My Vegan Experiment Day 2 – Avocado Toast

Hi there:

Today was day 2 of my vegan experiment on the Crazy Sexy You program.  The day was supposed to start off with lemon water, green tea, green juice and avocado toast. It was also supposed to end with me hanging out with my best friend and others at her home on South Beach; however, life rarely works out according to plan.

I woke up this morning with a terrible headache and incredible nausea.  I managed to prepare lemon water, but couldn't keep it or anything else down for much of the day. Needless to say, I did not head to South Beach this evening, nor did I enjoy more of the creamy cashew pasta from last night.

On a hunch, I checked my blood pressure this morning and discovered that it was quite high.  I took my medication, but couldn't keep it down either. Luckily, I started to feel better this afternoon and, by 3:00p.m., I was able to keep some Yogi lemon ginger tea* down.

Afraid to have the pasta, I made a pot of lentil soup that is also a part of the Crazy Sexy You recipes.  It came out really well.  More importantly, it stayed down.

Feeling a bit sorry for myself I ordered in for dinner, but kept it vegan.  Specifically, I had hummus, guacamole and chips.  I also ordered a salad that was heavy on the beets, but decided to brave that for lunch or dinner tomorrow instead.

Although the day was not ideal, I'm glad that I didn't go completely off the reservation in terms of food.  It's also probably a hidden blessing that I stayed in tonight for I surely would have been tempted to imbibe cocktails and non-vegan fare (my bestie makes a mean cocktail and is a great cook).

Anyway, I'm not a big avocado lover (I think I ate too many of them as a child), so I wasn't really looking forward to the avocado toast.  The guacamole was very tasty though.

Let's hope that I don't wake up feeling like I did this morning.  If I do, I'm heading straight to the doctor before work.  Let's see what tomorrow has to bring in this crazy adventure.



*This is an affiliate link for the Yogi lemon ginger tea at Thrive Market.  If you click on it and shop at Thrive Market, I will earn a commission if you decide to stay with them after the 30 day free trial and you'll get 25% off your first order. You should know that I only recommend products, services and sites that I use myself.

Day 1 Vegan Experiment – Pink Cashew Cream Pasta

Hi there:

Day 1 of my Vegan Experiment came to an end with salmon pink cashew cream pasta which looked a bit radioactive, but tasted delicious.  Let me start from the beginning.

I was late to work and a little frazzled with all the food preparation that is part of Chris Karr's Crazy Sexy You Program, but I was not hungry.  That could be because I binged last night on Chinese food as if it were my last night on Earth and I would never get to eat steamed pork dumplings, pork fried rice, shrimp and broccoli, or egg rolls ever again. In life.  Or maybe it's because the program allows us to eat a good amount of food on a daily basis, including a hearty and very satisfying meal of cashew cream pasta for dinner.

I started out the day with lemon water and green tea followed by a smoothie made of a frozen banana, frozen blueberries, almond milk, spinach and hemp seeds.  The recipe made two servings, so I had one for breakfast and the other as an afternoon snack. I cheated a little and added a teaspoon of honey and a little vanilla extract to sweeten the brew.  It tasted good, but I didn't like the crunchiness of the hemp seeds. I like a creamy smoothie, not to chew on them.

I had 1/3 cup of trail mix as a midmorning snack. That held me until lunchtime when I enjoyed a hearty portion of potato, bean and kale stew I had packed into a thermos.

Being a big girl with a hearty appetite, I didn't trust that the afternoon smoothie would keep me from peeling off the road into the next McDonald's drive through on the way home, so I packed carrots and hummus to munch on instead.  I ate the carrots around 3:00 p.m., then drank the smoothie at 4:00 p.m.  That was a bit much. The overload of fiber made me feel way too full and sent my tummy into a tizzy. I won't be doing that again.

I was so full that I didn't start cooking dinner until after 7:00p.m.  Luckily, I know my way around a kitchen, but, like most lawyers and engineers I know, I don't follow directions very well.  I messed up the cashew cream pasta recipe by forgetting to add the cashews I'd been soaking since 3:30p.m. to the blender when I made the sauce. The rice pasta penne still tasted delicious with just the blended tomatoes, nutritional yeast, seasonings, and almond milk.  I was about halfway through chowing down when I remembered the cashews.  I jumped up, ran into the kitchen, took the second half of the can of diced tomatoes and blended that with the soaked cashews in my Nutri Ninja Pro * The result? A thick salmon pink tomato cashew cream that clung to the sides of the blender cup like a lover.

I scraped it off the sides, slid it into the pasta pot, mixed it in good, and gave it a taste. That pasta was so good I let out a moan like I used to when my ex . . . but I digress. Let's just say it was really good and I can't wait to have the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I never thought I would say that about a vegan dinner.

I'm so satisfied I didn't even make the chocolate sauce to go with my strawberries for dessert.  Well, that and the fact that I had already scarfed down 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate when I got home.

We're allowed to have 1.0 ounce of a dark chocolate bar on Sunday.  I saw the bar in the refrigerator and got a little happy with it.  I couldn't help myself.  It was a Chocolove Almonds & Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Bar. I just meant to have a little taste but kept going back for more.  Needless to say, I won't be buying that again in the next three weeks.  It's not even “legal” on the Crazy Sexy You program since it's only 55% dark chocolate (it needs to be 70% dark).

So now it's bedtime and I managed to get through Day 1 without gnawing off my arm, cheating too much, or snapping at anyone.  Let's hope the remaining days go this well.



My 21 Day Vegan Experiment: Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy You Program

Hi there:

Since you haven't heard from me in a while, I decided to jumpstart my return with a bang.  I decided to do something that will sound crazy – especially to anyone who knows how much I love a smothered porkchop, fried chicken, cheese and shrimp prepared any way there is . . . but I digress.  I made the decision to try Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy You program and go not only vegan, but also dairy free, coffee free, and gluten free for the next 21 days.  Yeah, you read that right: meat free, dairy free, coffee free and gluten free for the next 21 days.

No, I haven't lost my mind or joined a cult, nor did aliens abduct and impersonate me. I made the decision to join Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy You program because I am the heaviest I've ever been and I would love to get off blood pressure medication for good.

The program, which involves a fully planned vegan 21 day meal plan (complete with snacks and desserts), an exercise program (3-5 days per week), and a daily meditation regimen, is designed to promote not only weight loss, but an overall health reboot. There's even a private Facebook group where members of the program get daily tips and support from Kris Carr and her team,  a weekly group coaching call with Kris Carr, and weekly office hours with her chef and the nutritionists, who also pop into the Facebook group all week to answer questions.

Even though they don't call the program a cleanse, apparently some people who are detoxing from junk food, caffeine and other goodies may experience both the positive results and the temporary symptoms typically brought on by a cleanse.

Kris Carr and her team do a great job of helping the members prepare for the program by offering shopping guides, cooking guides, food storage and prep tips, and restaurant and business trip survival guides.  The survival guides were very helpful as I will be away for a week attending a writers conference during the program and won't be able to prepare meals in accordance with the program.  I've already scoped out all the vegan restaurants and juice/smoothie spots near my hotel.  I also figured out that I could order vegetarian Chinese food.

Before perusing the guides, I knew very little about how to eat vegan and meet my nutritional needs. Being a comfort food mama, I was very happy to discover that some of my favorite items were “legal” on the program like lentil soup, almond milk, dark chocolate, green tea, vegetarian chili, brown rice, stir fry veggies, gluten free noodles  and smoothies to name a few.  In fact, the recipe book contained a number of soups and stews we can have.

I'm not going to lie though, going without any meat at all, even fish and hard boiled eggs , will be a challenge over the next 21 days.  Not having any coffee will also be a challenge.  Some of my coworkers plan to give me a wide berth over the next three weeks because they figure that I'll be positively evil until I adjust.  That's pretty hilarious considering how much I love to laugh and how friendly I normally am.

I'm going to keep you posted on this journey by blogging every night for the next 21 days.  My plan is to drop a few pounds, jump start my health and develop healthy eating, exercise and meditation habits.  Let's see how it goes.



LJ’s Breakfast Tips

LJ's Breakfast

Hi there:

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  I believe that's true and that's why I put together these breakfast tips. On those days when I eat a healthy breakfast I tend to be on the right track for the rest of the day. If I leave the house, however, without having eaten breakfast, and grab a quick bagel or doughnut on the way in to work, I know I'm in for a terrible eating day. It just sets the day off on the wrong tone.

To make sure I'm able to make breakfast fairly quickly on weekday mornings, I like to do some things on the weekends to prepare. Some of those things include:

  1. Making a tray of LJ's Crispy Oven Roasted Potatoes.  This recipe is so versatile. You can add the crispy potatoes to LJ's Breakfast Skillet or eat them as a side at dinnertime.
  2. Making a tray of oven cooked bacon. Having already cooked center cut bacon is useful for crumbling over salads or as part of a quick breakfast on work day mornings. Center cut bacon is lighter in WW points than others. Turkey bacon is even lighter in WW points.  You could, for example, have three slices of center cut bacon, a side of the potatoes and eggs, or you could make yourself a breakfast sandwich with eggs, bacon and a low-fat English Muffin.
  3. Make extra servings of high-fiber low-fat pancakes and refrigerate them.  I can grab a paper plate and put a serving of the pancakes and a serving of the bacon in the microwave for a quick weekday morning breakfast. I can top it with a cup of frozen blueberries and a tablespoon of maple syrup (microwaved together until warm and ready to pour) and get in two of my fruit servings before I even leave the house. You can stock frozen whole grain waffles instead of the pancakes.
  4. Making a pot of oatmeal.  Steel-cut oats take longer to cook. If I make a pot on the weekend, then I can scoop out a serving in the morning, put it in a bowl, splash a little unsweetened almond or skim milk, and heat it up in the microwave.  I can then add fruit, nuts, and/or sweetener, and pair it with a hard-boiled egg or other protein source for a quick and hearty breakfast.
  5. Making LJ's Salmon Cakes. Each salmon cake contains m ore than 20 ounces of protein. I wrap mine in foil and keep them in the refrigerator.  On weekday mornings, I can grab one and pair it with a serving of the potatoes or a light English Muffin or sauteed veggies and have a well-rounded, protein-packed breakfast in minutes.

You get the idea. A little preparation goes a long way toward putting your weekday menu planning and meal preparation on autopilot. That, in turn, makes sticking with your healthy eating goals a lot easier.

I hope you found these breakfast tips to be helpful.


How to Combat Healthy Eating Boredom


A friend and I were just discussing today one of the main reasons why people tend to fall off the healthy eating wagon: boredom. “If I have to eat a salad one more time, I’d rather not eat,” she said.  I know exactly how she feels.  Ironically, I brought a salad for lunch today too. I enjoyed it though.

A lot of times when we’re dieting or trying to change our eating patterns, we fall into a rut.  We go with the tried and true and forget that we need to be happy too. For those of you who know exactly what I mean, I have good news for you: healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring or repetitive or joyless.  In fact, it shouldn’t be.  

You don’t have to have salad for lunch five days a week to lose weight or maintain your figure and you certainly don’t have to eat the same old salad everyday.  You should however, eat lots of veggies (see my post on easy ways to get 7 vegetable servings a day) and supplement that with whole grains, legumes and lean sources of protein.

When you look at it from a nutritional perspective, you realize that the lunch possibilities are endless. You could, for example, have one of a myriad of healthy recipes for lunch and either add a cup of cooked veggies on the side (i.e. a WeightWatchers recipe for Turkey Chili with a side of broccoli), or incorporate the veggies into the meal (i.e. a veggie stir fry with 4-5 ounces of shrimp or beef or chicken). You could have a wrap with low fat deli meat, a healthy condiment or spread, and lots of veggies like spinach and tomatoes.  You could have a bowl of vegetable or lentil or black bean soup and add some organic Cajun spiced turkey sausage. You could even have a radically different salad every day of the week. Are you hungry yet? Stay tuned for some new posts, recipes and meal ideas designed to beat back boredom.



Today’s Cherry Vanilla Smoothie

Hi there:

Ever since I got started with the Red Smoothie Diet Factor* (affiliate link), I've been having a smoothie for breakfast in the morning and experimenting with smoothie recipes.  Today's concoction is a riff on the Cherry Champion – one of the smoothies contained in Dr. Liz Swann Miller's 14 day smoothie detox program.*  I call it my Cherry Vanilla Smoothie.

Here is the recipe for two servings:

Three cups organic frozen cherries, 1.5 cups vanilla unsweetened almond milk, 1 banana (mine was frozen), two handfuls greens (kale, swiss chard, and/or spinach), 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, three scoops (1.5 servings) vanilla protein powder (optional), 1 tbsp. Chia seeds, 1 tsp. spirulina (optional), 1 tsp. wheatgrass (optional), 1 tbsp. maca powder (optional),

This is one of my favorite go to smoothie recipes.  In fact, I'm enjoying the heck out of it right now as I write this.

I bought my Chia seeds from Costco.  It came in a big bag that has lasted me for months.  I bought my spirulina and wheatgrass powder from a local farmer's market. I'm running out though and will pick up more from Amazon here.  I bought my maca powder from Amazon as well.  You can get it here.

I'll write a review of the Red Smoothie Detox Factor* soon.  As a preview, I'll just tell you that I lost 6lbs. in the first week on the program while only following it halfway and cheating twice.

In the meantime, try my Cherry Vanilla Smoothie out and let me know what you think.



*The links contained in this blog post are affiliate links.  If you click on them and buy something, I will receive compensation.  However, you should know that I only  promote products that I believe in and most likely use or own myself.

Brilliant Yoga Weight Loss and Wellbeing Success System – Product Review

Hi there:

Today I want to talk to you about a fascinating e-book I read recently: “Brilliant Yoga: The Brilliant Yoga Weight Loss and Wellbeing Success System” by Sarah Sanders.

Brilliant Yoga E-book Set

Sarah Sanders is a well known professional yoga teacher and life coach.  In her book, she claims that we don't have to starve ourselves and do crazy, frenetic and torturous exercise routines in order to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.  According to her, we can achieve a healthy weight and obtain many other health benefits through the practice of yoga.

Sarah Sanders says that, in addition to being a powerful, healthy weight-loss alternative, a program such as that outlined in “Brilliant Yoga” can provide the following benefits:

  • Enhanced mental alertness
  • Relief from aches, pains and stiffness that make you feel prematurely old
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Increased energy and vitality
  • Greater balance and core strength
  • The ability to shake smoking, alcohol, caffeine, and other habits you've been trying to shake

As one who dislikes aerobics and frenetic exercise with a passion and who prefers mind body exercises, I find her premise intriguing and definitely worth giving a try.

When ordering “Brilliant Yoga” I received:

  • “Brilliant Yoga”: a 234 page e-book containing a great deal of information on how to transform my body and my life through yoga. The information ranges from yoga philosophy, to step-by-step yoga session plans and instructional photographs.
  • “How To Stop Back Pain”: An e-book explaining the wide range of treatment options available for dealing with back pain and helpful information for choosing the most appropriate treatment path.  It also contains simple tips one can incorporate into their daily life to achieve dramatic improvements in back pain.
  • “The Essential Guide To Pilates”: According to the author, Pilates has all kinds of synergies with yoga. She says they go together like a married couple. I don't know whether that's such a good analogy given the rate of divorce nowadays but the e-book is packed with beneficial Pilates exercises to combine with what you learn in Brilliant Yoga. She suggests using the Pilates exercises to vary your routine, and further your control and awareness of your body.
  • “Stretching & Calisthenics Made Easy” – This book purports to teach you how to achieve proper fitness through stretching and calisthenics – from cardiorespiratory to muscular fitness. You'll also learn how vital proper nutrition and lifestyle are to the efficiency of your workouts – including the 10 do's and don'ts of working out.
  • “Amazing Self” series: This guide, purports to help you discover more powerful ways to becoming the best possible version of yourself on a physical, mental and interpersonal level.

I have to admit that, when I first downloaded all of the e-books and realized there were no fitness videos in the package, I was a little disappointed.  I thought I would read a couple of e-books and then mindlessly follow a couple of yoga videos.  After all, it's kind of how we're programmed.  But after I read “Brilliant Yoga” and digested the wealth of information inside, I realized what a goldmine Sarah Sanders had given me.  Everything she said about exercise, nutrition and how we're harming our bodies with all these fad diets and extreme weight loss programs made sense to me.

“Brilliant Yoga” gives its readers the option to use the book as a guide to doing the exercises at home, or to join a yoga class or to follow along with yoga videos.  She also gives excellent tips and information on how to select the right yoga instructor and videos.

If you are anything like me you already have yoga videos collecting dust in your DVD collection or access to them through Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.  Some of my personal favorites include: Yoga for Stress Relief (affiliate link)* by Suzanne Deason, Fat Free Yoga: Lose Weight & Feel Great* – Ana Brett and Ravi Singh, and Yoga Cleanse – Lighten Up & Purify* by Ana Brett & Ravi Singh.

All in all, I give “Brilliant Yoga” high marks.  Some of the factors contributing to my review are:

  • The books contain a wealth of thoroughly researched and very useful information.
  • The program was priced very reasonably.
  • The books are safe to download.
  • “Brilliant Yoga” is a self-training program that yoga learners can perform in their own home if they feel too shy or self-conscious or time-crunched to attend a class.
  • The guides contain detailed instructions and step-by-step techniques that yoga learners can understand and follow with ease.
  • Yoga learners get free bonus books when buying this program.
  • Sarah Sanders offers 24/7 support via email with Brilliant Yoga.
  • The author offers a 60 day money back guarantee.

Go here to get more information on the Brilliant Yoga program.

I promise to keep you up to date on how I'm faring on this program.


*All links contained in this post are affiliate links.  If you click on them and buy something, I will receive compensation.  You should know that I only include links to products I believe in and, most likely, own myself.

5 Keys to Killing Cellulite

5 Critical Keys to Kill Your Cellulite

One of our contributing experts and guest blogger recently put together a kick-butt article that is the “Do This – and DON’T Do That” rule-book when it comes to getting rid of unsightly cellulite dimples, shadows and ripples. It’s a quick read with some eye-opening tips and a helpful video that you’ll want to see while it’s still up.

-contributed by – Joey Atlas, Womens’ Body Enhancement Specialist — M.S., Exercise Physiology

“Ask any woman on the street what the definition of “cellulite” is and you'll get a confused variety of answers. From “toxic fat pockets caught in the skin” to “bands of fiber pulling down on the skin” and many odd things in between…”

no more cellulite orange bikini

Cellulite Gone – Bikini On

The truth is: most people really don’t know what “cellulite” actually is, or, what causes this odd appearance of the lower body trouble zones…”

This is no surprise as there actually is no such thing as ‘cellulite’… So how do we get rid of something which doesn’t exist?”

Here’s the answer:

“The word, “cellulite”, was cleverly made-up several decades ago, in a European beauty-spa, to DESCRIBE the bumpy, shadowy and dimpled appearance of skin in the lower body trouble zones of the female body. (butt, hips, thighs, legs)”

The beauty spas then started cashing-in and profiting big-time by marketing “beauty” services and products to get rid of “cellulite”. And if you're like most women who've been challenged by this issue, then you probably already know all of those passive and superficial beauty treatments do not get rid of the dented shadows and mushy dimples on your buns, legs and thighs.”

In order to make your lower-body smooth, tight and attractive, there are 5 steps to follow.

Here they are:

5 Critical Keys to KILL Your Cellulite

1: You cannot get rid of the dimples and shadows (cellulite) by rubbing an odd gel, weird lotion or goopy cream on your trouble zones and problem spots.

So, stop using them – as some can actually make your cellulite worse.

Despite the fact that there are dozens of supposed ‘cellulite reduction creams’ on the market, there is no possible way for any one of them, no matter how expensive, to get rid of your cellulite. Cellulite is not a skin problem. Its an underlying structural issue, that can only be corrected by reversing the cause of atrophied muscle fibers directly beneath your “cellulite” trouble spots.”

Since the squishy dimples and shadows are a superficial symptom of a problem below the surface; it’s impossible for the creams, lotions or gels to have any physiological impact on the cause of the issue…”

2: Risky and expensive ‘medi-spa treatments’ can only reduce your bank account – not your cellulite problems. And there are many consumer reports about women being seriously scarred or injured as well.

Stay away from these as the FDA reports show women who’ve been scarred or injured for life.

Painful, dangerous and uncomfortable services ranging from endermologie to body-wrapping have been proven to be totally ineffective when it comes to treating cellulite. However, advertising and marketing loopholes allow these services to be cleverly marketed to desperate women who are at wits end with the unattractive dimples and shadows on the lower-body problem areas.”

3: The unattractive dimples, shadows and saggy ripples known as cellulite are not ‘genetic’ and you are NOT stuck with them forever if you have them.

Falsely believing this will prevent you from getting rid of your cellulite. So, don’t entertain this nonsense for 1 second.

These two ridiculous myths are often passed around by ‘neighborhood know-it-alls’ – and many women actually believe these 2 myths – especially if they haven’t found the right way to get rid of the cellulite. Whats even more alarming are the number of doctors who also believe in and foster these 2 demoralizing falsehoods.

Yes – it is common to see a mother and daughter, both with the lower-body “orange peel” look, BUT this doesn't mean cellulite is genetic – it simply means both women have not found a way to lift, tone and firm the muscle layers under the dimpled, saggy skin.”

4: You can get rid of cellulite, regardless of your age – or when you began to notice it.

Since cellulite is a structural issue (muscle) – it can be fixed with simple and unique body movements which target the cellulite areas.”

These types of moves can be followed by any woman, regardless of her age or fitness level. And it doesn’t matter if the cellulite started in the early teen years – or after pregnancy – or after menopause – it’s still a structural issue that results from soft, un-toned muscles underneath the saggy, dimpled, shadowy skin.”

5: The only proven way to permanently get rid of the dimples and shadows of cellulite is through a series of simple, yet specifically targeted lower-body movements

These unique movements focus on lifting, shaping and toning the muscle layers so they gently push outward against the skin – to bring back the smooth, tight and sexy appearance, while burning off any excess flab, if there is any.”

This is how regular women reverse the cause of cellulite dimples and shadows… AND, if there happens to be any excess fat in those zones – it will be burned off as fuel by the muscles. This bonus of losing any unhealthy excess body-fat is nice because it reveals a great body and it works wonders for your health profile.

BUT you won’t learn about these unique slow-tempo movements in the gym or your local health club.”

These body movements are NOT done with typical weights and machine type exercises.” “Most regular fitness instructors don’t even know about this type of targeted cellulite-killing method. (click to watch video)

These muscle-stimulating movements can be done right at home, in total privacy.

The female lower-body has over 90 muscles…

Picture those 90 muscles BENEATH your skin’s surface in your legs, butt, hips and thigh zones. That’s where the magic happens in regards to true removal of mushy dimples and saggy shadows in the trouble spots and problem areas…

Despite what most women have been led to believe, there is a critical difference between a ‘general workout program’ – and a laser-focused, cellulite removal method. The sweetest benefit of this is; you don’t need access to a health club or fitness center.” …”Just click PLAY on this video by Joey Atlas, (M.S., Ex.Phys.) and get it started now:” (it opens in a bigger screen so you don’t miss a thing)

These are simple, unique moves you can start doing today, right in the privacy of your own home. And if you start this type of targeted muscle stimulation method today – you will start feeling results within 2 weeks and seeing results within 3 to 4 weeks.

free cellulite presentation video for women to get rid of cellulite

To see the 90 muscles in your lower-body and

how you can reverse the cause of the bumps,

shadows and dimples in your trouble zones and

problem spots, just click play above.



EXTRA TIP – # 6: The Dimples, Ripples and Shadows of Cellulite Get Worse if They Are Not Taken Care of Properly. And the worse it gets, the harder it is to reverse.

So, watch the video above to avoid further frustration, disgust and anger. It’s your body so just do the right thing for it.

What I Learned About Hunger Today

I hesitated to write this post because, in truth, I have never known true hunger. Thankfully, I've never known what it's like to go without food or too little food for days and weeks on end like too many of the world's (and even some of this country's) inhabitants.

When I talk about hunger in this post, I'm talking about that nagging feeling in the pit of your stomach when it's past time for lunch or dinner and you've been caught unprepared.  You know how it is – no healthy cooked food in the house, nothing defrosted, and no convenience food in the house. That was me last night.

I was working away on my computer and, when I looked up, it was almost 9:00p.m. I hadn't eaten anything since lunch and I was ravenous.  The meat I had taken out to defrost was still frozen and, since I hadn't gone food shopping, I was missing key ingredients needed to make my standby convenience favorites.  Or so I thought.

Looking in my pantry this morning, with a calmer mind and my recipe books at hand, I see that I actually did have all of the ingredients necessary to make myself a healthy meal, but last night I was too hungry and too impatient to figure it out and think it through.  So what did I do?  I ordered in from an Italian restaurant.

I felt like the world's biggest hypocrite.  Here I was, just starting to embark on a healthy lifestyle again, and I order in a chicken parmesan sandwich and fries.  I inhaled half the sandwich and every single French fry until I was stuffed.

I felt terrible – physically and emotionally – and then I remembered something my old Weight Watchers leader used to say.  She said that if you wait until you're ravenous to get something to eat, you'll inhale food like a Hoover vacuum cleaner and regret it.  I thought what she said was funny at the time, but, last night, that's pretty much what I did.

She talked about how important it is to keep healthy food and snacks around so that you don't reach that state.  She told us to keep our pantries stocked so we could always throw together a healthy meal.

Looking back, I see now that if I had a cheese stick and an apple or a handful of nuts before deciding to order in, I might have been able to put together a healthy meal from my pantry or I might have ordered a salad instead of the sandwich and fries. Another choice would have been to make a quick run to The Fresh Market to pick up a rotisserie chicken and some salad greens.

Oh well, I ‘ve learned my lesson.  Next time, I'll be better prepared.  Keep an eye out for future posts on making better choices and being prepared for anything.


P.S. I still haven't gone food shopping yet, but, using the items in my pantry, I managed to make L.J.'s Salmon Cakes and sweet potato fries using the Cajun spice mix contained in a recipe listed in Metabolic Cooking's 9 Cookbook Set (affiliate link)* It was yummy.


  • This post contains an affiliate link.  If you click on it and purchase something, I will receive compensation.  You should know that I only link to products that I like and believe in and may have even bought myself.



Easy Ways to Get 7 Vegetable Servings A Day

In my quest to lose weight the last time, I started seeing a doctor of Chinese medicine referred to me by a friend.  During my first visit, she told me, among other things,  that I had to start eating 7 to 11 fruit and vegetable servings per day.  I looked at her as if she were crazy, but I decided to give it a try.  What did I have to lose but weight and years of not so healthy eating habits?

At first, it seemed impossible to even conceive of how to eat all those servings of fruits and vegetables in a single day.  But then she handed me a sheet that said a serving equals a half cup of any vegetable or fruit, except lettuce, spinach, cabbage, collard greens, kale and the like.  You need a full cup of those leafy veggies to make a serving since they are made of mostly water.  A serving can also be a piece of fruit (i.e. an apple, a pear, a plum, a nectarine) or 15 grapes or 6 baby carrots and so on and so forth.

When I left the doctor’s office, my mind was reeling. Like the psychotic Type A person that I can be, I feverishly researched the issue, tormented myself and experimented until I finally figured out how to add 7-11 fruit and vegetable servings into my day without becoming a vegetarian and without it becoming a full time job.

The first thing I did was to get on the web and look for vegetable recipes. I knew that I wouldn't be happy eating salads every single day and that I'd need some help in that regard.  I discovered some great vegetable recipes online that I modified to suit my tastes.  I've since discovered great recipes and ways to incorporate more fruits, veggies, and metabolism stoking herbs, spices and dressings into my diet in great cookbooks like: Metabolic Cooking 9 Cookbook Set (affiliate link).*

After finding some vegetable filled recipes that I thought I would like, I had to make a plan to increase my fruit and vegetable intake. Now, I have it down to a science.  Back then, on a typical day, I'd have at least two servings of fruit before lunch.  I would make a large fruit salad on Sunday, divide it into  5 one cup sized plastic containers, and throw a container into my lunch bag to eat as a mid-morning snack at work.  I'd also throw in a snack sized baggie containing 12 baby carrots (that’s 2 servings) or celery sticks and hummus into my lunch bag for afternoon snacking.

Now, I have a smoothie for breakfast most mornings which usually contains three fruit servings and skip the midmorning snack.

Back then, if I made a turkey wrap for lunch, I'd add a cup of baby spinach and a sliced plum tomato to my deli thin turkey meat and dijon mustard to bulk up the wrap (that’s 2 servings of veggies right there). Now, I might forgo the wrap and eat soup and a salad instead or meat or fish with a two serving size side of veggies.

On the weekends, I'd make a vat of Curried Vegetable Soup or a pureed vegetable soup I could pair with meals all week long. A cup of pureed carrot or butternut squash soup, for example, contains two or more vegetable servings.

Sides of veggies are the easiest to make. For example, you can peel some carrots, cut them diagonally into two inch pieces, throw them into a bowl with a little olive oil and seasonings, coat them,  then throw them onto a sheet pan, roast them in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes and throw a tablespoon of chopped dill over them when they are still warm (or not) and you will be a happy child.  You can do the same thing with sweet potatoes (no need to peel and no dill).

You can take a 16 oz. bag of frozen peas and carrots or mixed vegetables, throw them into a pot with a little chicken broth, garlic powder, onion powder, and Goya Adobo seasoning (or a little salt) to taste and you have tasty side veggies to go with the rest of your dinner.  You can take frozen broccoli, blanch it boiling water for a few minutes, take it out with a slotted spoon and throw it into a bowl of ice water to keep it green and stop the cooking, drain it and then throw it into a saucepan to saute with a little olive oil, chopped shallot (or onion) and garlic and seasonings to taste.

The point is that it doesn’t have to be hard, time consuming or even ridiculously expensive to work 7-11 daily fruit and vegetable servings into your diet.  Frozen veggies give you the same bang for your buck as fresh, and canned pineapple works as well as fresh (as long as its not packed in heavy syrup). Organic and/or locally grown veggies and fruit are best.  I get my organic frozen fruit and veggies from Cosco to get a little bang for my buck.

Eating 7-11 servings of fruits and vegetables every day helped me to shed 60lbs the first time. It also gave my skin a healthy glow and helped me look years younger than I am. I didn't know why then, but I do now.  Fruits and vegetables are full of water and fiber, which made me feel full and satisfied with fewer calories.  Also, they are full of much needed vitamins and antioxidants which, together with the fiber, helped me detoxify my system. The reward for this effort is youthful glowing skin, better health, increased energy, and weight loss.

I just started this healthy habit again and I already notice a difference in how I feel.  Give it a try.  Start with one of the veggie recipes contained in this free report called 10 Quick and Easy Fat Torching Recipes.



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