Whole 30 Week 3 and Workouts

 

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Wow, I cant believe I am 21 days into my Whole 30. This week was pretty much on cruise control, thank god! Since I was home from traveling I was able to cook  and prep most of my meals, which makes a huge difference. Typically I like to do most of my meal prep for the week on Sundays. It is a life saver to make a big dish so I have something to eat for lunch throughout the week. This past weekend I ended up having lots of time with friends, so my Sunday routine was thrown off. This meant I had to do more cooking at home after work when all I wanted to do was sit and un wind. My other saving grace this week was Whole Foods Hot Bar. It has saved me when I didn’t get my usual veggies roasted and I needed to grab some quick to add to a salad. My only complaint with Whole Foods is they use a lot of Canola Oil in their food, which technically is complaint in the Whole 30, but not encouraged. Oh well, a girl has to make sacrifices and for me that was it.

So what should I be feeling 21 days in? In reading the Whole 30 guidelines by this time I should be in the stage they call Tiger Blood. What is Tiger Blood you ask? Well according to their website it was a phrase they took from the actor Charlie Sheen (which who knows what he was using it for) and then attached their own definition to it. Essentially Tiger Blood is the part of the program where you are passed the biggest hurdles, i.e. the cravings and “hangover” part. From the website, “Your energy is through the roof, you’ve kicked the cravings, you’re experimenting with new, delicious food, and you’ve finally got the time to notice that your clothes fit better, your workouts are stronger, and you are generally more awesome.”

For myself it is not this dramatic transformation I anticipated. However there are definitely some noticeable differences. I would say if you are not looking for them, it could be easy to miss. Let’s start with the more noticeable ones. First my carvings for non Whole 30 Foods is pretty low or non-existent. I dont have any urge right now for anything processed, sugary, bread/grain like, or even alcohol. Which if you know me a glass of wine, bread, and cheese plate are my 3 essentials if I would be trapped on a desert island.  I was also really nervous about not drinking for a month due to the social impact. Instead I have been trying to spend more time with friends outside of happy hour. This has lead to many a coffee, breakfast, or workout class dates. It is a friendly reminder are friends love us regardless of what we put in our mouths.

Next and probably the most impactful is I am sleeping sooooooooo much more soundly. If you can relate, there is nothing worse then waking up all throughout the night. You wake up feeling almost as bad as if you had gone to bed at 2:00am. So to be able to get a full nights sleep night after night is incredible. Just to be fair though, we also did just buy a new King Bed around the same time this started, so that may have something to do with it as well.

My pants are fitting better. This was something I noticed after the first round I did of Whole 30 back in December and was one of the biggest reasons I wanted to continue the program. After years of practically starving myself I just can’t ever go back to that place. So it is nice to feel like I am not depriving myself of any food and I am still able to see an impact. I have also had some other things I started around December 1st that could be attributing, but regardless of what it is I will take it.  I am not sure what this equates to weight wise as we are not allowed to weigh ourselves on the program, which is fine by me as I broke up with my scale over a year and a half ago and have never looked back!

Lastly and the least noticeable is my energy. I wear a fit bit everyday and track my steps. Since starting the Whole 30 I have noticed without even trying I have added an extra 2-4k steps a day. This is huge if you really think about it as it is an extra 1-2 miles a day. Without trying my body has just wanted to move more. I have also found I have energy to do more “life” stuff like go through my closet, pay bills, cook, get together with friends, etc.  If I had not been paying really close attention to this one I may have completely over looked it.

To summarize, I may not be Tiger Blood yet, but I am seeing the Eye of the Tiger for sure.  One week left to go, although I am not going to lie, I might just keep this party going as long as I can. It feels good to feel good, you know?

Workouts:

Sunday: 60 Minute Barre Class at the Bar Method

Monday: 50 minute spinning class at Body Rok

Tuesday: 50 minute Barre Class at Mint Studio, 26 minute 4.15 mile run

Wednesday: 50 minute Spinning Class at Core 40

Thursday: 60 minute training session with personal trainer. Lots of legs and arms! Could hardly walk the next day

Friday: 50 minute spinning class at Body Rok

Saturday: 33 minute 5.15 mile run, 60 minute Barre Class at Pop Physique

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Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 10/22/15

Crossing the Finish Line 25 Pounds Lighter– I love reading personal stories about health and fitness. The struggles people go through, how they overcome them. There is something so comforting about knowing you are not alone out there. To hear others face similar struggles as yourself just makes you feel connected. This story is just that, a personal struggle with re-finding the inner athlete.

Neurogastronomy 101: The Science of Taste Perception-I loved this article, very fascinating. “This new science, called neurogastronomy, merges the science and culinary worlds by studying the human brain and the behavior that influences how we experience eating and drinking. Essentially, neurogastronomy shakes up how we look at food and taste: Instead of investigating how researchers can alter the taste of food by re-engineering what we eat, this science concentrates on how we can re-wire the brain to perceive food differently.”

How Agriculture Controls Nutrition Guidelines– “For the first time ever, the expert panel had included in its recommendations some mention of sustainability, acknowledging that questions about human nutrition cannot be divorced from the logistics of how this nutrition is procured. It is impossible to keep politics out of nutrition, as long as nutrition is still received via food, and food is still a good that is produced and consumed.”

McDonald’s just committed to 100% cage-free eggs– I came across this article last month and thought it would be a great one to post. Alas life has been a bit busy and because of that I have not posted as many articles as I would like. However I thought this article was still relevant and worthwhile to read. I am a big advocate on big companies making changes.”The super-sized chain announced that it would fully transition its Canadian and American egg supply to cage-free eggs over the next 10 years. The chain attributed the change to consumer preferences.'”

 

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Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 08/08/15

Stunning Photos From Around The World Bring Yoga Poses To Life– If you are like myself you are fascinated with beautiful images. Obviously with the popularity of social networking apps like Instagram, people are a fan of sharing and looking at photos. I for one love photos of people doing beautiful fitness poses. This article is all beautiful images of stunning yoga poses around the world.

The Makeup Tax-I have never paused to sit and think about how makeup affects my life. I really enjoyed this article for making me think about something in a new way. “Makeup, in short, is a norm, and nothing ruins a first impression like a norm violation. Some women contend they only wear makeup to “boost their confidence,” but the reason they feel less confident when they don’t wear it is that there’s an expectation they will. Makeup, in short, is a norm, and nothing ruins a first impression like a norm violation. One study found that participants were more likely to award “prestigious jobs” to women who were made up than to the same women when their faces were unadorned. Male (but not female) restaurant patrons tip morewhen female waitresses wear makeup.”

Choosing the Right Running Shoes– I for one know the importance of having the right running shoes. Shoes that do not fit well can very easily cause injury. I know this from first hand experience. “Perhaps most unexpected, running shoes designed to somehow “fix” someone’s running form turned out often to be ineffective and even counter-productive. In a series of studies, when military recruits were assigned running shoes meant to control their particular level of pronation, those soldiers were as likely, or even more so, to sustain running-related injuries than soldiers given shoes at random.”

The Evidence Supports Artificial Sweeteners Over Sugar– The sugar debate is one that is very interesting. This is the first article I have read supporting artificial sugar over regular sugar. It is hard to know what is true when there are so many articles out there contradicting one another. What I gather from it all is to just limit my added sugar consumption. “The available evidence points to the fact that there appears to be a correlation between sugar consumption and health problems; none can be detected with artificial sweeteners.”

Whole Foods Launches Store For Broke People– Business and Health, two of my favorite topics to read. This article is short, but interesting on how Whole Foods is looking to re-gain sales and marketshare. “Walter Robb, co-CEO wrote, “[W]e are excited to announce the launch of a new, uniquely-branded store concept unlike anything that currently exists in the marketplace. Offering our industry leading standards at value prices, this new format will feature a modern, streamlined design, innovative technology and a curated selection. It will deliver a convenient, transparent, and values-oriented experience geared toward millennial shoppers, while appealing to anyone looking for high-quality fresh food at great prices.”

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Avocado Chocolate Cookies Recipe

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I have a sweet tooth. I have had it ever since I can remember. Growing up I always craved cookies, cake, chocolate, you name it. Every year for my birthday I would get an ice cream cake from the famous Baskin Robbins. My favorite part was when the frosting was cold and hard right out of the freezer. I would enjoy the cake on my actual birthday and would always have a piece for breakfast the next morning. In college I can remember having a whole summer where my lunch consisted of a pint of Ben and Jerry’s oatmeal cookie dough ice cream. Eating dessert like this never crossed my mind as a bad thing. It was just wanted I wanted and therefore I did it. Now with 20/20 hindsight I can see how much sugar I consumed and just how bad it was for me.

Now I almost never indulge in dessert. Not because I don’t love it, I do. I have just learned I still have no self control when I eat it. I will tell myself I will only have one bite, then I will have a second, third, I am soon licking the plate and laying in bed with a sick stomach. I will now save my dessert indulgences for special occasions like weddings, birthday’s, or when I place is famous a treat on the menu. However let’s be realistic, sometimes you need something sweet. This is where I have learned to make desserts that hit the craving, but also will not kill your waistline.

This recipe like many others I use I found on pintrest. My favorite recipes are the ones which are easy, fast, and have only a handful of ingredients. Did I also mention they need to taste delicious as well? This is a great go to if you are craving something sweet. The best part about it is you can also eat these cookies for breakfast as well. No need to wait till the end of the day. I enjoyed my cookie right out of the oven with a glass of cashew milk. A perfect end to a long day. Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 avocado
  • ½ cup coconut sugar (I got mine at Trader Joes)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup dark cocoa powder
  • 50 g. dark chocolate chips (I didnt have any around, so I used walnuts instead)
  • ½ tsp. baking soda

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. In a bowl mix together avocado and coconut sugar until smooth. Add in the egg. ( I used my kitchen aid)
  3. Mix in the cocoa powder and baking soda.
  4. Add in chocolate chips or nuts
  5. Using a spoon place dollops of cookie dough in a baking sheet with parchment paper. This should yield about a dozen cookies.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cookies don’t stick as much to the paper as they did before baking.
  7. Cool down end enjoy! These cookies also taste really good cold, so you can put in the fridge as well

A Week of Food In Greece

I have been sitting here for a while thinking about how I would best showcase all of the amazing food I ate while in Greece. I could post each picture, each memory, with a detailed description of the meal from the first step into the restaurant to when I was so satisfied I was in a state of euphoria. I could go into detail about the ambiance in the restaurant, the presentation of each dish, the taste of the first delicate bite which you can never replicate no matter how many more bites you take. I could talk about the tips and tricks I took when ordering to try and stay healthy, how I watched my portions, while still trying every last thing I wanted. Ultimately I decided pictures speak louder then words. This is by no means every meal I ate on the trip, however it is some of the more memorable ones.

BREAKFAST

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As we know I am obsessed with yogurt. Whenever a restaurant or cafe had yogurt as an option it was a mindless decision on what I would be ordering. This breakfast was by far one of my favorite’s on the trip. Creamy, smooth, and an amazing collection of fruit. It hit the spot.

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 I love little treats, so I knew I was going to fall in love with Greece when every time I ordered a beverage I received a goody. On this day it was a little cookie with my morning coffee. Nothing like a little sugar to start your day.

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Just another amazing fruit and yogurt breakfast. This one came with a little treat of baked goods. I sampled a small bite of each. So good!

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 This was my only morning having eggs for breakfast. Dustin and I walked almost 2 miles to get to this cozy cafe recommended by our Air BnB host. The ambiance of this place was amazing just like their food.

LUNCH

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Over the entire trip we did not end up eating a lot of lunches. Instead we would eat a larger breakfast and an even larger dinner. Then we would typically split something as a snack throughout the day or enjoy a treat with our beverage order. Here is just one example of a beautiful salad we shared. The fresh citrus with the greens hit the spot.

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This was by far one of our favorite meals on the entire trip! Nothing like a big plate of gyro meat, pita, and onions after a morning run and walking. The meat just melted in your mouth.

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Stopping by a street vendor one day to share a pork kabob in a bun with ketchup and mustard. This is the Greek take on a hot dog, but way better.

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Overlooking the ocean we enjoyed a fresh crab salad for lunch. This place was recommended by my yoga teacher as one of her favorite places to eat in Santorini. We loved trying to eat only where the locals ate throughout the trip. I cant even put into words how refreshing this meal was.

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One day we took the bus to a little town Peza in Crete to do some wine tasting. Although the wine tasting was dismal at best, our highlight of the day was finding this local spot for lunch. Workers were on their lunch break ordering meat on a stick accompanied by bread and ketchup. We also stopped by a little market vendor to pick up some fresh strawberries and grapes to eat with it.

SNACKS

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Again I love how in Greece your beverages always come with a snack. When ordering wine fruit was paired, nuts or chips was common with beer, and a small baked treat with coffee. There were many afternoons where this snack and drink would hold us over till dinner.

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With every meal we ordered we received bread. For me this was heaven and hell since I love bread, but I also have little to no self control with it. However once I learned I would be getting bread with every meal it made me stop, pause, and eat only the bread I truly loved. If it was not amazing I knew another loaf would not be to far away.

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Wine tasting with cheese, olives, bread bites, and a tomato dip. A perfect afternoon in my opinion.

DINNER

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We wanted to make sure we got at least one very traditional Greek meal in. This was a platter of all of the different mezzes we are accustomed to in the states. The difference from back home to Greece is obviously the taste. There is really no comparison.

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This was my favorite greek salad on the trip. The produce was so fresh, it was swimming in olive oil, perfectly baked croutons, and cheese that melted in your mouth. The portion was huge and came in a giant wooden bowl. I could eat this salad every day for the rest of my life and be happy. It was that good.

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At the same restaurant as the best greek salad of my life was this amazing lamb dish. It was served with smoking sage rising and twisting it’s way up engulfing every last ounce. The presentation would have been enough, but yes the food tasted just as good as it appeared.

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I have never been one to eat anchovies, however Dustin loves them. We ordered this dish at the pier and although I was not looking forward to it as much as others I ended up loving it. The fish were salty and perfect. The olive oil and onions just made all of the flavors come together.

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Another amazing traditional greek salad. This one had a balsamic glaze on top. We paired it with the dish below.

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Our last meal on the trip. This was a pork dish in a sweet glaze. Tasty, but not my favorite on the trip. What made this meal so memorable though was the view we had while enjoying it. We were in Santorini watching the sunset as we finished off our last bite. A perfect date to end an unforgettable trip.

Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein Recipe

 

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Life has just been busy lately! After a new and exciting promotion at work my days are now all consuming with very little time to rest. Then my evenings have been packed with fun events like birthday celebrations, concerts, yoga dates, etc. What does all of this mean? Well my nights have not been filled with cooking robust meals. It has been easy, quick, and healthy dinners like eggs with veggies, stir fry’s, or an open faced sandwich. However last week in spite of all of the madness that has been my life as of late, I was able to take a moment to myself and cook a recipe I have been wanting to try for a while.

I found this recipe looking through Pintrest. The moment I saw the picture I knew this dish was going to have to be made. What also sealed the deal on it was I already had most of the ingredients at home, so it also made it an easy week night dish. Overall the dish was pretty easy to prepare, although the longest part was backing the spaghetti squash, which takes about 40 minutes. I made a few changes to the recipe based on what I had around, however I have indicated what changes I made below.

Preparation was quick and when it was all done, I filled up a bowl for me and one for Dustin. By the end of the meal my bowl was pretty much licked clean. This dish did not disappoint! It really did taste like chow mein, however without that heavy gut feeling after eating an entire bowl of the real stuff. This recipe is healthy and delicious. I have to say t is a must try , especially if you are craving some Chinese food. Next time I might add some shrimp or chicken into it to get a little extra protein. Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (I used Braggs Liquid Amino Acid instead. This is a staple in our household for cooking)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed (I used honey since I was out of brown sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger (I used powdered ginger as that is what I had at home)
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (I cut this down to 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced diagonally
  • 2 cups cole slaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots)

Directions

Cut a spaghetti squash in half length wise and scoop out seeds. Lay skin side up in a 13 x 9 dish and pour about 1/2 inch of water into the pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until the flesh becomes tender. When done scoop out the flesh with a fork so it breaks apart into strings and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, ginger and white pepper; then set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and celery cooking until tender, which is about 3-4 minutes. Add in the cabbage mix at the very end for about 1 minute.

Next stir in spaghetti squash into the large skillet and pour the  sauce mixture over top. Stir everything for a minute or so to make sure it is all combined. Then you are ready to eat!

Oat Bran Breakfast Porridge Recipe

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Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I love all types of breakfast food, oatmeal, greek yogurt, eggs and toast, you name it. I have also found when there is a breakfast I like I will become obsessed and will eat it everyday without fail. I had years of oatmeal with cinnamon and a cut up apple, to me it tasted like a warm apple pie. Then I moved onto overnight oats, a mix of greek yogurt and oats, mixed with grapes. It is creamy, sweet, and easy to enjoy leisurely. This has now been my staple for the last couple of years. Although now it has come to be that time where I might have to switch it up. And to what one might ask? Well I think I may have just found my new breakfast love, an oat bran porridge.

I found this recipe like I do so many, looking through my beloved Pintrest. I had some extra oat bran around the house from a quick bread I had made. Staring at the bag I pondered to myself, could this be more? As I typed in oat bran into the key words search engine I became pleasantly surprised to learn yes it could be. Not only could it be more then just an ingredient someone bakes with, but it could be a whole meal on its own. I took the recipe and immediately made the porridge. However I knew it was going to need just a little something else.

A few months ago Dustin started to dress up his oatmeal. He started to add eggs, blueberries, chia seeds, and and almond butter making it a huge power breakfast. At first glance it seemed quite gross to me.  I mean it looked like such an odd combination. Although upon trying his concoction I became quite obsessed. When making the porridge for the first time I decided I would make it Dustin’s way, adding eggs and blueberries. I have to say it ended up being really delicious and filling! That is one thing I love about simple oats or porridge’s like this, there are plenty of easy mix ins one can add. Almond Butter, Banana, apples, brown sugar  to make it sweet, but one can also add in eggs, kale, squash, nuts, to make it savory.  The options are endless! Below is the quick and easy recipe, it takes only about 5 minutes to prepare.

 

Makes 1 serving (although I made a larger batch so I could have it for a few days)
Ingredients

1/2 cup oat bran
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk of choice (I did almond milk)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Sweetener of choice (stevia, brown sugar, etc. to taste)

Place oat bran, water, milk and cinnamon into a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook stirring frequently for about 3 to 5 minutes or until the mixture starts to bubble. You want the mixture to thicken and it is better to under-cook rather than over-cook it.  Once you remove it from the hear allow a couple of minutes for it to thicken a little more and then add in your sweetener and fixings. Mine was 1 egg and 1/4 cup egg whites scrambled together with a 1/4 cup of blueberries.

Creamy Pumpkin Chili Recipe

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Over the holidays I went back home to Colorado to see my family and friends. One of the perks of being away from work and your real life is having the time to enjoy leisurely activities, like reading books and magazines.  I had brought a whole stack of my favorite and very much neglected magazines with me to enjoy flipping through while drinking my morning coffee.  In one of my beloved subscriptions I came across a recipe for a pumpkin bean chili. I looked out the window to see the snow falling down with bursts of wind in the 20 degree weather and I knew this meal was exactly what I needed to hit the spot for the day. Plus I am also just an addict for anything that has pumpkin in it.

Let’s also take a moment to talk about how much I love soups and chili’s because they are so quick and easy to fix, along with being healthy and filling. Not to mention you really can’t mess them up. For anyone who is new to cooking, I highly recommend just making a batch. Trust me, you really can’t go wrong. I decided I wanted to change the recipe a little bit to make it creamier and a little heartier, which involved adding lite coconut milk and some ground beef. I just made this dish again on Sunday and was able to tweak it a little bit more. I now feel like this recipe is a keeper. I will preface the photo’s above do not do this dish justice.

Ingredients 

1 Can of Pumpkin

2 Can’s of Diced Tomatoes

1 Can of Lite Coconut Milk

1 Whole Diced Onion

1 Can of Hominy

1 Can of Kidney Beans

1 lbs of Ground Beef

1 Tbs Cinnamon

1 Tsp of Salt

1 Tsp of Garlic Salt

1 Tsp of Brown Sugar

Serves 6-8

Steps

First take a large Dutch Oven, I used my 6-Quart, and saute the diced onion with a little olive oil for about 5 minutes till the onion is translucent. Next add in the Ground Beef and saute until it is almost fully cooked through.

Next add in all of the remaining ingredients.  Next cover on medium heat for about 5-10 minutes. You can also add a little avocado or greek yogurt on top if you want to make it a little creamier. However with the coconut milk it tastes pretty good without all of the fixings. Once hot spoon out and enjoy!

Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 11/30/14

Shop Yourself Happy– In light of the holiday season and all of the shopping consumers will do in the next 3 weeks, I thought this article was only fitting. What I like about this article is it does not preach you should not spend money this holiday, but instead poses 8 ways to spend money and get more out of it. I know I do a couple of these this time of year and it definitely feels more rewarding. “If money doesn’t make you happy, then you probably aren’t spending it right.”

Calories on Menus: Nationwide Experiment Into Human Behavior– I have posted a few articles on this subject, because it is something that I really believe in, I find beneficial as a consumer, and because human behavior is also fascinating. Research seems to still be a little inconclusive based on not having a large enough sample base and a long enough period of time. However the Starbucks example is very interesting. “One of the largest studies to date, involving hundreds of millions of transactions at Starbucks, found a small but real decline in the number of calories consumers bought.”

Can Mushrooms Treat Depression?– This article lays out some of the psychological benefits that can come from a drug derived from magic mushrooms called psilocybin, a couple of which are helping depression and obsessive compulsive behavior. However since magic mushrooms are illegal it poses difficulty for researchers to really dig in and find out how it can benefit people.

The Lessons of Peyton Manning  One thing I love about fall is football. Yes I might not always watch it, but something about even hearing the sound in the background is very comforting to me. Being from Colorado the Broncos have been my favorite football team my entire life. Now having a quarterback like Peyton Manning is just added icing to the cake. When I came across this article this week I knew I needed to include it.  The author for this article looks at Peyton Manning’s successes and makes it relatable for others in their own personal goals. “The real masters of their craft demonstrate that quality of mindset determines quality of behavior, and that great physical achievements are often the result of the mental and emotional fitness behind them, not the other way around.”

Why 2025 Matters: From Tech to Table– “Many policy experts at the Food and Agriculture Organization, among other institutions, believe the challenge facing us now is to practice something called “sustainable intensification.” This means increasing food production from existing farmland while minimizing pressure on the environment.”

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Photo from Huff Post

 

Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Stew Recipe

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Let me put it out there, I read a lot of magazines. Something about opening up your mailbox, seeing the cover photo of your favorite guilty pleasure, new and staring back at you,  just  makes you feel like a special present has just been sent soley to brighten up your day. I always felt like I officially was an adult with my own place when I started to subscribe to every magazine I had ever wanted.  One of these magazines was one of my all time favorites from  Martha Stewart’s publications called Whole Living.

This magazine always seemed to capture what I loved about so many of my separate reads into one beautiful master monthly publication for my liking. It had the comforting home segment like Real Simple and Martha Stewart Living, but mixed in with the healthy living and fitness aspect like Fitness and Women’s Health. I found out of my 8 subscriptions this was the one magazine I held onto way too often as there was always just too much goodness in it to throw out.  Alas what happened to my beloved, well it was discontinued in 2013 and I found my magazine subscription life had to move on without it.

I still have a few of the best issues tucked away in my wicker magazine basket and the other day when the weather starting to turn a little cold I knew exactly what recipe I wanted to make and where to grab it.  The recipe was part of a 3 week detox plan in the 2013 January edition. I attempted to try the whole detox and made it through the first week before jet setting off to New York for a week of work and fun with friends. Obviously once the plane hit the ground the detox was off, but I found I came back for weeks after trying all of the various recipes upon returning home.

One of my favorite was the Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Stew. This dish is filling, healthy, flavorful, and hits the spot on a chilly night. It says it makes 4 servings, but really I found it to make about 6. The other night we paired it with a little brown rice, which added a little more girth to it. It is really easy to make, quick to cook, and only gets better after a day or two. My only complaint, it is not very photogenic. So I apologize for not having a great glamour shot of this one. However I included the link to the recipe at Whole Living so you can see a more mouthwatering rendition.  I hope you enjoy!

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Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Stew

Whole Living, January/February January/February 2013

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp coconut or extra-virgin olive oil (I just used cooking spray to save a few calories and it worked well)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 diced large onion
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 minced cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 peeled and diced sweet potatoes
  • 1 diced (stemmed, seeded) red bell pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups rinsed red lentils
  • 6 cups vegetable broth

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook cumin, turmeric and curry powder until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add onion with a few pinches salt, and cook, stirring, until tender, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, until tender, about 2 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and bell pepper and cook 1 minute.
  2. Add lentils and Broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until lentils are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.