Carboholics Anonymous Made Easy: Recipes and Tips

If you’re anything like me, saying no to bread, pastas, and desserts is one of the hardest things that you’ll ever have to do. There was actually a point in time where I HOPED to develop Celiac’s disease so I physically could not eat those things. Sick, right? I know.

But it actually turns out that it doesn’t have to hurt to give up (read: consume in moderation) these things. There are a ton of delicious ways to change up your carb heavy meals and keep them delicious, actually delicious, not kale chip “delicious”.

Recently, I discovered that I LOVE barbecue. When this passion developed, I have no idea. While barbecue is usually dripping with sauce and just flat out artery clogging, I’ve found a few ways to make it lighter on your heart and the scale.

Hickory Bourbon Pulled Chicken Tacos with Vinegary Slaw

Lets just say, I love these. The only thing that they were MAYBE missing was some chipotle aioli, but they were thoroughly delicious without it. The best part was that it took me probably 5 minutes of active cooking time and just as little clean up time.

Aside from the fact that they’re so easy, they’re also pretty good for you. The Stubbs BBQ sauce only has 40 calories for 2 tablespoons and 8 total carbs. For a while I had been buying Mission Carb Balance tortillas for tacos, but decided to change it up with corn photo-43tortillas instead. These are lower in calories, have less ingredients over all, and just taste better.

Recipe:
Pulled Chicken
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs (you can use breasts too, I just like how these shred)
1 bottle of Stubbs hickory bourbon BBQ sauce

Vinegary Slaw
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 T olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Warm corn tortillas for serving

Place chicken thighs in the slow cooker and cover with BBQ sauce. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours, or until the chicken shreds easily.
Mix cabbage with vinegar and oil and let sit for at least an hour.

If you want to crisp up the corn tortillas to make them even better, add a little butter or coconut oil to a frying pan, slightly wet the tortilla and heat on medium high for about 30 seconds per side. I highly suggest opening a window while doing this if you don’t want to irritate your smoke alarm.

Zucchini Linguine

I love pasta. I have tried every single alternative to the real stuff that you could possibly imagine. Gluten free, Dreamfields, spaghetti squash. With the exception of the Dreamfields, none of the alternatives are as satisfying as the real thing.

Then I came across zucchini linguine. I first had it in a restaurant that prepared it in a really watery sauce so I didn’t really feel the need to make it again. Soggy noodles are gross no matter what they’re made out of apparently.

Then, a few weeks ago, my grandmother called me to say that she bought a container of zucchini linguine from a local farm stand. The best part? She got me my own!photo-42

I had no real plans for how I was going to make it, until I got really hungry yesterday and decided to have it for lunch. I just sauteed it in olive oil in a frying pan until it was hot, then added some left over grilled chicken, spicy tomato sauce (Classico), and sprinkled some feta on top because I was out of parmesan.

It was exactly what I’ve been looking for. Apparently there’s a contraption for making the linguine, so tracking that down is going to be my next project.

Eating cleaner seemed a lot harder in theory than it is in practice. That being said, I have not had a cheat meal in two weeks now, but we are changing that in about an hour. Our favorite restaurant just reopened after being closed for expansion for about six months and tonight is opening night!

KBF

Shakespeare Diet Update: Extreme Progress is Coming

So the semester ended on a bit of a stressful note, with papers piling up and finals presenting themselves as actual realities, not just scary tasks that may some day happen, somewhat akin to zombie apocalypse and nuclear meltdown.

I continued to do short, 15 minute workouts almost every day in my driveway until about two weeks ago, when I realized that as soon as it gets hot, I’m not going to want to do that anymore. I could say that I want to do outdoor workouts every single day, but the second that it hits 85 degrees with a ton of humidity, I’m going right back inside (or to the beach).

With this in mind, I also admitted to myself that I will never go back to that gym where the women yelled at me. I know that it sounds ridiculous, but I had no interest in continuing in that kind of environment. Also, as somewhat of a gym snob, I couldn’t really imagine going to a place without a TRX and a set of kettlebells for very long, no matter how nice the other members might have been.

I finally made the decision to go back to the gym I used to work at. I stopped going there when I left because I felt awkward seeing former coworkers and I rationalized it by saying that it was too expensive ($50 a month). While the other gym had only been $20 a month, I finally decided that although it was cheap, it wasn’t worth it to settle on a place that I wasn’t completely happy with.

So back to my former gym I went. You have to invest in your health, right?

Going back has turned out to be one of the best decisions that I’ve made in a long time. I’ve gone at least 3 times a week since I’ve joined, usually spending over an hour each time. This is made easier by the fact that I’m done with classes for now, but going back also enabled me to remember why I loved working out so much to begin with.

Here are some highlights:

Spin
Two years ago, I used to go to spin 6 days a week, sometimes more than once in one day. While that wasn’t overly healthy as I was a vegetarian who already wasn’t eating enough, I went because it was fun. I loved the group mentality that made me push harder, but also that I didn’t actually have to interact with anyone and get distracted.

I loved spin so much that for a long time I was going to get certified and start teaching my own classes. When I stopped working at the gym, I stopped going to spin for almost a iStock_000014641916XSmallyear. Last Tuesday I went to a 5:30 (p.m.) Spin with one of my favorite instructors.

There is NOTHING that says “you’re out of shape” quite as loud as your first Spin class in over a year. Sitting in front of me were a group of women my mom’s age, all in matching LuLuLemon tank tops, pedaling way faster and using way more resistance than I was.

At the end of the class, they all cheerfully and gracefully exited the room while I debated crawling to my car. Definitely a wake up call.

Kettlebells
The best part of my new (old) gym is the fact that they have not one, but two sets of kettlebells. When I was in the best shape, I used to be able to swing a 50 lb kettlebell for 8-10 reps and a 35 lb for almost 100. photo-41

Recently, I’ve been using a 15 lb and a 25 lb as my higher rep weights, and 35 lbs for 10. Yesterday, I picked up a 35 lb at the gym and decided to see how many I could comfortably do. I was able to do almost 40 before I had to put it down. If that’s not improvement, I don’t know what is!

Not Weighing Myself
For the past few weeks, I’ve been weighing myself pretty obsessively and getting really upset when the weight stayed the same. I had been blaming the prednisone (which I am back on) and just assuming that it would all come off at once when I stopped.

I finally decided to stop weighing myself a few days ago after Billy pointed out that if I lost 6 pounds of fat and gained 4 pounds of muscle, it would show that I only lost 2 pounds but I would look way different.

So for now, I’m pretty happy with the fact that my clothes fit better and I’m starting to look like my old self again.

Diet
I was in the best shape of my life last summer, but I was only working out with no changes made to my diet. Two weeks ago, I sat down with Billy and we calculated our daily calorie intake as well as our macronutrient percentages.

My current goals are 1650 calories a day with 25% carbs (103 grams), 35% protein (144 grams) and 40% fat (73 grams). My first few days with the lower carb intake were definitely difficult, but as I started to cut out really sugary foods and processed breads, I stopped craving them as much.

I feel like I definitely have more energy without them and my stomach feels a lot better, which may be the prednisone, but I’d like to think it’s my diet. photo-42

The best part is that I still get to have a few Mike and Ikes every night when I take my medicine because I don’t like the taste it leaves in my mouth. All I really want are about 5, which is a quarter of a serving. I can meet my fat loss goals and still eat candy every day? Yes, please.

The lower carb intake has also led me to become a bit more creative with the foods I cook, so I’ll be putting up a ton of recipes really soon.

KBF

Shakespeare Diet: Update

Since deciding to lose 20 pounds while writing my senior thesis, I’ve had a few set backs, but a ton of success.

While at times colitis is great for weight loss, steroids are not. I haven’t put on a ton of weight from them, but there are definitely days where I’m super puffy from retaining water. The good news is that I’ve been off of them since Thursday and I can already see a difference in my face!

Though I hated the weight gain side effect, the steroids were just what I needed to start feeling better. Now that I’ve been having less stomachaches, getting to the gym and squeezing in home workouts have been easier than its been in months.

photo-40

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Mini Broccoli Cheddar Frittatas

When we started meal prepping, it just seemed like common sense that breakfast would photo-33have to be made right before we wanted to eat it.

Just the thought of making an omelette and storing it in a plastic container for a few days was repulsive and there didn’t seem like too many other options.

We both were looking for something low-carb (overnight oats were out) with a good amount of protein. Since it’s not realistic to set aside time every morning for delicious omelette making and there’s only so many protein shakes you can drink first thing in the morning, I figured there had to be another solution.

Quiche had been something that we had experimented with before, buying pre-made, organic quiche from health food stores and using them throughout the week. These sometimes got expensive and I still wanted to cut out the pie crust.

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What Being Diagnosed With a Chronic Illness Taught Me About Willpower

When I found out that I was sick, I didn’t think much of it. My doctor seemed pretty confident about his abilities to fix the colitis and told me that I’d be back to normal in no time.

Three months later, I’m finally beginning to feel normal. 

Whether it’s due to the diet changes I’ve made or the Prednisone, the stomachaches are becoming less and less frequent. While I’m loving the new freedom that’s coming with an improved digestive system, I’m not a huge fan of the side effects that the steroids have been causing.

While at first being on the steroids gave me a ton of energy, lately it feels like I’m unable to think clearly, focus, or find motivation to do much of anything. On top of this, I finally started to see what people mean when they say that steroids make you gain weight. My face has gotten so puffy despite the increased activity level.

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Mental Detox: Positive Sundays to Recover from A Stressful Week

For many of us, the work and school week can be stressful. We have a ton of obligations that can cause anxiety and mental discomfort until our deadlines are met.

This week, my main stress was finding out that I have to write five annotations a week in order to complete the work that is necessary to write my thesis. With having work for other classes, trying to cure my colitis, and vowing to spend more time in the gym, my first reaction was panic at wondering when I would have time for myself.

After my panic attack had subsided, I decided to do one thing: set aside one day a week to do things that purely just make me happy. 

As Sundays are Billy’s day off (and therefore one of my favorite days of the week), it seemed only fit that it would be my day of positivity.

While usually I like to sleep in on the weekends, today I woke up at 8 am and ventured downstairs to have coffee with my mom. It’s a simple daily habit, but spending a few hours with my mom always seems to clear my head.

It sounds cheesy, but as an only child, I’ve grown up with a Gilmore Girls type relationship with my mom and she’s always been the person who I can go to with anything. This morning we spent two hours watching the news and having breakfast, something that we usually don’t have as much time for during the week.

After coffee with my mom, I finished one of the annotations. It was on an interesting topic (exorcisms as a theme in Shakespeare’s plays- okay, nerd interesting), so I actually enjoyed watching this one. Because Billy was watching some violent movie where people were shooting at each other, I decided to find a pair of headphones and revisit some of my favorites.

Today’s choice was Good Old War’s Only Way to Be Alone. For those of you who have yet goodoldwar-onlywaytobealoneto experience the joy that is Good Old War, here’s a link to one of their live sessions.

Once that was completed, I got to go to the gym and get a great workout in with Billy. Working out together always makes me happy because there’s something so cool about working towards a healthy goal with someone you love. I also really love picking up heavy stuff.

Here’s today’s workout for anyone looking for something new to try!

1a. Single Leg RDL – 8 x 3

2a. Single Arm Dumbbell Bench Press – 8×3

3a. Leg Raises – 10×3

1b. Dumbbell Deadlift – 5×3

2b. Incline Dumbbell Press – 8×3

3b. Plank 30sec x 3

1c. RDL 8×3

2c. Single Arm Overhead Press 8×3

3c. Side Plank 30sec x 3

Since today is the Super Bowl, after the gym we went to Target to stock up on all of the scrumptious foods we’ll be having tonight. We’re making potato skins and nachos to bring to Billy’s parents house for later. What are you having?

To complete the pre Super Bowl unwinding day, we took Sheldon for a walk. It’s been so photo-22cold out and the poor fella has been dying to explore the neighborhood again. Since it’s finally a bit warmer today, he got to go smell all of the new smells and even meet some new dogs!

Sometimes in the midst of a hectic week, it’s tough to realize that you need to take a day to just relax and mentally detox from anything that’s stressing you.

So on that note, I’m going to watch The Croods before enjoying the Super Bowl.

ea_croods_poster

But I’ll leave you with this thought from a favorite yoga instructor:

“The rest of the day will take care of itself, it always does.”

KBF

 

How to Keep Going When You Just Want to Stop

When you’re sick, what’s the one thing you want to do?

If you’re like me, you probably said “take a nap”. nap-time

Well, what happens when getting better if entirely dependent on forcing yourself to move around, even when your body is screaming at you to sleep?

During these past few months, I’ve been exhausted as my body tries to deal with the inflammation associated with colitis. While most of the time I feel as though I could snuggle in my bed for the rest of forever, I realized that I feel best when I make some effort to exercise most days.

Although at first, my healing game plan consisted solely of watching bad Bravo TV (I just can’t get enough of Vanderpump Rules) and engaging in as little physical activity as possible, I quickly realized that I was making myself sicker by sitting on my couch. 

While I believe that I’ve had colitis for several years, I’ve always felt better during times where I was in great shape. In fact, I’ve never had more pain or felt sicker than when I stopped working out to try to rest my body into healing.

With inactivity and reality television being less than helpful and my body being exhausted all the time, I was seemingly at a stalemate. I obviously couldn’t continue to lay on the couch all the time and wait to get better, I’d have to go make it happen.

For the first few times that I went back to the gym, I was super discouraged by what I couldn’t do. Push-ups used to be easy, but on my first day back I was so weakWorkout_Fail_by_basalt that I actually collapsed and smacked my face on the mat (face was fine, pride was slightly bruised). Additionally, any time that I tried to get through I set, I often had to stop because I was too winded to keep going.

To keep myself motivated I started checking off the days that I exercised on a calendar, knowing that as long as I stayed consistent I should see results in about six weeks. It’s been three weeks so far. While the physical progress hasn’t been overly noticeable, I definitely have more energy on most days.

On days where I’m not feeling up to exercising, I have to honestly ask myself why I’m not up to it. If the answer is that I’m extremely tired, I choose to do kettlebell swings in my living room to get some activity in that I wouldn’t have done otherwise. If the answer is that I’m feeling really sick that day, I make the decision to relax and not to push myself, but to start back up the next day.

 

When I was just sitting on the couch all of the time, it was hard to stay awake throughout the day or even accomplish little tasks like doing the laundry or cooking dinner.

But as I got moving, I realized that Newton was definitely right. An object in motion stays in motion. Making a conscious effort to get moving every day definitely helped me feel at least a little better and gave me tons of energy that I thought had been lost when I got my diagnosis.

Has anyone else found that moving more gives them more physical and mental energy?

KBF