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Green Power Punch

This is the recipe for the juice from yesterday’s post. I do not lay claim to this recipe, and I do not know where I got it from…I suspect that it originally came from the juicer pamphlet that came with my machine, or something equally cheesy.

This is sincerely the best green juice I have had so far.  It is a good beginner-friendly juice, in my humble opinion.  It is light, fresh, and green, without being bitter, thick, or overpowering.  It has just the right amount of sweetness to please your taste buds, without making the juice noticeably sweet.

Green Power Punch
Makes 1 – 16 oz glass

2c. Kale
2c. Parsley Sprigs
1c. Spinach Leaves
1 Medium Green Apple
3 Stalks Celery
1/2 Green Bell Pepper

Juicer Set-upSet up your juicer of choice on the counter and gather your ingredients.

Fresh Vegetables

Wash all ingredients.

Fresh Vegetables_Celery_Pepper_ApplePrepare each ingredient so that it is ready for juicing.  I cored my apples and cut them into large chunks, however, some juicers require you to peel the fruit first, so please check with your juicer’s specific requirements before prepping your ingredients.  As a general rule, you want all of your ingredients cleaned and cut to a size equal to 2/3 the width of the juicer chute.

Fresh Juice_Power Punch_5Run all the ingredients through your juicer, following your juicer’s directions for proper use.  I HIGHLY recommend that you alternate water-dense foods (such as apples and celery) with drier, leafier foods (such as kale and parsley) so that the juicer better processes all ingredients and is less likely to get “gummed up.”

Fresh Juice_Power Punch_1Sit back and enjoy the fresh taste and proud feeling of juicing your own vegetables and fruits!!

I have had many fresh juices over the years, but after making this juice yesterday, I have realized that juicing fresh from the farmer’s market in your own home is light-years beyond what you will be able to purchase anywhere.  Give it a try, and let me know what you think!

Do you have the strength?

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Farmer’s Market Reboot

Farmer's Market Reboot

This roller-coaster of life has given me many excuses to continue to start and stop my weight loss for the last year. Although I could justify them all, I will preserve some of my dignity by just saying that they were essentially unjustified excuses. I make progress, then backslide, then get back on track…over and over. I am slowly working myself to a consistent commitment to myself and my health…notice I said “slowly.” I am a constant work-in-progress.

For those of you still reading my blog, your patience is greatly appreciated.

Last night, a rather lengthy before-bed talk with my fiance led us to another “we can’t keep doing this” moment. So, this morning we did what good, healthy people do, and hit the farmer’s market for a good walk, some motivation, and many healthy snack/meal options.

I came home with more bags than arms, and the photo above is a product of the booty of that trip. Exquisite berries that just explode in your mouth and enough fresh greens and green vegetables to make the BEST green juice I have ever had in my life…now, to be fair, this is also the FIRST homemade green juice I have ever made. I have had several green juices over the years and have been put-off by most of them. This one juice is a triumph for me.

If you all want the recipe, which I got from the juicer pamphlet I think, let me know in the comments and I will post it this week.

I hope everyone has a happy and healthy week to come!

Do you have the strength?

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Going Your Own Way: The Results

Going Your Own Way: The Results

A little over six weeks ago, I wrote a post about my frustration with the advice I had been given by my doctor and my nutritionist, titled “Going Your Own Way.”  Since that post, I have done just that; gone my own way.  I took that frustration and channeled it into a reason to rediscover myself…and the results were pleasantly surprising!

I have spent the last six weeks watching my diet, listening to my body, and figuring out just what it is that makes my body want to shed pounds.  I have been trying to track my intake very closely so that I can begin to identify problem foods, events, times of day, etc.  I have found that my body is most happy and energetic when I eat a completely vegan diet and manage my stress.  The entirety of the six weeks I followed a vegetarian diet, but the vast majority of that time, I was eating a completely vegan diet.  I have had several epiphanies.

If you look at my little progress widget to the right you will see that my weight loss progress has grown to over 10 pounds lost!!  I am very proud of my accomplishment, and that it was possible in just six short weeks (with no change in exercise routine mind you).  That is straight weight loss from diet changes and portion changes alone.  No joking.  That also means I am already 1/3 of the way toward my September 1st goal of having lost 30 pounds!  I am excited that I might have to readjust that goal…we will see.

So what is the deal with the big old plate of nachos as the lead in to my weight loss success?  I am so glad that you asked me that. 🙂  That lovely plate of craziness is 100% vegan.  Yep. V.E.G.A.N.  Some homemade cashew queso, some bean and rice tortilla chips, some veggies, salsa, and soy sour cream…oh man!  I am learning that the more I substitute real foods and real ingredients for things I used to eat, the better I feel, the better my skin looks, and the more weight I lose.  However, there are some things that I have already learned that I do not want to do, even if I am going to eat vegan/vegetarian.  More on that some other time…

The thought that I want to leave you with this time is, EXPERIMENT.  Get to know yourself, eat some more veggies, make a smoothie, drink some water, say “no” more, take some “me” time…start crowding out the bad stuff, and you will start to feel better.  If I can do it, so can you.

Do you have the strength?

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Helpful (Free!) App

LoseIt App ImageFor the last month I have been writing down every bite of food, and every minute of exercise on these templates that I made in Microsoft Word.  Now, although handy, this has proved to be an exhaustive waste of resources and is taking up too much space on my desk!  I went searching for a solution last week, and I found this excellent resource called “Lose It!”

This is a free resource that allows you to track and control different aspects of your eating and exercising life.  They do have a paid version, for something like $40/year, but I have yet to see a reason to purchase it.  The free version has a ton of built-in benefits.  Here is a screen shot of my exercise for the last two weeks:

LoseIt App Image

You can track food, exercise, nutrient content, calories, and weight.  You can join challenges for everything from weight loss, to running, to water consumption, to tracking calories.  You can join communities of like-minded people: running groups, walking groups, city groups, mothers groups…or by weight loss amount: 10 pounds to lose, 50 pounds to lose, 100+ pounds to lose, 200+ pounds to lose…or join me in the Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey (Dr. Who) fan group!  (Yeah, I am a total nerd…)

Long story cut short, I have fallen in love with this app…it can be downloaded onto every device known to man, as well as accessed from your computer at home.  If you click on either of the pictures in this post, it will link you right to their website where you can sign up!  Oh, and it is good for everyone, not just people with a TON of weight to lose like me.

Do you have the strength?

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Going Your Own Way

Going Your Own Way

Let me tell you an anecdote…

So a fat girl walked into a nutritionist’s office and said, “I want to feel better! I am tired of being overweight. I am tired of not sleeping well. I am tired of feeling like I have allergies all the time. When I eat meat it makes me feel like crap… What should I do?”

So the nutritionist says nothing except, “Tell me what you ate in the last 24 hours…”

After a painful five minutes of recanting all of the horrible things she crammed into her mouth the day before… the nutritionist stopped her and said, “You are eating too many carbohydrates. Cut your carbs. No beans. No bread. No potatoes…”

The girl looked at her and just blinked…

Are you laughing yet?
I was.

That was what happened to me last month at the nutritionist. I went in looking for answers, and I got some old advice…”eat more meat, cut those carbs!”

I have kind of had it with medical advice. I am blessed with a strange combination of being morbidly obese, yet having none of the associated health side effects (high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, etc.). This seems to leave my doctor and my nutritionist confused about what advice to give me about my weight. The truth is, I know what I should eat…I was a chef for the last 14 years. I eat well most of the time, sometimes just too well.

I have spent the last month treating my body as a science experiment. I followed the nutritionist’s advice for three weeks, despite my personal objections…what did I get? A net GAIN of 10 pounds!!! That was with an increase to exercising and everything.

So last week I said, “That’s it, I am going my own way!!” I ditched the meat, cheese, dairy, and processed food from my diet…and do you know what happened in just four days? I LOST 5 POUNDS. I wasn’t depriving myself, I was eating well, and I was eating homemade…but away went all of that food that I told the nutritionist was making me feel bad.

I feel good. This week has been the most energetic week I have had in years! I sleep better, my skin looks healthier, my eyes are whiter, I can walk further, and you know what? I AM NOT HUNGRY ALL THE TIME!!

Now that is a revelation for someone with my appetite. By eliminating all of those high-calorie, animal based foods, I actually feel like I have gotten control of my hunger again.

Well, the experiment continues…I may have a nice lean steak or something every once in a while, but for now, animals are off the menu.

Do you have the strength?

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Processing Change

Processing Change

It may seem silly to some people, but I have to process change. I would love to think that I am adventurous and spontaneous, but that is stretching the truth. I love doing new things, going new places, trying new foods, and generally exploring life…but don’t do so lightly. I think and plan, and plan and think…all the while, time is just passing before me.

I started this blog this year to come to grips with the paralyzing truth that I am morbidly obese. I set goals and made predictions, pondered over why things got so bad, and analyzed myself agonizingly in the quiet of my home. All the while, the blog sits, quiet, waiting for content, waiting for a voice, waiting for me to change.

My goal of losing 30 pounds by Labor Day this year was crushed by my desire to get my mental house in order. Did I reach my goal? Nope. I totally blew it…but I learned a few lessons along the way.

I have learned that I can give great advice to others, but I am not so good at taking it for myself. I have learned that traditional birth control does crazy things to my head and makes me depressed, lazy, and anxious. I have learned that the better I eat, the better I feel. Best of all, however, I have learned to stop hating myself. Yeah, I’m fat…bfd…I can change and I will…but on my own time.

So expect to see more of my chubby face. The sidebar to your right will log my exercise, I will set a new weight loss goal, and I will keep on living. Hopefully I will gain some followers on this journey and maybe even help someone else, but if you all just want to watch and laugh, share in some yummy recipes, or just place bets on whether I will actually succeed, I am cool with that too.

Oh, and that beautiful photo…that’s what I miss when I sit at home in the afternoon studying…what a gorgeous reminder to get out there and see what’s happening…

Do you have the strength?

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Black Bean Soup with Avocado Corn Salsa

Black Bean Soup with Avocado Corn Salsa

This is my favorite recipe for black bean soup! It is a little smoky and filled with rich flavor.

The beans need to be soaked overnight so, try to plan ahead, or you could use canned beans, however the flavor and texture will not be the same. If you do not have Sweet Mesquite seasoning (which I buy at Costco), you can substitute with smoked paprika which will lend desired smoky essence. All of these ingredients can be scaled to your own tastes, so experiment away!

Ingredients:

1 pound Black Beans, dried, soaked
1 each Onion, chopped
2 stalks Celery, chopped
1 each Red Bell Pepper, chopped
6 cloves Garlic
1 each Anaheim Chile, chopped
1 each Carrots, chopped
1 sprigs Cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon Ground Cumin
1 tablespoon Sweet Mesquite Seasoning
Water
1 each Avocado
2 each Corn, steamed and removed from the cob
2 each Scallions, chopped
1 each Lime, juiced
Salt
Ground Black Pepper

Method:

1. Soak The Black Beans: Place the dried black beans into a deep bowl or pot and completely cover with water. Cover the container and place in the refrigerator overnight to soak the beans.

2. Prepare Your Vegetables: Chop onions, red pepper, celery, Anaheim chile, and carrot into bite-sized pieces. Place vegetables into a large soup (or stock) pot. Drain the soaked black beans and add the beans to the pot with the chopped vegetables. Chop cilantro and add to pot with the whole garlic cloves, cumin, and sweet mesquite seasoning.

Add water to the pot, just enough to cover the vegetables and beans, but not so much that they begin to float. This is important because it will affect the final texture of the soup, which we want to be thick and rich, not runny or watery.

3. Set It and Forget It: Place a tight-fitting lid on the pot and simmer on medium-low heat for approximately 1 1/2 hours, or until the beans are completely cooked. When the soup has finished cooking, and the beans are completely cooked, puree the soup using either an immersion (stick) blender or a regular blender. Please keep in mind that this soup is extremely hot, so if you are using a traditional blender to puree your soup, please do not fill it more than half way full for each batch blended.

4. Avocado Corn Salsa: I would recommend that this does not get made very far ahead. The lime juice will help to retard the oxidation of the avocados, however, it is not a perfect solution.  You can use a good quality, no salt canned corn if you are REALLY in a bind for time, or better yet, you could cook the corn cobs in the soup pot toward the end to save time if you wish.  Then just pull it out and cut it off the cob.

Method:

Remove the flesh from the avocado and chop it into tasty little pieces. Steam the corn (or microwave it) and remove the kernels from the cob. Chop the fresh scallions finely. Add the avocado, corn, and scallions to a small mixing bowl and stir to combine, being careful not to break up the chunks of avocado. Squeeze all of the lime juice onto the mixture, season to taste with salt and pepper, and mix gently to combine.

Serve this on top of this soup or many other tasty things.
Servings: 12
Source: Spitfire Strength

Photo: Spitfire Strength