New Year, New food mmmm...

So January is over and I am now asking about the resolutions you've made for 2014....why now? Because it's about now that you are probably moving on from them :)  Resolutions, goals, personal fixes, do-overs,...whatever you call them I want you to think about them as Superbowl Sunday approaches us this weekend!
One of my many goals I set for myself was to add more recipes. I used to do it a lot so I'm going to post more recipes and workouts per blog. The recipes will be gluten free and mostly dairy free so I hope I can help those of you who are just finding out you need to be either one, or both, of those. It's rough when trying to change how you eat/cook so if I can help I will certainly try. Eating healthy is pretty much the only way we eat in our house, not because we try so hard but mostly because that's the stuff I like, and I cook so it ends up that way. We do like to splurge but our splurges tend to be Thai or sushi which are not the worst we could choose.
Here's the deal though. I'm not a chef, not even a wonderful cook. But I love to eat and I hate to shop soooo that means that I've become really good at figuring out how to put together meals with whatever is in the cabinet and they usually end up tasty, if I do say so myself.  I also have a few rules when it comes to recipes that I use. Due to my laziness most recipes will have 6 ingredients or less and about 5 steps or less (most will include one step that says "put all ingredients in a bowl and stir" :) ) So if you want easy and fast...I'm your girl...wait, I'll like my food suggestions.
Here's a great one for the Superbowl:

Peanut butter balls...
we did this regularly as a kid, it may even be the first recipe i memorized. It is great for the sweet tooth but will fill you up.
1 cup peanut butter (an all natural PB is recommended — the only ingredient necessary is crushed peanuts)
1 cup honey
3 cups rolled oats (oatmeal)
1 cup dried fruit (we like crasins in our house but mini dark chocolate or rasins would do)
unsweetened coconut
Mix the first four ingredients together thoroughly. Form them into balls (makes about 10-12 depending on size) then roll them in the crushed nuts, granola cereal, or unsweetened coconut. Serve or refrigerate.
Nutrition Info:
Recipe yields four dozen quarter-sized balls.
Nutritional information per serving: 100 calories; 5 g fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 12.2 g carbohydrates; 2.8 g protein; 4.4 mg sodium; 1.5 g fiber; 7.1 g sugar

Super Workout:
10 "field goal" Crunch- Lay on back with arms and legs stretched out and raise shoulders up while lifting legs and hold for 2 counts.
10 supermans- (reverse of elongated crunch) Lay on belly and raise legs and arms, hold for 2 count and lower
10 out and in ab crunches
20 touchdowns- stand with feet apart take left hand and as you side step to the right you touch left hand to the right foot. Then side jump/step to the left and bend to touch right hand to left foot. Alternating sides.
10 Squat sidekicks each leg - squat and then kick leg to the side kind of like a roundhouse kick.
10 Switch lunge jumps
15 Single leg squat each side
10 run-downs...20 high knee run in place and drop down for a pushup then repeat
15 tricep dips.
Repeat this 1 to 5 times before the game starts then at least once at the you don't snack too much!

Do you even....?

How did you all do on the Transformation challenge? I didn't do too bad. I had a great transformation! It came about in how I thought about food, working out, and life. Everything came together, on point, and ended with the lifestyle that I can maintain and a body that I am not always trying to change.  I'm out of the competition mindset (but that doesn't mean I can't do it again ;) ) just that I can do it without so much damaging prep. I hope you all have found a way to live a healthy lifestyle....

But that's where I start with the question "Do you even...?" We've all seen the memes 'do you even...' fill- in- the-blank-with-whatever-the-creator-was-trying-to-make-a-point-about.  Do you even lift? Do you even run? do you even crochet? Meaning, "...Well you should!"  Here's what I take from that, just try it! whatever "it" is. For me, it has always been running. I just don't like it. I like lifting, I like sprinting, I like rowing, I like sports, I like sitting around (yep, I'm actually a lazy person deep down inside). But running has always been my nemesis.  Most of you all know that I have done my fair share of 1/2 marathons...well 2, or was it 3? I'm pretty sure it would be that easy for me to block one out. Because I "don't even run". But I do challenge myself...a lot.  I like goals and when I get something in my head, I pretty much make sure it happens. This could be a fault, but whatever, it works out in the end.

I have, in the past, gotten up in the morning, walked down to the Mission Bay and whatever 10k was starting, I'd jump on in (yes, we were non committal and cheap in our younger years :) ). That was a challenge for me, because I always had to beat THAT person. The one that TOTALLY shouldn't be in front of me (but they refused to realize it). So to get my competitiveness out I'd compete against said runner-that-isn't-really-faster-than-me and kill my legs until I crossed that finish line ahead of them. Then I would sit on the grass and pretend to take in the ocean view while deep down I was hoping my legs wouldn't fall off and my lungs wouldn't vacate my chest cavity. And I'd do this on multiple weekends...yeah, I don't know why either.

Since moving to the Midwest 10ks are few and far between in my town. We have a ton of 5ks but for some reason 10 is just a bit too far...could be because you can't go more than 5k without running into a hill, and no one really wants to be running hills for any length of  'Ks'.  So I don't do that many and I really miss it. Until APRIL 19th...yep, I'm doing The Color Vibe and it's right here in my own town! We don't get much here, especially big organized ones, I mean there are about 2 organizations that put on runs regularly and it's always the same people, so this will be so cool!  A national company is bringing the color run to Jeff City. People are so stoked about it that it's mid January and there are more teams than I can count registered and the buzz is awesome. I can't wait to get doused in color. And the best part is that for the first time my running buddy (by then she'll be 3) will get to do it out of the stroller. So I can safely tell you it won't be a PR run for me but it will be a Personal Best in that I think G will LOVE getting colored while running around with friends.

So for my local folks, I have a team, HeartStrong 'n' Fit team (oh and I got ya $5 off too), we'll all wear a STRONG white shirt and I'll have to let you all know how it goes...unless you do it with me, then you'll already know how it was.

Pasta, Gluten and Experiments confirmed!

As most people that know my family know, or if you’ve read the blog for a while, 2 of the 3 of us are gluten and dairy free, not by choice, the third person eats that way simply because it’s easier that way than explaining to a toddler why Daddy gets to eat different stuff all the time.  You can find the background, how we found out, how long it took and all of that on the “Gluten Free” tab.  Being gluten free is not really that difficult to do, especially if eating it gives you pain, it’s pretty easy to stick to.  The thing that makes it the most difficult is dealing with outsiders, people that don’t believe in it (which is just plain annoying) or when we go out and really don’t want to be “those” customers asking for so many substitutions.

Let me explain the worst part… I am half ITALIAN!  That means that when we make our traditional homemade ravioli complete with spinach and ricotta filling, I don’t get to participate and G, for the first time that she would be able to actually appreciate it, wouldn’t get to have any!  But we found a way around it….so transpired THE GREAT GLUTEN EXPERIMENT OF 2013…and it was perfect!  Enter Italian flour.  That’s it. Italian flour.  You’re probably wondering why? How? And could it work for you too?  Well, I don’t know because it was a total experiment and every individual is different.  But you gotta be curious how we came upon this awesome discovery:

My sister and Brother-in-law spent 5 weeks over the last summer in Europe.  The whole trip was about living it up, with trips, fun…and food.  She ate everything and anything she wanted.  Pasta, pasta, pasta. Baguettes and formagio (cheese), croissants, crepes…you name it.  All the while she didn’t have any pain while noshing on all of that goodness, she noticed the lack of stomach issues but didn’t think a whole lot about it. 

Then they came back to the US, stayed with us for a couple of weeks, where she was gluten free so she didn’t really notice anything.  Then it was off to Oregon, home of her husband.  Well, there were sandwiches, toast, cereal and beer…and there was pain.  So much so her husband freaked out and tried dragging her to the ER.  That didn’t happen but she gave up gluten at that moment and never looked back (well, until the blood test that made her eat it for a few weeks). 
            They did research upon research and one of the findings was that 90% of Latin Americans are gluten intolerant.  I said I was half Italian…well my other half is Nicaraguan.  That would explain why 2 aunts and my own daughter were diagnosed within 6 months of each other.

That brings us to another connection.  A family friend who is a doctor, had been gluten free for 15 years, went to Europe for a month and said “forget it, I’m going to eat it all and just live with the pain”. (Apparently we all just need to let it all go in Europe?)  But there was no pain either.  My sister was so glad to hear that, it kind of confirmed that she wasn’t making it up!

So on to our experiment.  I was pretty bummed that I couldn’t eat the ravioli that I would spend hours upon hours pressing and filling and cutting.  My dad, wanting his first and only granddaughter to be able to eat the ravioli, had a genius idea: we can try getting the same flour they used in Europe that others had so successfully been able to eat.  So he special ordered a few pounds of flour and on Ravioli Day we got to mixing…and I got to eating, and sampling, and making, and sampling (I love dough) and finally I got to eat some cooked ones for lunch.  My reactions are usually within 45 minutes to 2 hours so we waited.  We kept cranking the pasta press, filling and pressing and cutting and every so often my dad would say “how do you feel?”  I kinda felt like a lab rat to be honest   Anyway, after a few hours and even the next day….NOTHING.  I ate a TON of pasta and didn’t hurt J   (to see pics of us making it keep scolling down)

Just to confirm it all, 2 days later I went out for Mexican food with 10 of my cousins and I decided to just go for it…and I paid for it.  So yes, I am still able to get sick off merely sauce and chips.  That was phase 2 of the Great Gluten Experiment of 2013, and it failed.  CONCLUSION: Italian flour did not hurt me!

There is a lot of research out there on gluten intolerance and why or how it occurs or why some people get it.  Some doctors are saying that even intolerance can be called Celiac because so many have it these days that they just should call it all Celiac..but that’s not the case yet.  I’m not here to go into all of that, find a great allergist or gastroenterologist to help you with that.  The research that I’m intrigued by is the research about GMO wheat and how that is what is really affecting those that are intolerant or Celiac.  Why would some people get diagnosed in their 60s or older when for the first 50 years of their lives they were eating everything and were, seemingly, without symptoms?  Or why so many young people can’t tolerate substances that once were so common? Or why the flour in Europe doesn't affect people like the flour we get here in the US?  From what I’ve read, a lot of the chemicals and GMO processes we use here are illegal in many other countries.  That may tell us something.  I don’t know.  Like I said, I’m not a scientist, doctor or researcher but I can tell you that from my, and others in my life’s, experiences, the flour here hurts and the flour from Italy doesn’t.  That’s all this is experiment was about but it sure got the questions flowing.

I like to say that if your Grandmother didn't eat it, couldn't get it or can’t pronounce it, you probably shouldn’t eat it.

The moral is, do your own research, do your own experiments if you have to and figure out what’s right for you.  Everybody is different and has different levels of tolerance to various foods or allergens.  Find doctors that support you, help you.

Just live the way that makes you happy and healthy. 

how we made it:
after rolling it in the press: filling it:

pressing ("forking"):Cutting:

The finished product...mmmmm: