Meal Plan Monday: September is Here

Well it is finally September but that doesn’t mean crisp autumn days here in Arizona. A lot of my friends are ready for cooler weather complete with fall wreaths on their front doors. I’m welcoming September by buying a new pair of jeans and a denim jacket! Oh and by making my favorite, Minestrone Soup! To0 bad it is still well over 100°F on most days. Until it cools off we will just turn up the air conditioning, grab a big quilt, and watch Christmas movies with warm cup of coffee.

Meal Plan

Breakfast will be Steel Cut Oats, Breakfast Quinoa, toast with almond butter and sliced apples, baked sweet potatoes and an occasional bowl of cereal.

Lunches will be leftovers; right now I have leftover lentil tacos, plain lentils, Mexican Rice, Taco Quinoa, and plain quinoa. We will also have sandwiches, wraps, salads, and combinations of everything mixed together.

Snacks will be hummus with veggies, fruit, smoothies, I like a quick PB&J sometimes too.

Dinner

Monday: Leftover Mexican food

Tuesday: Brown Rice and Broccoli Casserole (My family’s favorite! They request this each week.)

Wednesday: Baked Potatoes topped with steamed veggies and lentils

Thursday: Minestrone Soup

Friday: Kale Salad with Maple-Mustard Dressing (I want to try this, it’s from the new Forks Over Knives Cookbook)

I’m looking forward to some good food this week. We have family favorites, quick and easy fare, a new recipe to try. Next week is my 2nd Food Demo which I’m re-branding as a women’s healthy living group now called Healthy Cravings. It is a plant-based group but not everyone knows that yet. I just teased them with the idea of eliminating disease and losing weight. 🙂

Have a great week friends!

Cheating

Do you cheat…on your diet? I don’t.

I don’t cheat because I don’t make anything off limits. I know this probably sounds ridiculous, but is it really?

I’m the kind of person that as soon as I make something “off limits” can think of nothing else. If I decided to go off of sugar/chocolate/coffee I would crave it. Heck, if I decided to forgo eating broccoli I would probably dream about it until I caved.

After I transitioned to a Plant-Based diet I’d occasionally “decide” to have something that most people would consider a cheater food. One example of this is dairy. After the first few weeks off dairy I didn’t crave it any longer. One date night (after months off dairy) my husband and I decided to share a small piece of cheesecake, go ahead and shake your head in horror.  I woke up 2 days later with intense pain, mostly in my arm, shoulder, and neck. I could barely use my arm or care for my children. The pain was severe that day and slowly let up, it took about 4 days for complete relief. I always have a bad reaction to dairy and can tell if I eat in inadvertently.

For me dairy is not in the “off limits” category but it is in the “totally not worth it” category. I will never go back to eating dairy. Really I don’t miss eating meat either. I miss the convenience of running through a drive thru for a quick meal. Thank God for bean burritos!

Last weekend I took my son to a birthday party, I didn’t know what the food situation would be so I grabbed a Lara Bar just in case. I wasn’t going to be snobby or rude about any of the food but I also wasn’t going to eat something I wasn’t comfortable with just to make someone else comfortable. I was very happy to see fruit, veggies, “veggie straws” and a six-foot party sub with all of the trimmings. I could have eaten my Lara Bar but I was happy to eat what the hostess provided. I did take the meat and cheese off of 2 slices of sandwich much to the dismay of one of the party goers, until I offered it to him. He then determined that I was a good person to eat near because he could have what I didn’t want. Do you know what else happened? I loved my sandwich, I had been craving a sub but I didn’t want to eat the processed meat, blech.  Thankfully the mustard was the secret ingredient that made the lettuce, tomato, and onion sandwich a masterpiece. I loved it!

So as you can see, I never “cheat” I might decide to eat something in the “I don’t want to admit to eating this category” but not usually. In case you’re wondering there is also a “I don’t normally eat this but I will this time” category. That includes things like fries, restaurant salad dressings that are likely to have oil, and restaurant hummus. It could also include random things from the clearance section that contain a way too many ingredients but I’ve had a tough day and need chocolate now! Hey I never claimed to do this perfectly.

So are you a cheater? It’s okay, you can admit it, you are in good company. Or you can take my approach, it takes the pressure off of being perfect and just strives for being better. Try to make choices you can live with, not choices that are gonna kill you.

Fitness Challenge: 1 Month Update

About a month ago my husband and I made a commitment to get more fit. We were not able to get exercise in everyday and I was not able to run as much as I had intended but I do believe we are more fit than before. additionally, I don’t think we would have worked out as much had we not made the commitment together. 

I took measurements at the beginning of the challenge, some stayed the same and others decreased. I don’t claim that the measurements are 100% accurate but they are the best I could do. Three things factor into the accuracy, Milk Production, Clothing Choice, and Bloatiness. I’m a nursing momma so my “size” is always in flux. Also the bra I was wearing a month is too big and let’s face it all bras are not the same. Lastly, bloatiness (yes I’m pretty sure I made that word up) also changes day to day.

I don’t think anyone is actually interested in my actual measurements but I will list the change. By putting it out there I am more likely to keep it up. There was no measurable change in my hips, butt or biceps. However there was noticeable change in my:

  • Chest -1.5 inches
  • Tummy -1 inch
  • Thigh -.5 inch
  • Calf -.25 inch

These are not earth shattering. What is nice is that my size 6 jeans are getting loose! One year ago I would have told you that I would never be able to fit into a size 6, EVER! That makes me happy!

Another thing that makes me happy is that my body looks more fit, less fat and more muscle. Even though my measurements for my bicep haven’t gone down there is definitely less fat and my arm is leaner. I’m hoping the same is true for every area. My weight decreased by about a pound or one and a half pounds. It is at the lowest it has been in almost 10 years.

I was not eating for weight loss during this time. I was actually eating much more than normal, especially in the beginning when I was getting the hang of working out. I was focusing on fueling my body. I ate lot’s of complex carbs, whole grains, and even some fries (gasp). I’m sure I would have lost more weight if I had been more diligent but I’m still pleased with my progress.

We plan to continue this challenge. We still wont be able to work out daily but hopefully at least 4 days a week. I also want to run more, I haven’t been running much. Sickness, injuries, and super hot weather play a role in that.

Getting Fit: A 30 Day Challenge

On Monday I told you how my husband and I made a commitment to get fit. I left of most of the details so I’ll share those today.

Our 30 day Fitness Challenge started June 18th. We were discussing it the day before we started and I somehow agreed to doing P90X. Of course I was afraid I would die, but thankfully not yet. The first week I was still trying to find my groove. Some days my schedule does not accommodate a workout. Working out with my kids around is not only impossible it is also the most frustrating thing on the planet. I think I would rather let ants sting my eyeballs.

Also, we have been dealing with a situation that takes some time (that is normally when we work out) and drains our energy.

So what do my workouts look like? On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday I do P90X for about an hour. I use resistance bands instead of weights. I try to go on a run after my workout. We usually start working out around 7:30 or 8:00 after the boys are in bed and it has cooled down to 100° F by then. Sometimes something comes up and we can’t do a full workout. On those days I usually try to run and/or we will do one or two 10 Minute Trainer video’s, basically a speedy version of P90X.

What does my running look like? I almost hate to even call it running. So far I’ve kept to the same course, the sidewalks and streets of my neighborhood; it is about half a mile. Originally it took me about 10 minutes to jog (with a little walking) and now it takes just over 5 minutes. This weekend I plan to take a new, longer route. I’ll update My Plant-Based Family on Facebook if I think about it. Even though I’m not running far or long it totally wipes me out, much more the my other workouts, I’m guessing the heat may be a contributing factor there.

So far this week I’ve only been about to go on two runs and do two workouts. I know I’d have more time if I would wake up earlier to run before it is too hot, or to workout but I’m not that committed yet. I normally get up between 5:30 and 6:00 just to get ready before my boys wake up and I’m not ready to get up any earlier.   

Results? In a week and a half I haven’t seen any weight change but I can see more muscle definition. Since my runs take less and less time I know I’m doing better. Also I am hungry all the time. I’m eating a lot more so I’m assuming most of that is due to the workouts but I know a small portion is just me wanting to be a little piggy. 🙂

I want to say thank you to all of you who have given me tips and advice. The whole time I’m running I’m going over everything my friend Aletia has told me. I’m also formulating my goals like my friend Breht advised.

Do you have any tips or advice for me? What about favorite foods to help me stay fueled?

 

Meal Plan Monday: Focus on Fitness

I am not an athlete. I used to blame my knee’s. Oh yes, the “bad knee’s story”. Nothing has ever happened to my knee’s, I’ve just been so out of shape that I would be in pain if I tried to run. Great logic huh, too out of shape to exercise. There was a time in my early 20s that I worked out daily. I looked fit and was comfortable with the way my body looked for maybe the first time. I used the machine for lifting and the bike for cardio. I would only get on the treadmill if there was no bike available and I would not run, back to the bad knee story.

After that I got married and my husband already had 3 kids. Between working full-time, taking care of my new husband and kids, and a little work on my MBA (that I never finished, thankfully) I didn’t have much time to work out. I joined a Curves and worked out there. It was fun but not a tough workout. I maybe lost a few pounds but nothing substantial. Then we moved to AZ and I’d start working out again ever so often. When I shared my story I talked about working out for months and not losing weight.

A few month’s ago something started to stir in me, I started working out again, not running, but I didn’t stick with it, again. My husband wanted us to work out together and I started dreaming about running. What if I really could run? I watched past episodes of The Biggest Loser and would see a person who weighed 400 pounds running, working out, getting fit. I knew that if they could do then I could too. I was done with the excuses but would I stick with it. I also have two incredible friends who are runner and are faced with some obstacles that make it difficult/impossible to run right now.

I went running a few times, not far and not long but it was progress. I talked to my husband and one of my dear friends, who is a runner, about it. I knew what I had to do. I had to blog about it. Once I put it out there for everyone to see I knew I would be committed. No one likes to fail in public and the internet is public enough for me. 

So one week ago we committed to a one month fitness challenge. My husband and I are working out together and I’m going on short runs, hoping to run faster and longer as I get in better shape. I’ll share more about what we are doing some other day. For now I need to share how we are fueling these workouts.

Meal Plan

Breakfast will be Breakfast Quinoa, oatmeal with fruit, toast with nut butter, fruit, soup (I love leftover soup for breakfast) and the occasional bowl of cereal. My favorite way to eat cereal lately is with blueberries, banana’s and almond milk.

Lunch will be leftovers on most days. I like to grab a quick almond butter sandwich on busy days. Lately I can’t get enough bean burritos. I bought a vat of spinach so I’ll need to eat plenty of wraps so it doesn’t go slimy like last week.

Snack is mostly fresh fruit, like strawberries, blueberries, banana’s and nut butter.

Last week I just sat out cooked grains, beans, and veggies and we made out own meals. We didn’t enjoy this much. It works better as a once in a while type of thing not an every night thing. This week I’ll be making a distinct meal most evenings but not necessarily assigning a special night to it. Also, I work with kids at church on Wednesday night’s so we need a quick meal or take out and my husband is hosting a “Guy’s Night” this week so I’ll be making food for that.

 This week Dinner include’s:

  • Potato Soup with Carrots, Onions, and Garlic (made on Sunday night)
  • Gluten-Free Spaghetti with Mushrooms and Red Sauce, also a Big Garden Salad
  • Spicy Black Bean Soup, I may make this in the Crock Pot, and I have avocados at the ready
  • Chopped Salad or some other Big Salad

I’m also planning the food for the Plant-Based Food Demo I’m hosting soon. I will need to begin cooking some of the dishes I plan to serve to make sure everything turns out the way I want.

Since we have been working out for a week I am definitely craving more calories (and more junk food)! Any suggestions for a newbie runner and aspiring athlete?

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