Douse the Flames of your Aches and Pains

Like many of you, I have a good amount of inflammation in my body. I have been dealing with these various aches and pains caused by inflammation and natural deterioration for years. One of the best remedies for me was my 50 lb weight loss. For the last several years I have been eating cleaner, staying hydrated, and working on getting enough sleep, all of which are crucial to reducing inflammation in our bodies.

The other crucial component for curbing pain from inflammation is diet. In a nutshell, the foods to stay away from are sugar, processed fast foods, trans fats, refined carbs, and processed meats. It’s difficult with the fast pace of our lives today to completely stay away from these foods, but we certainly can keep this list in the backs of our minds, and eat them more moderately, or find viable healthier substitutes for them. That has been my goal. Following is a link to a comprehensive list of foods that are anti-inflammatory: https://www.eatthis.com/anti-inflammatory-foods/

In addition, here is the link to my Anti-Inflammatory Diet Pinterest board for you to peruse: https://www.pinterest.com/marshaleeg/anti-inflammatory-diet/

I take other preventative measures regarding my discomfort caused by inflammation and deterioration. I use arnica gel on my lower back every morning. It is a homeopathic product that is applied to the skin for pain and swelling. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-721/arnica. At night I apply magnesium oil to the same area, which relaxes my muscles. https://www.healthline.com/health/magnesium-oil-benefits.

Every morning I do a combination of the stretches That were prescribed to me by my physical therapist a couple of years ago and yoga stretches that are good for the lower back (see that link in last week’s blog, “Full Throttle – Meal Prep”.) I also use a product called Inflamma-Less, which helps me a lot: https://irwinnaturals.com/products/inflamma-less. Many people swear by Turmeric supplements as well, but they aggravate my stomach, so they don’t work for me.

Meal prep this week consists of Asian flavors. Everything is low cal, low fat, veggie forward, and includes a good amount of protein. I made a fun salad with dark leafy greens and broccoli slaw topped with a mixture of fresh radishes, sugar snap peas, edamame, and shrimp. I’ll dress that with Trader Joe’s Spicy Peanut Salad Dressing.

This week’s lunch salad, Asian style

I also prepared Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Fried Rice mixture, and their Chicken Cilantro Mini Won Tons to go with my salad. I followed the directions on both, but I added Trader Joe’s Coconut Aminos to the cauliflower fried rice at the end for a little soy/ umami flavor. It came out delicious.

Also for lunch – Cauliflower fried rice with chicken cilantro mini won tons
The dark color on the cauliflower fried rice is from the coconut aminos I added to it.

Breakfast will be cottage cheese and blueberries with ground flax seeds and chia seeds mixed in. My mid morning snack will be a hard boiled egg and a small banana. My mid afternoon snack will be light string cheese and an apple. I also want to mention that I carry snacks with me in my handbag, just in case. I have been carrying a WW Turkey Stick (1 point/ 60 cal), a WW Sweet & Salty Nut Bar (2 points/ 80 calories) and a small bag of Emerald Almonds and Walnuts (3 points/ 100 calories). These have come in very handy. Sometimes you just don’t know how your day is going to end up.

Handy Healthy low cal/ point Snacks to keep in the car or in your bag

Thank you for joining the conversation! I appreciate your comments, critiques, and questions.

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Make it a great week! Take care of YOU!

Full Throttle – Meal Prep

It is very exciting for me to be back to work full time, and back to #mealprepsunday. Here is what I have going this week.

Gotta have my hot tea first thing in the morning
Early Breakfast at home: veggie egg white muffins with a side of turkey bacon

My day starts early. I am usually on the computer at home by 6 – 6:30, since many of my customers are on the east coast. Besides my hot mock chai latte, I like starting my day with veggie or fruit with protein. Last week with was nectarine crumble over plain non fat Greek yogurt. This week I went savory with veggie egg white muffins and turkey bacon. I drained and patted dry frozen spinach and roasted red peppers from the jar, and tossed them with pre-diced red onions, salt & pepper. I spooned that mixture into the muffin tin (2 for each day for a total of 10 muffins), and poured in the egg whites from the carton. Could not be easier. They baked in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. I let them cool to the touch, then carefully lifted them out of the pan with a butter knife and small rubber spatula.

Since I’m eating breakfast so early, I find myself getting hungry by 10 am. Last week I brought a hard boiled egg seasoned with “Everything but the Bagel” and fresh ground pepper, and a small banana. This week, I prepared small containers of cultured cottage cheese mixed with flaxseed meal and chia seeds. Because it’s a snack, not a meal, I just used 1/3 C cottage cheese to 1 tablespoon each of flax and chia seeds. Not gonna lie, the finished product is not pretty, so I didn’t photograph it. I did taste it though, and I like the nutty flavor that came out of it. Plus I get that punch of protein and the nutrients of the seeds. I am pairing that with a small organic banana.

Mid morning snack: Good Culture low fat cottage cheese with flax & chia seeds mixed in paired with a small organic banana
https://www.goodculture.com/#our-story-1

It’s still super hot outside, and oh so humid. I am so spoiled having grown up in So Cal where the weather is usually mild and dry. So it’s salad again. This week I’m going with Mexican flavors. I have a 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast in the slow cooker with salsa, and seasoned with fresh ground black pepper, cumin, and dry oregano. That will be shredded, and paired with a salad of mixed baby greens, baby spinach, and broccoli slaw and pinto beans. The dressing is my own concoction of Bolt House Farms Ranch (my favorite) mixed with the same salsa the chicken is cooking in.

Mexican Chicken Salad for Lunch: shredded slow cooked chicken breast , mixed greens including broccoli slaw, and pinto beans dressed with salsa ranch. Notice in the background of the photo is my box of WW corn chips. Those will be the perfect accompaniment to this salad.
https://www.salsas.com/herdez/
https://www.bolthouse.com

I also have an afternoon snack planned, so I’m ready for my late afternoon water jog at the pool.

Simple afternoon snack: Protein and fruit. In this case light string cheese
and an organic Gala apple

I want to tell you about last night’s dinner. We always splurge just a little on Saturday nights, since I weigh in on Saturday mornings. We happen to love carnitas, and it had been a while since we had indulged. I had this interesting recipe on my “What’s for Dinner” Pinterest board: https://www.recipetineats.com/pork-carnitas-mexican-slow-cooker-pulled-pork/. I want to mention that I only started with about 2.5 lbs of pork shoulder, so I eyeballed the seasonings instead of measuring according to the recipe, including the fresh orange juice. I used just 1 orange instead of 2. It turned out perfectly.

Carnitas tacos with traditional toppings of fresh onions, cilantro, avocado, and salsa

I came across an article this week that I want to share with you. As you know, my workouts of choice are lap swimming and water jogging. I know that many of you have hesitations about the pool such as getting into a swimsuit in public, protecting your hair (these were big issues for me when I started), fear of putting your head in the water, making the time for swimming, to name a few. First I want to address the swimsuit issue – no one cares. No one will look at you at the neighborhood municipal pool or the pool at the gym. You are all there for the same reason. Frankly, the swimming community is very supportive and welcoming. As far as protecting your hair goes, there are good conditioners on the market you can apply before putting on your swim cap. By the way, if your hair has color on it, I recommend wetting it down with regular water before applying the conditioner for an extra layer of protection. Here is the conditioner that I use (from Amazon):

https://www.amazon.com/AquaGuard-Pre-Swim-Hair-Defense-Bottle/dp/B01BMYYHAG/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?hvadid=3527178819&hvbmt=bp&hvdev=c&hvqmt=p&keywords=aqua+guard&qid=1567985364&s=gateway&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEyVkhXU1ZDMVFXQlBIJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwODM2NzIyMVMyTTRXWUxMT0RVMiZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwNTU1MzczNVRRMDdJQ1RPUUVRJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==

And here is the article. I hope it inspires you:

https://www.livestrong.com/article/13719762-swimming-for-exercise/

Being the amateur blogger that I am, I read a lot of blogs speaking to healthy lifestyle, weight loss, weight maintenance, and fitness. This one came into my inbox today. I have degeneration in my lower back, and actually do many of these stretches every morning, so wanted to share. I hope this inspires you as well:

https://mailchi.mp/skinnyms/tired-of-living-with-back-pain-try-these-helpful-yoga-moves?e=262b867f92

Thank you for stopping by. Have a great week, my friends.

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Life Changes – Again

And Back to Work I Go!

Today’s blog is going to be very brief. I started back to work last week, and it is a whirlwind. Next week I am off to our trade show, so I have barely any time to spare with getting ready for it both personally, and professionally.

Now that things are so hectic, I want to show you how I made it through last week food wise, and what my plans are for this week. Actually, my meal plan will be the same. The goal is to remain satisfied, and of course, on track.

A great start to the day: Smoked Salmon on an Ole Whole Wheat Tortilla with Spinach Kale Yogurt Dip, and a sliced vine ripened tomato. I’d say this is about a 4 point breakfast, and it keeps me full.
I switched off some days with plain Greek yogurt & berries, and I had scrambled eggs one day with salsa, wrapped int the Ole tortilla.
Lunch Basics – Healthy Dark Greens, Trader Joe’s Chopped Veggie Mix, and Garbanzo Beans – 0 points. I’ll add a lean protein to this, and one of the Bolt House Salad Dressings I have on hand.
Last week I had turkey breast in the house as well as low fat Jarlsberg cheese. Made a nice “chef salad”

Following is my food plan for my trip (which is 4 days in Las Vegas).

Breakfast in the room (always ask for a refrigerator when you check in):
WW Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal, paired with plain Greek yogurt. Mixed together this makes a kind of “Spackle”. It’s healthy, and filling. The oatmeal cup is 3 points/ 120 calories.

Lunch will be “take out” at the trade show, and dinner will be in restaurants. I will make the best, most mindful choices possible. I may treat myself a little, but I have made a decision that I will not order any desserts this trip.

My after dinner treat will be a Fiber One brownie (2 points) and a cup of tea in the room.
I will also have fresh fruit on hand in my refrigerator.

Feel free to send your tips on how you manage in trying times. I know I can learn from you too. And as always, your comments, critiques, and questions are always welcome.

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See you in 2 weeks when I get back! Take care of yourselves!

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Routine vs YOLO

Finding a Balance between the Mundane and the Exciting

Each and every morning the first thing I do when I get out of bed are stretching exercises for my lower back. There are definitely mornings I don’t feel like it, but I do them anyway. The benefit outweighs the alternative, which for me is stiffness and ultimately pain. And I’ve made it a habit. I look at eating the same way. Not every meal or snack has to be sexy. Sometimes food is just fuel. Developing any new habit takes work, especially eating habits. Food is so connected to our emotions, our families, our cultures, but sometimes it is necessary to take a step back and examine what we are actually ingesting, and what the effects are on our bodies, our overall health.

Making small changes in our eating habits will improve our health, impact our relationships with our families and friends, and ultimately help us to learn to love and care for ourselves. Start with baby steps. Maybe just set a goal to drink more water today. Another small goal may be to plan and prepare a breakfast or lunch meal that will keep you away from that fast food restaurant you always go to. As we find ourselves successful with these new behaviors, we can slowly develop them into habits and expand on them from there.

I found this article that explains habit development better than I can. You can also check out “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg for a better understanding.

https://www.lifehack.org/810887/how-to-break-a-habit

There is no meal prep today, as I am still working from home this week. What I am going to do for you is to provide a list of my favorite go-to snack items to help me stay successful on my maintenance journey. Mine might vary from yours, as it’s important for me and my success that my “trigger foods” are not on this list.

Crackers/ Chips

Good Thins come in many flavors. The Corn One (shown) is 3 points for 41 pieces.
Ak-Mak Sesame Crackers. 2 points for 3 crackers.
My personal favorite. I grew up with this. My dad always bought it.

Pop Chips. Many flavors. The Sour Cream & Onion flavor is 4 points for 22 chips.

Dips/ Spreads

Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Spinach & Kale Yogurt Dip
I use this as a dip and as a spread. 2 points for 2 tablespoons
Hummus. 2 points for 2 tablespoons.
Can be found in any grocery store. Scan the package for points. Not all Hummus is created equal.
Here is the recipe for this one: https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/hummus/
Laughing Cow Light Spreadable Cheese Wedges.
1 point for 1 wedge. Very versatile.
Hungry Girl has several recipes using this as an ingredient:
https://www.hungry-girl.com

On the Go

New Favorite – WW Turkey Sticks, 1 point for 1 stick
(There are 2 additional flavors of meat sticks available)
https://www.weightwatchers.com/us/shop/turkey-pepperoni-snack-sticks

Veggie Snack Bags, 0 points
Light String Cheese & Fruit. Apples are easiest for “on the go”, as they don’t require refrigeration
1 point

Sweet Treats

Unsweetened Apple Sauce Cups. 0 points
2 point sweet yogurt & berries
(also makes a good light lunch)
WW Chocolate Mini Bars. Points vary
https://www.weightwatchers.com/us/shop/foodanddrink/food/chocolate

These are just a few ideas for you. Take the time to walk the aisles of your grocery stores. Read the labels to help you make the best choices for yourself. If you are a WW member, use your scanner in the app as well.

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Feel free to send your comments, critiques, and questions!

Make it a great week!