Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Week 6 Weigh-In

Week 6 has me weighing in at 296.8. That's a 1.4 pound loss this week. Not quite hitting the 2 pound a week loss I was shooting for but overall I am still on track. In 6 weeks I have lost 21.8 pounds which is nothing to be down about! I am planning to start incorporating exercise into my day here in the next week or two. We have an elliptical that needs digging out of the shed and we are planning to make room for that in our bedroom over this next week. That should help kick things up a notch, don't you think? Here's what my weight loss journey has looked like so far as I have been tracking it at

The yellow star marks my next goal which is 294 pounds by next week. That would require a 2.8 pound loss. Realistically looking at my last few weeks loss, my guess is that it will take me 2 weeks instead of 1. It's easy to get discouraged when things aren't going as I planned for them to on paper but when I step outside of that and focus on the progress I have made and the fact that I am seeing a consistent loss each week, I just won't let myself be disappointed. I took my sweet time putting this weight on and developing rotten habits, I am going to give myself time to take it off too. I will keep setting goals for myself so that I have something to strive for while being flexible enough not to let those goals on the scale become my only measuring mark. I am doing good and continuing to move forward!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Breakfast Time - Baked Steel Cut Oatmeal

I purchased steel cut oatmeal during my last shopping trip with the intention of making something hearty and delicious the whole family would love. Not all of my people are oatmeal fans so I was on the search for something that transformed this item into something, well, less like itself. What I stumbled upon was this Baked Steel Cut Oatmeal over at Alexandra's Kitchen. This looked like the ticket as it didn't have the same runny consistency that tends to bother those with an aversion to oatmeal in it's traditional form. Let me just say, it did not disappoint!

I won't rewrite the recipe here since you can find it on Alexandra's blog, but I will share the few changes I made just based on what I had on had. I used frozen blackberries as the bottom layer, pecans for the nuts, and replaced the butter with coconut oil. I was a little worried since this was supposed to set up like a custard but the coconut oil did not affect it at all. I mixed it up the night before and then woke up early to pour into the 8 x 8 and bake it. Want to see what we topped it with?

A little bit of pure maple syrup, some Greek Yogurt, a dash of cacao nibs and broken up pecans. It was heavenly! Some french roasted coffee for hubby and me and the kids got freshly juiced orange juice. It was an amazing breakfast that they are already begging me to repeat. All except my biggest boy who likes regular oatmeal in it's intended form. Oh well, can't please them all, right?

Are you looking for more steel cut oatmeal recipes? I found an overnight mason jar version that I am in love with and will definitely be making over and over. I'll share it with you soon so be on the lookout.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Non-scale Victory - New Pants!

The scale has always had a huge impact on me as I battle my weight. I avoid it when my weight is out of control, I over-use it when I am trying to stay on track. When it tells me want I want it to I am elated and when it doesn't I am deeply disappointed. Sometimes it spurs me to do better and sometimes it simply encourages me to give up. The fact that one little household item can have so much power over me is frustrating. I have actually considered getting rid of it all together. Or at least having my husband keep it under lock and key only to be brought out at agreed upon intervals. "Hi, my name is Chrystal and I am addicted to the scale!" Ugh.
 Do you remember when I brought up the mental battle involved in this journey? This falls in that category for me. It is one of those areas that has affected my success in the past and that I am looking to change. I know that I am completely capable of letting go of this and not allowing the scale to have so much weight (see what I did there) on my life. That I can find comfort and reassurance and worth in something other than a number. If this is truly going to be a life change I have to be able to look past the scale and see the value in the healthy changes I am making whether or not the scale is reflecting those changes.

For this reason I am going to also be celebrating all of the non-scale victories that I can. This is why I am taking monthly pictures so that I can see the changes in my body that can't be explained in a number. I will also be doing measurements because losing inches is just as exciting as losing pounds. I will get excited about bad habits that I eliminate, good habits that I adopt, and healthy mindsets that replace some of the negative tracts that play in my mind.

What are we celebrating today? New pants! About 6 or so weeks ago I went on a hunt for new pants as I had worn my old jeans out. This was the experience that pushed me to really take on this journey. Clothes shopping is never fun when you are extremely overweight but it's even worse when you are at your top weight. When the pair of pants you have to buy is a size you have never bought before and not in the good way. In the weeks leading up to that shopping trip numerous things were starting to push me towards my breaking point when it came to my weight gain. But this was the straw that broke the camel's back. Purchasing (gulp) size 26W pants. That was a horrible feeling.

Fast forward 5 weeks to where I am now and I have lost 20 pounds. Needless to say those pants are getting extremely baggy to the point where I am having to pull my pants up throughout the day. A good problem to have, right? Budget wise I am not thrilled to be having to once again buy new pants but when it's because your last pair got too big there isn't really much room for complaining. I didn't get jeans this time but instead some casual capris to celebrate the warmer weather. Because they had a non-zip/button waste I was able to get a 22W that will allow me to wear them now AND lose more weight without having to replace them in the next 5 weeks (although I wouldn't complain if that happened!).  And you know what? I am celebrating! This is a victory worth getting excited about and I look forward to celebrating new pants each and every time those sizes drop.

Are you a slave to the scale? What ways do you celebrate your healthy lifestyle changes that don't involve weighing yourself?

Friday, April 24, 2015

What's For Dinner?

I promised to show you all something other than what I've been eating for breakfast so here is not one but 4 of the dinners I have had in the last week. Doesn't it all look delicious? Not only does it taste good but is doing the job. I am staying satisfied and getting to have a wide variety of foods and I have been able to lose 20 pounds in 5 weeks. This is a lifelong change I can get behind!

Let's take a look at what is going on with each of those plates.

The first is a Taco Sweet Potato and Spinach Egg Bake I found at ifoodreal. I substituted the spinach for Kale because that's what I had in my fridge and I used homemade taco seasoning (if you check out my other blog, Chrystal's Corner, you can find a link to the recipe I use and how I make them into gift jars). When I had leftovers the following morning I added some salsa on top which was super good. With it we had some honeydew and a hash made from celeriac (I hadn't heard of it but it came in my Bountiful Basket this week and made a great replacement for potato), sausage, zucchini, and some leftover roasted cauliflower and mushrooms from a different meal. I know what you are thinking - this is breakfast. Yes, I usually make breakfast for dinner once a week because I love heartier breakfast food and I don't typically have time to make this kind of food in the morning. What can I say, we're crazy like that!

Another thing I love to make at home are take-out recreations. I love Asian food but it's more cost effective to replicate our favorite foods at home, not to mention I can control what goes into it. I used the Shrimp with Rice Noodles recipe I found over at Scarborough Food Fair. I decided to use bok choy in the noodle dish instead of broccoli because I had some to use up and I roasted broccoli and radishes for side dishes. I don't normally buy shrimp, but when it's in the clearance bin in the seafood section at Safeway I snatch it right up! I have to leave it out for my under 2 year olds, but that just means more shrimp for those of us who do love it. This one was flavor packed and a little on the spicy side (which might of had to do with me accidentally doubling the sriracha...oops) which makes it extremely satisfying to me. Packing in that flavor helps me not feel like I need more.

This was a dish I threw together last week trying to use what I had on hand at the end of the week. It is cheese filled tortellini with barbecued chicken (I used homemade barbecue sauce) and sauteed peppers and onions. We had mixed greens with craisins, sunflower seeds, and an olive oil/balsamic vinegar dressing with roasted asparagus and radishes on the side. I swear we don't eat radishes every day, we just happened to buy some and then get some in our Bountiful Basket and roasting them is our favorite way to eat them so they have made a couple of repeat appearances in our meals this last week in an effort to not let them go to waste.

This last one was a huge hit and will be seen again on our dinner table throughout the summer. It may look a little indistinguishable and possibly unappetizing but trust me, it is fantastic and all 7 of us ate every last bite. The main dish is Honey Barbecue Bacon, Chicken, Sweet Potato Packets that I found at Busy Mommy. What's easier than throwing everything in a foil packet and letting the grill do all the work for you? Since we were already using the grill, I also thinly sliced some zucchini and tossed it with olive oil, sea salt and black pepper and my husband grilled those right along side the packets. We also had a romaine lettuce salad with olive oil/balsamic vinegar dressing. We used homemade barbecue sauce in the packets (I would share a recipe but I literally make something different every time) and the chicken and bacon absorbed it nicely making everything moist and delicious. I recommend opening your packets and throwing them under your broiler to crisp the bacon up a bit if you like it that way.

There you go, an example of what we've been having for dinner lately. Lots of flavor, lots of delicious, nutritious food and something my whole family can enjoy.  Let me know if you enjoy these dinner posts and I will keep them coming.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Week 5 Weigh-In

Still plugging along and going strong 5 weeks in! Truly, I am thanking God for the motivation and self-discipline I have had so far. Not to mention that I continue to find myself going deeper and deeper into studying how to heal and nourish my body in all new ways which I have found exciting.

One thing I really am trying to retrain my brain on is to not view this as a diet. I am not simply trying to stay under a calorie goal for the day but actually chose healthier foods in the process. One area that I am majorly struggling with when it comes to this diet mentality is on weigh day. I found myself last week doing the thing I used to do long ago in Weight Watchers which is to use my weigh day as a cheat day. To let myself have whatever I want because it would be a whole other week before I had to step on that scale. This meant last Wednesday night for dinner we made a trip to Texas Roadhouse, simply because it was weigh day. No big deal, right? Not really except that it usually bleeds into the next day as well. Hubby brought up this new burger at Carl's Junior I had been wanting to try so that ended up being lunch on Thursday. It's like once I get started on that cheat mentality it's hard to reign it back in. Now that is two days of less than desirable eating I have to combat the rest of the week.

To be clear, I am not opposed to eating out or even fast food. I would like to one day cut out the unhealthy restaurants from my families dining experiences but at this point I am choosing to let everything in moderation be permissible. My issue really is more a mental one, which is a huge part of my weight battle, and I am wanting to fight that part of my brain that rationalizes bad choices or tries to turn bad choices into reasons to quit. When I catch myself getting wrapped up in some of those mental struggles that have plagued me all during my weight battle, I am trying to recognize them and call them out so to speak. Then I can work to replace those not so healthy thoughts and behaviors with ones that are more positive and beneficial. If I can stop trying to cheat myself and simply live right and eat healthy, I will benefit that much more. And then when different life events pop up that naturally present a more indulgent eating opportunity, I can participate and not feel guilty or like I am completely knocked off track.

Whew, that was a lot of words but I found myself feeling a little bothered by the direction of the blog so far. I definitely want to continue sharing what I am eating and what my progress is but weight loss is so much more than that for most people, myself included. I don't want to exclude the rest of that because I think it's actually more important than the food and the scale. Those mental, spiritual, emotional struggles are often the real issue behind the weight and if we can't address them, talk about them, share them - we will go right back to the unhealthy things that caused weight to be a problem to begin with. So I am going to dig a little deeper and be more transparent in those personal aspects of my journey that hopefully some of you will be able to relate to. Stick with me, this is just the beginning so things are going to grow and change along the way!

Okay - let's get down to it. My weigh in for this week has me at 298.2 pounds. That's a 1.8 pound loss for the week! I'll take it (especially with those not-so-waste-friendly food choices at the beginning of the week). That has me at a total loss of 20.6 pounds in 5 weeks. I am feeling strong and determined and would love to continue at this pace. My goal of 50 pounds lost by my next birthday (September 6, 2015) is in reach and I am going to fight to accomplish it. Here's what the journey has looked like so far as I've been tracking it on

(The orange star is showing my next small goal of weighing 294 by May 6)

What are some of your mental struggles when it comes to weight loss? How do you keep them in check and work to replace the negative actions and thoughts with positive ones?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Breakfast Time - Acai Bowl

This beautiful, delicious Acai Bowl could very easily be mistaken for dessert. It is truly almost like having ice cream. But it is actually super healthy and pretty much a thick smoothie in a bowl. Apparently these are fairly popular in more tropical locations like Brazil. I for one have never had the pleasure of experiencing them in their native local, but I am glad to be able to recreate them at home and maybe one day I will get to try the real thing.

I mentioned Acai in my post on Super Duper Super Foods. I share the Beet Acai Overnight Oatmeal that I made recently for breakfast which made me want to continue exploring this purple powder's delicious breakfast abilities. When I spotted these beauties on Pinterest I knew I had to recreate one (follow my Breakfast Time board to see what is catching my eye these days in the breakfast world).

My picture doesn't do it justice, but trust me when I say it is good. Here's what I put in it:

two hand fulls of kale (any green will do)
1 cup almond milk (any milk will do)
1 tsp cacao powder
2 Tbsp chia seeds
2 Tbsp acai powder
1 tsp hemp powder
1/4 avocado
1/2 frozen banana and 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

Throw all of that in the blender until creamy and split between two bowls (or cut in half if you aren't sharing breakfast with anyone). I topped with extra sliced bananas, bee pollen and goji berries. Such a treat!

I'm realizing that my posts have been heavily focused on breakfast so far. I think it's because I usually plan out my breakfast the night before and make it once the kids are all busy eating so it's easy to stop and take a picture and pay attention to measurements. My other meals get thrown together in the busyness of the day so I don't always stop to capture them. I will try to make an effort to share some more of my lunches and dinners as well as snacks so you can get a well-rounded picture of what my eating looks like right now. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Mango Bee Pollen Smoothie

I promised to share some of the delicious foods we are making with all of the Super Duper Super Foods we recently bought. Here's a bright, fresh way to incorporate bee pollen into your smoothie. A great start to your day or an awesome afternoon treat to keep you going until dinner:

I found the recipe for this Mango Bee Pollen Smoothie while browsing Pinterest (where else??) and you can find the ingredients in their entirety over at The Awesome Green. The only differences I made were to leave out the turmeric (I simply didn't have it, but it's on my list so watch for it in upcoming food posts!) and swap hemp milk for cashew milk because that's what I had in my fridge. This was so sunny and delicious and a great way to use up the extra mangoes we got in our last Bountiful Basket.

If you are a little put off by the idea of bee pollen I encourage you to read up on it's benefits. You will be amazed at what that little super food is packed with! This is one to be careful with when sharing with the kids though...something to be introduced slowly and gradually increased as some can have allergic reactions at certain serving sizes. As with anything new you are introducing into your families diet, make sure to do your research.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Week 4 Weigh-In

Week 4 down! It feels good to have made it 4 weeks into this journey and to have experienced consistent loss so far. I know that as I get further into this it will get tougher and I may see the scale budge some but I am excited to continue plugging along while it is headed in the right direction. I am feeling better, stronger, lighter, more energized and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Let's look at what this weeks results are and how they compare to where I started.

I started this journey weighing in at 318.6 lbs. Last week I weighed in at 302.8 and this week my weight was.....300.0 lbs. Oh, so close to getting under that super ugly number! I am beyond ecstatic to know I will be busting through that milestone next week and never looking back. In the meantime I am celebrating my 2.8 lb loss for this week and my overall loss of 18.6 lbs in this first month. I am on the right track and couldn't be prouder of myself. Here's my progress as I have been tracking it on

The blue line shows my weight loss over the last 4 weeks. The orange line shows my first milestone (which I already met ahead of schedule). The purple line leads to my next milestone. Loving the downward trend of that weight loss line and the feeling of meeting my goals and staying on track! Progress is a beautiful thing.

Every 4 weeks I am going to not only show you what the scale is saying but also take pictures to document visible progress. I am going to try to stay in the same outfit for continuity which should help make differences more noticeable. Here is today's picture:

Here are side by sides of last month's pictures compared to today's pictures:

Not a whole lot of visible change which honestly is disappointing (and a little disgusting!) after losing 18 pounds. But I know that my body is changing and that with this much weight to lose it may take awhile to really see a difference. I know that I am putting healthier food in my body, eating appropriate portion sizes, increasing the water I drink, lessening my caffeine intake, trading processed foods for whole foods and making healthier choices each and everyday. I can't wait to look back months or years down the road and see a drastic difference from this starting point. But we all have to start somewhere and I know that with each month that passes I will move further away from what I used to be and closer to my goal.

Are you celebrating your milestones? It's so easy to get caught up in the end result and forget that it takes progress to get there and that progress deserves celebration. As I said, I will use both the scale and monthly pictures to celebrate the way my body is changing for the better. And when I add fitness to this journey I will be measuring and taking pictures focusing in on different body parts to further record the changes taking place. Seeing that scale go down is awesome but it is just one way to measure success and I don't plan on limiting myself solely based on those numbers. What are your favorite ways to evaluate how your body is changing that don't include the scale?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Breakfast Time - Beet Acai Overnight Oatmeal

Overnight mason jar breakfasts - hopefully you are as into them as I am because I am sure you will be seeing them appear over and over here. They are so ridiculously convenient and diverse not to mention that I am a complete sucker for the aesthetic appeal of having my breakfast in a mason jar. Last time I shared a version with matcha and blueberries (check it out HERE). The bright green was fun and I loved the earthy flavor. This time I am sharing something that is completely different but equally delicious. A bright purple Beet Acai Overnight Oatmeal. Isn't it a stunning color?

Here's the recipe as I made it. I split it between two jars to share with my husband. You can see it makes a pretty wimpy serving when split so feel free to put the whole thing in one jar and eat it all up yourself if you are hungry. I'm pretty sure I had a hard boiled egg or two later to tide me over until lunch. Do what works for you!

1 c Old Fashioned Oats
2/3 c Greek Yogurt (I use plain)
2/3 c cashew milk (any milk would do)
1/3 c roasted beet puree*
1 Tbsp Acai powder
1 Tbsp Chia seeds

Mix the above in a bowl and put in a mason jar (or two depending on how much you want in 1 serving). Store in the fridge overnight. In the morning it will be thickened up and ready to eat. I topped mine with 1 Tbsp goji berries and 1 Tbsp chopped walnuts. You may also want honey if you prefer something sweet. My husband was taken aback at it's bright purple color and was expecting something extremely sweet which this is definitely not. You could also use a vanilla flavored yogurt to sweeten it up a bit if you want.

*Want to know how to make beet puree? I don't buy beets all that often but I did receive some in my Bountiful Basket and when they start popping up at the farmer's markets I will buy them from time to time. This is pretty much the only way I use beets because I have found way more uses for it in puree form than whole. Here's what I do:

1) Trim the top and bottom off the beet (save those greens, they are great for throwing into green smoothies!) and give it a rinse. 
2) Wrap the beets in foil and place on a roasting tray.
3) Roast at 425 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour, or when you can pierce through the biggest beet easily with a fork.
4) Let cool and then puree in a food processor until smooth. You may have to add a little water to help it along, just do it in small amounts so it doesn't get to runny.
5) Portion it out and store in freezer. Great in smoothies, oatmeal, brownies, pancakes, etc.

Here's what it looks like all blended up:

Do you like beets? How do you use them?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Roasted Veggie Pasta Sauce

In the last post I showed you all the awesome fruits and vegetables I scored from Bountiful Baskets recently. And even though there are 7 of us it takes a little work to intentionally use through that big of a bounty before it goes bad. Some of the ways I remedied that was by cutting up fruit that would be good in our smoothies and putting it into the freezer. Not only do I have it on hand for future use but I don't have to bother with ice in my smoothie....double duty! I wanted to be able to freeze up something with a portion of the vegetables that were still hanging around so I decided to roast them up and turn them into a big batch of pasta sauce.

I sliced up two containers of heirloom tomatoes, some green pepper, yellow squash, and zucchini and put them on a roasting pan. In a mixing bowl I put chopped onion and garlic, fresh rosemary and basil, salt and pepper to taste, a touch of roasted red peppers for heat and about 1/3 cup of olive oil. I whisked all of that together and poured it over the veggies, tossing to makes sure and cover them all.

I then popped them in a 375 degree oven for about an hour. Once done I let them cool before sliding them into my blender. I also threw in some pureed butternut squash I had in the freezer (after letting it defrost) just for a little more vegetable, not to mention I like the added sweetness it brings. Gave it all a whirl until it was well blended. After that I separated it into mason jars. The two on the left went in the freezer once they cooled. Make sure that when freezing in mason jars you get the straight ones with no neck because they are less likely to crack when the food expands. And because it expands when it freezes, don't fill it all the way to the top. The jar on the right went in the fridge and I poured it over baked chicken parmesan that night.

You can play with this recipe depending on whatever you have on hand. The recipe I loosely followed only used tomatoes but I didn't have enough to make a sufficient amount of sauce and I like the different flavor that comes from using a variety of vegetables. If you don't have fresh herbs on hand, dried work just fine and you can adjust depending on what you like. If you are going to use some of the sauce right away it will be cooled down from blending so just warm it back up in a sauce pan. Same goes for using the frozen stuff, defrost in the fridge the day you are using it and then warm it up to put on top of pasta or chicken or dump it right in with something that is going to bake in the oven. I can't wait to use the other two jars - what recipe would you incorporate them into?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Bountiful Basket

One of the best ways for me to stay full and satisfied without adding up the calories is to load up on healthy fruits and vegetables. To keep things from getting boring, I love to have a variety and continue to try new things. It is also important for me not to break the bank as we are on a limited food budget. One of my favorite times of year is the warmer months and one of the reasons I love it is because the farmers markets open up. Such a great way to buy locally grown food at a decent price while supporting small farm/business owners. But what to do in the off season?

Years ago we were introduced to Bountiful Baskets which is a Food Co-Op run by volunteers. We have had different seasons of regularly ordering and then not, but always come back to it. It's a great price for a variety of healthy stuff and they continue to add to what they offer. Besides the regular basket (which is $15 for local, in season, quality produce usually including 6 fruits and 6 vegetables that are used in most households or a $10 upgrade for organic), they always offer extra add-ons as well. Everything from bread to large quantities of one fruit for canning, to holiday packs. It's always fun to see what they are offering and the price never disappoints.

My most favorite thing about this program is that you pick and choose week to week whether or not to purchase. We have done a CSA in the past and you were obligated to weeks or months of ordering and the variety (at least in our particular CSA) was severely lacking. Not to mention that if something came up, you had to find a way to take care of your order. My husband works rotating shifts so I don't always want to drag five kids early in the morning to pick up produce. With Bountiful Basket I can look at our schedule for that week (and how much produce we already have left) and decide to partake or skip it.

Luckily, I have stayed on the email list so even though I hadn't bought for over 2 years, I am still kept in the loop. So when the reminder to order popped up in my inbox two weeks ago I jumped on the opportunity to get back to Bountiful Baskets. And I'm so glad I did. Here's what I got:

This is what a regular size basket looks like - nearly fills our 40 qt cooler. Everything from bananas, heirloom tomatoes, apples, oranges, lettuce, beets, etc. So much for $15! (Cute assistants not included ;) )

This was an add on - the tropical pack with 3 vanilla beans, star fruit, fresh mint, oranges, coconut, pineapple, mango and a plantain. We all tried star fruit for the first time and loved it!

Tortilla pack - each pack has 10 ENORMOUS tortillas. The flavors are sundried tomato, spinach. chipotle with herbs, and chipotle.

This was a Easter pack - more heirloom potatoes, radishes, potatoes, celery, rosemary, asparagus, pineapple, garlic, and carrots.
All in all I think we spent a little over $50. And we are still eating through all of this. I am freezing some of it for smoothies and cooking up a storm with all of the variety. Love it! I highly encourage you to check out the website and see if this is available in your area. You won't be disappointed!

*This is not an endorsed review. I truly love and participate in Bountiful Baskets and am sharing my personal experience. I get to reimbursement for this post.*

Friday, April 10, 2015

Super Duper Super Foods

I am not just on this journey to shed the pounds. Clearly, being morbidly obese {ouch...I hate even typing that} it is NECESSARY for me to lose weight. But more than that I really want to heal my body and feed it well. I want to not just eat to live, but eat to live the fullest, healthiest life possible. I think that most everything we need to be nourished properly has been provided by God in nature. That is why I am trying my best to work towards a way of eating that includes mostly clean, unprocessed foods. It won't happen overnight. But I am taking baby steps to get there.

I am totally fascinated by all the super foods and what they do for your health. There are all the run of the mill super foods - spinach, blueberries, almonds, salmon, etc. All delicious, great for you and easily accessible. And then there are the more exotic super foods. Ones that, until recently, aren't as well known or accessible. Of course many are becoming trendy and well known so it is easier and more affordable to get your hands on these power packed goodies.  In the last few weeks I ordered a handful of these super duper super foods and wanted to share with you what they are and why they are beneficial. Be looking for upcoming posts featuring these different ingredients. We are using them in all kinds of fun, delicious ways!

What are they and why are they good for you?

Acai Powder: First of all, it's pronounced uh-sigh-ee. Yes, I said it wrong forever too. Acai is a small, dark purple berry of a palm tree that grows throughout the tropical regions of Central and South America. It has a flavor that's somewhere between chocolate and wild berries, and its abundant (and super healthy) omega fatty acid content gives acai a unique and creamy texture. Acai has a high antioxidant profile as well as protein and fiber which help to keep you feeling full throughout your day. Some potential benefits include battling free radicals, cardiovascular health, and digestive health.

Bee Pollen: Bee Pollen is made by honeybees, and is the food of the young bee. It is considered one of nature's most completely nourishing foods as it contains nearly all nutrients required by humans. Bee-gathered pollens are rich in proteins (approximately 40% protein), free amino acids, vitamins, including B-complex, and folic acid. It is more rich in proteins than any animal source. Potential benefits include digestive health, combats fatigue, helps asthma and allergies, and increases energy. These need to be slowly introduced, especially to children, because they may cause an allergic reaction at a certain dosage.

Chia Seeds: Chia seeds have long been a staple in the diets of the Mayans and Aztecs. They are considered super because they deliver a maximum amount of nutrients with a minimum amount of calories. The nutritional benefits of chia include fiber, omega fatty acids, calcium, antioxidants, and protein. Because they absorb up to 12 times their own weight, they are great for curbing appetite and keeping you full. Their health benefits include increasing energy, aiding in digestive health, and helping cholesterol levels.

Goji Berries: Goji berries grow on an evergreen shrub found in temperate and subtropical regions in China, Mongolia and in the Tibetan Himalayas. They have long been used in traditional Chinese medicine. Goji berries are rich in amino acids, antioxidants, and vitamins. They are said to be beneficial for protecting and enhancing eyesight, protecting the liver, improving sexual function and fertility, improving circulation and even slowing the growth of cancer cells.

Hemp Powder: Hemp powder is a type of protein powder that is used by many as a nutritional supplement. The seeds of the hemp plant are ground up into a course powder. While they are harvested from marijuana plants, they do not contain any THC. It has a very earthy taste that may not be pleasant to some but is easily masked in smoothies and other foods. In addition to beneficial amounts of protein, the powder also contains a balance of “good” fats, namely omega 3, omega 6, and omega 9. Not many foods contain all three essential fatty acids in such an ideal balance. Hemp powder also contains a good amount of fiber and several other essential minerals, such as manganese and magnesium. This super food is beneficial for brain functioning, stimulating skin and hair growth, regulating metabolism, among other things.

I didn't add Matcha to this list because I bought it separately and posted about it the other day. You can read more about that HERE.

Any of these super foods can easily be found in a health food store. I personally buy mine on Amazon because it is easy to get it all in one quick, easy shipment. I can't wait to share with you some of the great ways we have been adding these to our foods. Stay tuned!

**I am not a medical professional so none of this information is meant to be taken as medical advice. Please do your own research before adding new foods to your diet and consult with your physician if you have any questions as to how it will affect your overall health.**

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Week 3 Weigh-In

Sorry I didn't post this yesterday, it's Spring Break and my husband has a week off work so we took an overnight trip to Seattle with the kids. So much fun! We left first thing Tuesday morning and didn't get back until late last night so I went ahead and weighed in on Tuesday before we left. I probably should have waited until I got back so that my food choices would better reflect an impending weigh-in, but if I'm totally honest that is part of why I did it early. I didn't want to have to stress about food while I was gone. Let me tell you though - 2 days of eating out, especially fast food, has left me feeling less than 100%. It's amazing what a difference it makes when you have started consuming mostly healthy foods in your diet. Reminds me how much I do not want to go back to a "diet" filled with fast convenience food with no thought to portions. I feel so much better when I am fueling my body well.

Anyway, on to the weigh-in. I actually did really good this week! I started the week weighing 307.4. I was pleasantly surprised when I got on the scale on Tuesday morning and it said I weighed 302.8. That's a loss of 4.6 pounds this week! I started this journey 3 weeks ago weighing 318.6 so my overall weight loss is 15.8 pounds. I was shooting for a 15 pound loss for my first month so I am stoked to have reached that after 3 weeks.  Here's what my weight loss has looked like so far as I have been charting it on

On the left is my weight loss to date and on the right are my milestones. As you can see, I already reached the milestone I had set for April 17th, so I went ahead and set a new one for next month. I am shooting for 2 pounds a week average so I am hoping to lose just over 8 pounds by this time next month. In the even shorter term, I would love to get under 300 this next week but will be realistically be looking to do it in the next two weeks.

Speaking of goals, I've been wanting to share my long term goals here as something to look back at. I started this journey on March 15th, 2015. My first big goal is to reach a 50 pound loss by my next birthday (September 6). That gives me about 5 pounds from now and with a little less than 35 pounds to go, I think it is completely doable! My big picture goal is to reach 165 by my 35th birthday (September 6, 2016). That will give me a year to lose another 100 pounds after hopefully reaching that 50 pound goal in these next few months. I am dreaming big and on the road to achieve my dreams!

What are your long term weight loss/health goals? I would love to hear them!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Greek Hummus

I love homemade hummus but I rarely make it the traditional way. For starters, I have never once bought tahini so that has never shown up in my hummus. That and I love to add flavor. Roasted red pepper is always a favorite. But today I was craving Greek flavors so I decided to make this Greek version of hummus.

Here's what is in it:

1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp sundried tomato
several canned artichoke hearts
1/2 c feta cheese
1 cup mixed greens
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Throw it all in your food processor and blend away. If you don't want yours as thick and pasty as mine you could always add more EVOO or some Greek yogurt to make it creamier.

This would be great as a dip for veggies or simply spread on some pita bread. I used it on a wrap that my husband and I split for lunch. It was delicious! Our kids had one also and ate it up.

spinach wrap, greek hummus, mixed greens, brown rice, tomato, avocado, chicken, drizzle of balsamic vinegar

Friday, April 3, 2015

Matcha and Mason Jar Overnight Oatmeal

This last week I stumbled upon something on Pinterest that caught my eye. A bright green superfood with awesome nutritional benefits called Matcha. Here's what Encha (the company I chose to buy from) says about it, "Matcha is super green tea in the whole powder form, after shade-growing for 3 weeks and removal of stems. It is more effective in offering mental energy and antioxidant benefits than regular teas, and longer-lasting mental focus than coffee." You can read more HERE.

I decided to order some and try it out. Sounded like a great thing to mix into my green smoothies as a start and I have pinned a few other fun recipes that call for Matcha that I am looking forward to trying. Here's my first package:

I don't know if I have experienced the Zenergy that Encha raves about, but I haven't felt the need for coffee. That's big considering I'm a coffee-aholic. My husband was also a willing participant and tried this in his green smoothie this week. He works 12 hour days and said the combination carried him through until lunch. Either way, I am happy to get the boost of antioxidants that Matcha offers. We probably won't purchase this all the time as it's on the spendy side, but it will be a great addition to our arsenal as we continue on this healthier journey.

I have also been dying to try an overnight oatmeal. I love mason jars, I love convenience, and I am pretty fond of oatmeal so this growing trend has caught my eye for sometime. I decided to play around with a recipe I found online and add in some Matcha. My kids were completely enthralled when they saw me eating my breakfast the next morning. Just look at this color!

Here's what is in it:

2/3 c almond milk (you can use any milk, just depends on your preference)
1/2 c old fashioned oats
1/2 c Greek yogurt (again, any yogurt will work)
1 pinch cinnamon
1 tsp honey
1 tsp Matcha green tea powder

I mixed all of these ingredients in a separate bowl and then poured it into a pint sized mason jar and topped with 1/2 cup frozen blueberries and 2 Tbsp raw almonds. Put the top on and pop it in the fridge overnight and you have a delicious, filling, convenient, and healthy breakfast to start your next day. I found myself making 3 the following night because my husband and two of my kids (they split one since it's pretty hefty) wanted to try it too. Good stuff!

You can read about the other great super foods we are trying HERE.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Week 2 Weigh-In

Two weeks down! I'm feeling really good about the progress I am making. Not even so much on the scale (although of course that is great) but just the daily changes, continued motivation, and positive choices. It feels good to be doing the right thing for my health and my body!

Let's see what the scale has to say. I started out 2 weeks ago weigh 318.6. Last week I lost I whopping 9.6 pounds coming in at 309. This morning I got up and weighed in at 307.4. That means I have lost another 1.6 pounds. That makes my total loss so far 11.2 pounds! Honestly, I would have loved to have at least hit 2 pounds this week as that is my weekly goal to stay on track but I know that I lost big last week so it balances out. That and we had a weekend away celebrating our anniversary and I while I tried not to wildly over do it, I certainly was eating more than I would at home. I'm choosing to be happy that I can celebrate those life events without being super strict and still see a loss. I'll call that a win!

Here's my progress as I track it at I have two more weeks to meet my first month's goal of losing 15.6 pounds. I think I can do it!

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