Category Archives: healthy living

21 Day Sugar Detox Breakfast Banana Chia Pudding

It’s week 2 of the 21 Day Sugar Detox for me! It’s going well and I feel great. The food prep has worked out really well. And made it SO easy for me to grab food and eat healthy. 

I also feel like I’m really starting to enjoy myself in the kitchen again. For the two years cooking really has not been on my priority list. While pregnant I just loathed the thought of putting any effort into food and then of course after I became a mom it just fell by the wayside. It’s like I didn’t even care to eat anymore. It was almost automatic. Like “oh it’s lunchtime better shove some food into my mouth”. Dinner was a dreaded chore where I would just cook the easiest protein/veggie/starch which just resulted in bland, repetitive and boring meals (we ate burgers A LOT). 

For the first time in awhile I’m back on Pinterest looking up 21 Day Sugar Detox recipes and in my cook books- looking through meals and choosing them to make. And enjoying it! Many of the meals are turning out great and also giving me some inspiration to start making my own recipes again! 

I have mentioned I’ve been having a hard time eating something savory in the morning for breakfast. I made the streusel muffins from Practical Paleo last week for breakfast but thought it was just blah. I used to eat that all the time! So I came up with this chia seed pudding that is 21 day sugar detox approved! This makes such a yummy not-sweet breakfast. You can mix and match toppings as well to make different flavors. This one is very banana bread-esque and has no added sugar. It has the consistency of pudding. Chia seeds are very high in fiber and also supply some healthy omega-3 fatty acids! They keep me very full until lunch time. 

21 Day Sugar Detox Banana Chia Seed Pudding
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Prep Time
2 min
Total Time
4 hr
Prep Time
2 min
Total Time
4 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup coconut milk
  2. 2 tbsp chia seeds
  3. 1 banana (green tipped for 21 DSD)
  4. 1 tsp cinnamon
  5. 1/2 tsp vanilla
  6. Toppings of choice (nut butter, pumpkin seeds, fruit if not on 21DSD, coconut flakes, nuts)
Instructions
  1. Mash a banana into a medium size pyrex or tupperware container (make sure you mix it after opening the can)
  2. Put in the coconut milk, chia seeds and cinnamon and vanilla
  3. Mix well
  4. Place in fridge for at least 3-4 hours or preferably overnight*
  5. Cover with toppings and enjoy!
Notes
  1. Make the night before for a quick grab and go breakfast!
Pencils and Pancakes http://pencilsandpancakes.com/
Also, try my 21 Day Sugar Detox Waffles for more yummy breakfast!!

P.S. I’m aware these pictures are horrible and I’m no professional food blogger. #sorrynotsorry. This is who I am. I made a yummy recipe a couple of times and I took a picture on my phone before I ate it. I’m not going to pretend otherwise. Real life!!!

 

What’s your favorite 21 Day Sugar Detox Breakfast?

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How to Food Prep!

 

Okay I am just starting this post and realizing how much more work it’s going to be than I thought. I honestly can’t believe I’ve never done a blog post about food prep. I’ve been doing this for probably 3 years. I will say there is no way I would eat even anything remotely looking like a healthy paleo-ish diet without food prep. There’s just no way. Eating real food is time consuming ad grabbing unhealthy convenience foods is obviously a lot more…..convenient. 

Now that I’m not working full time, my food prep days look a little different, and sometimes now I will prep food two days a week to cut up the job. When I wasn’t working and I was in full blown food prep Sundays mode, I would go shopping Saturday or Sunday morning and then food prep all day on Sunday. It usually took about 2-4 hours (not hands on the entire time- cooking time included). This routine was a lot harder once I had a baby but still was committed to prepping a least a couple of things. 

 

Everyone’s food prep will look a little different because we all have different needs. But I promise this is worth it and it will make eating healthier SO much easier. Throw on some music or a podcast or a book on tape and just get in a groove. 

  1. Plan meals – You need to go on Pinterest, look through your cookbooks and PLAN exactly what you’re going to have for breakfast, dinner, lunch and snacks the entire week (or two if you’re shopping for two weeks). This part is actually fun in my opinion! I pin recipes on Pinterest anytime I see something I would like to make then I go find them when meal prepping. It does take awhile. I have a meal planning template I use- if you’re interested click here and sign up for my email list to get it for FREE! 
  2. Go Shopping- Don’t be surprised when your grocery bill grows. But you will save so much money by not going last minute shopping/ordering or going out. 
  3. Start Prepping- Think about what meals you need prepped that you will not have time to took before hand. Perhaps these are your breakfasts and lunches for the week and your snacks. Maybe dinner you will have some time to cook during the week. Or maybe you can spend some time on breakfast and need lunch and dinner quick. 

My “prep” items usually include:

  • Lunch for the week 
  • Husband’s lunch
  • breakfast for the week
  • snacks
  • cut/prep vegetables for dinners
  • baby breakfast and lunch

Items that I would make for each of these things very every week! And if I don’t feel like prepping one of those items, I go with an easier option like smoothies for breakfast or lunch meat for my husbands lunch instead of making him something (normally it would be a pasta casserole, homemade pizza, homemade mac n cheese, etc). I always make my husband granola bars on Sunday for this lunch and I’ve been doing this for 3 years. They are super easy to throw together. 

Breakfasts:

Pumpkin pie breakfast bake ,

Egg muffins or casserole  ,

 quiche

Toddler muffins

Lunches:

Paleomg spaghetti squash casserole

Meatballs with a sweet potato and broccoli

Salad with sardines

Toddler mac and cheese

Snacks:

Protein balls

Nutter bombs

Rx bars (when I don’t feel like prepping)

 

SOME MORE FOOD PREP RESOURCES!

https://www.theleangreenbean.com/how-to-food-prep/

https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/how-to-do-food-prep-for-the-week/

https://www.familyfreshmeals.com/2016/08/busy-mom-food-prep.html

http://www.eatyourselfskinny.com/my-weekly-meal-prep-routine/

I know that was a lot of info- and like I said food prep is different for everyone and this is just what it looks like for me. Since I don’t work full time anymore I don’t do all of this anymore but I promise the more prep I do the better I feel about my eating that week! Please comment with any questions you have. I could post tons of recipes but I’m sure you know how the internet works. Check out my Pinterest  and follow me there for more recipes because I pin the recipes I like and use and go back to them. 

 

Some of the books I use regularly for meal prep:

 

 

 

*Some of the links in this post are affiliate!

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Easy ways to detox your lifestyle!

Happy (almost) New Year! I’m feeling happy that I have brought back the blog this year after not blogging really at all in 2016. I enjoy sharing information and sharing my interests so if you’re reading this I thank you for supporting me in this way! 

This year was another amazing one, when I looked back in my journal from 2 years ago I had written “goals for 2016”. This is what the list looked like:

  • Do yoga
  • meditate more
  • read
  • write
  • listen to music
  • train Anna (HA)

I will say that since writing that 2 years ago  yoga has become an integral part of my life. I don’t meditate as much as I want to but I do try to incorporate that into yoga. I read SO many books this year! Probably about one a week and that I’m really proud of. Instead of watching TV before going to bed or scrolling through my phone I read. And I also made it a habit to start writing more which I definitely have with the blog and a daily gratitude list. I don’t listen to music as much as I should….I don’t really know why. I have trouble finding new music I like. I’m just lazy I guess. AAAAAANNNDDD No Anna did not get trained (my dog). Can’t win them all.

I have a major goal for 2018 that I’ve already been working on and that is to GET OFF MY PHONE more. It’s a major addiction especially now that I’ve been using it for my Beautycounter business. I downloaded an app that tracks how long you’ve been on it and how many times you unlock is and I set a goal for 90 mins a day (including my ‘work’ time). I’ve been doing absolutely miserable with it. It’s important to me though especially now that my little one will see me on it all the time. So that’s my goal. Do you set New Years resolutions? I like to set little goals and write todo lists a lot usually weekly but in January I usually do a Whole30. You can read it about my past Whole30 experiences here and here

 

This year I decided to do a 21 Day Sugar Detox because Diane Sanfilippo is coming out with a new book which is a daily guide to the 21DSD. I’ve also done one before and you can read about it here! I have some recipes on this blog including these waffles which are a favorite! But too bad I threw out my waffle maker. it starts on January 8th so you don’t have to get yourself ready by tomorrow. 

So if anyone would like to join me in the 21DSD, you can order the book here and follow my Facebook page for updates, recipe and meal inspirations and more. I’m not going to document every day but I do plan on sharing if I make a good recipe or some other easy meal and snack ideas. 

Another great thing I have going on in the New Year is a FREE educational email series that will start TOMORROW! I will be giving simple swaps to get toxins our of your household and products you use. Sign up for my email list here and you’ll get the emails. If you’re already on the Pencils and Pancakes email list then you’re all set!  The series will focus on household items you can “clean up” to start living a healthier lifestyle. It’s completely free and will be brief and simple. So sign up now and thanks for supporting me!

Have a Happy New Year!

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Toddler friendly Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

 

I’m all about hidden veggies these days…because my daughter will not touch anything green or resembling a veggie. Butternut Squash has always been a favorite of mine…and everyone loves mac n cheese!  I’m not too worried about it as I’m sure it’s completely normal but I’m trying to get some goodies into her when I can using smoothies, muffins and blended sauces with pasta. 

We focus on healthy fats, properly prepared meats and animals products but veggies are important too! I whipped up this fast and easy butternut squash mac and cheese the other day and it is legit (even for mommies and daddies!) 

Ultimately I want her to choose and eat veggies on her own

 

 

 a

 

nd plan on having her help me garden next year and learn about food and vegetables but for now, we try anything we can to get her to eat healthy!

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
A creamy, cheesy, toddler approved mac and cheese the whole family will love!
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Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 lb whole wheat or gluten free pasta (your choice; we used whole wheat)
  2. 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  3. 1 cup purred butternut squash**
  4. 1 tbsp butter
  5. 1 tbsp flour
  6. 1/2 cup whole milk
  7. **Preparing the BN squash has to be done in advance! I peel, cut and cube a large one, boil it, puree it and keep the extra in the fridge to make another recipe or freeze.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. 1. Put pasta on to boil according to directions.
  3. 2. When pasta is almost done, in a medium saucepan, melt butter.
  4. 3. Throw your tbsp of butter in the pan and whisk immediately, forming a roux.
  5. 4. When roux is thick and bubbly, pour in milk.
  6. 5. Whisk continuously until thick; about 3 minutes.
  7. 6. Drop in cheddar cheese and stir.
  8. 7. When pasta is done, drain and place in the casserole dish you will cook it in.
  9. 8. Pour the cheese mixture over the pasta, then mix the butternut squash in. Mix well until it is incorporated.
  10. 9. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until starting to brown on top.
Pencils and Pancakes http://pencilsandpancakes.com/
Let me know if you try the recipe! Enjoy and Happy Holidays 

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Natural and Non-Toxic Baby Products

Hello again, I’m actually getting on to post this week, go me!!!!! When I think about authentic things to post about, baby stuff comes to mind. I’m always on the search for natural and non-toxic products especially when it comes to my babe. Even though that’s not what you might have originally followed me for, it’s real life! I am just going to share some of the baby products I’ve been using that I’ve researched and gotten recommendations for baby as far as being affordable and non-toxic! 

Badger Sunscreen

I actually lost my tube of badger balm somewhere….typical. But we still have this face sunscreen stick. Great non-toxic brand. It kind of goes on white as do many zinc based sunscreens but i’ll take that over harmful chemicals in conventional sunscreens. 

Beautycounter Diaper Cream

Beautycounter is killing most of the competition in the baby department, honestly. The diaper rash cream is amazing. Baby has not had a diaper rash since we started using it. I use it once a night. If she has redness it’s gone by the morning. High quality!!!! 

California Baby Body Wash/Shampoo

My LO had a bout of eczema around 8 months and I was using Babyganics but then switched to this awesome, super sensitive formula from California Baby. It has no “fragrance” which can be a code word for some nasty chemicals. I’ve had this bottle since March and it’s still going strong. Her skin has cleared up!!

Jack n Jill natural toothpaste

It was after she had about 6 teeth that I was like…hmmmmm, should I be brushing these chompers?? We’ve been loving this flouride-free brand! She’s not super cooperative lately but I’ve read that all that matters is that the toothpaste gets smeared on the teeth. Lately I’ve been brushing my teeth at the same time so she likes to copy me!! Right now she is getting in some molars. It looks super painful but she doesn’t seem to be bothered. I know, I’ll shut up about my stupid easy baby. She’s probably going to pay me back with the bad behavior when she’s a teenager. 

 

Beautycounter Daily Protective Balm

We started using this daily protective balm and I love the consistency. I just feel like her skin is getting so nourished! It’s very thick and have absolutely no scent, which is a good thing! Every since I was pregnant and started using natural products I am very sensitive and get bothered by scents easily, even essential oils. We use this and combine it with Eucerin eczema when she gets a bad rash.

 

What are your favorite baby products? 

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Loving Lately October 3rd

I just wanted to start out by saying I am very disturbed and still processing the tragedy that transpired earlier this week. There is not much to say about it besides how horrific and sad it is but I didn’t want to just proceed without mentioning anything.  I can’t imagine what people who lost a loved one are going through. 

 

I don’t think I’ve EVER done one of these posts….but I just felt like it! I keep wanting to share these random things with people in real life and most of the time they’re like…yeah whatever. LOL So here’s a list of things that I am currently enjoying in my life

Eden’s Garden Worry Less Essential Oil

I recently discovered Eden’s Garden Essential Oils and I thought they were too good to be true. The prices are SO amazing and I just assumed it was junky or fake oils. But then I checked my favorite essential oil safety website, Using Essential Oils Safely. This company is one of their TOP RATED companies!!! I’ve been diffusing this at bedtime and absolutely love the scent!

 

Beautycounter Baby Daily Protective Balm 

I recently restocked on one of my favorite Beautycounter products, the Baby Daily Protective Balm. The little has some eczema from time to time and this banishes it very quickly. It’s also great for dry elbows and other extreme moisturizing needs. I can imagine i’ll be using it on my hands when winter comes! 

If you’re interested in learning more about Beautycounter’s safer skincare, please email me beautycounterandreahaskins@gmail.com.
 

Bringing up Bebe   by Pamela Druckerman

I thought I was done reading baby books because they tend to just give me more anxiety than help but I am really enjoying this book! The premise is an American living in Paris notices the difference between French and American parenting. French kids are good eaters and sleepers and well mannered. So what are they doing right? My interpretation is that they’re not trying so hard. Parenting in America is about competition, stress, being the best, worrying about decisions. Am I going to screw my kid up if I do X Y or Z? The authors says it seems like the French are way better at following their gut and using common sense when it comes to parenting. They don’t debate this way or that way and agonize over every decision the way we do. And they don’t give in to their kids’ every demand and whim. Some good ideas in this book!

Buffalo Cauliflower

I don’t have my own picture of this one (I’ve gotten out of the habit of taking pictures of my food….) but I’ve been obsessed with roasting the crap out of cauliflower, smothering it in buffalo sauce and then dipping in blue cheese. The first time I made it I actually did an almond flour breading and it was good, but the next couple of times laziness kicked in and I just roasted it plain with coconut oil and then coated in Frank’s Red hot. Here’s a similar recipe. 

That’s all I have to share today! Hope things will start looking up for the rest of the week.

xoxo

 

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Life Lately

WOW! I’m here! I can’t believe it……yeah I thought this blog was going to be dead. I thought this part of my life was just done, and I was planning on closing up shop in December when I had to renew the hosting fees and domain name. 

But then I just started having second thoughts. I spent so much time on my blog and it would be sad to just let it all go away. And I’m currently unemployed so I thought reviving it could possibly give me a way to spend my time….

So let me update you on life lately. I basically stopped blogging because I didn’t want to put tons of pictures of my kid on the internet. So I just stopped because if I wasn’t blogging about my kid, I couldn’t be completely genuine. And no one likes to read a blog about someone who is not genuine. I can’t blog about life and keep the most major part of my life secret. I figure I can find a way to balance sharing and privacy. Since I last blogged, I had a baby, quit my job and moved! Ha….only a little happened. 

The move

We loved our house and our little farm, but we always wanted to be closer to family. Where we were living was about 3-3.5 hours away from our family and friends. My husband started applying for jobs about a year ago and had a couple of interviews. It was nerve-wracking to kind of be in limbo about our future at times and wondering if we could even sell our house or if I would get a job, but it ended up working out. We sold our house in two weeks!! I couldn’t believe it. We are currently with my in laws until we move in a new house that we just put an offer down on if all goes according to plan. Moving is a big and scary thing but people do it all the time! And it works out in the end. 

 

The baby

Well I guess you could say she’s not a baby anymore 🙁 She just turned 14 months old and she’s the best kid in the world. I have no idea how I lucked out and got such an easy going, happy-go-lucky baby considering I’m a ball of anxiety 99% of the time. Not saying everything’s been easy but she’s just such a doll. I went back to work around when she was 4 months old which was hard. Another person we’ll miss if the babysitter we had out there whom we loved and I’m not sure what I’m going to do if I go back to work out here. There are definitely drawbacks and benefits to both working and being a SAHM I’ve learned since I’ve had the opportunity to do both. Working and pumping and not sleeping and taking care of the little one is HARD. But I did tend to cherish every single moment that I had with her. And I liked the routine a lot. She started sleeping better when she was at the sitters all day. And it’s kind of like a break to be honest! But I also was very stressed from little sleep and the regular stresses of work. Now that I’m staying home with her I love to be with her but I’m also bored…since most of my friends are at work during the day. 

She is also ON THE MOVE and just started walking recently and it’s just exhausting chasing after her all day…since the house we’re staying in isn’t exactly baby proofed and she hates being penned in. So I chase her around all day and then try to get stuff done during naps. I have a little to keep me busy since I just started a Beautycounter business. I’m really enjoying it so far and I think sharing things about non-toxic living on there made me realize how much I miss blogging. 

Food and Workouts

So during pregnancy I DEFINITELY went off the rails with any sort of diet lol. Then it kind of just kept going after I had her. I was too busy and tired to do Sunday food prep. I still did it a little but I just started to abhor the thought of cooking which is sad because I loved it so much. That’s also why I haven’t been blogging as well. But I am SLOWLY starting to try new recipes again and recently have been doing gluten free (still eating dairy because it’s just sooooo hard). It’s not so much “gluten” that’s the problem. But when I tell myself I’m being gluten free it’s so much easier to avoid lots of crappy stuff then when I tell myself “just try to eat good”. My main goal is to feel good and know what works for me, not subscribe to one sort of strict diet just for the purpose of being on that diet. I could go on for awhile about this. 

Workouts- HA! Yeah. Not doing much these says. I laugh when I think about how I used to not consider walking and yoga a “workout” because that’s basically all I do now. I had a trainer before I left our old town that was really motivating but it’s hard to get motivation on your own. I do lift some weights while watching Netflix 1-2 times a week and that’s pretty much it. But I feel fine about my body and actually lost all of my baby weight (as if that matters at all). The only reason I lost it I think is because I was too busy and stressed to think about food for the past year. So I don’t have any secrets to help you. 

Okay, this post is getting long enough. Hopefully I’ll be back to elaborate on some of this stuff soon. I’m also thinking of changing the name of the blog and/or rebranding as well. Since I’m not really teaching anymore the “pencils” part doesn’t make sense. 

What do you want to see now that the blog’s back in action??

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Pregnancy Update: 17 Weeks

Surprise! Long time no blog……. yeah I disappeared again. But for a good reason!!!! I was all excited to start blogging again following my Candida cleanse this fall, and I DID end up going through with it and completing 8 (I think it was even 10) weeks; I even started feeling better and then……BAM.

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Woops, so Candida diet…out the window. Bring on ALL the unhealthy foods. Anyways, I don’t want to talk much about that but I do love pregnancy updates on blogs. I definitely don’t plan on doing them weekly but I did want to throw a couple up here since I can look back on it and remember.

Right now I am 17 weeks tomorrow, due July 4th (AMERICA) and I’ve had it relatively easy compared to what I heard/read about the first trimester. I was blessed with hardly any nausea and absolutely no vomiting, but really that always made me anxious that something was wrong! Now that I’m well into the 2nd tri I have less anxiety but I just can’t believe I made it through the first trimester scot free. Well not totally but I feel pretty lucky.

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Weight gained: At my last appointment (14 weeks) I had only gained 3 pounds! Again, I started worrying that it wasn’t enough (dumb). Now I think when I go next week I will probably have gained at least 5-7. I literally can’t believe I’m not whale-sized considering the food I’ve been downing.

Workouts: I took it pretty easy the first trimester but now that I have more energy I have been just aiming to get as much movement in as possible! I always did yoga every day before I was preggo and I continue to now. It’s a great way to wake up considering I limit coffee and sometimes I throw in some meditation. Then I usually am at the gym doing weights at least 1-2 X a week. The rest of the days I either make sure I go for a walk (brrrrrr) or do some 20 minute quick at home workout or something. YouTube, Tone it Up and Pinterest have been life savers! Just hoping that I can continue well into the pregnancy.

Symptoms: Like I said in the 1st tri I didn’t have much nausea but I did have wicked food aversions and cravings. Sometimes I would dry heave when smelling cooked vegetables. Man, food aversions are no joke! I found myself going off the rails (esp during the holidays) with my paleo lifestyle and eating things I haven’t eaten in YEARS! (Cheese, pizza, bagels…) But I REGRET NOTHING!!! Food aversions have calmed down in the last couple of weeks and I’m slowly moving back to real foods (mostly). I also was pretty tired in the 1st tri but getting energy back now.

Lately I’ve had terrible headaches and have been trying to hold out taking anything. I think they are sinus and tension headaches, but they’re annoying and last for days!! I’ll even go to bed with one thinking it will go away and I wake up and it’s still there. Hoping that acupuncture and chiropractic appointments can help with this.

Anxiety like crazy, but this is par for the course for me unfortunately. Trying to stay off Google for symptoms. I just started acupuncture to help with this and I don’t know if it’s placebo effect or what but it seems to be helping.

Other than that….some bloating and gas (TMI) and obviously going pee like every 5 minutes. And no, like all the books say, it’s not letting up in the 2nd trimester.

Movement: Not yet 🙁 Felt a few weird things down there but not really sure if it’s just gas, lol. This is currently giving me anxiety because I know there are some people who feel movement before where I’m at right now, but I also know some people it’s more like 20 weeks. I know everyone’s different but it’s hard to wait when everyone keeps asking me.

Food Aversions: At first it was ALL vegetables, so sad. I just ate sardines for the first time today since November. Basically anything remotely healthy I wanted nothing to do with from weeks 7-12. Now they are fading.

Food Cravings: Where should I start?

  • ALL.THE.CHEESE. I seriously didn’t even miss cheese before I was pregnant and now it’s like a major food group for me.
  • Bagels and cream cheese
  • salt and vinegar chips
  • cake (yes I made myself an entire cake and ate it)
  • soft pretzels with cheese (sensing a theme here?)
  • pickles with mustard (so cliché)
  • lunch meat (of course now that I’m not supposed to have it)

Sleep: It’s been pretty good. Besides trying to sleep on my left side. My doctor said it’s fine now and as long as I’m comfy I can still sleep on my back or right side, but every time I Google it or read online it says AFTER THE FIRST TRIMESTER DO NOT SLEEP ON YOUR BACK. AHHHHH! Who to trust, Google or the doctor?

Stretch marks?  None yet! Using lotion daily.

Miss Anything? Beer and wine. Since I quit drinking for the candida diet in September, then found out I was pregnant, when I have the baby in July it will be almost a year since I drank!!

Baby Items Purchased: Nothing really, just this onesie for our little baby announcement on FB.

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Looking Forward To:

Our anatomy scan next Tuesday. We are going to keep the gender a secret!!! But I can’t wait to see our little bub. It’s a great relief every time I get to hear the little heartbeat. Every time I’ve heard the heartbeat it’s been fast so the old wives tale means that’s a girl!?!?! I am hoping it is a girl and partly don’t want to find out the gender because I want to keep the possibility alive of having a girl as long as possible. I know that once it pops out and they tell me what it is, by then I won’t care! And I’m digging our gender neutral paint in the nursery too!

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Yay that was quote an unload of information, if you’re still reading congrats! Hopefully I’ll write again in a couple of weeks after our anatomy scan.

What cravings did you have during pregnancy?

Finding out the gender: yay or nay?

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Tips to get you through a food challenge

Woman with Healthy and Unhealthy Food. Difficult choice Stock Photo

 

Hello week 6 of my candida cleanse! When you decide to do a “food challenge” whether it’s a strict candida cleanse, a Whole 30 or even just a short 21 Day Sugar Detox, it most likely seems really daunting. You start picturing all the weekends and events you have between now and the end and get anxiety about how you’ll make it through x, y and z without food/drink you enjoy. Well, at least I do. I did complete a couple of successful Whole 30’s, but those were in January when everyone else is “dieting” too.

At the beginning of this six weeks I had no idea if I would actually see this through, but I was determined because of the state of my health and the hefty price tag of the program. If you’re struggling with will power or peer pressure, here are some tips and tricks I’ve told myself to power through and still live my life.

tipsfoodchallenge

1. The X number of weeks will still pass whether you do this or not.

I first thought about doing the candida cleanse in Mid-August, but dismissed the idea because I thought it was too strict and I could never do it. I had calculated the number of weeks it would take and figured I would end at the end of September. “That’s way too long,” I thought and put it out of my mind. Then Mid-September rolled around, and my health was still the same. And I thought, if I had just started in August, I would have been done by now. That’s what really convinced me to do it, honestly. The amount of time it will take for you to do it will pass, and at the end of it your health is going to be better, or the same. In the grand scheme of things what is a month or two of your life if it means more health and happiness in the long run?

2. What’s more important, the company or the food and drinks?

I get anxiety when I think of trying to socialize without drinking and eating. How weird is it that we’re just hard-wired to do these things when we try to hang out with our friends. It really forces you think about what you’re doing with your life….. Just kidding, but it forces you to be creative when making plans or looking for things to do instead of just saying “oh we’ll grab drinks”. It feels really boring when you’re facing it, but when you take these things away it puts more emphasis on the people you are with and the conversation you are having instead of using the social crutch of drinking and eating. I feel like this is a post for another time, but it’s definitely something to think about.

3. Don’t fall victim to the “self-actualization loophole”

yolo

Okay, I stole this one from Gretchen Rubin. You can read about it here. But basically when we’re trying to reach a goal and temptation stands in the way, we look for loopholes to bail ourselves out of the commitment. Self-Actualization loophole is disguised as “YOLO”-ing, or “living life to the fullest”. You’re out to dinner and you told yourself that you were going to order the salad and no dessert, but when actually faced with the decision, you cave, telling yourself “You deserve this” or “life is too short to deprive myself.” Happens to me ALL THE TIME. This is actually the #1 reason why I’ve failed challenges in the past. Because it makes sense. Yes life is too short but you started the challenge for a reason. Often times when you go off the rails, and especially if you’re health depends on it, you regret it later. Gretchen Rubin suggests you think about how you’ll feel tomorrow about your decision. If you feel like you won’t regret it, go ahead, eat the dessert and burger. But most likely you will and that’s when you need to summon your will power.

4. I’m choosing not to drink/eat these foods

beers

Instead of telling people (when it’s necessary, hopefully I don’t have to explain my food choices to anyone) “I can’t eat that” or “I can’t have a beer”, try “I’m not drinking” or “This is a choice”. It is, after all, a choice.  You CAN eat whatever you want. But you are making a conscious choice to better your health. It reminds you of why you’re doing this. And you shouldn’t have to defend your choices to anyone. Plus, when I have the mental attitude of “I can’t have that” it automatically makes me want to have it! And it makes other people more likely to badger you “What do you mean you CAN’T!! Sure you can, YOLO!!!!!!” People don’t have much to respond to when you say “I’m not drinking tonight.”

5. If you slip up, it’s not the end of the world.

Sh*t happens, and nobody’s perfect. It’s easy to feel like EVERYTHING IS RUINED if you get glutened at a restaurant or fall into the self-actualization trap once during your challenge. I feel like one of the bad reasons challenges are so popular is because they are “all or nothing” and people just want to go back to the way they were eating before when it’s over. So if you mess up, the whole jig is up and the challenge is over. This is an unhealthy way to look at challenges. You’re supposed to be changing your lifestyle for the better, and continue the habits after the challenge has ended. So one slip up in the scheme of things isn’t a huge deal. It’s what you do in the long term that matters.

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Candida-Friendly Granola Bars

Woahhhh….the first recipe I’ve posted in over six months. Feels weird. But also feels good to get back to blogging a little. I caught you up to speed in how it’s going with my candida cleanse. Again, I feel like I basically want to quit everyday and eat a box of apple cider donuts. And pumpkin beer. I’ve really craved apple fritters or cider donuts more than anything. Probably because it’s fall and I haven’t been able to have any of it.

ANYWAYS, you have to survive somehow with no sugar, coffee or alcohol. So I made these granola bars! These are very similar to the regular granola bars I blogged about here and make my husband nearly every week in his lunch. A version is also in my cookbook. I just left out the honey or sugar. Gluten free oats are allowed on the candida cleanse I am doing, in moderation. I like to use homemade cashew butter and it makes them kind of taste like cookie dough bars! The result is a gluten free, sugar free, dairy-free candida friendly snack. Best of all there are only four ingredients! Super simple and worth the small amount of effort.

You could add chocolate chips, nuts, or dried fruit if you’re not on the cleanse as well.

Candida Friendly Granola Bars

granola bars candida

You’ll need:

1 cup nut butter (sugar free!) *I like homemade cashew

1 and 1/2 cups gluten free oats

1 egg

1/2 tsp cinnamon

 

1.Pre-heat oven to 350. Melt the nut butter in a large, glass, microwave safe bowl for 1 minute.

2. Mix your oats in and stir until well incorporated.

granloacandida

3. Add the egg and cinnamon and stir again until well combined.

4. Pour the mixture into an 8X8 baking dish that is greased, sprayed with non-stick spray, or lined with a silicone sheet. I like my silicone baking sheets so much! Nothing sticks.

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5. Press the mixture down until it is even in the pan.

6. Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. After cooled, cut into bars!

Makes 8 bars.

If you’re not used to sugar-less treats just be aware that these have NO sweetener, so they might take some getting used to. If you’re on the candida diet or have been away from sugar like me they should taste just fine.

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