Remember those crazy clay bald heads that grow a fro when you water them, or better known as Chia pets? Well, whowouldathunk that a Chia seed is uber beneficial to our health. Why didn’t anyone think of eating these seeds 20 something years ago? Or am I just being played?

It’s known to help with our digestion, bloating/belly problems, has a lot of omega 3, plenty of vitamins, balances blood sugar, helps with weight loss without starving, leaves you feeling energized (and Lord knows I need a lot of that through my day) and overall, just sounds like the perfect magic seed. It’s no Jack and his beanstalk, but I was willing to give it a try. So, I rushed over to Whole Foods (yes, yes, that’s where the naïve like myself go when they want to get ripped off) and bought me my first bag of chia seeds.

So for the last week or so, I’ve been mixing it into my protein shakes along with ice, whey powder, banana, almond milk, cinnamon, and a dash of oats. Even after being blended, the seed is still crunchy (because who doesn’t want that in their smoothie) and has a tendency to stick to the side of your throat. Honestly, I don’t mind it at all. It’s barely noticeable especially since it’s flavorless and I know it packs a punch of benefits. I just want to know I’m reaping these benefits and not buying into a fad.

Today I tried just mixing it into a canned protein shake since I didn’t have time to blend. Big mistake. It all gunked up together and became this huge gooey blob that required chewing and gnawing and picking at your teeth. Unfortunately, I had to throw it out due to my disgust.

For now, I have a big bag of this stuff and I have to hold onto them. I might try mixing it into some food eventually. I just hope it’s not all just a huge placebo though. I want to feel better on the inside as much as on the outside.

To see how much they ch-ch-ch-chia, I’m conducting an experiment to see if they’ll grow. For now, they’re resting on a small saucer over a wet paper towel on my window sill. Maybe they’ll begin to sprout and I can just start growing my own chia?

Embark with me

Growing up, I’ve never really been too concerned with being “healthy” per say. I’ve gone through a lot of phases with my fitness and eating, but my biggest concern was always weight loss. Recently, I’ve come to realize that weight loss doesn’t equate to health. I’ve had an enlightening moment where I’ve realized how important it is to take care of my body today for tomorrow. You really ARE what you eat. There’s no way around it. You love green veggies, you’ll be full of energy and feel great. Eat a double double animal style burger, and you’ll feel like an animal who really needs to take a nap. My vice has always been sugar, and Lord knows it shows. I eat sugar, I bloat into a Goodyear blimp. Once I get going, I don’t stop. Welcome the familiar binge.

I don’t want to keep facing the same cycle. I want to feel good not only on the outside but on the inside. I’m just a normal person that hasn’t developed any healthy habits, thanks to my lovely traditional, Middle-Eastern parents (God bless their hearts for not knowing any better). In the last year, my eyes have opened to a whole new world in health. I’m still continuing on this journey. Join me on my quest as a “normal” person (whatever that means – weekend-binge-eating-greasy-foods-sugar-snacks-chocolate cakes-cookies-galore) who tries to find their way to becoming a health nut. I want to be a granola. A hippie. A purist. Borderline Palean-Raw-Gluten Free-Microbiotic-All Natural-Organic-Local-Homegrown-Juicing-Blending-Growing foodie. I want to have my gluten-free cake, and eat it, too.

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