Category Archives: Health

Recipe: Breakfast Salad

I don’t post a lot of recipes.  Mostly because I don’t consider myself a gourmet.  I do love to cook and I convince myself that I am creative in the kitchen.  But after watching Master Chef Jr. with my 10-year-old, I am, in no way, a chef.

This recipe has gotten a lot of buzz.  Salad for breakfast.  Sounds pretty disgusting even as I type it out.  Romaine, chicken, evoo, and balsamic?  No.  Thank goodness. This breakfast salad has exactly what you would eat in an omelette, just cold and in a bowl.

breakfastsalad

I like a good hearty salad.  So this one had to have a lot of texture to it.  I started with two handfuls of organic spinach.  I prefer organic spinach to non-organic because I think the flavor is stronger, kind of as it was meant to be.  I added 4 hardboiled organic egg whites.  Again, I always eat organic or free range eggs for the same reason.  They just taste better.  I also just use the whites since they are chock full of protein, contain no fat and no cholesterol.  Then I threw in about 1/8 cup of shredded cheddar cheese to add a bit more protein.  You don’t want to add too much cheese because it increases your fat and calories of the day, but add enough to taste.  The only other thing that I would’ve added would be some diced crispy bacon. I don’t buy bacon bits, but only use fresh bacon on my salads and didn’t have any on hand first thing in the morning. Top with the same ratio as the cheese.

For the dressing I use a simple honey mustard that I made from scratch:

1 part mustard

1/5 parts honey

2 parts evoo

1 part lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

It’s sweet and savory.  Perfect for first thing in the morning or for an early lunch.

I hope you enjoy your breakfast salad as much as I did!

Looking good vs. feeling good.

In my never-ending pursuit to have a body like Brooke Burke, I do a lot of daydreaming followed by endless planning.  What if I had a killer bod?  Would my life be easier?  Would I feel better?  And how would such a feat even begin to take place?  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m thankful for the many people in my life that let me off the hook with various excuses. I have 4 kids.  I’m very busy.  As I get older, my metabolism decreases.  I have a sweet tooth.  OK, that last one was my own excuse.  But when does my attitude go from wanting to look good to just being happy about feeling good?

About a year ago, I decided my family needed a change in our lifestyle habits.  We starting eating a primarily whole diet.  Basically what this means is, nothing comes out of a box or a package.  I started looking at ingredients in everything and tried to cut out a lot of unnecessary preservatives.  We eat more fruits and veggies than we used to.  Snack on high protein foods.  It’s been a fairly easy transition, mostly by me and my 2 youngest kids.  My husband and older kids really liked the unhealthy me, but are learning to adjust to our new eating habits.  So here I am, asking my family to live a healthier lifestyle so that we can all feel better.  But am I doing it for me or them?  Looking good vs. feeling good.  But eating is just the beginning of my planning and dreaming of a Hollywood body.

Enter, the gym.  2 years ago, I joined a local gym.  I love it.  I really love it when I have a vacation coming up and I have something to work for.  I don’t love it when it’s pouring down rain and my house is a disaster and it would be easier just to stay at home, in my jammies, and clean.  Since I live in Seattle, you can guess which happens more often than not.  So again, I’m faced with the dilemma of looking good vs. feeling good.  Fortunately, going to the gym results in the same thing.  Feeling good and looking good, right?

Here’s where things really start to irritate me.  I eat healthy.  Really healthy.  Healthier than I ever have.  I work out.  A lot.  I try to be active everyday.  Luckily, I have a job that allows me to be on my feet most of the time.  When I’m not at work, I’m pretty restless either in or outside my home.  And guess what happens?  Nothing.  I’m still my same size jeans that I was 2 years ago.  I still break into a steady sweat after being on my feet for 10 minutes.  So nothing’s changed, right?  Not quite.

I may not look any different, but I feel different.  I have more energy and confidence.  I have less tummy aches and muscle pain.  I sleep better at night and wake up easier in the morning.  I may not have the toned and tight body that I want, but what I do have is a body that I feel good about.  So here’s where feeling good wins.  And don’t get me wrong, if I had a choice, the bikini body of my dreams would be my preference.  But for now, I’ll stick with being happy and feeling good and strive to keep making it look better, while feeling great.

 

 

I feel like Popeye.

I don’t love vegetables. At all. I force myself to eat them because I know they’re good for me. Plus I make my kids eat them, so there’s that whole “lead by example” thing. However, I think I may have found a veggie that I can’t live without. Spinach.

I’ve started putting it in everything from salads to pasta to smoothies. Not only are the health benefits truly impressive, but it becomes a chameleon when added to your favorite foods. And my kids like, even if it turns everything green.

Labeled a “Superfood,” spinach provides more nutrients than any other food. Spinach seems to be able to lessen our risk for many of the most common diseases of the twenty-first century. Overwhelming research has demonstrated an inverse relationship between spinach consumption and the following:

Cardiovascular disease including stroke and coronary artery disease
Cancer including colon, lung, skin, oral, stomach, ovarian, prostate and breast cancer
Age related macular degeneration (AMD)
Cataracts

What makes spinach and its sidekicks such powerful health promoters? The list of compounds that have been discovered in spinach is truly impressive. Beyond the iron that Popeye was seeking, spinach contains carotenoids, antioxidants, vitamin K, coenzyme Q10, B vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll, polyphenols, betaine and, interestingly, plant-derived omega-3 fatty acids. This is a shortened list and it’s hard to relay the powerful impact of these nutrients as they work together to promote health.

What can you add spinach to today that will make your body scream for happiness?  Even if you don’t squeeze open a can with your bare hands and gobble it down like Popeye did, you will still feel the health benefits throughout the day.

Proscratination is not in my vocabulary.

OK, that’s not entirely true. Maybe I am a bit of a procrastinator.  I still wait until the last-minute to get most things done. But I’m way better than I used to be.  I’ve found that working outside my home gives me more of a desire to get things done around my home when I am home.

The definition of procrastination is putting off or delaying or deferring an action to a later time.

Having 4 kids and a very busy husband, often I would feel so overwhelmed with things that I needed to get done, that I would either wait until it was necessary or not do it at all.  Now that I have a job, I don’t have the luxury of waiting.  If I have the time, I do it.

It’s amazing to me how much “stuff” I can get done when I’m at home now.  My days “off” are more limited.  I have a certain amount of hours in the week and I have to cram as much into those hours as I can.  But the best part is, I don’t feel like I’m cramming anything.  I’m simply making the best use of my time.

Here’s a perfect example:  Today is my one day this week where I don’t have anything scheduled.  So I made the most of it. I actually made breakfast for my kids. Did a load of laundry before they left for school.  Husked and canned 6 stalks (now cans) of corn.  Baked and bagged 2 dozen cookies for school lunches.  Blogged.  And it’s not even noon yet.  I have the whole day ahead of me to clean, work out, prep for dinner, do more laundry, or just veg with a cup of coffee while Gus is napping.  Oops,  that’s the procrastinator in me.

What I’m trying to say is, how much can you get done in a short amount of time?  For procrastinators like me, it’s probably more than you think.  So go ahead, set the timer, and go.  Let’s leave the procrastinating to later tonight when we can relax with a glass of wine knowing we filled our day with good stuff for ourselves and our family!

I am not a tree-hugger.

Recycling is about as close as I get to being “natural.”  Nothing about me is environmentally sound.  I love aerosol hairspray.  I consider cosmetics to be a necessity.  Even with 4 kids, I used disposable diapers with every single one of them.  But this one thing about me kind of makes me feel like a tree-hugger.

Here's a picture of our "Bountiful Basket" from last week. We get our produce fresh every week for only $15! It's probably the best $ I've spent on something in a long time.

I’ve put my family on a whole foods eating program.  This might not be a big deal to some people, but for my family of 6, cooking everything from scratch used to make me want to crawl in bed and not get up.  I thought it would be way too much work.  Cost way too much money.  But that was before I tried it.

Like my husband, I grew up on Hamburger Helper, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, and canned fruits and vegetables.  We were from an era where easiest and cheapest was best.  I’ve come to find out, that’s not exactly true. Cooking and eating whole foods is so much easier and cost-effective than I ever thought it would be.

Here’s my basic plan:  I look at every single label on a food item.  If I don’t recognize an ingredient, I don’t buy it.  After doing this for about 3 months, it’s pretty unbelievable how many unnatural things I was putting into my body.

Some of you may think this seems like a lot of work, and for the first month or two, it was.  But now that I’m familiar with what ingredients mean (preservatives are the biggest offender) and how to cook whole, it’s actually pretty simple.  I’ve even cut my grocery bill by about 1/4 each week.

Even my kids and husband are getting on board and recognizing what is the best for their bodies.  I drug them away from sugared cereals in June kicking and screaming.  But now they’re happy, healthy, and feel great.  If my 10-year-old son can do this, believe me, anyone can!