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Crimsann last won the day on June 4 2016

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About Crimsann

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  1. I think I speak for us all that Cynthia is now on the "must check in again list"! My sister is down there near you right now, though far enough inland that she hasn't been in any of it so far...not sure what traveling home will be like but I think she flies out of Dallas maybe. Is that near Fort Worth? I'm horrible at geography but I think "near" is somewhat relative in Texas anyway right?! She had to do a two week orientation for her CRNA program and that meant leaving the babies which is killing her. She hasn't been away from her girls overnight yet and jumping straight into two weeks of it was pretty bad. I think I would be the same way, canoeing my way back up the street if I had to in order to check in on things. Stay safe!!!!
  2. I'm happy to check in, and I do secretly hope we all still will on occasion...I refuse to say goodbye, so there. We have all taken some different forks in the road though so it's understandable that the group would be a bit disconnected on what we share. As for me, it's been a crazy is it that even being down to just one job, the drama has doubled? I won't go into a lot of detail because the details don't really matter and I do think one of the reasons it is hitting me harder is because in the past I always had a very clear second option when things started to get nasty. It's not as if that's not still true, I have contacts enough to land on my feet, and I'm not really being threatened myself anyway in what is going on but the atmosphere is pretty toxic right now and it's frustrating me. Not a good time to be totally off my eating game and it's shown. You will remember me not being a stress eater but a stress starver? That's still true, but when I do eat...and it isn't's definitely not salad. So I'm still floundering a bit and trying to get myself shored up. I've pretty much decided not to renew my cupcake contract, lol...that just isn't helping at all and this summer, during the worst of it, even I lost my interest in baking and that's saying something. Interestingly enough it's not that I have such a hard time resisting eating them, it's just doing them week after week after week these last few months when so many of the birthdays were clustered together...I simply can't face doing anything else in the kitchen or making one more run to the grocery and THAT I had not predicted or accounted for. So it's not that I'm face first in cake, but not cooking for myself then that is the problem. Overall it has been fun, and I know they have been absolutely enjoyed and appreciated but it just doesn't fit with how I want to spend my time. They are trying to talk me into a once a month option for next year but I'm not sure I want to take on even that. I still really want to do a full year on my plan and that means taking time for myself. I still feel like what I had mapped out is where I want to head, but I also know without a doubt that I have to start with some kind of 100% reset first. Not doing that sunk me before I even started. I also have some opportunities to do a Whole30 this fall/winter starting mid November...maybe taking a break for two weeks around Christmas and then picking up again in January...and I think I'm going to take advantage of that. I also have a mini plan for September which is mostly just a combination of getting back to eating three times a day, better hydration, and stepping up my workout just a little bit. I also want to lay out some menus for the two weeks I will be off in October when I have a chance to do a bit more in the way of a cook up. I want to take that time to make some really good meals and savor the season. So much still to come this year, it's hard to believe it's as far gone as it is. On the upside, despite my food woes, workout wise I'm still plowing through...I finished up early this morning so I would have the rest of the day "off" and that marked Day 224 straight on meeting my Move goal. Unfortunately, I still sort of hate doing it. The difference is, I'm not letting that stop me. I will say though, without question, eating poorly has had an impact. I meet my goal, but I'm rarely really pushing myself to exceed it. I think as long as I don't throw in the towel, I can still climb back out of this. For one thing, seeing how even working out every day is not keeping my belt loose is again a real wakeup call about how I need a holistic solution. I think the triangle for me is Exercise/Whole Foods/Stress Management. I know what to do, I know how to do it, I know it's just clearing away the obstacles again and getting started. I do a lot better continuing something than just getting it going sometimes. Which it's funny that I say that because for some reason all week I've been thinking about New Year resolutions...oh come ooooonnnn guys, it's me of course I'm thinking about January plans in September you know this by now. I think one of them I'm just going to start today. That way, come the first of the year, I will only have to resolve to keep doing it. LOL! See, just talking to you guys still inspires me. I'm off to go toss laundry in the dryer and start a diary.
  3. Hey guys sorry for my long absence, we had a new employee start and I've been in training mode for weeks. What I do isn't super complicated, exactly, it just involves a trillion variables so trying to train someone completely from the outside sort of saps all my attention. In a nutshell? My workout plan is going rock solid, just passed Day 175 earlier this week. My food plan is in complete shambles. Sigh. I sort of know where things veered off, and while I still think my plan was solid it obviously needs more attention. I want to do a full reboot W30, but with the cupcake project there is no good time now until October. I think I mentioned before that the cupcakes are sort of clustered together, I have one per week now until the end of September! After which, I have only three total for about a six month stretch. So I'm going to work on getting my act back together, but I know it's going to be more of a struggle than it should be. I'm still determined to do a year long stretch, but I'm going to have to restart that clock and I'm not sure when. I don't want to just say January because that leaves too long a gap where my head would say "woohoo, no plan!" It may end up being January, but I need some better structure now. Part of where I stumbled was lack of meal plans, something I'm usually pretty good at, but I think that's always been where my brain turned when I was doing those mindless tasks each day...and without those moments in my day every Friday crept up on me and I was hitting the grocery like a lost soul. No real excuse, heaven knows I know what should go in my cart, but I've never been that good at putting it together on the fly. And I don't love crowds. So get me in the grocery with no list and I will grab whatever is in a free aisle and bolt for the door. I also realized that while this time last year, a "do the closest you can" on a restaurant menu when you need to eat out with friends/family would have been a rare exception because I hardly ever went out to eat with friends or family....but that was mostly due to working so much. With more free time, I found that I was using that exception nearly every weekend and sometimes more than once and that was a lot further off plan that I had anticipated which then left me in a fog going into the next week. Compounding interest. So I've got some input for myself anyway. Sadly, staying on track with exercise has only helped me stay out of deep water weight wise, just more proof it really isn't enough on it's own. And the worse food makes me feel the less I push myself. I may meet my goal, but I'm hardly killing it. I haven't thrown in the towel on it though, despite being rather inspired to do just that lately. Anyone else kind of curious to go back a year now and see what they were up to in July 2016?! Kind of fun to think of us having over a year of history now. I only haven't read mine because I know I was gearing up to go on vacation which won't be happening this year. LOL! No sense rubbing my own nose in it.
  4. So I discovered a down side to doing yoga outside. Well, two down sides if you also count my mother surreptitiously taking photographs and sharing them with her friends as "cute!", which what am I two still?!? The other down side happened on Sunday. This is my ideal day for outdoor yoga because most of my neighbors are out for the day and I can be assured of a little more privacy than usual. I was in a position that had my head on roughly the same plane as my feet, not quite upside down but as near to it as I get at this point, when all of a sudden my Apple watch started doing it's little vibrate thing but in an odd series of three thumps repeated three times. That isn't any kind of alert I am aware of, so without breaking the pose I was in, I twisted my wrist around just enough to read the face of the watch and to my was dialing 911 for me. O.M.G And of course my phone was clear over on the patio, plus I'm standing with my head on the ground, so by the time I got myself off my face and across the lawn the call had just started to connect as I slammed down the hang up button. I was not quick enough though because sure enough several seconds later my phone is ringing and it doesn't take three guesses to figure out who it is. So I'm standing there trying to get my headphones disconnected and my phone unpaired from them since they don't have a mic and I can't respond to the operators question about "what is the nature of your emergency"...finally I get through to her and babble something about "my watch dialed you while I was working out" but I'm totally out of breath and maybe somewhat lacking in credibility? My best guess is, this wasn't the first time it had happened because she actually accepted that my watch could dial emergency services, and we parted on reasonably friendly terms. Some quick research later, because let's be honest...the Zen Zone was GONE at that point...I discovered that there is a feature where if you press the side stem in for long enough it will assume it's an SOS and connect to your phone and dial 911 which is actually sort of cool. Well, would be cool if I thought for a second that in a true emergency I would remember this detail in time to use it. Needless to say I disabled that feature promptly. I suppose this now means I can be mugged with impunity as I no longer have that handy ability to call for back up. This is the price I must pay for a good workout. I'm pretty sure I'm still flaming with embarrassment, but at least there was an explanation and it wasn't like my first fear which was that my watch somehow sensed I was going to need an EMT any moment there based on my breathing and/or heart rate.
  5. @NancyW Did you find anything on the no-cook meals? I ended up doing my version of that for lunches this week since it was a short week anyway. Basically tuna salad, a fruit salad, and (though I realize these are now illegal on a W30) some "compliant" potato chips. It's something I rotate in every now and then, I don't really like tuna salad...but I can and will eat it...and it's an easy way to swap to fish as a protein source on occasion. I'm also okay with having chips this way, given they are all compliant ingredients, because it has the built in portion control of being packed...I can't just reach for more even if the temptation hits. Moved the balsamic chicken and broccoli salad idea to the coming weeks menu plan instead. I am in a sort of weird rut with chicken though, not that it doesn't sound good...but that nothing else sounds good. I'm kind of okay with doing the same few things for my evening meal, easy and tasty is all I care about that point in the day and even if I have "all the eats to choose from" I tend to do the same couple things so this isn't any different than my pre-Whole30 style just with different dishes. Still I want to keep some variety coming in so I need to get a bit more creative there. I have a feeling it's going to be bacon/eggs/spinach's a tasty rut to be in I guess. I like this meal because I can cook it all on my electric griddle. I start with a pile of pre-cooked potatoes in shreds on one side since they will take the longest to cook and then two strips of bacon on the other side. I move the bacon around a little when I flip it and add two hands full of spinach where the bacon was so the greens cook down/wilt in the bacon grease. Slide the potatoes onto my plate, top with the spinach, then crack two eggs and let that go until just cooked with a runny yolk still...pile them on top of the spinach and I'm good to go. Quick enough I could do this in the morning too if it weren't for the still insurmountable "getting out of bed on time" deal. I'm really hoping to get to a better place with mornings. I can feel it starting to happen now but that's partly this time of year as much as anything. I'm hitting a natural wake up point of just before 7:00, the problem is I don't actually have to get up until 8:00 and without anything making me do so I mostly just fall back to sleep and by 8:00 it's torture getting up. Maybe if I were just a bit more aware at 7:00, enough to rationalize this all with myself like I can now...or if I could ever really wake up hungry enough to want to get out of bed...sigh. Progress there too though, I'm often very hungry by lunchtime rather than just stopping because it's time to. Did yoga outside for the first time this past weekend...felt like the troll exiting the cave. Of course, despite using sunscreen, I also got a tinge of sunburn too so it does recall to me why I stay in my cave most of the time. I'm going to step that up to doing it outdoors over the weekends to start with, probably to the vast entertainment of my neighbors. It's a good way to get in some of that sun exposure I actually need. In my dream world I would start every morning that way, but even when I was on vacation and had nowhere to go I found I didn't enjoy working out in the morning. It felt like it took twice as long and made me seriously impatient rather than unwinding me so I don't think that is the answer for me even if it sounds nice. Nothing much new to report, I didn't do a weigh in this week...actually just forgot to but again I'm trying to keep my focus on the NSV's right now because I know the scale is going to be behind the times on reporting actual progress. I hit Day 135 on my workout streak so still going strong there, clothes are fitting better maybe not 100% back to my lowest size but I no longer have to pick and choose so much between my pants as they are all viable options, LOL! Skin is clearing more again, starting to notice my cheekbones...that's a weird one guys, but for some reason even small ticks up or down I still notice in my face first. Energy is up I'm sure only because I DON'T notice it. I tend not to clue into when I have energy but really notice it when I don't.
  6. @misslindy Yup, it's definitely time for our annual trade-off of summer. I looked at the forecast for the week this morning and thought "finally, that's more like it!" I wish we could both have nice weather all the time though. Happy to hear you found something that helped budge the scales. When I'm on the plan I do usually lose though each time it gets a bit slower as I get closer to my perfect weight and I'm trying to stay patient with that. Only about one month in to doing this for a solid year so I can keep my expectations low for awhile yet. But I know if I got to April of next year and felt like I hadn't made any progress on the weight front I would be really frustrated. Early days I'm keeping my eyes on NSV's for now. Last night I had one of those with yoga, in one of the positions achieving the full pose would have my forehead touching my knee and I sort of bumped my head for a second and realized that for the first time I had enough flexibility to bend that far. I'm really trying to work in as many days doing the full workout, cardio+yoga but without making that one of the rules. I don't want to burn out on it just when I'm getting some real progress. That also lets me take a day of down time when I've already met my Move goal just by being more active than days when I sit all morning. So far, so good. On the other hand, I had this thought last night. I wear a sports bra to do yoga these days so things stay where they should, but more and more I think I may have to keep doing yoga just to be able to keeping getting in and out of one. This may be the definition of a vicious circle? Lunch this week is a struggle. I was so excited about that pork roast recipe and it ended up being colossally blah. I can't for the life of me figure out how! All that flavor in the marinade where did it go?!? It's totally edible, just almost entirely tasteless. Can't win them all I guess. I'm going to do another batch of balsamic chicken for next week I think, I haven't made that since my first Whole30 so I hope it's as good as I remembered. I might try a version of broccoli salad with it. You can tell I'm not in love with this week's menu when I have next weeks all worked out and it's barely Tuesday. My niece bought her first bike this week. Yes, bought it herself out of her piggy bank, mostly in ones and with ever so much pride. I did a double-take when I saw the picture though. Her bike helmet has a tiara on it. The neighborhood is so not ready for this. But it did have Tt looking for a bike too, after all I can't let her hit the trails alone! Let's hope it really is true what they say about riding a bike. Not sure how long I could claim I was only using training wheels in solidarity.
  7. @vozelle I don't want to go as far as to say I envy you because that would just be sort of ridiculous given what all you've gone through to treat this but I can totally see the silver lining in having to spend so much time being conscious of what you eat. It's sort of what I'm hoping to accomplish by setting myself the year long challenge with what I hope are some reasonable modifications. Hoping it forces me even further out of my comfort zone to try and discover more real food options. I know the more recipes I have starred in my notes that I really want to make again...not just things I could live on...the more likely I am to be eating the way I want to eat on the routine rather than it being some exception. And for all it's ups and downs I do want something like this as my "ever after" diet. Working on my meal plan for next week, I'm pulling out one of those recipes from the Instagram feed I mentioned a few weeks ago. This one is a pretty simple roast pork loin, done in a slow cooker which is my favorite lazy cookup day option...but with some interesting flavors: cilantro, orange juice, coriander, lime. I'm thinking I will see what I come up with and either do some zoodles or some spaghetti squash "noodles" under it. This week I've been doing another chicken salad, prepped similar to the peanut chicken I did last week but with a chimichurri sauce instead. I also tried a homemade ranch dressing recipe that was compliant but this was kind of never going to be a win I think. The problem is, I make a killer ranch people lick plates it's so good...and my version takes buttermilk. I got excited because this version called for adding a little vinegar to coconut milk and the common sub for real buttermilk is milk with vinegar so I thought this might make a really close approximation....and it's okay, but it's definitely not as good as the original. I will probably make the compliant version again over the next year and tweak the proportions around, but I suspect that down the road that might be one of my "it's worth it" uses for real dairy. My plan for next week contains all compliant ingredients this time, but my breakfast recipe will be using some of them in a non-compliant blueberry muffin sort of way. I feel like so far, four weeks in planning wise at least, I've got a decent balance going of being on my plan without letting the exceptions drown out the Whole30 core.
  8. Now one of these trips Nancy, we are going to have to plan a meet-up you know. It kills me to think of you drifting so close and not being able to say "hi!" Maybe if I promise to bring the entertainment in the form of my two nieces? LOL! On the zoodles, what I did this time was sprinkle salt on each pile of them when I got to the end of a zucchini so I knew the whole container was well salted, then covered them with paper towel and waited probably half an hour. This timing wasn't intentional, I just had other things to prepare and it took me that long to get back to them. The towel was soaked and I strained out a good bit of water, pressing lightly into a colander. It was interesting because they looked wilted compared to the crisp hard "noodles" I usually have. They almost looked cooked, which could make sense since there are cooking techniques where you do use salt alone to "cook" something. I did warm up some olive oil and sort of tossed them a few times on each side then before packaging them up in individual glass containers with some meatballs and sauce for lunches. I don't know if it was all that method or partly because the sauce I used cooked down with the meatballs so that there wasn't a lot left. Each meatball had a visible coating of sauce and there was maybe one large serving spoon of sauce besides so the combination of drier noodles and less extra sauce? Mmm, it was so good though. My week 1 was a tad shaky, I found out mid-week that one of the things I was eating wasn't as compliant as I had thought. Just a silly mistake on my part, I had read something about that brand being compliant but has misread which item and didn't double-check by reading the label when I bought them because at the time I was not doing Whole30. It was only when I went to open the second bag about Wednesday night that I realized. I think all things considered this is something I would be okay with having in my Food Freedom plan and I didn't get all the way to 10 on my allowed exceptions list so I added them. Sort of covering my backside after the fact for sure, but I seemed to do just fine with them all week. No signs of a horrible headache or a desire to maim everyone around me, so again a pretty seamless bounce back though of course my menu wasn't 100% compliant. I did notice some fatigue most days, crashed earlier at night than usual and slept deeply. I also backed off my workouts just a bit, not enough to break my streak but I only did the cardio AND yoga maybe twice all week. Towards the end of the week I also added a small side salad at dinner because I found one of the newer Tessemae's dressings at my local grocery and wanted to try it. It contains honey which is on my allowed list as long as it's in either a sauce, condiment, or dressing and is used sparingly and not routinely. It was nice for a change of pace from so many savory dressings lately but all in all I found it too sweet and not that satisfying. I may try it again another time maybe to make something like a traditional broccoli salad, but I found I prefer the more herbal dressings at this point. I am using honey again this week, as well as a no sugar added peanut butter. I tried another version of that Peanut Chicken Salad I think I mentioned a few weeks ago. Fingers crossed I like it better than the last version. I think I will though unless the flavors change a lot as it melds. Those are the only two non-compliant items on menu though, everything else toes the line. I ended up with a pet fish this week, which is partly why I haven't checked in sooner...I've been in full stress/research mode. It was a sort of accidental acquirement and I wasn't prepared to take on tending anything finicky which it apparently can be. It's a betta which are about equal parts hardy and diva from what I've read so far, few things that can be agreed upon either which tells me they vary some. I named him Siam Spade since I learned the fish originated in Thailand, which does sort of beg the question why they are also called Japanese Fighting Fish but I haven't run across the answer to that yet. I did get him moved into a home last night and after close monitoring I think it's going to suit. He seems energetic enough and curious about everything which seem like good signs. We took the girls to an aquarium store yesterday and on the advice of one of the posts I had read I got a Ghost Shrimp to keep him company but more importantly to help keep the tank clean. The girls batted eyelashes at their Mom and sweet talked her into getting them a small tank for a few pink Tetra's. Luckily their father approved of this and actually wants to go back because he was left out with no fish of his own to name. I can only imagine what will go with Posie (my sisters choice), Sassy (the best we can figure out from Maddie who is only talking a little so far) and....wait for it...Pinky Pie Balloon (named, you won't be surprised to hear, by Eliana the older niece.) I also bought a piece of rock while I was there, just an interesting shape with some holes and such out of a bin of rock. I got home and setup the tank, made sure the water that I had been warming in the room all day was the right temp, got all the decorations and plants in place and the pump humming along and had no more than introduced the shrimp who was scooting along happily when I noticed a tiny movement on the rock. OMG. Snails. First one which was sort of cute, though how it had lived through who knows how long of a dry spell I don't know, but then more. At last count I had six. This lead to a moral dilemma. The thing is, a snail or two or maybe three can help keep the tank clean and they were tiny things....but the wrong combination of snails with amorous intentions on each other and you can very quickly wind up with more snails than water. In the end I did the evil thing and divested myself of all but one of them. So we will see. Alas the shrimp did not survive his first day. I actually don't know what happened. Siam is inordinately curious and had been seen sneaking close to take a peek but I hadn't caught any territorial or aggressive moves. It is possible he acts up behind my back though. He has a rather pronounced air of innocence at times for a fish. It's also possible that the shrimp got ahold of some of his food. I didn't realize at the time that it contains some copper sulfate and copper is a problem for the shrimp. If that's the case it would have happened eventually because part of his function was to clean up after things. I may give it a week or so, read up some more on potential betta companions and foods that would work for both and try again. I have also caught him nose to shell with the snail, again no sign of nibbling, just intense scrutiny and I think he would do with some sort of play mate if I can find something he won't threaten. And that was my week. P.S. Huge hurrah for some measurable results there @C_Cezeaux very inspirational. Here is to another solid week!
  9. Anyone else seem to be missing the email alerts of a new post here again? Just curious. I want to give a shout out to Mel Joulwan's Pesto Meatballs, not sure what I did differently before but while I liked them the first time I made them...I'm swooning over them this time. Well, okay, let's me honest I do know a few things I did different this time. I used Paul Newman's Tomato Basil sauce, which is actually compliant even though I'm not 100% W30 right now myself. At first I was kind of worried because a jar of that didn't fill up my electric skillet the way the sauce ingredients in the recipe had and I worried these were going to turn out dry. Far from it. The texture is incredible. I let the zoodles sweat more than I have before too and I don't know if that made a difference or if just being less "watery" meant they reheat with more flavor or what... Great start though, to have both of my made ahead meals really hit the spot this week. I won't get into my personal hurdle with canned salmon, leave it that I like it once it's made up but getting it made takes a Herculean effort on my part with not letting the fish smell or the visuals of the skin and bones get to me. I added a lot of chopped orange bell pepper and red onion and some of the green goddess dressing I make as well as a bit of mayo and wrapped it up in a crisp romaine leaf. My local grocery has started carrying a really convenient package of large mostly flat romaine lettuce leaves that are so perfect for this kind of use without wasting anything. I'm further in on reading Food Freedom as well and it strikes me that I probably should have planned for an initial 30-days of going by the book. This isn't really going to be possible without putting off the rest of my plan though and I'm not going to do that. @C_Cezeaux who required posting the wretched pictures in a public forum?! I'm horrified at the thought of doing that myself so huge props to you. I did get off my lazy tush the other night and got a number from the scales that actually sort of shocked me (in a bad way, the pants test hadn't give up enough warning signs so I'm hoping that was a fluke number but wrote it down anyway) and took some pictures that didn't really make me happy either. I will be glad I had them at the end though I'm sure. I just today had an invite to join a co-worker for spinning class which is a lot more like exercise than I try to get into but I'm considering it. Possibly with the same area of the brain that said committing to doing this for 365 was a smart idea.
  10. @C_Cezeaux Oh, thanks for the reminder. I really need to do the pics and weigh in today too, maybe when I finally drag myself off the couch to go pack the lunch I made earlier. I am totally in sync with you right now. One of the things I wanted to talk about, but couldn't get the words, was that I have now passed the 100 day mark on doing some kind of workout every day. I started that back in January? February? I've sort of lost track I guess. I've gone through one (mostly) Whole30 and two months of complete abandon, but never lost the workout. The thing is, it really hammered home for me that I simply can't do one or the other. I can keep up the workout streak for months, but when my eating suffers I know I hold back. I may make my goal, but I'm not really pushing myself because the energy isn't there. On the flip side, at this point in my dieting adventure...I can eat a pristine Whole30 and still not see the kind of changes I want to see because losing weight doesn't translate directly into gaining tone. Most of my life I've wanted the magic bullet to be anything BUT working out or eating right. Maybe in the last three years or so I've wanted it to be EITHER working out or eating right because either one of them was hard enough. And yet what I'm staring at is...the only times I've felt like I was making a real difference in myself is when there were some elements of both going on. Can I get a chorus of "dang it!!?!" So one of my rules for this 365 day challenge is that I have to keep making that Move goal every single day. I know of several different ways to accomplish it, everything from yoga to a marathon shopping day...and I've done it when I was tired, when I was sick, and when I was on short of breaking a leg, I've little wiggle room. I've also sort of hit that moment when breaking the streak now means getting a new record would take a loooong time. If I manage to keep it going for the entire 365, I will be here a year from now and will be just about a month away from hitting a 500 day streak. I like that. Because it means even if I happen to need to eat an entire loaf of bread in 366 days...I will still have some motivation to keep the workout thing going until my sanity returns. And I do think that these two things feed off each other. The better I eat, the more energy I have to Move...and the more I Move the more I don't want to ruin all that effort by eating poorly. So a few little snags in getting ready today, I still haven't finished reading Food Freedom and I'm probably not as prepared as I was even for my first Whole30...I do have some of those same nerves though. Underlying them is the certain knowledge that of course I can do this even if it feels sort of daunting right now. I've made up a batch of Mel Joulwan's Pesto Chicken Meatballs (though for some reason I always opt for turkey) and some Zoodles for lunches this week, and I've got the stuff to make up some lettuce wraps with salmon salad for dinners. I have a few more recipes bookmarked to try in the coming weeks that are new to me...not sure if any of you follow Whole30 on Instagram but the gal who was sharing recipes this past week had some amazing ones and also offered a free e-book version that included all of them. I highly recommend looking that up. No real offense to that thread, but I've sometimes felt like all the recipes boil down to the same four ingredients just photographed from a different angle, but this week it's either my perspective or it all seemed much more unique. If you signed up for the e-book she also sent some emails about video courses on being successful and one of them included 5 recipes for sauces to go with steak which were also really interesting and 5 things to do with chicken. I also got some sort of fun inspiration from the Starbucks unicorn frapp that was in the news a week or so ago. Yes, I didn't see that coming either and no, I didn't try one. Mostly because they neglected to put coffee anywhere near it so how magical could it have been? One of my friends went to try one though and the barista talked her into trying something she called a dragon frapp instead. Basically it was a green tea frapp with some of the mango powder on it. Mango powder still sounds kind of gross but I'm working out a way to make that with compliant ingredients instead, green tea and frozen mango and the one toasted coconut almond milk I like....something along those lines. I have made up a list of a few food items I'm using that are not compliant, but I do want to keep about 98% of what I eat entirely in the bounds for this year. I know too well how blurring the lines is a long walk off a short pier. I've done this kind of balancing act before though and it's been a good fit, allowing me to be more creative with food but without reintroducing much of anything. Thrilled to see a few faces around tonight, so glad to not be feeling alone setting off on this. It feels like I'm not the only one feeling a fresh surge of energy to make some positive changes. So no looking back ladies, some great feelings to come if we can slug through the next two weeks!!!
  11. Back from my time off, slipped past the milestone birthday, and it's time to really ink in the rules for my next challenge. I actually think I'm ready to go there, but I still want to finish Food Freedom before I make it official. Just in case that changes anything for me. It's pretty liberal, more so than I thought it would be when I first toyed with this idea but I'm working really hard on keeping W30 ideals but also thinking about what I want my long-term food choices to look like and in context with some other lifestyle changes. This is going to be a super short check-in because my brain is just scattered today and while I sort of know what I want to's not coming together. I hope to be back again before next Monday to maybe share what I've settled on. I do love that May 1 is a Monday so I'm going to be starting out with that symmetry. I've got my first week meal plan pretty well laid out and ironically it doesn't include much of anything that wouldn't be compliant. I thought about doing a strict first 30 days but that's not really the spirit of what this year long challenge is for me. Still a good clean first week will be a nice fresh start and I'm looking forward to getting back to fresh food...or maybe that's just because it's lunch time.
  12. Well my April isn't going as smoothly as I had hoped. For one thing, neither of the dishes I made for this week hit the spot. Which is a really bad place for me to be in. I hate wasting the food, but if it's completely unappealing I will skip meals before I will eat it. The chicken recipe called for chicken thighs but I almost never like the taste/texture of those so I don't know why I thought this would be different. I should have gone with breasts. I also really liked the casual taste of the glaze that went on them and the broiling technique but the peanut butter dressing was horrible which ruined the slaw and left me with mildly gross chicken and little else. I actually think I would like it if I made double the glaze and used that as a drizzle of dressing instead of just while the chicken baked. I think it was adding the lime to the dressing that just didn't work for me at all. So that's going down on the list of "try again". The coffee bbq sauce was okay, but not fantastic. Due to a last minute schedule change though I ended up putting the pork in the crock-pot late Saturday night and needing to leave it on until Sunday early evening. This made for pretty tender pork by Sunday morning, but it was almost too dried out by Sunday evening even with the sauce added back in. It was still pretty good fresh, but now reheated it's dry as dust. Not helped in the slightest by the buns I bought to eat it on, which is an irony not lost on me. Eating food on bread as become an almost weird thing for me over the last few years, more often than not I notice how it does little to enhance much of anything. I still love bread, but I would rather enjoy it for itself than add those extra calories/carbs/sleepy making gluten elements to some innocent pulled pork that was just as good without it. I guess this is a good thing. So, time to regroup and plan next week, I really need something rock solid because the week from start to finish is a nightmare of deadlines and projects and things that probably will go wrong. On my cupcakes for everyone project this will be one of 4 weeks this year where I will need to bake twice in the same week, on top of which our Easter bake sale is next Friday, I have no less than three birthdays that happen this week on a personal level that need some attention, I have a kick-off meeting for that game marathon charity I'm involved with, I still need to do my taxes....okay that last one is pretty much my fault. Oh and I'm hostessing Easter so there is that whole thing to plan from food to Easter baskets. The only ray of sunshine in any of that is once next week is in the books, I'm off for a week straight with not much at all planned. I'm hoping by the end of the month to be able to report that I've finished the Food Freedom book and that I have my own rules ready to go for my 365 challenge. I will also be happy if I just survive the month.
  13. Wow Nancy, I swear I could have subbed your name for one of my good friends and it would have read just as true. She moved in with a friend last summer and has been living that exact same life ever since! Just last week she got a line on an apartment that she could move into come August and even having a possible move date has felt so good...but in the mean time, it's rough. I still struggle with that same thing when I've counted on Mom being gone and all of a sudden she is underfoot. I have the blessing of being able to use the basement kitchen if I really needed to, but taking all the things I need down there and then running back down a dozen times over the next week for things I need back upstairs...well you can imagine. I do always set up for my biggest baking days down there though and I think what I need to do is slowly stock it up with more utensils. Hmmm. Unfortunately the sink down there isn't really up to the type of massive cleanup that comes along with a massive cook-up so it's still not ideal but I wish I could share it with you right about now! Starting to work on next weeks meal plan. While I will be exiting W30 rules for a few weeks, I am focused on keeping fresh food at the front and packing my lunch and planning specific meals. I will also be keeping up with my Move goals, I'm excited to say I'm due to hit a 75-day streak this week! I'm set up for yoga and am starting to add that in here and there on top of my 30-minute walk/run, not sure I want to make that a daily though. I did try it out with my Apple watch the other day to see what type of calorie activity it recorded but the only setting that made sense was "other" and it records it like I was doing a brisk walk. I'm not sure that it wouldn't be somewhat similar in the end, but I don't like that I can't really tell for sure. It would satisfy my Move goal to swap the walk for yoga but if that's not really comparable calorie wise it feels like I'm slightly cheating myself. Need to do some more research there, or possibly find a shorter program that I like so I can combine the cardio with that without being at it all night. Anyway I think for lunches next week I'm going to try something off one of my favorite food blogs, it's partially compliant with a broiled chicken over a slaw based salad...but uses some honey in the glaze that goes on the chicken and has a peanut butter based dressing. For me, peanuts will be one of the things I allow during my 365 of FF so this recipe is something I could use down the road if it works out. I hadn't considered allowing honey though. I think that is generally accepted in Paleo but I'm not sure I want to add that in. On the other hand, I do want to widen the variety of dressings especially for summer salads. I might consider honey as long as it's used in a dressing or sauce and not in baked goods. Some of my favorite dressings are sweet/sour combo's and while I'm cool with playing around with fruit based dressings a nice whole ingredient honey mustard would be a bit of a game changer. Any time an idea for an "add" comes to mind, I try to think it over a couple of times and make sure I'm staying true to what I want to get out of next year, so April is going to be a good time to experiment with a few of the fringe decisions yet to be made. Also, not sure if I've mentioned but I think my sister is getting closer to wanting to try the program. She is looking at going back to school this fall and being at home more while she isn't working and all the stress of exams and projects I think she wants to be feeling as on top of life as possible at the start. I would love to see her try it, but I am walking that balance between supportive and pushy. I know my nieces would love it, they are fiends for vegetables. Not so sure about my brother-in-law, he totally has the discipline to do something like this with them, but may or may not buy into it right away. Unfortunately she lived through my first round where it felt like six trips to twenty stores each weekend to get everything for these huge sessions in the kitchen. I can help streamline that now, but she knows it can mean a lot of planning. Keep your fingers crossed! I'm trying to talk up a June start, such a good month with no major holidays (or for us birthdays either) and fresh produce coming in to season not to mention outdoor grilling weather. Gives enough time for some planning and to try some recipes ahead of time to see this can feel like completely normal meals. Also it leaves time for her to be on it for several months before school if she is successful on it.
  14. So couple updates, but first a confession is in order...I definitely skipped off the track a bit last Friday. It's a positive story in that I've been back on ever since, but this can't count as a true Whole30 in any sense and that's probably the first time I've ever really been faced with an absolute "do over". I'm not actually going to restart because I'm not doing this for the reintroduction and I am sticking to my schedule to break in April and then do the 365 deal, but it's only fair to tell my crew! It started with missing breakfast, which in and of itself unfortunately isn't all that unusual. Then I missed lunch, sort of, because my sister called to say she was about to order tickets to take the girls to the circus that night and did I want to come. Since it was one of their last performances in our state ever, this circus is closing down, I couldn't say no. But that meant I had to run home over lunch and grab a change of clothes. I did manage to fry a couple eggs while dancing from foot to foot in impatience but that was it. And between the drive and the performance and the traffic in the parking garage it was looking to be well over 24 hours since I had last eaten anything except those eggs before I got a chance to eat a real meal. Not good. So midway through, when my super shy younger niece warmed up enough to try a new game of "force feed Auntie stale popcorn"...I let her do it. To be honest, at that point, I wasn't starving yet and would have been fine not eating until I got home...but she hardly ever plays with me and the giggling was priceless. The popcorn? Not so much. But that was fun, so she then followed it up with some cotton candy which couldn't be any further from compliant if it tried...and which tasted sort of like soap. Being that I avoided most of it, I might not even have counted this as a true slip...again given that I'm not doing reintro this time around and don't need a pristine cleanse. It's what happened when I got home later that I have to confess and that was me heading straight to the candy dish with the "well I've already broken it" mentality. Sigh. That part I do think was hunger taking over and my old thought process of once you run the first red light...gun it all day long. I went to bed too tired to feel guilty yet, but not in a good place because there was no way I could tap dance around having done that. So the upside is I woke up the next morning, did my workout, and just got right back on track without a hitch since. This is I think what Food Freedom is supposed to be...though I still have to finish that book...and because it was showing me I really have changed how I react to a little failure, I'm kind of thrilled with it. I may need more of that, oddly enough. More of having a moment of "normal life" and then turning it right back around without beating myself up or agonizing over the lapse. That's one thing my modified plan for the coming year is going to allow room for, especially with the "one cupcake" rule, so I'm hoping this example sets the right tone for myself. Which leaves me on Day 24-ish. Working on my meal plan for next week, I think I'm going to bring back the bacon/chicken/tomato/mayo/lettuce wraps again for lunch because those were really good. If I can find the shrimp I like, I will probably do the mock fajita thing for dinners. Now, here is a fun challenge for you girls...while on vacation (what feels like forever ago) we stopped in one of those olive oil/vinegar tasting places and I picked up a few things I need to get out and start using. I have been saving them for my FF year because I can't tell for sure if they are compliant. No ingredients list to go by, they are talked up as being "infused with" but I can't tell for sure with what if it's more than what the name says or not. I do want to use some of these interesting flavors to play around with though and I'm curious to see what comes to mind for you! Here is what I have as inspiration so far... 1. First I have a blood orange infused olive oil. My thought for that was to start by using it as a sort of drizzle/glaze on grilled or blackened salmon. 2. A lemongrass vinegar. Here I was thinking maybe a bit Thai...trying out some kind of cold zoodle thing with the vinegar, some chili, maybe some garlic? Or, if the cold zoodle just doesn't work, maybe with something like sugar peas or green beans cold? 3. A pineapple vinegar. I need to check into this more but on The Splendid Table the other day she suggested to a caller that she use some fresh vanilla beans in a dressing over fruit salad with a light vinegar...and I'm thinking with a pineapple vinegar! No idea where to get fresh vanilla beans though, I'm lucky to find dried, but I could improvise I think. I like the idea of adding a slight bit of sour to a fruit salad though. I may also go back to experimenting with the pineapple coleslaw I tried to make with coconut milk during my first W30 and take it in a tangy rather than sweet and creamy direction by using fresh shredded coconut in the slaw mix rather than using the milk at all. But I would love to know what comes to mind for you on these...give me some new directions to try!
  15. Quick update, after a full night of sleeping in a self-induced sauna scenario (and say THAT ten times fast) the arm is feeling much improved. Still noticeable, but more tight and dull ache than actual pain and I have not even added another round of pain killers yet. May need to do that thanks to the ever opportune timing of mother nature or the moon or the tides whoever/whatever is to blame for cramps. I'm continuing the heat therapy today though so brought little kitty with me to work today. On the other hand, I did apparently alarm a few random people on the elevator...I suppose it's not precisely normal to ride on elevators with a stuffed cat tossed over your shoulder and to absently stroke it from time to time. (I was actually just making sure it didn't slide off and that it was centered as much as possible on the problem area...but I can see why that might not have been obvious to strangers.) The next time I left the office I tossed my jacket on over it thinking that would be more subtle. Imagine my face when I caught a glimpse in the mirror and realized that the extra bulk, which I hadn't fully factored in, gives me the approximate silhouette of the Hunchback of Notre Dame.