Life is insane. And by insane, I mean insanely busy. Lately it feels like for every item I check off my to-do list, another two appear. Time management is an area of my life that I am CONSTANTLY trying to improve in. I […]
Month: January 2018
Oh, boy. Do I have a treat for you! It involves chocolate. Do I have your attention?
Dark. Chocolate. Hummus.
I was skeptical, y'all. Nothing about chick peas says "dessert" to me. When I saw this in the deli, I passed on it the first time. But my next grocery trip, I decided to brave it. And oh, I'm SO glad I did.
The cover suggests strawberries and pretzels for your dipping so I grabbed some of those and also grabbed some of our favorite Belvita breakfast biscuits (a whole grain breakfast snack with a bit of fiber that we like to have as a treat).
As soon as I opened the container, I knew I was sold. It looked velvety and most importantly of all - chocolatey.
I tested it out with my 2 & 4 year old first. We went with the mini pretzels, breakfast biscuits, and apple slices.
I know when my kids are silent while eating that it's a good sign. It disappeared FAST and my 4 year old couldn't stop asking "is this really hummus?!"
I had to try and went with a pretzel first. I love the combo of sweet and salty. I was NOT disappointed. This dark chocolate hummus is SWEET, but not overwhelmingly so! Just the right amount. There is plenty of texture, while still remaining smooth. And best of all - it doesn't taste like you're eating fake chocolate. I hate that.
I love dark chocolate covered strawberries, so that was my next try. The hummus was the perfect dip and I still couldn't believe I was eating CHICK PEAS!
Sticking to the fruit theme, I scooped some into a plastic bag, cut off the tip, and piped the hummus into a few raspberries. Pure. Heaven. I have had them as a little sweet treat after lunch every day for the past week! Just a teaspoon and a few raspberries is plenty to satisfy a little mid-day sweet craving.
I can't WAIT to create a few recipes with this stuff. It would be great topped with chopped nuts or toasted coconut. I already have a few recipes in mind and will be creating them this week.
Don't walk - RUN to get some of this stuff! But beware, it's so good, it'd be easy to eat the whole container!
Where: I found this in my local Kroger deli with the rest of the hummus and purchased it for around $4 (8 oz container).
What: Boar's Head Dark Chocolate Dessert Hummus
Ingredients: Steamed Chickpeas, Organic Sugar, Water, Sunflower Oil, Cocoa Powder, Vanilla Extract, Sea Salt, and Nisin to preserve.
Nutrition Facts: Serving size - 2 Tbsp contains 80 calories, 4.5g Total Fat, 40 mg Sodium, 10g Total Carbs, 3g Fiber, 6g Total Sugars with 0g Added Sugar, and 1g Protein
TUESDAY TIP: Half Your Grain, Double Your Veggie I get asked a lot if you have to count calories to lose weight. While a food log/journal provides great insight into your nutrition habits, there are plenty of ways to manage your weight without counting and […]
If you’ve been following my journey for any amount of time, you know that I used flexible dieting (macro counting, IIFYM, whatever you please) to change my relationship with food and lose 65 pounds of pregnancy weight after giving birth to my first child.
After giving birth to my second, I was prepared to go through the same process using the same method, but this time there was a new buzz word going around: intuitive eating.
After two years of measuring, weighing, counting, and logging, I was intrigued. Though I was thankful for the tools I learned from calorie and macro counting, I knew I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life doing it. From what little I had read, I knew intuitive eating was the freedom I wanted while still helping me reach my goals and eventually letting me maintain my weight.
I did what I always do when I’m interested in something - I started digging. It’s no secret I am picky about where I get my information. There’s so much BAD information out there. As a scientist, I cringe at some of the people who have made their way into naïve consumers’ social media feeds. I don’t apologize for being picky about where I get information and from whom I get it. In fact, I have zero tolerance for inaccurate nutrition and health information, and I declare this proudly. Wanting to learn about intuitive eating was no different – I was determined to learn the FACTS from the BEST.
I went through all of my trusty sources, and the same book kept resurfacing:
All the pleasure centers in the brain lit up because there it was...my favorite word – “habit.” The psychology major in me has always been interested in eating behaviors and habit change, and come on, the word is IN the title!
My gut instinct told me this was the book I needed - the book to give me everything I needed to fully understand mindful eating. But first, I turned to one of my favorite resources The FitCast featuring the author of the book, Georgie Fear (for reference, episode 378). I learned that Georgie is a registered dietitian who runs an online coaching business. I’m not even going to lie – I paused the episode a few minutes in and bought the book because I was just every kind of sold.
I wasn’t even willing to wait for it to ship, so I bought the kindle edition and started reading it right then and there. I finished it in 24 hours! I immediately started using the Lean Habits system.
Often times, when I tell people I used flexible dieting and intuitive eating to lose weight, they look at me skeptically. You may think a rigid process like counting macros and weighing food is so completely opposite of learning to listen to your hunger cues and eat intuitively, but these two tools gave me what I specifically needed at two different times in my life. While I employ intuitive eating for the most part at this point in my life, I am happy to have both tools in my tool box when needed. It’s important to note that Georgie (and all dietitians who coach intuitive eating) strongly suggest you do not try to count calories while adopting intuitive eating skills. My background in nutrition and the fact that I like to use my body in my science experiments allowed me to do a little of both, but I HIGHLY suggest you “do as I say, not as I do” and listen to the boss lady – don’t try to do both! It’s important to adhere to the habits as they were written.
Lean Habits WILL help anyone who is looking to change his or her relationship with food and to let go of the dieting mentality for good.
Lean Habits is more than a book; it is a system. If you’ve dieted a million times, this system is for you. If you’ve never dieted in your life, this system is for you. If you’ve counted your calories and macros, this system is for you. If you’re looking to never diet again, this book is for you. If you’re looking for a new tool for your tool box, this book is for you. If you eat food and have a pulse, THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU.
About the book:
Do yourselves a favor and buy this book before you hire a nutrition coach. Wait, what? Did I just say that? Yes, I did. There are plenty of clients to go around, and ultimately what is far more important to me than “business” is helping people change their lives. I believe with every fiber of my being that this book can and will help YOU.
This book focuses on the first part of the system: The Core Four Habits. These habits include: Eating 3-4 Meals a Day, Mastering Your Hunger, Eating Just Enough, and Eating Mostly Whole Foods. Essentially, the book covers how often to eat, how much to eat, and what to eat with the first four habits. Georgie walks you through each one, explaining to you what to do, why you do it, and how it helps you. If you have a question, a certain topic you’re wondering about, there’s a really good chance that it will be addressed at some point in the chapter. The book has built in trouble shooting, and it NEVER leaves you hanging. Wondering about how to handle obstacles like vacation or a party? It’s got you covered. What to do if you overeat? Covered. Afraid of feeling hunger? There’s support and guidance for that.
One of my favorite parts of the book is where Georgie talks about “scaling the habit.” We aren’t always ready to completely cut soda or move totally over to a diet that’s 90% whole foods. The book shows you how to scale down a habit so that it is manageable for you given your specific goals in a way that helps you build confidence and see progress. The system has you practice your habits for a minimum of 14 days so that they become automatic to you, meaning you don’t have to think, you just do. Doesn’t that sound amazing? There’s something so freeing about knowing you won’t have to obsess and think about your diet for the rest of your life. You may be thinking this is too good to be true. I promise – it will actually happen.
The next 12 chapters are spent covering the supporting habits. These chapters cover topics such as your macronutrients (fat, carbohydrates, and protein), veggies, treats, water, and sleep. The one that I found the most important – emotional eating. I know this is a topic I struggled with so deeply, and I see clients struggle with this, too. Prior to reading Lean Habits, I had very little education in the area of emotional eating. I have now spent countless hours reading studies and articles and watching webinars on this topic. This chapter in Lean Habits (Chapter 14) will walk you through understanding why we turn to food when emotions are high, what we can do to change these patterns, and what your next step should be in making these changes. Georgie even shares her personal story of dealing with emotional eating, and it shook me to my core when I read it because I related on SO many levels.
I say it again and again: it doesn’t matter how many degrees someone holds, what their level of certification is, or how good they are with words – knowing that that person can RELATE to what he or she is teaching you is everything. Pure and simple.
The final chapter is titled Troubleshooting, and this is where the book just becomes pure gold. Georgie has years and years of experience coaching people just like YOU. She knows exactly what obstacles you will face, exactly what questions you will have, and exactly what kind of support you will need. She covers what to do if you’re doing everything right but the scale isn’t moving, what to do if you’re struggling with being consistent or making excuses, and SO. MUCH. MORE.
Seriously, when I suggested that you read this book before you hire a coach, I meant it. This book may very well have everything you want and be everything you need. You will learn a ton of information. You will find it’s an easy read. You will understand every skill needed to make a lifestyle change that eliminates dieting forever!
Sounds too good to be true? It’s not. Do yourself a favor and find Lean Habits on Amazon (Link below).
Looking for extra support? Join the 'Lean Habits Community' on Facebook. This is a group of over 3,000 members who are using the Lean Habits system in their lives. From rookies to veterans and everyone in between – this group will welcome you with open arms, walk beside you in your journey, and cheer you on every step of the way! Even more support? Georgie is frequently active in the group, answering questions and offering an abundance of support.
For more information on Georgie and tons of free resources, head to her website here:
And if you haven’t already, buy the book here:
Check out my video on my favorite USDA resource that allows you to compare two different foods quickly to better educate you about food labels and the nutrient content of those foods! Were you surprised how many calories orange juice contains? Would you choose an […]
So I got an Instant Pot for Christmas and I won't lie - I was pretty intimidated. I let it sit on the counter and I made a point to not look in its direction any time I was in the kitchen. This went on for a week and during that time I watched video after video on how to use it, trying build up the confidence to put it to use. I finally worked up the courage on New Years day!
I really wanted to create my own recipe for New Years dinner and it was a Monday, which meant it had to be meatless.
I love lentils but I have had absolutely terrible experiences cooking them. No matter what, they turn to mush or they come out totally weird and flavorless. I repeatedly read that lentils could be cooked perfectly (like many other things, according to fans) in the Instant Pot. So it was decided - I'd make a vegetarian shepherd's pie using lentils, black eyed peas (it's New Years, after all), and the usual shepherd's pie veggies.
I used a ratio of 1 cup of green lentils to 2 1/2 cups water and added those to the pot. I like flavor, especially for a meatless meal, so I also added in one tablespoon of vegetable broth base. Closed the lid, moved the little knob to 'sealing', set it to 'high pressure', used the manual button (pressure cooking) to adjust it to 15 minutes and off it went. Because there wasn't much in the pot it came to pressure quickly and once it was finished, I let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then moved the knob to release the rest.
When I say the lentils came out perfectly, I mean PERFECTLY.
I had read that there may be excess water to drain, but not in my case.
I'm glad I added the vegetable base because the flavor was amazing. The texture came out perfectly too - smooth, but still had bite to it!
I'm happy to say my Instant Pot experience was an amazing success (I went on to hard boil eggs and make jasmine rice for a dinner later in the week and they came out great). I plan on using it a few more times in my meal prep and doing a product review on it for those who are on the fence or just got one!
Also a success was the shepherd's pie! My husband, who is a hardcore meat lover, has been very open-minded about meatless Monday and even though he always says he likes my meatless meals, I can read him well enough to know when he actually does. This time it was pretty obvious - he raved about it, went back for seconds, and took leftovers for lunch the next day.
And I agreed! The meat was NOT missed! The lentils and beans provided enough protein and fiber to fill us up, the other veggies created the perfect center, and the velvety potatoes on top really completed the dish.
This recipe is definitely going in my recipe book and will make its way back to our dinner table soon!
If you've been waiting to try a meatless dish, let THIS be the one!
HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED:
1 cup dry, green lentils
2 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon vegetable broth base
1 can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
3 cups water (enough to cover potatoes)
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup milk (more if needed)
Salt and pepper
HERE'S WHAT YOU DO:
- Cook the lentils, water, and broth base in pressure cooker or on stove top
- Layer the lentils in the bottom of a baking dish
- Add a layer of black eyed peas on top of lentils
- Add a layer of corn on top of black eyed peas
- Cook onion, carrot, and celery in oil on stove top until soft. Add parsley. Layer on top of corn.
- Place potato in medium sauce pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until soft (about 15 minutes).
- Drain potatoes and add butter and milk. Mash until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Layer potatoes on top of onion, carrot, and celery and spread until evenly covered.
- Place in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until heated through and potatoes have stiffened.
- Remove and let sit for ten minutes.
*This can be made ahead (I made it in the morning and let it sit in the fridge all day). Adjust cooking time to 45 minutes, or until heated through.*
Serving & Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 servings. 1 serving contains 270 calories, 3g Total Fat, 47g Carbs, 14g Fiber, 8g Sugar, 15g Protein