30 Day Reset!
What is a 30 day reset? It is a great way to eliminate all inflammatory foods from your diet and gain so much in return. I like to do this at least once per year for myself, even though I stick to a pretty healthy eating pattern during the year anyway. Sometimes it's nice to "reset" and really purge all the possible problem foods for a full 30 days. So what is eliminated during these 30 day?
Here's the list if you want to completely eliminate all potential inflammatory foods:
-All sugar - no sweets, candy, chocolate, sugar in coffee (and that includes sugar substitutes that aren't good for you anyway!)
-All grains - that's right, no bread, bagels, cereal, pizza, oats, rice, etc. (so many people have side effects from eating grains and they don't realize it until they remove it from their diet)
-All dairy (Dairy can be inflammatory and cause GI issues for a lot of people, although I tend to tolerate some very well)
-Legumes (peanuts are included here - I know, no peanut butter??? It hurts)
-Industrial seed oils (vegetable oils, safflower oil, soybean oil, canola oil)
-All processed food
What can I eat?
-Poultry and Meat (chicken, beef, turkey, pork, lamb, duck - organic preferred when possible, and beef from grass fed cows is best)
-Fish (fatty fish is best, like salmon or sardines, and wild preferred over farmed)
-Eggs (pasture raised are best if you can find them)
-Any and all vegetables
-Any and all fruit
-Nuts and seeds (those lower in omega 6 preferred like macadamias nuts)
-Healthy fats (avocados, coconut, coconut oil, avocado oil, ghee, extra virgin olive oil)
-Drink plenty of water, and black coffee and tea are fine (NO SODA!)
So here is a sample of what I might eat in a day while on this reset:
Breakfast: two soft boiled eggs on top of some baby spinach, and maybe some fruit on the side (a banana, or strawberries, etc). Those of you who know me well know that I bring this to work myself pretty much every day! Or you can make little egg cups with veggies for another quick portable option to take to work. And feel free to break out of the box of thinking "breakfast food". You can eat steak and veggies for breakfast if you want. Do what works for you! Breakfast doesn't always have to look like cereal, bagels or waffles.
Lunch: So many salad options to choose from! You can always just do a garden salad topped with your choice of protein (chicken, beef, tuna, etc), or choose from a chopped cabbage salad or brussel sprout salad (pictured below). Dinner leftovers are always a great choice too, as long as they follow the guidelines of the reset. The only thing with some of my salads that doesn't fit EXACTLY with the rules is the raw honey I use in some of my dressings. I am okay with letting that slide on my end, but if you want to be super strict with no sugar, then lose the honey for now.
Dinner: Again, tons of avenues to go here, but a couple examples of what I eat would be grilled salmon with a side of veggies (asparagus or broccolini) with cauliflower rice, or my warm taco plate (pictured below).
Green smoothies are a great meal option or snack option. Check out my post on green smoothies HERE. Look up different ways to make them for yourself if you need additional ideas. The possibilities are endless! And you can also pre-make your bags for the week of all your smoothie ingredients, put them in your freezer, and take out as needed to blend with your liquid of choice (water, coconut water, almond milk).
This is just a sample of what one day of eating could look like. After the 30 days, you can start slowly adding in those foods you have left out one at a time, and don't add more than one food every three days. This way you can see what foods may have been having an adverse affect on your health (GI upset, joint pain, skin issues, etc). This can be very eye opening! And the longer you can go without adding back in the sugar, the better off you will be. The beauty here is that you will find your sugar cravings decreased greatly after the 30 days, along with possible weight loss, better skin, more energy and better digestion. It's a wonderful thing!
Ingredients for this recipe:
-One pound of organic boneless chicken thighs
-One large zucchini
-One cup grape tomatoes
-Half an onion, diced
-2 cloves minced garlic
-Handful of fresh basil leaves
-Balsamic vinegar and olive oil
-salt and pepper to taste
Start by first marinading the chicken thighs in some balsamic vinegar, olive oil, one clove of minced garlic, and 2 teaspoons of dried basil. Let marinade for at least 3-4 hours. Then grill the chicken until done (or bake if you do not have a grill).
Next, take your zucchini and spiralize it into long spaghetti like noodles. I love this spiralizer shown here below. It has 3 different blades to make different shaped noodles. You can also find it here.
Next, add some olive oil to a pan and let it heat up (low to med heat - I never use high heat with olive oil, and I actually usually use coconut oil for all my stove top cooking and roasting, but this recipe just needs olive oil!). Add diced onion and garlic to the pan and heat for 4-5 minutes. Then add zucchini noodles. I like to leave a little bit of crunch to these noodles, so just beware they will cook fast! I like to just heat them enough so they are somewhat soft. Add some salt and pepper to taste, then add in chopped up cooked chicken.
Cut grape tomatoes in half and shred basil leaves if desired.
Add to pan, drizzle with more olive oil if desired, and serve!
Health Before Fitness... Always
We all have goals and things we would like to see happen, right? But what is our driving force behind those goals we want to achieve? Chances are when you ask most people what their major goal is, the answer is most often weight loss. We want to be thinner. To lose that extra ten pounds would just be great. I want to look good. Sound familiar? So then we cut calories, try some new crazy workout routines and beat ourselves up when we stray off the path on any given day.
There's nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight. But what if we shift the focus from weight loss to better health? What if instead of focusing on the weight loss as number one, we focused on becoming a healthier human being so we can improve our quality of life? What if we chose to eat better to avoid disease? What if we started exercising to improve our mood, decrease stress and move better at work and in our daily activities? What if all major decisions we made about our body were decided based on if it's going to help me live better, or ultimately harm me in some way? The focus changes. The pressure of feeling that need to lose weight is now on the back burner. Instead, now the focus is on living a better life. And guess what? This is the best part. Losing weight is usually a side effect from doing all that. Awesome stuff, right? Change your focus! Chose to live healthier for a better quality of life. That's ultimately where the gold is. And most likely, you will become more fit in the process, rather than beating fitness over your head to the point that it exhausts you and feels like a chore.
Treat your body right. It doesn't need to be punished, scolded, talked down to and put through the ringer in the name of weight loss. Focus on health, and let the rest follow. Take in all the awesome benefits of living a healthier lifestyle and know that you are doing something good for yourself. You're improving your quality of life. That sounds so much better than only talking about how many more pounds to go so we look good. Before you know it, you have more energy, you're happier, you can do activities you weren't able to do a while ago. Maybe you even come off some medication that you now no longer need. That's the good stuff. Let the weight loss happen without you even realizing it. Now go live your life in the name of HEALTH!
Peanut Butter Protein Cookies
Ingredients for this recipe:
1 1/2 cups natural chunky peanut butter
1 large egg
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup whey protein powder
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix all wet ingredients in a medium to large bowl first. For the peanut butter, please make sure it is all natural. This is so important since most of the popular peanut butters out on the grocery store shelves contain hydrogenated oils, which we want to avoid. I like this Trader Joe's all natural chunky peanut butter... it's pretty good!
You want to make sure the ingredients are just peanuts (and salt, if you don't like the unsalted). Yes, this kind will naturally separate, but if you give it a good stir and then leave it in the fridge, it should stay together. Either way, it's just a better option.
Once all the wet ingredients are mixed, then add all the dry ingredients and stir. You can use a chocolate protein powder for this if you like, or just use the Bob's Red Mill brand that I use for so many recipes. I love this because it is just pure whey protein. Nothing else added. You can find it here.
And I love adding ground flax seed to baking recipes whenever I can. Again, if you don't know where to find this, look here.
Mix all ingredients together well. Form 15-18 dough balls in your hands and placed on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 325 for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Let cool for 15 minutes before removing from the pan. These can crumble and break easily if moved too soon. My kids love these cookies. So much better for you than processed peanut butter cookies in any package in the store, and as always, I never bake with white flour. Now go have a cookie! :-)
It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Hey, did you get to the gym today? How about yesterday? No? So what. It doesn't matter that you didn't get there today, or even yesterday. And maybe you can't even go tomorrow because of your schedule this week. You know what matters much more than that? If you're still going to the gym five years from now. Long term consistency is so far more important than what you're doing just this week, or even this month. Don't get caught up in trying to be perfect with your workout routines every week to the point where you feel like a complete failure if you couldn't do everything you had planned on. That can often times lead people to just plain giving up. It opens up the door for all the negative self talk we are so good at so often. "I suck. I can never do anything right. I don't know why I bother trying. I'll never get in shape now".
Life gets busy, crazy, and throws a few curve balls at us from time to time. I am not trying to provide excuses here for not working out, but rather just being realistic. We may feel different from one week to the next. Emergencies come up. Or maybe you had to work a lot extra this week for whatever reason. All this to say, allow yourself a little grace from time to time. Just don't throw in the towel! By all means, try your best to achieve your fitness goals, but also realize that it's "okay" if things don't always go just as perfectly as planned. As long as you get right back up on the horse and keep going! Long term commitment means so much more than the day to day. I would rather see someone workout only 2-3 times per week, yet do this consistently for many years, than someone trying to workout 6-7 days per week and watch them give up completely after one month. Your health and fitness journey is a marathon, not a sprint. Keep your head in the game, and go for the long haul!
Veggie Cauliflower Rice
This is one of my favorite sides to make. Packed with super-food veggie goodness, and just plain yummy! Replacing cauliflower for regular rice once in a while gives you just another opportunity to fit more veggies in. And that's always a good thing!
Ingredients for this recipe:
1 small-med head of cauliflower
1 small white onion
3 tablespoons coconut oil (found here)
OR 3 tablespoons of Primal Fat (delicious blend of
coconut oil and ghee! My favorite) (found here)
1 large or 2 smaller carrots
Small head of broccoli
1-2 large leaves of curly leaf kale (optional)
Salt to taste
So first I take the head of cauliflower and put it through the food processor until it resembles small pieces of "rice". Set this aside, and dice up the onion.
Heat up a large skillet on the stovetop on med-high heat. Add the coconut oil to the skillet. Once hot, add the diced onion and heat for 3-4 minutes. Then add the cauliflower rice. Heat for about 5 minutes.
In the meantime, chop up the broccoli and carrots (or, I like to shred my carrots for this) and add them to the skillet. Heat until all veggies are cooked enough for your liking. Sometimes I like to add a few leaves of kale as well... because... well, why not? More VEGGIES! Season with salt to taste, and as an added treat (optional), shred a small amount of cheese on top (I like cheddar or parmesan).
This makes a great side dish to so many meals, or you can just add some cooked chicken on top of this for a full meal! Enjoy!
Terri Wentzell is a registered nurse with more than 20 years of experience. She is also a certified personal trainer, wellness coach, fitness nutrition coach, and sport yoga instructor.