Posts Tagged ‘eat healthy challenge’

Another Eat Healthy Challenge Bites the Dust

This is my fourth Eat Healthy Challenge and I’m not ready for it to be over. How can today mark the 28th day, the end, when I feel like we’re just getting started? On the other hand, it’s hard to believe I’ve spent 112 days, more than 30% of my time out of this last year on this Challenge. Having spent this much time completely clean—without hydrogenated / processed foods, sugar, white flour, caffeine, dairy and alcohol—how do I feel you ask? Amazing! I feel healthier than ever. I feel grounded and stable, energetic and full of life, clear-minded and sharp, strong and sure … and thin. That’s right—I feel thin.

Another thing I’ve noticed is these Challenges get easier with experience. I spent the first three withdrawing from caffeine for the first two weeks. It seems I’m a slow leaner. I knew I was committed to putting myself through these Challenges every three months for 28 days, but would rush right back to my coffee routine the day after each Challenge ended. Big mistake! Sure enough, three months later, I was in another bout of coffee withdrawal torture. After the May Challenge, I decided to limit my intake to one dreamy soy latte per week. Of course, the one crept up to about three per week by the beginning of this current challenge, but I stuck to the “ultimate why bother”; a one-shot, decaf, soy latte and didn’t experience any withdrawal symptoms. Instead, I experienced the positive side effects from the Eat Healthy Challenge immediately.

Also this time around, I didn’t encounter my usual cheese envy. Friends would eat their camembert and aged cheddar and I wasn’t at all disturbed. Everything in my system is flowing magically and I’m feeling trimmer than ever. I attribute this, in part, to the lack of cheese in my current routine. I’m going to try to limit the cheese from now on … however, we do have reservations at a restaurant that serves fresh-pulled, warm mozzarella this Thursday. I said limit, not eliminate.

As for my third regular indulgence—wine and beer—I’m beginning to see the absolute benefit in us taking time off from each other. Sometimes in taking long vacations from those we love, we begin to see their true colors. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a heavy drinker and I’m certainly not a lush. But truth be told, I feel better—less bloated, clear-headed, not stuffed up, digestively more fit and all around lighter—when I’m not hanging out with Mr. and Mrs. Alcohol. This being said, please promise you won’t judge me if you see me flirting with them in the near future. What I’m learning is I actually like socializing without them. They’re going to be invited out less often from now on.     

Congratulations to all you Healthy Junkies who participated (on all levels and for any length of time). Remember, if my schedule doesn’t suit you and you want to begin this Challenge at a different moment, great! Use the facebook page or blog if you need encouragement or just want to comment and feel connected.

The next Eat Healthy Challenge begins January 3rd, 2011.

Whatever Floats Your Nutritional Boat

With boat loads of information and conflicting viewpoints, it’s hard not to be confused about nutrition. Many of us are overwhelmed. What should we eat? What shouldn’t we eat? What’s healthy? What’s necessary? What’s good? What’s bad? Lately, I’ve been approached by many Healthy Junkies who are confused, annoyed and weighed down with information.  Some have stepped off the boat and given up on finding their way to better nutrition. Many have bought into the unattainable concept I like to call the “Nutritional Martha Stewart.” That is unless we’re eating only hand-picked, farmed-fresh, from our own backyard produce and meats, we’re simply not cutting it.  If we allow our vessel to be tipped over, and attempt to abide by every rule, we may find ourselves hard-pressed to find anything perfect enough to eat.

My first piece of advice is, relax! Cruising toward good health is not made any easier by stressing. However, incorporating healthier foods and cutting out the sludge can make us feel better and increase our energy. It’s really not that complicated to row our boats many waves closer to improved health. If we exclude non-foods from our diet and incorporate clean, whole foods, we’re sailing on the boat to healthy.

If we focus our attention on the structure we already know, our boat can afford a little sugary and non-nutritious cargo. Eat a range of foods; proteins like nuts, seeds, wild fish, organic eggs (the whole egg),clean meats that are free-range and not injected with hormones or antibiotics, and plain yogurt; whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, millet and oats; legumes such as black, pinto, garbanzo and adzuki beans; fruits (especially berries); and vegetables (the focus). It’s worth repeating—eat LOTS of veggies every day (no joke—this is key). If you’re already doing all this, good for you! Your boat can handle a mild storm of cupcakes, or too much wine, every once in awhile.

Regardless, we can all benefit from the Eat Healthy Challenge. It’s designed to help us really step into a healthier way of looking at food and ourselves. Some of us Healthy Junkies are making it more difficult this time by eliminating gluten for the twenty-eight days. But remember, health is not a competition. Go one stroke further ahead from where you are right now and forget about the other boats. It’s your boat that matters!

Eat Healthy Challenge – Sept, 2011

The next Eat Healthy Challenge begins September 6th (the day after Labor Day) and runs thru October 3rd. This is going to be the most popular Challenge yet. On August 30th, I’m going to be on the local, Napa radio show, “Kellie in the Morning,” to promote the Eat Healthy Challenge. Grab a co-worker, family member, friend, neighbor, stranger … and set your goals. Let’s all rock this Challenge together!

What is the Eat Healthy Challenge?

  • First of all and most importantly, it’s free!!!

It’s also: 

  • A 7-day to 28-day challenge to help reset, refresh and re-energize the body (you decide the time frame). 
  • Eat only clean, whole foods and give your body a well-deserved break.  
  • Omit at least 4 of the 6 items: Processed and hydrogenated foods; sugar; white flour; caffeine; alcohol; & dairy (you decide the level of difficulty). See the Eat Healthy Challenge tab for more details.  

The name has changed from the Community Cleanse to the Eat Healthy Challenge. Many misconstrued the term cleanse with fasting and /or aggressive herbal products tied to eliminating the bowels. The new name is more in-line with what we’re actually doing for the 7 to 28 days: We’re eating healthy. The body will cleanse itself naturally because we’re omitting the junk, nutrient-robbing, non-foods, and mucus-forming foods from the diet.

With only three weeks until the next Challenge, I thought all you Healthy Junkies would like some time to mentally prepare and I encourage you all to recruit a buddy. Enlist your co-workers or families. If no one will join with you, don’t worry … you have a whole community of Eat Healthy Challengers cheering you on. Let’s all get healthier together!

Five-Day Meal Plan

Get Ready Community Cleansers

Tomorrow, May 4th, is the first day of yet another Community Cleanse. If tomorrow doesn’t work for you, pick another day and stick to it! Regardless of your start date, when carrying out my goals on The Community Cleanse, I find it easier to make decisions on what my husband and I are going to eat ahead of time. Below I have made my shopping list for the first five days. Since we will be avoiding all sugar, white flour, dairy, caffeine, alcohol and processed / hydrogenated foods, I feel the need to be a little more prepared to ensure we succeed. If the following meal suggestions don’t send you drooling, try variations on your own. Don’t be afraid to just throw healthy ingredients together. There are so many delicious and nutritious cleanse friendly meals to discover.

Healthy Junkies who have completed other Community Cleanses often say, “The cleanse was actually much easier than I expected it to be. I didn’t really miss the omitted foods that much, okay, well maybe just the coffee (or __________ fill in the blank for your main weakness). But it wasn’t too bad. I just needed to plan ahead more often.”

Hopefully my five-day meal list will inspire some new ideas. Regardless, be prepared to read labels and start cooking a little more frequently over the next weeks. Let me repeat that one; be prepared to read all labels. Most of the recipes have links to the blog posts with recipe instructions. Also, I try to buy organic and local as much as possible, but I don’t write organic in front of all ingredients listed.

Breakfast

I’m going to stick to green breakfast smoothies over the next five days and then switch to steel-cut oats, later next week. I intend to mix up the ingredients and make the smoothies a little different every day.

List of ingredients for green breakfast smoothies: Bananas (one for two people), frozen broccoli, frozen peas, frozen blueberries, spinach, kale, apples, oranges, red peppers, wheat grass powder, raw almonds or pecans or walnuts, flaxseed powder. I use water as the liquid.

Lunch and Dinner

Lunch and dinner recipes are lumped together in the following section and feed two people, for two meals each. Since I’m going to prepare for the first five days of The Community Cleanse, we need a total of ten meals each. But we’re eating every meal twice, so I only need five different recipes. I have no problem with leftovers. I like to eat my previous dinners, for lunch or dinner the next day. This limits my time in the kitchen, allowing me the time to do other things—like write, exercise, or read.

Giant Salad

See post https://thehealthyjunkie.wordpress.com/2010/10/20/a-day-of-eating-on-the-community-cleanse/

I’m going to process enough veggies and toast enough pumpkin seeds for two salads each–two meals each. I’m adding carrots, instead of tomato, to the veggie mix and incorporating hard-boiled eggs instead of fresh turkey as protein. I’m also going to add brown rice and black beans for an extra giant, mammoth style salad. Since I already know we’re going to be having brown rice at dinner as well, I’m going to make lots of brown rice ahead of time.

List of ingredients for giant salad: Baby greens (spinach or lettuce), beets, carrots, zucchini, red pepper, chicken, pumpkin seeds, olive oil, Annie’s Goddess dressing (another cleanse friendly salad dressing or make your own with apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and lemon). I use my food processor.

Chicken Tonight (two meals)

We buy organic whole chicken already cooked—I find it faster and easier. I’ll use the extra brown rice I cooked at lunch, or last night in preparation for tonight’s meal. Stir-fry broccoli and asparagus in a little olive oil and garlic. Add Bragg Liquid Aminos (tastes like soy sauce) to brown rice and veggies. 

List of ingredients for Chicken Tonight: Whole organic cooked or raw chicken, brown rice, broccoli, asparagus, olive oil, garlic, Bragg Liquid Aminos.

Butternut Squash Soup and Veggie Brown Rice Couscous Salad

See posts: https://thehealthyjunkie.wordpress.com/2011/01/09/butternut-squash-apple-soup/ and https://thehealthyjunkie.wordpress.com/2011/01/09/vegetable-brown-rice-couscous-salad/

I’m going to prepare both of these and eat them together as a meal. I expect I might end up with more than enough food for two meals each. I sure hope so because I find a small bowl of soup or couscous salad to be a perfect snack.

Ingredients for Butternut Squash Soup: Yellow onion, 1 rib celery, carrot, olive oil, butternut squash, 1 tart green apple, chicken broth, cinnamon, all spice, sea salt, pepper. I use my food processor.

Ingredients for Brown Rice Couscous Salad: Red pepper, orange pepper, zucchini, asparagus, sweet potato, Swiss chard, garlic, 1 box of brown rice couscous, 1 can of adzuki beans or chickpeas, sesame oil, olive oil, sea salt, pepper.

Salmon (or other Fish), fried onions, veggie stir-fry and millet

I love fish. It’s healthy and salmon is high in EFAs. It’s also very satisfying—filling. I don’t like to feel hungry when cleansing. Bake salmon or other fish in the oven. Try grating organic lemon rind onto the fish (Meyer lemon is sweet and delicious). Stir-fry onions (caramelized) in a little olive oil and eat on top of fish. I add Bragg’s to my millet and veggie stir-fry. I mix dill (spice) into a tablespoon of Grape Seed Oil Vegenaise and eat this on top of my fish. Delicious!

Ingredient for Salmon Meal: Salmon or another type of fish, organic lemon, onions, red pepper, yellow zucchini squash, chopped kale, millet, Bragg’s Amino Acid, dill spice, Grape Seed Oil Vegenaise “mayonnaise”. I use my iron skillet to sauté the veggies—it gives them a nice charred flavor.

Pesto Pasta

This is by far the healthiest pesto around. I make a pesto pizza as well. But this week I’m in the mood for pasta. I’m going to put scoops of the pesto over my kamut pasta and then top with chopped tomatoes and either toasted pine nuts or toasted pumpkin seeds. You can try soy parmesan cheese on top too!

Feeling adventurous? Try dandelion greens instead of arugula (warning—this makes it bitterer). The beauty is this pesto is ridiculously jam-packed with greens. You’ll feel your energy rising! 

https://thehealthyjunkie.wordpress.com/2010/10/24/calling-all-healthy-junkies-recipes/

Ingredients for Pesto Pasta: Arugula, kale, frozen peas, basil, olive oil, walnuts, lemons, garlic, kamut pasta, tomatoes, pine nuts or pumpkin seeds, sea salt, pepper. I use my food processor for the pesto.

Snacks

My main-stay snacks are brown rice crackers with hummus, and almond butter smothered onto Gala apples. Sometimes I need to carry easy cleanse friendly calories with me so I always have granola bars at arm’s reach like Larabars—Ginger Snap and Cashew Cookie. I’ll also have extra leftovers from the meals listed above that I can use as snacks. I have pure pomegranate juice and sparkling water if I need a “drink”.

Ingredients for snacks: Brown rice crackers, Mary’s Gone Crackers, hummus, almond butter, Gala apples, Larabars, pomegranate juice, sparkling water.

Deserts

I’ve found it better to have something sweet in the house that is cleanse-worthy, instead of nothing. At times, my sweet tooth shows its fangs and I’m afraid of what I would eat if I didn’t have an alternative on hand. Most of the time, all I need is a taste to pull me through like a heaping tablespoon of Luna and Larry’s “Ice Cream”. Larabar granola bars can also taste like desert.

Ingredients for deserts: Luna and Larry’s Vanilla Island Coconut Bliss “Ice Cream”.

Supplements and Teas

I have 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water every morning (very cleansing). Let’s stick to the essential supplements I’m going to take; a good multi-vitamin and mineral complex, vitamin C with bioflavanoids (needed to absorb the vitamin C), fish oil (EFAs), extra calcium/magnesium/vitamin D. I need to buy green tea and other herbal teas (like dandelion root, nettle, horsetail) to replace my coffee.