Dang good healthy treats

Just recently, my husband and I got away and escaped life for a few days in the mountains. It doesn’t happen very often (time off) so we were stoked. :-)
Getting ready for our three nights away I started to gather a few healthy recipes that I wanted to try, this would be my first ‘vacation’ since going strict with- no grain or dairy in February of 2011. Even though I have been low-carb for 5 years, I always ate whatever I wanted ‘in the mountains.’ Not so anymore. Bye-bye splitting pizzas for dinner, eating waffles for breakfast, grilled cheese sandwiches and chips for lunch and ice cream for late night snack. I knew it was going to be tough because I had come to identify ‘time-off’ with these foods. So I made sure I had plenty of nuts & dates (my favs), some coconut milk ice cream and a couple of healthy treat recipes. (Along with proteins, veggies and fruit, of course.)
So what recipes did I try? Two.. Sweet potato brownies and Caramel pecan bars.
Both from a new (to me) website called Paleomg.com that you MUST check out. There are a ton of awesome recipe sites for healthy eaters that I’m discovering and some oldies but goodies that I go to regularly as well. (I’ll post the links in a bit)
So back to my baking. Oh wow. I LOVED these recipes!

First up- Sweet potato brownies
If you’re wondering if you can taste the sweet potato, the answer is no. And baking the sweetpo vs. boiling or microwaving worked best for me with just the right moisture level. I used a medium sized potato but I wouldn’t stress about the size too much. :-)
I also added half a cup of pecans to mine, because, well, I love nuts.. in everything.

These were also great heated up with some coconut milk ice cream on top and of course some more nuts. lol

Next up: Caramel Pecan Bars
Ok, these were sinful. straight up. I ate a lot of them and didn’t apologize for it. It’s probably because I love dates and nuts so much.. nah, forget that, my husband even loved these beauties! Juli recommends cooking them in a loaf pan, the only thing I would change would be to cook them in a 8×8 glass cooking dish, it will make them a little thinner but they will go a little farther, lol.

I didn’t have a food processor for the ‘caramel’ topping, just an Ultimate Chopper, remember those? Yeah, I’m old school. Well, that’s why you see chunks of dates in my caramel vs. Juli’s. And for some reason my bars came out darker, but I wasn’t complaining, they were dang delicious.
So, give these two recipes a go if you’re in the mood for a healthy treat! The Sweet potato brownies freeze very well, for you know, portion control, lol and the Caramel pecan bars, I have no idea, there were non left over to freeze. gulp. :-)

Here’s a few of my favorite recipe sites, check them out!
Paleomg.com
The Urban Poser
Your Lighter Side
Civilized Caveman Cooking
Fast Paleo
I’m sure I forgot someone.. grr.
What are your favorite healthy cooking websites or recipes?

Here’s me.. in the mountains. Catrina+mountains= Happy. :-)

21 Day Sugar Detox Wrap-Up

I completed the 21 Day Sugar Detox.
And what do you know, I survived. :-)
Not that it was ever a question, but there were a few days in there when day 21 seemed like a looooooong ways away.

So why did I do the detox?
I eat clean, crazy clean, as in no grain, dairy or soy and very, very little processed foods (about 5%). I don’t really see certain foods as being ‘off-limits’, I just don’t like the way junk makes me feel, I kinda like feeling good, so it’s not a diet that I go on and off, this is the way I eat.
But I do have a history of abusing food. I was an emotional eater for many, many years and turned to food to ‘solve’ a multitude of issues. I am very aware of how food makes me feel and I also am aware of when I’m feeling unnaturally drawn to sweets, i.e. cravings.
My weight had started to creep back up, my clothes were fitting tighter and I was feeling like I ‘needed’ to have something sweet all the time. You may be wondering how I can put on weight and become re-addicted to sweets eating only natural, whole foods? Hmmm, I don’t know, I guess I’m just gifted that way. lol But seriously, it’s easy, for me it’s called fruit.. raw honey.. and nuts. And… a lot of it. More than I can handle and maintain a comfortable weight for me. It’s not the fruit itself, a lot of people can eat it without problems, it’s the feeling that I ‘needed it’ that was getting out of control. I know I have this issue (a sweet addiction past) and have to keep myself in check from time to time, and this was one of those times.
So you’re probably wondering- did the 21 Day Sugar Detox (21DSD) work?
Well, if the point of the detox was to recalibrate my tastebuds, then absolutely it worked. Back in March of this year for no reason that I can explain, I gradually started eating more sweet foods. And because I was eating more, I was craving more. Yep, that’s the way it works. Nasty vicious cycle. I know this, I knew this, I STILL know it, but I started down the path and it was hard to reverse once it was in motion without a slightly drastic measure. I needed a recalibration because fruit and raw honey that used to be super sweet for me and would even give me a headache from the sugar rush, suddenly wasn’t enough, and I wanted (needed) more.The detox resets the tastebuds and the cravings, so that I can be satisfied with just a little bit of sweetness and can actually taste the natural sweetness without having to eat a ton of it to feel ‘content.’
Many people use the 21DSD to lose weight. And I confess I was hoping to lose the 8 pounds I had put on since the beginning of March (did I just say that out loud?) But I only ended up losing 4 pounds. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t really eating that bad when I started (just bad fro me) and maybe I’m gaining a bit of muscle with all of the serious physical work I’ve been doing for the last 2 months, whatever it is, it may be time to accept that this might be my new ‘normal.’ And somehow that’s ok. {bliss.}
Was it hard?
Yeah, it was a bit tough in the first few days, I had some pretty strong cravings for ‘my’ sweet potatoes and plantains etc., but I expected it to be a little uncomfortable, after all I had gotten myself into this hole, and I had to work my way out. The key was (and always is) to have cut up veggies and meat prepped so when you do get hungry, there is something available-quick. On Level Three of the program I was only allowed 1 green apple a day (in the fruit department) and no sweet potatoes. But after the first few days I really started to enjoy radishes, cucumbers, cabbage and bell peppers and didn’t miss the sweeter fruits and veggies so much.
It’s been a week since I finished the 21DSD. The day I finished the detox I can’t say that I had no desire whatsoever for sweets anymore, I think I’ll always struggle with that on some level, but I’ve noticed that the desire for them has greatly minimized. I’m not thinking about when and how I can eat some fruit (or honey), I don’t feel like I need it anymore, in fact I went all day yesterday without any fruit until dinner and the only reason I grabbed a piece of watermelon was because we were heading out to do some very physical labor and I knew I would be needing the extra carbs.
I feel free. And that’s a great feeling. :-)

I recommend the 21 Day Sugar Detox because sometimes we just need a little help. Especially if you are where I was and your taste buds could use a tune-up. Check it out, it’s $21 and it comes loaded with lots of great info, including a list of what’s allowed and what’s not allowed for the 21 days. I also recommend getting an accountability partner who will hold your feet to the fire and if you can’t find one, shoot me an email at catrinaishungry@gmail.com and I’ll help you out with that. If you decide to do it, or if you already have, I would love to hear about your experience. :-)

Consistency. At least once in a while.

Start… stop.
Start again.. stop.
Start and go a little bit longer and stop.. again.
How many times have you stopped and started a healthy eating plan or exercise routine?
Ok, I won’t make you answer that question.
But answer this for me.. tell me about the success you’ve had when you stayed with a ‘program’ for at least two months?
If you’ve stayed with something for that amount of time, you likely have a success story of SOME level, right?
Let me answer that for you- yes. :-)
Success doesn’t come overnight. If we want results we’re going to have to STAY WITH SOMETHING longer than a few days or a week.
Yes, I know, this is crazy obvious. And yet, I hear people complaining ALL THE TIME that X, Y or Z doesn’t work for them and they NEED to try something else.
(What they’re really saying is- X, Y or Z is too hard, and they don’t want to do anything hard so they need to find something easier.)
Yes, I know there are a lot of reasons WHY it’s difficult, but the bottom line is, we cannot say that eating right and working out doesn’t work if we haven’t really given it a fair chance.

Try this: Challenge yourself. Seek accountability. Stay the course. See the results.

Challenge yourself-

Set a goal date that is 2-3 months from now and commit to eating healthy whole foods (protein, healthy fats, veggies and some fruit and nuts) and exercise 3-4 times per week until then. Take measurements and photos, weigh yourself and most of all- don’t quit.

Seek accountability-
Ask someone that you KNOW will keep you accountable and give you a seriously hard time if you even consider quitting. Ask them to contact you once or twice a week to see how you’re doing. Give them accountability questions to ask you to cut to the chase, questions that you can’t answer- generally. Even better, find a buddy who will do this with you, 100%.

Stay the course-
Plan out what foods are going to be allowed in your diet and which ones are not. Put this list on a wipe board or somewhere you will see it every day. Don’t buy these foods, these items are non-negotiables, don’t bring them into your home. Plan how many times a week you’re going to exercise and what you’re going to do. Seek out encouragement and motivation and walk away from those things that are discouraging (i.e. a desserts board on pinterest, lol) Stay focused on your goal of- finishing.

See the results-
(Barring any serious medical conditions,) you WILL reap the benefits of all your hard work. Go 2-3 months longer and you’ll reap even more benefits. Make it a lifetime decision and you’ll see ongoing results.

It’s not that hard. We make it REALLY hard though, don’t we? :-)
It boils down to consistency. To which there is no half-way. Either we are consistent with healthy eating and working out or we’re not.
When I am consistent with my healthy lifestyle, I see results. I suspect it’s the same for you. The best part about all of this? We can change at any moment! Isn’t that awesome?!
If we are chronic quitters and/or we have a history of being inconsistent with our healthy eating and workouts, that can end- TODAY.
Yes it can.
You can do this.
Consistency is your friend, embrace her, she’s your ticket to success.

The master of…

Working with people who are trying to lose weight, I’ve noticed something:
People are either a master at making progress or they’re a master at making excuses. Some excuses are so clever, so well thought out, that seriously, if there was a book made on the top 100 excuses of all time, these finely crafted gems would be at the top of the list, yup, they’re that good.
So let’s talk about you.

Are you making progress or are you making excuses?

It’s really that simple. No.. It really is.
Because when we really want something, we make a way. Don’t we?
Think about the last time you reeeeeally wanted something, (other than a smaller jean size), How hard did you work for it? What were you willing to sacrifice to get it? How well did you plan ahead to make sure it happened?
It’s really not about losing weight, (well it shouldn’t be) but working towards being the healthiest version of you. Weight loss will automatically come when we ditch the processed junk in our diets, eat whole foods, drink water, stop with our emotional eating/boredom eating and implement an exercise plan.
It’s really not that difficult. Really it’s not.
Unless…
We’re just not ready. In other words, we want something MORE than we want our health and figure back.
That ‘more’ could be anything.
We can say all we want that- we want to lose weight or we want to get our health back on track but the bottom line is this: if we aren’t quite ready to give up our comfort foods, learn new habits and get up and get moving, we will find every excuse in the book for staying exactly where we are.

So the question is this..
What do you want? No really.. What Do YOU Want?
(You KNOW what’s coming next.. yup, my favorite quote.)

“Decide what you want,
decide what you’re willing to give up for it,
establish your goals and get to work.” ~Hunt

Ask yourself- Am I making excuses or am I making progress?
(And here’s a tip.. you’ll grow when you get quiet long enough to hear the answer.)
Because we cannot do both. If you’re ready for change in whatever area of your life, you’ll find that excuses are no longer part of who you are. When they pop into your head, you will recognize them for what they are, get rid of them and keep moving forward. You will begin to look at obstacles as opportunities.

Can I tell you what you already know?
You can do this. Yup, you can.
So, lay down the excuses.. and pick up the keys to your future. :-)

Easy Peasy Healthy Side Dish.. whoa.

When people start out on a new path to be healthy and fit, one of the first questions I get from them is this, “what can I eat?”
The second question is, “can I still eat this?” But that’s a whole ‘nother post all together. :-)
So, I tell them- eat whole foods. Single ingredient foods (mostly). Foods from an animal, from the ground or from a tree. Then they’re silent for a few seconds, look at me again and ask, “So what exactly can I eat?”
Sigh…
So, below is a video on one option for you, the delicious and uber healthy- baked sweet potato. It’s lower in carbs than the regular potato, and heck, it’s just prettier. Right?

Now, I understand there are many great cooks who read this blog and may be saying, “really? do we really need a video on how to bake a sweet potato? How hard can it be?”
And if that’s you… well, what can I say, this video may not be for you? LOL
It IS for those who are new to cooking for themselves,¬† but need easy instructions on how to make simple, yummy foods. That’s it. :-)
CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO and share it with those you know who are trying to eat healthy, too. Hey there aren’t very many of us, we gotta look out for each other, right? :-)
Happy Cooking!
~Catrina

Healthy Dairy-Free Whipped Cream

Can we just have a moment of silence for how my life has forever been changed?
I’m serious. Can you just read that title again?
A healthy, non-dairy alternative to whipped cream? Really?

I had completely given up all hope of ever having another parfait with fruit and whipped cream and so many other amazing concoctions since going grain and dairy-free in February of 2011. Not that I am complaining or anything, I happen to love being healthy (no tummy pains and 10 lbs. lighter) since giving up dairy, but still! You know I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss it from time to time.

Enter the amazing awesomeness of Coconut Milk.

Ah, this deserves another moment of silence.
Shhhh, I’m silencing! :-)

Found in the Asian foods section of your grocery story, us Paleo/Primal/Lactose intolerant folks who have no desire to eat highly processed, sugary cool whip have found our pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Isn’t it a pretty rainbow? (Yup, I’m in that kind of mood.)
So, I made a quick video to show you just how easy this is.
And it really is easy..
You know I don’t do hard.. because life is hard enough, it shouldn’t be hard to get awesome food, right?
CLICK HERE TO WATCH- HOW TO MAKE WHIPPED CREAM WITH COCONUT MILK

I have just begun to dig in and play around with all the different possibilities this ingredient, in it’s many forms can offer, and I’m looking forward to coming up with some awesome foodstuffs! In the meantime, I’ll be enjoying it with a bowl of berries, or cherries.. yum! Or fresh pineapple, double yum! Or.. or.. yumness awaits at every turn, I can feel it. :-)

If you have Paleo/Primal/Lactose intolerant friends and family in your life, share this video with them, they will love you for it. (I know I would!!)

Happy cooking!
~Cat

THE Question

So many times when we start out on a(nother) journey to better health and fitness we want to jump right in and find out what we should and shouldn’t be eating and what kind of workouts we should be doing, etc., and we skip over, what I think is one of the most important keys to our potential success.
Why.
Without the “Why” we will quit in no time, just like every other time, right? I know it was true for me, I was the queen of stop-and-start… and start again. When I finally got VERY serious in May of 2007 about dropping the 40lbs. I had packed on, I was ready to start slow and do things right.

Knowing your “why” will get you up in the morning and doing the workout routine that seems overwhelming at first, it will also help you choose good food over bad. But this isn’t just a nice suggestion for you to try, it takes concentrated effort and focus¬†(15-30 minutes minimum) to come to the root reasons of why you want to lose fat and get your health back. But if you’re ready.. really ready, and willing to dig deep, you’ll reap the benefits of this little exercise when you need it most: When the going gets tough.
Check out my video HERE, where I talk more about this important key to make THIS time the last time, you have to start over.

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