Sweet Potato Hash

I’m at the end of my first week of the Whole30 and still learning lessons the hard way every day. I’m part of a Facebook challenge group that will be starting The Whole30 on Monday so I thought I would share my biggest success of week 1. This recipe below is my favorite so far. I made a big batch on Saturday for lunch and boxed up the leftovers to use throughout the week. I had it for breakfast on Sunday, and lunches on Wednesday and Friday, so it worked marvelously. Sometimes left-overs are gross, but this dish warmed up nicely and was as good day five as it was day one. I feel the perfect amount of full after I eat this, with good energy. The original recipe came from the book It Starts with Food Recipes by Laura Hill, but I altered a little to my tastes and what spices I had in my cupboard (hers is for 2 servings, mine made 5-6 servings, so the below is paraphrasing with my own tweaks.

 Sweet Potato Hash

 Ingredients:

  • 1 – 1 ½ lb. Ground Turkey
  • 1 TBSP Coconut Oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced/minced
  • ½ Red Pepper chopped/diced
  • ½ cup White Onion, chopped
  • Sweet Potatoes (I used 5 small ones, if using large ones from grocery store, probably need 2-3 depending on size)
  • 1 tsp Italian Seasonings (McCormick Perfect Pinch is what I used, already had in cupboard but can use any or all of these herbs: thyme, oregano and basil)
  • 1 tsp Dried Rosemary
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 4 Organic Eggs (optional*)

Quarter & boil sweet potatoes for a few minutes depending on their size to soften (like you do for potatoes in a potato salad, not to mash-able softness), dice them into cubes.

 Pour Coconut oil into a skillet on medium heat. Crumble ground turkey into pan. Add diced onions, garlic & red pepper. Add diced sweet potatoes. Sauté until turkey is cooked and sweet potatoes are right tenderness.  Add scrambled eggs*, pepper, and serve.

*The original recipe called for eggs in it, however I wasn’t sure I was going to like that so I scrambled my eggs separately on the side and added it to half of the final product later so I had a choice between with and without eggs – I liked it both ways, but it was nice to have the variety.  Use 1 TBSP coconut oil when scrambling eggs. 

SPHASH

 

Meal planning is a Bitch

Continuation of Whole30 Journal…

Day 7

I was pleasantly surprised it took this long, but night 7 I am finally sick of my Whole30/Paleo meals and wish I could eat something else. A toasted English muffin sounds good. I think I have hit this “bad meal attitude” today because I am at the end of my premade meals. I have one serving of sweet potato hash left but I’ve already eaten that 3 times this week. I have one serving of Paleo Spaghetti left but I had that for lunch earlier today. It is Thursday night and I think that after cooking at home for six out of the last seven nights, it is just that night of the week where we would normally come home too tired to cook and order pizza. But since I cannot order pizza, or any other kind of shortcut, I am stuck with “nothing sounds good”. I made left over pork burritos for the boys and I snacked on imitation lobster and cooked carrots – just two random things I had in the fridge. It was not emotionally satisfying but it filled me up so I have nothing to complain about. I did 45 minutes on the treadmill.  I felt a little light headed at the end, the low amount of calories might be starting to get to me, or maybe its because I went off and left my water bottle on the counter at home, but after 24oz of ice water and some beef jerky, I feel good again.

Has any Whole30 alumni out there also experienced a bad day around day 7 or so? It probably doesn’t help that Thursdays are normally my most tired day of the week – after getting up early all week, working all week, the body is dragging and the laundry is stacking up; you just want the weekend to get here. Friday is always better because even though you are still tired, you get an energy/attitude boost because, duh, it’s Friday.

Day 8

I’m sick of water. I was already drinking a lot of water before I started this program but I would also have chocolate milk or cranberry juice or lemonade when I wanted it. Now, my only option is water. And green tea, which I have been drinking every morning. I’m not drinking Spark because it has sucralose in it. But at lunch time today I am craving a giant glass of cold milk. Don’t worry I didn’t cheat and still don’t plan to either. Instead, I planned out the next 7 days of meals so I have something to look forward to and can stop by the store for the 18,000 vegetables I need. Here’s what my next few dinners will look like:

  1. Vietnamese Chicken Cabbage Salad (Pinterest)
  2. Mexican Tuna Boats (Whole30 Cookbook)
  3. Grilled Chili Lime Chicken Fajita Salad (Pinterest)
  4. Asian Zucchini Shrimp Stir-fry (Pinterest)
  5. Melissa’s Chicken Hash (Whole30 Cookbook)
  6. Salmon w/ side of Beet & Spinach Salad (salad from Shape Magazine)
  7. Grilled Chicken Breasts w/ Asparagus or Broccoli

Will my whole family eat these? No. My husband has been trying my meals but also still eating his regular food and bad snacks. My boys won’t try most of this except the shrimp and chicken. So I am still making two sets of meals all the time. This is where single people or people without kids have an advantage. For the rest of us I guess we just grin and bare it because I can’t use my family as an excuse for me to be fat anymore. Eventually it’ll rub off on them.

I may sound a little negative today but it’s all good still and the best news is I get to weigh in again tomorrow so hopefully that will give me another boost of excitement. If not, I know for sure that spending time with my friends will. Happy Friday everyone!

 

Obsessed with Progress

My journey on the Whole30 continues and yes, I am going to continue to bore you with every detail. Well, not all the details, I will try to never mention my poop – that is an old person thing and since I am 39 for only a few more months I am going to pretend that I am young.

It may just be me, but it seems like the only way I can succeed at the health and fitness thing is if I completely obsess about it. It has to be all or nothing. As much as I do love to half-ass things, eating right half of the time did not make me lose any weight. For the last six months I have actually been at my highest weight ever. (Tied with my final pregnancy weight on the two days I gave birth…TO ANOTHER HUMAN BEING COMING OUT OF MY BODY. So right now I pretty much weigh the same as one and a half of me. Katy+1) Anyway, back to my addictive personality…if I cannot be addicted to Coke-Cola, chocolate and bacon cheese burgers than I have to be addicted to exercise and nutrition. Which may be one of the reasons it took me so long to commit to the healthy life style – I didn’t want to be that annoying un-fun friend that can’t go to lunch or have a drink, won’t share your nachos, or orders a dish but “with no cheese, no ham, hold the croutons, dressing on the side and substitute the white onions with red onions”, or whatever ridiculous requests that make waitresses roll their eyes and possibly spit in your food. I had it so ingrained in my brain that food is fun and fun is food. I think I liked being with other people who loved to eat as much as me because it made me feel more comfortable about myself. Little did I realize everyone else has already switched over to smart eating and I’m the only one still diving into Alfredo sauce with reckless abandon. My BFF always orders a salad and I never see her filling her food hole with countless chips or crackers. Sure she has a brownie every now and then but she also runs umpteen miles in a day so a moment on her lips never appears on her hips. Yep, it is definitely time for me to change and it is OK. As long as I can like myself without eating my emotions and all the delicious fattening foods, I’m sure others probably can too. (As long as they are not reading this blog right now, right?) By the way, the first two months I didn’t have soda I had no personality; I was a walking zombie.

Luckily I am not a zombie on the Whole30 though. I feel GREAT! Yesterday (day 5) I did 48 minutes of “hills” on the treadmill (until my butt cheeks literally hurt). And today (day 6) I weighed myself again. I have lost 5.5 pounds since Christmas, 4.5 since I started the Whole30 and the Advocare 10-day Cleanse on January 1st. That makes me so HAPPY! Just being able to see results quickly helps keep my morale up so I can stay committed to it. I am still sticking to my approved meals and even though I have only been eating around 800-900 calories a day (I know, that’s too low, it’s not on purpose) I have great energy. I don’t feel deprived, hungry or slothish. The only reason my calories are so low is just that I am only eating natural foods and with no carbs other than vegetables and fruits, and no dairy, there aren’t a lot of calories in the food I am eating. I am getting better nutrition than I ever have. So I am not worrying about that. I have enough fat reserves on this body to last a month on Naked And Afraid. Which brings me to my goal – my goal is lose 25 pounds by June. Twenty-five pounds lighter will not make me thin or give me a bikini body (which I haven’t had since I was 18), but it will make me healthy and strong, and fitting into my cute pants again.

I am hoping that once all my eating habits are changed, my body doesn’t crave the artificial things anymore and my weight is under control that I won’t need to obsess about it as much and can relax into good habits. I just won’t be there for a while yet. So, sorry friends, I will be the one ordering the “grass-fed buffalo, organic sweet potatoes, no butter, dressing on the side…” etc. from now on. And I love you and thank you for your support.

Whole30 – Day 4

I am feeling good! I made it through the work day without any slip ups. I can’t believe I am doing this! I know it is only day 4 but I NEVER stick to an actual diet plan. I’m the girl that loves to eat. Normally I am like “ah I’ll just eat this instead..” and cheat on every diet. But I am really trying to change the way both my mind and body think about food and so far it has not been too hard to stick to. The meal planning prep work is the key. I was also worried about having to make two meals for every meal but so far I have been making the husband and kids have the same meat dish as me, same vegetables they won’t eat, and then just make an additional side of noodles or potatoes for them that I avoid. There will be some nights they’ll have to order a pizza or something for themselves. So I am hoping I can keep this up because as silly as it may sound I am feeling pretty proud of myself and also feeling really good energy.

 Tonight I made the Spaghetti Squash with homemade marinara with ground bison. I never made my own spaghetti sauce before so I was skeptical, but it turned out really good. And with left-overs for lunches. It all took longer to prepare than I imagined and so I got to the Gym late; 10pm and every treadmill was taken. So I left and went back home. I know January will be busy at the Gym with all the fellow resolution makers, I just need to find that perfect time of day. It is twenty degrees outside so there is no freaking way I am walking outside, I’m a cold-wuss. Well, ta-ta for now.

 

Whole30 – Day 3

I LOST 3 POUNDS! I normally only weigh my self once a week when trying to lose weight but I just couldn’t help it, and I am glad I did because I needed a boost of encouragement to keep my morale up. I do feel like it is the kind of weight that will come back on as soon as I start eating grains again, but hopefully after a whole month of this healthy eating not only will I lose much more than 3 lbs, but hopefully the habits will be so ingrained that I don’t care as much about bread or cheese. That is the whole plan anyway right, to break the sugar cycle, the sugar cravings, and enjoy the flavor of real natural, non-artificial foods.  

The husband I made it to the gym again to use the treadmills, however when we got there, they were all full so we did the stationary bikes for 20 minutes instead. That is not a long workout but much better than nothing and it got us sweating and breathing hard.

 Tonight was the first time I ate out since starting. I know we are supposed to avoid eating out on the program, but my kids needed some food they would like and I knew this restaurant had a salmon dish I could order that would qualify. And I did have the grilled salmon salad and it was tasty and filling. The only downfall was sitting next to my husband who had the chicken parmesan that looked so delicious, my mouth was watering. BUT I did not even have a bite. I did not have the sesame crackers that came on side of salad and I only used half my the vinaigrette dressing knowing that it of course had some sugar in it. I did good.  

I have to go back to work tomorrow, which will be a new test. I have my lunch ready and will have breakfast at home so I will only have to avoid snacking on wrong items but I have carrots, apples and almonds to take in case I get hungry in between. Wish me luck.

WHOLE30 – Day 2

Day 2:  I was a good girl and followed the rules again today. But due to the long lead time on food prep I didn’t eat lunch until 2pm, something I will have to work on. The prep time seemed a little overwhelming but now that I have lunches ready for the next five days I feel much better. I still need to get my breakfasts pre-made but other than eggs, I am not sure what else to have. Time to get some more ideas. I have not worked out yet today but still might go to the Gym tonight since its open 24-hours.

This morning I was missing toasted English muffins and the rest of the day I was missing cheese and chocolate ice cream. I do think the dairy is going to be hardest thing for me to give up and will be the first thing I want back when my thirty days are over.

Today I ate:

breakfast:       banana & AdvoCare Fiber

lunch:              sweet potato hash with ground turkey and red pepper

dinner:            grilled steak, shrimp & roasted Brussel sprouts

It may not look like enough fruits and vegetables but I was full all day except right before lunch because it took too long.

I had a total of 785 calories today, again myfitnesspal says that is too little, but everything I ate was very nutritious, and how can I rack up a lot of calories without any breads or dairy? Eating additional fruit will put me over my sugar limit.

 

Whole30-day 1

Day 1:

It is the end of day one of my Whole30 and I am calling it a success. I stuck to the correct foods, drank my water, took my Advocare Cleanse and walked 40 minutes on the treadmill at the gym. I would feel proud of myself if I hadn’t just eaten the most tasteless chicken breast of my life. Dinner was a fail, the correct foods, but not tasty. Chicken has to be marinated or seasoned but the recipe I was using didn’t do any of that and my grilled kabobs had no flavor and my family is giving me dirty looks for it. I am regretting spending that extra money on the organic chicken breasts that no one liked. Mood felt great all day. I feel full after dinner, but still crave a little chocolate. All in all not a bad day.

Breakfast:            Scrambled eggs with 2 slices of Canadian Bacon

40-minute Exercise

Snack:             Banana

Lunch:             baked Cod filet

Dinner:            Chicken Kabob (with mushroom, pineapple & yellow pepper)

Salad with pear

approximately 810 calories, myfitnesspal says that is not enough calories and I tell myfitnesspal to “eff” off, I have a lot of over-calorie days to make up for.

I’m Ready!

Today is not New Year’s Day yet I am already thinking about my resolutions and goals for 2016. It is actually the day after Christmas, and after a month of eating anything and everything I wanted, I am actually excited to get started on my “Get Fit 2016” journey. I’ve been enjoying mashed potatoes, pasta, French fries, toast and cookies. All of the fun things that get me to my highest weight ever, the things I won’t be eating from now on. I know how much better I feel when I eat healthy, with fresh fruits and vegetables. I know how much more energy and strength I have when I work out. And I can’t wait to get there again. So I’m not waiting another week, I am starting today.

Months ago I wrote about my intent to kick the soda habit. At that time I was only one week in but I think announcing to the “world” helped me stay accountable and on track. I posted my progress on Facebook and kept count on a calendar. I think the thing that made my new habit stick was not wanting to go back on my word, or start over. When I saw that I was on day 50 of no soda I felt so good about accomplishing that number that I didn’t want to lose. I am now 6 months without my beloved high-fructose corn syrup Coke-Cola and Pepsi and although I miss it often, I no longer like the taste, and am proud of myself. So I am going to try that same approach with my weight loss and fitness journey and hope my pride won’t let me quit.

I am starting slowly this week as a transition phase before starting The Whole 30 program Jan 1-30. I will be tossing out the table full of cookies and pies that we have so much of they don’t even look good to me anymore. Sometime this week I will make a final trip to Five Guys for my favorite bacon cheeseburger I have been craving lately, I will take my kids to a movie and eat my favorite salty popcorn, and I will drink the new bottle of wine I already bought. But in between these last few indulgences I will also be incorporating the healthy foods back in. Today for example I’ve had green tea, scrambled eggs with mushrooms and chives for breakfast and a salad with apples and pears for lunch.

I am a little iffy on the exercise plan right now. I have totally been in the mood to workout lately, however, I’ve had a couple physical limitations. Stitches in a high traffic area that shouldn’t be stretched, pulled, or have extra weight tugging on it. And a shoulder that has been hurting for a month. I have no idea what is wrong with it, could be arthritis or something torn on the inside, but doesn’t seem to be getting better. Hurts when I move it certain ways or apply body weight on it. So I am going to have to start small with walking and build from there. I am actually toying with the idea of signing up for a friend’s “Couch to 5K” running group. Or maybe joining the gym on the corner. But don’t hold me to it yet, I said I’m toying with the idea. I’ll keep you updated.

Anyway, I am very hopeful that I can make permanent changes in my life. Now that I was successful with removing one bad habit I have proven something to myself – that I can do it. I just have to remove many more and add some good ones and I’ll be golden.

Wish me luck, and most of all willpower.

Bye Bye My Sweet, Sweet Soda

If you know me in real life, or follow me on Twitter, you know I struggle with my love of (addiction to) Coke-Cola and Pepsi. Regular full strength sugar, no Diet for me. I love the taste. I love the pick-me-up. I am not only addicted to the caffeine but also the sugar and fizz. And now that I have tried the new Pepsi version made with real sugar instead of corn syrup – I know I am actually addicted to the High Fructose Corn Syrup, because the real sugar just does not taste as good to me. I love the syrupy sweetness of HFCS. But I do know and understand how bad it is for me and have been trying to quit drinking it. All that extra sugar ruining my diet. Carbonation stretching my stomach. Chemicals doing God knows what to my Liver & Kidneys. I have seen Coke clean battery acid off my husband’s truck battery. I know this cannot possibly be good for me in any way and have read of the addictiveness of sugar. Heck, I live it. Then when my mother recently had a scare with her kidneys, I really wanted to cut it out of my life. At first I was just limiting myself to one a day. Or only when I eat out. But some days I would slip and have three. I know it has to go completely. Even one soda a day puts me over my sugar consumption and calorie goals and I do not lose any weight. I’ve even read that the carbonation is bad for my asthma. I have tried quitting a number of times. I usually only make it 2-4 days tops before I go back to that sweet deliciousness that makes me happy and keeps the headaches away.

This time, I actually feel like it is going to be different. I think I had my “ah-ha” moment finally. We were at my 9-year-old son’s baseball game last Thursday. There were two families sitting next to us that had a bunch of little kids walking around & playing in front of us. This tiny little boy (about the size of mine when they were 6 months old, but I had tall babies) was maybe 2 years old (because he could walk & talk) is standing in front of us with a Mountain Dew can tipped up, all the way back just guzzling it as fast he could. It looked SO WRONG! It looked as wrong to me as if he’d had a cigarette in his mouth. I was thinking how proud I was that we never let our kids have soda and even today at 9 & 12, they don’t drink it at all unless they might try orange soda at a birthday party where they aren’t offering any non-pop alternatives. I was so glad we had made that healthy decision for our children. They’ve never wanted pop. They drink water or fruit juice or Lemonade, which do also have sugar but not all the other chemical ingredients. My youngest had a taste of my Coke one time and thought it was disgusting. I am so glad. There are plenty of junk foods they love that can give them obesity, at least I don’t have to worry about that one right. So as I am thinking this, then a little girl from the other family finished off a can of Pepsi and asks her mom for another one. Thankfully the Mom tells her No, that it is too close to bedtime. This little girl was a tiny pale skinny thing, maybe 4 or 5 years old; cute as could be. But the sight of these small children drinking these sodas shocked me. I don’t know why, I know that other people let their kids drink pop. Not a bid deal. Everyone’s choice to parent how they see fit. But they were so young and in that moment it looked like a bid deal to me and it made me think. Why am I putting something in my body, that I absolutely don’t want my children putting into theirs? Do I care so little about myself that it makes it ok for me to put junk in my body and ruin my own health? Don’t I want the best for myself, same as I want for my kids? How can I tell them its wrong if I do it myself?

And so there you have it. I have now made it through day 5 of soda-free living. Coke replaced with green tea, cranberry juice and more water than I’ve ever drank in my life. I even passed the hard test of eating out in a restaurant and not ordering a Coke. That was the worst part so far. I really wanted one. But I didn’t do it. The discouraging thing is that I have not lost an ounce of weight yet and still feel really bloated. And I feel happier when I have a sugary Coke-Cola then when I don’t. But I have to believe that if I keep at it forever, eventually my body will be cleansed, I won’t have the cravings, my moods won’t be affected anymore, and will eventually be able to lose weight again with proper diet and exercise. Now I must repeat this to myself every day to keep up the good fight.

Wish me luck.

Cautiously Optimistic About Optimist Football

     My eleven year old son recently traded in his sparring gear and nunchuks for football pads. It was a decision two years in the making. Last year he said he wanted to play youth football but once he found out practice was five nights a week, he decided that didn’t sound very fun and would be too hard to juggle with school. But after another year of playing football at recess with his friends and playing Madden on the Xbox, he was determined to give it a try. My husband was shocked that I was fine with it and not worried about him getting hurt. “I’m from a football loving family, it will be fun to watch him play. And,” I told him,” I’m not one of THOSE moms.” Besides, I always want to give my kids opportunities to try out new things and find what they love. If he signs up he has to play all season whether he ends up liking it or not; we won’t let him quit after paying hundreds of dollars. But if he doesn’t like it that much, he doesn’t have to sign up next year. Simple. I was much more concerned over having to drag him to practice when he didn’t feel like going than I was of injuries. After all, they’re only eleven, its not going to be that hard core. Right?

      Practices started this week. My husband had bought him all the best gear and he looked SO COOL in it. I was a proud mommy and I was confident he’d do fine. But once we got there and he lined up with the other kids for warm-ups, the nerves hit me. “Look at some of these meatheads,” I thought to myself. It wasn’t even really the size of the other kids that scared me, as my son isn’t the smallest, he’s right in the middle, but it was their demeanor. They were cocky and mouthy, acting like they were the bomb. One boy was already talking about having girls over to his house. Who are these kids? My eleven year old doesn’t act like that. One month left before he starts middle school, I guess I better get used to this.

     So in a team of 22 kids, 16 have been doing this for multiple years. My kid is obviously green. My A-student, normally confidant, black-belt is looking not so confidant out there. Or competent. It was less than pretty. His foot work is clumsy, he has no balance, and he drops every ball thrown at him. I don’t care if my son is the best, or wins at everything, I  really don’t. But seeing him be the worst isn’t easy either. But don’t worry, I won’t tell him that. I am going to be supportive and encouraging and help him get better. This is the first day and he has nowhere to go but up. He will improve and learn and get stronger. I am already impressed with his coaches and believe in them. And if at the end of the season my son tells me he doesn’t enjoy football, I am completely fine with that. If he says he loves it and wants to play football every year, well, I guess we’ll be training year-round to catch up to these kids that have been playing since they were six. Am I still not worried about my kid being injured? Ha! I have changed my mind and am totally paranoid he will get hurt. Night 2 he twisted his knee and limped for two days. Night 4 he twisted his ankle. Nights 4 & 5 were their first practices in full pads in the 95 degree heat and he acted like he was going to pass-out from exhaustion. After a full week he’s admitting what he is good at and what he’s not good at. He told me it is a lot harder than karate. I think we are all being realistic now and we all have an even greater appreciation for how hard football is and how athletic football players are. But I am confidant my son will grow and improve greatly over this first season. We’ll see how it goes. It’s a new adventure for all of us.

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