Clean eating involves choosing minimally processed, real foods that provide maximal nutritional benefits. As I have embraced the anti inflammatory diet over the last several months my choices have begun evolving more towards cleaner food choices. I have cut back on my cheeses and processed meats.When I do choose a sausage, I read the label to make sure it doesn’t have too many preservatives or questionable ingredients. For more information on how to incorporate clean eating into your routine, here is a comprehensive article to get you started: https://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-how-to-eat-clean
As the world opens up, and we are so excited to be going back to work, to restaurants, and retail stores, I feel like we should also embrace some of the wonderful things we discovered about staying home. During quarantine, my walks took the place of the pool for me in that I exercise, I use the walks for meditation, and also as a social outlet enjoying phone visits with friends and family. I learned to sit still without television and/ or devices out in my patio, and to just relax. These are things I want to hold on to, as I ease myself back into the world. I don’t want to be as busy as I used to be, or as harried. Taking things at a slower pace is keeping me more centered and focused. I am adjusting how I organize my time and priorities in order to keep this mindset. Of course I still can’t wait until the pool reopens….
Trader Joe’s Riced Cauliflower Stir Fry was my inspiration for my lunch prep this week. To bulk it up, I added sauteed fresh bok choy and shiitake mushrooms, and the rest of the frozen edamame I had in my freezer to the mix. The basic flavor of the TJ’s cauliflower rice mixture is really good as is, but I wanted to give it a little more oomph, so I added cubes of frozen garlic and frozen ginger to my stir fry, as well as a little coconut aminos. I like Trader Joe’s coconut aminos best. Other brands tend to be a little too sweet for me. Of course you can use soy sauce, low sodium soy sauce, or Tamari sauce as well to achieve that umami flavor. To pair with the veggies I marinated boneless skinless chicken breasts overnight in my husband’s famous teriyaki marinade, and oven roasted them (roasting instructions: https://pin.it/7cFsfZI). Honestly you can’t go wrong with this combo of flavors. And your house will smell amazing. I encourage you to try this recipe. You’re welcome :).
Here is the basic recipe with the changes I made for my meal prep noted:
Spuds Aloha Zesty Hawaiian Marinade; developed by Michael Gronfein
1/2 cup soy sauce (I used TJ’s coconut aminos)
2 tablespoons oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)
1 teaspoon mustard (I used dry mustard)
1/2 teaspoon ginger (I used dry ginger)
2 cloves garlic (I used a teaspoon of granulated garlic)
Pepper (I used a couple of pinches of red chile flakes; sriracha sauce is great in this as well)
Make it a great week, my friends. I know we are still going through some very tough times, but as bad as 2020 has been so far, there is light to be found here. We are on the road to real positive social change in our country, as well as a vaccine for Covid 19. Please be good to yourselves.
I had a full blog planned to publish yesterday, but in light of the protests turned riots, I decided it would not be appropriate. I feel the same way today, but a girl has to eat, so I am just going to share my meal prep with you today.
Summer produce is my favorite, and I wanted to celebrate it this week with this easy summer squash salad I saw prepared on the Food Network show, The Kitchen: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/grilled-shrimp-and-summer-squash-salad-7241083. This is a beautiful summer salad. I made changes, Baby Boomer Mermaid style, but the original recipe is beautiful. If I was cooking for company, I would make this as written. Since I am cooking for my weekly lunch meal prep, I made the changes that work for me, and you should do the same.
The corn was replaced by celery in my prep. I love a corn on the cob as a treat, but corn is not really my friend, so I hesitated to use it in a meal I plan to eat for a few days. I used celery instead for the fresh crunch. I also subbed the sunflower seeds for toasted almond slices. Just because. I also needed a dark green leafy base for my salad so I combined fresh basil with arugula. I have plenty of my classic vinaigrette dressing left over from last week, so am using that instead of making a new dressing that is actually pretty similar. Other than that, I followed the prep instructions in the recipe – I lightly roasted the seeded summer squash, and blanched the snow peas. My proteins of choice this week will be left over roasted chicken breast, Trader Joe’s shrimp burgers, or Trader Joe’s Sweet Italian Sausage. All delicious, all low calories/ points.
Thank you so much for checking in. Please take care. Sending you all much love and big hugs.
The city is slowly coming back to life. Santa Monica finally reopened their parks and beaches (for swimming and exercise only). My favorite is Palisades Park, which spans the cliffs just above the ocean. There is the most lovely rose garden there. I missed this little piece of paradise. I am gradually starting to feel whole again.
Last week I started going back to the office to begin prep for the economy reopening. My groceries served me well. I had good, healthy lunches each day. It is indeed all about the groceries. That said, I did want to meal plan for this coming week in the office, so I went to my well stocked freezer. There I found Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi (4 pts/ 140 cal per 1 cup serving), their Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Dip (2 pts/ 45 cal per 2 tbsp serving), frozen spinach, and frozen broccoli florets. The light bulb in my Baby Boomer Mermaid head went off, and I decided to combine all of this deliciousness into one veggie forward dish for myself. I will pair this with Trader Joe’s Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage (3 points/ 110 calories per 1 sausage serving). This gives me 4 servings, so all things considered, it will be healthy, filling, and really satisfying for the week.
Last weekend, after I published the blog, I got the baking bug. I had a can of pureed pumpkin in the house, along with all of the other ingredients needed, so I made this muffin recipe from Drizzle Me Skinny. No alterations. They came out amazing: https://drizzlemeskinny.com/pumpkin-spice-cream-cheese-muffins/. I highly recommend you give this a try. 2 pts/ 88 cal per muffin. Almost everything I make is inspired by recipes I find on the interwebs, either from Instagram, Pinterest, FB, the WW website, or just by randomly searching.
Just a reminder that I am still selling hospital grade disposable masks. Masks will be a part of our “new normal” for the foreseeable future. Please contact me privately if you are interested in purchasing some for your home and/ or office: email@example.com.
Thank you for joining me this week! Stay safe. Be well. Take care of yourselves.
Feel free to send me comments, critiques, questions, or meal prep ideas 🙂
As I was reading up on this topic I realized that eating to build your immune systems and an anti inflammatory diets are closely related, and in fact intertwined. Many immunity building foods also work as anti inflammatory foods. I have been sent, and have been seeing many concoctions that are said to ward off the Corona Virus. And I am looking closely at all of it, and that is what has sparked today’s blog.
I have added more citrus to my diet. I began drinking warm water with slices of lemon in it daily (thank you, Marcy for the home grown lemons). And today I bought a range of citrus fruits to keep in the house, after reading about the overall immunity and anti inflammatory benefits of them. And I love all citrus fruits, anyway.
I have also discovered Nutritional Yeast. Nutritional Yeast is a complete protein, contains all 9 amino acids, is high in B vitamins, and trace minerals. And it tastes good! It adds a nutty, cheesy, kind of an umami flavor to foods. So far I have added it to scrambled eggs, and today to my vegetable soup. Here is more about it: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/nutritional-yeast.
I want to mention HOW I finally came to buy and try Nutritional Yeast, because it’s a lesson for us all – I was shopping at Trader Joe’s last week after the shelves had been stripped of almost everything. I found the 1 bag of Nutritional Yeast on the shelf, and picked it up. I realized I had heard good things about it, so I read the back of the package, noted the low calories (20 cal for 1 tblsp/ 0 points), and price :), then decided to give it a try. Yesterday during our WW virtual meetings, our coach, the great Amy B. was talking about finding new products on the empty grocery store shelves during this time. She talked about low calorie (low point) sauces that you might not normally try, for example. Keep an open mind while shopping these days. You never know what new treasures you will discover.
Like many of you, I won’t be going to work this week. What little work I have I will do from home, as I am in sales, and unfortunately, as all of the stores I sell to are closed, I am essentially out of business until this passes. Deep breaths…. (This might be a good time for me to try meditation).
I wasn’t really planning a meal prep today, but as I was continuing to read about building our immune systems against this virus, I decided to throw a vegetable soup together out of what I had in the house. I went to my freezer and pulled out a bag of mixed vegetables, a mostly used bag of frozen broccoli, and a partly used bag of spinach. I had most of a quart of chicken broth in the refrigerator, a bag of shirataki noodles, and the Nutritional yeast. I seasoned my soup with 2 cubes of Dorot frozen garlic, some freshly ground black pepper (no salt, as my broth was not low sodium), some ground coriander, and cumin. It came out great, and I want to tell you that the Nutritional Yeast did lend a new flavor that I really like. And it my soup has 0 points, I believe, on all 3 WW plans. I am very happy to have this in the house this week.
I want to share one more thing with you that I am going to make for my husband and I. I found it on Instagram this morning. It’s a ginger lime tea recipe. Great for both our immune systems and has all of the anti inflammatory properties: https://presleyspantry.com/2011/04/11/ginger-lime-tea/.
We are all in the same boat here. There is no end date on the quarantine. All we can do is keep ourselves healthy with the foods we eat, exercise, and staying rested. Worrying, stressing, and food binging are not going to help. Take care, my friends.
Junk food disguised as healthy snacks is more common than we think. Between sugar-free, gluten-free, low-carb, low-fat, organic, all-natural, and more, there’s an overwhelming amount of terms that you see on food labels. The confusion around reading these labels makes it easy to mistake something for “healthy”.
Here are just a few examples of “health halo” foods to avoid (hint: these are all processed foods):
Flavored yogurt – Packed with protein and gut healthy probiotics, yogurt is an excellent weight loss food. But don’t be fooled by flavored yogurt, it is loaded with sugary fruit. Opt instead for 0 fat or 2% fat plain yogurt and mix in your own whole fruits.
Veggie Chips – The “healthy” alternative to chips are just another processed food. Their bag might display photos of whole veggies, but these chips are actually pulverized vegetable flour mixed with oil and salt.
Fruit smoothies – Replacing meals with protein shakes may help you reduce your daily calories, which can help you lose weight. Eventually you will need to start eating solid food again, which may cause excess weight to return if you don’t choose wisely. And if you rely too heavily on protein shakes to replace regular meals, you’ll miss out on the nutritional benefits of whole foods. As a general rule, it’s better to eat, not drink your fruits. Pair your fruit with a cup of low-fat plain cottage cheese or yogurt if you are craving something creamy.
The moral of this story is to READ THE LABELS. Take your time in the grocery store and really read the labels. Learn the synonyms for added sugars and fats. One of my rules of thumb is “if you can’t pronounce it, it is not a real food”. Also, note the serving sizees. The calories, fat, sugar, etc. shown are for the serving size, not the entire package or can. If you are a WW member, couple this with utilizing the scanner on your app to check the points. Many “light” foods will be deceivingly high in points.
Easy, veggie forward meal prep today. Even though the calendar is inching towards spring, it is still going to be cold and rainy in LA this coming week. Bring on the soup! I created an Asian veggie soup using unsalted chicken broth, seasoned with coconut aminos (my favorite is from Trader Joe’s), garlic, ginger (the frozen Dorot cubes), dry mustard, coriander, and cumin, salt & pepper. This is my own mix of seasonings. Use what you like. I used every veggie I could think of that rang as Asian to me: fresh bok choy, mushrooms, snow peas, scallions. I also added celery because I had it in my house, and a handful of frozen edamame that I had in the freezer. I would call this a Green Asian Veggie Soup if I was a recipe writer :).
This has been a hard week for all of us. I did not go out and “panic buy” supplies and shelf stable food. I did, however, cancel all of my social plans for the weekend, even my hair appointment. I did shop at Trader Joe’s today so I could complete my meal prep. I was greeted at the door by a lovely, smiling woman holding hand sanitizer, offering squirts. Thankfully, the store was stocked fairly well, and the vibe inside was comfortable. As I checked out, I was again offered a squirt of hand sanitizer, which I again accepted. Stay calm, stay well, and wash your hands.
While visiting my dentist last Monday morning, he was advising me to not eat almonds, or at least to chew more softly on them when I do eat them. He said most people chomp on their food instead of just chewing. It reminded me that most of us rush through our meals and snacks thoughtlessly. Protecting the integrity of your teeth is yet another reason to slow down. Truth. This is a gentle reminder to try to slow down when you eat. Sit down at the table. Have a place setting. Maybe a candle or a floral decoration. Turn off the media. Talk to your family, friends, or partner. If you are dining alone, put on some music. And chew slowly. Savor every bite.
I read a great article this week in O Magazine, the March 2020 edition, about how eating healthfully, making mindful food choices can impact our moods, and yes, even our overall mental health. More psychiatrists are asking patients about what they have been eating, along with whatever other questions they normally ask. It’s the same thing I do regarding the anti-inflammatory diet I try to keep myself on to avoid taking a lot of anti-inflammatory meds. Besides being conscious of what we eat regarding our weight, we need to be conscious of how the foods we eat affect other aspects of our health. I can’t find a link to the article, but it is called “Can You Eat Your Way Happy?” by Sunny Sea Gold.
This week’s meal prep is an easy “no cook” tuna stuffed bell peppers. The ingredients I used were inspired by my anti-inflammatory diet, and the article in O Magazine because I’ll try anything to help calm my daily stress. By the way, water jogging 3 times a week is also a key factor in helping me manage my mood levels. It allows me to decompress at the end of the day while getting a great ab and aerobic workout.
Colorful peppers, tuna, and dark leafy greens are mentioned prominently in the article to help us regulate our moods, so those were the base ingredients for my desk lunches this week.
Into the tuna I mixed just enough light mayo (35 cal/ 1 point for 1 tablespoon) to moisten it, then I mixed in generous portions of diced celery and red onions. I then filled halves of large red peppers with the mixture. I will plate these at work on top of my “power greens” blend, which I will dress with just a little bit of Bolt House Classic Ranch dressing (45 cal/ 2 points for 2 tablespoons). The other ingredients are all 0 points on the WW Blue Plan. I plan to bring either a portion of Trader Joe’s 3 Seed Beet Crackers https://www.traderjoes.com/digin/post/3-seed-beet-crackers, which I love, or one of my 2 point WW bags of chips along too for a little crunchy component.
Thank you for joining me today. Make it a great week, and take care of YOU!
I came up with some fresh ideas today for my meal prep. I’ve been getting tired of my breakfasts. I haven’t even posted them recently. I eat at home every morning now, so I don’t really need to “prep” perse, just need to have healthy things in the house at the ready. I have been switching off between cultured cottage cheese and yogurt bowls with cinnamon, ground flax and chia seeds mixed in and topped with berries, oatmeal with the same mix ins, or scrambled eggs topped with salsa and wrapped in an Ole Whole Wheat Tortilla. All good, healthy choices. But I’m bored.
For lunch I hacked a slow cooker spinach and artichoke chicken recipe into a stove top version. Usually slow cooker recipes are my go to, but the poached chicken aspect of the original recipe didn’t appeal to me today, so I reworked it. Here is the original recipe, which is a great one. Love the flavor profile: https://www.thekitchn.com/slow-cooker-chicken-spinach-artichoke-recipe-256184
I used all of the ingredients in the original recipe, but I did a stove top version – using ground chicken breast. I started with a diced shallot over medium heat, let that get a little translucent and soft in my pan, then added 1 lb of ground chicken breast, and seasoned that with salt & pepper. I then added 2 cubes (or 2 cloves) of the frozen garlic cubes, and let the chicken cook through. I combined 1/4 cup each of dry white wine, fresh lemon juice, and chicken broth, and deglazed the pan, lowered the heat, and let the liquid reduce to about half. That took about 10 minutes. I added the drained artichoke hearts, which I cut in half, then started adding the baby spinach in batches as it wilted.
I also wanted a “noodle” to go with this, so I cooked the half bag of red lentil penne I had in the cupboard, and combined it with a can of Palmini linguine to use as a bed for the chicken mixture.
I honestly don’t know the calories/ points of this dish, but I do know that it is veggie based, and overall very clean and healthy. It has flavors that I enjoy. And that is what matters.
Don’t be afraid to re-imagine your recipes and experiment. It’s fun, and you might surprise yourself with how well they turn out.
Thank you for joining me today. Make it a great week, and take care of YOU.
I start today’s blog with a heavy heart. I am a Los Angeles native, and am heart broken and devastated by the sudden loss of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and the others lost in today’s tragedy. Not only was he an iconic champion, but a champion among men. He will be greatly missed in this world. Kobe. Gone way too soon.
Next Sunday I travel to Las Vegas for my trade show. I have my plan in place for staying on track. I called the hotel and put in my request for a refrigerator in my room. When you do that, tell them it’s for medical purposes (it actually is, although maybe not technically). They won’t question you or charge you. I’ll be bringing my breakfast items with me: Dannon 80 cal yogurt cups, containers of flax seed meal and chia seeds mixed, Julian Bakery Pro Granola Vanilla Cinnamon Cluster to top my yogurts with (2 points/ 97 cal for a 1/2 cup serving; I use just a tablespoon or so to top the yogurt with https://search.yahoo.com/search?fr=mcafee&type=E211US1079G0&p=pro+granola+vanilla+cinnamon+cluster), hard boiled eggs, and bananas. I won’t have as much control over lunches or dinners, but I’ve been doing this long enough that I’m able to make mindful choices and decide when it will be worth it to treat myself. I am not really planning on ordering desserts, though. I’ll be bringing chamomile tea bags and WW lemon bars for after dinner and winding down the day.
Simple meal prep today for the hectic work week ahead. I wanted to focus on anti inflammatory foods this week, and Hungry Girl’s Scoopy Salmon Salad came to mind. Such a great recipe. Thank you Hungry Girl: https://www.hungry-girl.com/recipes/scoopy-salmon-salad. I am pairing it with my favorite Ak Mak sesame crackers (3 pts/ 110 cal for 5 crackers), and Trader Joe’s Carrot Ginger Soup (0 pts/ 80 cal for a 1 cup serving). I choose to focus on anti inflammatory foods especially when I have a more physical and stressful week on tap than usual.
I am a woman who thrives on routine. I have a routine every morning of the week, and my husband and I have the same routine every night. Every night. I am not complaining, as that routine does include him cooking for us every night. I do like and appreciate that. My daily routine during the week is important. It keeps me on track and focused on the task at hand, which is building a business from scratch with my boss, and staying on my weight and fitness journey. It’s all working. The business is starting to go, and I have lost about 6 lbs since we started putting me 6 lbs under my WW Lifetime goal weight. My weekly Sunday meal prep is key here, as are my workouts.
Normally I get up early on Saturday’s and Sunday’s. My WW workshop with my beloved tribe is at 7:30 am. On Sunday’s I am usually at the pool at 8 when it opens. Honestly, these are both fabulous ways to start my weekend days. At the end of this past week, I was feeling super tired, and decided to switch things up so I could get a little extra rest. Yesterday I slept in, went to get a vitamin B12 shot, which I do about once a month. I then went to the gym to swim laps, and came home to decompress for a couple of hours before my hair appointment. Today I slept in again. It felt so decadent. Went to breakfast with my husband, then on to the market for my weekly groceries, so I could do my meal prep for the week. I will go to the pool later this afternoon to water jog. Note that I am not skipping any workouts or steps that will take me off track in any way. I am just off my normal routine.
Here is a list of some of the benefits of Vitamin B-12, if you are interested:
I really did follow the recipe for the bolognese. It is full of fresh vegetables and lean turkey meat. I didn’t measure out the veggies. I eyeballed them, and added more than the recipe called for. I also added a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes for a hint of heat. This recipe called for roasted spaghetti squash, but I used the micowave method. It was just easier and less time consuming. Here is how you do it: https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-cook-spaghetti-squash-in-the-microwave-223928 . This was an easy dish to prepare, and took about a 90 minutes, all total. The last 45 minutes, the sauce is cooking.
Thank you for joining Baby Boomer Mermaid this week. Watch for more on my Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest pages throughout the week: