Meal Preparation: A Key Element of a Healthy Lifestyle

Hey yall! Aint gonna lie, I am one exhausted little blogger. My flight was delayed and I didn’t get back to NOLA until 8:00 last night, and now I have to drive home this morning and start to get “back to normal”. Never fear, I plan to tell you ALL about my Under Armour experience. I am waiting on some awesome professional pics to share with my posts so it will be worth the wait! For today please show some love for this guest post from http://www.tapaslifestyle.com/.

An important key element to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is meal preparation. In other words, it just doesn’t happen by chance. In our journey to be healthier, the concept of “What should we eat on a regular basis?” came up. We wanted to use Sunday as our meal prep day, which we would cook and prepare food for the both of us for the week ahead.

We started to research ideas and noticed a big trend with quinoa, pronounced “keen-wah”. As Wikipedia states, “quinoa is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. Quinoa seeds contain essential amino acids like lysine and good quantities of calcium, phosphorus and iron.”

We already had Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook, It’s All Good, and as I was thumbing through it, I saw that she used quinoa in a lot of her recipes. She states in her cookbook that quinoa is, “A must for all healthy contemporary diets, quinoa is a protein-packed grain that cooks quickly and is a wonderful canvas for all sorts of add-ins and dressings.”

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I was interested in Gwyneth’s statement. We started out with the below recipe as a base. Then as the weeks continued we started adding different ingredients such as different kinds of beans and vegetables. We love adding lightly steamed broccoli. We try to ensure that all the ingredients we use in the recipe are organic – the quinoa, beans and vegetables.

Zesty Quinoa Salad recipe was adapted from allrecipes.com

3 cups of Perfectly Cooked Quinoa* (recipe below)

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 limes, juiced

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)

1½ cups halved cherry tomatoes

1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed

5 green onions, finely chopped ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Salt & ground black pepper to taste

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Gwyneth instructs the best way to prepare quinoa on page 178 in It’s All Good, as stated below.

*Perfectly Cooked Quinoa

Makes 3 cups –

1 cup quinoa

1¾ cups water

Coarse sea salt

Rinse the quinoa thoroughly in a fine-mesh strainer (although this may sound like an unnecessary step, it really makes a huge difference in flavor; since quinoa’s natural coating tastes like soap.)

Place it in a pot set over high heat with the water and a big pinch of salt. Bring the quinoa to a boil, lower the heat, cover the pot and cook until all the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa’s germs look like lots of little spirals, 12 to 15 minutes. Turn the heat off, place a dry paper towel between the pot and the lid, and let the quinoa sit for at least 5 minutes before giving it a fluff with a fork.

In addition to the Zesty Quinoa Salad, we also prepare a crock pot full of organic chicken breasts. We purchase the organic chicken breasts and sauces at Costco. We cut the chicken into cubes and add it to the crock pot. We then add Robert Rothschild Farm’s All Natural and Gluten Free Roasted Pineapple & Habanero Sauce and All Natural Jack’s Cantina Style Salsa to the crock pot until all the chicken is covered. We stir all the ingredients together and cook on low heat for about 4 hours and it comes out delicious.

The Zesty Quinoa Salad and the crock pot chicken make up our main meal during the day while we are at work. I also bring fresh fruit, vegetables and Kind bars for snacks throughout the day. When we get home, we’ll have a lighter meal such as a salad or a light snack. We have restructured our eating habits since we met with the nutritionist at our gym. She said to eat our larger meals during the day and then taper off as the day progresses. We’ve been following the nutritionist’s suggestions and we have been very happy with the balance it has created within our lives.

It takes planning and discipline to prepare our meals every Sunday; however, we know how important it is to take care of ourselves through proper nutrition. It’s a great feeling to know that in just a few hours on Sunday, most of your meals for the week are already taken care of and all you have to do is pack it up and take it with you.

QOTD: Do you eat Quinoa? How do you prepare it?

Sugar Detox

It’s no secret I am addicted to sugar. I have always loved candy and chocolate, ice cream and brownies…and sweet tea.

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I workout a lot, yes, but I am also well aware that my eating habits are not always as they should be. I am STILL having issues getting rid of a couple of pesky pounds from the cruise and vacation, so I know exercise is just not enough for me right now.

I am taking drastic (for me) measures….I am laying off the sugar for a whole week to see if it helps me. YIKES! I know some of you are probably going “geez Heather, that’s super easy, what’s the big deal?” Oh, friends. If only you knew how bad the addiction is….

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I know when some people sugar detox they get rid of ALL forms of any kind of sugar. Well folks, that would be a surefire way to see my head start spinning, followed by lots of crying and name calling.

I started on Monday, and decided to not completely shock my system I would still eat things like fruit, etc, but steer clear of snacks like candy with sugar, cookies, and the like. I also allowed myself to put my flavored creamer in my coffee, but that’s it. I was doing ok on Monday until after dinner when I usually have a sweet dessert…I got really cranky and tried to distract myself so I wouldn’t think about it. I am crossing my fingers I can make it through the whole week without a slip up!

What are your secrets for dealing with a sugar detox? I would love to hear!

QOTD: Any sugar detox tips? Do you struggle with this like I do?

Grilled Drunken Barbeque Shrimp

There are times when I crave something that doesn’t exist. Sometimes a version of it exists but it’s still not exactly what I have a taste for. Then I have no choice but to try to develop a recipe for it. That’s exactly how my Grilled Drunken Barbeque Shrimp came into being. While Heather’s off enjoying some major fun in the sun, I wanted to share this with you just in time for grilling season. I’ll have the complete recipe at the end.

There are really only two tricks to this recipe. Number one, use good, quality shrimp.

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I live in Tennessee, about as far from an ocean as possible so I don’t have access to fresh shrimp. I did get the best thing I could find, and these guys are colossal!

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Next, the thing that really makes these shrimp fab is the sauce. You’ll want to make it an hour or so before you add the shrimp. Otherwise, if you add the shrimp to the heated sauce, you’ll end up boiling them, and grilled is what we are going for here, not boiled.

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About the sauce, as you are heating it, be careful not to let it boil over. I really just heat it until the butter is melted and the beer is incorporated well.

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Don’t be squeamish about the whole stick of butter! Remember, this is more of a marinade and most of it will end up getting tossed anyway. The same holds true for the beer. Even though you won’t cook the sauce long enough for the beer to evaporate, once you grill the shrimp, there will be no alcohol left. Even the little ones can eat them. You will also notice I have cayenne pepper in the recipe. It’s not really enough to make them too spicy, but it does add a slight kick. It can be omitted if you want zero heat. If you want more, add more. I’ve also used Tobasco sauce before so whatever heat source you like will be just fine. You will also notice that this sauce recipe works for 1-4 pounds of shrimp. It works for 4 pounds, and it’s just easier for me to make the whole thing even for just 1 pound.

I also sprinkle my shrimp with salt and pepper and let them sit in the fridge for about 20 minutes before adding the sauce. If you add the sauce right after seasoning, the salt and pepper will just sort of wash off of the shrimp and become a part of the sauce. Once I add the sauce, I let them bathe in it for anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. Any more than that will completely overwhelm the shrimp, and sauce is all you’ll taste. Since there’s lemon juice in the sauce, you also run the risk of making the shrimp mushy if you let them sit too long.

Once you are ready to grill, make sure your grill is at the right temp. They are going to go FAST! About the time you have them all on there, it’s going to be time to turn them.

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What you are looking for is for them to start curling (yes, I know they are already curled, but they will curl even tighter once they start cooking) and for the edges to start turning opaque. About 1-3 minutes is all this is going to take. Then you just flip and repeat.

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These are best served hot right off the grill. I don’t anticipate that being a problem because every time I’ve made them, they’ve been eaten about as quickly as I can get them off. Enjoy!

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Grilled Drunken Barbeque Shrimp

Ingredients

1-4 pounds of shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 17.5 oz. bottle of your favorite barbeque sauce

1 12 oz. bottle of beer

1 stick of butter

Juice of 1 lemon

½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

To make the sauce, heat the barbeque sauce, beer, and butter just until the butter is melted and the beer is incorporated. Add the cayenne pepper and lemon juice and let the sauce come to room temperature.

Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and let it rest in the fridge for 20 minutes. Then add the cooled sauce and let it marinate for another 20 minutes to 1 hour.

Heat your grill to 300-350 degrees and grill the shrimp for 1-3 minutes per side.

You can also reserve some of the sauce before you add the shrimp, reduce it by half (just keep cooking it in the pot until you have half the liquid you started with), and use it as a dipping sauce or drizzle over the cooked shrimp if you want even more sauciness on your shrimp.

So pull up a lounge chair, crack open your favorite beverage, throw these shrimp on the grill, and maybe you, too, can at least feel like you’re on vacation!

Be sure to stop by my blog at http://www.myglasssneaker.com/

QOTD: What is your favorite way to eat shrimp?

Friday Favorites: Food Edition

 

Good morning! Another weekend is upon us! We have some fun plans including a wedding to go to so I am stoked! What are you doing this weekend? I haven’t done Friday Favorites in awhile so I thought it would be fun to bring it back with a bang, vlog style! Enjoy my rambling!

 

In case you are curious about any of the products I mentioned in the video, here are the links:

Wild Harvest <—— Healthy Living Summit sponsors, you won’t want to miss them, so get a ticket while you still can!

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Cascadian Farm: Great company, sweet people, yummy food.

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Archer Farms: I love Target. Enough said.

Swanson Health Products*: The prices on this website are amazing yall, on everything! They also have so so many different products. Go check it out.

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Fit Frappe: easy and convenient and packed with protein!

*I was provided free product in exchange for my thoughts and opinions expressed on my blog, however, they are my own.

QOTD: What foods are you loving this summer?

RWS Features #9

 

Good morning! Bobby and I are having fun at the beach. We really needed to get away and I am so glad we did. While we are busy hanging out on the beach. I leave you with some awesome awesome FitFluential ambassadors to read about. These folks are amazing, so please be sure to check out their blog and say hi!

Today meet Caitlin from Cait Plus Ate!

Caitlin has a fun blog, which I don’t know HOW she has time for since she is currently getting her MBA! She is quite the foodie and also is fashionable and friendly. Be sure to check out Cait Plus Ate!

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1.) How/Why did you start blogging?

I have been reading blogs for about three years now, and always thought it would be fun to do my own. I was always so nervous though! After I graduated college and started my full-time job, I decided to take the plunge and begin Cait Plus Ate to get my career plans moving. I consider it my walking/talking resume, but I also started the blog because I wanted to connect with the amazing people of the blogging community and have an outlet for my passions and also my frustrations that I sometimes struggle with when it comes to living less “rigidly” regarding food/fitness.

2.) Sum up your blog in a couple sentences

Cait Plus Ate is a place where I write about food, fitness, and all the fun it brings me each and every day!

3.)What do you wish to accomplish/achieve by blogging?

I hope to achieve a career in marketing/branding for the restaurant or fitness industry! I want to share my passions with as many people as possible and also experience as much as I can. Finally, I want to find the balance I have been seeking and learn that indulgence is OK.

4.)What is your biggest healthy living accomplishment?

Probably finally running an 8 minute mile, which I spent several years off-and-on trying to accomplish!

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QOTD: How do you balance healthy eating when there are things like parties, weekends, and special occasions?

Christmas Eve Recap 2011

 

As I mentioned last year, today is one of the most sad days of the year for me. I am obsessed with the Christmas season, so the end of it is just so depressing. We usually leave our decorations up until New Years, but honestly, I am just ready to put everything away because it makes me so sad how far away next year is from now. I had a great weekend with my family and it went by SO FAST and I don’t want it to end. January and February are my least favorite months of the year. Christmas is over, and It’s just cold outside! Ok now that I have bummed everyone out, here is what we did on Christmas eve.

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I woke up early to get into the kitchen. I had a LOT of baking to do. I always give our relatives (aunts, uncles, cousins) a bunch of baked goods for Christmas. I made the Snickers cookies I make every year, fudge, reindeer food, and pretzel candy. My mom was baking as well, so it was fun to just hang out in the kitchen all day listening to Christmas music. The boys could come in and out from playing the Wii and watching TV. (They also had to make a quick trip to the grocery store for me for pretzels!)

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My dad cooked some prime rib that we were going to eat for dinner, so we had to smell it all day as it cooked. Delicious!

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I took a couple breaks to take pictures and watch the boys for a few minutes.

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she wouldn’t look at the camera!

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neither would she!

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We had pizza for lunch, then that afternoon we headed into New Orleans to visit my grandmother and my uncle. Unfortunately, the only picture I took was of Bobby holding my grandmother’s obese dog. You can’t tell from the picture, but this dog is massive.

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We ate an early dinner over there before heading to church.

Side note…anyone ever heard of Jessee Duplantis, the televangelist? Well, he just built his “new house” down the street from my grandmother….it’s over 31k square feet and has a bowling alley. He “preaches” on TV and begs people to send him money in the name of God…and then he lives in this. Makes. me. sick. DO NOT SEND HIM MONEY! HE IS A FRAUD! here is his house:

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I wish I was kidding. Ok, back to happy thoughts! So we headed to church at First Baptist New Orleans (my parents church), which is where I got married almost 5 years ago.

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It was a great service. We were all given candles, and at the end, we all lit our candles by passing the flame from person to person all around the church. Then we stood up, raising our candles with all the lights off in the sanctuary, and sang silent night. It was absolutely beautiful and such a great moment. My favorite part was when we sang this verse, all holding out candles:

“Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth “

It was just one of those moments you would love to just freeze in time. So very cool. After church, we came home and had a delicious supper.

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I used those new stick on nails strips. So far they are holding up well and look cool!

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We made a fire and chatted for awhile.

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Then, my sister and her husband came over and my dad read the Christmas story from Luke 2 and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.

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He has been reading out of that book since I was a little girl. Smile

We were all pretty exhausted, so it was off to bed so Santa could come!

QOTD: What did you do on Christmas eve?

My Thanksgiving 2011

 

Happy Black Friday! We did all of our shopping late last night so we are sleeping in today (I types this post Thursday night.) I hope you ate lots of turkey and made lots of memories with your family and friends. My Thanksgiving was a bit different than years past, but Bobby and I had a fun time making new memories.

We started the day off bright and early with a 6:00 am wake up call for our Turkey Trot. I SERIOUSLY considered turning off the alarm, but I knew the hardest part would be getting out of the bed so I got up anyway and am glad that I did! I will post more about the Turkey Trot in it’s own race recap, but here is a picture from the morning:

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We got home about 10:00, and I immediately started getting busy cooking in the kitchen. I had DVRed the parade, so I watched it while I cooked.

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Intently watching the parade.

Since it was just going to be the two of us, we didn’t want to cook a whole turkey, so when we saw Honey Baked Ham had a special little meal you could buy where you could get ham, turkey, and two sides, (they threw in some rolls, too) we jumped on it. All I had to make was twice baked potatoes, green beans, almond iced tea, and a pumpkin pie.

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We still had to cook the sides in the oven along with all the other things I had made, and this was one of those days I wished I had two ovens. It took a lot longer than I anticipated to get everything ready so we were starving by time it was all ready at 1:00.

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Food, why aren’t you done!

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Captain Mickey entertained us while we waited.

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Getting delirious from hunger.

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Bobby insisted on holding the can upside down since the “bottom” said “open other side.”

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The girls may or may not have gotten a good bit of people food today…

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My first pumpkin pie!

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A lot of food for two people.

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Notice Bella sitting in my chair, like a person, ready to eat.

We sat, we ate, we tried not to go into food comas, so we took the girls on a long walk. It was the most gorgeous day, sunny, about 73 degrees. Perfect. Then it was football, naps, and late night shopping. More on that later, too.

I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving and remembered all the things you have to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving from the Montgomery’s!

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QOTD: What was your favorite food you ate yesterday?

*Last day to enter my Gymboss interval timer giveaway!

Happy Thanksgiving 2011

 

Happy Thanksgiving! We kicked the holiday off with a bang last night by…eeerr…Staying home and doing absolutely nothing! Today we are rocking it out at a 5k turkey trot then will be cooking and eating ourselves into a food coma.

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Don’t worry, I will be back tomorrow with pictures of food and fun and will have a race recap up soon as well. I hope you get off the computer some today and have a fabulous day with your family and friends! Go make some memories. Stay safe, eat until you have to unbutton your pants, and watch some football. Don’t forget all of the blessings in your life and all the things you have to be thankful for. I know my list is many, many pages long. I love you all, have a great holiday!

And now, for your enjoyment (ok, you know you are going to get on the computer for a LITTLE while today!) the first installment of my “RWS features!” In case you missed it, I will be featuring a blog probably every week that you need to go, right now, and put in your Google reader.

So be sure to go over to their blogs as they are posted and say hi, and that you came from RWS. New readers are always appreciated and new blogs are always fun to find. You never know, you may find a new favorite!

Meet Kelsey from http://fitnessfanatic007.blogspot.com

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How/Why did you start blogging? I started blogging as a way to keep my family up to date with my life as I grew independent while starting college. I started reading other healthy living and food blogs, so eventually mine shifted into a healthy living blog because fitness and healthy eating is a HUGE part of my life and I was blogging about it so much already. I just decided to add my recipes into the mix! I saw that a lot of bloggers did product reviews, so I was fortunate enough to do a few by asking companies. Now, I have done over 40 reviews!

Sum up your blog in a couple of sentences: The Secret Life of Kelsey is … about my fun life, new recipes I’ve tried, my babysitting and teaching adventures, product reviews and more!

 

What do you wish to accomplish/achieve by blogging? My goal with my blog is just to have fun and inspire some creativity in the kitchen! I love experimenting and posting new recipes and recipes I have tweaked to my own desire that I have seen on other blogs. I would love to have more readers!

What is your biggest healthy living accomplishment? My biggest healthy living accomplishment is definitely completing a half-marathon! I am NOT a natural runner and I actually hate running. But, I really wanted to accomplish a goal that I had to work hard at, and I did! Full post here: http://fitnessfanatic007.blogspot.com/2010/09/half-marathon-success.html and more pics here: http://fitnessfanatic007.blogspot.com/2010/09/more-pics-from-race.html  I have no desire to run another half-marathon, but I can PROUDLY say I did one in my life!

Thanks so much Kelsey! You can also find Kelsey on twitter: @Christianqt07 So go check out her blog and twitter and make a new friend.

QOTD: What is a new (to you) blog you have “discovered” lately you want to share with the group that you love?

70 ingredients of Fun

 

I love eating out. It is one of my favorite forms of entertainment. Living in the south, all social gatherings revolve around food, and then we talk about the next meal or time while we are there. Growing up I ate fast food. Not a crazy amount, but we played a lot of sports, so there was a lot of “on the go” going back and forth from basketball practice to track meets to home late. We never really though twice about what was in the fast food, it was fast, it was cheap, and you didn’t have to get out of the car to get it. I loved McDonalds as much as the next kid, but when I saw the ingredients for the McRib I was a bit disturbed.

A little history (in case you have seen the McRib commercials saying it is “back” and didn’t know it had gone anywhere.) It was first introduced in the early 80’s, and was on the menu for years. Eventually it just made its appearance in select regions at select times of year as a special menu item.

Here are the nutrition facts:

490 calories, 220 calories from fat, 25 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 75 mg cholesterol, 1040 mb sodium, 44 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 24 g protein, 11 g sugars.

Here are the ingredients:

 

McRib Pork Patty:
Pork, water, salt, dextrose, preservatives (BHA, propyl gallate, citric acid)

McRib Bun:
Enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, yeast, high fructose corn syrup, contains 2% or less of the following: salt, corn meal, wheat gluten, soybean oil, partially hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oils, dextrose, sugar, malted barley flour, cultured wheat flour, calcium sulfate, ammonium sulfate, soy flour, dough conditioners (sodium stearoyl lactylate, datem, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, mono- and diglycerides, ethoxylated mono- and diglycerides, monocalcium phosphate, enzymes, guar gum, calcium peroxide), calcium propionate (preservative), soy lecithin.

 

McRib Sauce:
Water, high fructose corn syrup, tomato paste, distilled vinegar, molasses, natural smoke flavor (plant source), food starch-modified, salt, sugar, spices, soybean oil, xanthan gum, onion powder, garlic powder, chili pepper, sodium benzoate (preservative), caramel color, beet powder

(source)

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(source)

So….about 70 ingredients and I can pronounce about eight of them.  But yet people are so obsessed with this thing there was near rioting when it got taken off the menu last time.

Did you know that the bun contains some of the same ingredients as a yoga mat? Dis you know it also contains ingredients that are banned in Europe and Australia?  I don’t know about you, but I have no desire to eat something as durable as my yoga mat and try and digest it through my system.

I am no saint. I crave McDonalds fries every now and then, or a fast food burger. Some of their stuff is really good! I try to limit my amount of processed food but it is unrealistic for me to totally get rid of everything bad for me out of my diet. The only “fast food” I will occasionally eat is Subway or Chick-Fil-A if at all possible. Even then it’s rare. Be mindful of what you are putting into your body, it can have lasting effects on your health! I DO have a problem when people eat 3-4 of these sandwiches a week, or everyday for lunch, fearing it will be taken off the menu. So think about what you are feeding your family in the name of quick eating.

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I had kind of a blah day yesterday, I think it’s from not being able to run and the gloomy weather we have been having. My sweet husband came home with a dozen roses for me! It made my night. This is not normally his “thing” so it made me happy he was thinking of me!

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The funniest part is after he gave them to me he told me as he was checking out he thought to himself “I guess I will be on the blog tomorrow!” Silly boy. He assures me he didn’t think of that until after he bought the roes though.

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RWS Features is a new series I am launching here on RWS. Once a week, I will feature a healthy living blog(er) and their blog in the hopes of learning about each other, promoting each other, and “introducing” you to great blogs you may not have known existed! If you are interested in being featured/having your blog being featured on RWS, shoot me an email at runningwithsass@gmail.com with “RWS Features” in the subject line. Don’t worry, it’s not too involved, you will just have to answer a few short questions about yourself and your blog, easy peasy!

QOTD: What are your thoughts on the McRib and other food products like it? How do you find a balance between healthy eating and processed foods?

RWS Features: Tanya from Vegan Faith

 

I am so excited about today’s gust post! It comes from Tanya at Vegan Faith. I was blessed to get to spent a good amount of time with Tanya at Helathy Living Summit. She is so sweet and easy to talk to! Her story below is very honest, and very touching. It does deal with relationships with food, so if this is touchy or a trigger for you, please proceed with caution.

A big thanks to Heather for sharing her space on Running With Sass, with me! I blog at VeganFaith.com and I am so excited to be over here today to tell you my story. The really neat thing today, is that this is a brand new story. And one that I have been dying to share for a while now.

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For many years I have struggled with disordered eating and low self-esteem. I have never suffered from a diagnosed eating disorder such as binging or purging, but have simply had an unhealthy relationship with food (let’s be honest…what is so simple about that?)

From the time I learned what a calorie was, or even how much sugar or fat or carbs were contained in certain products, I have obsessed over the food I put in my body. It began as a wholesome effort to eat better and more compassionately. But like many things in life, a good thing easily became a bad thing. I restricted my diet to extremes, and then when off the “diet” I would just eat everything in sight.

Throughout each day, I would agonize over the hours. When was my next meal? And what would I eat. I became fanatical as I waited in anticipation for noon each day, just so I could eat again. Meal times were engraved in my mind, and I couldn’t eat outside of those times. I forgot how to eat intuitively and began living only for the rules I created. Many foods were off limits and deemed “bad.” Guilt was associated with eating these “bad” foods. My happiness was determined by the type of food I ate each day.

An unhealthy relationship with food is a slippery slope. You think you are doing great things for your body, and in the end you find yourself in a hot mess. That is where I found myself earlier this year. Consumed by my consumption. Sliding down the slope happened so quickly, yet climbing my way back out is taking much longer.

The first step for recovery for me was relinquishing control over the situation. For me, that was releasing it into God’s hands. Acknowledging he was Lord over all, including my disordered eating. I knew that there was no way I could dig my way out of this one, and I needed a stronger, more able entity. For me, there was no one but God to help me out.

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Of course I had to do my part. I had to pray, and continuously remind myself that all things are possible through God who strengthens me. Even in my darkest moments, I needed hope. And I needed to take baby steps to set new habits in place.

Those baby steps will be different for everyone, for me it was listening to my body and breaking the rules. Those same rules that I thought were in place to help guide me, but ultimately steered me in the wrong direction. If I was hungry, I needed to eat. No matter what time of day it was. And when I ate, I needed to stop after a portion, and wait. Sometimes I would drink a glass of water, or sit at the table for at least 5 minutes before getting up. Those new habits helped me to listen to my body to find out if I really was still hungry and needed a larger portion, or if my stomach was full and it was time to move on.

All year I have worked at these new habits, and just recently I have recognized how far I have come. This is what makes my story new. While I still struggle with some of those old temptations, I am better equipped to fight them. I have several Action Mantras that get me through dark periods:Table, Plate, Chair” “Make an Effort, Not Excuses” or “Social Sweets Only.” But now my all-encompassing theme is this: “Grace and Consistency.” In everything in life I simply try my best to be consistent and when that isn’t enough, I have grace.

Rather than beat myself up over a missed workout or an unhealthy meal, I use grace to allow myself to take a break. I cut myself slack with a reminder that one day will not change the course of my life. What I may fall short on today, there will always be tomorrow. I look at the overall picture saying to myself “Today I may not fit in a workout, but this week I made it to the gym 4 times!” or “Right now I am going to enjoy TCBY with friends, and then later I will nourish my body with lots of whole grains and greens!”

Now I am in a much happier place. Food isn’t my enemy, rather a passion that I continue to pursue and enjoy. I no longer dread exercise, but look forward to it as one of the best parts of my day. I have no regrets that I went through this experience. I have grown as a person, a believer, and a friend. It has made me more aware and compassionate of others who struggle with similar issues. And it has brought me closer to my passion for a healthy life.

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On Vegan Faith I share my life and the healthy choices I make every day. Some are healthy for my body (fruits and veggies), and many are healthy for my soul (daily Bible devotions). Meanwhile, there are also those choices that are just healthy for my sanity…like the delicious cupcake I ate yesterday after the 5k! For me it is all about living my life with Grace and Consistency.

QOTD: Show Tanya some love! When it comes to food, in what ways have you learned to listen to your body to have a healthy and happy relationship with it?

*Don’t froget about my raffle for TNT! Great running gear prizes!