Posts Tagged ‘healthy food’

Healthy Reset: Week 4

July 27, 2015
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Beautiful roasted beets. The secret to success is preparation.

This week started off with a stressful bang. While trying to make plans to meet a friend between presentations at a trade show, she remarked that the website listed my presentations on Tuesday. Great, except they were supposed to be on Wednesday.

Yikes! I worked on them all weekend, but they weren’t done yet. I was also booked with another client for an all day meeting that people were flying in for on Tuesday. I am the ultimate multi-tasker, but being in two places at once is not in my repertoire. A marathon ensued, and a mere 15 hours later, I had two presentations loaded onto my computer. All that’s left was trying to figure out what I was going to say, and I’d be good to go. My other client was extremely forgiving. I hope that they are still a client next season.

It's 11pm. Do you know where your presentation is?

It’s 11pm. Do you know where your presentation is?

Getting home from work at midnight usually entails indulging in my favorite  comfort food dinner of popcorn and red wine. Hello Whole 30! No corn, no butter and no wine. Somehow decaf tea and berries with cashews didn’t provide me with any great comfort or pleasure, but it was a far better choice nutritionally. I am however, quite proud of myself for not caving. My energy level has been extremely high, which really helped me cope with the week.

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Late to bed and early to rise, I crammed for my presentations and somehow pulled them off. My stress level was off the Richter scale, yet something odd happened. Throughout the entire ordeal, I had an inner sense of calm, although I was completely stressed out. I was nervous about pulling together the content, an then about getting up in front of a room full of professionals and not knowing what I was talking about, yet the butterflies and tension were fully under control. Is it possible that my healthy diet left me well nourished, moderately well rested (less tossing and turning, and no burning stomach) and therefore more able to deal with the pressure? Is it possible that the junk I consume is what wears me down, and not the stress itself? I certainly don’t want to go through this again anytime soon to find out, but it is food for thought. Literally.

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How could anyone prefer fake colored processed junk to gorgeous rainbow carrots?

How could anyone prefer fake colored processed junk to gorgeous rainbow carrots?

Wednesday brought a huge sigh of relief, as the tension of the previous weeks started to leave my body. I had a work related cocktail party where I happily sipped sparkling water with lime and avoided the hors d’ouerves. Since I got home late, I ordered a Mediterranean Salad without cheese for dinner. It arrived with double cheese which I tried to surgically remove. Feta cheese is soft and clings to everything, so getting rid of it wasn’t easy. If I ended up ingesting a microscopic piece of it, life will have to go on anyways.

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I had an all day seminar on Thursday, so I had some poached eggs and cherry tomatoes for breakfast, and brought a banana and a little glob of almond butter in a jar, “just in case.” I was happy to see that banana, since there wasn’t anything else I could eat. Even the vegan options were carb heavy. When I got home at 3:30 I gorged on cashews. Not the best example of Whole 30 eating, but sometime a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do!

A business dinner wrapped up the crazy week! Although there was a prix fixe menu, I was able to navigate it. The appetizers, served family style were all off limits, but thanks to my nut binge, I was able to hold off. I dissected a burata and tomato canape, eating only the tomato part, to appear social. While almost everyone at the long community table opted for pasta, I had the chicken breast, which was simply grilled with a few vegetables and a drizzle of flavorful pesto that didn’t have any cheese in it. It was wonderful, and I doggy bagged half of it for lunch the next day. Score! It became joke, since only one person at a table of trend forecasters and fashion experts stepped out of the norm. Rather than make a fuss about my diet, I simply declared that pasta was over and chicken was the next big thing. Comic relief and a delicious, compliant dinner to boot! When dessert rolled around, there was some fresh berry thing in a deep bowl, so I asked for mine without the sauce or pastry. Nobody noticed that my little bowl contained anything different from theirs, so again, I was able to skirt the diet issue and stay on course.

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We are coming into the home stretch. I am feeling energetic, despite the crazy week, and I think my hair seems a little healthier, although that may be attributed to a recent cut. A friend complimented my skin. My supposedly stress induced stomach aches have not ruled their ugly heads during this incredibly stressful time. My usual three to five pound weight fluctuations have stabilized to a pretty consistent number. (I lost a little weight at the beginning, but have not seen much of a drop lately.)

Next week is looking like it will be a calm one, so I may stay on track for awhile until a reason to go off presents itself. The next phase is re-entry, where each food group is added back individually to see what makes you feel unwell. I am dreading that little journey of self discovery, but it should be interesting. There is no re-entry for alchohol or sugar, since it presumed that everyone feels bad when partaking in them.

Today is day 29 of 30. Stay tuned….I am almost done!

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Healthy Reset: How Its Going Week One

July 3, 2015

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The new eating plan got off to a rocky start on Monday morning, when I discovered that the only thing to make a smoothie out of was a few freezer burned strawberries and some pineapple chunks. Those mixed with water left me a bit cold, but it was better than a completely empty stomach as I headed to the gym. The lesson was quicky learned; be prepared.

In order to eat fresh, whole foods, one has to have them on hand. On the way back from the gym, I detoured through Chelsea Market and picked up lots of fresh produce and some fish to facilitate easy meal preparation. I am lucky to live in New York where I can walk out the door and have my pick of places to buy healthy food within a block or two. A word to the wise: if you have to drive to get groceries, stock up!

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The rest of the day went off without a hitch. While the program allows snacking if you are hungry, it is preferable to eat three healthy and filling meals instead. Some of the snacking cycle is in our heads. We get bored, or tired and think we need a snack. Sometimes we do, but often times we just need a glass of water or a cup of green tea and a diversion. Yesterday, I needed a snack.

Most Whole30 participants complain of headaches and low energy during the first week. This is a result of our bodies coming off of sugar, caffeine ( although coffee and tea are permitted, without dairy or sweeteners) and much of the excess junk that we previously consumed. My diet is not all that different on a daily basis, with the exception of dairy, mostly in the form of Greek yogurt, so I am hoping to bypass the hangover feeling that many people endure during days 2-7. Afterall, it was that hangover feeling that I got when I ate poorly that prompted me to try this. So far, I made it through a cycling class followed by a pilates class, so I guess I am doing fine.

Although the plan strongly urges you not to count calories or weigh yourself for 30 days, I recorded my food and exericise in my journal anyways, and discovered that even though I ate three healthy, balanced meals, my caloric intake was extremely low. Most experts advise eating at least 1200 calories per day, without exercise. Given that my workout burnt over 700 calories today, eating less than 700 calories can’t be good, so I treated myself to a little Monkey Salad. It is a paleo fruit salad, consisting of a sliced banana, a handful of cashews, and a liberal sprinkle of unsweetened coconut flakes. It is considered an acceptable indulgence since it uses approved foods, contains fruit, fat and protein, and doesn’t mimic something we are trying to avoid. It hit the spot, and could become a go-to. It also contained almost 300 calories, so it is important not to go crazy with it under normal circumstances. However, it drives home a good point: although Monkey Salad has as many calories as a cookie (or 2), or a bowl of ice cream or some chips, it is healthy, nutritious and contains no additives. ( Check the labels when buying coconut and cashews to make sure that is all that is listed on the ingredients. Sweetened, salted or preserved coconut is a big no-no.)

Day three brings no news, and if I continue to be home, without travel or social plans, this could be easy to sustain. It requires a lot of shopping, and chopping, but I know that I am not putting anything into my food that is against the rules. I love vegetables, so eating lots of them is fine. I am not longing for anything at this stage, but I am only a few days in. The weekend presents a challenge, when we typically eat out for brunch, and I indulge in a little wine and whatever at night. I am committed to NOT doing that this weekend.

Day 4 brings an ooops into the equation. In repurchasing a few things that I had on hand, I read the labels more carefully and low and behold, I have been using a few non-compliant items.

Srirachia contains sugar, a big no-no on this plan. The rules state that you must start over if you eat non-compliant foods, but there is no way I am going to go nuts over a tiny squirt of hot sauce that probably contained mere grains of sugar. But, speaking of nuts, Trader Joe’s roasts their cashews in rice bran oil. Yep, not on the list. Today I bought raw cashews, and will roast them myself, without any oil at all. While all of this sounds a bit extreme, the lesson here is to read labels carefully, and avoid packaged foods wherever possible. Freshly roasted nuts are delicous, and Tabasco sauce and Chola are both compliant, so I am not really giving up anything else here.

Whole 30’ers report feeling nasty and viscous on day 4, but so far, I don’t feel any malice towards anyone. I didn’t sleep as well as I should last night, so I am a little tired, but otherwise, all is normal. Many of the participants don’t workout, but I am keeping up with my workout schedule as usual. I guess the more detoxing you need to do, and the worse these first few days are. I don’t recommend going cold turkey on this plan, if your normal eating habits are poor. If you decide to do it, it might be best to start weening off the addictive foods on the list a bit before embarking on the full deal.

I am planning to invite a few friends over for Fourth of July dinner. I don’t mind making a dessert for them and not eating it, and I often serve meat to my family or guests that I don’t eat, but I would like to make all the side dishes compliant. With vegetarians in the mix, it will be a challenge to give them enough heft without dairy, beans, soy, grains or flour. Perhaps putting non-compliant ingredients on the side will be the answer. Check back for the verdict on how the holiday weekend went, temptations and all!!!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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