When life hands you lemons…

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I was a baton twirler in high school, so naturally I juggle.

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My backup career is to join the circus. Barefooted.

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^ This book (highly recommend!) is what got me thinking about this topic. Not the joining the circus as a solid Plan B, but the topic of “When life hands you lemons…”

You get to finish that sentence.

… “Make lemonade”
… “Add alcohol and make vodka sours”
… “Juggle them”
… “Throw the lemons on the ground and stomp on them”

However you want to finish that sentence- that’s your choice.

But what isn’t always your choice is what form the lemons manifest in your life. My lemons have taken many forms, most notably getting diagnosed with an incurable autoimmune disease at age 21. Shoutout to moderate to severe ulcerative colitis Crohn’s disease.

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P.S. Diagnosis was ulcerative colitis, then crohn’s, then ulcerative colitis…and most recently, “Crohn’s?”

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And at times I threw it on the ground.

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I did not handle the lemons gently and I didn’t do life so gracefully, because Crohn’s is a bitter-sour pill to swallow…again and again, ups and downs of flaring and thriving- one step forward and two steps back.

But at the end of the day- it’s my choice. What am I gonna do with those lemons?

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What are you gonna do with YOUR lemons? The pain and the uncomfortable, unfair life that happens that you can’t control- what are you going to do?

I think we create our own realities. Not completely because, you know, disease and things out of our control. Lemons.

But we choose the response that becomes our reality, and that is powerful. YOU choose to get up off of the bathroom floor, put down the Netflix remote, and chase the world outside and around us. You choose to see and feel the beautiful life stuff. You choose to muster the appreciation of the crap that’s happened to you…because even though it’s bitter-sour, it makes you all the more resilient, if you let it.

So.

Let the lemons make your life more flavorful, even though it doesn’t always taste good – let it make you better.
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Because I believe you’re bigger and badder and sweeter than your lemons, and if you disagree then we can just join the circus together.

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P.S. Health benefits of actual lemons:
-Vitamin C is good for your immune system
-Helps with hydration: drinking flavored water sometimes makes you drink faster
-Natural diuretic and can prevent bloating

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P.P.S. I set up the self-timer on my iPhone to take ALL of these goofy photos with lemons AND THEN I put them on the world wide web for the world to see—

-Stacey

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Let Them Eat Carbs!

I read something infuriating today.

It was one of those “Daily Mail” articles from SnapChat- I know, it’s basically tabloids a la social media; not my proudest moment. This article was about how Kim Kardashian has been sweating her way to redemption from those thong bikini pictures. (disclaimer: I don’t even know the difference between the Kardashians, so I had to google “Which one is Kim?”)

The article angered me, nonetheless- “unflattering” bikini photos? Were the photos so bad that Kim needed to dedicate her life after vacation to living the photos down and THEN we needed to publish an article about it? I mean, c’mon, people. We have got to get away from the body-shaming rhetoric. Make. it. stop. Could we not have written about her confidence in her bikini? How she was proud of her body while on vacation? How she was spending time with people she loved? Nope.

But what really got my blood boiling was that the article quoted that she is eating “absolutely no carbs.” And I hear so often from people around me about how they’ve “cut out carbs” and I just need to lay some truth.

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YOU NEED CARBS.
Normal recommendations are about 3-5 grams per kilogram of body weight per day (or 45-55% of your diet). If you’re active, make that 8-10 grams/kilogram, or 55-65% of your diet. Runners especially need carbohydrates, because the muscles are fueled primarily through carbohydrates during endurance exercise.

WHY do we need carbs? 
Because carbs give us energy! Glucose is your body’s main source of energy, and it comes from the breakdown of carbohydrates. Your brain and central nervous system need glucose to function, and so does your metabolism! If your body has enough carbohydrates in the body, it will carry out protein and fat metabolism without using the protein that’s being used to build muscle.

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What kind of carbs can our body use? There are three: starch, sugahh, and fiber.

1.Starch-peas, beans, potatoes, or grains (note: whole grains contain all parts of the grain and thus have more nutrients than a refined grain)

2.Sugar– you may have heard of “simple” or “fast acting” carbs. This is because the insulin is quickly released into your blood stream, causing a decrease in your blood sugar and a suppressed release of fatty acids from fat stores. There are two types of sugar carbs: Those in milk or fruit, which are naturally occurring, and those in sweets and sodas, which are added in a process.

3.Fiber– carbs are non-digestible and come from plants, like spinach, kale, lettuce, beans, legumes, nuts, oatmeal, fruits and veggies (especially those with edible skin and seeds). Try to consume 20-30g/day for optimal benefits. Fibrous foods will help with the feeling of fullness, or satiety.

“BUT I WANNA LOSE WEIGHT, STACEY.”
I get it- it’s true that if you have TOO MUCH glucose, it’s going to get stored as fat. So cut the carbs that release insulin into your blood stream too quickly (these are those simple or fast acting sugars). These carbs, like breads, pastas, cakes, and sodas, will slow down the release of stored fat. We want to burn fat when we exercise, so we need it to be released! The goal is to use the fuel that is consumed; not to store it as fat, so you’ll want to eat food that slowly moves glucose into the blood stream and provides longer-lasting energy, like whole foods and fibers (think brown rice, berries, oatmeal, or bananas!).  Fuel well! But don’t cut ALL your carbs, dear people- I beg of you. Your brain and your body will thank you.

[Please note: A cool thing about being human is that everyone is unique; some people may require less carbs and more fat than others, etc. It’s important to speak with your doctor or a registered dietitian before any medical adjustments or dietary changes.] 🙂

After a few days of practice over the last couple of weeks, I finally feel like I can *almost* jump rope without tripping over my own two feet. This was yesterday after ten minutes of hopping around. I’ve been trying to make working out less regimented and more fun- highly recommend the jump rope 🙂

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Keep moving forward 🙂

-Stacey

—–

What do you think of low-carb diets? Have you ever tried one?
Any recommendations for weighted jump ropes that aren’t made for giant humans? Having a hard time finding one! 

 

References: In case you’d like to read some of the articles that I used for this blog post: 🙂
http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/diseases-and-conditions/diabetes/carbohydrates-part-of-a-healthful-diabetes-diet

Fuel Sources During Exercise


http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/understanding-carbohydrates/types-of-carbohydrates.html

 


Keepin’ On + Vanilla Berry-Kiwi Chia Seed Pudding Recipe

Guys. I’m gonna be real.

For the past few weeks I have struggled with feeling inspired…more than just with my blog content (you may or may not have noticed that I slowed down from hammering out a post daily).

I started wondering, “Should I continue pursuing my degree in dietetics?” Graduation seems so far away at times since I’m working full time using my sociology degree (Yes, kids. You CAN get hired using that liberal arts degree after all!) and taking one/two classes at a time is DRAGGING.

So naturally, I started looking at other degrees career paths. Master’s in Pubic Health? Oh. I could do that! But as I was doing a case study for my nutrition class on Friday night I thought, “I love this crap. I’m just gonna have to suck it up and stick it out.” So that’s what I’m doing. Sticking it out- juggling work with school, and keepin’ on (even though TBH I wish my school wasn’t online and was in person- I LOVE THE CLASSROOM. But I’m thankful anyway).

And today on my run I was reminded of how I always struggle during the first mile and a half and forget why I love running. It’s not until I push through until miles two or three that I FEEL it. “THIS is why I run. Because I’m out here, when I could be anywhere else.” And it’s liberating, after the first mile and a half of clumsy feet/ gettin’ into my groove.

But I keep on.

And then suddenly my muscles remember what we’re doing. My breathing picks up and settles into a familiar pattern. My legs swing happily beneath me. I can feel the wind (on a good, breezy day anyway). There’s nothing like it. And there’s nothing comparable to the feeling of finishing a race after months of training hard. There’s nothing sweeter than the feeling of accomplishment.

So I’m keeping on.

Past this semester of “Ugh why am I doing this?” until I get my groove back. Because I will. Because nutrition is my ultimate jam, and I’m good with people.

So whatever you’re pursuing, keep on…past the mile/semester/time of being uncomfortable, because trials develop perseverance, and perseverance develops maturity. One day you’ll find joy in what seemed like suffering, because you’ll have accomplished your goals…and there’s nothin’ sweeter than that. (1)

Except this, maybe this:

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Vanilla Berry-Kiwi Chia Seed Pudding

It’s gluten free. It’s dairy free. It’s pudding.

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-1 C coconut yogurt (I used vanilla)
-small splash of milk (sorry, I’m still working on the measuring thing
-1/4 C chia seeds
-1/2 C raspberries
-1/2 C blackberries
-1/2 C strawberries
-1/2 C kiwi, peeled and sliced

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-Mix kiwi, blackberries, and splash of almond milk (we’re talkin’ probably less than 1/4 cup of almond milk, guys. Jusssst a splash) in a medium-large mixing bowl.
-Once mixed(ish), stir 1 C coconut yogurt into mixture
-Add chia seeds and stir some more
-Pour in glass container and refrigerate overnight.
-Enjoy a serving for breakfast (about 1/2 cup), topped with favorite granola

When you wake up in the morning, this should be your view:

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I know it doesn’t look all that appetizing, but it is. Oh. It is. Promise.

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About chia seeds:
-not just for chia pets

 

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source: Target.com

-high in Omega-3 fatty acids (if you don’t like seafood, here’s your substitute!)
-high in protein (about 4g/serving in this pudding!- not including the protein from yogurt)
-an antioxidant! Healthful anti-inflammatory properties in these seeds

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Let me know what cha think if you give this recipe a shot! I’ve got a fun Workout Wednesday post in the works for mañana.

Hope you’re having a lovely week. Keep on keepin’ on!

-Stacey

Footnotes: (1) Romans 5:4


[Addictive] Maple Vanilla Granola Recipe

Hope everyone had/is having a wonderful weekend!

The pup and I hung around the house thanks to thunder storms all weekend long. I don’t complain about an excuse to watch “You’ve Got Mail” until I fall asleep though 🙂

IMG_2264-2Zack survived his very first solo grocery shopping trip, and he did quite well. He even sent me texts as he frantically searched for all the items on my list. He returned with a chai tea from my favorite coffee shop in town. Marriage to this guy is so good.

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^ made me laugh. God bless him.

If you follow me on Instagram, you can find a slow cooker recipe for lemon garlic chicken and potatoes on my story that I threw together today. Turned out fantastic! I’ll post the recipe on the blog later this week if you missed it.

But first!

I have to share this granola recipe with ya’ll before I forget it. This granola is like crack, so if you’re hoping for something that’s not completely addictive…oops. But don’t take my word for it! Give it a shot yourself, and let me know what cha think!

This stuff is gluten free and full of goodness.

Maple Vanilla Granola

1/2 C sunflower seeds
1/2 C pumpkin seeds
4 C gluten free oats (or whichever rolled oats are your favorite!)
a dash (or two or three) of cinnamon- I love cinnamon

Mix all these ingredients together in a bowl separate from the wet ingredients.
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Mix:
1/4 C coconut oil
1/4 C organic maple syrup
Justtttt a tad of organic vanilla- I like to eyeball it. (Still working on measuring things!)
1/4 C natural peanut buttah
I like to heat these ^ until softened (not too long!)- it’s much easier to stir.

Then, pour the mixed, wet ingredients over the mixed, dry ingredients.

Stir until nice and mixed, once it seems all the dry ingredients have been nicely covered.
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Spread evenly on a non-stick pan and pop in the oven for 30 minutes on 275, stirring frequently (every 8-12 minutes) and making sure it doesn’t burn. You want it this golden brown color!

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You can also get creative and add raisins, almond slices, coconut slivers, or dark chocolate to this mixture once it cools. Store in an air-tight container. Serve over smoothies, ice cream, yogurt, or enjoy by the handful. This stuff is packed with healthy fats and carbs (complex ones!) and also makes a great fuel for athletes.

Hope you all have a great Monday!!!

Keep moving forward 🙂

-Stacey


A Chocolate Strawberry-Banana Nutty Smoothie

GOOOOD MORNING!

Okay. Ready for a smoothie? I got ‘chu.

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Chocolate Strawberry-Banana Nutty Smoothie

-1 C almond/coconut milk mix

-1 scoop Vega chocolate sport protein

-3/4 banana

-Handfull of strawberries

-2 tbsp peanut buttah

-1 C ice

BLEND!

Top with remaining banana (sliced), two chopped strawberries, a pinch of chia seeds, a pinch of sliced almonds, and a leeetle pinch of shredded coconut.

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This thing is PACKED with healthy fats and protein. Eat with a spoon and it’ll feel like a whole meal instead of a snack. This was today’s breakfast. Not pictured: coffee.

On the running calendar for today: 4 miles tempo…and it is gawgeous outside.

Hope your day is a good one!

-Stacey

Eph 2:8-9 

2 Cor 12:9

1 Peter 5:10


Slow-cooker chicken breast recipe (low FODMAP friendly)

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-1.5-2lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breast (mine was frozen, and that was fine!)

-2 large Idaho potatoes OR 4 new potatoes, diced with skin on (I used Idaho potatoes because it’s what was in the pantry, but I think new potatoes would be even better)

-2 tbsp of garlic-infused olive oil

-2 large lemons, juiced

-1/2 tbsp rosemary

-1/2 tbsp oregano

-dash of black pepper

Mix olive oil, fresh lemon juice (NOTE: don’t use the lemon juice that comes in the crappy plastic lemon and expect this to taste just as good), rosemary, oregano, and black pepper. Pour about 3/4 over chicken in slow-cooker, and pour the rest over the diced potatoes layered on top of the chicken. Close slow-cooker and set to high for four hours, or low for 6-8 hours.

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If you want to make this and you’re not following low FODMAP, feel free to add minced garlic and some diced onion to this recipe! Very aromatic, and you’ll come home from work feelin’ 50 shades of accomplished!

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This could also be layered with green beans and be delicious. I steamed some broccoli separately, and it made for an easy meal.

I intend to make some chicken salad with the leftover chicken. mmm.

Let me know if you try this recipe! Feel free to tweak it! Confession: I have a *hard* time measuring ingredients. I’m more of a pinch and pour kind of cook, so if you feel like it needs more or less of something, make it your own! It’s YOUR kitchen! Go crazy.

Hope you have a great Wednesday 🙂

-Stacey


Vanilla Berry Smoothie Recipe

CHECK OUT THAT BLUE SKY!

For the past few days it has been gorgeous outside! Seriously. Wow.

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View from the top floor of a parking garage in OKC. Am I the only person who always parks on the top floor of the parking garage so I don’t forget where I parked my car? I am a grandma.

Last night dinner wins:

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I found a low FODMAP friendly version of delicious shrimp scampi from here (THANK YOU), and discovered that garlic infused olive oil is permitted on low FODMAP- PRAISE!!! I was about to lose my mind (up in here, up in here) over the no garlic rule. Give.Me.Gahhlic. Also, all the brown rice pasta (in moderation). I actually had two heaping helpings- serving sizes be damned.

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Sides were arugula salad with olive oil and lemon drizzle and some walnuts, green beans, and peppered tomatoes…because I was craving them. Zack thinks I’m weird *whips hair*.

Low FODMAP update:
-I have stopped counting how long I have been enduring life without salsa.
-Update: 3 weeks since I started over after eating my body weight in chicken fried steak a few weekends ago (but in my defense, it had been 4+ years since the last time I ate chicken fried steak at all)
-Symptoms are still happening, but I’m in pain far less often- WIN!
-I STARTED RUNNING AGAIN AND THIS IS A HUGE DEAL
-Energy levels…slowly, ever so slowly, increasing! 🙂
-Also on new meds, so shoutout to those bad boys

You can’t win, ulcerative colitis.

Today I made a smoothie thing in an effort to disguise my enteragam protein from the doc.

I’m going to call it this thing a vanilla berry smoothie. And in case you haven’t had granola on top of your smoothie, you are missin’ out. View this post for a homemade pb granola recipe.

Here’s a new smoothie recipe:

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-1 scoop vanilla Vega sport protein (1/2 scoop if you’re low FODMAPpin’)
-1 C water
-2 tbsp pb
-1/2 C frozen raspberries
-1-2 C frozen blueberries
-1/2 C plain Greek yogurt (lactose free yogurt if on low FODMAP/ maintain dairy free diet)
Blend!

Top with granola, eat with a spoon
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Fun facts:
-smoothies should be consumed as snacks, rather than replacement meals, because drinking your calories doesn’t register in the brain the same way food does. You could be drinking more calories than you would be consuming if you were eating them, because drinks just aren’t as satiating as food. You can read more about this here
-Try to blend your smoothie to a consistency where you CAN eat it with a spoon, and make them full of protein and fats to make you feel fuller, creating a more satisfying snack
-Also, be careful not to add TOO much fruit, because it will turn to sugar!
-I wasn’t intentionally doing any sort of marketing by using their glasses, but Saint Arnold Brewery in Houston is worth checking out. They’re big supporters of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, and their beer is good.

Hope you’re having a fantastic Friday 🙂 Keep moving forward! YAY WEEKEND!

-Stacey


Weekend Recap + GF & Low FODMAP PB Granola Recipe

Hi, Friends!

It’s been a minute. Last week was spent juggling phone calls with insurance companies and doctors in between naps. I’ve been flaring hard, running to the bathroom 16 times a day or so and fighting to stay hydrated, so I was begging for the insurance companies to comply and get me infused. One phone call, the representative asked if I had tried a “generic” brand of medication, one that was “less expensive and less of a hassle than an infusion.” I’m not sure who gave insurance company reps a license to practice medicine, but GAH THEY SUCK. Rant over.

Finally, on Friday.

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Four years on this medication, and it’s losing its efficacy, but I’ll go for an appointment next week to brainstorm more solutions. But I am still SO thankful that symptoms have slowed down a bit since. PRAISE!

My parents came for the day on Saturday, and we took them to Torchy’s Tacos. If you live in Texas, Colorado, or Oklahoma and you’ve never been to Torchy’s, you should re-prioritize your life to include Torchy’s. My dad was pretty stoked about it. Then, they kindly took a “family photo” of us with our little house before they left.

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After my parents left, we drove to the lake and watched the sun set. Perfect ending to a day.

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Jaxon was thrilled to do some exploring. The little deaf dog is doing better at obeying sign language.

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On Sunday, I made homemade granola while we watched a healthy dose of Netflix.

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The very best part about this recipe is that it’s Low FODMAP AND gluten free (AND delicious). Recipe at the end of this post :).

Sunday was capped off with a four mile walk/run. Isn’t campus beautiful? I went to UT Austin, so this is a very genuine compliment coming from a rival school, where football is blood and life (even though we have been strugglin’). Really though. Such a pretty place for a run.

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The first two miles were rough. Getting back into it felt like my lungs forgot how to give me enough oxygenated blood, and I literally saw stars from being dizzy once I made it to the top of some hills. I fully believe that the first couple miles are the worst part of running. I decided to walk/jog the two miles home. My body is still working to heal from this flare. It felt so good to be out on the pavement again, though. My happy place.

As promised…

PB granola recipe:

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If eaten in a quantity equal to or less than 1/4 C, it’s low FODMAP.
-2 tbsp coconut
-2 C gluten free old fashioned oats
-2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
-1 tbsp chia seeds

-1 tbsp pure maple syrup
-2 tbsp melted coconut oil
-1/2 C softened PB

mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately, then mix them together. Put them in the oven on aluminum foil for 30 minutes on 350, tossing occasionally. Ta-dahh! Granola. My personal favorite way of getting carbs in the early morning

Hope you are having a great Monday, or at least find comfort in the thought of tomorrow being Tuesday 🙂

Keep moving forward

-Stacey

 

 


Recovery Smoothie (Low FODMAP compliant)

Hello!

Hope you’re enjoying your Wednesday! This week is flyin’.

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Smoothie time.

It’s important if you’re working out, you realize that you’re putting (good) stress on your muscles, which can sometimes lead to oxidative stress. To help optimize your body’s recovery process it’s important to include some antioxidants, like blueberries, dark green veggies, or nuts to help combat that oxidative stress. This smoothie is high in antioxidants  AND protein, and it makes for a great recovery snack.

The deets: Did I just say “deets?”

-1 scoop Vega chocolate sport protein, 30g protein (for low FODMAP take a little less than half of the scoop so the pea protein is still compliant, and add some liquid egg whites for extra protein if needed)

-1 tbsp PB, 4 g protein; 8 g (good) fat (over half is heart-healthy monounsaturated fat; and ~30% is polyunsaturated fat) source

-1 cup blueberries

-1/2 cup raspberries

-handful of leafy greens

-1/2 cup plain, lactose-free yogurt (for low FODMAP) OR probiotic Greek yogurt

-1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (vanilla almond milk is good, too)

BLEND & serve 🙂

Top with some almonds and strawberries for fun

Hope you enjoy your day! Today is nutrition homework day for me. Keep moving forward!

-Stacey


A Low-FODMAP Compliant Smoothie Snack

Hi, Friends!

Hope you had a great weekend.

This weekend I realized something awful.

Salsa on the low FODMAP elimination diet isn’t a thing.

On the Whole30, I learned to be careful with salsas and even tried making some homemade, but onions and garlic are allowed on Whole30, and they’re strictly NOT on low FODMAP. It’s okay. 5 more weeks. Without salsa. The longest in my Texas-raised life that I have lived without salsa. I will survive.

This weekend we did a ton of house organization stuff. Apparently I am a hoarder and kept every single one of my notebooks from undergrad. Yikes.

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We continued playing with our cool, new kitchen appliances. I was craving a smoothie, so I threw some things in the ninja blender

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and ta-dah! A smoothie snack.

It wasn’t good. I can’t get over the texture left behind from blended cucumbers.

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But this morning’s breakfast smoothie snack was delicious (and less attractive). The best part- it’s low FODMAP 🙂

I was a little concerned about using my favorite protein, Vega brand. One of the main sources of protein it uses is pea protein. After researching, I’m fairly certain that it’s still a qualified low-FODMAP food if consumed in amounts <20g. One whole scoop serving is 44g, so I measured less than half of the scoop.

-A little less than 1/2 scoop of Vega Sport Chocolate protein
-1/2 C almond milk/water mix
-1/2 C coconut milk yogurt (or another lactose-free yogurt)
-1 C ice
-1/2 tbsp peanut butter (or coconut oil! another good source of healthy fat)
-1/2 tbsp chia seeds (another decent source of protein)
Blend!

(I also added a packet of Enteragam protein from my doctor. Doesn’t affect the taste)
I normally like to add frozen fruits or veggies to my smoothies…but I need to go grocery shopping.

Hope you’re all having a really great Monday!

Keep moving forward 🙂

-Stacey