Image

What’s next on this 2020 health journey?

Now that I’ve completed the 10-Day green smoothie challenge, what’s next for me on this health journey? Well, for starters, I will use this momentum to continue to cook and eat healthy meals.

Canned goods for Sunday soup. Mango Madness green smoothie in the background. LPC

I used my homemade chicken broth (collagen benefits) as a base for my delicious vegetable soup called Flat Flush soup. Soup is my ultimate comfort food. Flat Flush soup is full of nutrition. You can do a search on the internet for Flat Flush soup recipes.

Soup prep LPC

The ingredients in my soup are: onions, garlic, a variety of peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes, cabbage, spinach, canned tomatoes, beans, parsley, cilantro, lots of spices, and chicken broth (can also use vegetable broth). Whatever healthy ingredients you have on hand for this soup will work. The cover photo was taken prior to simmering for 2 hours.

If you’ve followed my blog, you know that cooking healthy meals is not just about keeping my physical body healthy, it is a soothing, essential part of my self-care routine. I particularly needed self-care yesterday after sitting in the emergency room for hours with my husband, Bryan. I was reminded then (not that I needed the reminding) health is beyond physical health. Physical health is very important, but in order to take care of our whole selves, there are other aspects we must attend to.

Health is a state of well being that includes physical, spiritual, emotional, psychological, intellectual, social, occupational and environmental health.

It’s essential that we all take care of our whole health. It may not be feasible or make sense to tackle everything at one time. This is where goal setting, planning, and execution comes in.

On a special note, I’ve adopted a new perspective on planning in the midst of the realities of life. I’ve been following Pastor Tony Evans out of Dallas, Texas. He wrote the bible lesson plan on Detours. He says to by all means plan, but plan making a space for God’s will. Plan acknowledging, “if God wills it”. That way when life doesn’t go according to our plans, we won’t be so crushed because we know God is with us and we’ve made a space for Him.

So in 2020 I’m looking forward to setting more goals, planning, and taking care of my whole self, my whole health, bit by bit.

How about you? What are your health plans/goals for 2020? What steps have you made thus far? How are you setting yourself up for success?

Image

The Green Glow: Day 10 Citrus Crush

I CRUSHED this 10-Day smoothie challenge. I closed out my final day with two smoothies: Carrot Cooler for breakfast and Berry Blast as an after dinner night cap. I didn’t have pineapples or grapes for the Citrus Crush, so I’ll try the recipe another day.

Believe me, it crossed my mind that the drink in my glass should be wine, but alas, I don’t have any.  My green smoothie was a much healthier option any way.

For fun, this next section will be in “question and answer” format.

  • What was your favorite part of the 10-Day green smoothie challenge?
    • I enjoyed interacting with the other participants on the live facebook group. There were about 14,000 people participating.
  • What was your favorite green smoothie on this challenge?
    • This question is hard because they were all good. My top 3 were Beginner’s Luck, Pineapple Dream, and Carrot Cooler. Pineapples was a common ingredient in each. I love pineapples.
  • How difficult was it to keep up with the challenge?
    • It wasn’t difficult. If you count the time it took to read the manual, shop for the ingredients, prep the produce, blend each recipe, and transport the prepared smoothies, it still wasn’t difficult.
  • What else did you eat?
    • I ate my normal foods and snacks. 
  • Was this 10-Day green smoothie challenge a diet or detox?
    • No
  • What didn’t you like about the challenge?
    • I didn’t have all of the smoothie ingredients so although I had a smoothie every day, I didn’t try every recipe. I missed 2 recipes out of 10…the ones with grapes. Grapes are expensive right now.
  • Did you lose weight?
    • No
  • Why did you do the challenge?
    • I did the challenge to set the tone for my 2020: “health is wealth”, “new year, better me”, “self-care is a priority”
  • What advice would you give to someone new to green smoothies?
    • Prep, prep, prep. Make your smoothies in advance and always have one ready in the fridge.
  • What did you learn about yourself?
    • I can do whatever I put my mind to do.
  • What’s next?
    • I may move on to a 7 or 21 day vegan cleanse.

Listen, completing this challenge makes me a RAWKSTAR for sure!

What goals have you crushed so far in 2020?

Image

The Green Glow: Day 9 – Berry Blast

My day was so busy that I didn’t get a chance to take a picture AT ALL of Day 9’s green smoothie – Berry Blast. The recipe consisted of simple, familiar flavors -mixed berries, banana, almond milk and spinach. I’ve been using mixed greens all week and added ground flax seeds and fresh ginger.

What I did do at home, after I gobbled up the YUMMY tacos my husband, Bryan, made for dinner, was sip on a soothing cup of warm, spiced almond milk with a hint of turmeric. It hit the spot. It’s almost like hot chocolate, but not. I enjoyed it in my kittie mug.

The kittie was bathing in my spiced almond milk. LPC

Sometimes, the real test of a challenge is towards the end of it. I had to deal with an irritating situation at work that started at the end of Day 8 and it has caused me some stress.

Taking healthy food options with me to work like my green smoothies prevents me from succumbing to emotional eating. If I do have a piece of candy (like I did today), I won’t go too far off course because I’ve already fueled myself with healthy options.

Today, I packed for work: the rest of my veggie bowl with sriracha sauce, yogurt and berries, an apple, mixed nuts, pork rinds, and the STAR, my lovely Berry Blast green smoothie. Those goodies fueled me for almost 10 hours of work. I’m not messing up my progress over emotional eating.

I’ve set myself up for success. It all goes back to planning and preparation. Both points I mentioned in previous posts. I can honestly say I will complete the 10-Day green smoothie challenge tomorrow. You know how I know??? Because I have two green smoothies waiting for me in the fridge.

Image

The Green Glow: Day 8 – Mango Madness…again

Yup!!! I’m at the point of the challenge where I’m making repeat smoothies. The point of this 10-Day challenge is not to follow the plan exactly, but to add one healthy habit to my day. It doesn’t matter which green smoothies I drink, what matters is that I drink a green smoothie. And I have been indulging in these DELECTABLE healthy combinations every day.

The journal of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. -Lao Tzu

The hardest part of most things is getting started. Once you get going, then you wonder why you hadn’t started sooner. You just need to get over the wall in your mind that’s keeping you from your goal(s). Just start. Just do it. Then you’ll be fine.

What steps have you taken towards your 2020 goals?

Plaque on my office wall. LPC
Image

The Green Glow: Day 7 Carrot Cooler

Today was my “Monday” after a 3-day weekend and I definitely needed my smoothie boost on my way to the first meeting of the day. Day 7’s green smoothie contains peaches and grapes, and since I didn’t have either, I made Day 8’s Carrot Cooler.

Here’s a combination I would never think of on my own: pineapples, carrots, strawberries, spinach, and coconut water. I added ground flax seeds and a knob of fresh ginger. The Carrot Cooler was so YUMMY and a nutritional POWERHOUSE that sustained me through my morning meetings.

To maintain a healthy habit, or any goal for that matter, it’s important to be flexible. I didn’t have peaches or grapes to make the Day 7 smoothie. Instead of beating myself up for not following the plan exactly, or giving up on the challenge altogether, I simply moved on to a recipe that contains fruits I do have. That’s a pretty simple example of being flexible, but so important. When you’re flexible, it can really be that simple.

The older I get, I find life rarely works out as I plan. That hasn’t stopped me from planning because I do plan for a living and in my personal life. However, in the big picture, I know I’m not really in control. Being flexible is less stressful and allows me to let go of what I can’t control. And I often find myself pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

How’s your progress with achieving your 2020 health goals?

Image

The Green Glow: Day 6 – Cream Machine

Didn’t I tell you in a previous post that healthy habits beget more healthy habits? Well, it’s true. Day 6 is almost gone and I’m more than half way there. This has been a fun 10-Day green smoothie challenge! I LOVE the different flavor combinations. Today’s smoothie was DELECTABLY CREAMY and smooth due to the addition of the avocado and banana.

Not only did I drink my LUSCIOUS green smoothie, I also made a vegan dish; hence, another healthy treat. Participants in the challenge received a few bonus recipes.

Simple Green Veggie Bowl with Coconut Sriracha Sauce. LPC

I was off work today and decided to make one of the bonus recipes and I’m so glad I did. Not only did I have a healthy portion for lunch, but I have lunch portions for the next two days. There’s nothing like that Sriracha Sauce. It’s better than I imagined.

Veggie bowl LPC

I substituted green beans for asparagus and maple syrup for honey in the sauce. The recipe also called for walnuts which I did not have. I used all frozen vegetables too. I’m not afraid to role with the punches. After all, I’m an experienced home cook. The dish still came out AMAZING and will definitely be a regular on my meal rotation schedule.

About to drink up the Cream Machine after my morning work out. LPC

It’s much more beneficial and productive to focus on adding the positive things to your life rather than focusing on what you need to remove (but you can’t get rid of). This experience makes me appreciate I’m taking the time to do this for myself. This is what I call self-care. It actually feels indulgent to be fueling my body with these beautiful and healthy foods. I’m here for all of it!

If you’re interested in learning more about how to sign up for this 10-day green smoothie challenge. Read my Day 1 and Day 2 posts in the The Green Glow series.

Image

The Green Glow: Day 5 – Mango Madness & other things

I’ve never done this before! This is the 5th day in a row I’ve posted to my blog. I attribute it to my excitement and enjoyment of sharing my 10-Day green smoothie challenge with you. Check out my earlier posts to see how you can join. This whole experience has been EASY BREEZY!

I’ve also been sharing some light lessons on successfully maintaining healthy habits and goals in general. It occurred to me how important it is to assess your progress periodically.

As a breast cancer thriver, about 30 minutes prior to every 6-month appointment with my oncologist, I get blood work done. In December, I had been anticipating my blood work results because I wanted to know if my iron deficiency anemia was improving. I didn’t think so because of the symptoms I was having. I also wanted to know if my glucose level was decreasing.

The benefits of seeing my oncologist so frequently is that he addressed the anemia right away by prescribing medication. That was about 6 months ago. I was concerned about my glucose level because my primary care physician told me about a year ago that I should avoid the “bad” carbohydrates because my glucose was getting high for me.

My anemia has improved as my numbers are in range, but my glucose was higher than it was 6 months ago….still within range, but not where I want it to be.

With doctors, perspective really matters because my oncologist’s focus is on the cancer; whereas my primary care physician is focused on the big picture. She identified an upward trend in my glucose level. My oncologist has never said anything about my glucose. From his point of view, my numbers are within range. In the big picture, I need to prevent any future illnesses if I can.

This is a wake up call that I need to rethink some of my food choices, including reassessing my green smoothie healthy habit. Granted, the holiday season just ended and I tend to eat more sweets during this time. In fact, I’ve yet to post about all of the baking I’ve done. Whatever the case, I inevitably get back on track after the new year.

For the green smoothies, I will complete this challenge. Afterward, I will continue to drink green smoothies, but will focus on low glycemic fruits like berries instead of the ones that tend to be higher on the glycemic scale like the features of the Day 5 smoothie – Mangos, oranges, and banana (some of my favorites). Update: I did a search since typing this post and the three fruits in this smoothie actually are not high glycemic fruits. Oranges are low, bananas are low to medium, and mangos are medium….so Not bad.

I also plan to reduce my intake of high carbohydrate foods like white pasta, white rice, and white potatoes.

Pasta alternatives

I purchased a couple of boxes of what I’ll call “pasta alternatives” months ago because I vowed to be on a low glycemic diet. These versions have more protein and fiber. It’s funny that the boxes indicate “Product of Italy”. Do they makes pastas like these in Italy? I just asked my husband, Bryan, who lived in Sicily for two years and he doesn’t think so.

Tonight, I used the pasta made with pea flour to make macaroni and cheese. I did not like the taste of the pasta itself after I boiled it. However, combined with my delicious cheese sauce and some time in the oven, it wasn’t bad. And to my surprise, my husband and kids enjoyed it. I also plan on using my spiralizer more for vegetables as an alternative to pasta altogether.

Reassessing your goals is important to make sure you’re staying on track. You don’t have to beat yourself up. Just do an honest self-assessment. No shame, no blame. Readjust if needed.

How are your 2020 goals coming along?