Can’t get any easier: Chia Pudding

Weight Update: I’m at 169lbs (down from 181lbs)! Finally below 170! Only 4 more pounds until I reach my first goal. This is the slowest, most agonizing process but I have to keep going. Follow me on Instagram for more frequent updates.

Happy Sunday everyone! It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post so I’m going to give you two recipes to get you through your week. It’s the same base, two different ways, and an endless number of possibilities.

I drink a meal replacement shake every morning and it doesn’t change much. 1 scoop protein powder (I use IdealShape!) almond milk, almond butter, chia, and banana (239 calories). Yum!!! But it gets kind of boring after 10 or 15 of these. So when I need to switch things up but still want to keep it low cal + healthy, I make chia pudding.

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View from the top of the breakfast hunger

If I forget to make it the night before, I toss all of the ingredients into my Nutribullet and voila! Easy breakfast.

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Blended Chia Pudding – great breakfast for the office!

Blended Chia Pudding

What you’ll need

  • high speed blender
  • spatula
  • tablespoon
  • 1/2 c. measuring cup
  • small container with a lid

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice (almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, cashew milk, etc)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • cinnamon
  • toppings! fruit, nut butter, nuts, cacao, dried fruit, coconut, granola, whatever you like

Instructions

  1. Combine the chia seeds, milk and maple syrup in the blender. Sprinkle cinnamon to taste.
  2. Blend on high for about 1-2 minutes, until thick and smooth. It will be slightly gelatinous to touch. Pour into the container and top with your favorite things. Enjoy!

Est. 203 calories without toppings

Overnight Chia Pudding

What you’ll need

  • small container with a lid
  • tablespoon
  • 1/2 c. measuring cup

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup milk of choice (almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, cashew milk, etc)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • cinnamon
  • toppings! fruit, nut butter, nuts, cacao, dried fruit, coconut, granola, whatever you like

Instructions

  1. Combine the chia seeds, milk, maple syrup, cinnamon to taste. Give it a good stir.
  2. Let sit in the fridge for a least 4 hours. It should thicken up immensely and have a gelatinous, tapioca like consistency. If it’s too thick when you’re ready to eat it, add a little extra milk to loosen it up. Top it with your favorite things. Enjoy!

Est. 215 calories without toppings

Tip: Feel free to add 1/8 tsp of almond or vanilla extra or 1/4 tsp orange zest to brighten the flavor. You can also do milk blends. I personally like using almond milk and canned, cooking coconut milk. It makes it so creamy!

 

A Story About Forgiving Yourself… Sort Of

This is a tough topic to bring up and I’ve decided to post my thoughts on it, raw and probably circular, on the internet.

I feel some serious frustration towards myself for letting myself become overweight. I’ve pushed healthy food professionally and personally for so many years but I didn’t commit to what I was preaching. I blamed the catering life for a while. How could I say no three cheese mac or coffee-cacao rubbed brisket?

A life-long, turbulent relationship with food and body image has brought me here. The reason I am overweight is because I have been saturated in denial about being in control of the issue.

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March 8th, 2016. Somewhere between 176-181lbs.

I know I’m not huge but I’m uncomfortable. I feel it most when I’m active but I can feel it even when I’m sedentary. My back has next to no strength to support itself and my poor hips and knees are achy.

When my brother decided to move forward with his weight loss surgery, I decided it was my turn to get serious about making some changes. So on January 6th, I started counting calories and slowly incorporating more activity into my day.

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Ow ow ow ow ow ow

Fast forward to today. I’ve lost about 9-10lbs. With the sun shining for the first time all week, I went for a run and I was slow (14 min avg pace!?!?). I was beginning to beat myself up for not being able to go longer or faster. Why didn’t I jog more? Why was this so hard? I wanted to give up halfway through the mile but I couldn’t. As a personal philosophy I don’t give up until I know the returns will be zilch.

I know this is going to be a long and slow process. I did the math- I would have to eat 1200 calories/day to lose 1lb/week to which I said, “Oh HELL no.” I love food and all of its complexities. Giving up my connection to food would be sacrificing a part of my identity (see personal Instagram tagline: Data nerd, Brooklyn biker, vegetable pusher). What I need to do is kickstart my relationship with food.  I don’t need to eat all the snacks because they’re there but if I want a donut, I should have a donut. And I should plan for that donut. I should savor that donut and all of its doughy sweetness. And then eat a giant bowl of vegetables when I’m hungry.

I’m trying to forgive myself for treating my body so badly all these years. Hundreds of days of endless drinking, mindless eating, and minimal movement that have damaged parts of me I didn’t know I had. I don’t know how to do this but I need to start somewhere. So I’ll start here, telling you about how like every other person struggling with their weight, I am mad at myself. The only way I can move forward psychologically and physically is to identify it, acknowledge it, and then let it go. Let self-love repair all that I’ve destroyed and salvage the few parts of me that are still ready to do this.

I’ll keep counting and restricting calories until I’ve reached a healthy point but I will not let anger fuel my desire to get there. To all of you sharing the same struggle, do yourself a favor and forgive yourself for failing time and time again. You’ve only lost when you’ve given up.

Also, get yourself a mantra. It helps.

Mine? Be strong, but gentle.

 

Sunday Snacks: Roasted Chickpeas

Happy Sunday! I was thinking of featuring a favorite snack on Sundays. Thoughts?

Today we’re chomping on roasted chickpeas. In the spirit of this wonderfully quick snack, I’ll keep today’s post short & sweet, but mostly savory.

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Roasted Chickpeas

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 large baking sheet lined with foil or parchment
  • colander
  • spatula
  • Paper towels or a very clean dish towel

Ingredients:

  • 1 29oz can of chickpeas, drained OR 2 15oz cans, drained
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • any other herb/spice your heart desires

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400. f you haven’t already, drain the chickpeas in the colander.
  2. Carefully and slowly pour the chickpeas onto a dish towel or layer of paper towels on the counter. Dry the chickpeas until they have an almost matte like texture. Air drying works great too.
  3. Transfer to the foil/parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with about 1-2 tbsp olive oil and stir to evenly coat with oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Bake for a total of 30 minutes, checking and stirring every 10 minutes, until chickpeas are lightly browned. Caution when stirring the chickpeas while they’re baking- some might pop at you!
  5. Remove from oven and transfer to a bowl. Toss with your favorite spices. I have a homemade za’atar blend that I like to put on chickpeas, yogurt, and popcorn. Enjoy!

Tip: These are seriously the best when they are warm. Also, while these are delightful and vegan, chickpeas are high in protein and in calories so be sure to eat the amount that works for your diet.

Oh my goodness, Granola!

It’s finally happened. It’s taken years to be convinced that I could do it and all it took was a wonderful suggestion from my best friend.

Let’s back up for a minute. I like granola. I usually like my granola with yogurt. I don’t like whole nuts or dried fruit in my yogurt. That limits a vast selection of granola out there on the shelves. On top of that, I’m particular about sweetness and spice levels. I prefer lots of cinnamon with a touch of sweet.

I think what I’m getting at is that granola preferences are individualistic and completely based on context.

So when my best friend shared her recipe with me (and some of her granola), I knew it was time I gave it a try. By the way, her spreadsheet has a log of various trials and notes for the next baking session. It’s methodical and beautiful. Today I’m sharing the base version of hers that yielded the best result thus far. I’ve made my own tweaks because I

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Goodness Granola

What you’ll need:

  • baking sheets lined with parchment paper (use glass baking dishes if you don’t have parchment, lightly greased)
  • 1 large mixing bowl, 1 medium mixing bowl
  • measuring cups + spoons
  • spatula

Ingredients

  • 3.5 cups extra thick cut oats
  • 1 cup almonds, chopped/smashed
  • 1/4-1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, torn into smaller pieces
  • 2-2.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (plus a little extra on hand)
  • 1/4 cup canola/vegetable oil (plus a little extra on hand)
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract or vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In the large mixing bowl, combine the oats, almonds, coconut flakes, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the medium mixing bowl, Combine the oil, maple syrup, honey and extract. Carefully whisk until mostly blended.
  4. Poor the wet over the dry, mix until completely coated. If some areas seem dry still, drizzle 1 tbsp maple syrup and a touch of oil. Mix.
  5. Spread the granola in an even later on the pans. Bake in oven for 9-10 minutes. Stir and bake for another 9-10 minutes until lightly browned. Keep an eye on the granola towards the end of the second half of baking.
  6. Once the granola is done, remove from oven and completely cool. Store in airtight container.

Notes: You can use molasses or agave for vegan variations. Add 1/2 cup pepitas, cashews, etc.

Want to Lose Weight? Eat less.

A new diet study just out from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition went to a lot of trouble to prove the obvious.  When it comes to weight loss, how much you eat matters more than the proportion of fat, carbohydrate, and protein in your foods.

Researchers at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center got volunteers to eat diets that were supposed to differ in proportions of fat (40% vs 20%), carbohydrates (35% vs. 65%), and protein (25% vs. 15%).

The results of the study are consistent with the findings from many previous studies:

  • The major predictor for weight loss was adherence to the diet.
  • People on all of the diets lost weight by six months, but regained some of it by two years.
  • The study had a high drop-out rate (hence the importance of adherence).
  • It was hard for people to stick to the diets, especially those at the extremes of one dietary component or another.

-Marion Nestle, Food Politics

This news is not necessarily earth shattering but it is definitely overshadowed by many health fads and lobbying efforts. Marion Nestle concludes her article with the same fact-of-the-matter, the-answer-is-in-front-of-your-eyes tone:

The bottom line: all diets work if you stick to them.

I suppose I don’t need to say how much I admire this woman.

Want to Lose Weight? Eat less.