I’m currently writing from Birmingham, Alabama; I’m attending TFA’s Teacher Leadership Development 2nd Annual Summit until Friday with my team (Organizational Effectiveness love!). Over 1,000 of our staff members will be in attendance, and I’m excited to learn from them and catch up with my team (I work on a virtual team so I only get to see them a few times a year!). I am, however, a bit nervous about keeping up with the Transform Bootcamp while I’m away. I frontloaded my workouts and plan to do Ballerina Fight Club Friday evening so that I only need to fit in one cardio and one strength workout while I’m here. The gym is always packed at TFA conferences so I’m going to need to pick strategic times to fit those in. If all else fails, I plan to do some of the MaZi YouTube videos in my room. TFA is usually really accommodating when it comes to providing meal options for all different dietary restrictions. I wasn’t grain free when I filled out my registration information, but I think they’ll have plenty of veggie options at the very least. I brought my own nuts for snacks since I am constantly snacking and the provided snacks tend to be granola bars.
As I head into the week, I am still feeling pretty great. My body is still sending strong signals when I’m full; I haven’t felt bloated since I started this; and I’m starting to see more muscle definitions in my arms and legs. The scale doesn’t tell the whole story and I’m not very consistent in when I step on it, but I am definitely down at least a few pounds so far. At the end of the four weeks, I’m most excited to see how my inches have transformed!
I used last week to do some recipe experimenting–all found on Pinterest and a lot of them gems from The Detoxinista’s blog. I made almond butter chocolate chip cookies, cauliflower pizza crust, sweet potato noodles, frozen banana truffles, and pancakes. My sweets craving hadn’t gone away and I wanted some cookies, so I tried out these Almond Butter Flourless Chocolate Chip Cookies. (The recipe calls for peanut butter but we didn’t have any and almond butter substituted just fine. Next time I’ll use peanut butter though because almond butter is pretty expensive!) These things were delicious. Not a perfect match with regular chocolate chip cookies but they were very good. They only have six ingredients in them and they were super easy to make. I think this was the winner for best experiment of the week.
Next I tried cauliflower pizza crust. I MISS PIZZA SO MUCH. I’ve already determined that it’ll be my first grain meal after the four weeks are up (though I do think I’ll continue doing grain free for the most part with the exception of a few indulgences). I had high expectations for this because of my love for pizza so while it was good, it definitely didn’t “do the trick” of fulfilling the craving. The recipe isn’t too complicated. You basically make “cauliflower rice” by putting a bunch of cauliflower in a food processor, boil it, and mix it with goat cheese and an egg. I will note that it did take both Evan and me working together to successfully strain out all the water in the cauliflower; because the cauliflower/water were so hot from being boiled I couldn’t exact wring out the water and so we used tongs, which did the trick. The crust ended up being really thin and I think that was my fault because 1) I didn’t use parchment paper (we now own some) and 2) I think I shaped the crust into a little less than 1/3 of an inch. I learned some lessons for next time and I will likely take Megan’s advice and make two at a time (one for immediate consumption and another for a frozen pizza for later) because it definitely took a lot of time to make.
Next, I attempted to make noodles out of sweet potato slices. I was hoping they’d turn out like these beautiful noodles shown in the recipe but, alas, when I started mixing my noodles with the veggies I had prepared, the noodles broke up into tiny pieces. It was more like a sweet potato hash, which was totally fine, but not exactly what I was expecting. I’ll have to figure out where I may have gone wrong–I think it could’ve been with the thickness of my slices and/or the amount of time I boiled them for. I made up for it by making these scrumptious banana truffles–essentially frozen banana slices covered in dark chocolate and topped with a mix of almond butter and coconut oil. Delicious! Easy to make and next time I’ll just buy more chocolate so I can ensure each banana slice is properly covered. 🙂
Lastly, my second favorite experiment from the week: grain free pancakes! I think I had mentioned that I was craving pancakes, and I found a great recipe that includes almond flour (I used almond meal), coconut oil, honey, apple cider vinegar, and a few other ingredients. These were legit–tasted just like regular pancakes. I halved the recipe because it was just Evan and me enjoying the product, and we still had some leftovers (which I enjoyed this morning). I was worried that the coconut oil would overwhelm the taste of the pancakes–I don’t actually enjoy the taste of coconut. I could taste it slightly in the pancakes but not enough to write these puppies off. Definitely a great recipe, and next time I’ll just plan to add some fruit into them.
I hope to have an update for you all on Friday as we’ll be quite busy here at the summit until then. I think this week will be my first real test when it comes to maintaining my grain free and fitness regime. Challenge accepted!