Friday, March 21, 2014

RECIPE: Strawberry Banana Smoothie

A lot of people have a tough time figuring out easy meals to make while they’re doing the Whole Life Challenge, especially at breakfast. They seem to think that an egg with fruit or vegetable combo is their only option. But that’s so not the case! There are all kinds of things you can have. Some of my favorites include an apple with peanut butter, one of those awesome Clean Banana Nut Muffins or a simple fruit smoothie.

I used to make this strawberry banana smoothie all the time with regular milk and Greek yogurt—but substituting in almond milk and cutting out the yogurt makes it 100 percent advanced level compliant and just as delicious (especially if you use homemade almond milk). Of course, it’s not very high in protein when you cut out the dairy—which may concern some people at the start of their day. The good news is that if you’re playing at the beginner or intermediate level, you can add a bit of Greek yogurt to this for a protein boost and extra creamy goodness. Give it a go and let me know what you think!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Maintenance Mode

It’s been a full ten days since the Whole Life Challenge ended, and I have to say I’ve learned some surprising things in that short period of time. My husband and I decided that we would take these ten days to just live our lives without any rules or restrictions—to see which habits that we acquired while on the challenge stuck, and which ones fell by the wayside. So, you want to know a bit more about my surprising lessons? Well, okay then!

The first surprise: Dairy is not my friend. When I had some Greek yogurt, I got all this annoying allergy-like phlegm in my throat. (Tasty, right?) Also, I no longer like milk in my coffee. I was seriously so looking forward to not having to make my own almond milk until the next challenge but after trying a cappuccino made with milk last week? I went right back to soaking my nuts! (Er…you know what I mean.) And no, I don’t want to buy the almond milk they have at the store. It doesn’t taste anything like the creamy, delicious almond milk that I make—and besides, the store-bought stuff has crappy artificial ingredients in it. I am finding that I can tolerate, and very much enjoy, a small amount of cheese (or, okay, a giant mass of it on top of a pizza or nachos). But honestly? I definitely don’t need it so it will be a rare indulgence rather than an everyday one.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

RECIPE: Zucchini with Meat Sauce

OMG, you guys! Today is the last day of the Whole Life Challenge! I can’t believe it. The time has seriously flown by and it really hasn’t been all that challenging. Well, okay, that’s a lie. There have been quite a few challenges—but most of them have had to do with the amount of grocery shopping, food prep and dishes involved. The great thing about all that shopping and food prep is that I’ve discovered—and even created—all sorts of delicious, advanced level recipes, and now I’m going to share the big winner as far as my family is concerned: Zucchini with Meat Sauce.

I’m telling you, the picture doesn't do it justice. This is quite possibly the most delicious meal I’ve ever made. At first, I was just baking the zucchini in the oven, which is extremely tasty, but over the weekend I finally got a Spiralizer (actually, I got what I believe to be a cheap imitation—next time I will get the Spiralizer) and made noodles out of the zucchini. I swear, the texture added an entirely different dimension to this dish. Like I said, the contraption itself is kind of flimsy, and not super easy to use, but the results are so awesome that I think I’ll just deal with the downsides (and, you know, get a better model next time). I mean, seriously, how gorgeous are these?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

RECIPE: Sweet Potato Fries

Since I’m doing the Whole Life Challenge at the advanced level, I’ve pretty much gone without any starches or grains for nearly eight weeks now (except for on those three, count ‘em three, cheat days). The only starch you are allowed to have at the advanced level: Sweet potatoes. I have to admit I’ve never been a huge fan of this particular root vegetable, but when they’re the only starch you can have? Instant fandom! In fact, I’m not quite sure why I was such a sweet potato basher before. They’re actually pretty damn delicious—when you puree them in soup, bake and butter them (yes! You can have butter on the Whole Life Challenge, even at the advanced level!), or cook them up in the oven as fries (or chips).

I do realize fries and chips are so easy to make, you almost don’t need a recipe, but I’ll walk you through the process anyway. It’s mostly about using the right amount of oil (olive is fine but I recommend coconut—the perfect complement to the sweet potato flavor) and seasonings (I like them with nothing but pink Himalayan salt, but I know others like them with garlic powder, pepper, paprika…and you could also make them more dessert-like with a touch of cinnamon—no sugar though!), and baking them at the right temperature for the right amount of time. On that note, especially if you go the chip route, be sure to keep a super close eye on them. I tried to make a batch the other day and nearly burned the house down! Seriously, I’m surprised the fire department didn’t come with all the smoke I created. Eeep. Also note that the fries don’t really crisp up completely—although chips will, especially if you let them sit and cool for a bit. Alright, then. Here you go!