Eating Healthy During the Holidays // 4th of July

Staying on track during a Holiday// 4th Of July

I don’t know about you but holidays are my absolute favorite, not only because of the party but because it’s a time to fill your life with people and food you love! The sad part about it is that for several years I found myself miserable when it came to big events because the food would cause so much stress. I have always ether gone to the extreme of avoiding everything except the veggie platter or to the opposite end of the spectrum where I eat everything including the food I don’t want. Seems crazy, I know, but this was the reality.

As you guys might now I started the Candida cleanse again about three weeks ago in June, fully aware that 4th of July was right around the corner. 4th of July is bigger than Christmas here in Florida, so there’s a lot of opportunity to fall into my old habits, but I wanted this 4th of July to be different. I didn’t want to feel regret or like I missed out on anything while also being content.

I decided for the sake of breaking the cycle I would approach things differently. I would chose my absolute favorite healthy foods and treat myself to them in moderation, I would try to stay hydrated and allow myself a little wiggle room to enjoy some things that were not allowed on the candida cleanse, but wouldn’t cause any turmoil. Instead of choosing healthy options that stuck strictly to the diet I would eat things than bent the rules. The catch was that in bending the rules I would be content to stop there. I wouldn’t feel the urge to go overboard or be too controlling and overall I think I achieved just that.

Here is a little recap to show you what I decided to eat and avoid, but more importantly the MINDSET that I kept through the whole day.  

·         Coffee was a go for the morning and I paired it with Gluten Free toast. One slice with egg, bacon smashed avocado and the other with homemade sunflower butter and cacao nibs.

·         Lunch was a frozen banana smoothie bowl

-          Banana

-          Sunflower Butter

-          Chocolate Protein

-          Ice

-          Almond Milk

·         Snacks consisted of several cucumbers and carrot sticks as well as fruit such as watermelon and blueberries. I also had a few things like Gluten Free pretzels and homemade cookie dough bites that were not candida approved, but helped me to avoid eating chips and other foods that would have bothered my stomach.

·         While everyone sipped on beer and mixed drinks I stuck to fancy water, aka a splash of Pomegranate Bai with water and cucumbers. I also enjoyed a Hard Kombucha and La Croix sparkling water.

·         Dinner was nether here, nor there I had a few different small meals after lunch but they were mainly salads and then pulled chicken as well.

 

Overall the say was a success both with food and with family and I look forward to taking what I have learned and applying it to every future gathering!

 

Happy 4th of July! I hope you guys had a great one!

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How to spice things up when changing your diet.

Spice Things up//Make the switch easy! 


I don’t know about you guys but for me swapping over to a whole new way of eating was pretty daunting. After I learned I had candida I had to give up all sugar, gluten, dairy which made my meal choices seem pretty bland and to tell you the truth they were. 
In saying this they were bland because I had no idea what I was doing when it came to preparing gluten, dairy, and sugar-free food. I had never experimented with spices or herbs, I had no idea how to use condiments other than ketchup and didn’t know how adding textures and contrasting flavors could really make a dish awesome! I began with eating plain oats, plain chicken, and millet with some greens, smoothies that contained mostly ice…It was the farthest from tasty that you could get. I realized that if I was going to survive three months of that I decided things had to get interesting. 


At this time I also moved in with my sister and her family who enjoyed cooking meals that use strong spices and herbs such as curries, smoked meats, jambalayas, etc. It was good I moved in with them because I was not the only one who had to figure out how to make family meals sugar, dairy and gluten-free. It became a challenge for us all, figuring out how to substitute and what new things we could create to replicate the meal so that we could all enjoy it. 
We discovered the beauty of pairing organic mustard with sauerkraut and that adding fresh cilantro and mashed avocado was the perfect substitute for salad dressing. We found recipes to make things like granola, cornbread, pancakes, cookies, etc. I found out that cheddar cheese or buttered bread is not the only way to make a dish taste good, it’s the way you prepare the food. 

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Some of my all-time favorite foods are because of the great experiments we would have with new meals! If you find the idea of changing the way you eat daunting, remember that even though the beginning might leave you with a bad taste in your mouth, as long as you keep trying it WILL get better! 

Here are some of my favorite things to spice up my meals without sacrificing my health! 

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•    Mustard: Make sure to buy organic and check the label
•    Sauerkraut: I like to combine this with mustard and add it in salads, eat it plain. 
•    Kimchi
•    Turmeric
•    Cumin  
•    Cinnamon
•    Nutritional Yeast: This is great sprinkled on eggs or even popcorn to get that cheesy taste! 
•    Artisan Oils and Vinegar: You can always find these at your local farmers market or health food store! Some of my favorites are garlic olive oil and fruit-infused balsamic
•    Fresh Herbs: Cilantro and rosemary and mint are my favorites. All three can be used in ether savory or sweet dishes! 
•    Bay leaves: great flavor to add to soups and jambalayas
•    Bamboo Shoots
•    Cocoa powder: This is my favorite way to make things like  oatmeal, smoothies, chia seed pudding, etc. much more interesting
•    Pink Salt and Freshly cracked peppercorn: I couldn’t come all this way and not give mention to what Good salt and pepper can accomplish in a dish!  

Let me know what are some of your favorite ways to make healthy food that much more exciting!  

Sincerely, 

Sonya  

Meal Prep

Meal Prep because you’re Awesome

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Ever see those pictures with the perfectly portioned weeks’ worth of food? The ones where everything is so perfect you convince yourself that if you can accomplish the same your life will be complete? Well If you haven’t I can tell you that I have definitely gone through this only to fail and realize that this type of meal prep is definitely not for everyone.

Personally I found that portioning out the same meals for every day was not worth the effort. I also found the meals to be less satisfying since I felt I was obliged to eat the same thing most days. Now for me this is probably because I don’t like being told I have to eat a certain way. Hand me a meal plan and even if it’s everything I love, I will probably completely avoid it.

That being said I don’t ignore meal prep all together, I simply have figured out a way to put my own spin on things making meal prep easier and more enjoyable!

For me meal prep involves cooking up staple item that can be pieced together according to that day. Usually I focus on quinoa, roasted vegetables, bake a sweet potatoes, chopped lettuce, frozen fruit, homemade tahini dressing, and a crock pot meal such as curry or soup. This was I have the option to make a variety of meals from the ingredients I have already prepped!

As well as these foods I make sure to have plenty of my favorite fruits and vegetables for snacking on in between meals. If I am feeling extra fancy I might whip up some homemade chocolates or protein balls for treats!

Here’s a list of meals you can make from my normal routine, showed here!

·         Fried quinoa with roasted veg

·         Soup and Salad

·         Curry with quinoa avocado & Lime

·         Chocolate protein smoothie

·         Sweet potato over greens with sliced Avocado and tahini dressing.

These are just a few ideas, but get a little adventurous and see what healthy meals you can create from your favorite foods!

Pssst* Check out my Crock pot chicken curry recipe for some inspiration! https://www.sonyasopencupboard.com/recipes/