Sparkly & Slimming….a Weight Loss Blog

Samantha's journey to slim down, while remaining sparkly!

You Might Not Pass By This Way Again….*


Last October my favorite aunt passed away after a long battle with bladder cancer. She wanted to be cremated and opted not to have a service so I wanted to honor her with a post here. I had this half-written and decided to hold off (you’ll see why by the end). :)

Roma began dating my uncle when I was 3 or 4. My uncle Warren is my dad’s older brother who drove truck for a living until retiring a few years ago (not by choice, he loved roaring down the road!). He settled in Michigan shortly after meeting her. She was feisty and fabulous with curly red hair and a sweet southern drawl. I loved her. She and my uncle visited several times when I was little. In first grade she taught me how to multiply (way before my classmates, I felt so smart!). In high school my family drove out to Michigan to stay with her and my uncle. It then became a summer tradition and one of my favorite memories. Roma could take a joke (like the time we dyed her then white hair red….only to discover we used too much and it came out fire engine red!). In college my mom and I would have “girls trips” and spend a week in October with her appreciating Michigan foliage and exploring the Midwest.

My Aunty Roma and Uncle Warren

My Aunty Roma and Uncle Warren

She was always up for an adventure…like finding Eminem’s recording studio in the notorious 8 mile section of Detroit or hunting for Michigan’s best ice cream sundae at Woody’s in Royal Oak….(but we have to start from her sister-in-law’s house or else she’d get turned around). Her life mantra was “You might not pass by this way again” – which could justify anything from a quick stop at a yard sale or a radical life decision. No matter what the circumstance you could sum up your next move with “you might not pass this way again” – so why not do it?! So many times it was true. We’d take one road to go someplace and come home a totally different way – missing the cute coffee shop or some great sunset over an open field. In life I often find myself wanting to say or do something then hemming and hawing until I’ve missed my window. In 2012 I adopted this as my mantra and I had postcards made up so I could hang them everywhere as a reminder:

Pass by this way

She didn’t care for TV (except for Oprah, she just loved Oprah) but she was amazed by the career Derek and I both chose. She loved hearing crazy work stories and she loved to know how things work behind the scenes. I remember sitting with her one summer night in Michigan while we were both up too late explaining how green screens work – she was just fascinated.The last time I saw her was on a work trip in June of 2013. I convinced my sales manager at the time that we should drive from Chicago to Detroit to see my customer – and see my family. When we got there she was in the hospital and I remember being struck by the juxtaposition of her frail body and her sharp mind. She wanted to know if there was a boy in my life (there wasn’t and she was sad to hear this, LOL), how work was, how Mom/Dad/Derek were and more important what awesome things I had seen – because I might not pass this way again! I told  her about driving to get fresh peaches in Atlanta (because the peach is the epitome of Atlanta!), heading 2 hours  outside LA to find a store that sold funky recycled jewelry and the extensive collection of Starbucks mugs picked up by friends all over the globe (from Oslo to Dubai to Singapore). I was proud to say I was living our shared mantra!

I’m a huge fan of self-improvement and I shared with her the book I had just finished, “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. I decided to make my list of my personal commandments; it had to make the list. :)  She loved it and we shared a laugh about how hard it can be to let things go.

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Since there wasn’t a funeral or wake my family mourned in our own way – releasing balloons the day she passed and on her birthday and taking time to appreciate the little things (like perfect sunsets and car rides with great sing-a-long playlists). We talk about her often and laugh – because so many Aunty stories end in hilarity.

A few months ago Derek decided he was ready for his first tattoo – after some back and forth…I decided to take the plunge and join him. I’ve always been a fan of tattoos but super indecisive when it came to actually permanently adorning my body with one. I spit-balled some ideas with my friend and personal Photoshopper, Tyler. He took my disjointed ideas and created this amazing piece:

tattoo

I was in love. We scheduled our appointment with Jaesun, an artist our friend G uses and on August 22nd I came home with this on the back of my right shoulder:

 

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Perfect. Just perfect!

On our drive home from getting tattooed I found myself especially weepy – somehow it felt so real that she was gone and I couldn’t call and tell her about the art or about this boy I met and fell for (but still haven’t confessed my feelings for, LOL)… Through my tears I noticed “Roma Bakery” on our left – which made me smile – then a giant sign advertising “Berry Smoothies!” on my right. I took that as a little sign that she could see us and appreciated the tribute! <3

Rest in peace Roma “Aunty” Berry (November 18 yearshallnotbementioned ~ October 26, 2013), I hope  you’re doing all your favorite things (putzing in the garden, eating dessert for dinner, taking long rides and stopping at every bend to explore!). Oh and your age will always be your secret with Mom! ;)

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Caffeine Free Epiphany….


About two months ago I started getting a really sharp pain in my pelvis – randomly coupled with some other really unpleasant side effects. On the pain scale I would say I’m pretty tough – and this sharp pain caused me to double over in agony in the ‘. middle of the hall at work. A few days later I got it again, twice. A trip to my doctor yielded not much until she mentioned how much water I was drinking. I instinctively replied ‘tons, I drink water like it’s my job!’….then I did a quick mental tally and realized I was drinking about 40 0z. of water and about 86 oz. in coffee. Yup. I was drinking 3-4 Venti iced coffees (cream + 1 sugar) and a doubleshot each day. I’ll throw up a quick visual image for those of you looking cross-eyed at your screen:

 

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So I vowed to cut it out, cold turkey and focus on getting my 100 oz. of water every day then assess how I felt after 30 days.

This is what I looked like before I gave up coffee:

 

My first week without it was HORRIBLE. I have heard about caffeine withdrawal and everything I read was true – nausea, dizziness, headaches (dull, annoying headaches), chills, sleepiness and last but not least, EXTREME IRRITABILITY. Everything annoyed me – I was bitchy as hell and snapped at people for smiling. No lie! Luckily my family loves me and I work with a really supportive group of guys and gals who didn’t take it personally. After the first week the symptoms dulled but the headaches persisted. Oh and the cravings  – I would have bartered with the devil for a doubleshot. Gladly. :)

Around week 3 I noticed a shift – I was finally mellowing and I was sleeping better. I’m normally someone who takes forever to fall asleep then wakes up 10-15 times a night. Well, without coffee I only wake up once or twice. I also noticed this nervous energy I always assumed was “Samantha” was actually “Samantha on too much caffeine”. Of course it wasn’t good nervous energy like the kind you feel around your crush or when embarking on a new adventure … no this was the kind that always makes you feel uneasy and on edge. That feeling has left me and dare I say it…I’m actually sort of zen now!

The biggest change (aside from my wallet…all that Starbucks adds up BIG TIME!) was the pains went away. Gone. I did some Googling and chatted with my doctor and some nurse friends and I think I actually developed a caffeine intolerance. When I was in my early twenties I was obsessed with coconut and I used/ate so many products containing it that I developed an allergy. I’m fairly certain the same thing is true of coffee. I overdosed and developed an intolerance. Crazy!

August 30th marked my one-month milestone – and I decided to try a tall iced coffee just for kicks. Within an hour the pain returned. I have had the same reaction to caffeinated tea so I’m officially off caffeine for good. :)

I am no longer toting my gold card or chatting on a first name with my baristas. It’s funny how something can go from defining you to a distant memory in the blink of an eye!

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Summer Update: Sunsets, Salads and Soul Searching


I can’t believe it’s been a month since I last posted! I always take these mini-breaks without meaning to – I’m just so easily distracted once I’m on the computer that I end up with 37 half written blog entries. :)

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The face of someone who KNOWS she needs to blog more….haha.

So June –> July has been a bit of a blur….BBQs, aimless drives, cocktails with friends, soul-searching, perfect weddings,  sleeping late and SO MANY VEGETABLES! Oh man, I am REALLY happy I chose to get a CSA this summer.  My friend Steph posted this a few weeks ago and it’s become my mantra:

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When you realize that you need the same care and feeding you would give to a plant things became a little more clear. Have you had enough water? Nutrients? Sunshine? If not – make it happen.

Let’s discuss the amazing bounty I’ve been receiving every Thursday from Picadilly Farms in NH since early  June. Since last time I have tried a bunch of things that I can’t recall ever having (and I’m not a fussy eater).

  • Loved: Boy choy (especially in stir-fry), radishes (raw or cooked these are awesome!), turnips, carrots (I used to hate them, now I love them!), leeks, fennel (roasted or raw, mmmm), golden beets and kohlrabi (stir-fryed or raw in a salad)
  • Mezzo Mezzo: Red Russian kale (sweeter than regular kale but not something I would buy on my own, mustard greens, senposai (collard-type) greens.
  • Not my thang: Kale (I just can’t – I have tried it 52,000 ways and I don’t like it), sorrel (lemony bitter green), swiss chard (I tried it twice – stir-fryed and braised then decided to pass it along to a colleague at work who eats healthy), garlic scapes (I love garlic but these were not for me) and dill (just not a flavor I like).

Other things I have LOVED but were not new to me – spinach, arugula, green beans, sugar peas, snap peas, zucchini, summer squash, scallions, basil, cilantro, tiny strawberries and romaine lettuce.

This week new to me I have patty pan squash (I just love saying that name!), daikon, pickling cucumbers and Japanese eggplant! I haven’t tried them yet so I will report back once I do!

Since I love pictures here is two pretty collages featuring some of the fabulousness. See if you can spot the tiny stow-away I found when washing spinach. ;)

Veggie Collage

Veggie Collage 2

I highly recommend doing a CSA to get out of your food comfort zone – it’s amazing to me how many things weren’t on my radar before and now will become Samantha staples (like carrots , fennel and radishes!).

There is something special about this summer – it hasn’t been anything I can put my finger on but I feel different – more excited, more open to new adventures and more appreciative of the beauty around me. I have been making a point to admire the sunset each night and I have some gorgeous photos to show for it….

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – sunrises and sunsets are two of the most powerful things in nature to witness. No matter how good or bad a day is, it will end. <3

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I’ve also been doing a ton of soul-searching and while I find myself writing a lot there isn’t much I want to share publicly. Let’s just say I’m finding being in my thirties very liberating. Suddenly all these things I had hoped I’d be by this age are a reality.I don’t have to apologize for how I feel (or don’t feel) or for the things I want (or don’t want). I credit Danielle LaPorte for opening me up to these changes. It’s amazing reading daily blips of “truth” and inspiration from someone as no-bullshit as me! I think the next 6 months of my 32nd year will be filled with more risks, more reward and less hesitation. Life is too short to be anything less than ridiculously happy.

Truthbombs

Truthbombs – a few of my favs!

 

I had coffee with my friend Tiana on Saturday. We met in 7th grade and were friends all through middle/high school and then went our separate ways. However thanks to the magic of Facebook we reconnected and chat often. Yesterday was the first time we have seen each other in 14 years and it was like nothing had changed. A quick coffee date extended almost two hours and I can’t wait to spend more time with her soon!  I’m so thankful for friends like her who get me in a way I don’t have to explain. :)

 

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Here’s to another 8 weeks of summer-amazingness! Cheers, friends!

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Tribute to a Legend


There are people who come in to your life and make a lasting impression. Despite distance or time-passed you still feel a bond with them. Yesterday the world lost someone who will always have a special place in my heart. Al Shapiro was my first audio professor in college and one of the most influential people in so many young lives. You might expect me to wax poetic about how much I learned or how he imparted his wisdom on to me in the form of a perfect magnet quote. That was not Al. He was gruff on the exterior but a teddy bear on the inside – he would tell you to fuck off to your face and then crack up laughing a few minutes later. He was no bullshit and meant business but he was also a mentor and a guiding force in such a tough time in so many people’s lives (how do you know what you want to be at 19?!). He spent his career prior to teaching working with some of the most amazing musicians of our time (including John Lennon and Michael Jackson). He forgot more about music and sound than most people will ever know and he was truly one of the highlights of my college experience.

We were unlikely friends – at age 18 I was quiet and unsure of myself when I took my first audio class; at 45 he was at the point in his life where he wasn’t going to cater to some smiley girl from the suburbs who couldn’t cut it. He told me I wasn’t going to make it in this business unless I found a backbone ASAP – and could tell him to fuck off. True story. A semester later I became his first Teacher’s Assistant and got an amazing internship at Finish Studios in Boston. I figured out the summer of my internship that I wasn’t ready to be in the real world at age 19 armed with an associates degree and I decided to stay and get a second degree in TV production. Al wasn’t thrilled – he wanted me to go into the real world and do it – but he knew I needed to find my own way. I ended up realizing that I loved the audio/video business but needed more stability and structure then a studio or mix house could provide.

I credit him with the gusto I have now and I am so saddened that future generations of audio students won’t hear his amazing stories or learn the art of properly miking a studio! Moreover I’m mad at myself. Al and a few other amazing professors were pushed out by my alma mater a few months ago and we had emailed a few dozen times about getting together. And I was busy. And I had work commitments. And I didn’t want to show up and feel like I had let him down….so I didn’t make actual plans. Somewhere in the back of my head is the 18-year-old girl who wanted so badly to work in the music business in NY and kick ass and take names. Over time that has evolved into a 32-year-old woman who works for a software company managing projects and accounts – kicking ass and taking names. I’m proud of where I am but I was so afraid I wouldn’t measure up to his standards – so afraid he’d be disappointed that I took the “corporate whore” route (his words). In hindsight I can see how foolish that mentality was – but of course it’s too late now. Where’s hindsight when I need it?! :)

Life is funny – you don’t really realize the significance someone has had on your life until you can’t say thank you.

Thank you Al Shapiro for life lessons, audio knowledge, great stories but most of all thank you for encouraging me to be my own person and not give a fuck what anyone thought. I will miss you more than you know! Oh and I hope you can’t see Facebook – you would absolutely HATE all this attention! <3

My favorite shot - Al was both an audio master as well as a talented artist.

My favorite shot – Al was both an audio master as well as a talented artist.

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Veggie Challenge Accepted!


As I mentioned in my last post I have joined a CSA for the summer/fall and I am just now realizing the veggie throw-down I will be involved in for the next 23 weeks! LOL.

This week I was able to find uses for the whole basket but I had to get creative and I thought I should share some of the ways I’ve incorporate more veggies in my life.

But first let’s talk about the veggies. So three of the five things I have never had before (bok choy, radishes and Red Russian kale). Bok Choy really has no flavor on its own raw (it’s crunchy and sort of like celery) but stir-fried it is DELICIOUS. Radishes are slightly peppery and remind me of a mushroom – I like them raw in salads or cooked in stir-fry and Red Russian kale is significantly sweeter than regular dino kale (which I do not enjoy!). I am an arugula addict and spinach lover so those were easy to find uses for!

First I made some simple salads and since I LOVE a fried egg I topped them with eggs from the egg share (holy yolk porn!) – they were AMAZING eggs. So creamy and delicious – the 6 were gone in 3 days. LOL!

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Fried egg from Wingate Farms with green onion, salt and pepper. PERFECTION!

Simple salad - spinach from the farm topped with balsamic onions, raw onion and tomatoes. No dressing needed!

Simple salad – spinach from the farm topped with balsamic onions, raw onion and tomatoes. No dressing needed!

When in doubt – salad is king. I’m a huge fan of mixing raw and cooked ingredients – next week I’ll include a bit about the “Samantha Kitchen Sink Salad” mentality. I couldn’t deal with the bok choy raw so I decided stir-fry was the perfect vehicle. I made it for my family one night and it was a huge hit:

Brown rice with stirfry (mushrooms, peppers, onions, baby corn and bok choy)

Brown rice with stirfry (mushrooms, peppers, onions, baby corn and bok choy)

Then last night I was standing at the fridge deciding what to make for lunch looking puzzled (like that commercial where the kid and his dad both look into the fridge waiting for food to appear) and I realized I still had a TON of veggies left (2 bok choys, that weird kale and some spinach). When in doubt: USE THE WOK! This is my fabulous creation (please note the action shot – THAT IS STEAM! Haha). I never, ever thought I would be someone who could feel full eating a plate of veggies – but this was my lunch two days in a row and it was delicious (and the folks around me were JEALOUS!).

 

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I wasn’t so sure I’d like kale stir-fryed because I don’t care for it as chips or a salad (I always feel like it rivals lawn clippings) but I really love it stirfryed! It adds a nice bite to lunch.

This week I have a whole new basket of greens: Spinach, lettuce mix, head lettuce (red leaf and “Red Tide”), salad turnips, “French Breakfast” radishes, scallions, sorrel, arugula and “Red Rain” mustard greens. I asked Facebook friends what I should do with turnips and my pal Amy recommended this: Turnip Rosti given it sounds amazing AND I got scallions I will have to try it!

I’m loving the summer challenge of using more vegetables in my life – summer is synonymous with cocktails and ice cream so it’s verrrry easy to fall off the wagon and into a sundae. This year I will definitely balance my treats with greens. :)

 

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Community Supported AWESOMENESS!


Last summer my BFF Jewels (who lives in NYC) joined a CSA and spent the summer experimenting with awesome veggies. I was jealous – I needed to join the CSA club. So, this year I did my research early and found a farm in Winchester, NH called Picadilly Farm that offered everything I was looking for in a CSA – organic, close by and run by an awesome crew.  I love supporting an organization run “grass roots” by amazing people. So for the next 23 weeks I will be blogging about the fantastic bounty I receive and the crazy recipes I concoct. I’ve decided to dub this series “The CSA Files”. :-)

  •  What is a CSA exactly? When you become a member of a CSA, you’re purchasing a “share” of vegetables from a regional farmer. Weekly or bi-weekly, from June until October you receive a box filled with the harvest of the week.
  • What’s included? You know the line “He had me at hello?” well Jenny, Bruce and the crew had me at arugula. I am obsessed (as you well know) so looking through this sample menu had me hooked in just a few sentences!
  • How does it work? I go to a house a few towns away every Thursday afternoon and pick up a GIANT box of veggies and a carton of farm fresh eggs (from Wingate Farms) – enjoy then the next week I get to do it all over again! So rad!

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This is the epitome of technology meets old school – I get an email every Thursday from Jenny with the weeks crops then I pick up my good in a garage in a cute little neighborhood – LOL!

Yesterday I picked up spinach, baby bok choy, red radishes, arugula and “Red Russian” kale – plus amazing brown eggs! (Brown eggs are local eggs and local eggs are fresh!)

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I already know the arugula and spinach will be mixed together for a kickass salad base. But, I’ve never eaten bok choy or radishes and I have no clue what to do with “Red Russian” kale!

A quick Google tells me I should stir fry bok choy or use it in a dumpling (mmm), use “Red Russian” kale for sauteing with pecans to bring our their sweetness and serve radishes either sliced raw or braised with shallots. Sweet! I’m psyched to try new recipes – it’s like my own personalized “Chopped” Veggies”. :)

Any suggestions for favorite dishes I could make with these? I’d love to hear them!  Stay tuned next week to see what I make!

 

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Authenticity and Being At Peace


I’m a self-proclaimed self-improvement addict (say that three times fast!). I love learning tips and tricks to improve myself physically, mentally, emotionally and in both my career and personal lives. A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to attend the Simmons Women’s’ Leadership Conference here in Boston. I got to attend lectures and classes with amazing women like Juliet Funt (daughter of “Candid Camera” creator Alan Funt), Rita Moreno, Rana Foroohar, Mae Jemison and Hillary Clinton! Yes, *THE* Hillary Clinton. The whole day was amazing and I left feel soul-satisfied. There was a point during Rita Moreno’s presentation about her life as one of the first Latina actresses in Hollywood where she said “You will fail, You will be not what someone wants. But, you always have to be able to get up, dust yourself off, and move forward.” At the time I nodded, taking notes furiously but it wasn’t until hours later that I realized the impact of that statement.

Not everyone is going to love you.

Things will not always go your way.

You WILL have set-backs.

BUT….how you handle those will determine the kind of life you live and the kind of person you are.

I haven’t been blogging much, haven’t felt compelled to share my inner most thoughts on weight-loss or food …not because I’ve fallen off the wagon or stopped pursuing health but because it didn’t feel authentic. Blogging just to say “I’m a blogger! Look! Follow me! Tweet me! Love me!” was never the goal – sharing my life and my journey was the goal. I don’t ever want to look back on something I put into the world for consumption and be disappointed by the intention behind it.

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The truth is my focus has shifted. I have gone from obsessing about being someone else or measuring up to someone else’s standard of healthy and happy to truly being at peace with myself. I know which foods to eat to fuel my body versus fuel my feelings. I know which exercises motivate me to sweat more without affective my self-esteem and overall I am really comfortable in my own skin and with my place in life. I am not constantly criticizing, I’m not holding myself to unattainable goals and milestones and most of all I’m not surrounding myself with people who constantly make me defend my worth. I think that alone is the most crucial shift in attitude that I’ve made over the last few months.

So I may or may not post a lot or a little here…I’m going to play it by ear and see what feel right. There is a gut feeling I get when I execute something that isn’t “me” – as soon as I feel that I will pull back and adjust my intentions. I am at peace with my body (even though I’m not a size 4) and I’m really loving the person I am on the inside – which is priceless.

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Whole 30 Recap!


One of my favorite movies ever is “Training Day” – I am a huge fan of both Ethan Hawke and Denzel Washington and I love plot twists – plus stylistically it’s shot in a funky way. Denzel’s famous line is of course “You wanna go to jail or you wanna go home?” and I will jokingly use that often when it relates to make decisions.

denzel

How does this relate at all to my life? Well I survived the whirlwind LA business trip and only cheated once – I had a few Tanqueray & tonics one night. Yup – I avoided hot bread, gelato, amazing looking pasta + paninis and creme brulee! I was super proud of myself and I kept thinking I was navigating the LA streets like Ethan Hawke (wanna get fat or wanna get thinner and stronger?). OK so I’m a little weird – who isn’t? :)

I had some amazing food (because let’s be serious – food is the highlight of most trips right?) and of course had awesome client meetings. I really love interfacing with so many awesome people on a daily basis – it makes my world go ’round.

I got home and kept chugging and I’m pleased to say I completed Whole 30 and I have a ton of take-away lessons I will implement in my future:

  • If you feed your body vegetables for 33 days in a row you will actually CRAVE them. For the first time in my life I am at a point where I crave onions, spinach, tomatoes….I want salads! Don’t get me wrong, I still want ice cream and cake too – I just have never craved veggies before!
  • Once you give up gluten you realize how much of a “filler” it really was in your diet (pun intended). I am so quick to reach for a bagel or a sandwich without even weighing in my options.
  • Once you’ve had 30 days of healthy eating, junk food will literally make you sick (I gambled today and ordered coconut shrimp from our favorite little lunch spot – I feel like DEATH).
  • Your body can overcome anything with the right care. I have had psoriasis nearly my whole life – after Whole 30 my skin is still dry but not NEARLY as severe as it was before. I also haven’t had any stomach issues (except for the aforementioned shrimp). Food really does have the ability to heal! :)

So, how did I do? I’m down 18 pounds since I started and I’m really excited to keep going! I had my cheat meal (salted caramel cake…mmm) and I had a few of those enchanting candy-coated Cadbury eggs (oh the nostalgia!). I’ve been making my new famous salad (Samantha Kitchen Sink) and I had my family on board with it too (which is just awesome!). I combine red onion, avocado, scallion, pepper, tomato, bacon, shaved Parmesan and mushrooms on a bed of spinach and servings with lemon juice and balsamic vinegar! DELICIOUS and soooo filling!

 

Samantha Kitchen Sink

Health….like happiness is really a choice. You can choose to eat spinach – or you can choose to eat Doritos. Will Doritos taste better? Maybe at first but over time you will appreciate the nuances of vegetables. I’ve also realized that being healthy really does NOT take more time or money. My only “expense” during grocery shopping is when I chose organic – but luckily I have a CSA starting in June! I cannot wait to cook with things like kolrabi and fennel. I’m excited to spend a spring/summer incorporating new things!

I would recommend anyone out there do Whole30 – it’s truly eye-opening.

 

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Temptation and Truthbombs


I love alliteration – it just ties things together so perfectly for me! I mentioned a few weeks ago I was starting Whole 30 again – I can’t even lie, it’s been hell. I didn’t realize QUITE how far off my clean eating track I had gotten. Nor did I realize just how many temptations I face and fail in a daily basis!
Breakfast? On Whole 30 I’m either having eggs/chicken sausage or that nut porridge (comes out better if you soak the nuts in coconut or almond milk instead of water) or a Lara bar and leftover veggies. Before I would be tempted by bagels, brown sugar oatmeal or Belgian waffles. Sure none of those alone with kill me or lead to weight gain..unless that’s standard fare 6/7 mornings.
Lunch and dinner I definitely fall into the carb cravings. I want soup – with bread. I want potatoes every night (I may or may not be part potato…). It’s crazy. Once I convince myself that I’m craving veggies I can be satisfied with amazing lunches like this homemade power bowl -
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Dinner I’ve been consistently good at sticking to protein and veggies so that’s been easy but I’m finding myself eating larger breakfasts and smaller dinners. I’m also rocking the water (thanks to this lovely BKR water bottle):
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I’m also obsessed with wilted spinach and onions (olive oil + onion + salt). Here’s a snapshot of dinner Friday night:
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Dessert….yeah that was back to an every day kind of thing. A treat loses it’s specialness if you have it every day. It’s funny, I’ve learned and relearned these lessons…but for some reason they don’t stick in my head until I strip my eating to bare bones! Once I do I swear that I’m hardly saying clean. Now they’re are things I miss like cottage cheese and cheese in omelets but I think going without really made me realize how frequently cheese and crackers trumps tomatoes and guacamole as a snack!
I’m ready to transition to an 80/20 clean eating lifestyle. I can totally commit to eating clean during the week and weekends if I have one or two meals where I splurge. This week will be my most challenging – I’m in L.A. for work from Tuesday morning through Thursday night (red eye home). I’ve got 13 meetings crammed into 2.5 days I’m addition to 2 planned dinner dates. I need to be ON and of course I’m lucky Los Angeles is one of the best places to be eating clean! My hotel has an organic menu and I’m in control of picking one of the two dinner locations so I can steer towards a small farm to table style place and away from a martini bar (huge temptation!). I’ve got cashews and Lara bars packed for emergencies – I totally think I can do this. One real truth that rang through during this challenge was how often I excuse away my own bad behavior while harping on someone else for doing THE SAME THING. No one likes a hypocrite.
I’ve been completely in love with a blogger/author banged Danielle LaPorte lately and one of her best ideas is a “truthbomb” – a quick email with wise words you need to hear. This was from a few weeks ago:

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Ha. Was I right? Totally true, thought-provoking words! Can you talk about what you want in life without referencing what you have or had? It’s tough! I want to be able to master clean eating while still enjoying treats without overdoing it. What do I consider overdoing? Well if I look at my past… No past! Don’t mention the past! LOL. It’s tough! If I think about my love life and taking that chance and putting myself into the online dating world (something I’ve still avoided) I get so scared and so worried…what if I only meet assholes? What if NO ONE wants to date me? What if I meet someone who can only see where I am and not where I’m going? Well, it’s on me to put my best foot forward and act the way I want to feel (as Gretchen Rubin says). If I want to be loved I need to act loved (and truly I am loved!). But, dwelling on roads you’ve already traveled just gets you places you’ve already been!
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In three weeks I’m super happy to say I’ve lost 13 pounds! I know so much of this was getting away from the healthy (and not healthy!) quick foods and back to eating healthy meals in their natural form. Now let’s look forward to a healthy, clean eating future! :-)

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Whole 30….Round 2!


You know how they say March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb? Well I’m totally over lions. I hate winter. It’s been so freaking cold and miserable here in the suburbs of Boston – I’m ready for some sunshine and flowers! I’m going to gear myself up for a spring mentality (and a more fabulous summer body) by kicking off a new Whole 30 challenge this coming Monday. I eased myself in this week – cutting ties with bagels and homemade cookies (two things that were making more frequent appearances than they really should). I also embraced some new things like cilantro (formerly a hate – and I mean hate!) and raw red onion.I’m ready to rock the next 30 days!

Just in case you’re not familiar Whole 30 is an elimination/detox diet created by a husband and wife team who believe in organic, whole foods and no junk. The plan is simple to explain but terribly hard to execute:

Eat real food in these forms:

  • Meat
  • Seafood
  • Eggs
  • Tons of vegetables
  • Some fruit
  • Healthy oils, nuts and seeds.

Sounds simple right?! Yeaaa not so fast….

Don’t eat:

  • Sugar (any kind)
  • Alcohol
  • Grains
  • Legumes (which includes America’s favorite nut, the peanut)
  • Dairy
  • Carrageenan, MSG or sulfites (found in many processed foods)
  • White potatoes (along with Yukon, red bliss etc.) – the only potato that’s Whole 30 approved is the sweet potato

So, it’s a big change…but I’m excited to take it on. I did great last time although the headaches were pretty awful (not excited for those). My hardest challenge will be breakfast. I like eggs – but they don’t always like me back….so I need to get creative. This recipe for Banana Nut Porridge  sounds awesome and would be delicious with dates!  I have my nuts soaking as we speak and I’m hoping this is a tasty breakfast. I love oatmeal and I think it will be similar.

Sunday is veggie prep day and today I got help from Derek and Mom (thanks guys!) – here’s what we have ready in the fridge for the week ahead:

  • Roasted cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage and broccoliflower along with asparagus, green beans and broccolini washed and ready to be roasted for dinners.
  • Spinach, arugula and spring mix for salad base
  • Raspberries (to add to porridge)
  • Vinegar pickled beets
  • 3 kinds of tomatoes (variety is the spice of life right?)
  • Sweet potato mash
  • Almonds, cashews, pecans (no peanuts!)
  • Power Salad fixin’s (I stole this from Panera after having one for lunch Friday!)

Here’s the salad I had Friday:

PowerSaladMy take: Spinach/arugula/cilantro base, fresh tomatoes, peppers (yellow and orange) and pickled red onions (homemade!) with roasted chicken and cilantro/lemon hummus. Super delicious and super excited to eat it! I’ll snap a picture later in the week! Derek loves cukes, I hate them so we’ll include them in his salad only. :)

Oh and here’s a shot of the garlic pickled red onions and roasted cabbage/brussel sprouts:

Roasted Veggies and Pickled Onions

They joke that Whole 30 is a commitment – but it really is! I’m not usually a big food planner (I find it constricting and stressful) so this will be a big change to have to think this far ahead. I think I’m most worried about giving up ice cream – I LOVE ice cream and a month is a long time! Oh and if you’re curious I will be having my beloved Starbucks coffee with coconut/almond milk instead of cream/1 sugar. :) See? I’ve thought of everything! Now, let’s see if I see a difference in 30 days!

Some of the annoyances (besides of course the weight) are super, insane dry skin/eczema, random hives (possibly due to coconut so I’m not going nuts with coconut during the challenge) and psoriasis on my head. A lot of these ailments have been fixed with a clean diet – I can’t wait to see how I fare on April 12th!

Are you doing a Whole 30? Have you? Any tips or tricks?

 

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