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Posts tagged “healthy eating

The Whole 30: The End

This week I said adieu to The Whole 30 after four long weeks of clean, healthy eating. While I did a “lite” version of this paleo-inspired program which included some additional vegetables & beans since I was excluding meat, I feel as though I was still able to get a good feel for the program.

Pros:

As with my juice cleanse in 2012, I found that one of the major challenges for me at the beginning of The Whole 30 was to think before eating. That may sound like a simple task, but a lot of snacking & munching throughout the day is habit or boredom or automatic rather than actual hunger.

Since this program excludes certain things I was forced to think about what I put into my body more consciously than I do on a regular basis. And that can’t be anything but good! Really listening to my body and asking the right questions was key – Am I really hungry? What is my body asking for? – I was also forced to plan my meals in advance to ensure I was receiving the necessary nutrients.

MacNCheesePlatedE

{Vegan, gluten-free mac n’ cheese & sautéed garlic vegetables}

Cons:

While I did miss some things {namely sweetener in my morning tea & Diet Coke}, I knew I could survive without them for a month. The real con about this program is that it’s not sustainable. It’s a cleanse and intended to be followed only for a short period of time. Living without alllllll fruits, vegetables, gluten-free grains, beans, and nuts isn’t conceivable if I want to live a full & healthy life.

Physical Benefits:

I already follow a fairly healthy diet, I do most of my own cooking and stay away from synthetic & processed foods, but overall in January I felt even healthier than usual. I woke up easily & was filled with energy, my days were productive and by planning out healthy, protein-rich meals in advance I avoided blood sugar spikes over the course of the day, and – best of all – I slept exceptionally well most nights.

Biggest Benefit:

I spent a great deal of 2012 in the kitchen but I have to admit that I was mostly baking. This month I tried more new recipes than I can remember trying all of last year! I made stew, paella, sautées, stir frys, mac n’ cheese, BBQ Baked Beans, and a couple other tasty new dishes. It was fun to put some real effort into being creative in the kitchen and I really hope to continue with that now that the challenge is over.

Have you ever tried a clean eating program like The Whole 30? What were the worst & best parts?

If you’d like to read about my entire experience with The Whole 30 you can catch up at the following links: The Whole 30: Preparing + Week One, The Whole 30: Week Two, The Whole 30: Week Three & The Whole 30: Week Four.


{Guest Post} Food & The Daily Battle

Welcome to Part II of the Women’s Health series here on Moi Contre La Vie. Today we’re going to hear more from Megan of Kaia F.I.T. Sacramento on the daily struggle to eat well. If you’re new to this series be sure to check out Megan’s bio {Guest Post: Women’s Health} and her previous post – Fashion of the Fitness World.

Part 2: Food… The Daily Battle

I love ice cream, especially cookies & cream. I love cheeseburgers and extra crispy french fries. I can put down a serious amount of pizza. I love crafty cocktails and champagne. I worked in fine dining restaurants for 10 years and was privileged to indulge in some amazing dishes and glasses of wine…

But now I work in the fitness industry. And I constantly try to balance my view of food… Fuel or Delicious Goodness? My answer is both.

The majority of the time, on the day-to-day, food is fuel. Looking at it that way leads me to eating cleaner, leaner, and healthier. I view myself like a machine and if I want to run properly, perform well in my workouts, and feel energetic all day, I need to provide myself with the best fuel available.

I personally feel the best when I eat multiple times throughout the day, always beginning with breakfast. I feel great when I eat lean meat and eggs, lots of veggies and greens, and fresh fruit. I like nuts and trail mix for snacks and dried fruit for dessert. Avoiding the starchy carbs, dairy, and sugar is essential to feeling good.

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However, coming from the restaurant industry, I love nothing more than a nice dinner out. I appreciate a perfectly cooked noodle and a salty piece of pork belly. And I absolutely love home-made ice cream and cookies at my mom’s house. These are the good things in life.

So, how do I balance it? When do I decide to devour a sandwich and when do I stick to a salad full of veggies? I practice MODERATION. I try to stick to healthy ‘fuel’ most of the time. When I treat myself to ‘carbs’ and sugar, I view it just that way… As a TREAT. I think it’s better that way anyway. I feel like crap when I eat sugar and bread days in a row and I stop appreciating it.

Everyone has to make their choices, each and every day. But awareness is where it all begins. If you never go without bread, dairy, sugar, alcohol, etc., how will you ever know how you feel without it?

Our go-to detox at Kaia FIT is 7 days without the following:

  • All starchy ‘carbs’ (bread, tortillas, rice, potatoes, etc.)
  • Sugar over 9g per serving (besides sugar naturally found in fruits/veggies)
  • Alcohol
  • Dairy
  • Processed Foods (if you can’t pronounce something on the label, avoid it!)

Eating clean is a great feeling and I highly recommend letting yourself experience it. And remember, “All things in moderation, including moderation.”

A big thank you to Megan for this great insight into her way of thinking about nutrition. It’s very easy to get into patterns of binging or restricting, so avoid all the negative side effects of both of those ways of eating and try practicing moderation as Megan has suggested.

What’s your personal approach to your daily diet?


The Whole 30: Week Four

In this, the fourth and final full week of The Whole 30 challenge, I started to realize just how great I’m feeling. While this clean eating plan isn’t terribly far off from my usual way of eating, it excludes the few synthetic, processed & sweet things that I usually consume. Mostly Diet Coke on weekends, Stevia in my morning green tea, the baked goods that I prepare a few times a month, and the red wine or whiskey I indulge in every once in a while.

And I’m not sure if it’s excluding these things that’s making me feel so much better or just the consistency of my diet lately, but I have been feeling great.

Snacks:

Same old, same old. Fresh veggies, smoothies, and sweet potatoes.

Part of the consistency that I mentioned above is a major reduction in my overall snacking – By consciously filling my meals with substantial amounts of fiber & protein I’m staying full and satiated for longer which means less snacking.

Meals:

My favorite new dish this week was one that I made for brunch last weekend – OhSheGlow’s Maple Baked Lentils w/ Sweet Potatoes. I made a few Whole 30-approved changed and the end result was absolutely delicious. Savory and filling with a hint of sweetness. I was thrilled that I’d made enough for brunch as well as a few mid-week meals for myself.

BakedLentils

Thoughts So Far:

While many things about this way of eating seem like smart ideas that should be extended beyond the 30 days – Such as reduced consumption of alcohol, processed foods, synthetics ingredients – I don’t believe that this is a sustainable all-the-time diet. I’m hoping to continue on when it comes to certain aspects, but such an austere eating plan just plain isn’t fun when it comes to eating out or social events.

How I Feel:

As I said above this cleanse is having quite beneficial results for me. I’m sleeping really well, but more than that, I’m even – Emotionally and physically – Through out the day. Part of that is that I’m not going from starving to overly full because I’m planning my meals out in advance, and part of it is that my blood sugar is stable throughout the day so that there are no highs & lows.

Even = GOOD! 🙂

If you want to catch up on the previous installments of this series here they are: The Whole 30: Preparing + Week One, The Whole 30: Week Two & The Whole 30: Week Three.

Follow my daily struggles, thoughts, recipes I’m trying out & the fun I’m having with the Whole 30 on these platforms:


The Whole 30: Week Three

Here we are at Week Three of The Whole 30 Challenge, which could also be called “I can almost taste the coconut squares.” Yes, I’m already planning my first “non-Whole 30” treat. Judge away.

Snacks:

There was some serious sweet potato-age this week! I barely touched them the first two weeks but this week, in addition to craving them, I was also reading about the positive health benefits of potatoes in Kathleen DesMaisons’s Potatoes Not Prozac {book report to come!}. So this week I ended up eating baked potatoes as snacks and even adding chunks of them to my mornings smoothies.

Yum!

Meals:

A friend came over for dinner Tuesday and I was excited to finally try a recipe that I had printed out the week before – Carrie On Vegan’s BBQ Baked Beans. They turned out great as the entree for our little dinner party with sauteed green beans & asparagus and curried cauliflower on the side.

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I’m loving cauliflower right now so if you’re like me and just can’t get enough you should check out Holly Would If She Could’s 5 Things To Do With: CAULIFLOWER and get some new inspiration!

Thoughts So Far:

I had the strangest cravings this week! If someone mentioned a food or if I read about a meal or saw food on TV it as immediately the only thing I could think about. Which is especially odd since I don’t even eat most of those things in the first place. My subconscious clearly just doesn’t like being told “no!”

How I Feel:

Fantastic! I’m sleeping really well, I’m waking up easily and without caffeine, I have energy and concentration throughout the day, and I feel really satiated after my meals. And that smugness Holly promised is really starting to kick in… 🙂

Follow my daily struggles, recipes I’m trying out & the fun I’m having with the Whole 30 on these platforms:


The Whole 30: Week Two

Welcome to Week Two of my experience with The Whole 30 – You can read about Week One here.

The main difference for this second week – and the first full week – was the addition of a weekend. During a standard week I have routines and I plan everything out in advance, however I tend to approach my weekends with a much more lackadaisical attitude. There are more social engagements, meals at restaurants, traveling & events, and during the weekends I’m not as regimented with food & fitness. I like to bake, I drink wine, I allow myself treats at the Farmers Market…

Snacks:

Adammame beans, roasted beet chips, baby carrots, and vegetable based smoothies were all on the docket this week. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I was pretty thrilled when I came across the container of ready-to-eat edammame at a health food store in Sacramento.

Meals:

I was still working through my batch of crockpot cauliflower & sweet potato stew this week and I supplemented my meals with coconut oil roasted brussels sprouts, cauliflower & zucchini. The other main dish that I made for this week was a delicious Quinoa Vegetable Paella – I substituted lentils for the quinoa – Feeling really proud of myself – And emphasized the veggies I had on hand.

PaellaPan

You know I really enjoy a dish when there isn’t a single picture of it plated – I enjoyed it too much to slow down long enough to take a picture of it!

Thoughts So Far:

I cannot stress enough how important it is to plan ahead and cart snacks/meals around with you – Whether it’s going to the office or traveling over the weekends. During this full week it became apparent how important it was for me to bring healthy, satisfying alternatives into the office for midday consumption – Otherwise I binged on the readily available nuts when the snacking urge hit me.

How I felt:

Despite having similar meals each day how much I ate and how often varied from day-to-day. I was surprised to find that some days I was starving in the mornings, while on others I barely ate until the afternoon. This eating plan is alllll about listening to your body & giving it what it needs!

Follow my daily struggles, recipes I’m trying out & the fun I’m having with the Whole 30 on these platforms:


Beginner Fitness

In 2012 a reader came to me with a simple request – Could I help her ease into a workout routine that would put her on the path to overall better health? I documented a part of the process in the following series of posts – Want To Achieve Gym Goddess Status?, Part II, Part III, Part IV & Part V.

I’ve recently received a similar request and thought that 2013 would be a great time to share some of the details with my readers again because I think it’s such a worthwhile topic and achieving better health is widespread goal. I’m sure there have been countless New Years Resolutions related to this so why not get started on your path to health and happiness now?

In addition to providing short beginners workouts for the next few weeks, I’ll be recommending reading and do my best to keep you all motivated and inspired – Which is half the battle.

Workouts:

You want to ease into a new workout regime regardless of your current level of fitness, however if you’re not currently working out, attending classes, and/or running on a regular basis I would suggest starting with one or two small workouts a week and gradually increase to 3-5 as you start improving and feeling stronger.

Let’s start Week One with two short workouts to get us in the mood:

Day One

Warm Up: 5 minutes of cardio {Walking quickly, jogging/running, elliptical, stationary bike, rowing, stair climber…}

Warm Down: 5-10 minutes of intervals on a machine of your choosing {See the suggestions under Warm Up}

  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed
  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed

*My recommendation is to turn this into a mini circuit workout – After your warm up do one set of planks, one set of lunges, and one set of squats, then repeat the process a second and third time to complete the circuit before your warm down.

Day Two

Warm Up: 5 minutes of cardio {Walking quickly, jogging/running, elliptical, stationary bike, rowing, stair climber…}

  • Reverse Lunges {FitSugar’s Back to Basics: Stationary Reverse Lunge} 3 rounds of 10 lunges on each knee
  • Crunches {Dummies.com’s How To Do Crunches} 3 rounds of 20 – Be sure to watch your form & keep your chin & elbows UP form is important w/ this move
  • Leg Lifts {Shape Magazine’s Double-Leg Lower & Lift} 3 rounds of 20

Warm Down: 5-10 minutes of cardio {Walking quickly, jogging/running, elliptical, stationary bike, rowing, stair climber…}

Nutrition:

Following diets, participating in cleanses, and going through detox programs are interesting ways to find out how your body responds to things, but they’re not a way of life. Learning to eat well & make smart food choices on a daily basis is going to do much more for you than any short-term healthy eating “fix.”

Depending on your typical diet transitioning to a clean eating regime can seem pretty daunting, so to make the switch more manageable I’ll just recommend a few tips and suggest some things to cut out of your diet each week.

To start, it’s time to get cooking! Your first goal should be to cut out packaged, processed, and pre-made food from your diet. Don’t panic! That doesn’t mean that you’ll never be able to order Chinese again or never enjoy a handful of chips in the future, but if you want to transition to a clean diet the first step is to eliminate all of these types of foods. So your mission for the next two weeks is to start giving up anything processed, stop hitting the drive-through, and spend more time in the kitchen and less time at restaurants.

PumpkinSeeds

Here are a few alternatives:

  • If you like chips or salty other snacks – Try raw almonds, butter-free air popped popcorn, or baby carrots w/ hummus
  • If you crave the beta-endorphin rush of sugary treats, baked goods, or candy – Switch these high calorie picks for fresh fruit, natural almond butter, or homemade sweet treats like Choosing Raw’s Cinnamon Caramelized Cauliflower or Maple Cinnamon Candied Pumpkin Seeds

Homework:

Understanding why you feel the way that you feel and how to improve your health is important. Anyone can blindly follow instructions, but learning about health, nutrition, and your body will help you for your entire life.

So with the goal of educating yourself and expanding your horizons here are some interesting articles you might enjoy:

  • Healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, and nuts & seeds {in moderation} are an important part of a healthy diet. Learn more about this subject by reading Natalie Jill Fitness’s Eating Fat Will NOT Make You Fat…
  • One of the things that impacts your health almost as much as nutrition and fitness is stress. You need to pay attention not only to how much stress you have in your life, but how you deal with it – How Stress Affects the Body.

Stress

So what do you think of this new series? Are these topics and the information I provided above interesting and relevant to your life?

Disclaimer: I am not a trainer, doctor, or dietitian nor do I have any certifications associated with physical fitness or nutrition. I’m merely an enthusiast {and former athlete} who reads & does research daily and has worked out alone or with coaches & trainers since the age of 6. I am lucky enough to have access to a handful of blogs, websites, and trainers to answer my questions though. Prior to making any dramatic changes to your fitness routine or diet I suggest that you consult a physician.

For more inspiration, my daily workout routines, and more Moi Contre La Vie you can find me on these platforms:


Whole 30: Preparing + Week One

January 1st marked day one of my adventure with Whole 30 – Inspired by my friend Holly of Holly Would If She Could {check out A December To Remember + A Whole 30 Level Set & January Whole 30? LET’S DO THIS for background on this challenge}.

And while calling three days “week one” might seem presumptuous I must confess that I’m a firm believer in playing up any successes or positive changes towards a healthier life style. Whether it’s a week or a day – you’ve made better choices & improved your health – so celebrate it!

My decision to participate in this challenge isn’t about weight loss but about eating a cleaner diet – Something I wasn’t strict about over the course of the last few months. While I truly believe that you should enjoy food & bubbles with your family and friends during the holidays, I must say that I’m feeling a bit sluggish as January begins.

It’s also a great chance to find some delicious new recipes to add to my repertoire and to meet other like-minded folks who put a lot of time and effort into sustaining a healthy lifestyle. So here are some of my munchies for the last three days and how they’re making me feel.

Snacks:

Raw carrots, celery & sugar snap peas and tempeh jerky {roasted slices of tempeh w/ spices}

CracklinCauliflower

Meals:

I made two main dishes on Monday and ate them throughout the week, a plan which worked out perfectly because it ended up being a busy couple of days. I made a variation of my favorite crockpot stew from Carrie On Vegan – The Dependable Slow Cooker & Cauliflower Indian Stew and this seriously delicious Cracklin’ Cauliflower recipe from Peas And Thank You.

Stew

Thoughts So Far:

Preparation is KEY. These first few days were all about changing habits and reminding myself to think about my food choices before they went into my mouth. And that is much easier when you have the “right” foods already set up and waiting. When you’re starving, running around trying to find a Whole 30 approved meal isn’t the most fun experience. Not that I would know. 🙂

Preparation

How I Feel:

Outside of the holiday season I already eat a fairly clean diet – No gluten, no dairy, and little to no processed foods – So I wasn’t expecting a huge change in how I felt. I was pleasantly surprised however to find that I started sleeping more soundly, no middle of the night wake-ups was a nice change!

Have you ever tried a clean eating program like this one? What results did you have?

Stay tuned for Week Two!


Links You’ll Love

Health & Fitness:

Sweet potatoes are a great addition to any healthy diet so you should definitely try out some of these nutritious recipes from Shape Magazine – 10 Healthy Sweet Potato Recipes.

fall detox salad 7422 thumb   Fall Detox Salad + Hurricane Sandy Fundraiser Update

OhSheGlow’s Fall Detox Salad is a must try – Filled with Brussels Sprouts, carrots, apple, celery, sunflower seeds, and raisins, it’s as nutritious as it is delicious {also check out this salad as part of the Thanksgiving Recipe Round-Up}.

Eating well and living a healthy life doesn’t have to mean giving up all sweets and desserts, you just need to make healthier, smarter choices when you want to indulge – Try FitFluential’s Five Healthier Desserts which include amazing choices like Raspberry Chocolate Chips, Dark Chocolate Nut Butter Pretzels, Fruit & Yogurt Parfaits, Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes/Muffins, and Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries.

Do you want model-worthy skin? Refinery 29 has the goods – The Surprising Secret To Model-Worthy Skin.

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Finding a great, healthy snack that you love and that’s easy to make is wonderful – One of my favorites recently is Choosing Raw’s Cinnamon Caramelized Cauliflower.

Fashion:

Interested in spicing up your daily makeup routine? It’s always fun to see what other beauty products are out there and the sort of routines that women go through on a daily basis, so let’s check out how blogger Trop Rouge has set up her makeup routine – Makeup Monday.

Top 9 at 9: A Model’s Must Haves with Lonneke Engel gives you all of model Lonneke Engel’s Fall 2012 picks – From workout gear to sweaters to what her favorite shoes are for Fall.

Ulyana Sergeenko’s dramatic, eye-catching clothes are the perfect pieces for this dreamy Moscow-based photo shoot in the most recent Carine Roitfeld Fashion Book issue – Moscow Walk.

Oxblood is everywhere for Fall 2012 and if you’re not sure whether it’s the trend for you, trying beauty products and nail polish are great choices – 3 Chic Ways To Do Burgundy Beauty.

The Fall 2012 Collection for J.Crew is pretty phenomenal – It’s filled with great outerwear, fun, printed pants, and killer accessories. And none of those accessories are better than the Lulu Frost’s Capsule Collection – Shop It Now: Lulu Frost For J.Crew Holiday.


Restaurant Review: Candle Cafe

While I was in New York right before Spring 2013 Fashion Week I was lucky enough to have an understanding and food-enthusiastic friend who was willing to run all over Manhattan with me so that I could check some vegan restaurants off my Must Try list.

First on the docket – within mere hours of touching down at JFK – was Candle Cafe. Last year when I was in New York we went to Blossom and I had been interested in trying this other famous vegan restaurant since then.

{Vino}

{Grilled Kale Salad – Haricots verts, beluga lentils, red onions, turnips, avocado, sunflower seeds, spelt berries and chive vinaigrette}

{Evening Special – BBQ Seitan Burrito}

{Chipotle Grilled Tofu – Quinoa-vegetable pilaf, sautéed greens served with a black bean sauce; topped with an avocado mango salad}

After taking some recommendations from the friendly waitress and ordering a bottle of red, we decided to split two entrees and an appetizer, and since the appetizer kale salad was huge it ended up being more than enough food for both of us.

{Clearly we hated it}

Seitan is Colin’s new favorite vegan fare – It’s hardy, flavorful, and filling, a really great alternative for meat-eaters who are eating at plant-based restaurants or those who are attempting to go vegan or vegetarian.

If you’re a meat eater are you willing to try new types of restaurants with friends who follow a plant-based diet? Do you enjoy trying new and creative dishes unlike the ones you usually eat?


Links You’ll Love

Health & Nutrition:

Treadmill

Sometimes going to the gym sounds like the worst thing in the world. Sometimes the weather is awful when you were dying to go for a run. Well if you have a set of dumbbells (or you could easily use a kettlebell or weighted bosu ball) you can tackle this rainy day workout!

I’m always on the lookout for new and exciting smoothie recipes so when I was browsing Organice Your Life and saw this Raw Green Coconut Shake recipe I was thrilled.

Don’t think you have time for a full workout? Why not try this Women’s Health Get Fit In Only 15 Minutes: Skinny Jeans Workout which includes the very important squats & lunges or FitSugar’s BOSU Circuit Workout.

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In the mood for something sweet? Or do you want a treat for family or friends that’s healthy as well as tasty? Check out the super healthy and oh-so-simple Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies over at Peas And Thank You or

I always get excited when I can add a fun new recipe to my rotation of favorites. Something quick, easy, and delicious. Well, if you’re like me, you’ll want to try Choosing Raw’s Curried Quinoa & Aduki Bean Patties – They’re savory and filling, and easily adapted based on the ingredients you have on hand, a home run in my book.

Fashion:

Whenever I want a dose of inspiration one of my go-to websites is WhoWhatWear – From Style Stalker posts to reviews of new collections to street style breakdowns, they’ve always got you covered – Styling Tips For September.

Street style is a fun and evolving part of fashion and fashion blogging and I’ve been enjoying the pictures online for ages – From bloggers to fashion insiders to models to celebrities. It’s a great way to get inspired or to see what’s trendy and hot right now. And with four Fashion Weeks coming up, it’s time to give it a closer look – A Street-Style Primer For The September Shows. Or check out one of my favorite model street style blogs out there for up to date shots from the shows – Altamira: Models Off Duty.

The accessories are probably my favorite part about dressing for Fall and Winter. Scarves, gloves, hats, outerwear… Swoon! FabSugar agrees – Best Fall Scarves 2012: It’s a Wrap — Shop the Best Layering Scarves For Early Fall.

I love vintage-inspired styles and loved this post on finding some great pieces that are perfect for Fall and fabulously retro – Finding the perfect 1970s shoulder bag.

I’m a bun girl through and through so I was excited by all of the buns on the runways for Fall. If you’re of a similar mind, check out Harper’s Bazaar’s The Return Of The Bun or Best Celebrity Top Knots: The Fun Bun Hall of Fame.