To Binge? Or not to Binge?

Ohhhhhhh jingle bells, jingle bells. Christmas is upon us and while we all want to have a jolly ole’ time we don’t want to end up with a tummy like Santa Clause when all is said and done. How cruel is it that Christmas falls right before New Years. We eat, eat, eat, (or deny, deny, deny) and promise ourselves that, like, omg, this is going to be the year I get in shape and by February  failure has already planted its dirty seeds into our ambitious hearts. Then there are the “get in shape by summer” articles and by summer we’re still sucking in a little at the beach wondering how this happened AGAIN for the fourth year straight. We are such cyclical beings, but let’s ignore the bikinis and ponder the task at hand: how do we successfully navigate holiday eating.

Every magazine and YouTube Guru (and me, I suppose) is trying to say they have the best tips and tricks for minimizing holiday gain & guilt, but at the same time you need to look inside your heart, stomach, and personality to see what is right for you. If you are someone who feels emotionally stable enough to not have a break down the next day after eating more than usual then you are free to nosh. If you find that you tend to beat yourself up and slip into unhealthy acts ranging from working out too abusively the next day, dangerously limiting your calories, and falling down an emotional hole (which will probably lead to emotional eating), then be mindful of how you approach the snack table.  Don’t feel bad if you fall into the latter category. It isn’t the best place to be, but realizing  is half the battle. Keep reading my blog, reading other people’s blogs, and watching informational YouTube videos, and maybe next year the holiday season will be a less stressful time.

First consider how many parties you will be going to. At 20 I understand that I’m not going to the amount of massive soirees my 28 and 30 year old siblings are. If you are going to be attending multiple parties, then you really do need to consider how much you are going to eat. One night of eating won’t have a negative outcome;  After a week of holiday eating and the scale might start to creep. Try to fill up at the veggie and fruit platter. Walk around and mingle, but try to keep that separate from your eating. When you watch TV, write e-mails, or have conversations during meals you have a tendency to not realize how much food you’re taking in.  Wait awhile before going back for seconds; it takes about 20 minutes for your body to register being full. Ask around to see what your friends will be serving and figure out what houses have the better food. I find ham to be lackluster, so if I were a situation where ham was being served for dinner I’d be more liberal with my other choices. Here’s another trick you can try. Bring a small blue plate with you and use that instead of the paper plates being offered (of course, only do this at the house of a close friend.) Studies have shown that eating off of blue plates makes you consume less. Aside from blueberries, many blue things in nature used to make us sick, so they believe it might be part of a primal instinct we still have. I also think it isn’t the most appealing color to eat off of. I was at my Uncles this summer and was having my usual breakfast of eggs with toast & jam. I couldn’t’ figure out why I was eating so slowly and everything felt bizarre until I realized he had see- through blue plates!

Aside from how many parties you go too, you also need to consider the significance certain foods hold. At my house Christmas means Filet Mignon and Shrimp. I adore shrimp, more so than Reese’s, and Christmas is the one time of the year I can eat a lot of it for free; Thank you daddy-o! Taking that into consideration I have no qualms about eating an ungodly amount of shrimp. Shrimp isn’t the unhealthiest food cluttering the table, but let’s say Christmas is the one time your aunt from across the country comes and makes her blueberry pie that you never get to have except on the 25th. Pssh, have 2 slices if you want. Be naughty: have three. It’s not like it’s something you have access to it on a regular basis. If you are an average person with no severe health issues (aside from being a slave to the Standard American Diet, which is a health issue in it of itself, but I digress) then don’t feel bad about splurging. But if the item at hand is run of the mill apple pie from Shaw’s, well, I think we know that that means. I’m by no means saying to force food into the belly for the sake of the holiday, but if after an hour you’re thinking a second slice is looking good then have it. Another thing to watch out for is alcoholic beverages. Eat your calories, don’t drink them! And for the sake of whatever dear lord you pray to, do not get behind the wheel of car if you even have an inkling of hesitation. Cops are out, I imagine DUI’s suck, and tragedy and/or vehicular manslaughter is no way anyone wants to remember the holidays.

 

The Morning After (you don’t think I’d end on a dour note, do you?)

It begins with the walk of shame past the bathroom mirror. Perhaps the food baby has already taken root. If you ate a bunch of food, well duh! You might even feel like a rumbling pile of intestinal crud. Hey, I didn’t say trudging down the path of over indulgence would be consequence free. How you approach these next few days is what truly matters. For one, don’t starve yourself the next day. A day of eating a little more than usual is not going to do long term harm. Just eat simply. Fill yourself with fruits, berries, veggies, water, tea, and try to stay away from heavy things like bread and meat. If you are already a lover of the flax seed then add an extra tablespoon to your daily regiment, as it is a very mild, natural laxative. Go about your life as usual. If you normally work out then maybe throw in 20 more crunches or an sprint or two if you’re a runner. There’s no need to go overboard. I guarantee you that within a day or two your body will be fine and you’ll be proud of yourself for smoothly navigating the holiday season.

 

 

 

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Food Diary # 2

Food Diary # 2

I haven’t forgotten about you guys! I admit I didn’t write down what I ate yesterday, but I did make that delicious Shrimp & Garlic meal from last week. It was great the second time around as well.

Breakfast

2 eggs

Slice of Udi’s toast

The best gluten free bread ever!

One little cup of Greek yogurt with raspberries.

I’m now onto my third type of Greek Yogurt. They were out of the large tub of plain Chobani at both stores. I don’t think the stuff I have is actually Greek Yogurt, because it doesn’t have nearly as much protein as the other brands. I also accidentally bought maple flavored, not plain, so the sugar content is a little higher than I would like. Oh well, it’s delicious and a tub won’t kill me, but it is a little unsettling that the shelves might start packing “fake” Greek Yogurt. Ya ‘gotta be cognoscente of labels!

 

Snack

Mango, peach, and banana smoothie

Usually I make green smoothies with spinach, but I was having a salad today. I make my smoothies simple, with water, and I feel so nourished the moment they hit my tummy.

Sun-Maid Raisins

I love how the front says something like: the only ingredients are grapes and sun. And then the back says “mechanically steamed grapes.” Haha. Nonetheless they are still delish.

 

Lunch

Salad: spinach, black beans, onions, mandarin oranges, mushroom, basic dressing of 1 part balsamic vinegar/ 1 part olive oil

During the summer I love spinach, but as the seasons change I find myself less in love with them, which is totally normal. It means it’s time to switch back to green smoothies. A healthy tip: if you are buying canned beans make sure you rinse them or else they are packed with salt and sugar. However, I do usually just plop a whole can in if I’m making chili, but salad is lighter.

 

The trustworthy banana!

 

Lunch Break @ Work

This cute little snack size bean & cheese burrito.

It kind of had a pickle taste. I love pickles, but not in my burritos!

Cascadian Farms Harvest Spice Bar

 

Dinner @ Home

Mongolian Beef & Broccoli

This came from a Cooking Light cookbook. Prep time was really short and it only took 7 minutes to cook everything. It was a really tasty and simple meal and is definitely going in the recipe book!

 

Compared to day one, this is a more realistic idea of what I eat on a day to day basis. Because I snack so often I generally have a large breakfast and lighter lunch. Dinner is usually the middle-size meal. I know some people don’t like to eat late, but since I get home around 10 just  eating at 7 isn’t always ideal. Most nights I come home hungry, but sometimes I’m fine with some fruit and tea. Just listen to yourself. If you find you’re someone that is waking up starving then don’t be afraid to eat more at night. The reason a lot of people warn against it is because people tend to have naughty snacks while watching late night TV.

Jonesin’

I’ve been thinking a lot about some of the first issues I tackled when switching over to a healthier, happier life style. The biggest change, even bigger than my portion sizes, was controlling my ferocious cravings. Cravings can unpin even the most holier-than-thou lifestyle.

The other night at The Scuffer I was talking to Chris about cravings and how I never heard him talking about them, thus this first section is for the ladies. Think about it girls: when was the last time you heard your best guy friend lusting after a pint of Ben and Jerry’s? Or when was your boyfriend jonesing hard for some chocolate covered (insert delicious, unhealthy food item.) As much as I think there are some more serious, biological reasons we have cravings, I also think a lot of the reason cravings plague females is because the notion is foisted (yup, foisted) on us.

Exhibit A:

Mom: PMSing sweetie? I bet you’re craving some chocolate.

 

Exhibit B:

Boy issues got you down? Have some potato chips.

 

Exhibit C:

 On the verge of an emotional breakdown? Here, have some ice cream!

For many girls this idea of emotional eating has been ingrained in us the minute our mothers sensed puberty’s bitchy-ness rearing its ugly head.  Admit it: our parents were tough, but we were hellions, and puberty is over! Thank goodness. No more acne. No more mood swings. How about no more needing to soothe every rough patch with a cookie? And while boys are less likely to have tell-tale emotional eating habits, I’ve noticed that they generally make worse meal choices. Pizza, burgers, and fried treats are major food groups and since guys tend to have faster metabolisms (and fat deposits itself in different places) they don’t always have to address their bad eating habits until later in life.

Sometimes are bodies are craving things because we are missing an essential nutrient, vitamin, or amino acid. If you’re a vegetarian who has surpassed the realm of meat cravings, has settled into a plant based diet, and are suddenly craving burgers and wings it may be your bodies way of telling you it needs more protein or iron. That’s when you up your bean or quinoa intake and start supplementing an iron pill. But, let’s be real, most peoples’ cravings aren’t the sign of a deficiency, but our sweet tooth whining for attention. Last time I checked cookie dough ice cream didn’t run through my veins.

To put it simply your body craves what you give it most. If you workout out your body will crave the feeling the moving. Runners who take time off for injury or sickness are well known to go through withdrawals. If you give yourself fresh salads during the summer you will crave salads. It also goes the negative way. If you give yourself chips your body will crave chips. If you give yourself soda your body will crave soda. It’s not much different than the body craving crack-cocaine if you’re a crack addict. Except the fact that crack is a lot worse than soda, but you get the point. For example, I never used to be a chocolate fiend and didn’t understand peoples near orgasms inducing lust for the dark stuff. And then I found dark chocolate. It was innocent at first. A few nibbles there, a few bites there, and before I knew it I was walking to City Market purely for the chocolate bars. Moral of the story, as I do love my morals, don’t go down a path you aren’t ready to walk. It took weeks to climb out of that chocolate craving hole.

We really need to approach this all A.A style. Before you deal with your cravings you have to accept them. “Hello, my name is Jocellyn, and I have a problem with sweets.” There. Now how do I find a solution to the problem? Sometimes you have to grit and bear it, baby. You have to tell yourself “no, I will not eat you snickers.” Some people say you only live once, but I think it’s completely okay to discipline yourself against eating snickers on the regs. Once in a while is okay, but every day—nope! Sometimes just a few weeks without the devil food will cure us of our cravings. Other times we need to supplement new and healthier foods in. Since I’m someone who likes sweets, fruits are a great way to satisfy that stubborn tooth of mine. I’ll eat some bananas, some apples, some pomegranate seeds, or drink a fruit smoothie. That usually does it.  Other times I’ll try to find a healthier way to re-create my favorite treat. Tosca Reno has a greattttt recipe for peanut butter cups. If you know me, you know that my car floor is covered in Reese’s wrappers. I even dream about them sometimes… They’re honestly the unhealthiest thing I eat; Dear God why did they start making the Big Cup in a king size? Her recipe allows me to eat them in a slightly healthier way. The calories might be the same, but since they’re made with protein powder I’m getting the added benefit. If you’re someone that likes salty food then buy some salted almonds. Take it another step and buy plain almonds and add the salt yourself to cut down on the amount.

I guarantee that if you give yourself a few weeks from the offending food you won’t think about it as much. Give yourself a few months of eating it sparingly and the taste will be completely different. Maybe it’s too sweet or too salty. I know I can barely stand drinking a can of soda! Cravings can be complex, but a lot of the time with a bit of will power and patience you can overcome them. Don’t let them control you.  And remember, there is absolutely nothing wrong with putting a cold-war style embargo on bad foods. Don’t let people make you feel silly for being disciplined enough to only indulge certain occasions.

Now peel on into your break ❤

Up next: How to approach the holiday food and alcohol festivities, because I know you’re probably stressin’ over it…and shouldn’t!

 

Reese’s Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 Scoop (Chocolate) Protein Powder
  • 1 tbsp all-natural peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1-2 packets stevia
  • 2 tbsp water

Instructions

1. Mix all ingredients together.
2. Divide into 2 – 4 portions in muffin tins.
3. Freeze for at least an hour.
4. Eat!

Preparation Time: 3 minutes
Cooking Time: Freeze for at least 1 hour. More is better.

*Store up to 3 days

Back on my sweat grind

Today was the first time I’ve worked out since the beginning of the semester. I started out with the best of intentions, but my all mighty God of get-a-hint shot a thunderbolt of muscle twisting pain into my inner left thigh. For shame, as I was only 3 minutes into my Body Rock video. I learned my lesson once this past summer when I tried to keep doing weighted squats after the twinges started, and traveling down that road was not an option again. I stopped, rather defeated and bothered.  Just as I was about to get down on myself my rational brain went: stop complain’ girl. You haven’t worked out in months. What did you think was going to happen slinging around a twenty pound sandbag? Clearly, I need a few more weeks of exercising before pulling off even the most pathetic attempt at a Body Rock Video.

Not one to fail, I scurried over to Blogilates. As a yoga practitioner, one might think I’d be great at Pilates. ERRRR-wrong! This here is the older, whiter version of me attempting Pilates.

I would die in class. I’d be that loud, whimpering person in the back that everyone would avoid making eye contact with. And that’s why I’ve been forced to do it in the comfort and, most importantly, privacy of my own home. However, Pilates is similar to yoga in some aspects and the forced focus on abdominals will only strengthen my practice. I decided to tackle Miss Cassey Ho’s new video The Corset Workout. Don’t let the makeup, cute outfit, and perky voice fool you. This girl means business, and I applaud your abdominal prowess.

I cried. I flailed. I finished. And then I did it again. Who was this girl that was subjecting herself to 14 minutes of pure abs? Feeling the need to get my blood pumping even more, I ventured over to one of her cardio videos. If you’re someone that hasn’t worked out in a while (or ever) this HIIT vid is a great precursor to any of Body Rocks exercises.

I’m Glad I didn’t let any obstacles get in my way, as it would have been super easy to resign to my bed and watch more episodes of Little Britain. The British are “smashingly” hilarious.

What kind of exercises to you fine ladies and gents do to peel away the stress of the day?

❤ Jocellyn

As promised: Here is what I ate for the day.

Breakfast

1 egg

I usually I’d have another, but we only had two left, so I was a nice girlfriend and left one for the boy…Of course he ate something else!

About 10 pieces of Watermelon

I love the stuff! It’s so sweet and refreshing. I even went so far as to bring a half-watermelon (rind and all!) to the beach with me this past summer. I know its sooooo black stereotype, but it definitely beats out grape soda and fried chicken 😉 Someone buy me this! I digress…

Snack

Fage Greek Yogurt.

In my opinion this is one of the best Greek yogurts on the American market. Sadly, the market has decided that as well and the price is astronomical. I only get it for special occasions, and I thought that going to work @ 9am on a day I didn’t have exams fit the bill. Fage is great because the fruit is separate from the yogurt, so you can add is as much or as little as your heart (more like sweet tooth) desires.

Mesquite Chips.

Yeah, it wasn’t the best choice, but I could tell my unusually small breakfast was going to catch up with me in the form of a raging headache. It was either that or candy.

Lunch

Slice of Cheese Pizza.

 I know, I know, I shouldn’t be eating gluten, but a little here and a little there doesn’t seem to bother me.

Assorted Berry Cup.

 If Watermelon is my love then Price Chopper’s Berry Cups are my secret affair.  It’s beyond satisfying to eat .79 pounds of strategically layered blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries in a sitting. I was sufficiently happy.

Snack #2

Finished off the rest of my chips.

Definitely glad I didn’t buy a candy bar. Generally my snacks are fruits or veggies, but today I had to improvise

Dinner

Burgers!

You’re probably thinking “who the hell is this girl dictating healthy eating and noshing on pizza and burgers in one day?” I admit, this isn’t my most shining dietary moment, but Wednesdays in Burlington means ½ off burger nights at The Scuffer. Red meat is something I rarely crave, but it feels nice to get some every now and then. If it makes you feel any better I turned down the flourless chocolate cake. Okay. I’ll be real. It was totally due to the $6 cost.

 

Post Workout Snack

A banana!

Since I didn’t sling around any weights I didn’t feel the need to drink a protein shake. During the summer I feel in love with EAS Chocolate Protein Shakes. You can definitely find healthier powdered proteins (generally anything that isn’t flavored), but this one mixes well and is quite tasty. I usually add a banana to it. Even if I’m not drinking it to bulk up like Ahhhnold,  I notice I’m not nearly as sore the next day.

These two posts are fine examples that no one is perfect with their exercise or their diet. Do I normally eat burgers? Nope. Do I normally have a better breakfast? Oh for sure! But life isn’t always ideal and you need to learn how to roll with the punches as best as you can.  Today that meant getting chips instead of going across the street and getting a Reese’s Cup; It’s sad when the people know what you are going to buy and say “getting your fix today? “ :-p It also means accepting that the world isn’t going to end if you nibble on a few less than holy foods. Tomorrow is another day and with it I will address cravings and ways to combat them.

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

Rock That Body

Here’s the deal. I feel that I can sit here and comfortably talk about healthy diet without being hypocritical, but when it comes to exercise I don’t really have much jurisdiction. There are 3 schools of thought. One is people who are great at incorporating proper diet and exercise. There are people who invest a lot of time in their physical physique, but their diet is horrendous. And then there are people like me who put good things into their body, but don’t train the outside. I know I need to better balance this in my life, but at the same time I’m a firm believer that eating healthier is much better than destroying your inside with junk food. Tosca Reno, wife of Oxygen magazine creator Robert Kennedy, is well known for her series of Eat Clean books. She says your body is 10% genetics, 10% exercise, and 80% diet. Have you ever heard the phrase “abs are made in the kitchen”? That might be a reason why you don’t have a six pack, despite your best workout efforts. But one cannot forget that Oxygen is a magazine for women who are serious about lifting weights, so exercise is still paramount. Tosca’s body is a product of pure dedication and hard work; something we should all aim for.

Tosca Reno

                Right now the only physical activity I get stems from my Ashtanga & Vinyasa yoga practice. This has really built up my arms, but I view yoga as mental exercise, a way to let go of the ego, and a time where you can slow down. Ashtanga will definitely make you sweat, but the cardio benefits are very different from, say, going on a run. As a veteran wagon-faller-offer when it comes to running, I know not to bother with it. I wish I could run. I envy people in their shiny spandex beasting down the roads. My knees and shins just cannot take the stress, and no matter how carefully I approach the matter I always get injured. Thankfully this past summer I found BodyRock. Perhaps you’ve stumbled across the videos on YouTube. Body Rock is the brainchild of Zuzana &Freddy. Zuzana was formerly a porn star in Eastern Europe before Freddy married her and saved her from the profession. She is really the sweetest girl and it comes across in her videos. Zuzana is a great example of how you can really turn your life around. Though the videos do have a sexual aspect to them, if you look beyond that (and actually try the workouts) they are very demanding. I was put off at first, but if anyone is going to be sexy it should be this girl because her body is fierce.

About 2 months ago she and Freddy announced they would be splitting up, but still working as partners for the site. It’s all very sad, as they were such a great team. The site is going through some changes, but there are over 600 prior videos with Zuzana featured, and the new workouts are still top notch. The videos focus around HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) Training that uses body weight and some equipment.  The hosts will explain modifications for beginners or people who don’t have equipment. I’m never sure why I haven’t been able to stick with her workouts before, but when I do them I can see significant changes in my body. Yesterday they just started their 12 Days of Christmas Workout Series, and I’m going to jump in. If you are someone who isn’t used to working out please take things slowly and listen to your body. There is no pride in having sloppy form and injuring yourself!  Every day people are starting out on BodyRock and doing what they can to make it through the workouts, so you are not alone.

To stay true to myself and give you guys and idea of what I’m doing for the next week (maybe longer!) I’ll be documenting my workouts and what I eat in a day so you can see the variety and options.

Now Peel (and sweat) Away!

Jocellyn

PS:

Here are some other workout sites to check out.

The Tabata Protocol was developed by Izumi Tabata. It is based off of moderate bursts of energy with short rests. This helps burn fat as you are keeping your heart rate up.  Zuzana and other B.R hosts use the Gym Boss interval watch to keep track of their active and rest periods. It’s not too expensive, but you can also use these free websites.

http://www.beach-fitness.com/tabata/

http://tabata.sperker.de/#

 

Check out Blogilates if you are looking for something a little less high-impact. This chick seems so infectious. As of today I’m currently following her 90 day plan as well as Body Rocking a few times a week.

 

Bex Life is another YouTube workout sensation who is fit and healthy in order to set a good example for her kids. How awesome is that? She features new workouts every week and lots of yummy recipes. Many of them are great intro dishes to raw veganism.

 

Gain Fitness is a website I found on Stumble Upon a few weeks ago.  You let it know if you are working out at home or in the gym, how many minutes you have, and what areas you want to work. It’ll then spit out a workout for you with reps and sets. The home workouts don’t use any equipment, but feel free to supplement in weights if you have some.

 

Okay, I’ve given you plenty of resources. No excuses :-p

Why I Made the Change

So, I haven’t really told you guys how I made the change over from being a fairly average nosher to a more cognoscente and mindful eating. I did mentioned how Tara Stiles was the catalyst to listening to my body and observing what I put into it. It wasn’t until this past January when I really put it into practice. It all started by going pescotarian (someone who eats seafood but not land meat.) I started reading about how the animals in many slaughterhouses in our country are treated. Slaughterhouses are stressful places to work and it doesn’t take much for the handlers to start abusing the animals. Pigs are sodomized by objects lying around, chickens are thrown like soccer balls, people, very disgustingly, shove electric shockers into cows’ vaginas. I’m not one for swearing, but that shit is sick as fuck! I felt immense guilt for eating meat, especially since my family (or school) wasn’t regularly buying meat from reputable farms. There was no weaning myself off of red meat, then chicken, then pork; I went cold turkey. I was surprised to find that after the first month I didn’t really have cravings except for fried chicken, pork from Chinese restaurants, and the occasional burger—all relatively unhealthy. I had no desire for steak or grilled chicken. Unfortunately my school wasn’t very vegetarian friendly (a person needs more than tofu and veggie burgers, people!) and I found myself learning the art of the salad. I mean a real, colorful salad, not the kind with ranch, cheese, croutons, and those squiggly crunchy bits. I slowly started learning about other diets like the raw food and vegan. Though I never went completely raw or vegan, I tried to as much food in its natural state to my diet.

There was also food I found myself eating less of. Bread was no longer a big part of my diet, as veggie sandwiches really weren’t that enthralling. My milk consumption decreased significantly as well, as I started eating more Greek yogurt to add protein (which the average person really doesn’t need loads of, despite the typical ‘how do you get your protein’ claim), and iron, which I admit was hard to get. I noticed myself feeling better and having more energy almost immediately. I used to always need a nap in the afternoon. During the summer I started venturing into fake meats. I never wanted them to become a huge part of my diet, as they are highly processed, but Chris and I fell in love with Morning Stars Hickory Smoked “Ribs”.  Summer is also when I started feeling like absolutely crap again. July was brutal. There were many mornings when I would wake up, make an egg, and feel so exhausted that I had to go back to sleep again. I could barely function at my job and was an emotional wreck. My hair was falling out, my hands hurt, and I was deathly frightened. I thought it was the lack of meat that was doing this to me. The doctors ran blood tests and my iron levels and thyroid were fine. Everyone chalked it up to stress, but I knew it was more than that. It wasn’t until a few months into the school year that I finally began putting the pieces together.

Image: JupiterImages.Jen Christiansen

One morning I was eating toast and within minutes my hands started hurting. It felt like my bones were itching. I’d eat pizza and the next day I wake up feeling like someone had hit me with large beam. After some internet sleuthing, once again: thank goodness for Google, I stumbled upon sites talking about gluten sensitivity and celiac disease. Gluten is a protein found in wheat that more and more people are having difficulty digesting. It can cause severe stomach pains, gas, bloating, hand pain (!), brain fog, and numerous other conditions. Celiac Disease has the same symptoms, but if you keep eating gluten it damages the lining of your stomach, making absorption harder. I decided to test this theory out. It’s very hard to do something and not subconsciously cause yourself pain, but I knew I wasn’t lying to myself when not long after eating a slice of whole grain toast I doubled over onto the bed in intense stomach pains. Then there was the brain fog that would follow me around for a few hours. In severe cases when I ate a lot of pizza (which is now my kryptonite) I would have intense feelings of gas in my stomach that would never, erm, work their way out. Not to mention if I kept eating more wheat my stomach would start lurching. I’ve thrown up 6 times in my life, so I knew this was not normal. After realizing this was something I couldn’t eat anymore, I also had the horrible realization that right now was not a time in my life where I could not eat meat and wheat/gluten products which are found in so many foods. After a few weeks of telling myself that it was okay and that my health was just as important, is started eating meat again. One thing I notice is that the amount of meat I eat is so miniscule to what I used to eat, and I still hardly crave red meat. I have a much healthier relationship with a food group. I try my hardest to buy meat from good farmers, but I cannot all the time. I’m not much for dinner time grace, but I do say a little thank you to the animals. Almost instantaneously I felt better. I started dreaming again and realized a big reason why I felt better back in January wasn’t necessarily from kicking meat, but from limiting my gluten intact. And the reason I felt horrible in the summer is because wheat and gluten are generally the first few ingredients listed in fake meat.

I got tested for celiac disease over break. Unfortunately gluten sensitivity is not something they can easily test for and the general celiac disease panel they use only shows 2 of the 5 possible inhibitors that can show up for celiac positive patients.  But after explaining my symptoms to my doctor she said she felt 100% okay letting me avoid gluten and wheat. The worst part about the testing was that I had to eat gluten a few weeks before hand. I was in so much pain and was extremely grouchy for several days, and I didn’t feel completely right for quite some time. My test results came back this week and they were back normal. Still, this still doesn’t change the fact it makes me feel absolutely horrid. Life is going to be pretty different for me. I’ve been trying Udi’s gluten free bread (awesome), gluten free rolls (disgusting), and reading all labels. I’ve also been playing around with how much bread I can eat before I feel sick and am realizing that it is a very delicate balance between feeling fine and being knocked off my ass. So long sweet pizza. You will be missed.

It took me a really long time to figure this all out. What is most scary is that this is something I know in my heart has been plaguing me for years. It wasn’t until I started peeling away all those unhealthy eating habits that I could get to the source of the issue. The more you strip away the uglier and more painful it gets, but it is absolutely necessary. Again, I cannot stress this enough, listen to your body. If you always feel gross after you eat then simply start eliminating foods to see if you feel better. And don’t let doctors try to sell you the easy answer. Three people told me “oh, it’s just lactose that is making you feel bad.” Errrr, wrong! I can drink all the milk I want and feel excellent. You are the best judge of your body. Just listen carefully and it’ll tell you what to do.

Now Peel Away!

Jocellyn

I came, I saw, I conquered this semester.

I must apologize profusely for my absence the past few days. I should have given you all a heads up that this past week was going to be a busy one with getting 3 assignments in on top of my usual workload. But that is done for the most part, and I have managed to maintain my sanity! Some great food developments occurred this past week. Despite the entire hullabaloo* I was able to maintain my usual eating schedule and even managed to have some fun in the kitchen with 2 new meals. At the beginning of the week I made a recipe from the well-known chef Jamie Oliver. I had a 4 pound chicken and let it roast in a pot of milk , lemon zest, and herbs for about 2 hours. I’m well aware that the costs of organic are typically higher than conventional, but I was shocked to see that the average roaster chicken was $4 compared to the $12 organic! As someone who stopped eating meat for awhile due to ethical reasons (the next post will be about why I started eating meat again) it was really hard to buy the cheaper one. I could only imagine the type of slaughter house the chicken came from, but since it was the first time trying the recipe I didn’t want to spend a lot of money if I didn’t like it or if I messed up.

 

It’s very true that as Americans we are not used to seeing dead animals in their true form. We buy fish already filleted and chicken & beef in slices. Thanksgiving is probably the one time of year we deal with a whole carcass. Handling the bird was icky and awkward, not to mention I was totally grossed out having to retrieve the giblet bag from its insides. The recipe, which could feed four, easily yielded enough leftovers for several lunches. I definitely messed something up in the recipe, though. Everyone raved about it, but I found it to be so-so. I used a four pound chicken instead of the suggested three pounds, and even though I added more cooking time I think that is what made it not so flavorful. I will say it was quite moist (and that’s the first and last time you’ll ever see that word on my blog) which is far more desirable than overly dry. Here’s the recipe. This is a great meal to make at the beginning of the week because you don’t have to do anything except minimally prep it and wait for the roasting to finish, which leaves plenty of time to do homework or other activities. As someone who’s usually in the kitchen juggling a pot and two pans, it was a relief to kick back.

I redeemed myself the next night by making a fabulous dish I pulled off the fantastic healthy living blog by Brittany Mullins called Eating Bird Food. I strongly suggest you check it out, especially if you are a vegetarian or vegan. The meal was Hot Garlic Shrimp and Asparagus over a bed of rice. Chris doesn’t like asparagus, as it makes his pee smell (quick fact: do you know that the reason some people smell asparagus in their urine and some people don’t all comes down to genetics?—lucky me!), so I used green beans instead.

“Ingredients

  • 1  T  olive oil
  • 2 1/2  cups  (1-inch) sliced asparagus (about 1 pound)
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1/2  t  salt
  • 1 – 2  t  crushed red pepper
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 14-20 Shrimp
  • 1  cup vegetable broth
  • 2 T of lemon juice
  • 1 cup prepared Brown Rice

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add asparagus, garlic, salt, and peppers; cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add shrimp, and cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in broth and juice; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; serve with brown rice or other grain.”

Incredibly Simple. Incredibly Delicious

I’m not a huge fan of spicy foods, so I didn’t use any crushed pepper, instead adding an extra clove of garlic; we love the stuff! To be honest I didn’t have high hopes for this meal. I thought it would be decent, but a little bland. Thankfully I was incredibly wrong. The dish was so flavorful and filling. The sauce left over was absolutely delicious. This is definitely a recipe to add to my cook book and whip out on a regular basic. Thanks Brittany!

As we approach exams remember to get proper sleep and maintain your diet. It can be really easy to avoid eating healthy and have wings and pizza delivered to your apartment or dorm room. Take the time, usually less than an hour, to prepare something good and filling for you to eat. If you live in a dorm save the money you might use on booze and buy a few healthy meals at a local store. City Market if Burlington, VT was wonderful grilled salmon, veggie, and rice meals ready to microwave. You’ll feel much better afterward and your mind will be sharper.

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

Oh, Woe is Me! #firstworldproblems

I’ve only gone to a Whole Food’s store twice, but @ 3pm & 5-7pm the parking lot at our Burlington’s City Market Co-Op is a free for all. It becomes an I-don’t-care-if-you-are-old-I-put-my-blinker-on-first fest!

Thankfully, this rapper understands me.

After my Dad traded in my truck for a sleek Audi A6– hey, hey, it’s a 1999, but still foxy— I will say that

parking has been much easier 🙂

Oats & Berries

I’m typically an egg, Greek yogurt, and toast (gluten free, more on that later) type of girl, but today I decided to jazz things up by making some oatmeal. Now, oatmeal is one of those things that tons of people like, even my less than healthy friends, but it’s really hard for me to eat. I’m a texture person and the whole soft, mushy, and hard factor really bothers me. But…oatmeal does have a fair amount of good for you fiber, so I’m kind of forcing myself to like it. To make it more flavorful I’ve been adding my frozen berries (I hope you’re starting to realize that these are a useful freezer staple to purchase) and brown sugar or honey. I’ve been trying to cut back the amount of sweetener I use and someday I hope to only need a teeny, weenie drizzle; all in due time. Oatmeal is great to eat on days when you’re super busy and fear you won’t be able to eat lunch at your usual time, because it leaves you feeling full for a very long time and doesn’t take long to make. Check out this site for the many benefits oatmeal can provide, and try to avoid buying oatmeal that’s flavored for you.

   

Oatmeal, Brown Sugar, Berries

I checked on my persimmons to see if they were ripe yet. Sadly they have a few more days left. Persimmons are neat little fruits. I got two at the grocery store and looked them up online. They’re pretty popular in the California area. There are two main types of persimmons. One is squat, yellow, and known as a Jiro. These can be sliced and eaten raw while firm. The kind that is sold at most supermarkets I’ve been to is called the Hachiya. It’s a little larger, redder, and has a pointy bottom. The Hachiya is an astringent food, and an unripe Hachiya is apparently extremely bitter and will leave your mouth feeling fuzzy. Weirdly enough, the best time to eat them is once they’ve become soft and oozy. One of mine is finally starting to soften! You can put them in the freezer for a day, which helps kill the bitter taste, but I don’t mind waiting for them to do their thang.

Next Time I'll Buy Softer Ones

No worries. All was not lost, as I had a delectable Pomegranate sitting in my (now empty) fruit bowl. You’ve probably tried Pomegranate juice from the company POM, but have you ever had pomegranate seeds? Known as arils, the red and hard, yet juicy, seeds are encased inside the Pomegranates inedible, white membrane. I was intimidated by these voluptuous beauties, but decided to buy them and do some online research of how to best open them. The consensus is to quarter the fruit and open it underwater so the arils plop to the bottom of the bowl and the membranes float to the top. It’s quite a fun process. Look for a large one with a dark red color. Those ones yield the most arils.

 

Overall I’d say I had a pretty successful morning meal and my belly is quite satisfied.

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn