My Transform Bootcamp is officially over, and I FEEL AWESOME! I will share the final results in my next blog post later this week with some reflections on my transformation with an emphasis on the fitness side of things. Today, I’m going to focus on my grain free diet, working with Dr. Mike, and a few recipes.
All in all going grain free wasn’t too challenging for me; it got easier as I got more used to it, bought the foods I really needed at the grocery store, and found some great recipes to keep me going. I know I’ve said this a few times now, it’s most challenging when you eat out, especially if you’re somewhere that has limited options; there are more temptations there, too. I also want to underscore that I already had some grain free meals in my rotation (like my grandma’s chili recipe pictured below) and so it wasn’t like I had to completely change the way I was eating or find recipes with a bunch of substitute ingredients. I did do the latter when I was attempting to fill grain cravings (like the almond meal pancakes and cauliflower pizza crust), but you really could do grain free all week by just having a meat dish and a bunch of veggies on your plate for lunch and dinner. I now eat more veggies and nuts–be sure to get the raw kind that have no added oil or salt (the only drawback to nuts is that they’re so expensive, which just pains the cheapskate in me).
Once my official four weeks was up (last Friday), I did have Homeslice pizza as a treat; I highly recommend the place! While I did indulge that night, I only had two slices because I was full after those two. Later on though, I went to my friend Robyn’s Olympics viewing party (loves me some figure skating) and continued to grain indulge–think buffalo chicken dip and tortilla chips. Eek! During the four weeks, I had the mindset that I had to do this–I was committing to the good folks at MaZi and Windy City Wellness–and I couldn’t cheat. That’s not exactly the right mindset but I don’t want to slump back into snacking on things that I don’t really need so I’m still thinking about how to go into situations with those kind of temptations. I don’t want to feel like I’m depriving myself, which is why I plan to continue doing mostly grain free while allowing myself grain indulgences every once in a while–foods that don’t really have a great grain free substitute like pizza (though I’m still going to try to find one!) and dim sum (oh, it’s been so hard to stay away from Chinatown and MingHin). I’m continuing this way of eating because I feel better and I’m eating more and more healthier foods. Win, win.
I can’t say enough great things about Dr. Mike at Windy City Wellness. Alongside here, I’ve posted some text from Windy City Wellness’ website–its mission and goals for its patients. I feel like it sums up Dr. Mike’s holistic approach to treating the body. Through working with Dr. Mike (who suggested I try going grain free), I was reminded of how more aligned my body feels after a chiropractic adjustment, and I got to try acupuncture, which was wonderful for releasing tension from my body and mind. Dr. Mike’s questions about how I was feeling, how my body was responding to the diet, the increase in exercise, etc. made me realize how little I actually listen to my body. This is probably why the severe knee pain I experienced in 2011 got as bad as it did and took as long as it did to get better. This is why I write off stomach pain as a random occurrence that will be gone when I wake up in the morning rather than thinking about what I ate and trying to identify what may have actually caused the stomach pain. I have started to listen more to the signals my body sends me (including the ones that tell me I’m full!) and think it will help me continue to achieve a feeling a balance and wellness. If you ever have aches and pains or want to reach a better level of health (again in a holistic sense), go to Dr. Mike! Go now–don’t put off your health (read: and happiness).
Okay, recipe time. First, my grandma’s chili recipe that I mentioned earlier–but first first, you all most know that Grandma O’Malley is the best cook EVER. I aspire to be able to cook like her one day. I make her chili and lasagna (though I’ll be making that less frequently) and it’s just never the same. Part of what I’m missing is likely the love and heart that only a mother of 11 and grandmother of 14 can put into food. I have a physical copy of the recipe and this is about the closest thing I could find to it. The only thing to change is use three cans of 16 oz. tomatoes and use crushed tomatoes instead of whole. I also throw in a can of pinto beans and just put them in with the rest of the ingredients. Perhaps I overcook them in doing that but I can’t tell the difference between overcooked beans and “just right” beans. Sprinkle with a little shredded sharp cheddar and you’ve got a lovely meal for this miserably cold weather.
The next one is not really a recipe–it’s just a note on the smoothies Evan and I make from time to time. First, buy your frozen fruit at Trader Joe’s; they have the best prices I’ve seen if you choose the packages without “fancy” in the title. We recently got a Ninja blender/processor to replace our Magic Bullet that whimpered out after four years, and the Ninja works very well for our needs. For one smoothie, we typically use 3/4 a cup of Greek yogurt (TJ’s also has the best prices in this department), half a banana, 3/4 a cup of the frozen berries (non-fancy!), 1/2 cup of frozen pineapple, a tablespoon of flaxseed, and whatever amount of orange juice that gets you the consistency you’re looking for. I prefer mine a little less “icy” and more watery so I use a little more orange juice and sometimes use fresh bananas if we have ’em. Mess around with the amounts of fruits, again, to your liking. The smoothie featured here had a whole fresh banana, 3/4 a cup of frozen pineapple, and 1/3 a cup of frozen mango. We’re going to re-attempt adding kale to our smoothies and perhaps you’ll see that in a future blog post.
Lastly, tonight’s dinner consisted of almond crusted tilapia and asparagus (just pan fry it–nothing special here). The tilapia was so delicious! I subbed more almond meal for the flour. I could definitely taste a hint of brown sugar, and it’s pretty easy to make–a lot of dishes to clean up but an easy price to pay for the taste of this. I like how the asparagus is trying to overshadow the tilapia in this picture. Nice try asparagus, not happening. I want to experiment more with fish because I love fish but don’t eat it that often. If you have any awesome fish recipes, please share them with me! Thanks for reading!