What the Hell is a Flexitarian??

Me…apparently.
A flexitarian is someone who consumes a mostly planted-based diet but occasionally eats meat, poultry and/or seafood.

For as long as I can remember I’ve been pretty conscious of what I put in my mouth. I don’t always make good choices but I’m at least conscious of it! After I was diagnosed with cancer I redoubled my efforts to eat whole, clean foods and make a hard push towards a primarily planted based diet. I started by eliminating red meat. This wasn’t a stretch for me as I rarely ate red meat to begin with because I just don’t like it! 

I don’t have a nutrition degree but I’ve done an extensive amount of nutritional research and I feel that cutting out red meat and reducing animal products in my diet in general has dramatically improved my health. 
I then started to cut down on the amount of chicken I eat. At this point, I eat chicken or seafood just a few times a month. I also still eat eggs and dairy, for now. I’ve never felt deprived or like I’m missing out on anything. And, although close friends and family know my eating habits, I refuse to expect anyone to accommodate me. When I eat at someone’s home, I just eat extra of the side dishes!

As a fitness coach, I don’t advise my clients to follow a prescribed diet plan or program (unless there’s a clinical need for it) like Atkins or paleo or pescatarian or whatever. I know there are people who have had success with these kinds of things but generally speaking, they’re not sustainable long term and the “label” of being a certain kind of eater is very restrictive. I have friends and acquaintances who “can’t” eat certain foods because they’re on a diet program that doesn’t “allow” them. These kinds of programs are baffling to me! Sure, I choose to not eat certain things but I feel that that’s my personal choice. I’m not being TOLD that I CAN’T. I don’t know, maybe that’s just me!

Which brings me back to what a flexitarian is! I didn’t even know that was a thing until I started researching plant-based recipes. However, the description is perfect…”flexible eater.” That makes sense to me and is a label I can live with!

Happy Exercising!

Detox Diets…

Detoxing cleanses and diets seem to be the latest health trend. People use them to lose weight or to attempt to jumpstart a healthier lifestyle or because they have a belief that their body can’t naturally get rid of toxins on its own. Not true, by the way! If you’re feeling sluggish and unhealthy it’s more likely because of what you’re putting into your body rather than your body’s inability to get bad stuff out.

Detoxes come in a variety of forms. Some have you drink only juices, some allow certain foods and some “require” supplements or proprietary products from the company promoting the cleanse. You may see weight loss with a detox diet simply because you’re taking in so few calories not because this program is so healthy. And you will likely gain the weight back when you’re done with the diet. The detox will leave you feeling weak and depleted. You could experience headaches, nausea, muscle aches or cramps and fatigue. Does any of that sound healthy to you?!

The human body is naturally equipped to handle toxins if you fuel it properly. The very best “detox diet” you can perform is to eat clean, healthy, whole food. Lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and minimally processed foods. These kinds of foods will help your body run efficiently and ultimately get you the results you want in a healthier and more sustainable way.

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Here’s a sample of meals for a day just to get you started. I’m not vegetarian but I don’t eat red meat and I eat chicken and fish only occasionally so this sample day may not be right for everyone. But it gives you an idea. I usually have 2 cups of coffee in the morning and drink water the rest of the day.

Breakfast
Cottage cheese with blueberries and roasted pumpkin seeds
Fruit smoothie made with strawberries, pineapple, spinach, oats, chia seeds

Morning Snack
Baby carrots and hummus

Lunch
Spicy black bean burger
Apple
Almonds or peanuts

Afternoon Snack
Banana

Dinner
Vegetable stew
Whole grain bread

Let me know what kinds of healthy, whole foods you enjoy. I’m always looking for new ideas.

 

Happy Exercising!

Homemade Yogurt Tubes

I strive to have my kids eat healthy food most of the time. We always have plenty of fresh fruits and veggies and I pack their lunches and home cook dinner most nights so I know what I’m feeding them. I’m not perfect…in fact, they’re gorging themselves on Halloween candy as I write this! We have junk food and snack food and desserts but 85% of the time, we eat healthy.

My daughters both love Greek yogurt and are happy to eat it by the spoonful right out of the carton but…they also love those oddly colored tubes of yogurt that can be frozen and put in lunch boxes. I’m sure they love them for all the sugar that’s in them. After all, who wouldn’t love a tube of sugar?! I will not buy these sugar tubes for what I hope are obvious reasons despite the begging in the middle of the diary aisle.

But, I’ve recently found an acceptable solution. I found zip top plastic tube bags on Amazon that can be used to make your own yogurt tubes or popsicle treats. Score!

Yes, its obviously more work than just buying the ones in the store but I think its worth it. My girls love strawberries so I made strawberry yogurt tubes.

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I started with fresh strawberries and pureed them in my NutriBullet.

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Then, because the girls are weird about fruit chunks and seeds in their yogurt, I pushed the puree through a strainer. An extra, unnecessary step if your kids are not freaked out by a chunk of berry…

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Then, I mixed the puree with Greek yogurt until it was fully blended. If you’re brave, you can have your kids help you with this part but in my house this would just multiply my work exponentially. How to clean yogurt off the ceiling is a post for another day!

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Filling the tube bags can be a bit tedious but if you’re just patient and use a funnel and a ladle, you can have it done in no time. The girls ate some right away and LOVED it and the rest went in the freezer or fridge for snacks and lunches. Ta Da!

The kids are happy and I’m happy. What could be better than that?!

Happy Exercising!

P.S. Look for my Complete 10K Training Plan ebook on sale soon!

 

 

 

 

Salad vs. Veggie Sticks

We eat pretty healthy in my house. 80% of my personal diet is plant-based and my kids understand the importance of a healthy diet and appreciate how they feel when they eat well. But, kids will be kids and they fight me on the veggie front a lot. Shocking, I know. They love fruit so getting enough of that is not a problem but those leafy greens and other colorful veggies are a problem.

Up until about 6 months ago, I made salads often to go with our dinner. What’s better than raw, whole foods, right? Especially in the summer. My husband doesn’t like tomatoes, onions or peppers so that limited what I could put in the salad and I had to get creative. Sometimes, I made one big salad in a bowl and sometimes I made a salad bar so hubby and kids could make their own. Everyone would eat it but I usually had to remind them and there was always leftovers.

I figure I spent a good 20 minutes prepping a salad three or four nights a week and for what? So I could grumbling at the dinner table when I reminded them to fill their bowls? Why was I fighting this? I hated that getting a good dose of vegetables was drudgery for them. It shouldn’t be this hard and unpleasant.

Then I had a vegetable epiphany…

It was more like a “duh” moment actually.

Everyone in my house loves raw carrot sticks and hummus. We have it as a snack often. The kids even take it in their lunches. They like a few other veggies like broccoli, cherry tomatoes and cucumber but carrots seem to be the gold standard for raw vegetable snacks. So one day for dinner I put out a bowl of fresh raw carrot sticks and hummus instead of a salad.

I thought my family would think I was being lazy but they loved it! It was so much easier on me and it was completely gone before dinner was over. This has now become my new norm. I switch it up sometimes with different veggies and dips and sometimes apple slices. And while this isn’t at EVERY meal, it has made everything so much more pleasant.

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Carrots and hummus

The lesson here… Don’t fight it based on an idea of what you think a meal should be or needs to be. It just makes being healthy miserable. Rethink your meal plans, get creative and make it easy on yourself.

Happy eating!

My New Favorite Book…Simple Green Smoothies

Simple Green Smoothies by Jen Hansard and Jadah Sellner is more than just a recipe book. The authors have written easy, real life guidelines and instructions for including whole delicious foods in your day. They make it so perfectly simple. They include practical information on washing, prepping and storing ingredients as well as info on different blender options. So helpful!

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Simple Green Smoothies by Jen Hansard and Jadah Sellner

The 10-day Challenge is the ideal way to get started with green smoothies. The ingredients are all recognizable and easy to find. No exotic fruits you have to travel all over town for! Jen and Jadah talk to you, the reader, throughout the book in a friendly conversational way which makes it easy to follow along. All their recipes are gluten and dairy free for those that want or need it.

This is not what you would think of as a “fitness” book but the authors promote a fit and healthy, and most importantly, balanced lifestyle. If you need to make nutritional changes in your life this book and the green smoothie lifestyle is the perfect place to start. There are so many great recipes and simple ingredients to choose from. You’ll never be bored drinking the same thing every day.

My own green smoothie recipes were perfect for me but hit or miss with my kids. The Kid Friendly chapter in Simple Green Smoothies solved that problem. We haven’t tried all the recipes yet but the “Banana Split” and the “Happy Monkey” are big hits. And the ice pop recipes are genius!

I love oats but I never thought to add them to my smoothies until reading the Fitness Fuel chapter. This is now my new favorite ingredient! This chapter provides recipes for pre- and post-workout drinks that are so much better for you and tastier than pre-packaged, processed drinks.

I like that they include recipes for making your own nut milks and nut-free milks. Coconut milk…yum! Certainly, it’s convenient to buy them if you can find them but Jen and Jadah’s instructions make it so easy to make your own and ensure that you know exactly what you’re getting in your smoothie.

I can’t say enough great things about this book! I’ve made smoothies at home for a long time but Simple Green Smoothies has re-energized my blender and kicked me out of my rut.

P.S. I checked the book out of the library before buying it but you can find it on Amazon.com here Simple Green Smoothies: 100+ Tasty Recipes to Lose Weight, Gain Energy, and Feel Great in Your Body

P.P.S. The above link is my Amazon.com Affiliate link…I have no financial affiliation with Simple Green Smoothies specifically.