Paleo on the Go

Five Guys Bunless Bacon Burger

Five Guys Bunless Bacon Burger

I have to admit when I first started eating Paleo, it was difficult for me to stay the course (okay maybe this still happens). Some days I wasn’t prepared, some days I didn’t have enough food on hand when I was on the go and some days (or most days) I was just “too busy to eat healthy.” Sound familiar?

Being too busy can wreck havoc on your healthy eating intentions. It’s just too easy to grab a chicken shwarma from Sultan’s after a 90-minute bikram yoga session food when you are on the go and time is not on your side.

HOWEVER, as much as I meal plan, prepare for the week or bring my entire fridge to work, sometimes it’s just not enough. When this happens, I want something STAT.

So what do I do? When someone else is preparing my food, I try to make the best possible choices because, let’s face it, we can’t be perfect all the time.

Here is a list of food options that I would reach for if I was hangry hungry:

1. Hero Burger – Burger without the bun. Wrapped in lettuce with the following toppings: red onions & tomatoes with pickles and mustard on the side. Done.

2. Five Guys – Again, burger or bacon burger without the bun. Wrapped in lettuce. Tomato, onions and green peppers with pickles and mustard on the side.

3. Any Sushi Restaurant – Sashimi or Salmon/Avocado hand rolls without the rice. Yes, I do bring my own coconut aminos 🙂

4. Booster Juice – Tropi-Kale, Spinach is in it (substitute acai juice for water) or any of their fresh pressed juices

5. Any Salad Bar –  Stack up your salad! I usually ask for Balsamic Vinegar/Olive Oil/Lemon as the dressing. Or I bring my own.

6. Breakfast Spots – Eggs benny, hold the bread and hollandaise sauce, with smoked salmon and spinach! Or your basic bacon and poached eggs.

7. Chipotle – Carnita salad bowl with veggies, salsa (there are 3 you can choose from) and lots of GUAC!

When you are hungry, you can get creative! Healthy eating does not have to be so challenging! Sorry this is a tad late, but I hope this helps some of you who are taking my 30 Day Reset Challenge (9 more days to go — you can do it!) 🙂

And of course, I can’t leave you without a recipe share!


Last night I made a real quick hash that consisted of whatever was left in my fridge. This usually happens on Thursday or Friday when groceries are running low. Sometimes my best meals are the ones that I put together on the spot. Who knew?

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Sweet Potato Hash aka End of Week Hash

Ingredients:

– 1 medium onion, diced

– 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced

– 5 stalks of celery, chopped

– 1 green apple, diced

– 1 tbsp of coconut oil

– salt, pepper and parsley flakes, to taste

Instructions:

1. Preheat skillet or pan over medium heat

2. Melt coconut oil

3. Saute onions for 3-5 minutes

4. Add remaining ingredients and cook or 10 minutes or until softened

5. Season with salt, pepper, parsley flakes (or whatever you feel like)

6. Serve with eggs! Or a burger… or anything really!

Enjoy 🙂

 

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Just Show Up

It has been exactly 63 days of bikram yoga for me. The days have come and gone and I have learned a lot from this challenge.

Back in August, I set a goal of completing a 30-day challenge (with my 30th class landing on my 30th birthday), but my good friend Kelly inspired me to do a 60-day challenge. I had already done a 30-day, so… why not? Without hesitations, I made a decision and I committed.

60 days. 60 classes. 90 hours. 1560 postures. 105 degrees AT LEAST. Pounds of sweat and loads of laundry later, I completed my 60th class. Didn’t think I’d see the day! I have learned more about myself during this challenge than I have in my lifetime. This may sound like an exaggeration, but l will explain. For 60 days, I stayed committed not only to yoga, but to myself. Each day, I became more and more aware of my body, my breath, my feelings and my mind. Everyday, for 60 days, all I did was show up.

The Experience

I remember Day 10 being so rough that I sat out most of the postures. The room was incredibly hot, even experienced practitioners and instructors were sitting out. However, from days 11 to days 36 things were great; my practice shifted, physically. My injuries had improved significantly (both hips and right rotator cuff). I couldn’t believe how flexible I had become! Classes became tolerable and I was doing all 26 postures (and 2 breathing exercises). I was thriving from the energy this yoga had brought me. I was on a yoga high!

Then came Week 6. Days 37 to 39 to be exact. I started to feel nauseaus during class. My throat felt gross, like I was sick, and sometimes it felt like I had a partial blockage. I found it difficult to breathe and the heat become too much. I sat out of postures and felt stuck! Suddenly that yoga high I was experiencing, became a big wall… it felt like the Great Wall of China, to be exact. Yup, I hit a wall. I was frustrated and could not understand why this was happening.

After talking to some instructors, they all agreed on one thing: the middle of a 60-day challenge is always the hardest. I could tell that my body was transforming, but at the same time, I was suffering mentally and emotionally.

On Day 40, the nausea was gone and I (finally) had a strong class again. After class, I had described my nausea and difficulty to the instructor, and she asked me, “Are you having trouble communicating something or to someone?” I left class thinking nothing of it.

For a few days, my classes flourished again. Then came days 43 and 44. These two days brought so much emotion and on top of all that my injuries that improved so much, began to resurface — not good! Classes were rough, I felt like crap, I wanted to give up and I cried after both classes. I did not know why I was crying but I knew I felt overwhelmed with emotion. I just let it happen and kept pushing through.

The night of day 44, I was asked a simple, yet effective question, “Are you ok? What’s really going on?” During that conversation, I broke down and just spilled everything going on in my life. Now, I won’t go into the details of that conversation, but reflecting back on that moment, I knew I felt a release — remember the communicating question? I became vulnerable, and I was okay with that because that “breakdown” became my breakthrough.

This moment made me realize why I do this crazy thing called hot yoga.

It wasn’t until after day 51 that my classes started to become strong again. On day 56, I was able to do toe stand/padangustasana for the first time and the pain to my injuries had once again disappeared; it was an amazing feeling! On days 57 to 60 I did not even notice the heat, even though I was sweating buckets. Classes just flew by and I felt wonderful.

During my challenge I did many doubles. I did a couple back-to-back doubles and I had a lot of difficult classes. Today, however, I feel strong — mentally, emotionally and physically. Yoga brings up a lot of stuff. A lot of unreconciled stuff and it is very, very liberating.

A few things I learned along the way…

1. Set your intention – It might have been something as small as to stay in the room for the entire 90 minutes, or to complete a double or to minimize water intake in class. Sometimes my intention was to try each posture to the full expression, sometimes it was remembering to just breathe. Whatever it was, I made sure I had set intentions before every class.

2. Let go of expectations – Each class will be different. Some days will be strong, others will knock the wind out of you. It’s okay. It’s okay to fall out of postures. Just remember to get back up and try again. Live in the moment.

3. Trust the process – Changes don’t happen overnight. It’s yoga practice, not yoga perfect. The class will be whatever it will be, just trust it.

4. The postures you hate to do, is the one you need the most – I almost always sat out of toe stand, triangle, camel and rabbit poses. One day, I set my intention to at least try these postures. When I began doing these postures, I felt so much better and the pain to my injured areas started to improve significantly and my practice itself, shifted.

5. Doubles (two classes in one day) is not THAT bad – I experienced a lot of anxiety before completing my first double, but found out that it was actually a lot easier to do the second time around. It gave me energy and the opportunity to work on postures I had difficulty with.

I cannot imagine my life without yoga. Everything I have learned during my yoga journey, I can apply to life. Set your intentions every day. Be present. Be aware. Falling out of a posture (or making mistakes) is not a bad thing, it’s a learning tool. Everyday is different. Everyday brings new challenges and new opportunities for growth. Some days will be better than others, all you have to do is trust the process and… just show up.

Namaste.

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The 30 Day Reset

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Are you ready for a challenge? Looking to get your health back on track? Feeling blah and need a little pick-me-up? Binged a little too much over the summer or Thanksgiving? Here is your chance to reset before the Holidays, so sign up!

What:
30 Day Reset following Paleo principles

When:
Saturday, November 1, 2014 to Sunday, November 30, 2014

Details:
30 days of real food.
30 days of following the Paleo Protocol.
No grains, dairy, legumes or refined sugar. No processed food.
EAT REAL FOOD: Fruits, Veggies, Meat/Seafood, Nuts, Seeds… and LOTS OF IT!
Self monitored accountability
Essentially, 30 days to a healthier you!

Time to get creative and healthy at the same time!
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HOW TO PARTICIPATE:

1. Send an email to lifebymich@gmail.com with the subject 30 Day Reset and let me know you would like to participate

2. Once I get your e-mail, you will be added to to a private Facebook group where I will post tips, tricks, motivation, inspiration, support, recipes, etc. This will also give you an opportunity to reach out to a others during the reset challenge

3. Follow @lifebymich on Instagram and/or Twitter for inspiration and food ideas.

4. “Like” the Life by Mich Facebook page.

5. Use the hashtag #lifebymich on your social media accounts during your reset challenge to help with accountability. Photos will be featured regularly on my Instagram account and Facebook Page. *Note: If your account is private and I am not following you, I will not see your submissions!

Are you ready? Let’s do this!

Here’s to a healthier YOU!

Journey to 30

Guys, I apologize for the lack of posts, but life just got a little busier. A lot of big changes currently happening and I wanted to share some updates with my little army of followers. Rest assured, a recipe will be posted at the end! 🙂

I will be turning 30 in a few days and normally I would be sulking at the thought of getting one year older, but this year feels different. This year I am embracing the changes and am feeling very thankful and blessed for everything I have and the people in my life. I am ready to say good bye to my twenties and start this new decade. A lot of things to look forward to this year and beyond. So let’s begin with some updates, shall we?

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1. Logo Launch — You may or may not have noticed my new logo. I won’t mention too, too much about my logo or website right now, but stay tuned (30 day paleo challenge coming up)! Thanks to the wonderful Jill for helping me with my logo and branding.

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2. Yoga Every Damn Day/60 Day Bikram Yoga Challenge — Last year I completed a 30 day challenge and because 30 days isn’t challenging enough (who am I?), I decided to double up and do 60 days with my 30th class landing on my 30th birthday (hence… #journeyto30). Bikram Yoga has always been so mentally, physically and emotionally challenging for me, but also very rewarding and this is why I am so hooked. I have already completed 21 days and I feel amazing! The only thing different is that I am doing classes with friends — Hi Kelly, Melanie and Linda! Stay tuned for my post-60 day Bikram Yoga Wrap Up!

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3. Back to School — This is one of the biggest updates from me. Never thought this day would come, but yes, you heard right, I am going back to school. Not nursing related at all, but who said nursing had to be my end-all be-all? This year, I’ve learned to listen to the whispers of the universe and follow my dreams and passions. Say hello to your future Nutritional Therapy Consultant. Very excited to begin this journey and share my knowledge.

And… last but not least, a recipe share (of course!).

NFL Season has begun so my goal is to share some healthier snacking options. This week I will be sharing an easy recipe for classic hot chicken wings!

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Butta Hot Chicken Wings

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. of chicken wings
  • 2 tbsp of grass-fed butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup of Franks Red Hot Sauce
  • 1/4 cup of grass-fed butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cover a large baking tray with foil and place a cooling rack on top
  3. Clean chicken wings and pat dry thoroughly
  4. Place chicken wings on rack, at least one inch apart; do not let them touch
  5. Melt 2 tbsp of butter and brush the chicken wings lightly
  6. Bake wings for 30 minutes, flip and bake for an additional 10-12 minutes
  7. While wings are baking, melt butter (1/4 cup) over medium heat in a small sauce pan, then add your hot sauce. Simmer sauce over low heat until chicken wings are ready
  8. When wings are cooked, remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Toss with wing sauce and enjoy! 🙂

CocoFlax Banana Cookies

It’s August already!? Where has the time gone… I apologize for the lack of posts lately, but I have been focused on frivolously documenting my cycles. If you can recall, I talked about ditching the pill a few posts back. It has been two months since coming off the pill and I have been on one heck of an emotional roller coaster (a complete understatement)!

So far, my cycles have returned to a “normal” 28- to 29-day cycle, which has completely surprised me considering I was on the pill for over a decade. I wholeheartedly attribute this to eating clean. 100%

Although my cycles have returned to a somewhat normal state and my diet has been pretty clean, I have still experienced and continue to experience many, many mood swings (my boyfriend can attest to this) and physical changes to my body. My hormones are trying to balance itself out and until my hormones are in a happy equilibrium, I will keep reminding myself to “trust the process.”

I’m learning more and more about my body and how it should function naturally, which is amazing in itself. There are times that I am completely frustrated with this process, but I know that coming off the pill has been one of the best decisions I could make for my body.

I have been incorporating foods and supplements (like flax, chia seeds, chlorella, chasteberry, evening primrose oil, castor oil packs, etc.) into my daily routine to help with my road to hormonal recovery — thanks to the guidance and support of my trainer, Liz.

Here is a quick recipe for a yummy treat which includes flax. Paleo-friendly. Vegan-friendly. Even 21 day sugar detox friendly, if you use green-tipped bananas! Give these a try and let me know how they go! 🙂

Coco-Flax Banana Cookies

Soft and Chewy CocoFlax Banana Cookies

Yields: 12 cookies

Ingredients
– 2 bananas (use green-tipped if doing a 21 day sugar detox)
– 1 1/2 cups of unsweetened shredded coconut
– 2 tbsp ground flax (optional)

You can also mix in nuts, chocolate chips, etc.

Instructions
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
2. Using a hand blender/blender/food processor blend banana and shredded coconut
3. If using mix-ins, add them now, but use a spatula and gently mix
4. Using a tablespoon, roll cookie mixture into a ball, then flatten into a disc
5. Bake for 20 minutes on a parchment lined baking tray
6. Enjoy! 🙂

If anyone is curious to know what is in my green smoothie today, I blended:
– 1/2 cup of frozen strawberries
– 1/2 an avocado
– generous handful of spinach
– 3/4 cup of coconut milk
– 1 tsp chlorella
– 1 tbsp of ground flax

Shrimp Scampi Zoodles

It is nearing the end of the week and my fridge is pretty much empty at this point. I used up left over ingredients to make this meal. Another one pot wonder and 20 minute meal that uses 6 ingredients + spices. My best meals are usually the ones that use left-over ingredients because it allows me to be creative!

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Shrimp Scampi Zoodles (One Pot Wonder)

Yields: 2-3 servings | Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

– 2 tbsp grass fed butter
– 4 cloves of garlic, minced
– 1 cup (or more) of cremini mushrooms, sliced
– 1 lb shrimp
– juice of 1 lime
– 2 medium zucchini, spiralized/julienned
– salt & pepper to taste
– optional: red pepper flakes (if you like heat)

Instructions
1. Heat cast iron skillet/pot over medium-high heat
2. Add butter to skillet and allow to melt
3. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds (or until it begins to become fragrant, do not over-saute, burnt garlic is a no no!)
4. Add cremini mushrooms and cook for another 30 seconds
5. Add shrimp and lime juice, and flavour with salt/pepper and red pepper flakes
6. Toss zucchini noodles in the shrimp mixture
7. Mix well and simmer for 15 minutes
8. Enjoy! 🙂

I posted a similar recipe here: Spaghetti Squash Scampi

One Pot Wonder

My meals are not always elaborate and technical. Most of the time, I usually throw things together that takes less than 30 minutes of my time. However,  I wouldn’t mind spending most of the day in the kitchen anyway. But who has time for that? Life happens. I have a few go-to “one pot wonders,” but this one is a favourite.

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One Pot Wonder: Zoodles & Shrimp

Yields: 2 Servings
Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
– 2 medium zucchini
– 1 1/2 cups of paleo-friendly marinara sauce (I use the White Lace Collection brand from Costco)
– shrimp (as many as you like)
– chopped parsely

Tools:
– Spiralizer or Julienne Peeler

Instructions:
1. Combine spiralized or julienned zucchini, marinara sauce and shrimp in a medium sized pot
2. Simmer for 20 minutes
3.  Top with parsley
4. Enjoy! 🙂

Easy, peasy!

#lifebymich

🙂

Ditching the Pill

I’m starting another personal Whole 30 Challenge today and although my diet is mostly “paleo” anyway, I find that the introduction of natural forms of sweeteners into my diet (ie. maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar) makes a huge difference in the way my body functions and how I feel.

My most recent challenge (May 2014) lasted 37 days. I broke it while on vacation in the Bahamas and like I mentioned in my last post, I developed a rash on my face and became extremely bloated. The rash and the bloating went away 4 days after coming back from vacation and eating real food again.

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Today is yet another Day 1 for me and for the next 30 days, I will be focusing on incorporating foods that will help detoxify my liver and promote hormonal health. But why? Long story short: I’ve recently decided to Ditch the Pill (birth control). Yep. I am finally saying goodbye to that jagged little pill.

In my attempts to live a “cleaner life,” it only made sense to stop taking the pill after being on it for more than a decade. NOW… before the rumour mill gets started, the answer is NO. I am not planning on popping babies in the near future! 😉

It has officially been 3 weeks since I have been off the pill and boy has it been a ride! I feel like I am living in somone else’s body. My hormones are completely out of whack and I have experienced some less-than-desirable symptoms which include (but are not limited to): headaches/migraines during the first week, bloating, erratic emotions/endless crying, changes in body odour (I know, gross), cramping, breast tenderness & back pain. Short term pain, long term gain? Here’s to hoping so! I am so very thankful that my significant other has been very supportive and patient with me during this process — Hi Andrew!

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Through research, I found that one of the best ways to nurse myself back to hormonal health after coming off the Pill is to detoxify the liver through diet & nutrition. So, in addition to following a Whole 30 regimen and  in order to acheive hormonal and liver health, my 30-day plan will include the following (oh by the way, Day 1 breakfast is above — Fried Eggs & Greens!):

– No grains/dairy/legumes/sweeteners/alcohol (Whole 30 principle)
– Daily dry brushing and oil pulling (I do this first thing in the morning before my shower)
– Eliminating all fruits except for lemons + an occasional green apple (oh boy…)
– Eliminating all night shade vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, etc)
– Eliminating coffee/caffeine (substituting with Roasted Dandelion Tea which is surprisingly delicious!)

It’s going to be a challenge alright! If I knew all of the negative effects the Pill had on my body, I would have never considered it as an option. But it’s too late.

So with coming off the Pill I have decided to follow the Fertility Awareness Method as my choice of non-hormonal birth control. I am in the middle of learning about it, so I don’t have too, too much to say right now.

However,  if you are considering coming off the Pill and are looking for a non-hormonal and eco-friendly form of contraception, these are the following resources I recommend:

– Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler

– Justisse Method: Fertility Awareness and Body Literacy A User’s Guide by Geraldine Matus

Wish me luck!

🙂

 

 

Convenience Food

When life gets busy, I become dependent on convenience foods. Convenience foods are meals that are quick and require little preparation.

Here are two recipes that I have discovered this week that I absolutely love. They are effortless, quick and delicious: Chocolate Banana Pudding and a recipe share for Avocado Sweet Potato Toast. Enjoy!

 

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Chocolate Banana Pudding

Yields: 2 servings

Ingredients:
1 can of coconut milk
1 large banana
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
Toppings (optional): fruit, nuts, cacao nibs, etc.

Instructions:
1. Place can of coconut milk in the refrigerator and let sit overnight
2. Once coconut milk is chilled,  open can and drain liquid into another container (save liquid to use for a smoothie)
3. Scoop coconut cream into a medium sized bowl
4. Add banana, vanilla extract and cocoa powder
5. Use a hand mixer and blend until smooth
6. Top with toppings of choice
7. Best served when chilled,  but you can eat it right away!

 

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Avocado Sweet Potato Toast
(recipe from @thewhetappetite on Instagram)

Yield: 4 pieces of toast

Ingredients:
2 sweet potatoes
– 1 ripe avocado
– 1/2 lime
– 1 tbsp olive oil
– Sea salt
– Black pepper
– Toppings of choice

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
2. Thinly slice sweet potatoes lengthwise and brush each side with olive oil
3. Place sweet potato slices on a nonstick pan and roast on middle rack for 35-40 minutes, flipping halfway through
4. Remove sweet potato slices from oven and allow to cool 5-10 minutes

5. Halve avocado, remove pit, mash the avocado with a fork
6. Add a dash of salt and pepper and a squeeze of lime to taste
7. Spread the avocado mash on the sweet potato with a fork
4. Add toppings of choice

In my photo, I use: smoked salmon, salsa and a soft boiled egg.

#lifebymich

🙂

Carne Fiesta

Happy Nursing Week to all my fellow Nurses out there, especially my awesome team! In preparation for the upcoming work weekend, my team has decided to celebrate with a Paleo Friendly Mexican Fiesta Potluck (with Non-Paleo items). I’m bringing the protein!

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Carne Fiesta (…or a fancy word for the BEST TACO MEAT EVER!)

Ingredients
–          1 tbsp coconut oil
–          1.5 lbs of ground beef
–          1 medium onion, diced
–          2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
–          16 oz of tomato sauce
–          1 tbsp tomato paste
–          1 tsp paprika
–          1 tsp cumin
–          1 tsp salt
–          ½ tsp pepper
–          2 medium tomatoes, diced
–          2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
–          2 tbsp lime juice
–          2 tbsp green onion, chopped
–          guacamole/avocado

Instructions

  1. On medium-heat, melt coconut oil in a cast iron pan (or any other pan)
  2. Saute onions until soft
  3. Add beef and stir for 4-5 minutes until lightly browned
  4. Add garlic, tomato paste, tomato sauce & spices, mix well to combine
  5. While covered, simmer for 20-25 minutes
  6. Take taco beef mixture off heat
  7. Mix in diced tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice & green onion

How to Eat?

–          Top with avocado/guacamole in a butter lettuce wrap for a paleo-friendly taco
–          Pile on top of sweet potato chips with guacamole for Loaded Paleo Nachos as seen below (recipe for Sweet Potato Chips belwwith recipe for Sweet Potato Chips!

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Sweet Potato Chips

Ingredients
–          2 medium sweet potatoes
–          1 tbsp avocado oil
–          Sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Rinse and scrub sweet potatoes, then dry well
  3. With skin intact, finely slice sweet potatoes by hand or use a mandolin
  4. In a mixing bowl, toss sweet potato chips with avocado oil
  5. Place chips on a parchment-line baking tray in a single layer
  6. Sprinkle with sea salt
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes

Quick Notes:
–          Keep a close eye on the chips as they can burn quick

ENJOY 🙂

#lifebymich