New blender! ::Happy Dance::

September 8, 2013

Got a new blender today ūüėÄ Looking forward to a green smoothie in the morning (well later in the morning) and I’m crossing my fingers that it will be everything I want it to be! ¬†If it improves in texture, I’ll feel more comfortable tweaking the ingredients. ¬†Mostly I’ve kept to the same general guide line I posted about before. It tastes fine but what I have to power through is the texture. Not undrinkable, but as time went on less and less tolerable.

Small initial review of the blender and any noticeable changes to my green smoothie coming soon!

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I fell off the face of the internet more or less for the past few weeks. I don’t really want to get into it, but suffice it to say the old adage of death coming in 3’s has so far proved true for me. ¬†I’ve had a hard time equalizing.

In other news I did not start my 30 days paleo because I put pretty much everything on the back burner the last few weeks. I’m getting back into the swing of things though, I’m in search of a new blender. Still can’t afford anything like a vitamix, but I need something better to do these green smoothies justice.

I’ve tossed around the idea of buying some new shampoo bars. ¬†I could probably go another year on what I have already (have still I should say, as I’ve not bought any at all since December or January) ¬†but I’d love to get a few sample sizes ¬†of some new things just for the novelty of having something new to try.

For the next short while I’m just going to focus on breathing easy, being happy, and doing things I enjoy. I am not deterred from my goals. It’s a rocky path but I just need to find my rhythm again.

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First Green Smoothie!

August 8, 2013

Green
First time I’ve ever made any kind of smoothie at all actually. ¬†I speak ill of my blender often, but as long as I know it’s limitations it gets the job done.

Since I didn’t know what I was doing I just winged it but it turned out well. (admittedly I seem to have a knack for winging things) There was a lack of measuring or anything like that. ¬†(I’m also good at not measuring things. I could reproduce it almost exactly by just knowing how much I used before) ¬†I just used water, as I’ve not yet attempted to make coconut milk, and my almond milk was too salty. ¬†2 bananas, some frozen spinach, organic baby kale, organic chia seeds and organic shelled hemp seeds, organic virgin coconut oil, organic coconut manna and some dates.

I added the water, 1 banana, shelled hemp, chia seeds, frozen spinach and baby kale, coconut oil and coconut manna first, then blended. ¬†It would have been fine just like that but there was too much water. ¬†So I added another banana for more thickness and some dates just because really. ¬†It’s not super smooth because of my blender, but not grossly lumpy chunky either (I’m VERY sensitive to mouth feels, there are a lot of things I just won’t eat regardless of how I think they taste because I can’t stand the way they feel in my mouth)

I’ll probably still have some left over for tomorrow since I’m not doing a juice fast or anything. ¬†Next time I think I’ll soak the chia seeds first so they gel. ¬†I’m pretty sure that as the rest of the smoothie is sitting in the fridge it’s getting thicker by the minute. I knew chia seeds gel, I just didn’t want to wait to pre soak them. Because I didn’t have the forethought to do it last night.

A few notes though. ¬†If I say something is organic I mean Certified Organic. ¬†I used frozen spinach because I already had it, in the future I plan to buy fresh spinach, organic if possible. So far I’ve only had 4-6 oz of the smoothie. Right now I’m having some water, and may have few more similar sized glasses throughout the day. Since I’ve never had kale, chia, hemp or coconut manna before I’m taking it slow just to make sure there are no unpleasant surprises. ¬†After I use some of this stuff a few times (the coconut manna, chia seeds, etc) ¬†I’ll let you know where I got them from and what I think about it. ¬†Yay for product reviews!

 

So I’ve done this the one time so far. But it was a moderate success. ¬†I’ll start at the beginning.

I used to live in San Diego. Southern California is a very good place to be if you’re wanting fresh organic anything. There are health food stores and farmers markets all over the place. Some chains like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s were no more than 10 minutes away. ¬†Where I am right now, the nearest store like that is round abouts an hour away. ¬† Wal-Mart is pretty much my only shopping option. ¬†I cannot settle for any kind of almond milk they sell. ¬†This is largely a matter of personal preference I’ll admit. ¬†I guess I was spoiled in San Diego with nice organic almond milk with no preservatives, additives or anything like that. The sweetened almond milk was even sweetened with dates instead of sugar!¬†My dairy is already pretty scaled back, but if I had some usable almond milk that would go a long way with my upcoming 30 days of Paleo. ¬†(And for future days of continued reduced dairy of course!)

So I figured if I made it myself at home, organic almonds, no random additives, dates for sweetness if I chose, it would be the next best thing.

However the next problem I ran into is that I don’t have a very powerful blender, and straining out the almond meal seems like a huge pain in the butt. ¬†Granted lots of people do it out there everyday, so it can’t be that horrible, but at this point in time I just know it’s not something I could commit to. I’ve seen some tutorials/how-to’s that say if you have a Vitamix you don’t even need to strain out the almond meal. ¬†That’s not in my budget anytime soon. Maybe in a month or two if a miracle happens. ¬†Then one day I happened to find a video of someone using almond butter to make almond milk.

I finally got around to attempting it last night. I did not splurge on super nice organic raw almond butter (sticker shock) but I got something from Wal-Mart. ¬†Also bought some Sunsweet pitted dates. ¬†It was passable! Until I accidentally added a dash too much of salt. ¬†However I think with better almond butter and dates it could actually be all the wonderfulness I want it to be. ¬†To be fair I don’t think it’s cost-effective compared to making it from whole almonds, but it’s less effort and that’s what I care about right now. If I wanted to save the bucks I would just as soon as not have it at all than put in the extra effort. ¬†It’s lazy I know. ¬†But when I’m feeling too exhausted to function 60-80 percent of the time it seems like the better option. ¬†Work smart not hard.

Basically I didn’t really do anything different from what was in the video I linked, so be sure to check that out if you’re curious. I’m just here to say it’s actually not bad. Time will tell if I ever decide it’s better than making it from whole almonds, but it’s a totally viable alternative. Next time I try it if I make any tweaks I’ll be sure to share!

Turns out there’s a countdown widget I can use here. ¬†I should have all my stuff by the end of the week, so my 30 days of Paleo should start on Friday!

Woohoo! ¬†So the countdown to the right should be saying how many days until Friday, The start date. Then after that it will be counting down how many days left of the 30 days. ¬†I only wish it could count up, like saying I’ve been Paleo for 5 days, and then 6 days, and so on. ¬†But it will do for now.

Today I’m going to try out my cheater almond milk. ¬†I didn’t splurge on super nice almond butter yet, but it is raw at least. If it turns out okay, then I will find the expense of organic raw almond butter more worth it. ¬†Just couldn’t talk my self into buying it because I wouldn’t use it for anything ¬†else and if it didn’t work well I’d be stuck with having wasted a lot of money. ¬†I’ll post about how it goes later. Yay!

This post was mostly for a test run of the widget, but I’m so excited!

Just coming off of another bout of whatever it is that’s plaguing me. ¬†Tired, exhausted, unmotivated, and for one miserable day I felt entirely defeated and that my efforts were pointless.

I’m not really sure what causes this. Sleep problems I have always had, but it’s usually not quite so bad as the problem I’ve been having for the past year or two. ¬†It’s only after days of sleeping poorly, being tired all the time, feeling too exhausted and unmotivated to even do the dishes or cook dinner that I hit a low point of depression. Where I wallow in my feelings of inadequacy and failure.

I have purchased online some of the things that I believe will be crucial to my Paleo success, the rest of it can wait for a trip to the grocery store. ¬†I anticipate my official start of full-blown Paleo to be in a week or two. (depends on when my online orders arrive) I am sorely missing Southern California right now, with Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Sprouts, Henry’s, Fresh and Easy, and Farmer’s markets every which way you went. My best option for grocery shopping here is Wal-Mart, which I am not pleased about. ¬†There are other grocery stores around, but they’re over priced. ¬†If I went out of my way to an Aldi that’s not too shabby. ¬†Mind you, I don’t say “over priced” because I’m comparing to Wal-Mart prices, I mean over priced, period. ¬†I did live in Southern California for quite a while, there wasn’t even a Wal-Mart in the area that sold groceries until right before I moved away.

Anyway, I’m going to see about putting up a counter or something. ¬†Reviews, recipes tried, general updates on how I feel will be the main focus here on the blog. ¬†My main plan will be to pack in the micro nutrients, switch out as many bad fats for good fats as I can, ¬†eliminate grains/gluten, and cut out all sugar. If I can be 80/20 Paleo for a majority of the 30 days (I’m going for a full 30, but I’m going to try not to beat myself up if I slip) ¬†then I will consider the 30 day challenge successful. Dairy I’m not too worried about, I don’t typically have a lot of dairy in my diet anyway. ¬†Rice may or may not happen. ¬†And there is nothing on this green earth that would convince me to give up coffee. Ever. ¬†I don’t have coffee every day though, caffeine withdrawals are not fun if one day I didn’t feel like having any. ¬†Seriously need to look into finding some nice organic Swiss Water Process decaf.

I have a few No Poo posts to do still, but I’m having some weird dry skin/dandruff issue I’m trying to resolve first. ¬†It’s been going on for several months. I don’t know if it’s the climate, the water, my routine, or what. ¬†At first I thought it was a No Poo problem, as I noticed the dandruff first and it happened after I started going back to No Poo full-time. (I had to take a break because I was injured and not able to stick with the routine) ¬†Then I noticed that my face was dry and flaky too, in fact my skin all over was generally very dry. ¬†To be honest this could still be a No Poo problem that started ¬†at the top and worked its way down. Either way I either need to figure out why and fix it or if it’s not because of No Poo, I need to figure out how to tweak my routine to deal with the dandruff. ¬†I have been No Poo for about year now! Even if you don’t want to count my brief break from it. ¬†So that’s awesome.

Even though these plans keep getting pushed back again and again, I don’t feel I’ve lost the momentum. It just has more time to build!

In my previous post I mentioned that I have not ever eaten a good number of vegetables. Of a the few vegetables I have tried, I don’t like many of them. ¬†I like corn (which is apparently not technically a vegetable) I like carrots, and I like green beans. ¬†That’s about it. I do not like broccoli, or peas or cucumbers. (the list of ‘do not like’ is longer but I’ll keep it short) ¬†To my knowledge I have never eaten cauliflower, asparagus, beets, brussel spouts, artichoke, chickpeas, many squashes, turnips, and so on, you get the idea.

So how do I plan on being paleo for at least 30 days if I won’t have a large variety of vegetables to work with initially? ¬†Mostly I’m going to wing it. ¬†I will try new things, and can always fall back on my usual veggies if something new doesn’t work out. Since I don’t like that many different vegetables to start with, repetition is obviously not a problem for me.¬†

I also except my tastes to change. Not suddenly or even drastically. But it’s bound to happen. I don’t see my self ever changing my mind about broccoli or peas, but I could see suddenly finding my self enjoying cucumber. Or tomatoes. That’s another one I don’t like, tomatoes. waaaah!¬†

Smoothies are also probably going to be a thing. I’m going to need those plant nutrients some how, and I will blend them into a smoothie to hide their flavor behind some fruit if I have to!¬†

Paleo…Not yet.

July 15, 2013

So it’s the middle of July, when I’d hoped to be starting my 30 days, but things haven’t fallen into place quite yet. ¬†It’s looking more like it might be August 1st ish. ¬†I really want to give it my all, so I really want to be totally prepared. ¬†I need to always have the choice to eat something Paleo. I’m sure I’ll be tempted to carb up regardless of my options, but as long as I have the choice I think I’ll be okay.

Something curious I read yesterday, apparently corn is not “officially” a Paleo food. ¬†I follow a few Paleo/gluten-free pages on facebook, one of them being Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations. (Holy Alliteration Batman!) ¬†In a comment on a post where a lot of people were discussing the non paleo foods they indulge themselves with from time to time, someone said their thing is corn on the cob.

My first thoughts were that corn is a vegetable, how is a vegetable not Paleo? ¬†Some research led me to the info that corn is technically a grain. Somewhere in the back of my mind was a little beep telling me that I probably had learned that before at some point. ¬†I suppose that makes it a good thing I don’t actually eat corn (as a vegetable) all that often. ¬†I actually don’t eat a lot of vegetables at all.

The idea of trying out cauliflower is growing on me. ¬†It seems like a popular “substitute” for things like rice, mashed instead of potatoes, as crusts and what not. If you use pinterest at all I’m sure you’ve come across a cauliflower something recipe. ¬†I don’t think I’ve ever even had cauliflower before. ¬† I’m in my mid 20’s and I’ve had a very toddler-like attitude towards vegetables for most of my life. Not that my parents didn’t try, I forced to eat my fair share of vegetables that I didn’t like. ¬†It didn’t stick though, haha.

I’m going to have to work in a variety some how now though. ¬†Tasting the rainbow has meaning in the world of veggies and fruits.

That’s all for today. ¬†I plan on making a post of all the things I’ve bought/am I’m going to buy to be prepped for at least a month of paleo. Things I don’t normally buy and whatnot. ¬† I’m also do for a No Poo post, I’ve been a little one track minded the past few weeks.

I’m still not fully prepared to start my month of Paleo, but the other day when I made bacon, eggs, and french toast for breakfast, I opted not to have the french toast and ate some bananas instead with the bacon and eggs.

Of course in the future I’ll probably try out some kind of paleo french toast. Just not having it wasn’t all that hard of a decision though.

Point being, I’m not waiting until some arbitrary Start day to make big sweeping changes. ¬†I’m trying to eat more fresh food, less grains/gluten, less sugar on a regular basis. ¬†Making it a normal thing to pick smart alternatives. ¬†I do not live on my own, and my husband is not likely to be so on board with this Paleo venture. ¬†He doesn’t mind that I’m going to do it of course, but I can’t make him do it too. ¬†So I’m just going to have to make it work. ¬†There’s going to be food around to tempt me.

The only way to stick with it is to want to stick with it. If I sit around thinking “I really want that french toast but I shouldn’t/can’t” then I’m setting myself up for failure. The only solution is truly not really want the french toast.

It’s a mind over matter thing. ¬†Would you just sit and eat a stick or two of butter? Butter (real butter) is delicious, but for most people just eating some butter is unthinkable. ¬†For a lot of people, having butter ever at all is unthinkable, not even counting Paleo. (I could make a whole separate post this, in fact I think I shall!) ¬†It’s a mental thing of what is and isn’t okay to eat. ¬†Making a lifestyle change means making mental shifts.

In my first post on this topic I said that I’ve been attracted to Paleo for a while. ¬†Knowing that Paleo is a good way to go is not something I suddenly decided 2 weeks ago. ¬†Even deciding to actually do it for 30 days wasn’t a sudden idea. ¬†It built up over time. ¬†It might not take everyone that long, I just let it go at its own pace.

I watched those food documentaries and I started following Paleo/gluten-free/healthy type of food blogs and Facebook pages. I really recommend following the food blogs and pages if you’re the kind of person who needs to see good food to want the food. ¬†I’ve seen so many zucchini noodle recipes, that I’m actually pretty interested in trying out the whole “mock noodle” thing. ¬†I’ve seen pictures of food that makes me think “Man, I’ve never had anything like that before, I’m going to try it and I hope I love it….I’m going to be super bummed if I don’t love it.” ¬†I’ve been following some Paleo/Gluten free cooks and bloggers on facebook, and have even share a few of their recipes that I’m looking forward to trying.

I don’t want this to be stressful. ¬†I don’t want to put off a healthier lifestyle until it’s too late. ¬†Until some doctor is telling me that I need to lose weight or I’m in danger, that I need to lower my cholesterol because I’m in danger, or that I’ve ended up with the diabetes that I’m predisposed to. ¬†Those things make lifestyle changes stressful, because you’re afraid and worried. I knew I had to make a change eventually, and I just let it simmer, always considering it. ¬†I went from this is probably way to hard, to maybe it won’t be so bad, to yeah I can totally try this. ¬†I’ll be going into this from a place of wanting to do it and knowing I can do it. That’s my recipe for success. As long as I don’t give up, I won’t fail.

It took me a while to finish this post, it was all over the place and I felt it was difficult to make it coherent. I still feel like it’s a little unorganized, but I don’t think anything I change at this point will fix it. ¬†My mind is not with it. I’m having one of those days where I feel like my brain isn’t working right. ¬†An increasingly frequent occurrence that I’m hoping a lifestyle change will make a huge difference with.¬†

That’s a general question I come across often.

Mind you, I don’t mean “health food” as in junk like microwave meals, and processed refined “diet” foods. ¬†I mean the real food, the less processed options.

Why does it taste bad? Why does it taste bland? Where is all the flavor?

Truth is, it doesn’t actually taste bad, it’s not bland, and it has lots of flavor. ¬† Have you ever been drinking a soda, or sweet tea, anything very sugary, and then tried to eat something sweet? Piece of candy, bite of ice cream? ¬†For a lot of people who frequently indulge in such things, it’s fairly common knowledge that one is going to over power the other. ¬†One of them is going to end up not tasting right, because suddenly the soda is not going to taste as sweet compared to how sweet the ice cream is. ¬†(I know a lot of people don’t go for ice cream and soda together in the first place, but it’s just an example)

In that same respect, if you’re eating a lot of fried food, or a lot of processed food with fillers, loaded with carbs and sugars, whole food is not going to taste as good to you at first. ¬†You’re going to crave those carby surgary things.

You have to give it time. ¬†It will get better, but only if you keep at it. ¬†It’s not so much that you’ll just get used to the blandness. ¬†It’s more that once you stop eating the processed foods, you’ll start noticing the flavors that were hidden before.

Now this doesn’t necessarily apply to things you just don’t like. ¬†If you’ve never even remotely enjoyed broccoli ever in your life, then I’m not suggesting you start torturing your self by choking it down anyway. ¬†Stick with things you can actually tolerate, things that are edible and just maybe don’t give you that mental enjoyment you get from more processed options.

If you’re in that boat, I would suggest a gradual shift to “clean eating.” ¬† The clean eating method has a big emphasis on just knowing where your food came from and what’s in it. ¬†It’s not so much about “hey don’t eat ice cream, hey don’t eat french fries” ¬†It’s more about “Does your ice cream really need 20 ingredients?” ¬†“Do you really need to eat crackers with high fructose corn syrup in them?” ¬†It does have a large focus on eating more fruits and veggies, but it doesn’t have as many “rules” as trying to go Paleo. ¬† It’s also something more easily eased into. ¬†It’s hard to quit a diet of carbs and sugar, if it wasn’t hard, there wouldn’t be so many methods and support groups out there. ¬†Clean eating doesn’t necessarily demand you give up those things, but it will ease you into the realm of fresher food if you feel like you might need an extra step between your current diet and your goal diet/lifestyle.

As always, you should speak with your doctor about any major diet changes you may be considering.  There may be underlying conditions that will have to be taken into consideration when altering your diet/lifestyle.