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Mindless Snacking At Night

Heyyo!! How are things? I hope you all had a chocolate filled Valentine’s Day/weekend.

I wanted to talk a little today about snacking at night. I majorly associate night time with treat time. I honestly didn’t really grow up with desserts every night, it’s something I’ve picked up over the past few years.

I’ve noticed lately that I’m especially snacky after my kids go to bed. It’s like I feel the need to run to the kitchen and eat all the goodies I didn’t get to eat when they were awake because I was too busy. This is obviously a completely ludicrous thought. I eat plenty during the day. It’s not like my kids stop me from eating. Trust me, I make that a priority too.

my obsession: dates with peanut butter (and a protein shake behind it)

my obsession: dates with peanut butter (and a protein shake behind it)

I think at this point this behavior has become such a pattern or nightly ritual, that it’s hard to break. It must be somewhat emotional too. Something about nightly snacks makes me feel good. It’s like, my personal time when I can really enjoy myself and I choose to do that by eating some food.

I’ve been thinking about ways to break the habit or replace it with something else. Here are a couple things I came up with:

Instead of snacks/treats….

  • Read a book! I rarely read anymore usually because I’m too tired at night. This is such a great way though to wind down. Get out of the kitchen, cuddle up, and read a book.
  • Watch TV- This is essentially the opposite of read a book, but I watch so little TV I would have no problem with watching more. We pay for cable so why not? The problem sometimes with TV is snacks can be associated with it so I would probably watch it in my bedroom.
  • Listen to Podcasts-  Anyone else loving Podcasts lately? I listent to them all the time on my drives (my poor kids). Lately I’ve been into health and business Podcasts. I am loving The Chalene Show, The James Altucher Show, and The Time Ferris Show. Yes, of course I’ve listened to Serial too and I miss it.
  • Hang out with my husband- My husband and I both tend to do our own thing at night. Time for me to grab him and have some husband and wife time!

Don’t get me wrong, if I’m hungry, I will eat. I’m talkin’ mindless eating. I am not hungry, just bored.

If I feel like I really need a treat or something, maybe I’ll try some tea or warm lemon water? I’ve never been a huge tea drinker…any good night time tea suggestions?

What is Clean Eating?

What is Clean Eating?

Clean eating gets thrown around a lot these days. It might sound or seem like a simple theory and I guess it really is. The challenge of course with eating clean is life gets in the way. We basically live on temptation island and that temptation is good. Let’s not lie to ourselves.

If you’re anything like me though, you feel better when you eat better. I guess there’s something to that say, you are what you eat? I’m a giant tortilla? Soft and fluffy! I don’t know..maybe? Anyway, let’s talk more about what clean eating actually means.

Clean eating is not a diet but a “way of life” (I know, that’s cheesy..but it’s true!). Basically, the idea is eliminating ultra-processed and refined foods from your diet. You want to choose foods that are in their most natural state (or very close to it). I think it’s a great way to approach food because there are so many foods you can eat!  Most diets put too much emphasis on what you can’t eat and that can become overwhelming or intimidating. Clean eating is a simple, straight forward approach to the way we eat.

Grocery Shopping

So, let’s address grocery shopping. An easy trick for clean grocery shopping is shop around the store’s perimeter. Most food items in the center aisles of the store are overly processed convenience type foods. Obviously, sometimes you need to grab an item or two from these rows and that is totally okay. But, the easiest way to eat clean is to stick to the outside of these rows.

Another great way to approach grocery shopping is to read labels! It is a pretty safe bet that if a product has an ingredient list longer than 2 items, it’s not very clean. I’m sure you’ve all read labels before and found yourself unable to even pronounce an ingredient. Crazy chemistry lab ingredients= not clean. My favorite example (that my dad pointed out to me by the way) is coffee creamer. Delicious, incredible coffee creamer. Coffee creamers are non-dairy creamers made of I don’t know what. Sugar and…..some other stuff? Except the sugar free one’s that are made of….I don’t know what? I love the seasonal coffee creamers but nope, that shit ain’t clean.

The Focus

Clean eating is different than a traditional “diet” in that it doesn’t focus as much on calories you’re consuming or fat content. The focus is whole foods. You might be wondering about something like dairy: low fat or full fat? In my opinion, that’s up to you. I personally tend to choose full fat yogurt and half and half for example, but if you wanted to shave off some calories, you could pick lower fat versions. I think full fat tastes better and that I actually tend to eat less because it is more filling-but maybe that’s all in my head. Up to you! The full fat variety of foods also tend to be less processed. That is definitely a personal choice though.

How to Start:

The best way to start a clean eating lifestyle is to take a look at your kitchen and make some healthier swaps. For example, white pasta-swap in whole wheat pasta or better yet, spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles. Another example, fruit flavored yogurts. Swap greek yogurt with fresh fruit!

Some of these foods may take a while to get used to. An acquired taste. Eventually though, they will become part of your daily routine and habit just like the foods you used to eat.

Sometimes produce can be a bit expensive especially if you don’t use it in time and it goes bad (I am guilty of this and it makes my husband crazy). A cheaper route is buying frozen veggies or fruits. Frozen  produce (assuming there is no added sugar) has just as much nutritional value as fresh! I admit, fresh is more appealing, but sometimes frozen can be more economical (especially in winter. Buy those frozen blueberries!).

Here are a couple pictures with more healthy swap ideas:

clean eating swaps

clean eating swaps

(image found here)

clean eating swaps

clean eating swaps

(Image found here)

 

Do you eat clean? Any recommendations on getting started?

Southwestern Stuffed Sweet Potato *Recipe*

Sw sweet potato

I heart this recipe. It is so easy and all the ingredients are just perfect together. It’s also incredibly nutritious. I love when that happens!

It’s not a Paleo recipe, but you could make it Paleo by omitting the black beans. You could also add more/different veggies to pump it up even more if you’d like. Here’s what I used:

Southwestern Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Black Bean Salsa

  • 1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 can of sweet corn (drained and rinsed)
  • 3 Tbsp of salsa (I sort of eyeballed this)
  • chopped cilantro to tase (eyeballed this too. I love cilantro so the more the merrier!)

Ground Taco Meat

  • 1 lb. ground meat of choice (I’ve used turkey before but this time used elk)
  • taco seasoning (I used store bought, but of course you could make your own!)

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

  • 2 sweet potatoes, rinsed, pierced with a knife, rubbed in olive oil, and covered in foil

Okay. This might seem like there is a lot going on but this is actually a really easy recipe.

I like to cook my sweet potatoes in the oven so I get those going first. I baked them for about 45 minutes at 425 degrees (I usually just check them off and on with a knife to make sure they’re done). You could definitely microwave them though if you’re in a rush!

While the sweet potatoes were cooking, I made the salsa. I just poured all the black bean salsa ingredients in a bowl, mixed thoroughly, and refrigerated while the meat cooked.

black bean salsa

black bean salsa

Next up was the meat!! I cooked this in a pan on the stove then added the taco seasoning once the meat was no longer pink.

Once the sweet potatoes were done, I cut them open, added the taco meat, then the salsa on top (and extra cilantro because it’s awesome). That’s it!

southwestern sweet potato

I served it with roasted cauliflower-tasty!

This is such a great meal for weeknights when you’re not in the mood to cook or too busy. It’s quick, filling, and healthy!

Crunchy (and healthy) Tuna Salad *Recipe*

Healthy tuna salad

I love tuna salad. Or maybe I love mayo?  Possibly both? I used to be the type who would order a tuna salad sandwich from wherever then get added mayonnaise to the already mayonnaise laden salad. It was obviously amazing. My husband on the other hand, is not a fan of mayo rich foods. I know, he’s missing out. I’ve also since realized that loading mayo on top of mayo typically equals mucho calories. Ah…I miss those high school/middle school days of eating whatever whenever don’t you? I shall live vicariously through my two year old. Back to my current tuna salad obsession.

The issue of course with no mayonnaise added to tuna salad is it becomes dry. The tuna experience is not the same when you’re literally choking it down. A while back when I attempted paleo, I saw some people substituting mayonnaise for avocado. Brilliant! So, there’s your added creamy fat: healthy and delicious. From there, I take the tuna one step further and add some much needed crunch. I throw in some almond slivers (they are great to add to so many things) and chopped up green apple and it really hits the spot. It just reminds me of a tuna salad I might order at a restaurant (not talkin’ Subway).

tuna with avocado

tuna with avocado

tuna with green apple

tuna with green apple

Here’s a more detailed breakdown:

Crunchy Tuna Salad

  • can of whole tuna
  • 1 tbsp of relish or chopped pickle
  • 1/2 an avocado (or as much to your taste. Don’t fear the fat!)
  • 1/2 a chopped green apple
  • a Tbsp or so of almond slivers (or whatever nut you like)
  • optional: I usually add in a hard boiled egg because it just works so well with tuna. It provides some additional protein too!

Today, I served this on a bed of spinach with a splash of balsamic vinegar.

tuna on spinach

This is a side note, but Costco (Kirkland brand) balsamic vinegar is so good! I have some friends who are generally obsessed with balsamic vinegar and I’m typically not so for me to say it’s good (I think) means it’s pretty darn good. Maybe I’ve just been buying poor quality balsamic all these years? Certainly possible.

kirkland balsamic vinegar

My husband loved the tuna too and didn’t miss the mayonnaise at all! He had it on a couple pieces of toasted wheat bread.

awesome lunch!

awesome lunch!

If you don’t have an avocado available, some other ideas for mayo substitutes are guacamole, hummus, or you could make your own mayonnaise. All of those things really give you that nice creamy consistency that store bought mayo brings to the table.

Give it a try!

Clean Eating Challenge

Happy Friday guys!

I posted this on my personal Facebook page a few days back, but wanted to make sure I updated you guys too:

I’m so excited to announce to the world a new adventure for this momma and her family. Some of you probably know about our living situation, but in case you don’t, we live in an extremely rural (and beautiful) part of colorado. I’m talking no cell reception and closest gym is 45 min away. For me, working out has always been a great way to clear my mind and regain my sanity. Getting to the gym lately though has been a bit of a challenge with 2 kids and a 45 min drive. I decided to buckle down and order some exercise dvds through beachbody (insanity btw is actually insane). Between the butt kicking workouts, meal plans, and support, I’ve made it to my pre-baby weight! I literally just tried on my pre-baby jeans and they fit! Maybe time to retire my target jeggings? Ha, never. Anyway, my experience has been such a positive one that I’m going to give coaching a try.

The hardest part for me has always been clean eating. Sometimes I like food a little too much. I’m going to get this party started by setting up a week long (free) clean eating challenge group. It helps so, so much to have a team supporting you and keeping you accountable. If any of you are interested in participating, leave me a comment and I’ll get you added to the group! Next Monday, February 9th will be our official start day. Maybe after this challenge, we could try a week long paleo eating challenge? Thanks for your support guys!

challenge

Don’t worry I’m not going to turn my blog into a Beachbody spam hot spot. I really wasn’t sure about signing up to be a coach, but I decided why not? What do I have to lose? The bottom line for me is I really like the workouts. They’re great. They work. So, if you believe in a product, there is certainly nothing wrong with promoting it. I’m going to continue to blog how I always blog though. So, things won’t change too much!Anyway, back to the challenge!

The challenge is going to be a private group (so your Facebook friends cannot see what you post unless they’re involved). I want it to be a place where we can keep each other accountable and openly discuss any challenges we face when it comes to eating clean. No judgement-just support. I’m also trying to gather up some good, clean recipes to get everyone started!!

Anyway, if you’re interested in joining the group just let me know and I’ll add you probably on Saturday (so we can grocery shop Sunday and officially start Monday).

Thanks guys and have a great weekend!!

Ultimate Pyramid (home) Workout

I love lifting weights. Like, really love it. I just can’t get enough of those sore muscles. I definitely think every gal (and guy) should add weight lifting to their lives.  That being said, I think you can get an equally as challenging workout at home with zero weights. Yeah, that was probably confusing. Sometimes you have to be a little creative, but most body weight workouts are probably harder to me than a typical gym session.

Body weight workouts are great because obviously, you can do them anywhere. There really are no excuses in this case. It’s easy to find or create a tough, full body workout that’s 30 minutes or less. That’s nothin’ in the whole scheme of things. 30 minutes of pain :).

Today’s home workout is a pyramid style workout: start with 5 reps of each exercise, then 10 reps, then 15, then 20. After you complete 20 reps of each move back down to 15 reps, then 10, then 5. On the surface this doesn’t sound too bad but it catches up to you!

Pyramid workout

I haven’t done a pyramid style workout in a while it’s about time I add these back in the rotation!

 

So, now I need your help, do you prefer to see workouts with no equipment, gym workouts, or both on the blog? Do you workout at home or the gym? 

30 Day Paleo Challenge: Week 4

I made thirty days!! Can you believe it?! I honestly can’t ha I really mean that. I say that because I’ve tried multiple times before and let’s just say, did not last thirty days.

Week 4

Week four was okay. For some reason it was a little more challenging than I would have thought.  I had some major cravings for carbos. I’m not sure if it’s because I have them dangling in front of me at all times, or because I actually miss them. I swear it is some major internal conflict when I serve my daughter her tortillas. I usually rip a piece off (ha, I know, I’m mean) and I’ve been wanting to so bad. I’ve also been craving oatmeal. Weird. Anyway, its been a struggle.

scotch eggs! hard boiled eggs wrapped in sausage. yum.

scotch eggs! hard boiled eggs wrapped in sausage. yum.

My Takeaway

I think my general takeaway from this challenge is eating more whole foods and less processed foods is the way to go. This sounds so obvious but it’s easier said than done. Eating whole foods all the time takes a little more work. There is definitely more time involved in prepping your meals versus convenience foods which are, of course, convenient.

chicken wrap with paleo tortilla

chicken wrap with paleo tortilla

I’m not sure if the lack of processed carbs, dairy, and legumes was good for me or not. It could have easily just been the addition of more whole foods.

Where To Go From Here

So, I was chatting with my husband today about where to go from here. We both kind of decided to keep the snacky junk foods out of the house. I think that’s definitely a good idea, but I also sort of enjoy those foods (ummm fig bars from Costco anyone?). I’ll try to limit them though.

egg cups

egg cups

I’m thinking I will add in some dairy, legumes, and carbs, but keep them pretty limited. So, basically eat pretty similar to how I’ve been eating recently.

This morning I had a piece of toast, which was amazing. Then later I had some peanut butter toast with bananas…also amazing. Toast is the best.

Anyway, so I think overall the challenge was a good one. It was tough some days but my body responded pretty well and it was fun trying new recipes.

On to the next challenge!

Zoodles *Recipe*

zoodles

Does this count as a recipe? Sure, why not. By the way, can you tell I’ve been playing with photo apps? I’ve literally downloaded three new ones… I can’t decide which are keepers and which aren’t.  Anyway, to zoodles!

Zoodles. Otherwise known as: zucchini noodles.

These are so, so easy to make and as long as you like zucchini, they’re delicious too.

The other night I made some meat sauce with noodles for my husband and daughter but since I’m eating Paleo, noodles were out for me. I had a couple zucchini on hand from some muffins I made earlier in the week so I decided to give zucchini noodles a try. I’ve made them before but its been a long time. I’m not really sure why I stopped making them?

When I say they’re easy… I really mean it. Let’s compare spaghetti squash “noodles” to zucchini. Zucchini wins in convenience, hands down. I actually like both (taste-wise), but spaghetti squash can be a little more time consuming. This is how I cooked the zoodles:

1. Peel

peeled zucchini

zoodles

I just use a julienne peeler to noodle-ize my zucchini. Lots of people use a spiralizer but honestly, I can’t deal with anymore kitchen appliances. Unless we’re talkin’ Vitamix, I ain’t got the space! This julienne peeler takes up way less space and is only 9 dollars. Easy!

julienne peeler

julienne peeler

the peeler I used (link in the post)

the peeler I used (link in the post)

2. Soak Up Extra Water (or don’t)

This isn’t necessarily a crucial step, but I think it’s helpful. After I peeled my zucchini, I placed it all in a paper towel, wrapped it, then left it for about 30 minutes. Zucchini have lots of water so I wanted to soak some up before cooking.

soaking up the zucchini water

soaking up the zucchini water

3. Cook (or don’t)

I wanted to soften my noodles up a bit so I just sauteed them in some butter literally for like, 5 minutes. If you like them cold or crunchy, then skip this step. I just tasted mine after a few minutes and they were soft enough for me. Cook longer if you like them super soft.

IMG_4843

4. Eat.

Eat!

This was such an easy meal: ground elk with tomato sauce over zucchini noodles. So easy, light, and Paleo. Win! I may have to keep zucchini in the rotation (along with cauliflower- officially the best vegetable).

zoodles with ground elk

zoodles with ground elk

Yum.

 

Okay, back to photo apps….any good photo app recommendations? 

Weekly Food Prep Ideas

I love when I’m motivated and prep food for the week. Or at least for a few days. There’s something so satisfying about opening the fridge and actually having food in there.

Meal prep

 

This week I prepped a few things I had made in the past but added some new foods to the rotation. Here’s a little breakdown:

Chicken Salad- Why have I not made this before? Having chicken salad (or something like it) in the fridge is so nice. It’s perfect for lunches or a higher protein snack. I cooked 3 chicken breasts in the oven then chopped them up and added chopped green apple, slivered almonds, a little mustard, Paleo mayonnaise, and salt and pepper. You could obviously use regular mayo or no mayo. Subbing in hummus or mashed up avocado would be tasty too!

Hard Boiled Eggs-  The easiest and best snack to have around. High protein, portable, and delicious. Doesn’t get much better! I boiled 8 eggs to use throughout the week.

Homemade Lara Bars (or Paleo Brownies as I like to call them)- These were just so so easy and really satisfy the sweet tooth. Although yesterday I was majorly craving actual brownies so maybe they trigger the sweet tooth? Hard to tell. By the way, these do freeze well. I think next time I’ll double the batch and freeze some.

Paleo Tortillas (or wraps)- I followed a recipe from Against All Grain which uses coconut and tapioca flour (the original recipe called for arrowroot powder but I think tapioca is a pretty good sub). They are pretty good! Don’t get me wrong, they pale in comparison to Costco’s real deal tortillas, but they’re a pretty good substitute.  I made 6 (since I’m the only one eating them) and have used them at dinner and make chicken salad wraps at lunch.

Paleo Hidden Veggie Muffins-  Another Against All Grain winner! These are really delicious muffins. They have no sweetener in them, instead use dates. Dates are so incredibly sweet that it works, no problem. The “hidden veggies” are shredded zucchini and carrots. Nom.

Egg Cups- Are eggs the best food ever? I think they might be. These are a great snack and/or quick breakfast. I just bought some low sodium ham, placed one piece in a muffin tin, then cracked an egg into it. I cooked them for about 15 minutes at 375.  (I posted about these a couple years ago… can be found here).

Paleo Mayonnaise- This is just so easy to make I figured having it in the fridge for the week was a no brainer. I used it in my chicken salad but have also used it with tuna salad. Yum!

 

I heart food.

 

Do you prep food for the week? If so, what’s in your rotation?

30 Day Paleo Challenge: Week 3 + Breastfeeding on Paleo

Sort of a long title..sorry about that. I thought about making the breastfeeding topic a separate post but I think it would essentially be a one liner.

Breastfeeding on Paleo

(First and foremost, talk to you doctor if you have any serious questions regarding your diet and breastfeeding).

My experience with cutting back on processed carbs and dairy while breastfeeding has been pretty uneventful. Which is good. I haven’t found that lowering my intake of carbs has effected my milk supply. I think this is because two things: I try to eat plenty of food and get a decent amount of carbs from those foods.

My daily carbs intake is lowish but not crazy low. I usually come in around 150 grams of carbs a day-sometimes higher, sometimes lower. That is on the low side (most people eat 200 something), but very low carb intakes would be under 100 grams. If you are interested in cutting back on carbs, I think you just need to play around with your diet and see what works for you. 150 grams of carbs may leave you feeling sluggish so maybe you consume more?

I think the bottom line with breastfeeding is, eat enough food and find what works for you! My little chunky monkey seems to be growing so I think the milk is a-flowin’.

IMG_4792

Paleo Week 3

Well, the beginning of the week was pretty good. I didn’t feel as irritable as I had been so maybe my body was starting to adjust? My husband actually mentioned though that he was feeling irritable. He’s not technically doing this challenge, but because I make most of the food, he sort of is.  But again, maybe it comes back to not eating enough in general? It’s hard to tell.

yummy dinner of salmon burger, avocado, mashed cauli, sweet potato, and olives

yummy dinner of salmon burger, avocado, mashed cauli, sweet potato, and olives

My digestion has still been great so that’s good news. I’m not sure that’s all thanks to the Paleo diet but I think more to do with the whole foods I’ve been eating. Since starting the challenge, I’ve been consuming way more vegetables each day than I typically do. Maybe the lack of processed carbs helps too, but veggies definitely do a body good.

mashed cauli with chorizo meatballs from Practical Paleo and roasted brussels with more cauli!

mashed cauli with chorizo meatballs from Practical Paleo and roasted brussels with more cauli!

The second part of the week was not great. I got a stomach virus so was throwing up quite a bit.  I ended up eating a tortilla (the horror!!) for dinner last night. I just didn’t know what else to eat that wouldn’t upset my tummy. Besides the sick part though, week 3 went well! Only one more week left!! I am feeling a little better today so I think tonight will be another tasty Paleo dinner courtesy of the WellFed cookbook.

I’m not sure if I’ll add processed carbs and dairy back to my diet or not. Sometimes I miss them, so maybe I will but just watch my intake. One more week to decide!