Wait…What about your blog?

Yeah, the title kind of sums it up. I stink at updating. Trust me, I am totally still keeping up my nutrition pursuits. I’ve just become a little distracted with other outlets of expression, namely my youtube channel. And I’m pregnant with baby #2. I’ll probably do a video post on my pregnancy, but until then, here is my latest video. It was my daughter’s first birthday party and I made Dr. Fuhrman’s fudgy black bean brownies. Not everyone liked them. A few of my plant-eater friends enjoyed them (women mostly), Matt tolerated them, and I loved them! Apparently Lacey did too, and that’s all that matters. I see a lot of REALLY cute pinterest-worthy birthday party pics all over social media of mommies celebrating their little one’s first birthday with a processed sugary dessert, bidding their baby to make a big mess for a gorgeous picture. And I’m here to say that I have absolutely no problem with that. Not one. I don’t know what it’s like having multiple children in the home who “expect” normal cake and ice cream for a birthday celebration. And I’m not promising that my children will never have a processed sugary dessert for their birthday ever in their lives. But since every day is a clean slate, and Lacey doesn’t really have an opinion about what she has for her birthday cake, and I didn’t have a huge budget for a cake boss to design a themed cake, I thought I’d keep it simple and healthy. Sure, some of my siblings and friends whose taste buds are dominated by SAD (standard american diet) foods didn’t like the dessert too much. Correction: they didn’t like the brownies. They were totally fine with the yonanas ice cream that I didn’t get on film. But my feelings weren’t hurt. They will never be over honesty about my cooking, especially since everybody gave it a fair shot. I don’t expect someone who isn’t used to eating this way to love everything they try for the first time. I’m just grateful that my taste buds are changing and that I can enjoy a dessert and have seconds and thirds without worrying about what it’s gonna do to me. It’s a priceless benefit that I don’t want to give up.

Here is the recipe for the black bean brownies.

Now on Youtube!

How-diddly-doodle-doo? 😉 I’m Ned-Flanderizing this because I’m so excited about our new VLOG on YOUTUBE!! For those of you who are interested in being weirded out entertained by our tips, recipes, and motivational cinema, please subscribe to the Youtube channel “Packard Family Health.” We would love to see y’all there!!

The Checklist Approach

I’ve written a little about food and guilt, which is useless and basically self-defeating. This post prescribes a remedy to food related guilt.

Most everybody knows, but for those of you who don’t, my husband and I are expecting our first baby the first week of February! We are so excited. 🙂

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My approach to nutrition during this pregnancy, or lack thereof, has largely been affected by the drastic changes in our lives over the past several months–pretty much since we found out I was expecting. That being said, we moved cross-country twice in 4 months, and we were camping for several months after that with no furniture/cookware (besides folding chairs, a folding table, a futon mattress, and my Blendtec). I won’t bore you with the details, so long story short, my husband and I are back in Utah and we are settled into an adorable little apartment south of Salt Lake.

Fortunately, I was able to manage drinking a green smoothie pretty much every day of this pregnancy, and I ate as many fruits and vegetables as I possibly could. I also ate some junk. Traveling, moving, and lots of eating out for lack of cookware really got the best of me! I survived, and since things have become more settled, I have taken some time to decide on the best nutrition method for our family.

Life is unpredictable, and curve balls often times tend to lurk around every corner. The Checklist Approach works great in almost any scenario. There is something about limiting yourself from indulging in cravings, particularly when eating healthfully is woefully inconvenient, that really does make a rebel out of some of us, doesn’t it?

On any given day, my list will be slightly different. Today my list looks like this:

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When I first got started, my list included one or two things. As I got better, I added things to the list. The idea is to crowd out the bad stuff with the good stuff (when you’re ready.) Try to push yourself, but don’t overdo it. Only put things on there that you know you will eat. I try to plan my meals to include my list throughout the day, and hopefully I won’t be hungry anymore by the time I’ve eaten what I told myself I would.

Produce rarely goes bad in my refrigerator, and my plates are more colorful with nutritious foods. If I want to eat a leftover cupcake from a birthday party, and I have eaten what I planned on already, I might eat it, and I definitely won’t beat myself up over it. Most of the time I’m not hungry by the time I finish my meal and my craving almost always disappears anyway.

I am careful not to put too much food on my list to stay flexible for varying levels of hunger…particularly through pregnancy. 🙂 I’ll often include other healthy foods not on my list as part of my meal to accompany the items on the checklist. This was my hummus plate today:

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This method would be great for anyone trying to overcome food related cravings, or anyone who just might want to feel better physically. It provides a safe, gradual kick-start into nutritarian eating without all the pressure.

What are some foods that you try to eat every day?

Breakfast Motivation

There will always be those days when it seems impossible to hold strong to your commitment to take good care of your body by putting the right fuel into your mouth. And those days will not always be perfect. Your heart might cry when you see a close friend of yours who worked so hard on a delicious meal just for you, just waiting to see what you think about it. Situations like this are difficult, but to me, should not bring you guilt. Guilt and food don’t mesh very well, and is just a recipe for disaster. There are 2 important things that I try to remember, and that have brought me great rewards thus far:

  1. It’s not about perfection. As long as you’re eating right most of the time, you’re moving in the right direction. (By “most” I mean about 80-90%). But always aim for the stars!
  2. If and when there is a bad day that happens; you’re on the road and have no healthy options, or it’s just a crummy day, the important thing is to get right back up IMMEDIATELY and start fresh with a clean slate. Exercise is a great way to bounce back from the food blues.

That’s what I love about breakfast. It’s the morning, and you haven’t made any bad choices yet (with food or with anything else.) You can either set the stage for a healthy day or an unhealthy one. Truth be told, it all starts with getting a full night’s sleep.

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This recipe is inspired from Rip Esselstyn when he did his “Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue” show that is available on Netflix via stream. It’s very simple. You basically combine small amounts of 3-4 different kinds of healthy whole grain cereals and load it with your choice of fruit.

Here’s what I used. My measurements are approximates. I just eyeballed it, but I will try to give you an idea with standard measurements:

  • 1/8 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup shredded wheat (unsweetened, where the only flavor is “wheat”)
  • 1/8 cup grape nuts
  • 2 tbsp Uncle Sam’s cereal
  • 3 large strawberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1 kiwifruit
  • Unsweetened almond milk (I have no idea how much I used–I just pour it on real good)

I put the cereal in first, then the chopped fruit, then the milk, just like you would do with standard american cereal. This is a very filling breakfast for me, and I eat a lot for a gal my size. I find that tart fruits like mango, strawberry, or kiwi really give the cereal some powerful flavor that doesn’t make me really miss the sweetened almond milk.

Remember, breakfast can be really simple, delicious, and a great motivation to eat right through the rest of the day. Enjoy!

Summer Harvest Soup

I’m finally experiencing it! Hard-core Nutritarians always talk about what it’s like when you start craving the right foods..how your taste buds change, your sensitivity to processed materials drastically increases, and you feel just wonderful! I guess I had always been waiting for that moment because I was never 100% committed. Now that I am about 90% in, I can definitely see what they’re talking about.

I won’t say that this lifestyle change was immediate for me, or easy, for that matter. And I won’t say that I have been perfect at it. But I will say that I definitely want to eat this way for the rest of my life! Also, the more I do it, the more I want to do it.

There will be days when I feel obligated (or even really really want) to eat junk that’s bad for me. And maybe I’ll cave. But that’s doesn’t mean I blew it! The next time I put something in my mouth, let it be something that my body (and my taste buds) will thank me for. That’s what I have to keep telling myself.

Here is a summer-y soup recipe inspired from the Forks-Over-Knives cookbook I treated myself with for graduation. It was soooooooo tasty, and leftovers are great!

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced to desired consistency
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped/minced
  • 6 on-the-vine tomatoes, chopped (you can use any kind, but these were so flavorful and delicious!)
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 2 yellow squash, diced
  • 2 cups frozen corn*
  • 6 cups veggie stock, or low-sodium veggie broth
  • 2-3 dashes of dried basil
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste (AFTER it’s cooked–it’ll taste stronger that way, and you won’t need as much)

* The original recipe calls for 3 ears of corn, kernels removed, but my husband and I got a little impatient with the fresh corn in the fridge. We ate it as a side for a meal previously throughout the week. Oops. 😉

DIRECTIONS:

  • Sauté onion with some of the veggie stock or some water for about 4 minutes.
  • Add in the garlic and sauté for 60 seconds.
  • Drop the tomatoes in and cook for about 7 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to break down.
  • Add the zucchini, yellow squash, corn, and veggie stock. Bring the soup to a boil, and then let it simmer at medium for about 15 minutes.
  • Add the basil and lemon.
  • Enjoy!

Tasty Tofu Vegan Lasagna

I know what you’re thinking. “Tofu + vegan + lasagna = oxymoron a.k.a. can’t be good.” I will admit, I did avoid this recipe for longer than I probably should have because I was worried about wasting a lot of ingredients if I didn’t like it. Luckily, some of my brothers-in-law were over at our house when the finished product was concluded and decided to give it a try. They kept going back for more! So I know that the good taste wasn’t just me. It’s possible that I downplayed it a lot before they tried it, so their expectations were low, but it’s always nice to know that your efforts weren’t a waste.

Instead of “meat” this recipe incorporates tofu, and instead of “cheese”, I used ground cashews. Surprisingly a wonderful combination!

I found the recipe on engine2diet.com, and I will always recommend checking out this site!

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 small head of garlic, all cloves chopped or pressed
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 can corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 package Silken Lite tofu
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 2 jars Engine 2 approved pasta sauce
  • 2 boxes whole grain lasagna noodles
  • 16 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 2 sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
  • 6 roma tomatoes, sliced thin
  • 1 cup raw cashews, ground

PROCEDURE:

  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Sauté the onion and garlic on high heat for 3 minutes in a wok or nonstick pan.
  • Add the mushrooms and cook until the onions are limp and the mushrooms give up their liquid.
  • Remove them to a large bowl with a slotted spoon.
  • Reserve the mushroom liquid in the pan.
  • Sauté the broccoli and carrots for 5 minutes and add to the mushroom bowl.
  • Sauté the peppers and corn until just beginning to soften. Add them to the vegetable bowl.
  • Drain the silken tofu by wrapping in paper towels. Break it up directly in the towel and mix into the vegetable bowl.
  • Add spices to the vegetable bowl and combine.
  • To assemble the vegetable lasagna :
  • Cover the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch casserole with a layer of sauce.
  • Add a layer of noodles.
  • Cover the noodles with sauce. This way the noodles cook in the oven, saving time and energy.
  • Spread the vegetable mixture over the sauced noodles.
  • Cover with a layer of noodles and another dressing of sauce.
  • Add the spinach to the second layer of sauced noodles.
  • Cover the spinach with the mashed sweet potatoes.
  • Add another layer of sauce, the final layer of noodles, and a last topping of sauce. Cover the lasagna with thinly sliced roma tomatoes.
  • Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.
  • Remove the foil, sprinkle with the cashews, and return to the oven for 15 minutes. Let lasagna sit for 15 minutes before serving.

I followed this recipe exactly, and it turned out wonderfully. When I do this again, however, I would probably not cook the broccoli too long. I saw this done on an instructional video and the broccoli looked a lot more green than I mine did. But it tasted just fine.

If you try this, please let me know what you think!!!

Bowl Food

I’m a sucker for “bowl food.” This can include salads, soups, oatmeal…basically anything that can (and should!) include lots of different toppings with competing textures and flavors that complement each other perfectly! Here is a wonderful concoction that I found … Continue reading