Progress Is Perfection

A blog to inspire, motivate, and unleash the awesome in everyone


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I Can’t Sleep and a Food Log

Well, it’s Saturday night and we decided to go to bed at 9:30pm, it’s now 11:30pm and I’m far from asleep and irritated. Turns out we’re old and lame while our landlords (who live above us) are young and hip partiers.

So here I am, frustrated with a headache, sitting at the computer with my headphones in.

I decided a couple days ago that I wanted to start keeping a food log, the idea has always scared me, so I know it’s something I need to do. I’m frustrated with my progress (or lack there of) and I know it all has to do with my food choices. I’ve been letting myself get away with A LOT of goodies the past couple months, and frankly, I’m done with feeling less than 100%. So today I started my food log. I tracked all that I ate and I’m not very impressed with myself (especially because this was supposed to be a healthy day and I let myself have far to many treats), I felt a little guilty writing certain things down. So I think I need to further challenge myself.

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Last summer Veronica and I challenged ourselves to 30 days without processed oils, dairy, white flour and sugar. I want to do something similar starting tomorrow; NO processed oils, NO white flour and NO refined sugar. I don’t want to put a time frame on this “challenge” because I want to eat like this 80% of the time all of the time. I want to embrace the 80/20 philosophy this year and finally find a balance with my food.

I’m going to continue with my food log, and put at the top of each page a reminder of what I’m staying away from. Today I focused on writing down what I ate, but I think tomorrow I will add the times that I eat, see if in a week or so I can find a routine with my eating habits.

So, here goes nothing. I’m scared of what I’ll find after a week of logging everything that goes into my mouth, but it’s time to do something that scares me.

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Wish me luck!

~Nicole

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Tomato Beet Sauce

Helllo lovelies.

It’s been a wonderful week and I’m feeling a little more balanced after such a strict month.

This was my last experiment of the 30 Day Challenge, and it was a success! My boyfriend has been experiencing some gut upsets, so I researched different vegetables that aid in a healthy gut and beets were one of them. I had picked some up from the market over the weekend and had some tomatoes chilling in my fridge that were on the verge of going bad so I figured hell, why not make a sauce! I didn’t find much when I did a Google search for “beet tomato sauce” so I took ideas from a couple and went to town!

It was a really light, summery sauce; perfect dinner for a hot summer day. I’ll admit that it took a bit more prep than I’m used to, but it was worth it!

So here you go, I hope you like it 🙂

 

Tomato Beet Sauce

you will need…

  • 4-5 small beets
  • 1 3/4 fresh tomatoes, or 1 15oz can organic no salt tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbs dried/fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3tbs olive oil
  • 2tbs fresh basil, chopped
  • 2tbs prepared mustard
  • S&P
  • WW or gluten free pasta

what you do…

Place beets in a pot and fill with just enough water to cover beets, bring to a boil and let simmer for 20 minutes.

Chop carrots, onion and celery. Heat 2tbs of olive oil in a separate pot with a fitted lid. Add carrot, onion, celery and parsley. Coat with oil and reduce heat to low. Cover and let cook about 15-20 minutes, until soft.

Take beets out of water (you can reserve the beet water), and let cool.

Start cooking pasta

Add minced garlic to the vegetables and oil and bring up to medium heat, let cook for about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, basil and S&P and let simmer for 10 minutes.

As the tomato/ vegetable mixture cooks, peel skins from beets, chop and place in a blender. Add tomato mixture, mustard, 1tbs olive oil and some pasta water to blender with beets. Blend until smooth, adding more pasta water to thin sauce.

Mix with pasta, top with basil and enjoy!!

*Makes about 5 cups of sauce

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I’ve never used beets before, or had any interest in them, but this sauce has changed my mind. A perfect vegetarian option full of yumminess (and you can’t deny that it looks stunning)!!

~Nicole

**if your curious which recipes I adapted from, here are the links:

http://www.blueberryoctopie.com/2012/07/penne-pasta-with-tomato-and-beet-sauce.html
http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/basic_tomato_sauce/


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30 Day Challenge- The Final Day

It’s almost over!! What a month is has been! I’m impressed with all I’ve learned, and all I’ve experienced.

I woke up this morning feeling guilty after an indulgent dream. A phrase that often crossed my mind before this month, “I wish I hadn’t eaten that” came up, until I realized it wasn’t real. I didn’t indulge in something that was not challenge complaint; I haven’t all month.

Then I realized, I haven’t regretted a single thing I put into my body this month. Aside from the two occasions I went out for dinner and unintentionally ate something that wasn’t complaint (and upset my stomach), I have done fantastically. Sure I’ve had my moments of feeling completely done with this whole “stupid no sugar bullshit”, but it didn’t go further than daydreaming about eating a chocolate chip cookie.

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What a feeling. I had been regretting food choices a lot in the months leading up to July; working two jobs, being a mom, girlfriend and friend led to a lot of indulgences in the evenings. The mornings after those indulgences hosted a lot of guilty feelings accompanied by a sore stomach and bloat. Not the best combination to wake up to.

This month has been the complete opposite. I wake up feeling great. Not a guilty thought or bloated tummy. I don’t over analyze the food choices I made the day before, I just wake up and get on my day. Almost everything I have eaten this month has been beneficial to my health. I research foods now; finding out what benefits there are to eating more beets, or adding apples and cinnamon to water. It’s exciting and enlightening. I love how colourful our plates have become. I love all the salads and vegetables I’m eating, and the natural sugar that comes directly from a piece of fruit.

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I love not feeling guilty. I love it all.

I don’t want to feel guilty about food again. I want to enjoy what I eat; I want to eat for my health and have those delicious treats on occasion. I think living life in balance is key, so I’m hoping if I follow the ratio of 80/20 (80% healthy 20% indulgences), I will find that balance.

I have a lot of great natural sugar substitutes to pull from now, and I’m still learning. I don’t need artificial sweeteners OR white sugars in my life all the time. I’ve also managed to raise my son eating natural whole foods, so I don’t have to worry about his transition from unhealthy to healthy; thankfully my boyfriend is open to my experiments and enjoys eating healthy alongside me.

I’m in a good place with food now. I’m ready to use all I’ve learned this month and continue my food journey, happy and healthy.

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Happy eating!!

~Nicole


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Apple Cinnamon Water – Detox and Metabolism Booster!

I don’t know about some of you blog readers, but I’ve often struggled with drinking enough water. For some reason I’ve always found water to just be too darn plain for my hard to please taste buds. I tried this today though and it was absolutely delicious!

Take a sliced apple, cinnamon sticks, and add to a pitcher of water. Leave for a few hours to infuse, preferably overnight for stronger flavors. What you’re left with is delicious cold water with strong hints of apple and cinnamon , without the sugary sweetness of store-bought flavored water. Some websites also suggest boiling the apple and cinnamon first if you would like a more potent flavouring.

Apparently the apple and cinnamon combo help to increase energy, speed up your metabolism, and cleanse your body of toxins. So simple, so delicious, and zero calories!

Yummy!

Yummy!

– Veronica


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30 Day Challenge- The Final Stretch

Well, we’re coming up on the final week of this challenge! I’m both excited and nervous. Excited because it’s summer and I really want to make s’mores with my son and go out for dinner without checking the menu before hand to see if there’s anything I can eat. Nervous because I don’t want to fall into the sugar/white flour trap again.

I’ve had so much fun experimenting and creating new recipes that are delicious and healthy. This challenge has forced me to really start reading labels (which my boyfriend pointed out makes for much longer shopping trips), and also get out of my comfort zone. I am no longer going into a Starbucks and ordering the sugar filled drinks followed by some kind of pastry (I don’t miss them, nor does my wallet). I’ve also been struggling with that last bit of stubborn baby belly and it’s actually started to disappear!! I’m feeling fantastic in my body right now, which is new. I’ve been happy with my body for the last 6 months, but I’ve never felt this great. I’m smaller then I was pre-baby, and I feel like a hot Momma!

I’m nervous to officially end the challenge. I’m kind of terrified that I’m going to plunge of the deep end and go back to catering to my sweet tooth. I’ve been doing well fighting off the temptation, but that’s mainly because I made a commitment to myself (and broadcast it to all of you) and I don’t like giving up. But what about when these 30 days are over? How will I manage the cravings and the temptations?

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I think I need a set of guidelines to follow for post-challenge. I know have tools I can use when a sugar craving hits, and it would be silly to throw those out the window.

My general guidelines when it comes to sugary cravings:
-can I easily substitute it with a healthy, sugar-free option?
–if yes: do it. go for the healthy version (sugar and white flour free bread with peanut butter, banana slices, and chopped walnuts)
–if no: have a small amount and put the rest away for next time. no munching out of the bag.
-if it is a special occasion: go for it. food is fun and very social, may as well enjoy the company and a special treat.

Writing these out has made me realize that a lot if not all  of my sugar cravings stem out of habit. I find myself craving sweets in the evening; that’s when my boyfriend and I tend to snack. Also, when I used to get my sugary coffee’s I would gravitate towards the yummy cookies and muffins, but since starting the challenge I haven’t felt the need. It’s amazing that once you eliminate something, you stop craving it. You need to push past the hard parts (even though those seem unbearable and unnecessary at times) to reach the amazing parts. Feeling fantastic in your own skin is completely worth it in the long run, we just need to stay focused long enough to get there 🙂

So here goes nothing, the last week!!

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~Nicole


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30 Day Challenge – A Weekend of a Few Missteps

Well I officially survived my weekend away. Did I manage to eat only food compliant with the challenge? Honestly, no I didn’t. And I’m not being honest only because my brother-in-law took a picture of me shoving a forkful of cake into my mouth, and threatened to post it on the blog. But yes, that played a small role :p

Thursday afternoon we headed out to Williams Lake. I managed to eat a healthy dinner at Boston Pizza of baked salmon with some veggies. Friday morning I had sausage and egg for breakfast, again no problem. Once the rehearsal dinner for the wedding hit on Friday night though…I had a bit more trouble. It took place at the groom’s parents’ place and the bride and groom’s families spent hours making tons of delicious food for about 30 people.  I was starving, the food looked wonderful, so I decided to just throw caution to the wind and fill my belly. Saturday, the day of the wedding, was more of the same.

I was asked to be a part of the wedding party last minute to fill in for a bridesmaid that dropped out just days before, so I was up at 6:30am to have breakfast with the other ladies in the bridal party. Breakfast wasn’t too bad; we went to Denny’s (about the only breakfast place in sleepy little Williams Lake) and I had scrambled eggs, hash browns (no ketchup), and a pancake (no whip or syrup). A no-no with the pancake, but nothing too crazy. The main issue was the fact that after breakfast at 7am we wouldn’t be eating dinner until about 6pm that day. So of course by the time dinner came around, I couldn’t care less what I was shoveling in my mouth. We had spent a day getting ready, doing the ceremony, taking pictures, socializing and having drinks, all in 32 degree sunshine. I was tired, overheated and starving and although there was a buffet, there wasn’t too much “compliant” food to choose from. But, I didn’t feel guilty eating it. I had to eat something, it was delicious food, and I still made sure I didn’t seek out the really junky food that I didn’t need to eat. For example, there were a ton of different types of cake slices in the buffet and I chose to pass on those even though they were beckoning me all evening. I did of course have some of the wedding cake (it WAS a wedding for crying out loud).

By the time we got home yesterday evening I was definitely feeling the effects of eating some of those foods; I felt slightly nauseous, bloated, and just unwell. This morning I made myself oatmeal with chia seeds, oatmeal, and raisins and it was absolutely glorious. I couldn’t believe that I actually missed my (in comparison) bland foods when I had such delicious food the last two days. But, deep down my body knows that what I like and what tastes good, it not necessarily what IS good for me. And it seems like after a few days of missteps, my body is happy to be back on track with the challenge and the rest of my meals for the day have been compliant too. I also know that once our 30 days are finished, I won’t be running back to stuff myself with cakes, potato salads, and the like. I’ve definitely learned that certain types of foods are best consumed in moderation. All in all though, I don’t think I did too badly this weekend. Not a win, but not a complete fail in my books either.

Challenge aside, it was a wonderful weekend. Lots of laughs and time spent with some of my favorite people, watching a wonderful couple get married 🙂

My handsome husband and I :)

My handsome husband and I 🙂

– Veronica


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Mind over Matter

It amazes me how much control we allow food to have over our lives.

We are officially over halfway through our 30 Day Challenge, and I’m struggling. I miss the foods that I’m choosing not to eat.

Don’t get me wrong- I’m feeling great, sleeping better and waking up before my alarm. I’ve noticed my tummy is shrinking a little bit, and my skin is clearing up. Obviously I’m doing something right, so why am I craving these unhealthy foods?

It’s not like I can’t have them; I’ve just made the choice not to have them. I almost caved last night, I hadn’t eaten enough throughout the day and had to work an evening shift (missing dinner); I had a headache, felt dizzy, and all I could think about was running to Starbucks for a cookie. I knew that it would be yummy and I would enjoy it, but I also knew that if I decided to eat that chocolate chip cookie I would regret it. My insides would have shown their disappointment with bloating and gurgling.

It wasn’t worth it. I made it home and scarfed back some homemade spaghetti and a rice cake with peanut butter and coconut flakes.

I couldn’t stop thinking about that damn cookie though.

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The mind is always looking for ways to feel good. That cookie would have tasted great, the refined sugar would have brought my dopamine levels up and I would have felt so much better, if only temporarily. But is that healthy? Apparently, the reaction in our brain from refined sugar (white sugar especially)  resembles that of a drug addict. Kinda freaky, hey? So really, these cravings make complete sense. My mind is battling over what is good for me and what makes me feel good- and I’m stuck in the middle. I’m rooting for the healthy side though!

Diet is 100% mental. The physical pain that comes with going to the gym doesn’t compare to the mental pain of eating a healthy diet. Especially a diet void of any sugar that doesn’t come right from a piece of fruit. Once you sit down and you realize why you feel this way, and more importantly realize that it is an unhealthy feeling, you can finally move forward.

So the next time you feel that urge to eat a cookie, stop. Think about why you feel this way; are you stressed, upset, or is it a little treat? Sure, sugar has that temporary feel good effect, but it can quickly turn into a vicious cycle that will seriously hinder your health. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that we do need to enjoy food, and I’m not going to deprive myself of delicious sweets forever; what I am going to do is be more mindful when it comes to them. I’ve made the decision that my health is more important than a deliciously unhealthy treat.

Don’t forget that there are tons of healthy alternatives to your favourite treats. Start experimenting with different ingredients- it’s a fun way to get involved with your food! Even a simple snack of rice cake with natural peanut butter, banana slices and coconut flakes will fix a sugar craving.

I’m determined to finish these 30 days, successfully. I’m going to do more experimenting this week and create some healthy, delicious food (I’ll be sure to post the recipes).

So here we go, final stretch!

impossible

~Nicole