October 13 = Day 21 = The end of the 21-Day Superhero Challenge!! Since the day is almost over, I think it’s safe to say I survived the challenge! 21 days without sugar, which includes NO ALCOHOL! Super proud of that one. Surprisingly, it wasn’t all that hard. I think it would have been MUCH harder if I still lived in Alabama and hung out with family and friends each weekend. Luckily, Josh was my only temptation…but I stayed strong and stuck to it! After doing this challenge, I realized that a lot of the time I just have a drink out of habit, so it was a nice eye opener. I can definitely tell a difference from cutting out sugar – my stomach is the smallest it has been in years – that’s probably the biggest change I’ve noticed. I also managed to lose 4 lbs. in those 21 days, so pretty happy about that! If there’s one thing I’ve learned from starting Paleo and doing this challenge, it’s that anything is possible if you just put your mind to it. Tell yourself you’re going to do it…AND DO IT! I have surprised myself so many times, but now I know that I can do this. It’s 100% in my hands, I just have to make the decision to change. I love continuing to push myself and make changes to my body (and my health) every single day. I am the healthiest I have been in a long time, and it really feels great!
Takeaways from this challenge:
1. I try to add more protein to each meal (1 gram of protein for each 1b. of lean muscle – I just had to guess how much lean muscle I have – I’m probably completely off! Oh well, I try).
2. I definitely eat more veggies now. I was eating WAY too much fruit! I LOVE fruit…especially the ones high in sugar. Of course.
3. I now know which protein powders are good. Least amount of sugar & least ingredients…I guess I could have figured that one out on my own, but it was good to see what kind of protein she drinks since she’s in killer shape!
4. Will I have a drink again? Absolutely. Will I be smarter about what I drink and how many (unnecessary) calories I’m consuming? Absolutely.
4. My body and my health are what I make them. If I just put in the effort, change will come. I can’t wait to continue on this same path and become stronger and healthier every single day. I am now 100% addicted to being healthy!
So, today may have been my most productive day EVER. I have a feeling this will probably turn into a really long post, but I just have to share what I’ve been up to all day. We started the day out with a trip to Costco. I was much more conscious of what I was buying today, and I got some great stuff for not a lot of money! Then I spent the next 4 hours prepping my food for the week. It’s safe to say I am now obsessed with eating healthy and my Sunday meal prep routine! Lately I’ve been trying new recipes, and I love it! You’ve probably noticed that I only follow recipes and never create my own. Maybe one day that will change, but for now, this works for me – I’m definitely not a recipe creator! This is what I accomplished today:
First, I put some chicken breasts in the crock pot. I used this this recipe from 100 Days of Real Food. I have made it in the past with a whole chicken, and it is to die for. Seriously the most tender and tasty chicken I have ever eaten! This recipe is SO easy. You just mix the spices and rub on the chicken, chop up an onion & throw the chicken in. It only took about 2 hours, but the whole chicken takes a little longer. I shredded it up for lunches this week, so I can easily toss it into a salad or have it with veggies and I’m set!
I was starving, so I whipped up a smoothie with almond milk, flaxseed, frozen strawberries & bananas, protein powder, almond butter and spinach for lunch. These smoothies are soooooo yummy! Then I was ready to continue cooking!
I was so impressed with how my almond milk turned out last time, I HAD to make more. It is so dang easy and so much healthier than the store bought. Literally all you do is soak, blend, stir. I made a lot more this time (maybe too much) since last time I only had enough for 2 smoothies. So glad these New York City sized pitchers made the move with us – they work perfectly for this! Voila – delicious, preservative-free almond milk comin’ at ya!
I popped the leftover almond bits into the oven to make almond meal. I put it on the lowest setting (150 on my oven) for about 3 hours, or until the almonds completely dry out.
Next up – Paleo Banana Bread Granola! I couldn’t wait to get this out of the oven and try it! I replaced the chocolate chips with sliced almonds, and it was still delicious! I forgot to put the hemp hearts in the picture, but I was pleasantly surprised with these little fellas. I had to put it away before I ate it all – I’m already thinking about pouring some almond milk over it for dessert tonight! I haven’t calculated the nutrition info for this yet, but there’s a LOT of almond butter in here, so I’m thinking I should eat this in moderation…darn it!
Then it was time for some Italian Meatballs. I made these last week and had to make them again. They are so good and really really easy! Thanks to my sis-in-law, Ally, for this recipe I will probably make many more times in the future. Just pour some marinara over them then serve over spaghetti squash (or alone), and you have an awesome meal!!
I used this ground beef from Costco to make them. It was $16 for about 3.75 lbs. of organic, hormone-free ground beef. The organic ground beef at the grocery store is $13.99/lb. What a steal! And they come in these handy little individual packs so I can freeze them, then pull off a section to thaw when needed. Perfecto!
I got these huge bags of spinach and kale – only 5 bucks each! I love sauteing spinach & kale and/or putting it in my smoothies for added veggies. Such an easy way to get some extra veggies in! Now I have tons of sauteed kale to add to my breakfasts or lunches for the week. Favorite new breakfast – sauteed spinach with fried eggs on top…yummy yummy yummy!
Lastly, I have Paleo chili cooking in the crock pot right now. Just waiting for it to finish cooking so we can have dinner. I put it in a little later than expected, so we’re having a late dinner! Thanks again to Ally for what I know will be a great meal! I love sharing recipes, and I love crock pot recipes! The only thing I’m not thrilled with in this recipe is the rotel and diced tomatoes…they have some added ingredients that aren’t so great for you, but I wanted to try it out anyway. Next time I will chop up my own tomatoes! Can’t wait to try it in a few minutes!
The one thing I couldn’t live without when making all of these recipes is my Ninja! This thing has lasted for what seems like forever, and it makes my life so much easier! Such a great staple in my kitchen! Next on my list – a Vitamix! Better start saving up, huh? But have you seen what those things can do!? AMAZING!! It’s so sad how excited I get about kitchen gadgets these days…anything to make healthy eating a little easier!
Whew! Told y’all this was going to end up being a really long post. I must say I am pretty proud of everything I got accomplished today though. I should be set for the week (and more) and have some great lunch options! Just call me Betty Crocker – I’m really getting the hang of this!
Now time for The Walking Dead! Woohoo!