Thursday, January 16, 2014

Lets talk 2014

I know that most people by now have long since posted their 2013 recaps. I sorta feel like 2013 kicked our butts! My baby sister got cancer back in August and everything sorta seemed to pile up from there; Leaving me clawing through the finish line on new years eve, with an uncontrollable twitch in my eye, crying, "uncle already!" My sister is ringing in the new year happy, healthy, and cancer free. (crossing our fingers) her "final" scan is in a week. While she coped with it very very well. I took it sorta hard! Which is odd, seeing that I wasn't actually experiencing it. I am naturally a pessimist. I constantly have to stop myself from preparing for the worst case scenario. And when I heard stage 3 lymphoma, I just sorta freaked. My grandpa passed away from lymphoma. With a strong history of cancer in the family, I sorta froze. It dug up past emotions from watching someone die from this disease all those many years ago. I put on a positive face but I have also been fighting this quiet battle of- "why be healthy if genetics are just going to get me in the end anyhow?"- Very mature take on the whole thing (i know). Anyways… after throwing a huge internal tantrum; And completely doing everything opposite of what i have grown to love in the past, i have come to realize that i need to get myself back on track. back in the gym. back into life. Brushing off all the very strange and stressful calamities of 2013, i feel like i am ready for a new start.

we all fall off the wagon from time to time. I seem to always sorta get bumped off, and when i find myself there in the dust, i sorta say, the sun is shining here in the dirt, and the wagon has now left, and is very far off. And all the while i stay, the farther the wagon goes. (in case that made no sense- its an analogy of my goals lol) its important to realize that it is ok. we aren't perfect. If we give up, however, we will never reach the wagon and it cannot take us to the destination we are striving to arrive at. We cannot realize, feel, and claim, all those wonders that life has to offer if we give up. Life begs us to constantly be adjusting and recommitting to who we are capable of becoming. so here is my statement for 2014.

"Lauren, life is only what you make of it"

simple i know ; ) and not really that profound. but that is where my head needs to be this year.

I recently signed up for a 12 week body transformation challenge at golds gym. The weigh in is monday. I have to get one of those terrifying before picture taken (i'm so white i glow) and get a start weight. Then, at the end, they will post BOTH my BEFORE and after pictures in the gym. great accountability!

I'm not saying I hate my body. I don't think i'm fat;  I do however, know that i can strengthen my heart, my lungs, my lymph system, my back, my core, and i can improve my overall risk factor for cancer, heart disease, and other nasty little things that genetics has already stacked against me.

so what. i might still get cancer at 30. but come what may, i want to know that i did everything i could to decrease those odds, stay healthy, and respect my body for the gift that it is. with all my faculties in place, with the tremendous amount of health i have been blessed with, i feel like its time to pay it forward to myself, and chase up to the wagon i bumped myself off of ; )

-michaeline, olive, 2013- so happy she kicked cancers butt! and in a timely fashion as well. I hope that 2014 brings awesome things for you little sis! Learned what a positive mind can accomplish, and how infectious a positive attitude can become. Thanks for helping me learn that through example.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

clean eating chocolate shake.

ok people. seriously. i cannot get enough of this chocolate shake. you will never guess that there is no milk in it, and you will die when you realize there is no refined sugar. olive and i both scarfed this down before we could even snap a good pic, so all you get is the aftermath. sorry folks. guess you will have to try it for yourself to see what it looks like in person ; )

this makes 1 and a half shakes, perfect for myself and the tiny one.

1/4 cup hemp seeds
2 heaping tbs raw cocao powder
1/2 large avocado
1 large frozen banana
2 tbs honey
3/4- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
4 ice cubes

in a high powered blender grind the hemp seeds to a fine powder. add remaining ingredients and mix until smooth. enjoy!

*i have used a food processor with decent results, so that is also an option.

Monday, June 17, 2013

clean up series: the pantry part 1

i'm starting here because this is where i started when i began. everyone is going to go about this a little different. mine was a bit drastic but results followed quickly. when cleaning up my kitchen i first focused getting rid of white sugar. sorry folks, but this also means brown sugar. both, for me, had to go.

this all began with a bet that my little brother and i had. i told him if he gave up call of duty and other violent video games for a year, i would give up something extremely hard as well.... sugar. well.... white sugar. this is why i had to drastically and abruptly cut it out, but honestly, i think thats the only way you can cut out white sugar. 

ok so lets say you don't have a bet with you little brother? what would cause someone to give up refined sugar?

there are lots of articles you can read this is a short little into to the side effects of sugar. if you want to do more research, Dr. Oz has a lot of info on his website. 

do i still get sugar? of course. sugar is in basically everything. salad dressings, ketchup, cereal, bread, you name it. we are a society basically addicted to the stuff. and thats all fine and dandy, i myself love how the stuff tastes. i was sugars biggest supporter until we had our abrupt break up. and like any bad relationship, sometimes it takes cutting yourself off to realize how much better your life can be without it ; ) 

do we still indulge? oh yes! do we still have cookies like twice a week? you bet. do we still have treats? uh huh. do i feel like i don't eat sugar? not at all. do we sometimes still eat white sugar filled products? (not me as much) but yeah, it still happens from time to time. i gotta let my kid enjoy life! i'm all about not giving up things. i am however, all about replacing things. but if she wants a bowl of lucky charms here and there, heck, give the kid some lucky charms. 

sure, it takes a little extra time to make your own peanut butter cups, and sure you really do cook more when you eat clean, but i actually kinda enjoy it. if i plan ahead i really don't feel like a slave to the kitchen. it has also become a fun hobby that i actually enjoy. i guess i decided that if i am going to be cooking 3 meals a day (roughly) for the rest of my life, i might as well enjoy it! and if i'm spending money on groceries, my food just as well taste good, right? once brett and i started leaving resturants disappointed, and once brett started saying "lets not go out, i like your food more" i knew that things were really paying off. i mean seriously. if you're going to eat it, it better taste good. and more importantly it better make you feel good.  


back to the sugar:

if you are going to be cutting this out of your diet, you are going to need some safety nets. the first week is the hardest, the second week is a little tricky, and the third week makes it all worth it. 

(please remember i'm not a doctor, and please know i'm just writing this for friends who asked how i did it, nothing more)

to begin:

-i stocked my fridge with fruits

- i got sugar replacements like honey (quality honey from farmers who don't feed their bees corn syrup -the costco brand is great-), maple syrup, coconut sugar

-i cleaned out my pantry of anything that had sugar in it that i could potentially snack on threw it in a bag. 

-i made some snacks that were sweetened with honey and real maple syrup. 

-i bought tons of veggies

-for two weeks i avoided ALL carbs (they made my cravings worse)

and i began. seriously. i about died the first week. i had headaches. i was shaky, i was cranky, i was tired, i was starving, and just when i was about to give up, it magically got better. all of a sudden i could go like 5 hours without getting majorly hungry. i could eat a salad full of rich leafy greens (not ice burg or romaine) and feel satisfied. before meals i wasn't irritable, and i honestly had more energy. and seriously eliminating sugar did all that. 

as i began to eat bread, i realized my sugar cravings came back. i realized in order for me to make this work, i would needed to go gluten free. now if i ever cheat and have some wheat, i seriously pay for it the next day. i simply cannot get full so i feel like i need to eat and eat and i am so fatigued the next day. 

cutting out sugar saved us lots of money, sweet treats aren't cheap. i ate less because the nutrient dense food made me feel full faster. i also noticed that olive had less tantrums, and was a different person without sweets. 

so.... this is where i started. it maybe wasn't the easiest, but after i did it, more things followed naturally and the pantry slowly began to change without me really realizing it. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

clean-up series

i have been getting emails from friends lately. all of them go about the same:

"please help me do what you do" 
"how can my family start living like yours"
"does it cost you a trillion dollars to go to the grocery store"
"why in the heck do you eat so weird"
"how can i get my kids to eat stuff like this"

and the list goes on! i love these kinds of emails though! i really really do. i also get responses like this:

"beet cake for your daughters first birthday is so dumb, she's only one once, let the kid eat real cake"
"i cannot stand clean eaters, the fda tests all your food. everything is safe, its pointless to eat how you are eating"
"i think that people who eat organic food judge me. but really i judge them, the way they live is pointless, expensive, and simply a trendy thing they do to seem cool"

and the list also goes on. 

i have never really felt the need to defend my clean eating. anyone that knows me well has seen the difference it has made in my life. but, i seriously do get asked all the time.... why? and also how?

people who come over to my house often say, it is so cool that you eat like this, i wish we could do it. some say, we could never be like this, it would be impossible for us.

i don't want people to say i wish, or someday, or never. because it is an attainable goal!

please keep some things in mind. its taken me about six months to change my kitchen, and lifestyle around. so yes, it may seem overwhelming at first, but, its all about finding one thing you're passionate about, starting there, and slowly building on that one change. 

1. i eat/live clean for my health. i used to get sick all the time, my skin had lost its vibrance, my eyes were cloudy, my hair was thin, i felt weak after exercise. i had a huge loss of energy, and i had a clouded mind. 

after cleaning things up all these things drastically changed. i have way more energy, i feel strong and my mind once again is sharp. i really never focus on my weight, but pounds just sorta slipped off after i made the changes i have made. 

2. i eat clean for the integrity of my food

i don't support GMOS i just really really don't. there are lots of benefits of genetically modified foods. this i know. my body, however, simply doesn't process is well. i have made a personal decision to avoid them as much as possible. 

3. i eat clean because my food simply tastes better. 

much better. you may not notice a difference at first, but whenever i eat things now i realize how much better whole, all natural, untainted food tastes, and how much better it makes me feel. i stay fuller longer. i lose my desire to snack snack snack all day long. 

i really could go on and on and on about why it has been great for my family. but seriously, you will have to do the research on these topics on your own. you can then decide what is best for your family. if you decide to make the switch, this summer clean up series is for you. i am doing it for those individuals who want to slowly convert their families without breaking the bank. 

i just want people to understand that if i see your kid chomping down on a fruit snack loaded with food dye, artificial flavors, and preservatives, i won't secretly be scorning you. i also want you to know that clean living isn't about being perfect or over the top. its finding what works best for you or finding one thing to change, and starting there. there are no judgements here! i am not a clean eating nazi. in fact olive had a bowl of lucky charms just yesterday. lol so don't think you have to be some extremist to eat clean, just do your best, if you even want to do it at all!

i will be doing a spring cleaning series that will help you all get started and answer some questions you all have been asking me. feel free to comment, FB, or email me with any topics you would like to see. 

hope this goes good and can get some people started that have been wanting to make some changes!


Thursday, June 6, 2013

a hiking we will go


we went for a little hike the other day, we were in awe over how beautiful the mountains were. everything was so green and lush. we couldn't help but think we live in one of the prettiest places on earth. we are so grateful there is beauty like this to enjoy in mortality. every time brett and i hike we feel it helps us realize the wonders of the universe. we are so blessed to have a creator who gives us such sweet glimpses of who he is, through the things he creates. how privileged we are to have such a beautiful world to live out our mortality. what a great day it was! and what beautiful memories were made.

flourless vegan chocolate cookies

clean eating should never be about compromise. it should never be about going without either. this is why i love ridiculously rich sweet treats that taste wonderful, but still are fairly clean in nature. this is sorta a chocolate spin on my peanut butter cookies that i posted a few weeks back. i know that if you're a peanut butter fan, you will most certainly love these. 

flourless chocolate cookies 

1 generous cup of creamy peanut butter
1 cup coconut sugar
1 tbs flax seeds
3 tablespoons liquid of choice (i used almond milk)
1 tsp vanilla 
1/2 cup cocoa powder (less if your not a huge dark chocolate fan)
1 tsp baking soda

combine all ingredients, mixing until sugar is no longer granulated. form into 2'' balls. place on cookie sheet. press down with fork. bake in oven at 350 degrees. watch closely, these really only take about 6 minute to cook. 


Thursday, May 23, 2013

crazy good rice pudding

today is a cleaner take on the traditional rice pudding. i was craving something rich and creamy and warm this morning. olive and i had brown rice last night for dinner. the left over rice was sitting in the fridge just begging to be made into something delicious. of course, rice pudding is always a good idea.

this rice pudding is lacking white sugar, butter, white rice, and cream. what it isn't lacking? the creamy, rich, lush, sweet decadence that every rice pudding should have.

rice pudding:

2 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup vanilla soy milk (unsweetened)
1/3 cup coconut sugar (less if your milks are sweetened)
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg beaten
about 5 roughly chopped dates

in a saucepan combine rice, milks, sugar, and salt. cook over medium heat until boil forms, turn down to low and simmer until thick and creamy (takes a good 15 minutes). quickly stir in beaten egg (stir quickly and constantly) continue to stir and cook on low heat for additional 2 minutes. 

remove from heat, add dates, enjoy! if you traditionally like butter on yours, use some coconut oil. i however think this rich enough as is. 

best part is, you totally made use of that left over brown rice ; )