Thursday, September 30, 2010

You win some, you lose some (In search of the perfect pumpkin smoothie)

Today as I drove past Jamba Juice, I really wanted to stop and get a Pumpkin Smash smoothie.  I've found that if I ask for frozen peaches in place of the frozen yogurt, it becomes non-dairy/no refined sugar and is still really yummy.  But it gets expensive to go there all the time.  Plus I need to figure out how to make my own.

I saw a recipe online for the Pumpkin Smash by a guy who says he watched what they put in, went home, tried guessing at the measurements and got it right  But I didn't have frozen peaches and wondered if I could make a creamy version with frozen bananas.  Wrong!

First of all, I didn't have fresh pumpkin innerds, which would have probably tasted better.  Canned pumpkin is good for baked goods, but probably not as fresh and tasty (or nutrient-dense) in something fresh.  So I put 1/2 a big can (what I had left from making pumpkin/zucchini wheat bread a few weeks ago) + 3 frozen bananas, a cup of almond milk and a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice in the Vitamix.  Not very good at all.  I added another banana and it still wasn't great. It needed more nutmeg, cloves and more sweetening (and more of a frozen taste).  It needed the frozen peaches! 

So I put the mixture in the freezer to be on hold until I get some peaches.  It will probably be next week because we'll be out of town this weekend.  I'll keep trying though.  I know that the Jamba Juice spy used soy milk, and soy milk is creamier than almond milk (at least when I make hot cocoa in my Cocoamotion), but I like using almond milk when I can.  Don't know if it did me any favors though tonight. 

And of course, once I perfect it, I'll sneak in some greens.  Stay tuned because I definitely want to find the ultimate way to make these.

Here's a guy who made a pumpkin pie smoothie.  He used dates to sweeten it up.  Good idea (I ran out of dates yesterday though -- need to get more at Costco next time).  Looks like he had the same general idea that I did -- frozen bananas and almond milk.  He did use fresh pumpkin though.  Good for him!

Frozen Grapes

Perhaps you already know about this treasure of a treat, but I'll share just in case you didn't (or you've forgotten somehow).  Freeze your grapes!  I've frozen a few varieties and think freezing  the green ones (Thompson Seedless -- does anyone call them that anymore?) is the best.

Makes sure you wash them and remove them from the stem first.  You can freeze them on the stem, but they don't break off as easily once frozen.  So it's just easier to do it before.  Also, if they're a little too tart, let them sit out a bit so they ripen up before you freeze them.  They'll taste better.

I like freezing some before I go to bed (but forgot last night -- how could I?) because they are sooooooooo refreshing to my throat first thing in the morning and give me a little boost to my workout.  I have some freezing right now.  Can't wait till they're ready!

Monday, September 27, 2010

1st Day of 8 Weeks to a Better You

 I decided to write about my first day on this blog so if anyone's interested in joining the challenge, they can see how I'm doing it.  Even if you just want to do it on your own without officially joining, it's a pretty well balanced plan and can help you reach your health and fitness goals.

Here's how I did today on the 10 different goals:

Exercise 45 minutes -- No problem.  I've been trying some new (to me) workouts by Dove Rose.  She has 4 hour long workouts called Dove's Bodies, consisting of a variety of light weight/high rep work, cardio, yoga, and body weight strength work.  I absolutely love them  Today I did workout 4 for the first time and loved all the leg work on the step.  Stuff I'd never done before (and you know I've done a TON of workouts).  I'm sure I'll write a whole post about Dove's Bodies once I've done all of them.  (3 down, 1 to go!)

7 Hours of Sleep -- Only got 6 1/2 last night, but I was able to take a nap (two actually -- had a detox headache this afternoon) and made up for it plenty.

Drink 64 oz. water -- Sooooo not a problem.  I found that my Kleen water bottle holds 24 oz and I drank one full bottle when I woke up before I even began my workout, 1 1/2 during my workout and the third 1/2 after my workout.   I've had more water here and there throughout the day, but the 64 oz. was met quite early in the day.

No Sugar -- They define this as added sugar, not sugar contained in whole foods.  They also said you can include white flour.  I'm including all flours.  (Or should I say I'm EXCLUDING all flours).  Wheat flour seems to trigger my appetite just as much as white flour and sugar and it causes me to be bloated.  I don't get the same way with cracked wheat or sprouted, so I'll keep those. I'm actually okay with wheat pasta too, so I'll keep that.   I did fine with this goal today.  Was happy to be away from the stuff!  I had a little this weekend amidst my daughter's birthday party.  Dastardly little gummi bears!

No Soda, Junk Food, Fast Food  -- Not a problem.  Soda isn't a problem for me.  Not counting the gummi bear mishap this weekend, I've been working on getting away from health food store versions of junk food these past few weeks anyway (Kettle Chips and the like, Clif bars in all their varieties, soy ice cream, Paul Newman cookies, etc.)  Fast Food hasn't been a temptation in years, unless you count pizza, which I should.  For some reason it occasionally beckons me, but when I remember what dairy does to me, I'm okay.  I have been making my own veggie pizza lately, but that has wheat in the crust, so I'll just have pasta and veggies or hey, why not a big salad (oh how I've gotten away from making salads) if others are having pizza. 

2 Fruit, 2 Veggies (at the very least!) -- Like the water, I have fruit from the start each day, those 2 fruits will be checked off mighty early throughout this challenge, that's for sure.  I had my veggies in green smoothies in the morning, at night, and in soup at dinner time.

Stop eating at 8:00 p.m. -- This was tricky.  I used to hardly eat much after about 6:00 p.m.  These past several months, I've been eating all the way up until I go to bed around 11:00.  So I'll have to be careful about this so I don't slip.  I actually set the buzzer on my stove tonight 15 minutes before 8:00 for 10 minutes so I'd get a last chance to eat something if I wanted to (finished off a green smoothie).

Write in journal (or blog) -- Someone asked today if blogging counted as journaling and it does.  So this is it!

Read Scriptures or other uplifting material for 15 minutes -- I read the words of Isaiah this afternoon and an uplifting article from the Ensign magazine this morning.  Always nice.

Act of Service/Kindness -- I went Visiting Teaching this morning with a friend.  We visited another friend and helped her with a challenge she's going through right now as a mother.  I think we all learned from it.  We're all learning as we go with our teenagers.  A wonderful time of life to have teens, yet also a crucial one as we guide them along. 

I think I'm going to go do some yoga before I go to bed.  I just want to make sure I get to bed early enough tonight that I don't have to take a nap if there's no time for it (or if I don't feel the need for it).


8 Weeks to a Better You!

Yes, I've joined another/started another challenge.  I tend to thrive on them, at least at the beginning.  This one I'm pretty sure I'll hold to because there are many involved and I personally know some of them.  It's pretty exciting.  When I started, there were less than 20 signed up.  Now there are over 90!

Here's the link if you want to check it out.  It's a 10 goal - 10 point system and you pay $15 to join.  You can win back money if you get the most points at the end of the 8 weeks or win a bit back through a drawing just as a participant.  I really didn't join for the money.  In fact, that almost turned me away.  But I looked at is as a $15 joining fee and was fine with that.  Many online challenges cost hundreds of dollars for the support (and I've never joined those).  So this one looked doable.  It's not raw food focused, but could be if I made it that way.  It's leaning toward Eat to Live guidelines -- needs more fruits and veggies, but I can do that on my own too.  I wonder if I'll struggle to get the 7 hours of sleep if I am eating high raw consistently, but I'm sure I can tweak that and make it work.  I've also lately gotten into the habit of snacking pretty late, so the curfew on eating will take some practice at first . I'll be fine though.  I'm mostly doing it because we're moving 2 days before this challenge ends.  Last time we moved, I didn't fare well keeping up with my workouts or my healthy eating.  This time I will!

I think I'll journal my daily progress on my reneeonrawfood blog.  It's kind of my more personal ins and outs with eating.  If you want access to that blog, send me a request.

Here are the guidelines straight off of their 8weekstoabetteryou blog. It's not too late to join if you'd like to be a part of it.  It will take you right up to the Sunday before Thanksgiving.  The more the merrier!

Here's the copy/paste, pictures and all:

As a participant, you will have the opportunity to earn points every day by following a list of requirements.  At the end of every week, you will total your points then record them to the "8 Weeks to a Better You Points Bracket".  All the participants will receive access to this online spreadsheet, and we trust will be truthful when recording their points.  On you honor people!

Here's how you earn points...

Physically Better Yourself

1. Exercise at least 45 minutes a day!

2. Get AT LEAST 7 hours of sleep a night (if you are short a little just squeeze a nap in to make up for it).

3. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day

4. No Sugar-there are different ways to do this.  We prefer eliminating sugars and white flours (which turn into sugars) to get the most bang for your buck.  But if you would like to just do without sugars than you can make that call. 

5. No Soda or Junk Food Yes that means no Diet Coke ladies or fast food! Ya we know that will not be an easy point to earn...but you will love yourself and how you feel if you do it.

6. Eat at least 2 servings of fruit and 2 servings of vegetables

7. No eating after 8 p.m.

Emotionally/Spiritually Better Yourself

8. Write in your journal EVERY DAY.

9. Complete at least 15 minutes of uplifting reading or scripture study.

10. Complete an act of service or random act of kindness.  Whether it be a small one or a big one, do something kind for someone else that is out of your normal routine.

You receive 1 point per item per day, so that's 10 points a day you can earn.  There will also be 1 bonus challenge every week worth extra points.  It could be anything from cleaning out your fridge to donating your time or money to a charity or worthy cause.

Now we know this is not easy so to help out you get a FREE DAY where you get the full 10 points whether or not you complete all the requirements!  You can choose which day of each week is your free day each week, but you cannot choose different days for different points.  The only exception to this rule is exercise.  Your free day from exercise can be different if you choose.  For example - you may choose Saturday as your free day but choose to workout that day and take Sunday off from exercise.