Reprogramming my menu

A few weeks ago I saw some stills from the American Dealers shoot and they FREAKED. ME. OUT. I’m not normally a body-conscious type, though I don’t always fit into the cutest Anthro outfits as much as I long to. I am completely OK with the fact that I’ve had 3 beautiful kids, that my husband has never screamed “Put your clothes back on!”, and that I’m 43 and some things are just gonna be what they’re gonna be. I’m a long way from the 19 year old beach-and-surf girl I once was and I don’t see a bikini in my future. BUT that double chin…WTF?? THAT’S not cool. It’s gotta go.

1780462_10203255027885096_531881194_o

I’m 5’8 and currently just over 200 pounds. (That isn’t fun to type.) I don’t feel ugly and I definitely feel loved, but I’d like to be healthier. I’m not weighing myself because I want this to be about making good choices about my diet. Every time I’ve weighed myself in the past, I feel defeated, so I’m just not going to make the scale part of this situation. If I feel great, then that’s good. And I am making the assumption that if I track my food, eat fewer calories than I burn, and eat really healthy stuff, that the scale won’t need to be part of my day because I’ll see my body change. I don’t know, it’s an experiment.

My friend Chrisa (check out her incredibly moving blog about parenting a child with mental illness: The Mindstorm) had recently started juicing and it inspired me to start looking into alternatives to my regular menu. I picked up a very inexpensive Oster juicer at Target and a stack of green veggies & fruits. I started reading nutritional blogs and now I’ve added probiotic supplements into the mix (I just take the Whole Foods brand. $11 for 100, twice a day.) to see if that aids in digestion and bloating. I keep a big cup on my desk at work and drink 2-3 refills of water each day which add up to about 72 oz of water. (Confession: I add a tiny squirt of Mio into it just for a hint of flavor, but then I drink more.) Honestly, I think that’s had the biggest impact on my daily energy. I feel so much better already. Last Friday, instead of heading home and collapsing on the couch, my son and I did a craft, I cooked dinner, then went upstairs to scrub the master bath. That’s SO out of character for me to have that much energy.

One of the key things has been my Jawbone UP and the companion app which has you track everything you eat. I’m so in the habit now that I don’t eat anything that I can’t enter. It’s been an eye-opener and has already had a big influence on my choices. And having it on my wrist is a reminder to make those good choices for my body. 
1743275_10203266643775486_2010696356_n

I’m a 3pm snacker, so I needed an alternative for that. So I tried baking kale chips and they were awful! So I tried dehydrating them and I’m hooked. I picked up the Presto Dehydro at Walmart for $44 and it does a great job, though I see them on Craigslist for around $20. You might even have a friend who would let you try theirs. I’ve been using this recipe from The Kitchn for their version of Brad’s Raw Kale Chips and it’s so delicious that I now make sure they’re always on hand. I’ve also tried it with spinach, though the result is so thin that it’s almost hard to eat them because they just fall apart. Kale holds the mixture much better and has more body to it, so it makes a better chip.

1957549_10203383076406229_1202283401_n

Another thing I’ve noticed is that this new way of eating actually seems to require less prep time. Granted, I haven’t exactly gotten into the more gourmet vegetarian dishes, but if you want a quick meal after a long day, there are lots of options with 2-3 ingredients. And if you need a fast food option, hit the salad bar or deli at Whole Foods.

Last night we had artichoke hearts, gua-kale-mole, curry tofu, sesame tofu, smoked salmon, gouda cheese (probiotics!), cucumber “chips”, and Greek yogurt & dill dip. Oh my gosh–if you’re a chip-and-dip person looking for a healthy alternative, try running a cucumber through a mandolin slicer (thick slices) and whipping some fresh dill into some Greek yogurt. Happy! It’s crunchy and the yogurt/dill mix is a pretty nice alternative to regular dips.

1964193_10203409718632268_754223901_n

I’m trying to learn as I go along. Everyday there’s something new to add to the repertoire. I’d really love more suggestions, if you have any. And if you’re on the same path, please stick with me on this and let’s learn together.

UPDATE: My friend Heather over at YumUniverse.com has a great collection of nothin’ but healthy snacks for us to share. [click here to hop on over] If you try one, please let me know how you like it. I know I’ll be heading to the grocery store later to get some ingredients. Thanks, Heather!