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one week later

Happy Friday friends!

First off, I want to remind everyone to enter my 100th post chia seed giveaway!

I’ve had a couple of people ask about ideas for using chia seeds – click here for some of my past posts that include chias.  I’m working on a page of ideas for using chia seeds, as well as the amazing benefits…it should be up soon! I’ll keep you updated:)

Before piyo this morning, I ate half an apple pie Larabar to tide me over until breakfast; however, after I got home I was busy working on some things, and I just didn’t feel that hungry.  Me not being hungry for breakfast is about as likely as snow in the middle of July.  It happened, though.  And in true intuitive eating fashion, I didn’t eat again until lunch!

You know, though, that if I miss out on breakfast – lunch simply must be epic!

In this salad went

2 huge handfuls of baby spinach, chopped
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 summer squash, chopped
about 1/4 cup black beans
1/4 cup corn
generous dousing of balsamic vinegar
3 medium canned artichoke hearts, chopped
Morningstar black bean burger, cut into bite sized pieces
dollop of hummus

When I make my salads, I always throw all the ingredients (minus toppings – in this case black bean burger and hummus) together into a big bowl and mix it all up.  Then, I dump it onto a plate or bowl and add the final toppings.  My salads are always huge, so this makes it easier to mix everything up!

Confession:  I have a huge problem with building things.  Ex: stir fries, salads, plates at a buffet (oops!).  My eyes are always 10 times the size of my stomach.  Today I had to reserve about 1/4 of the salad mixture for later because it was embarrassingly huge.  I mean, I’m not ashamed of big salads, but today’s was just unreasonable;)

It was delicious, though!

This held me over for several hours while I ran some errands, planned some stuff for my tutoring session with Mohammad, worked on some Outbox tasks and answered some emails.

A little later, the hunger monster called again….snack time!

One of my favorite snacks – a brown rice cake slathered with natural peanut butter and topped with sliced banana.  mmmm.

It has been one week since I officially resigned from my teaching job.  And I just want to say to anyone out there who is dealing with a big decision like this – it does get easier!  You will be okay!

One week ago I didn’t know heads from tails as far as this decision was concerned.  I ended up making my final decision by deciding which way I was leaning to 1/2 millimeter more than the other…and then closing my eyes and jumping in with both feet.  It was dreadfully difficult.  There were times when I honestly felt like things were never going to be okay again. I knew that wasn’t true, necessarily, but I just felt so confused and distraught over the whole situation.

I can honestly say that now, 7 days later, I feel happier and more confident than ever.  Seriously, today was like rainbows and sunshine.  I know that every day will not be that way, but the overwhelming feeling that I made the best decision I could have ever made envelopes me. Everything I do, whether laundry, washing, dishes or just fixing Jon breakfast feels happier and freer than it has in a long time.  I don’t expect things to be perfect, but I also feel that no one should have to live day-to-day with dread and unfulfillment.

Again, for any readers who are going through a tough decision, just know that if you follow what your heart is telling you and turn your back on fear…you will be so thankful that you did:)  Remember…if you’re not scared, you can’t be brave.

Not sure what Jon and I will spend Friday night doing…but I promise that it will be relaxing!!  We always take Friday night off from work and just spend time together.  Amen to that.

Have a great night!

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what does “food with integrity” mean to you?

Hellllooooo!

You guys had some fun comments on this morning’s post about kickboxing and yoga classes.  It seems that most of you have tried kickboxing at some point or another and LOVED it.  So exciting to hear the changes you’ve seen through kickboxing!

I was a busy busy bee today.  I keep wondering…how did I ever work a full-time job?  Haha.  only kidding.  I guess I just never met up with friends over lunch, worked out 3x over the course of one day or talked to my sis-in-law on the phone for an hour and a half. doh.

I met my friend, Grace, at Chipotle for lunch today; we had so much to catch up on!  And we caught up over some dang good food, I tell ya.  Chipotle is where’s it’s at!

vegetarian salad with black beans, grilled veggies, 3 kinds of salsa and guacamole! nice.

Chipotle is one of my favorite restaurants because I feel good about eating their food.  The following is a quote from their website regarding what “food with integrity” means to them:

It means serving the very best sustainably raised food possible with an eye to great taste, great nutrition and great value.
It means that we support and sustain family farmers who respect the land and the animals in their care.
It means that whenever possible we use meat from animals raised without the use of antibiotics or added hormones.
And it means that we source organic and local produce when practical.
And that we use dairy from cows raised without the use of synthetic hormones.

I love that:)  It makes me really think about what “food with integrity” means to me.  Honestly, I feel like I’m still working toward my own definition of the phrase. I’ve been a vegetarian for over a year and a half now and mostly vegan for about 6 months; one huge reason why I eat the way I do is because I can’t feel good about eating food that has been produced by unethical means.  Food Inc. is one movie that set me on this path, and I’m in the middle of a couple of books that are continuing to help shape my ideas and beliefs about having integrity with my daily diet.

The more I learn and discover, the more passionate I feel about making a difference.  Even if it means that I give up one new food item each month, to me that is an accomplishment that I can feel proud of.  Many people often say to me “I can’t be a vegetarian/vegan because I can’t give up X” or “it’s just too hard, I’m afraid I would fail” or “I can’t buy organic because I can’t afford it.”

I want people to understand that it’s not about being perfect. It’s not about never having ice cream again or never eating real cheese again…or even never eating steak again (if that’s what floats your boat:).  It is about doing even one small thing to make a difference.  Such as eating vegetarian one day each week.  Buying organic, free range chicken fifty percent of the time.  Or eating one vegan meal each day.  Or just giving up red meat except on weekends.  Those are just some ideas.

My husband has said before that he can’t be vegetarian because he can’t give up Chick-fil-a sandwiches.  Eat that Chick-fil-a sandwich if it’s what is holding you back!  In no other area of our life do we say “if I can’t be perfect then I’m not even going to try.” Why would we say that about our diet?

I will be honest…I have eaten real ice cream in the past few weeks.  I’ve had real cheese in the past month.  But those have become the exceptions in my life.  I feel good about that, and I don’t beat myself up for the imperfections. Perfection is boring anyway;)

Let’s take steps together to throw out labels and do the best we can each day to improve our health and make our world a better place for our children and our children’s children. That’s what it’s all about!

This afternoon was by far the busiest part of my day!  I met Mohammad for a tutoring session before rushing off to power yoga.  Yoga made up my 3rd, yes 3rd trip, to the gym today.  I think it put me over the edge a bit.  My arms were still feeling weak from my class this morning, and I just didn’t have much left in me.  I pushed through, though, and by the end was super glad I went.  Always am with yoga:)

For dinner I decided to whip up a quick spaghetti dish

with tempeh, my love:)

veggies…

whole wheat pasta…

and my new favorite Bove’s Organic mushroom and wine pasta sauce.  yippee!

And a wonderful dinner such as this wouldn’t be complete with out some veggies

green beans - straight from my mom and step-dad’s garden.  Sauteed in olive oil with chopped onions, garlic powder, sea salt and black pepper.  To die for.  I’m not even kidding.  Thank you mom and Clark:)

I just kept picking at these green beans all night, finally resorting to moving them to the fridge so I’ll have some left for later!  I might dream about green beans tonight.  I need help.

First thing tomorrow morning I WILL have up the 100th post giveaway contest. You must stop by because you don’t wanna miss it!

What does “food with intergrity” mean to you? Do you think the meaning should be universal?  Or do you think it can be different for every person?

What small thing could you do to make a difference without feeling the pressure of perfection?

Can’t wait to hear your responses!

***just FYI – I have now moved my blogroll from my sidebar to a tab at the top.  Check it out for some of my favorite reads!

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say cheeeeze!

Gooood morning!  I was up and at ‘em fairly early this morning – I’m meeting my mom in the city to hang out for the day, and I have to leave in t-minus 20 minutes.  eek!

Jon and I got in a good, strong 2.5 mile walk this morning.  We set out with intentions to run, but were such chatty Cathys the whole time that we ended up walking.  I dare say that going on walks with my husband is one of my favorite things in life.  I think I’ll try to slip in some online yoga tonight…I’ll letcha know which video I end up using, but I’m thinking maybe this, which was suggested to me by Maggie via Heather.  Thank goodness for blog friends, right?!

Last night I went to my power yoga class, and by the time I got back home it was after 7, and I was famished.  I decided to whip up this little recipe for Vegetable Couscous + Cheeze Sauce that I had seen on Angela’s site a couple of days ago.

I followed Angela’s recipe, but I did make a few adjustments.  First off, I halved the recipe because I was running low on nutritional yeast; I still had leftovers.  Also, I had to keep adding water as I stirred the cheeze sauce because it kept getting too thick.  In the end, I still would have liked it a little thinner and will likely add more water next time I make it.  Thirdly, I used about half the hummus and half the Earth Balance.

For veggies, I used sauteed broccoli sprouts, chopped carrots, chopped onions and chopped bell pepper.  Lastly I sprinkled ground red pepper over the top before I inhaled ate it.

All in all it was just as amazing as Angela raved.  I will definitely make this again, and I’m super stoked to have leftovers of the sauce awaiting me in the fridge.  muahaha.

I also treated myself to a side of steamed broccoli:)

Okaaayyy, now that I am officially 5 minutes late already, I gotta jet.  Sorry mom!

See you guys later!

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what a dad!

Yesterday we had such a great time.  My FIL has two favorite restaurants, so he very graciously let me choose between them for lunch. Between IHOP and Golden Corral, I went with GC and ended up being pleasantly surprised!

Have you ever been to a Golden Corrall?  If not, let me paint a quick picture for you.

Walk in.  Get drink.  Pay for buffet.  Find booth.  Go wander through the endless buffet.  Try to narrow choices down to what can fit on one, possibly two plates.  Sit down.  Eat said plates of food.  Go back for more if you’re so inclined. Try to narrow down from dozens of dessert options.  Eat said dessert.  Waddle out.

I ended up with two plates full and a side of fruit.  I was a bit nervous about finding healthy options, but there was no reason to be afraid.  Check it out.

Plate 1:  huge pile of romaine, green peppers, onions, zucchini, carrots, grilled red and yellow bell peppers, steamed baby carrots, steamed brussels (yay!) and a side of honey mustard dressing

Plate 2:  peas, corn, baked sweet potato w/pico, more steamed carrots, guacamole, best tasting roll ever

grapes, mandarin oranges, watermelon

I ate almost all of the salad, most of plate 2 minus about half the sweet potato and a good portion of the fruit.  Even though I had no room left, I managed to savor two bites of carrot cake, which was just meh, and two bites of apple cobbler with vanilla ice cream.  I’m sure you can imagine how I felt by this point….oh buffets.

We spent the afternoon going to bookstores and then, believe it or not, stopped for some froyo a bit later.  What can I say?  We gotta treat our dad right.

All in all we had such a fun time, and I am so thankful to have Brad in our life.  A few fun things about my FIL: he loves God, he loves to take random candid pictures, he is always there for us, he loves dots (the candy), the Beatles, golf and Ernest Tubb.

Thanks, Brad, for being such a great father and father-in-law.  We love you!

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this girl knows what she wants

So, I’m not the only one who knows exactly what I want in my food.

For awhile now we’ve been having trouble with Olive not being able to um….let’s just say “hold down her food.”  It finally dawned on us yesterday that she might just be trying to tell us something.  Maybe losing your lunch at least once a week for no apparent reason isn’t totally normal.

After a short visit to the vet, we decided to change her food.  You can’t just change it overnight, though.  You see, if we switch her cold turkey lamb, we’ll risk having problems at the other end.  The trick is to sift in the new food just a little at a time and after about a weeks time be completely done with the old food.  Well, that only works if the ahem person involved agrees to continue eating the old food.  As opposed to only picking out the new food kernels of course.

Exhibit A.  This is what we found after having incorporated the new food in with the old.  If you look closely you can see that there are bits of food under her bowls.  She also had trailed it all across the kitchen floor.  So, we decided to do a little test to make sure it wasn’t a fluke.

Exhibit B.  Olive is given an Olive sized bowl each of California Natural (the old food) and Prairie (the new food).

Exhibit C.  When given the go-ahead, Olive immediately goes for Prairie.

Exhibit D (not pictured).  Trickster Dad stops Olive mid-gulp and quickly switches up the bowls to see if she chooses the same one again.  Of course she does.

Lastly, dad gives Olive the California Natural bowl and scowls as she turns her nose up at it.  He then proceeds to give her the Prairie bowl, which she immediately devours.

Folks, we have a verdict.  Now we’re left scratching our heads and wondering “has she been throwing up as an act of rebellion because she doesn’t like her food? or is she allergic?”  We may never know.

Onward and upward.  Today Jon and I proudly made it out of bed in time to get in a workout.  We had planned to break our sweat at the gym because it is so dang hot outside, but we were pleasantly surprised when we stepped outside and it felt only like a cool 80 degrees.  Without hesitation we abandoned our gym passes and headed to the street.  After putting in a quick 20 minute run, we came back to get O for a walk.

Shortly after our run, I was reunited with this guy

2 big handfuls spinach
1 cup soy milk
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 scoop Amazing Grass
1 tbsp almond butter
ice

Because of vacation and a lack of groceries since, I have not had a green monster in a couple of weeks!  It was a grand reunion.  Tomorrow I shall be reunited with overnight oats methinks.

I spent most of the morning at the coffee shop working on some stuff and sipping on a nice iced soy latte.

Now I know how this looks.  Let me explain.  When Jon and I decided to commit to our “no eating out for a week and that includes coffee” challenge, we agreed that we could still get coffee drinks from The Daily Grind.  Jon worked there for five years during college and we’re still good friends with the owner, so we have a prepaid card and we are only charged a dollar per drink.  I know, I know.  It still seems like we’re cheating, but technically no money changed hands, so I vote that we’re in the clear.

On a more honest and admirable note, I did pack my lunch so I wouldn’t be tempted to grab something.

Thank you Mister whole wheat tortilla broccoli slaw sprouts hummus and tempeh wrap.  You saved me from making a decision I would later regret.  Just a warning for tomorrow, though.  A good friend whom I haven’t seen in some time asked me to meet for lunch tomorrow, and I agreed.  Hey, life happens.  And the point of the challenge is still being driven home.

And dinner…

Carrots, onions, bell pepper, squash and zucchini sauteed in Evoo and doused with Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and Nutritional Yeast.  Served over a bed of Soba noodles.  A go-to favorite.

Followed by banana soft serve with a bit of Maranatha Chocolate Almond Butter mixed in.

The rest of the day consisted of a long overdue phone chat with my college roommate, starting to clean out our office and chilling with my sweet husband.

I’m off to bed now!  G’night!

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