Friday, February 11, 2011

Spinach Smoothies and Sprouted Grains

How gross does that sound? I mean, really....stuff like that is for Olympic athletes or Tibetan monks or something, right?

Turns out...this is my new favorite breakfast and/or late night snack!

Stay with me. Don't let me lose you guys. I mean, I'm a total foodie. I love to eat. And I love to eat good food. Anyone who knows me in real life knows I won't be happy with some cardboard-tasting, grass-grazing, plain-gray-chicken-breast kind of diet.

But I've been hearing all about how great these green drinks are good for you. I've been reading a little about Russell Simmons. I don't agree with him on many things, or idolize him or anything. But he is an incredibly successful entrepreneur and I find some of his principles intriguing. Anyway, he drinks some sort of green, smoothie-like drink every morning and swears by it.

So I looked at a bunch or recipes. I had to nix the ones that have milk or yogurt in them. I hate milk or yogurt in my smoothies. I just like the berry/fruit juice ones.

I found one I LOVE! Its so good. Here's the directions:

1. Plop a great big handful of fresh spinach in the blender (add this first so those leaves aren't just spinning around all haphazardly on top.)

2. Then add 1 cup of unsweetened frozen strawberries. (The ones I have are only 50 calories per cup.)

3. One small frozen banana. (Peel these before you freeze them. Yea, that should be obvious, right? But I had to chisel the peel off a few before I figured it out.)

4. Then add 1 cup of water or juice. I had this Diet Blueberry Pomegranate Ocean Spray stuff that worked great with it. Its only 5 calories and added great flavor. But it was good with just the water too.

5. Give it a whir and it turns into this:

I realize this looks gross. But it tastes sweet. You don't really taste the spinach. And its filling. Really. You should try it.

My 14 year old son even tried it. Well, he basically tried it because of the gross factor and for the bragging rights to tell his friends he drank a spinach smoothie - but he was surprised at how good it was. Now, whenever I make one I give him whatever is left in the blender.

The other thing I'm loving is Food for Life sprouted grain English muffins. I've had the Ezekiel 4:9 bread before. I like it, but don't love it. So my expectations weren't terribly high when I tried the English muffins. But they really hit the spot! I just need a half of one with some crunchy peanut butter and I am fueled for a good couple hours. You have to keep that sprouted grain stuff in your freezer. There are no preservatives so it goes bad rather quickly if you leave it out. You can usually find it in the freezer section of the store.

So, there you have it. I actually drink spinach smoothies and eat sprouted grains. And, you know what? I feel great! And I'm so full all the time that I don't think I could even eat a piece of cake if it were here. (And we have established how much I love cake, right?)

So let me know if you try the gross-looking green drink and how you like it. I'd love to know if anyone comes up with an even better fruit-veggie combo. I'm gonna try adding some cucumber next time.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Stupid Scale

Today I got on the scale for a first time in a long time. I know I've been slacking in my exercise, and performing like a professional eater as far as my diet is concerned. So, I've been avoiding it.

I make some good choices throughout the day and then reward myself with some cake later.

That doesn't seem to be working for me :(

Today was the initial weigh-in for another round of the Facebook Biggest Loser Competition. (Here's a link to my experience when I was part of the group last year.) I wanted to join up again to get back in shape. Clearly I'm motivated by shopping. And the prize at the end of 12 weeks is a bright shiny gift card. So that was incentive enough for me to face the music and hop on the scale this morning.

Then I sat around for two hours wondering what the heck just happened.

You would think a person could see a monumental weight gain like that coming. But, I chose to ignore the signs of shrinking jeans (darn dryer), boots that took a little longer to zip up (must've gotten the leather wet or something), and my daughter's comments of "Mom! The Wii Fit Guy is asking about you again" (he just really likes me). Thusly, this morning, I was blind-sided by the numbers staring back at me.

It took me two hours before I could upload that stupid photo from the stupid scale. I didn't want to do it. I thought I would just lose the weight again quietly, by myself, and then join the next round. But I knew that would just be another bad choice. So, after a significant amount of time bargaining with myself, I sucked it up and posted the stupid photo from the stupid scale.

This group of people is so supportive and I should've known I would get nothing but love from them. But once it was done I didn't want to partake in the conversation. I just cried. All that hard work I did last year was almost completely undone by the last four months of complacency. I would like to blame it on my stupid scale or the cake. But the blame rests solely in my choices each day.

The good news is, I've made great choices this morning. And I've been loading up on some fabulous organic products in preparation for the challenge. I will share some of my favs with you at the end of the week.

Now I'm gonna go dry my eyes, drink a spinach smoothie, and go for a run.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Football Food

I had a great time watching this year's Superbowl. But, I must admit, the only running I did was to the grocery store. I didn't plan the menu for this year's festivities until the last minute, so I found myself going to the comfortable standbys of fatty, calorie-dense munchies.

I knew full well what I was doing. But I was like a little kid acting out in complete defiance.

What? Cheese stuffed tater tots wrapped in bacon aren't good for me? Tough!

Processed meat in tube form has more sodium than a salt-lick? Bring on the brats!

I was naughty.

Very naughty.

But I'm a Packer fan, living in Wisconsin, watching my team in the championship game. So, I lived up to all the stereotypes, donned a big foam hat of cheese, and checked out of reality for the day. And now I'm feeling mighty yucky. (Not nearly as yucky had we not won!) But, my body is not happy with me. And mentally, I'm beating myself up a bit.

What do Cheeseheads have for lunch on Superbowl Sunday? Well, brats with grilled onions and kraut with a side of deep fried cheese curds, of course!

And then there were the dips....

I did try to redeem myself with the black bean dip over there. And then I tried a healthy version of jalapeno poppers. And they were pretty good! But it wasn't enough to undo what these little beauties did to me.

I could've done much better with a little more planning. So today I'm planning my menu out for the entire week. Because left to my own spur of the moment ain't pretty!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. GoNaturally Organic Honey Hard Candies I found these great hard candies that are like little drops of love on your tongue. There are several kinds, but I've only tried the honey flavor and they totally rock. They are low sodium, have no preservatives, are dairy and gluten free, and have no additives or fillers. Each Drop o' Love has 15 calories. Here is the ingredient list: Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Honey. That's it! Three things. I got mine at Amazon. They were on sale and when you order with their Subscribe and Save program (which you can totally cancel or change super easily) they are even cheaper and ship for free. The only problem is that I have to hide some from my kids or I won't get any. They LOVE the things. I'll let you know how the other flavors are, but need to try the honey (and NOT honey lemon - cuz that seems too much like a cough drop. Just go for the straight-up honey.) They have a really deep, honey flavor that isn't overly sweet. My son described it as, "a beehive exploding in his mouth." He's a 14 year old he meant it as a good thing :) And no one paid me or sent me free stuff to write this review, cuz I'm just not that cool yet.

2. Snow Days! As most everyone knows, we had a little blizzard here in southeastern Wisconsin. We get lots of snow here and can recover from most storms rather quickly. This one was a doozy and things started shutting down Tuesday afternoon and just about everything was closed on Wednesday, which was expected. I mean, we did get two feet of we need a day to clear that up. Last night I sat in front of the computer to do some homework for classes today and saw that the campus was gonna be closed another day! (Not due to the snow, but due to the fact that its -30 degrees.) It was totally unexpected and I felt all happy and giddy just like when I was a kid. I missed out on the free pass from Wednesday because I still had to submit assignments for an online class. But Thursdays I have to be on campus for a class and I am loving the bonus! (In my mind, it totally feels like my declaration of the New New Year is being celebrated like a real holiday. How cool is that?)

3. I'm a Geek. And Newton's Three Laws of Motion make a lot of sense to me in regards to exercise. Because, like the first law states, when my body is at rest, it likes to stay there. And when my body is moving, it does a pretty good job of staying the course. So, the hardest part of my exercise program seems to be lacing up my shoes. And the second law pretty much says that an object will accelerate in the direction you push it, that the direction is directly proportional to the force, and inversely proportional to the object's basically, it sometimes takes a lot to get my big butt moving. But if I apply significant force, I will move in the direction I want. And that third law - about how there are equal and opposite forces present when two objects collide - I felt that one when my knee hit the pavement the other day.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Happy New New Year!

Yes. I know it is February 1st. But I want a do-over.

I was sitting with my BFF at Panera yesterday and we were both feeling a little "blah" over our January. It was a crazy month. And a little depressing. It started out great with a wonderful vacation and great company.....

but then I came home.

And each day presented a new challenge. Some expected, some unexpected. My gung-ho, bring on 2011 attitude quickly faded as I dealt with the drama. Don't get me wrong, it was a productive month. But I wasn't spending my time doing the things I wanted. Life was happening. I wasn't living.

So, in our comfy chairs at Panera, sipping our mugs of coffee, I declared that I was ready for a do-over. It was a new week, a new month, and, in my mind....a new year. Any yucky stuff that was gonna happen this year, happened in January. And now I'm onto the fun stuff!

February is an awesome month. I love February!

There's Mardi Gras, the Superbowl, and, most importantly... my birthday. I mean, that is pretty much a party every weekend! I will also be celebrating my one year bloggiversary this year. It was a Fat Tuesday celebration last year that led to my very first post ever. And, after seeing my declaration of New Year's Take Two on Facebook, a friend of mine pointed out that February 3 is the start of the Chinese New Year. So there will be other people celebrating along with me.

February is also the start of another weight loss competition with my Loser Friends. And Lesley, over at Racing It Off, has offered to coach me for the next four months. How cool is that? Now I have a running coach....I sound all sorts of legit now, don't I?

I am just giddy happy looking forward to the months ahead. And I'm equally thrilled that January is over.

So, pop a cork and join me in welcoming in the New Year (again)!