My health journey

9.23.2014

At the start of the year, I set my one word as restore, with health and strength being two of the things I needed to restore to my life.  I’ve never been one to seriously stick to resolutions. But this time was different. I needed to make a change.  I wanted to be stronger.  I was sick of hurting my back, sick of feeling drained.

And here I am. Almost 10 months later and I’ve stuck to my goal.  And while I started out slim, I was not muscular by any means.  I took a gamble and stepped outside of my comfort zone and low and behold, I began to see some amazing results.  Seeing your body change and take on a whole new shape, a whole new physique you never thought possible is completely amazing and addicting.

 

I’ve gone from 20% to 18.3% body fat and 32.1% to 33.1% muscle and I’ve gained 2.8lbs. I never did measurements or anything else, because frankly, I am not trying to lose inches or pounds. My goal has always been to be a healthier, stronger me.

 

Throughout all of this, I’ve discovered that I like bike riding! That is not hard anymore. And now that I have muscles and a strong core to carry me, running is actually easy (though I still don’t enojoy it, so its not something I do by itself). I’ve learned that I love to try new things like aerial yoga or do challenges like obstacle courses.

Two weeks ago, I went to see my doctor to discuss my plan for making it through this winter. When he walked in, he immediately commented that in the 13 years he’s known me, this is the best I’ve ever looked. And that was saying a LOT, given that it was likely the busiest 2 weeks of the year and I was sorely lacking in sleep at that point and feeling like crap!

These past 3 weeks, I’ve been part of a nurtition challenge at my gym. While I’ve mostly always eaten healthy, this has given me the final nudge to feel my best by making sure not only that I get in my fruits, veggies, protein, carbs, probiotics, and water each day, but that I get enough and that I am fueling my body post-workout, as well. During all of this, I’ve given up my daily cup of coffee. I miss it (just haven’t gotten around to buying decaf yet), but you know what? Gone is my afternoon slump. So its worth its weight in gold.

All that said, I guess what I am getting at is that there are no short cuts. The dedication of hard work and healthy eating (and no, I do not believe in “cheating”…I believe in everything in moderation, because life’s too short not to enjoy the fun things, too) are what got me here. And I am damn proud of myself for sticking with this one. Especially because I want to set a good example for my children.

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Thai isnpired chicken

9.17.2014

I purchased an entire cut up organic, pastured chicken from a vendor at the farmers market and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. Entire chickens are a new territory to me.  I hemmed and hawed and then Monday came and it was cold and rainy and I had to be gone for a funeral from 1:30-7:30, so I made soup.

An entire chicken was a bit much for the soup, so I set some pieces aside for another night.  The following night, I decided on a modification of a recipe that I’ve had for many years. I think I got it from my uncle back when I was in college.  Its a favorite of my husband and kids and let me tell you….it was DIVINE.  Woah.  The perfect thing to make with leftover chicken (or turkey).

 

thai chicken recipe

Thai Chicken

Prepare 1.5 c. short brown rice with a few sprigs of parsley. I use the recipe from It’s All Good to make my rice and it comes out perfect every time. My family hasn’t turned their noses at brown rice since. I also think using short grain vs. long grain helps.

2 lbs. cooked, shredded chicken breast
2 medium red peppers, sliced into matchsticks
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 scallions, finely chopped
2 TB expeller pressed neutral oil

Whisk together following ingredients for the sauce:
4 TB coconut aminos
2 TB chopped cilantro (or 2tsp dried)
2 TB honey
3 tsp curry
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp arrowroot powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

Heat oil in a pan. Add peppers and stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Add crushed garlic and white part of scallion. Stir fry until peppers are tender-crisp. Add chicken and stir thoroughly. Cook until heated through. Add sauce, stir thoroughly. Cook 1 min more. Serve over rice. Garnish with green part of scallion.

Be prepared to have all of it eaten up!

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a {very yummy} healthier chocolate chip zucchini bread

9.03.2014

This is the time of the year when many of us find ourselves with an over-abundance of zucchini and summer squash and well, what better way to use them up than to bake yummy treats with them? Especially since my kids claim not to like zucchini. But if I bake it into breads or muffins, they eat it up like no tomorrow.

When my kids came home with these “fudge brownies” and I tossed them, I decided to treat them to some yummy chocolate chip zucchini bread. I grabbed an old recipe I had on an index card and tweaked it to make it a bit more healthy and we were all pleasantly pleased with the results. Except for my husband…who prefers not to have chocolate chips in his breads. Crazy man.
chocolate chip zucchini bread
Ingredients
3/4 c. milk
2 eggs
3/4 c. coconut sugar
1/3 c. coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla
2 zucchini, shredded
2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
a lot of chocolate chips ;)

Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour a loaf pan or a bundt pan. Whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients + chocolate chips and stir until everything is combined. Pour into pan. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 50-60 mins. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 min and then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.

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Addiction

8.07.2014


I am the sibling of an addict. And while it is not my place to tell his story, I have my own story to tell.

It is something I think about every day. Several times a day.

It is tiring, absolutely exhausting, when your sibling is an addict. You feel powerless. You ARE powerless. You can do a million things…love them, support them, preach to them…none of it makes a goddamn difference. It just plain sucks. All I can do is control how I react to him.

So many times I think back to our childhood and think, what drove him to make these choices? And not just try them, but try it all. And not stop. And all I can do to keep myself from going insane is tell myself, despite what he spews at us, it that my family did not cause this, my family cannot control this, and my family cannot cure this. *deep breath* And hope that someday, he will step up and take responsibility for himself.

If I could get through to him and he’d actually listen to what I have to say, I’d want him to know that I do support him, but that doesn’t mean I support or approve of his choices. It doesn’t mean I agree with the choices he makes. I love him. He’s my brother. But he’s killing me. And if that’s my inner turmoil, I cannot imagine how my parents feel. Not that he cares. Because addiction is a selfish disease.

He’s high maintainance. He drains my parents of their finances and their energy and it kills me that he thinks nothing of it….that he feels entitled to it. So I sit here, quietly, trying never to rock the boat and ask more of them than they can give. I try not to be bitter about it, but as my words show, its there.

And while he may have quit the terrible awful addiction (and traded it in for lesser drugs), until he repairs his relationships with us, we will forever live in this state of turmoil.

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Twinning

8.05.2014

Twin-relationships

It was May of 2003 when I found out that I was pregnant with twins. My husband and I were at the OB’s office and she did an ultrasound at 7 weeks and immediately found them. Ultrasounds are so fuzzy and you never quite know what you’re looking at early in the game. But I will always remember her saying, “there’s the baby….and there’s the other baby.” I think I stopped breathing for almost a minute. I know I started crying. I was like, “what?!” She said, “Its twins, sweetie.” and went on to explain that twin A was measuring a bit smaller than twin B and what that could mean and that we’d have to watch it and I would come back in 2 weeks for another ultrasound. My husband, he was ecstatic. He immediately said, “I’ve always wanted to be a twin!” (or something like that). Me? I was freaking the hell out. The thoughts going through my head ranged from, “holy crap!” to “I have a 13 month old at home. How the hell am I going to do twins?!?!” to “How the hell can my body carry two babies??!!” to “How can we afford daycare??” to “Please let Baby A thrive. Please. Please.” Never once, not for a second, did I ever have thoughts like these parents. Sure, there have been times that it was difficult. Or more than difficult. But I’d not change it for the world.

twin-bonds

When I was pregnant, I read all about this amazing bond that twins shared.
twins
For a short while, I joined a local twins club and I heard stories about these bonds. I heard all about the special language that twins shared, often referred to as “twinease”. But honestly, my twins, who are brother and sister, are really nothing more than siblings who happened to share my uterus at the same time (and fought over the space!). They have a love/hate relationship and it borders more on the, “you annoy the hell out of me just by breathing wrong.” Early on, I separated them in school, based on a teacher’s recommendation (a parent of twins herself) who said that she noticed that my daughter had the stronger personality and tended to speak for and mother her brother and that, in her professional opinion, would do better being apart from her. There are some times when I wonder if that hindered their relationship, but hindsight is 20/20. They live together and its good for them to have their own friends outside the house, right?

twins-special-bond

There are brief moments that they get along. And when I see that, I hope that its a glimpse into the future. A time that they’ll always have each other’s backs as teens and adults. I can only hope that someday, they share some kind of wonderful bond that I always dreamed of having with a sibling.

twins-unique-bond

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