I made it through the first week, and it was EASY! Easy because my energy and health are through the roof. I'm seeing results, I'm not hungry, and for me, I'm finding enjoyment in the planning, shopping, cooking, eating process once again (only been a fan of the eating portion since I stopped being a professional chef).
Quick run-down on today's meals:
Breakfast- Berry, banana & pineapple smoothie with coconut water, spinach, and chia seeds
Lunch- Indian food from EarthFare's cafe (vegan!)
Snack #1- Fresh grape & apple juice with ginger (holy sweetness!)
Snack #2- Quick pickles
Dinner- Zucchini spaghetti with creamy lemon basil sauce (adapted from several recipes) and mixed green side salad
I am excited about this dinner! this is a dish I've been wanting to try, but between sub-par zucchini offerings at the store and the car accident, my plans were derailed. I've taken 3 different zucchini spaghetti recipes and fused them into one. I love the idea of raw zucchini "spaghetti", since I'm a huge pasta eater normally. I'm also a glutton for a good cream sauce (usually made with butter, heavy cream & cheese)! This fusion seemed to get all of my favorites into one recipe. Here's a general outline of what I made, and how I made it
1 Zucchini per person, julienne thinly on a mandoline
Grape tomatoes- small handful, sliced in half
Walnuts- small handful
Green onions- small handful, thinly sliced
Creamy Lemon Basil Sauce- about 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, juice of 1 lemon, minced garlic, 2-3 basil leaves, sliced thinly, sea salt & pepper. Put it in a tupperware container, shake it up, let it mellow in the fridge for a few hours.
Basically, toss the zucchini "spaghetti" with some of the creamy sauce until it's covered well. Twirl up all pretty-like on a plate, like you would with regular spaghetti. Sprinkle with tomatoes, walnuts, and green onions. Throw a salad of mixed greens & veggies with extra virgin olive oil & vinegar on the side and that's a damn fine, raw meal!
Some small changes I will make next time around: I'll add lemon zest, and rather than shaking the dressing I will use my food processor to incorporate the garlic & basil throughout the sauce a bit more. It was scrumptious as is, but there's always room for improvement!
Generally speaking, I'm feeling full for longer with less food intake, which is a good thing. My body isn't craving foods because I'm feeding it a full dose of all the nutrients it needs! Alvaro and I checked in with each other yesterday and set a goal to be down 10 pounds total by this time next week. If you'd told me that was a possibility last Monday when I started I would have laughed in your face. But, after losing 5.5 pounds in one week, I think it's a realistic (but still lofty) goal to shed another 4.5 in week 2. If this week is as easy as last week was, I believe I can make it happen! My "big picture" goal is to be down to 145 by the wedding, which is just under 4 months away. That's 23.8 pounds under my starting weight, but if I reach my "down 10 pounds" goal by next Monday, I'm almost halfway there, and in my mind, the hardest part will be behind me!
When I was talking with Alvaro I mentioned how far I'm able to stretch my grocery trips now, and how much money I am saving by not eating out or buying meat & dairy products. I've eaten out twice in the past week, down from the typical 2 meals a day, every day that we were in the habit of. I found that by planning my meals wisely, eating leftovers, and using what is getting ready to go bad first, I made my grocery trip from last Wednesday stretch until today! I could have held off on going today, as tomorrow I get my meals from Nourish (I promise to write about that tomorrow) and won't need to make my own meals for a couple days. Exciting! However, I was low on some of my favorite juice staples so I decided to make a big trip.
There are a few fruits and veggies I see staying on every grocery list from here on out, because they're good in salads, good by themselves, good in smoothies and juices, and find their way into every recipe I prepare. I find if I buy a few of each, I can get through nearly a whole week before my supply gets low. My standard staples for the summer season are:
broccoli or cauliflower
kale (and other dark leafy greens)
mixed salad greens
(once they're in season and local, tomatoes and corn will be added to the list!)
My strategy has been to pull a few recipes that look good to me for the next few days and make sure I have those ingredients on hand in addition to the above staples. Usually 3-5 recipes comprised of main dishes and sides will be enough to feed myself with the leftovers for 3-4 days. Once I'm home from the store and have some down time, I browse my Clean Eating board on Pinterest for other recipes that utilize the ingredients I have on hand. I've been able to come up with a list of 12-15 additional dishes that I could make with what is in my pantry and fridge with the addition of 3-5 extra ingredients that I can grab at any ol grocery store in a 5 minute trip.
Here's what my list looks like this week. These are all of the recipes that are available to me with the addition of just a couple ingredients which are: potatoes, shrimp, grapes, and sweet potatoes (the last 2 somehow didn't make it into my cart today!)
Veggie Quinoa Hash with Poached Eggs
Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers with Avocados
Spiced Cauliflower Poppers
Citrus Shrimp & Avocado Salad
Garlic & Goat Cheese Quinoa Fritters
Quinoa Mushroom Pilaf
Honey & Cinnamon Frozen Yogurt
Sweet Potatoes with Grapes, Goat Cheese & Honey
Sweet Potatoes with Chili & Lime
Kale Chips (so many varieties)
Roasted Lemon Broccoli
Peanut Ginger Kale Salad
That's just what I came up with after about 15 minutes of browsing my Pinterest board. This doesn't include the nearly limitless combinations of smoothies and juices I can make with what I've got on hand, which have begun to substitute many of my meals.
By planning and shopping this way, I never feel the panic of being hungry and not having something healthy and quick to prepare at my fingertips, which leads to way less cheating! Because I am saving so much money on my meals in general, I've decided to be pretty "picky" with what I put in my body. I could easily go to the fruit & veg stand down the road that has *some* local stuff, but mainly stocks with the same fruits & veg you find at the regular store. I could probably check out around $50. Personally, right now, if it's not local, I'm buying organic, which is by nature slightly more expensive. I find my weekly trip to EarthFare to stock up on my staples plus other random ingredients has been running me around $100. When I think about the ridiculous number of meals I get out of that one trip, I'm totally fine with spending the extra money on buying organic!