Category Archives: Intuitive eating

Baked Zucchini Chips

I don’t often post recipes, but this one has become a staple in my house! Now that I’ve perfected it, I think it’s time to share!! 


Ingredients:

1-2 organic green zucchini

Himalayan Sea Salt and pepper to taste

Avocado oil, coconut oil or olive oil spray

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 230degrees (or just a hair higher than 225!) 

2. Slice zuchini thin, using a mandolin on the smaller setting is best (in my humble opinion)

I bought my mandoline slicer from Aldi for 4.99$ – best purchase ever!

3. Spray olive oil spray (or coat pan with oil of choice using a paper towel to spread oil thinly) on large baking sheet (may use parchment paper or aluminum foil for easy clean up) 

4. Lay out zucchini slices. It’s ok if they overlap as they will get smaller when baked, try not to layer too much if your slices are thicker

5. Salt and pepper lightly – since they get smaller once baked be careful not to put too much or they will be too overpowering. You can also use a seasoning of your choice! 

6. Bake in oven for 1hr, check that they are brown, but not burnt. If your slices are thicker or uneven, check every 10-15 minutes after that. If very uneven, take out baked ones and leave the rest until they are all a brownish color. 

7. Let cool and eat! 
What’s your favorite recipe?

Would you like to see more recipes posted on here? 

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Liver, Sweet Potatoes, and Paleo!

My coworkers think it’s funny and ask me if everything is paleo. “Hey Suz, is this paleo?” “Hey Suz, I’m eating out of a plastic container – totally paleo right?” “We’re having Chinese food tomorrow, is Chinese food paleo?” It’s light hearted and makes me laugh, but it makes me think about how some nutrition strategies can be so foreign to some. Paleo is pretty simple, but it’s going to be a learning process – I’m sure I’ll be eating things that aren’t totally paleo – until I learn the ins and outs. Also, before really making the decision to remove gluten and follow a more paleo style I purchased some meal replacement bars that are low carb but definitely not gluten free or paleo, and a box of quest bars – that are gluten free but probably wouldn’t meet the paleo standards. Being that I don’t have a lot of extra money laying around and I literally can not stand the thought of wasting food, I plan to continue to eat these bars until they are gone, and then look for alternative quick meal bars for work. As a licensed vet tech (vet nurse) I often have to eat on the run, and meal replacement bars become a staple – it’s either that or eating the donuts that were brought by a client.

For more info on paleo click here. There’s a lot of info out there – a simple google search will do, but the website in the link above is pretty comprehensive and also has a link with research. 

For more info on gluten free I really suggest you read the book Wheat Belly by William Davis. It explains why one would consider taking wheat (gluten) out of their diet even if they do not have celiac disease.

Anyway, yesterday I mentioned that I was going to try to make a recipe with liver… Well, I made it, and it’s not bad! I only tasted it warm so I’ve put it in the fridge to cool so I can try it as the dip/pâté it’s meant to be! 


Want the recipe!!?? Check it out at healthfulpursuit.com it was a little bit messy but that’s because I don’t have a big blender! Shout out to my coworker Becca for the mason jar! 

For breakfast I had a beautiful veggie bowl that I concocted myself! I was so proud of myself I didn’t want to eat it it was so pretty! 


It consisted of alfalfa sprouts, kale and spinach sautéed with chopped onions, a half of a sweet potato, 1 egg, and 1 meatball that I got from the super market (it’s grassfed beef that comes in small round balls that I got at the local hannafords). It was so good! I’m really getting the hang of cooking! 

I ate my breakfast or first meal around 12, I wasn’t really hungry and sort of fasted without really intending to. Feels like eating this way will have me slowly and effortlessly easing into intermittent fasting as well. Anyway, I ate one of my bars for “lunch” and a few hours later had a banana and another bar. We were busy and a client brought us brownies so I was glad I had my bars as my emergency snack! 

For dinner I made some sweet potato and kale hash – I got the recipe from Fitfoodfinds.com and kind of just threw things in the hash – I didn’t have a red pepper so I used a green bell pepper, and I had some left over leeks from the liver pâté so I threw those in there! The balsamic really gave it the kick it needed at the end and I added some chicken legs marinated in a chipotle seasoning packet (I made sure it didn’t have sugar – it was a store brand). 


My husband loved dinner so much he had to post a photo on instagram! Ha! 

All in all today was a pretty good day. I actually wasn’t even hungry for dinner. I will say I have to lighten up on the coffee at work, I have small cups but 2-3 is a bit too much. I wasn’t tired today at all, so I’m not sure what that was about but I’m taking it one day at a time and will be better tomorrow! 

Well, that’s it! Gluten free and paleo journey is just beginning and I feel pretty good! I can tell my energy is much better, my inflammation feels less and I feel lighter. I jumped on the scale today even though I didn’t want to just to see where I’m at and I wasn’t exactly happy with the number, but it didn’t upset me or make me want to give up. I feel like my mind has finally shifted, and this is do-able. Plus, I haven’t had a headache all week!! 

Not sure what recipes I have planned for tomorrow but I have some left over sweet potato hash from dinner so I’ll probably add an egg to it for breakfast or maybe some of that beef like this morning! My doc is buying the service Chinese food so I’ll have to see if I can navigate through that! 

I wonder if Chinese food is paleo? 😉

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Gluten free AND Paleo?

So it’s no secret that I have a history of dabbling with different diet and nutrition strategies. Recently I read a book called “Wheat Belly” have you heard of it? 

It really opened my eyes to what it is I really have been eating. If you’ve read the book, maybe you agree that the author should have gone with “Bagel Butt” as the title as its more catchy and I totally have a bagel butt! 

Anyway, after much deliberation, my husband and I have decided to go ahead and transition to a wheat free (gluten free), paleo lifestyle. Yup, that means no ice cream, soda, cake, cookies, brownies, popcorn, or bread. That means “heart healthy whole grains” are out. 

I’ve already begun feeling better and have started to experiment with different recipes! 

I found a recipe for Rosemary balsamic chicken liver pâté but it takes 12-24 hours to marinate so I’ll be making that one tomorrow.

Stay tuned for the chicken liver recipe link and my opinion on chicken livers… I’m scared! 

I’ve read a lot that says paleo should be looked at like “if your great grandmother would eat that food and knows what it is, then it’s probably safe” and my great grandmother ate a lot of liver and onions, so I figured there has to be something to it! We shall see! Liver is supposedly super healthy for you, if it’s good maybe I’ll make it more often! 

Photos and recipe to come tomorrow so stay tuned! 

Anyway, we just started this adventure so stay tuned! I’m also going to start looking into a grain free/paleo style dog and cat food… I’d love to make my own for them if I can. I’m totally into experimenting right now! 

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Something weird happened today…

“Something weird happened… I walked around stop and shop and had no desire to buy or eat anything that wasn’t a whole food or considered clean”

This morning I had to substitute teach Body Pump at 6am for one of my friends so I had a banana on my way in (I’m really trying not to workout completely fasted). When I got home I had 1 egg, 1/2 cup egg whites, and 1/2 cup Brussels sprouts with a squirt or two of ketchup (finally a photo!)  

 
Around 11am I was starving but knew I didn’t have any quick snack with me so I waited, but around 11:45 remembered I had thrown an Asian pear into my bag! So I chowed down on most of the pear – until my tummy felt better and then I headed back into work.

At 1:30 I had lunch which consisted of about 4-5 oz of chicken breast and about a cup of green beans. I added butter because there was nothing on either and it was totally flavorless.

At 4:30pm I had a grapefruit with a packet of stevia in the raw – I ate the whole thing since I didn’t have the half at breakfast due to time and, well, I’m not eating a grapefruit in my car! 

As I was leaving work (around 6:45pm) I decided to have 1/2 of an Italian cookie because one of my coworkers said they were the best she had ever had – it wasn’t that good so I didn’t finish it. 

Then I headed to go teach another body pump class and stopped by CVS to pick up a thing of laughing cow Swiss cheese. I ate one block and headed into class (7:30pm). After class I ate one of those really long cucumbers with two more of those laughing cow Swiss cheeses (9pm). Cucumbers and LC Swiss (or cream cheese) are probably one of my favorite snacks! 

Since I had yet to eat dinner I decided to head into the super market.  When I got there something weird happened… I walked around stop and shop and had no desire to buy or eat anything that wasn’t a whole food or considered clean. I bought an organic butternut squash soup, a honey Chobani yogurt, an organic almond bar, and a can of peas … I don’t know why but I wanted peas! 

When I got home (9:30pm) i had the butternut squash bisque soup and ate the small can of peas mixed with some shrimp (don’t judge me).  

I only had one moment today during work where I wanted to eat junk – it’s something about my work environment that makes everyone seek bad food. After I allowed that to pass I felt much better. Today was overall a good good day despite eating a bit more fruit than usual. I feel good and I’m interested to see if the food cravings continue to decline as I choose more clean/whole foods!

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Sweets everywhere😓

Today was the first day back to work after 4 days off – so you can imagine that I was less than excited to get back to my routine. Despite cookies and holiday goodies still making their way around the hospital (I work for a very high paced specialty animal hospital that seems to moonlight as a junk food safe house during the holidays) I kept my distance. Here’s how the day looked:

Breakfast (around 8am): 1/2 grapefruit with 1 packet stevia in the raw, 1/2 cup egg whites and 1/2 cup shaved Brussels sprouts with a squirt of ketchup on top

Snack (around 11): 1/2 grapefruit  with 1 packet of stevia in the raw and the rest of the quinoa salad from yesterday which was probably about 1/2 cup.

Lunch (1:45pm): leftover chicken from last nights chicken stuffed peppers wrapped in lettuce wraps – probably had about 6 or 7 smal wraps

Snack(5pm): a handful of shrimp and a cup of green beans with a little butter melted on top  

 probably the most boring snack but I really like shrimp so – boring is where it’s at!

After eating this snack I tasted a small piece of a brownie that had been staring at me all day – I was happy with the small piece and didn’t go back for more.

Dinner(8:15pm): I didn’t feel like cooking so I headed to whole foods and got some ginger carrot bisque (soup) and vegan stew. I was also really craving peanut butter so I found these 5 ingredient organic chocolate peanuts butter Minis –  

 I had no idea organic chocolate that literally has 5 ingredients could be this good! Have you tried these!?  Not too shabby! 

In other news I sent out 4 clothing items that I sold from Facebook today! Who knew! Probably everyone, but I thought it was kind of cool that I could sell cloths that are just sitting in my closet! When I was there I asked the cashier for holiday stamps – they are to send my Christmas cards – and this is what he gave me  

 Lol! So my belated Christmas cards will have Hanukkah stamps! Oh well! Haha
Overall I felt good today. I definitely felt deprived around that second snack – I didn’t want shrimp and green beans, I wanted to eat the whole brownie, but I was proud of myself for choosing the green beans and shrimp while only having a small piece of the brownie… I’m sure in time this will get easier. Woke up with a little headache – I wonder if that will subside once my body is used to eating whole foods most of the time. 

What treats do you allow yourself?

Do you find it hard to say no when there’s treats everywhere? What is your fail safe plan?

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Food journal: the beginning

I mentioned this morning that I was starting a new plan. The plan consists of eating mostly vegetables and lean protein. I’m not counting calories or macros because in my experience doing these things tends to exacerbate my binge eating disorder. So, without further ado – here’s what I’ve eaten today. 

Woke up: around 7-7:30am

Breakfast (around 8:30am) : 1/2 cup egg whites, 1/4 cup shaved Brussels sprouts, squirt of ketchup, 1/2 grapefruit with 1 packet of stevia in the raw 

Taught Body Pump 10am-11am

Post workout Snack (11:30am): venti cafe americano 1/2 grapefruit with 1 packet of stevia in the raw, 1 cup quinoa salad with cranberries and cashews

Lunch (3:30pm): shrimp, eggs, salsa, and shaved Brussels sprouts mixed together in salad boats and two organic carrot sticks  

 

Dinner (7:20pm): 1 yellow pepper stuffed with shredded chicken, onions, green peppers, and black beans, topped with shredded taco cheese and 2tsp guacamole

 

  1. Snack (9pm): 1 med banana with 1tbsp nut butter 

Thoughts:

As I round out my day, I reflect on what I’ve eaten today and how I’ve felt. I feel like I could add more veggies to my meals – but I wasn’t really hungry. My main carb sources were eaten before and after my workout and I felt good throughout. I didn’t feel overly hungry or feel the need to search for food. My only real craving was for the banana but mostly because I’ve walked past them all day. I stayed pretty busy most of the day despite being home. I sold some clothes online and washed dishes. I also spent some extra time playing with the pups and laughing at Louie (my cat) who decided it would be fun to fall asleep in my laundry basket  

 Silly boy.
It’s been an overall good day with no real thoughts of binging. My focus has shifted from needing something to work towards – some event, competition, race, etc – to wanting to lose some extra weight to be happy with my own body and be healthy. I feel this will both be good for myself but also for my clients – to see that I’ve struggled but have managed to focus on myself and heal myself before putting any extra or excess stress on my system by doing anything drastic to lose weight for some other reason other than health!

Do you struggle with finding a balance between weight loss for health and weight loss for some idea body image?

What is your favorite healthy recipe?

What is your favorite vegetable?

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Intermittent fasting: another diet trend?

Recently a fellow fitness professional told me he was toying with the idea of intermittent fasting. He began explaining that it had to do with insulin sensitivity and some of the research was pretty astounding – he said that if done right one can lose fat and gain muscle .. Wait for it… At the same time! Waaaahhhhhhh????!!!!! Really?? So you know this peaked my interest… What is this intermittent fasting and is it just another low carb, low fat, never eat anything good again or anything at all, diet trend? 

Initially, my skepticism brought me to a few articles – one which showed: “A 2014 review done by Longo and Mattson shed light on intermittent fasting’s role in adaptive cellular responses that reduce oxidative damage and inflammation, optimize energy metabolism, and bolster cellular production. The study showed how, in lower eukaryotes, chronic fasting extends longevity, in part, by reprogramming metabolic and stress resistance pathways. In rodents, intermittent fasting was shown to protect against diabetes, cancers, heart disease and neurodegeneration, while in humans it helps reduce obesity, hypertension, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis.”[1] 

This is pretty interesting, but brought up a lot of questions…. Protects against all of those diseases? Really? Just by prolonged periods of not eating? But then what do you eat when you break your fast? Can I eat whatever I want or do I have to eat boring foods? How will workouts work around not eating? 

And then… Then I came across this amazing graphic:  

 <NOtE: I in no way get any sort of financial reward for posting this photo. I found it on Pinterest and am sharing it for its information and not to sell printable PDFs or posters>

This graphic is a nice visual of the different types of intermittent fasting. So, what do I have to lose? Well, I will say that I’ve read that you need to be careful and pay attention to what you’re eating because you could potentially lose too much weight too fast and then your body will no longer use fat as fuel but you can start to burn your hard earned muscle – so, like everything, intermittent fasting could potentially have negative effects but overall the information out there seems to be pretty convincing. 

So, I decided to do my own little experiment. Now, in a science lab this wouldn’t hold up, because the variables aren’t really constant and there’s only one subject – Me! 

My first day, I stopped eating at 7:30pm, fell asleep around 9pm, woke up at 5, hit the gym at 6 -7, and started eating again at 8:30am. My first fast was 13 hours. The following day I did the exact same thing, and yesterday I did the same again. This morning was the first time I hit the gym and felt freaking awesome! It was a cardio based workout – one of those FOR TIME workouts that I usually come in close to last in, and I was the first one done!  

 (If you can’t read it, it says : Suzanne 17:50) I felt like a million bucks! 

So, I’m not sure how this will go as I’m only on day 3… But the plan is to continue at least 13-14 hours of fasting daily (biggest fasting period is at night at this point.) for a week. Since Saturday is the Palmerton, Pa Spartan Super, I plan to NOT fast on Friday so that I have lots of energy stored for Saturday. If all is still going well after the race, I will begin to stretch the fast longer – and we’ll see how this goes. 

Have you tried intermittent fasting? What are your thoughts/experiences? Do you think this is just another diet craze? 


And for your reading pleasure… Here’s a great article on intermittent fasting from bodybuilding.com: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/to-eat-or-not-to-eat-your-fast-guide-to-fasting.html
[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24440038

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Getting stronger::New ink

I literally learn something new every single day that I go to crossFit. The cardio work is my least favorite but mostly because it needs the most work. I am starting to become a stronger rower, but I still find myself going out too hard to start and tapering off at the end. I do, however, feel like my technique has gotten better which has resulted in better pulls and better overall results. I also seem to have my best rowing work when one of the coaches (specifically Dave) tells me to row harder – something about having someone tell me what to do while I’m forcing out mental negativity — that helps push out those “I’m tired, I can’t” type thoughts. 

I find myself pushing harder than I have ever before – not stopping nearly as much – and being able to go for longer. I’m not sure if this is mostly mental or if it’s because I’m getting stronger in my endurance. Can you increase endurance in only a month? I can’t wait to see where I am in a year!   I can say that since starting crossFit my workouts have been MUCH more consistent – and maybe that’s why I feel like I’m getting stronger. I wake up every morning around 5-5:15am, regardless of the day – and I head to either crossFit or body pump. When I’m done I either practice something like double unders (or attempt to practice them), do some strength work, or run at least a mile. It very likely that as the summer progresses I will be doing more after work – crossfit or pump in the morning, work, and then lifting like I used to. I haven’t don’t a traditional bodybuilding workout since I started going to crossFit – mostly because I don’t have enough time in each day, plus I really need to focus on the cardio and breathing for the Spartans that I have coming up. 

Either way I feel like I’m on my way to becoming a better person both in and out of the gym. I find myself encouraging others much more than I have ever done in the past, and really looking at my abilities as a whole rather than comparing to anyone else. I still have moments where I get unsettled by a comment or someone telling someone else how strong they are… Like hello?! What about me?! But I’m learning that it doesn’t matter what other people think or say, what matters is that I dont give up and I keep trying to be the best version of myself!   

I also haven’t really talked about my eating disorder much lately. I actually think I’ve been doing pretty good – I haven’t had any real bad binge moments – I have had a few times over the last month or two where I’ve eaten either too little or too much but it hasn’t been an all out binge where I’ve considered throwing up. There has been a shift in my mindset since starting crossFit – it’s almost like unconsciously I know there’s a lot of cardio, and I know if I consume a lot of food – more than I need – I will feel heavy and my workout will suffer – whereas if I eat what I need – I will feel good and my workout will be awesome. I had an unintentional low carb day the other day followed by a high carb day — I really didn’t plan it – it just happened to be what was available – and I’ve gotta say – the day where all my carbs came from fruits and veggies rather than bread – I felt like a million bucks. My diet is always a struggle but I feel like I’ve taken a lot of the pressure off by not focusing on how I look, but how I perform. I’ve noticed how I feel during a workout after eating different things and have shifted gears towards the more whole/natural foods – craving and then therefore eating less processed foods. So, overall I feel like I’m in a good place, and headed to an even better place nutritionally.  

 
In other news – I got a new tattoo (thanks to my hubby)! It says ” the road less traveled” which is a paraphrasing of the famous Robert Frost poem: The Road Not Taken. To me, this means that in all that I do – I will not just follow the crowd, I will not let obstacles stop me, I will overcome all that is in front of me and I will take the road less traveled.   

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I am a Spartan! Aroo!

Today I completed my very first Spartan sprint in Tuxedo, NY. My husband had to work so I went alone and ran it alone… Well, alone in the sense that I didn’t know anyone personally. 

I picked up my bib number and headed to the start line but of course I had to snap some photos first.  

  Sorry I don’t look happy, it was really bright out…. 

Before we could even get to the start line we had to hop over a wall – I got a little help with this because, well I’m new to wall climbing – but as the race went on I got the hang of it – literally! 

I won’t go too into detail about the race, but I will say that it wasn’t easy. I got tripped up on the Z wall, the clif two bar obstacle, and the spear throw. The Clif two bar obstacle was  right after we fully submerged in muddy water to go under the wall, and the bar was just too slippery for me to hold it so I opted for burpees. The Z wall was after a muddy barbed wire crawl and I couldn’t get a good grip on the blocks to climb across it – I am also not familiar with side to side rock type climbing so I will have to figure out a way to practice this. The spear throw was really not that hard, but my spear just didn’t stick into the hay so burpees it was. Out of 22 obstacles I only got hung up on 4. 
4? But you only told us about 3! So about this fourth one… So anyone who knows me knows that the rope climb was one of the obstacles that i set out to conquer. You see, in elementary school I used to get laughed at because I couldn’t climb the rope – not at all. I would jump up and fall down – every single time. The only rope I was ever able to climb was the one with knots. But the rope at the Spartan has knots…. So, I’m 5foot tall, and the knots on the Spartan ropes are quite far apart for me… I utilized the knots the best I could and was doing really well, I was focused on getting to the top and I was able to get to the top knot! I grabbed the rope with my right hand about the top knot, brought my legs up and my hand slipped and I, only one more pull away from the bell, fell back/butt first into the water below. Water went rushing up my nose and in my mouth (yuck!!) I made sure I had my glasses and stood up. I was so disoriented I didn’t know what side I had to get out of, when one of the volunteers grabbed my hand to pull me out (thank you). Someone yelled “make sure she’s okay” which I was – for all intents and purposes. I was disappointed – I was right there – I was so close. I felt tears coming but I held them back, reminding myself that I’ve never climbed a rope and I was able to almost get all the way up there! I could be nothing but proud, although I really want to do it again and get up there – all the way and hit the damn bell!

 The hardest obstacle of the day for me was the bucket brigade. The damn bucket of rocks was so heavy I could barely make it up the hill. Once I did I was determined to just go and get down the darned thing but almost slipped because I couldn’t see where I was going (thanks to the bucket)! 

In the end I left with a mud beard, a metal, and a lot of memories!  

 Overall, it was a very fun day. I finished in 2:49:55 and I wasn’t the last in any category/division! 

  
Depending on how well I recover from today, I may do it again next weekend – and conquer that rope! At least then I’ll know what to expect! 

 
After, hubby treated me to some pizza and froyo – nothing like a good cheat meal after 4.7 miles of torture!!  

AROO AROO AROO !!

Have you ever run a spartan race? Which one? What was the hardest obstacle you faced? 

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AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge: Day 23 & 24

Well, that it! It’s over. 24 days challenged, 24 days accepted, 24 days to a new lifestyle. 

I’m not a big fan of celebrating with food – I don’t believe it serves you – but I celebrated by buying raspberries and Bok Choy (not to eat together). Okay okay, that’s really not how I celebrated but it is what I did first thing on day 25! 

So, I know you’re wondering how I did… Well I posted my photos from the other day so you can see those in my last post but I’m officially down 6lbs (it was 8 yesterday – but I’m not worried too much about numbers). 

Overall I feel great, I had the best menstrual cycle I’ve ever had – barely any cramps, barely any mood swings, and it only lasted 4 days which is crazy because it’s usually much longer and much more painful – and I’ve really gotten motivated to increase my training! 

Tomorrow I start my first regular crossfit class, and I run the Spartan sprint on Saturday. 

I’m excited to see what’s next for my health and become and even better athlete! 

 If you’re interested in the 24 day challenge or any of the AdvoCare products click the photo below or click here for more info! 

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