It has been a while since I have done a 'Meal Talk Monday'... mostly because the holiday season had me so busy I was scrounging together whatever leftovers or random things from my pantry I could to try and make a meal. Now that things have calmed down I have made it a priority to put aside to cook for myself and my husband more often.
As much as I joke about how much I hate cooking, there actually is something really special about serving a home cooked, healthy, and delicious meal for you and your hubby. For our entire relationship, Matt has been the one who has cooked 90% of the time so now that my skills have been slowly but surely improving I am trying to show off a little bit.
Recently, I heard about these 'Better Than Foods' from the F Factor Diet and from Heather Dubrow's podcast and figured I should give them a try. They are gluten free, no carb, fiber packed, and super low calorie alternatives to rice, noodles, and pasta. I was super skeptical at first but I didn't have much to lose. I already replace all of the delicious, gluteny carbs, with still carby but not as delicious alternatives. If I could find something that either tastes better or is better for me then I was willing to make the switch.
I got a sample pack of the rice, noodles, and pasta AND I AM OBSESSED. This stuff actually tastes like the real stuff... or at least what I remember it to taste like and it at least trumps most of the other gluten free alternatives. They are packed with fiber so at first I was uncertain about the effect they may have on my sensitive stomach but I have had zero issues and actually felt pretty great after eating the meals I have made. Not kidding, this stuff tastes so good I was researching it so much to make sure it was legit. Well, based on my research and experience, it definitely is. The secret is that they are made with konjac flour which you can get all of the details on here. So far I have tried the rice and the noodles in two different 'Asian takeout inspired' dishes that have been big hits in my house.
Matt and I are suckers for some good old take out but it is hard to, number one, find options that are gluten free, and number two, find options that are healthy. Luckily this stuff makes it a lot easier to check both of those boxes.
Last week I made shrimp fried 'rice' which Matt said was a winner and this week I tried out a shrimp Pad Thai which was even more of a win according to the super picky husband.
I used this recipe for skinny shrimp Pad Thai from skinnytaste and modified it slightly. I swapped out the rice noodles for my Better Than Noodles and I swapped out the bean sprouts for brussels sprouts mainly because I couldn't, for the life of me, find bean sprouts in the grocery store. It was a debacle that turned out well thought because they tasted great in the Pad Thai and added a nice crunch.
This recipe was surprisingly easy, didn't take long to make, and was relatively easy to clean up-- a lot easier than the rice at least. The rice situation was not great and somehow I literally made it explode all over my kitchen. I suck at rice. Big time. Not even kidding, when I was little my parents would make me eat rice in the bathtub if I wanted it because I was a terrorist when it came to eating it. I also really enjoyed using chopsticks which probably contributed to the problem. Yikes.
Anyway.... I think this shrimp Pad Thai was a serious success and it will probably become a staple in our house. I am so excited to continue my cooking journey and start getting down in the kitchen a lot more often now.
Make sure to check out skinnytaste for delicious and nutritious recipes as well as Better Than Foods to get some skinny noodles for yourself!
Happy Sunday ya'll!
This weekend was incredibly relaxing for me which I needed after the chaos of the holidays. I also was starting to get sick so I needed to sleep it off, hydrate, and load up on Vitamin C. It was also so damn cold here in Maryland so I rejoiced that I had a reason to stay curled up in the house.
I spent today prepping for the week and getting myself ready to crush it. I've been slammed at work with a ton of projects so getting set up on Sundays to make my mornings and my week go as smoothly as possible is so key.
Something that I always have struggled with is my morning routine. I love maximizing my sleep time which means I get up at the last minute possible to make it to work on time. I've tried to change this about myself but I just have accepted the fact that mornings aren't my thing. I get so stressed scrambling around trying to get a smoothie together and pack my vitamins, snacks, waters, for the whole day. To be honest I usually grab the quickest thing possible and bolt out the door.
This leaves me with not the greatest breakfast and trying to remember to take all of my supplements when I get home. Smoothies are such a great way to pack in veggies, fruits, and supplements/powders that make up for what you aren't getting throughout the rest of your day so I had to figure out a way to make this work.
After I listened to The Skinny Confidental podcast a couple weeks ago with Dr. Mona Vand, my life CHANGED. It seems so simple but it just made so much sense and how the heck did I not think of this before. Mona said that she preps her smoothies in pre portioned bags for each day so that she doesn't have to scramble in the morning to get ingredients together. THIS MAKES SO MUCH FREAKING SENSE.
So I've started doing this and it is a true game changer.
I wanted to show you guys what I put in my smoothies and how seriously freaking easy it is. I also have been doing this with supplements. If you have Crohn's or any chronic illness you know taking your supplements are crucial to keep your body functioning so forgetting them and not being organized with what you are taking can really screw things up.
So here are the detAILs.
Make it SUPER easy.
I usually break it down by:
Boom. Out the door.
My favorite combination is one handful of spinach, one handful of blueberries, chia seeds, maca powder, and spirulina powder. You can add regular water or coconut water if you are feeling crazy. Sometimes I mix up the consistency by adding some ice.
This is a great way to pack in nutrients at the beginning of your day and start things off the right way while not having to stress out in the kitchen in the AM.
I will do a separate post about what I am doing with my vitamins and what vitamins/ supplements I've been taking but I will just saw this for now, pre packing them for the week is a game changer.
I also have been testing out some supplements that you can just add into your water, stir, and enjoy which is also another lazy girl tip I will be sharing with ya'll once I narrow down my favorites.
All of the lazy girl tips will be coming your way so stay tuned.
While you wait, I'm dying to know what your tips and tricks are AND what are your favorite morning smoothie add ins?
If you guys haven't noticed I've really embraced Instagram Stories after a long while of shying away from anything following the Snapchat model. I never jumped on board to Snap bandwagon just because to me it honestly just seemed like a whole lot of work and set up for little to no ROI. Let me explain.... you have to make a conscious effort to make sure you are promoting yet another user name on another platform for your brand, you have to make sure you are keeping up adding brands you are going to promote on both Instagram and Snapchat, and it just was another app that I had to deal with. Sounds high maintenance but I also just couldn't get into the whole sharing every little thing in my life until I realized there was actually value I could add by doing so. I still don't share everything but I do get to share quick tips on products, funny things about my dogs, and give people a look at what my non curated life looks like. Not only does this leave my Instagram feed freed up but it also has helped me to connect with readers/followers of CB in a whole new way. I just love it now. I like that Instagram is already something that I utilize on the regular so adding a new feature is easily integrated into my social media habits. I love that I can just tag brands that I already love without having to go find and follow on another site and I love being able to see updates from not only my friends but businesses and bloggers I follow along with. Instagram you did it right. There are a whole lot of other things that I do not like about you right now but I will save that for a different post..... (in case you haven't heard, Google "Instagram algorithm" be prepared for lots of shade).
Basically the point of this whole rant is that I've been utilizing stories to share real time updates and finds so I think I have slacked a little on sharing them on here. I DO want to get back to doing that though because I think it really is important to have posts to go back to that round up the top content you are sharing day to day. So, takeaway #1- follow me on Instagram to see real time updates, #2- enjoy this new, updated post of all of my favorite new and now finds that I can't get enough of.
I absolutely LOVE decorating for Fall. That being said, though, I don't like veering from my neutral color scheme and the usual fall colors don't go with my whole "look" I have going on at home. In the past I have been all about the white pumpkin decorating craze that dominates Pinterest but this year I switched things up to green pumpkins! They aren't AS basic as the white pumpkins but still fit my color scheme requirements. I picked up some cute decor for Fall (including green pumpkins, at Hobby Lobby and Target).
FARMACY LIP BLOOM
I got a sample of this product at Sephora the other day and have been so obsessed ever since. It is super moisturizing, tastes amazing, and adds a perfect finish to your lips if you are going for a natural look (which I pretty much always am). I can't get enough of this stuff and have been recommending it right and left to pretty much every person I meet. You can get it for yourself HERE. You won't regret it.
LE PEN PENS
I am so OCD about office/school supplies and the pens/pencils that I write with so when I found these I was skeptical at first but soon made a believer. I ordered these bad boys off of Amazon (I have the multi color pack) for writing and color coding my planner and for organizing my notes at work. The thin tips make it so easy to write neatly and the color selection is amazing. You can get them on Amazon and have them at your house in two days. Score.
BRUSH ME ORGANIC WHITENING TOOTHPASTE
I did a whole Instagram post on this stuff but to give you a quick rundown.... this stuff is a miracle for whitening teeth painlessly. It is made of clay, it is organic, it is pain free, and you can get 30% off of your first order with my code "M30". Click here, you are welcome.
This stuff has become my go to. So far I have tried their Pinot Noir and the Rose and both have been heaven for my tastebuds. The wines aren't too sweet and definitely gets you a little buzzed with your first class (or is that just me?). Did I mention that they come in cans? Yup, cans. So they are great for bonfires and other outdoor Fall events. Especially for us gluten free folk who can't drink beer, these are a cool alternative so you don't have to look like the asshole drinking out of a wine class while everyone else has Miller Lite cans.
I always see Moon Juice products featured by The Skinny Confidential but haven't been totally sold. The other day I gave in and tried this Brain Powder one morning at work. I was pretty surprised that about 20 minutes after drinking the powder (I mixed it with caffeine free mint tea) I was more alert, awake, and focused. Usually it takes me a couple cups of coffee to get to that point but if this powder can get me amped up that quickly without the negative gastro effects from coffee then I guess it is worth it! Get yours here.
I am always on the hunt for products that will hydrate my skin without making me break out or have a reaction from it. ThirstyMud is heaven for skin transitioning seasons. I put it on for about 20 minutes while I am taking a bubble bath and when I take it off my skin feels plump, moisturized, and so smooth. A little of this stuff goes a long way so you can make the jar last.
KONG DOG TOYS
Charleston is obsessed with toys that we can stuff treats into and those things will keep him busy for hours. Kong toys are a lifesaver when we are trying to get things done around the house and need Charleston to be occupied. Rhaegar is a little easier to entertain. We put him in front of the window and he can stare for hours. I like to browse the different Kong toys at my local pet store to decide what is best for my boys. There are different ones for different ages and strength of chewers.
BLACK BEAN PASTA
It all started with Red Lentil pasta from Trader Joe's and then when I saw this stuff I had to give it a try. This has quickly become a dinner staple in my household especially when I need to whip something up quickly. While I usually opt for zoodles or spaghetti squash for a gluten free pasta alternative, this pasta is a great way to get your carb fix while still packing in protein and keeping gluten free. I usually just make this quickly with a bit of olive oil, garlic salt, and parmesan cheese. Perfect come home late from work week night dinner.
BUTTER LONDON WINK EYE PENCIL
I was going through my makeup to organize it the other day and found an unopened Butter London eye pencil that I got for free a while ago and never had the chance to use. What! So I started using this in Earl Grey and have become kind of addicted to it. I like that it is a softer color than the black I usually use. It blends easily and is long lasting so I don't have to worry about it smudging throughout the day, even when my eyes are watery from allergies. I've used other Butter London products, all of which have been great, so I wasn't surprise when this stuff exceeded my expectations. You can get yours from Ulta.com.
MARLEYLILLY MONOGRAMMED BALLET FLATS
I am a Tory Burch flats girl through and through. Call me basic, but I love how comfortable and durable they are. I have worn some variation of a Tory Burch flat almost everyday to work for the past year or so. My black flats are on their last leg so I wanted to replace them but try something new. I have been loving monograms lately, especially with my new monogram (I am so corny, I know). When I saw that I could get monogrammed flats from Marleylilly I had to place an order ASAP. I am so picky about my shoes but these definitely are up to my standards. They are cute, comfortable, and unique to you.
I can't wait to hear what you guys end up trying or have tried from this list! Also, please feel free to message me any recommendations on new things to try! I am always game for a new product.
I am so excited for today's post! It is full of a ton of valuable information for people struggling with IBD or digestive issues of any sort and explains the true importance of having a registered dietician as part of your care team. Lucky for me, one of my childhood friends, Raquel, is a super knowledgable RD who deals with Crohn's patients on a regular basis. On top of her day job she also has a blog that is full of recipes that are not only nutritious but also super yummy. Raquel is also extremely passionate about fitness and overall helping people learn to live happy, healthy live!
She offered to answer some FAQs for Crohnically Blonde readers to help us navigate the wild world of trying to figure out what we should and should not be eating. All of her tips are extremely helpful and are very easy to incorporate into your daily routine. I know for me this information really helped to clear up a few things that I had questions about. In addition, it really made me realize that I need a Registered Dietitian that I can utilize on a regular basis. I hope you all enjoy and find a ton of value in this post, just like I did!
BEFORE WE START... HERE IS A LITTLE INFO ON RAQUEL/ SINCERELY-NOURISHED.COM
Raquel Redmond is a Registered Dietitian working in acute care in Philadelphia. She is an advocate of eating well and being well without the pressure. She can help you reach your goals! Browse recipes and nutrition tips, or reach out to work with her to assess your dietary needs on her blog. Sincerely Nourished (http://sincerely-nourished.com/blog) is a source for nutrition advice and ways to improve your quality of living focused on healthy eating, disease prevention & management.
I, personally, love her blog and keeping up with her meal suggestions via her Instagram (@dietitianraquel). My favorite thing about her recipes and suggestions are how doable they are. Not only does she feature original recipes but also suggests meals/snacks while you are on the go and meal ideas for eating out. Go give her a follow! You will not be disappointed.
NOW FOR THE GOOD STUFF.....
CB: It seems like everyone I talk to has different "trigger foods" that spark their symptoms. Is there a specific science behind what foods are truly the worst for Crohn's sufferers or does it really depend on the person?
SN: Unfortunately, there is no science behind it! The best thing you can do to avoid symptoms is to eat well. You may not be able to digest or absorb all the nutrients you eat so it is paramount that you stick to a healthy diet and get enough fluids. People with Crohn’s and UC are at risk for malnutrition due to diarrhea, loss of appetite, decreased intake and/or malabsorption, corticosteroid use, and inflammation. Make sure to eat every 3-4 hours and try to avoid skipping meals. Avoid caffeinated and sugary drinks and try not to use sugar substitutes.
I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but try keeping a food diary that also includes your symptoms. You may find that certain foods give you symptoms on a consistent basis and should limit or avoid them. I have found that people who are strict about keeping a food diary are able to control their symptoms better.
The Low FODMAP diet may be an option for you if you continually have symptoms. Talk to a Registered Dietitian to find out more!
CB: What are the best anti-inflammatory foods to eat either during a flare up or to prevent one?
SN: Anti-inflammatory foods are fruits such as berries and oranges, green leafy vegetables and tomatoes, fatty fish and nuts, olive oil and turmeric. You definitely want to avoid foods that promote inflammation such as fried foods, soda, simple carbohydrates and processed meats.
When you don’t have symptoms, include whole grains and a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet. This way you will get a variety of anti-inflammatory foods. You may want to take a chewable multivitamin daily! If you are not getting enough calcium in your diet, then you should take a chewable calcium supplement with vitamin D.
P.S. Supplements could contribute to your GI symptoms. It is important to check the labels, read the ingredients and make sure that there is no interaction between the supplement and medications you are taking. You should consider eliminating unnecessary supplements from your routine.
CB: Often times Crohn's patients get put on liquid diets (either clear or full). What are some ways to still make sure you are getting enough nutrients and protein to sustain you throughout the day?
SN: As you probably know, it is extremely hard to meet your calorie and protein needs while on a clear or full liquid diet. In an acute care setting we generally recommend supplements (i.e. Ensure, Boost, Carnation Instant Breakfast etc.) to help people meet their nutrient needs. If you are able to tolerate supplements I would recommend you drink them while on these diets. At home you will have more options and probably tastier options than while admitted to the hospital. A dietitian can help you come up with more options and recipes.
Clear liquids: jello, broth, juice, water ice, a clear supplement
Full liquids: anything on a clear liquid diet, cream soups, ice cream, yogurt, oatmeal, cream of wheat, smoothies, regular supplements
CB: What foods/drinks are the best for getting an added dose of probiotics?
SN: Probiotic food trends are on the rise! A probiotic supplement may not contain the strain of probiotic that works best for you. Supplements contain only the most common strains of probiotics. But, you can totally get probiotics from food! Try kombucha (my favorite), kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and other fermented foods to eat your probiotics. Yogurt is also a good source. Probiotics may increase gas and bloating so try these foods in small amounts.
Sometimes the Crohn's friendly food options are limited when traveling or attending events. What are some tried and true snacks that you recommend to throw in your bag before leaving the house?
Some of the best grab and go snacks are the same for people with and without IBD. A handful of nuts or nut based bar (think KIND bar) is easy to put in your purse or pocket. A piece of whole fruit is also easy on the go. If you have a lunch box and ice packs you can get a little more creative. Yogurt, fruit cups, cheese sticks or hummus are all good options. A Registered Dietitian can give you even more options that work with your body.
CB: Does Crohn's/UC change the way your body absorbs or metabolizes food?
SN: Yes, IBD can change the way your body absorbs and digests food. Most commonly it may negatively impact the absorption of nutrients. Due to mucosal inflammation your body may not absorb everything you eat. This is why it is so important to maintain a good nutritional status while you don’t have symptoms!
CB: I lot of people I know suffering from IBD (me included) are constantly on steroids. These are notorious for causing weight gain. What are your tips for staying slim even while on high doses of these medications?
SN: If you are taking a steroid you should stick to a low fiber diet. While having symptoms such as abdominal pain and diarrhea you should remain on this diet. When symptoms decrease you can slowly add small amount of whole grain foods and high fiber fruits and vegetables. Don’t continue adding more fiber into your diet if you start having symptoms again.
Steroids can also increase your blood sugar. You may need to pay attention to how many carbohydrates you are eating. Carbohydrates include fruits, dairy products and starchy foods. A Registered Dietitian is trained to help you control your blood sugars through diet while you are taking steroids if this becomes a problem for you.
P.S. If you are taking Methotrexate or Sulfasalazine you should take an extra 1 milligram of folic acid daily except on the day you receive Methotrexate.
CB: Why is it so important to have a Registered Dietitian to work with if you suffer from Crohn’s/UC/IBD?
SN: Working with a dietitian can help ease the burden of constantly worrying about what to eat! We can’t totally prevent flare ups, but in addition to your medications we can help make eating a more enjoyable occasion. If you would like to work with me – please reach out! I can also make a referral to a dietitian in your area.
You know when you keep hearing about something in a really short timeframe that you have never paid attention to before but all of a sudden it seems like everyone is talking about it and you don't know how you've lived your life without knowing about it?
That is how I feel about the Keto diet. Within a few day timespan I heard about it through two people randomly at work, randomly on social media, and through Matt's mom. Coincidence? I think not.
After some research I realized that this has been a "thing" for quite some time now and it isn't just a fad diet that is used to drop pounds quickly. It has been used to treat serious medical conditions such as epilepsy and migraines, and overall has proven to decrease inflammation in the digestive system. Have I been living under a freaking rock?
No. But sort of.
If you have been too then here is a rundown on what Keto actually is.
I usually try and steer myself away from getting to engrossed in different eating patterns due to 1. my sensitive digestive system and 2. my past with an eating disorder. After years of ongoing cognitive behavioral therapy telling you that diets are silly and counterproductive, there has been nothing to really stir the pot like Crohn's Disease. Having Crohn's means you 100% have to change up your diet in at least someway and be way more aware of what you are putting in your body. For the past couple of years I have just been adhering to a strict gluten free diet which has helped but at the same time not gotten me into remission yet. I made a conscious effort to eat decently healthy but carbs, sugars, and unnatural crap still littered my diet probably more than it should have.
When I went in for my Remicade infustion the other day, I was completely at my wits end about what to do. I saw a different doctor than usual and she made a suggestion that spurred a serious realization for me. She said that if I want to stay off of steroids on top of my Remicade I should just really try and buckle down and watch my diet. I always just convinced myself that I was doing enough when it came to diet but this conversation was enough to make me realize maybe I wasn't.
She suggested that I cut out dairy if that is something that seems to be an issue and to go back to following the low FODMAP diet. All of this seemed irritating but necessary. I figured I would mention to her a Ketogenic Diet instead just to see what she thought about it. She said that is definitely an option and we sort of left it at that.
I continued to Google and research everything about dairy free/low FODMAP diets and a Ketogenic Diet. Keto just seemed to make sense. It eliminates/limits so many inflammatory foods, how could it not be good for my situation? The problem I kept debating was the dairy piece of it. Is dairy really my problem? Or is it all of the other crap that I'm ingesting. Who. Freaking. Knows.
What I did decide is that SOMETHING needs to change. Clearly whatever I am doing isn't working for me. I've decided that I think I'm going to go for it and make that change. Not necessarily hardcore Keto because with the lifestyle I have, let's be real, I am never going to be able to follow it perfectly. I like to think it is more of a Keto inspired situation. I talked to Matt and got his nursing expertise. He said that a trial period can't hurt and if the dairy seems to be negatively effecting things then we reevaluate and if not then we keep going. Over these past few years I have grown continuously more in tune with my symptoms so I am using this as an experiment and gauging my response. I'm making a conscious effort to decrease sugars, processed foods, and unnecessary carbs. Carbs and Crohn's can be a rough situation. I crave starchy things when my stomach feels acidic and during my liquid diets I often resort to processed soups which contain additives and often times hidden sugars. These things are completely counter productive to my end goal. While I am limiting these things I will be upping my healthy fats, protein, and veggies (cooked of course to save my stomach!).
I know it seems a bit extreme to be on a Keto Diet long term so I'm not planning on doing that by any means. I'm really just trying to find an eating style that works for my situation and that I can adopt long term. I think that doing a type of lower carb and sugar stint will help me determine if these are things I should implement long term. Like I said, this is an experiment that hopefully I can come to some conclusions from. I am all about balance and adhering to such a strict diet can take some of the fun out of life. Coming from a place of unbalanced eating this can definitely be a challenge. I am an all or nothing kind of person. There is no 'sort of' with me, it either it is or it isn't. That being said, life is a huge gray area and I find that completely terrifying. If I box myself into "good days" and "bad days" I just start a downward spiral of judgement and frustration. That is why I am taking a fun approach to this. I am striving for more balance, more mindfulness, and more compassion for my own body. I shared my concerns with Matt and he is committed to hold me accountable if I get too crazy into this. That is a great partner right there, thanks babe!
No matter what I conclude from this shift in mindset and new health journey, I see this as being a positive experience. It is forcing me to reconnect with what I am putting in my body and really making sure I am doing everything I can, and more, to combat Crohn's the best way I know how.
This is the second day I have implemented my lifestyle change and I actually feel like I have more energy. It could be just the good weather or who knows... this thing really could work. I haven't been craving starchy things, just sugar, and I have been extremely thirsty but that has forced me to drink probably twice the amount of water (if not more) than I usually drink each day. As for stomach issues... absolutely NONE the past two days. Coincidence? Placebo effect? We shall wait and see.....
I will continue to keep you all updated on my progress through this and I would love to hear from anyone who has done Keto or has suffered with Crohn's and what styles of eating they have adopted. Any of the above! As always, your thoughts are always greatly appreciated.
SPOILER ALERT: Crohnically Blonde has an awesome guest post coming up that couldn't have happened at a more perfect time. Right in the middle of my food crisis, we are lucky enough to have a blogger whose job it is to deal with food crises on a daily basis! All of her knowledge will be featured on the blog later this week so STAY TUNED.
How long have we been waiting?!
How long have I been throwing the crackers out of my cheese bistro box? How long have I been eating marshmallow dream bars in place of breakfast foods? (Maybe it's just me on that one...) How long have us gluten free basic bees been waiting for Starbucks to get it together and come out with a gluten free breakfast option?
Well my friends, it is here.
And it is packaged in a separate "gluten free" bag. There is none of this "maybe its gluten free" crap that companies like to use to cover their behinds. Nope. We may have waited what felt like (and was) far too long for this but, dare I say, it was worth it.
This sandwich is an actually decent and non soggy GF english muffin with an egg, white cheddar, and Canadian bacon. In addition it isn't super greasy, which is also a stomach friendly plus. Consider my mornings made. Thanks Starbs.
Check out the full specs on this yummy little addition HERE.
AS IF THE ADORABLE BRANDING WASN'T A GOOD ENOUGH REASON......
I have wanted to try a meal delivery service for the longest time. I used to do Galley when I lived in the city, which delivered precooked gluten free meals that just needed to be heated up. Those saved me a ton of time and stress of trying to come up with delicious and healthy meals. Unfortunately, Galley doesn't deliver to my new suburbia location so I was in the market for a new solution. A lot of the delivery "boxes" or whatever you want to refer to them as, didn't have specific gluten free options and would require me to substitute items from my own pantry. I know this sounds high maintenance but if I am paying $60+ per box I don't want to have to shop for my own supplementary items! I was super excited to hear about Sun Basket (actually via the "Straight Up With Stassi" podcast.... shoutout!). They have gluten free, paleo, dairy free, soy free, and vegetarian options while still featuring absolutely delicious recipes. Each meal averages around $12.50 each when you break it down, which really isn't bad when I factor in all of the groceries I buy that go to waste. Plus the fact that I see those brown labeled bags in my fridge and remember the money I spent on them helps to motivate me to actually get cooking!
Matt and I have used this as a bonding experience and have actually grown to really enjoy cooking together. Even I have found some solace in coming home from work, putting on a podcast, and focusing on putting together a delicious dinner. I have to say these meals that I have made from Sun Basket are some of the best recipes I have ever come across and honestly things that I never even thought that I could make for myself as corny as that sounds.
These Chipotle Chilaquiles with black beans were a personal favorite of mine. Dare I see even more satisfying than my usual Chipotle bowl go to. This is a gluten free, vegetarian, and soy free option that did not disappoint! I also really like that they have the calorie counts and the prep time listed.
These Seared Salmon Tacos with asparagus-scallion salsa and lime yogurt, which I actually made tonight, are a prime example of how the calorie counts are decent and the portion sizes are plentiful. Another thing I love is the use of interesting ingredients that aren't staples in my home. I wouldn't go out and purchase a huge helping of pumpkin seeds, for example, without prompting but having them in small portions allows you to taste test and see how you like them before committing to them becoming a pantry staple.
I completely recommend Sun Basket to anyone looking to make some delicious, healthy meals. This has made me infinitely more confident in the kitchen AND you even get recipe cards to keep and 24/7 access to the recipe collection in the Sun Basket app.
If you want to give it a try, use my link HERE for 3 free meals!
Let me know how you like it!
With the warmer weather finally hitting Maryland I am constantly craving all things light and citrusy when it comes to food. I have been guzzling sparkling water with grapefruit like it is my personal mission and I really cannot get enough lemon in just about everything I ingest.
That being said, when I found this recipe on Pinterest it spoke to my summer craving soul because of the olive oil/lemon vinaigrette. My undying love for feta may have also contributed as well. I am not going to lie to you guys, Matt made this one, not me, but that doesn't change the fact that I picked out the recipe and tasted it so, therefore, I can blog about it. He does get all of the credit for execution though.
My favorite thing about this recipe was that it tasted so delicious but was actually healthy and a great way to get an extra dose of veggies thanks to the switch from pasta to zoodles. Since zoodles are cooked they usually tend to be Crohn's friendly for me and the sauce didn't cause an issue which was refreshing. With other pasta options being creamy alfredo sauces, tomato sauces which can be upsetting, and pesto sauces which I love so much but my stomach can't handle, this option seems to be the best out of all of them. The taste, luckily, got two thumbs up as well. Even though I wasn't the one who actually made the dinner, I can vouch for the fact that it was relatively easy and didn't take to long at all. Needless to say, we will definitely be making this again for warm nights out on our patio! And trying some more light and fresh zoodle recipes.... maybe even making up some of our own!
Click above for the recipe and let me know what you think once you try it! Also, please feel free to share any yummy zoodle recipes with me so Matt and I can try them!
Happy Sunday Spoonies! I hope everyone had both a fun and restful weekend and are ready to start Monday morning with a happy face. I laughed at myself while typing that... wishful thinking at it's finest, mainly for the Monday morning part. I did have a really relaxing weekend though and got to spend some QT with my family which I definitely needed. Part of my weekend was spent eating out at one of my favorite places (gluten free flatbreads to die for) but that also left my stomach dying. That is usually how it goes, but never fear, I know what to do. Once I feel a not so great couple of days coming on I switch up my diet to lots of liquids. Now I know this is different for everyone as to what makes them feel better. I've heard some people do a lot better with solid/bland foods like bread and rice but for me that hasa very counterproductive impact on my insides. So I stick my tried and true smoothies (shout out to my dad for getting me the BEST Ninja Blender ever).
Usually I stick with water (sometimes coconut water if I'm feeling crazy), frozen fruit, a handful of spinach or kale, some greek yogurt and then my favorite part... SUPPLEMENTS!
I used to use a bunch of shake mixes and stuff like that which I am by no means knocking but I realized I like the excitement of customizing my smoothies. I have tried a variety of different "add ins" but these two are my absolute favorites right now. They have great health benefits specific to what my body needs and they are pure, delicious, and don't upset my stomach. Also, total tangent but blending up spinach and kale doesn't upset my stomach but eating it raw and whole does, anyone else have this too? Anyway, I had to share my growing obsession with Chia Seeds and Spirulina Powder.
I love these bad boys. They add a bit of texture which I know isn't for everyone but I am all about it. I'm just going to start out here saying I KNOW I am going to get shit for saying I like Chia Seeds for a Crohn's diet. Technically you are supposed to avoid nuts and seeds but these have done a lot more good than they have harm.
A lot of people suffering from Crohn's (and any chronic illness really) are lacking in nutrients. Sometimes your body isn't processing things correctly and sometimes it is just because, well, eating is hard. I have a love/hate relationship with it. Honestly, days where I feel like crap the last thing I want to do is take a bunch of vitamins and make sure I am getting all my food groups. Like, shit, I'm lucky if I can eat some damn gluten free crackers. Anyway, I like to make things easy and get my nutrients mixed into other things. I also do this with vegetables because hey, those are hard to, lets be real for a minute.
Chia seeds are packed with antioxidants, high quality protein, Omega 3s, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and fiber.
So what the eff does this actually mean?
You can throw a tiny little serving size in your morning smoothie and get a ton of goodness without having to add additional things in your diet.
Another fun fact. They keep you full for really long so if you are trying to be healthy and not eat all of the donuts that your office always has hanging around, adding a little scoop of this in your morning snack will really do the trick.
I'm not a medical professional so don't live and die (certainly please don't die) by what I say, but I just have to stand behind my good friends, chia seeds, and say they may be a seed but they are friends for us Crohnies... at least in my opinion.
I'm going to be 100% honest. When I bought this stuff I had no clue what it was. When I realized it was actually some algae basically, Matt laughed at me and was like "uhhh did you know that". I obviously had to pretend like I did to prove that my impulse purchases are, indeed, necessary and decently informed. This one was not and Spirulina and I met by chance. I accidentally exploded this blue/green powder all over my freshly cleaned kitchen and wanted to punch myself in the face. Eventually when I got my shit together, I looked into what this stuff actually is and was completely shocked.
Like chia seeds, spirulina powder is one of the most serious of superfoods. The benefits are extensive and you can read about them here because they are way too long to summarize and I really don't want to bore you.
What my absolute favorite benefit of spirulina happens to be is the positive impact it can have on people with autoimmune diseases. HELLO! Spirulina has been proven to reduce the candida or "bad bacteria" in your gut. This is what my acupuncturist always tells me is a huge problem for me and actually my doctor does too. The treatment approaches are very different though. My doctor gives me a variety of antibiotic cocktails that make me feel like death has come to take me out slowly but surely. My acupuncturist recommends something a lot more palatable... lots and lots and lots and lots of probiotics. I am all about that and live like probiotics are my best friend, but why not get some extra help from spirulina? Aka trying real hard to ditch the antibiotics for good.
Just a tiny little scoop in my smoothie in the morning packs in a serious dose of nutrients and candida ass kicking power. Also, random fact, since I've been drinking it my allergies have improved. GUESS WHAT! Another benefit right there that I must have totally skimmed over during my first run through of research.
Again, I am not a medical professional so you don't have to believe me but it has definitely had a positive impact on my body. I am still in the beginning stages of my experience with these supplements so I will update if anything else earth shattering happens.
I am just going to say this one more time so no one freaks out at me or something: I AM NOT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL. Clearly. But my opinion is my opinion and I think it is a pretty awesome one. Kidding.....
Let me know if you try these out in your morning smoothies and how AMAZING they make you feel! Or how horrible they make you feel because, hey, I'm not always right.
I hope you all kick Monday's butt.
Meal Talk Monday is actually on a Tuesday this week.... better late than never right? I actually made this quiche last night though so technically it was a Monday masterpiece.
I recently decided to switch things up with my workouts/meal plan and took the plunge with The Bombshell Body Guide from The Skinny Confidential. If you guys haven't gotten the memo yet, I am really into all of the content she creates and she is a huge business inspiration for me. Recently I have gotten so down on myself doing the same workouts (which lets be honest, aren't as often as they should be) and eating the same recipes recycled from my "gluten free" Pinterest board. I am usually not one to purchase a "meal plan" online or anything like that because I spent years seeing nutritionists that would completely shit on them.
I decided to say eff what I've heard (seriously resisting a DJ James Kennedy quote right here) and bought what I have to say is the most content filled $50 I have ever spent. I will do a whole separate post on this later but let me just tell you, this guide is SO worth it.
When I was meal planning for this week, I decided to make this "Skinny Quiche" (that was actually in the lunch section... living on the edge) for breakfasts this week. Lucky for me, Maryland got a yucky snowy, icy situation last night so this morning I was able to wake up early and whip this up before starting my day working from my dining room table (score!). It has a mixture of egg whites, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, ham, broccoli, and some other good stuff. All really, really attainable ingredients. Promise.
I served up a delicious slice with mango piece and a hot coffee with almond milk and my morning was completely made. This is so easy to make. The prep time was about 5-10 minutes and the cook time was 45 minutes which was great because I let it cook while I showered and got ready for the day. Honestly, it tasted really delicious and kept me full for way longer than my usual protein bar does. I love a good savory breakfast situation and this totally hits the spot.
I usually will link to the recipe but this is actually embedded in the online version of The Bombshell Body Guide so I can't. What I will link to, though, is the website to purchase the guide and I promise you it is worth it. I don't get anything from posting this (also promise that, wish I did hehe), but my 100% genuine opinion is this thing kicks ass.
And this quiche is effing delicious.
Blonde babe. Maryland native. Crohn's crushing puppy mother to two sweet rescues.