Friday, September 20, 2013

Fish Tacos a la the Moyers and a 24 Day Challenge Update

Soooooooo today is day 16 I think?! I've gotten so used to the daily supplements and changes in diet that it's finally becoming the norm, and each day just feels like another one, nothing special.

Things are still going well. Still feeling good, but I think both of us have hit a plateau. We're still about the same weight we were at on day 10, and I've read that a lot of people lose even more weight on the max phase than they did on the cleanse phase so I don't know what's up with that. Not gonna lie..we haven't been working out like we should. Ever since Scott got his wisdom teeth removed almost a month ago, he has had extreme pain due to a dry socket. Getting his heart rate up or blood pressure up or over exerting himself or whatever seems to cause it to flare up, so we've kind of put exercising on the back burner. We did go out the other day to do our Couch to 5k. I plan on us going out this evening and tomorrow morning to do it also because we may or may not be eating chicken wings for lunch tomorrow...anyways...

We live on a dead end street and in a funky kind of neighborhood that doesn't have great walking/jogging roads/paths/etc, and there's no trails close by. We've made due with what we have, and have tried different routes to get the most benefit on our walks/jogs. (I use the term jog loosely because I honestly think a geriatric patient with two hip replacements can walk faster than I can jog.) But hey, I'm working on it! That's all that matters right?! So back to our route. The neighborhood is kind of hilly, and there's one HUGE hill, okay it might not be THAT huge, but it's still pretty rough, and Scott decided to make this our reference point for progress. According to him, we will work on trying to improve the time it takes us to get from our driveway to the stop sign at the top of that mountain hill. I just want to poke him in the eye love him!

Now to the fun stuffs. FISH TACOS! My new found love. I've had fish tacos a few times in the past, and Scott had them for the first time in Puerto Rico on our honeymoon. We're both fans. I made them from a compilation of two recipes that can be found Here and Here. These were honestly as good as if not better than the ones I had on Sunday at a restaurant. You're welcome.

Fish Tacos with Peach Relish

Peach Relish: 
2 cups finely chopped peeled peach (app. 2 medium peaches)
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne)

Chop peaches, red onion, cilantro. Combine all ingredients together in a bowl, and let stand 30 minutes at room temperature. Or make it ahead of time and throw it in the fridge until you need it like I did.

Fish Tacos:
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp dried oregano
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne)
4 tilapia fillets (or any other white fish)
1 tbsp olive oil 
8 small corn tortillas
1/2 avocado, chopped (optional)
sour cream (optional)
lettuce (optional)

Combine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle seasoning mix on both sides of fish fillets. Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish to skillet and cook 3 minutes on each side or until it's done to your likeness. Warm tortillas on both sides in an ungreased skillet until they start to brown a little bit. Divide fish among tortillas, top with whatever additional toppings you choose and peach relish. Enjoy!


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The 10 Day Cleanse is Over!!!

Hallelujah! The hard part of the 24 Day Challenge is now over. Okay, really, it wasn't all that bad. The worst thing about it was that darn fiber drink, and that got easier over time. Scott and I both feel so much better overall and are proud of ourselves for making it this far.

Here's the exciting part...the results!

I lost 6 pounds and 3 inches. 6 pounds is a good number, and I'm really happy with that. I'm not as happy with the inches though. Not sure what's up with that.

Scott lost 15 pounds and 13.5 inches. Both of those are GREAT numbers, and I am so happy for him.

We both had very good results. I would say my weight loss is about average, and Scott's is above average. I definitely feel we are on the right track finally.

What I'm loving:
-The energy I get from Spark.
-Meal replacement shakes - yum!
-The fact that I can eat healthy food and get the same satisfaction feeling I used to get from eating junk.
-I think I can see that my face is getting thinner.
-Finding new recipes to try, and loving pretty much all of them.
-That proud feeling I get when I don't give in to temptations.

What I'm not loving so much:
-Peeing every 20 minutes. But, I guess that's what happens when you drink a ton of water.
-All of my favorite pumpkin spiced products are coming out now...and I want them ALL!
-I love cooking, but I am so tired of doing dishes every single day.
-The fact that my digestive system is still stupid and can't make up it's mind. I figured I would become more "regular" by eating a healthy diet; while I think it has helped, I'm still not as "regular" as I'd like to be.

-Weight loss, duh.
-Feeling better overall...a little more pep in my step.
-Overcoming difficult situations...for example: not having a snack while grocery shopping thus starving to death & getting some trail mix and a bottle water instead of the chips and candy bar I would have really liked to have and taking prepared food with me while I went out of town two weekends in a row so I would have cleanse friendly food to eat.
-We started back our exercise program last week.
-Made it through the cleanse with no huge slip ups.

Slip ups...mistakes...oopsies...NOT failures:
-We are now on day 13...well I'm on day 12, and Scott is on day 13. I ended up staying one more night at my parents' house this past weekend that I didn't prepare for. I didn't have enough food or supplements with me for that extra day so I took the day off from the challenge. My dad and I ate at Chick-fil-a. I had a grilled chicken sandwich and french fries. That was the first time I'd had white potatoes and something fried in almost two weeks. The fries tasted so good, but I could definitely tell that my palate had changed some because they just felt and tasted awfully greasy. So that was mistake #1. I could have had a side salad or fruit instead of fries.
-Mistake #2: I had Coke Zero instead of water. Talk about super sweet, like almost make your teeth hurt sweet. I definitely should have had water instead. And I could totally tell that I was extremely thirsty all day.
-Mistake I mentioned above I didn't have any prepared food with me, and I had to make the two hour drive back home a few hours after eating lunch. I had no snacks, no Sparks, nothing. I stopped at a gas station for a bathroom break and snack break before I headed out...and I headed out with a Dr. Pepper, Cheese Puffs, and a 3 Muskateer. Basically I just said to heck with it!!! Never again. If I make a mistake for one meal again, I will not let myself keep making mistakes the rest of the day. Starting over happens after that bad meal, not the next day.

Side note: I don't want to refer to my mistakes as failures because I'm not failing. I think failing is quitting, and I'm definitely not doing that. I did keep making bad decision after bad decision, but once I got home and our running around was taken care of, I made a good decision. Instead of choosing a restaurant to eat at that doesn't have many healthy options I chose to go to Ruby Tuesday which has quite a few healthy options on their menu.

Here's to the next couple of weeks!


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Advocare 24 Day Challenge: Days 4, 5, & 6

Good afternoon! I hope everyone is having a lovely day despite it being September 11. First I just want to say that I will never forget that dreadful day twelve years ago..where I was, who I was talking to, and the extreme sadness I felt. I am proud to be an American, and so grateful for those who put themselves in harm's way to save their fellow Americans that day and for those still doing the very same thing today. God Bless America! now an update on the past three days of the challenge. Rewinding...

Day 4: This past Sunday
Scott and I (okay...just I) were lazy Sunday and slept in. We missed church and even breakfast. I believe getting out of the routine we had going for 3 days kind of made things go off whack. This was the first day we did not have to drink the fiber drink (hallelujah!), and I honestly can't remember if we drank our Spark or took our catalyst. Moving on..we planned to go out to eat for lunch because the Panthers were playing but not showing on our cable, and we MUST watch the Panthers play. At least that's what the husband says. So, to prepare for this and not set ourselves up for failure, I looked up several menus of restaurants that were showing the game. We decided to go to a local place called Baumhower's. We knew we were going to be there for a while so we decided to order an appetizer first. Once we ordered our teriyaki grilled chicken fingers and water, we glued our eyes to the tv. Then...and then!...our waiter brought a basket of garlic cheese biscuits. What?! How could he?! Does he not know we're not allowed to eat that kind of stuff right now?! We honestly had no idea they brought biscuits or else we would have politely declined. But there they were. Four golden brown cheesy garlicy biscuits screaming "Eat me!". I stared at them while my bottom lip started poking out and then looked at the husband. He looked equally as sad. I quickly told him that I wasn't going to eat any. And then I told him that I hated to see them go to waste. And then I said okay I'll put one on my plate to act like I'm eating it. And then I said okay just one bite. And then I said but ohhh this is so good and ate half. And then I ate the other half. And not long after that I ate the other biscuit. And so did the husband. So much for making plans so we wouldn't fail! I felt bad for eating the biscuits, but honestly I only felt that way briefly because you know why? Nobody's perfect, and nobody's going to eat perfect all the time so I shouldn't expect myself to be perfect. My only two options were:
1. to just say forget it; I'm going to eat like crap the rest of the day because I just blew it and keep feeling bad about myself
2. to make a better choice for my lunch, pick myself up, keep on going, and feel good about my decision.
I chose the second option and had a grilled fish salad with no cheese or croutons and a fat free raspberry vinaigrette on the side and a side of wild rice. I continued to make good choices the rest of the day, and we had crock pot cilantro lime chicken with a baked sweet potato for supper.

I told myself that I was going to use this space as a way to be accountable and that starts with being honest to whoever reads this and more importantly to myself. When I make good decisions about food, I will write about them and be proud of myself. When I make bad decisions about food, I will still write about them, I won't beat myself up over them, and I will encourage myself to get up, wipe the dust off, and try again with the next meal.

Day 5
This day was relatively uneventful. We didn't have to drink the fiber drink again and while I can hardly get it down, I kind of miss it. I have definitely been hungrier in the mornings because of not getting full from the fiber drink like before. To fix that I am making sure I eat my snack when I start to get hungry so that I'm not totally starving by the time lunch rolls around. Our food for this day consisted of leftovers for every meal...peanut butter & banana baked oatmeal for breakfast, grilled chicken salad for me for lunch, almond crusted fish, rice, and broccoli for Scott for lunch, and crock pot cilantro lime chicken for supper. I made quinoa for the first, okay second, time with supper. The first time I ever tried quinoa was a store bought flavored kind. And it was nasty. Since then I've been too scared to try it again. I got brave last week when I was grocery shopping and bought plain quinoa to season up myself. I made my own recipe with help from two different recipes, and it actually turned out really good. It's definitely a nice change from rice and sweet potatoes.

Day 6
All of the supplements are still the same for today.

  • Spark, catalyst, and probiotic restore before breakfast
  • Omegaplex with breakfast
  • Spark and catalyst before lunch
  • Omegaplex with supper
  • Herbal cleanse before bed

I made baked apple cinnamon oatmeal for breakfast, and I think this is our favorite so far. Last night, I made two chicken breasts seasoned with McCormick's low sodium Montreal Chicken seasoning, left over quinoa, and garlicy broccoli to have for lunch. Note to self: don't ever make broccoli the same way again. I used some of that minced garlic in a jar, and I guess if you don't actually use it while you're cooking, it tastes horrible. I just steamed the broccoli, seasoned it with the garlic, salt, and pepper and holy moly...gross. Even Scott texted me and asked me what I put in it. Nine times out of ten if he is asking something like that it means he doesn't like it. There have only been a few occasions where he has not liked something I cooked, so I knew it must have been really bad. He's a sweetheart though and ate it anyways. I, on the other hand, threw it in the garbage. I redeemed myself with supper by making turkey meatloaves using a recipe from a Cooking Light cookbook (that I love!), baked sweet potatoes, and roasted green beans.

We also got a little goody in the mail, and it is yum!

Totally off subject, but I'm pretty sure I have the cutest puppy in the world.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Advocare 24 Day Challenge: Days 2 and 3

We have completed our first 3 days already! It has gone really well so far, and I don't think this is going to be as hard as I thought it would be. I really have a "negative nancy" attitude (something I really need to work on), but I always expect and plan for the worst. I love it when I prove myself wrong :) Here are my thoughts on the last two days.

Thoughts on the products:

  • The fiber drink is still awful. I still gag at least once while trying to drink it, but I have figured out that if I mix it with a lot more water than it calls for and a little bit of Spark, I can get it down a heck of a lot easier. Thankfully we get a four day break from it.
  • I love Spark. Our kit came with the fruit punch and mandarin orange flavors. The fruit punch is pretty good and tastes like red Kool-aid to me. The mandarin orange is okay. I'm not really a citrusy person, but still, it's not bad. I recently ordered a canister of the watermelon flavor because I've heard good things about it, and Scott loves watermelon. Hopefully it lives up to it's reputation. I love the Spark because it is a nice break from plain water, and it provides a little energy kick that helps me get off my butt and do things around the house that I usually wouldn't have the energy or motivation to do. It also doesn't make you crash like energy drinks can, and is a savior for those after lunch sleepies.
  • As for the Catalyst, Omegaplex, and herbal cleanse caplets, I really can't tell anything specific about what they're doing, but I'm sure they are doing what they're supposed to do because I am feeling like a better person already.

Thoughts on the "mental" aspects of the challenge:

  • Like I said above, this challenge isn't easy, but it's really not as hard as I thought it would be. I went to my parents' house for the weekend, and as soon as I walked in the door there was cereal, chocolate, and fruit snacks staring me in the face. I won't lie, I really really really wouldn't have minded a big ol' bowl of cereal, but I told myself to look at the bigger picture. Would I rather have the fleeting satisfaction from eating the cereal or the longstanding satisfaction from saying no? Of course I said no, and was really proud of myself. Like that Pinterest quote says, it really is the small things.
  • Since I have to eat breakfast and take supplements in the morning, I am much more motivated to wake up a lot earlier than I have been. This is a huge deal for me and another thing that I am proud of.
  • I believe that Scott and I have both been happier and in an overall better mood the past few days, and I love that we are doing this together as a team.
  • Losing weight is just as much a mental struggle as it is a physical struggle. You can never completely get away from outer influences, and that really sucks...but such is life. Ignoring, overcoming, and not giving in to those influences way outweighs the sucky parts of life though.

Thoughts on the physical aspects of the challenge:

  • The biggest change I've noticed is an increase in energy and a lack of sluggishness. I just really feel good overall. 
  • I feel like I have lost a lot of water weight. I don't feel bloated, and I don't have that "gross" feeling that is hard to describe but everyone knows what you're talking about. I've increased my water intake drastically, and obviously I'm peeing every 15 minutes. 
  • *Disclaimer: this may be a little TMI so stop reading now if you want* I'm usually not a "regular" person, and I can always tell when I've been eating a bunch of junk because I get even more irregular. So far the first day was regular, the second day was irregular, and the third day was regular. I'm not sure why this is, but my body just may be trying to adjust to the fiber and healthier eating. I'm hoping that as the challenge progresses, this issue evens itself out. 
  • The worst thing that has happened is that my face looks like I'm a teenager going through puberty. I normally have a decent complexion and only get a couple pimples here and there, but goodness gracious my face looks like a slice of pizza right now. I've been told that this is normal, and that it's just my body ridding itself of all the toxins and will start clearing up once the cleanse is over. 

Thoughts on the food:

  • Eating healthy really isn't so bad! Scott has enjoyed everything I've made so far, I only disliked the tuna salad I made, and I have discovered some new favorite recipes that will definitely be repeated.
  • I have branched out a little and discovered that I like hummus.
  • Coconut oil is my new best friend.
  • I found a new breed of apple (is that what you call it?) called an Envy apple, and it was advertised that it is a sweet apple and does not brown! I was a little skeptical of the no browning, but I was pleasantly surprised when it didn't brown after being cut and sitting out for a while. It really is a sweet apple, almost too sweet, but I sprinkled cinnamon on it, and that was really good. Almost like eating a dessert.
  • I love love love my Crock Pot. Shout out to the lady that bought it for us as a wedding present :)
  • My water consumption has increased significantly, and I am aiming for at least 100 ounces per day.

Here is a recipe of my favorite meal so far. I adapted it (and take no credit whatsoever) from an awesome blog that I have been following for a long time so it followed my no gluten and no dairy restrictions. Check out Gina's delicious and healthy recipes at Skinnytaste.

Crock Pot Italian Turkey Meatballs 

Meatball Ingredients

20 oz ground turkey breast
1/2 cup old fashioned oats, ground
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1 egg
1 garlic clove, crushed (I used minced garlic in a jar)
1 tsp salt

Sauce Ingredients

1 tsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed (I used minced garlic in a jar)
28 oz can no salt added crushed tomatoes
14.5 oz can no salt added diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped


In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, ground oatmeal, egg, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix with your hands and form into small meatballs, about 1.5 inches in diameter.

Pour crushed and diced tomatoes into the crock pot with bay leaf. Stir in garlic and oil. 

Drop meatballs into the sauce, put the lid on the crock pot, and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours. Add salt and pepper to taste when finished, and top with fresh parsley.

I served these with roasted spaghetti squash.

Makes about 24 meatballs.

Let me know if you try this recipe!


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Advocare 24 Day Challenge: Day 1

Well, today's the day folks. The day we begin our weight loss journey. The day we start a 24 day commitment to kick start new habits. The day we set our eye on the prize. The day we...okay that's enough.


The husband and I started the Advocare 24 Day Challenge this morning. This is not a "diet" unless you're my dad who says it sounds like a diet. I don't like referring to this challenge as a diet because I feel like diets limit you and deprive you of one food group or another. So, we are going to refer to this as a lifestyle change. Cheesy, I know. But here's why. One: because we are not deprived of any food group that is good for us and two: this lifestyle change will continue beyond the 24 days of this challenge. Obviously, we're not allowed to eat junk, but that's what made us gain weight in the first place. We are going to be strict with our eating during the challenge, but afterwards we will have the occasional "reward" meal or "cheat" meal as long as we stay on track 80-90% of the time. If we start to fall off the wagon, we'll cut out the "rewards" and be strict until we get back on track.

Honestly this is going to be one of the hardest things I've ever done. I didn't grow up learning how to eat healthy, so I'm definitely learning along the way. Sometimes life throws you curve balls, and your plans get messed up. Or somebody has a birthday, or there's a holiday meal thrown in somewhere. And don't get me started on all the food commercials on tv or Pinterest recipes!!! There's going to be bad influences everywhere we turn, and sometimes we're going to give in to them. Nobody's perfect, and I will never claim to be. What I do know is that I will try my hardest to succeed so that I will finally see the results I've wanted to see for a really long time. My goal will not be reached in the near future, and I'm okay with that. I know that this weight was not put on quickly but gradually over several years. One of my favorite sayings is "Rome wasn't built in a day". As long as I am continually seeing results, even if they're small, I will be satisfied. And here's a little Pinterest motivation to start the morning off.

Sidenote: This space is going to be used as a journal for myself so I can look back later to see what we did and how we did it, what worked and what didn't, and to refer to if we do the challenge again. I'm sharing it with friends and family as well so they can stay updated on our successes and maybe even get motivated themselves to do the same thing! And let's not forget the accountability factor. I feel like if I write about what I'm doing and SHARING it with others, I need to do my best and give it everything I've got. I will post successes and failures, the good and bad, and everything in between. So here we go.

Today's menu & products we took:
Upon waking: Fiber drink, Spark, & Catalyst
Breakfast: Omegaplex, baked pumpkin pie oatmeal, & scrambled eggs with extra egg whites
Snacks: berries and almonds & celery w/ natural peanut butter and raisins
Before lunch: Catalyst and Spark
Lunch: Southwest tuna salad over romaine lettuce and spinach
Dinner: Omegaplex, almond crusted tilapia, & roasted veggies
Before bed: Herbal cleanse packet

The baked pumpkin pie oatmeal was good and really easy to put together. I actually mixed it all up last night and stuck it in the fridge; then I baked it this morning before the husband went off to work. Easy and quick recipes are my friend so this will probably be made again. Here's the recipe!

Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

2 cups old fashioned oats
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (I threw a little extra in there)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup Stevia* (it could have used a little more)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk**
1/4 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg - beaten
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
chopped walnuts - optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8x8 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. Add oats, pumpkin pie spice, salt, baking powder, and Stevia. Stir to combine. In a separate bowl, add almond milk, pumpkin puree, vanilla, egg, and applesauce. Mix well. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Fold in walnuts if using. Pour ingredients into prepared baking dish and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes*** or until set. 

*The original recipe called for packed brown sugar
**No dairy for me, but you can use whatever kind of milk you want
***Mine took about 27 minutes which might be because it sat in the fridge overnight
Sorry for being so long winded! Future posts shouldn't require so much brain vomit :)