Month: October 2015

Bread

Bread. So much to say about bread…I’ll start by saying I think it’s one of the hardest things of which to find a “clean” version. I will also say the best option is definitely to make your own! And it probably really can be very easy to make once you’ve done it a few times, but I find the prospect daunting! I think a lot of other people do too.

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Bread has also become taboo in many ways. Some people cut it out entirely. It’s definitely gotten a bad reputation when it comes to getting fit. It’s kind of funny, because I remember the days of the high-carbohydrate craze when bread would be a staple! You also hear a lot more about gluten and wheat sensitivities and allergies lately, as well as Celiac Disease. I think all of this has led people to question the health value of bread…but it sure is good, isn’t it?

One of the things I like best about clean eating is that you don’t have to eliminate any food group. You just have to cut out the crap. And Beachbody, the 21 Day Fix in particular, has taught me to be mindful of portion sizes and the importance of eating a variety of foods. Even carbohydrates! As long as they’re from good sources. I’ve also learned to keep certain things in mind when eating; for example, when you eat bread eat it with a healthy fat and/or protein to slow the absorption and to level out the effect on your blood sugar.

I also know a lot of people swear cutting out bread and other carbs is all that works for them when it comes to losing weight! I do try to get my carbs from other sources- mostly quinoa, oats, and sweet potatoes. But I do like to have a sandwich now and again, or a piece of toast with my eggs.

If I had to pick one thing to say about bread it would be this: Do not eat white bread. And I didn’t think I had to say this, but the fact that several really smart people didn’t know this makes me think that I do: white bread is made from wheat. White bread is just made from wheat that has been very processed and stripped of its healthier fiber and stuff. So, if you’re in doubt about it- whole wheat bread is healthier than white bread for sure. Maybe it’s not the healthiest but if you’re in the store and you’re deciding between white and whole wheat go with whole wheat. Not all whole wheat breads are so healthy, but they are better than white!!

I have been buying whole wheat bread for as long as I’ve been buying bread. I thought I was buying the healthier ones, too. I always made sure it was 100% whole wheat, stone ground, whatever. But even those have a lot of added ingredients- some of which I’m unsure of, and some of which I know are bad. When I am going to buy packaged bread for any reason, I make sure the first ingredient is 100% whole wheat, that there is no high fructose corn syrup, and the fewer ingredients the better.

In my search for good breads, I have come across some healthier options out there. So until I start making my own bread (????) I plan on using these…

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The first healthier option is bread that is fresh from a bakery, or almost fresh from a bakery. You should still stick with whole wheat flour. I found this one at my regular supermarket in the deli section. It has just three ingredients! The down side is it doesn’t stay fresh very long, though it will last a bit longer in the refrigerator. It’s delicious toasted and makes an amazing grilled cheese!

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The second healthier option is good because it has fewer ingredients than most breads, and most of them are familiar. It also lasts longer and is softer, more like the packaged bread we’re used to- especially for my children. The only questionable ingredient is soy lecithin. You’ll come across different information on soy lecithin, and while I think it’s best to avoid it when you can I don’t think it’s the worst thing in the world. And it is in almost everything it seems like! From what I’ve read (and remember at this point!) I think it’s more gross than dangerous. It comes from the sludge that’s left over after processing soy…ew. So, gross? Yes. Carcinogenic? I don’t think so. If you can get a product that’s GMO free, that would be better. At least the soy lecithin in that would be by-product sludge from GMO free soy crops, and soy is one of the worst GMO crops in our country. Still gross, less unsettling.

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The third option is sprouted grain bread. (Again my interpretation here is based on what I remember from all that I’ve read about these things; I have done no research immediately prior to writing this post! If you want more exact info on these things, google them or go to Food Babe. I admire her and her work to reveal what’s really in our food!) Sprouted grain breads come from wheat berries that have been dehydrated and then soaked and left to sprout. (Or is it sprouted and then dehydrated?) Those sprouts are then used to make the bread. So your body processes it more like a vegetable than a grain. These kinds of bread are healthier (more nutrient rich) and easier to digest. I like them, too. I don’t eat bread often, but when I do I choose sprouted grain bread. I keep it in the refrigerator and it lasts a good few weeks. My kids like it toasted, too, when they don’t see me take it out of the bag 🙂

There are probably better ways to get your complex carbohydrates, but bread can be a good source of whole grains. I think sprouted bread is the way to go if you’re looking for the healthiest bread out there. Or maybe homemade sprouted grain bread would really be the best…when I first read about sprouted grain breads I worked myself into a frenzy and found myself pricing dehydrators on Amazon! Luckily I backed away from the edge and did not one-click buy it. Maybe I should clean the kitchen and pay the bills before I start sprouting my own wheat berries…But one day maybe.

 

 

My Beachbody Story

In June of 2012 I went to a friend’s house for coffee. I had just had my fourth baby, a boy, in May. I love this friend, and I don’t see her very regularly, but when we get together we have a ton of stuff to talk about. That day she told me about a program she saw an infomercial about on TV called Insanity. I had never heard of it…

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I went home that day and watched the informercial on my phone while I nursed my son. It looked pretty crazy. When I spoke to my friend again, I said, “That looks amazing. I just don’t think I could ever do it.” And I believed that. I had never done a pushup outside of a physical fitness test. I may not have even known what a burpee was at the time. I went on with my summer.

It was a fun summer, I’m sure. But there was a growing uneasiness inside me. I had gotten “almost fit” before my fourth with a brief stint of running. But I was feeling very heavy, very uncomfortable in my own skin. My husband has a quote I love: “It’s hard to get out of bed when your pants don’t fit.” And that is so true! All vanity aside, this is the body we live in and spend the day in and we have to clothe it and when we can’t do that comfortably it just sucks. I felt out of control, weak, helpless, unhealthy.

That September, my birth month, I just did it- I ordered Insanity. It was somewhat impulsive, but I feel like it had been floating around in my head since June. It was a lot of money for us; money is tight with me staying at home and I probably had no business spending $120 on a fitness program. But I did it. And I tracked the shipping every single day.

When it arrived I took the fit test. I almost threw up. That would happen again a few times that week. And throughout the program. I also cried a few times. But I stuck with it and I somehow loved it. I loved the craziness of it. I loved what I was doing with my body. I loved pushing myself to the point of tears. I loved the challenge and the sense of accomplishment that came after. And I saw results. Pretty quickly. I saw improvements in what I was doing, and I saw changes in my body. That was very satisfying. When I saw friends at Thanksgiving that I hadn’t seen since Labor Day, it was an almost jaw-dropping reaction. All of this was good for my self-esteem, my confidence. I also started to thrive on the joy you get from exercise- the endorphins, the good feelings it generates, the improvement in your mood. I became a better mother- I was happier, more fun. I had more energy and more patience because I was becoming more at peace with myself. I felt better, so my mood was better, so I treated those around me better.

I also loved the example I was setting for my kids. They watched me a lot in those days; we only have one TV in our house. They watched me sweat and struggle and push through and finish and feel proud. I think those were good lessons for physical challenges and any other challenge. I was proud of myself.

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I would go on to do Insanity again, and then I tried other Beachbody programs. I joined a Facebook accountability group (grudgingly) and was surprised by how much I liked the sharing and the support. I have loved every program I have done- Insanity, T25, Insanity: The Asylum, P90X3, PiYo, Chalene Extreme, 21 Day Fix, 21 Day Fix Extreme, Insanity Max 30. They are all motivating and they give you results. The variety is great, but you know you’re gonna see progress. My body is completely different than it ever was; I used to wonder if you could change your body and I have learned that you can!

I have learned a ton about nutrition and clean eating with the programs. And I continue to grow…I have a lot of fitness goals yet to meet. I need to work on some issues. I want to do a pull-up, unassisted. Pushups drive me crazy; I want to be able to bang out 20 pushups no problem. I still have a sweet tooth that pops up unexpectedly and won’t go away. But my pants fit. It is much easier to get out of bed when your pants fit, when you don’t feel like you’re expanding like a balloon.

There is a particular moment that sticks out in my mind from years ago…I was on a canoe trip. It was one of the funnest days ever. I had a great time. But I remember being in the water, with clothes on and a life vest, and having to climb back into the canoe. I couldn’t do it. I felt like a beached whale (I wasn’t particularly heavy at the time- just totally out of shape) and I couldn’t do it. I shrugged it off and somehow got back in and had fun the rest of the day. But I was struck by that feeling of not being able to haul my fat self back into the canoe.

I think part of the success I’ve had the last three years has been because of a shift in goals…yes, I would like to be thin and to wear clothes that fit nice and look good. But I mostly want to be strong, to be fit, to be healthy. I want to set goals for myself and meet them; I want to do things I thought I could never do.

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I have become passionate about health and fitness and nutrition and it was three years of loving Beachbody that finally got me to become a coach. I wanted to add Shakeology to my life, too, and knew the discount would help out there. So I signed up…and I love the added motivation and accountability that being a coach brings. I love seeing it change other peoples’ lives that way it has changed mine. I get downright mushy about it, because it has genuinely changed every part of my life. And all for the good.

Homemade sausage?

I stumbled across this recipe in a magazine and was momentarily stunned…you can make sausage? To be honest, I try not to think about sausage much at all. Cuz it’s a little questionable really. Like hot dogs. I don’t want to know too much, I don’t want to think about it too much. I let the inquisitive part of my brain glaze over until I’m done eating. But then I saw the recipe for homemade maple sausage…

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So I am happy to share it with you! It is made with ground turkey (I try not to think too deeply about ground turkey, too, but it’s not quite as bad in my mind as sausage, and I use it way too often and am not in a place in my life now where I feel like giving it up, so stick with me here), egg, oats, maple syrup, and spices. It’s very easy to make, and can be made ahead of time. We have turkey bacon or sausage with our pancakes on Sundays, and I try to switch it up with these every now and again.

Homemade Maple Sausage

(adapted from recipe in a magazine I’ve since forgotten- sorry!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 TBSP oats
  • 1 1/2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp sage (I used marjoram)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder (or 1 clove, finely chopped)
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp each cayenne pepper, allspice, ground cloves
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Preparation:

Lightly beat egg with oats, syrup, and seasonings. Mix in turkey until combined. Form into 8 patties, each about 3/4 inch thick. In a large nonstick pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook patties until well browned on both sides and no longer pink in the middle. About 5-6 minutes per side.

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*I would recommend making them smaller. The last time I made them they were tasty, but almost too hamburger-ish. The size made my kids suspicious. They are delicious, though. They really taste like a breakfast sausage and you know exactly what’s going in them (glaze over for the ground turkey part) and there are no nitrates or nitrites! A clean eating sausage you can feel good about eating…I hope you enjoy this recipe!