Food, let's get physical

RUNday: Resolution #1

There are many goals that I’d love to see come into fruition this year. And in this season of surrender and promises to self…Here’s one thing that I’m going to do my best to give up.

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Junk food.

A small thing to some, I know. Still.

Eating trash hasn’t served me well. It’s left me looking a lot like the before pic on this page.

Along with my cousin and her cronies, chickentuna‘s photo is my new fitsperation. I lost a few pounds last year. However, her “before” photo is similar to my present.

I came back into this post to edit the above so I wouldn’t sound that bad. But big or small, a tummy is still a tummy, no?

I almost wish I was the type of person whose mass increased at an even rate. Because at least then, my body type would make sense to me.

But no. If I eat too many bad calories, a dash will show up on my thighs, a wisp on my butt…

And a TON on my tummy.

Which is fine for some people. But I’ll be honest. I don’t like having a one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-other physique.

And it’s been funny. I’ve tried not to tweet about my dietary concerns. Because I’m slim everywhere else, I worry that people might look at my profile photo and assume I’m one of those women who whines about what she eats while sporting a perfect figure.

Meanwhile, these new rules that I’m trying to adopt really aren’t all that new. Some today refer to the practice as “eating clean”. I call it common sense.

I was raised by a health nut. I eat well most of the time. And yet…I remember the week last year when I baked at least 3 different times. During that period, I binged on just about everything. (Here, the word “binged” means “sat down and munched half-to-all-of what I made within a few hours”.) I enjoy a salad as much as any other girl. But when it comes to “bad” foods, I have almost no impulse control.

So here we are at the dawn of 2013.

I can’t bring myself to start P90X. Instead, I want to give chickentuna’s method a try. I’ll keep doing normal exercises. I won’t make any special effort, apart from me being at my best. My main changes will be culinary.

They say abs are made in the kitchen. I intend to see if it’s true.

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Food

Freestyle Food: Applesauce

This is, without a doubt, one of the simplest recipes ever.

A few days ago I decided to do some baking. So I went to the store. After I came back, I realized that there was one ingredient that I forgot.

Applesauce.

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“But Claire,” said my Inner Voice. “You have apples.”

And so it began. Here are some instructions:

Peel, core and dice some apples. I can’t give you a set number. Figure out how many it might take to yield the amount of sauce that you want.

I needed 1/4 cup of sauce. I thought about using only 1 apple, but just to be safe, I prepped 2.

Put the apples in a pot with a little water or juice. (We didn’t have apple juice, so I used some white grape…)

Let your ingredients boil.

Be sure to let your mixture simmer for a few minutes. Add liquid depending on how dry the apples are.

Once your apples are soft, take them out of the pot and put them in your food processor.

Process them for a few seconds, et voilà.

Along the way you can add sugar. It’s up to you.

Like almond butter, once you make your own apple sauce you may find yourself thinking, “And I buy this because…?”

Indeed, DIY apple sauce is fun and easy to make.

Eat it up!

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Food

RUNday: Om nom nom

As I continue my journey into the world of fitness, I’m more conscious of what I put in my mouth. I haven’t turned into a complete culinary snob. But I’m trying to strike a balance between food that is both delicious and healthy. There are some things I’ve always known that keep hitting me in the face.

1. Don’t be a hero.

I tried eating my granola with the yogurt on the left. Note that it’s plain.

Several days ago I braced myself as I stood over my breakfast bowl. Heartily, I scooped the yogurt over my cereal, and told myself I was doing the right thing. I told myself I was pursing the healthier option.

I then dipped my spoon into the bowl and brought it to my lips.

Although technically I may have been correct about my objectives, my taste buds were not impressed.

At first I was disappointed. Why couldn’t I rise to the challenge? (Fun fact: This year marks probably the first time in my life where I’ve eaten boiled eggs without trying to devil them.) In spite of my upset, I quickly came to my senses. if something’s not working, there’s no sense in lying to yourself.

I bought the yogurt on the right the next day.

2. If you prefer “yours” over “theirs”, it’s ok.

Fibre1’s brownies* do not taste bad. But I thought they were expensive, and small.

In the end, I couldn’t help but think that I should have saved my money and made black bean brownies**. In my unprofessional opinion they taste nearly the same and are bound to be healthier.

3. Expect the unexpected.

Recently I was checking out Greatist‘s web site when I came upon Katie Morris’ Apple Quinoa Cake recipe.

I remember being perplexed and excited all at once.

I have apples! And quinoa.

And just think about it! Quinoa…In a cake? How does that work?

Yesterday morning I found out.

I only made one change to their recipe. I used chopped dates instead of raisins.

What did it taste like? Like chewy, crunchy, glorious…Awesomeness.

I was impressed and I definitely intend to make it again.

*The link goes to the product’s American site. I don’t know what–if any–differences you’ll find between theirs and the Canadian one.

**As I said in an earlier post, bean-based desserts tend to taste better the day after they’re made.

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Food, let's get physical

RUNday: Smooth Moves

Lately I’ve been making smoothies featuring my staple ingredients.

A Banana – I’ve tried to make smoothies without a banana before. I can’t help feeling as though something’s missing. Maybe I have a potassium deficiency?

Fruit – It doesn’t matter to me if it’s fresh or frozen. I enjoy adding strawberries and other goodies.

Pineapple Juice – I’ve had smoothies that use almond milk as a base. I’ve tried other juices. Pineapple juice is my favorite. I know some people will read this and gripe about the sugar that most juices contain. However because it’s natural sugar, I’m willing to look the other way. Plus, pineapple juice has other benefits.

Extras:

Hemp Powder – This time around I picked up a jug containing maca and ground flax. And I’ll admit it. Hemp powder makes my mixes taste a bit…Sandy Healthy. But it’s a great source of protein. These days, I like to sneak in my nutrition any way I can.

Avocado – Avocados do a body good. Every now and then I’ll stick a chunk in the blender.

What do you like in your smoothies?

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Food

Edible Awesome: Sugar-Free Cranberries

Do you know how hard it is to find cranberries ’round these parts that don’t have sugar in them?

Well, let me tell you. It’s a journey that’s been fraught with false promises.

A few months ago I asked about a bag of c-berries at a health food store. I was told they didn’t contain any sugar. I trusted in what I was told. There was no list of ingredients on the package.

And then, I took them home.

They tasted like red sugar cubes.

I tried to lie to myself, but I knew what was up from the first bite.

Major grocery stores offer brands made with sugar and variants ending in “ose”.

And then there are the healthy brands. One Brand That Shall Not Be Named sweetens their berries with “cane sugar”. These are the same folks who make dried mangoes with “mangoes” as their sole ingredient. I wondered what their problem was.

Imagine my delight when I found these in the health section of a local store:


They’re sweetened with APPLE JUICE. I picked up more than one package. I figured I had to. In my mind, they’re like unicorns–I don’t know when I’ll see them again.

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Food

Freestyle Food: Chocolate Greek Yogurt…Something.

Confession: One of the reasons that I’m suddenly on an exercise kick is that I’ve decided once and for all to eliminate my muffin top. Every now and then for inspiration I look up different images on Pinterest.

This morning I found a photo featuring a comment that mentioned Muffin-Topless. I don’t know if it was her site, or her Tumblr page, but I could’ve sworn that somewhere along the line, I saw a picture of Greek yogurt, stevia, and cocoa powder. (Mind you, from what I’ve seen of her, in hindsight I realize it was probably chocolate protein powder.)

I got excited. I thought to myself,”OMG, is that a THING?!? Because I could totally go for some chocolate yogurt pudding!”

Fact: I used to bake almost every week, but I haven’t in ages. And after I recently won* a box of cookies, I started to eat them, but decided to throw them out.

Anyways. Moments ago I went to the store.

I bought my ingredients.

And I decided to see what I could create.

I used

1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt
2 heaping tablespoons of raw cacao powder
3 packets of stevia

I mixed these items together in a small bowl.

At this point, my mother was present.

Mom: What is it that you’re making?

Me: I. don’t. know.

I tasted my treat. Then, I furrowed my brow and added 2 tablespoons of agave nectar.

Still…Meh.

Fact: Healthy alterna-foods almost never taste as good as their sinful counterparts.

According to this web page, Greek yogurt “pudding” really is a thing.

But my gosh. This might just take some getting used to.

Back to the kitchen…

*Last week at a store I spent over a certain amount on groceries. My reward was a box of cookies.

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