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What To Eat When You Can’t Eat: Breakfast on The First Day of Fasting

Since today is the first day of the 19 day Baha’i fast, I thought it might be interesting for you guys to see how I fuel up for breakfast on a typical fasting day.

For 19 days, Baha’i’s do not eat or drink from sunrise to sunset. Since I started fasting at the age of 15, I’ve had countless people ask me questions about how I survive without eating and drinking for the majority of the day.

Here’s the thing: while some days are definitely easier than others, it’s not that big of a deal to abstain from eating and drinking. Our bodies are trained to process food during certain periods of the day. However, when you think about it, the only reason we’re trained to eat three meals per day is because of worker meal plans during the Industrial Revolution. It’s actually better to eat several small meals throughout the day. Therefore, if we’re just reworking meal plans, it’s not that big of a deal to fill your body up before the day begins and then eat again at the end of the day. Of course, fasting is not encouraged if you suffer from any health ailments which affect your eating patterns (diabetes, heart disease, etc.) However, if you are in good physical condition (and not, you know, pregnant), you are expected to participate in the fast.

Most importantly, fasting is a period of spiritual purification. I’ve heard incredible stories of Baha’is putting their faith before physical food, and those stories keep me plowing on (even when my “friends” think it’s cool to eat huge lunches right in front of me.)

Anyway, it’s really important to fuel up properly if you intend to go without eating all day. While it’s great to eat a large breakfast as preparation, your large breakfast should be composed of items which won’t make you hungry throughout the day. For example, I try not to eat especially salty items (like a big bowl of grits ) because they mean I will be VERY hungry again by 11am. I like to eat a good amount of protein and fiber-rich items. This morning I sprung out of bed (at 5:45am) and started making a complex breakfast for my first day. Here’s what I made:

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Egg Whites with 1/2 oz low-fat cheddar (2 WWpoints+)

Steel Cut Oats topped with 1 tbsp brown sugar and a chopped banana (4 WWpoints+)

Green Monster containing 1/2 cup Silk Dark Chocolate Almond Milk, 1 banana, 1/2 cup spinach, 1/2 orange, 1 scoop boku ( 3 wwpoints+)

1/2 orange (0 wwpoints+)

Of course, the variable here is Time. I always manage to eat especially slow whenever it’s important to eat quickly. The other factor is Water. Literally, I CHUG water up until the sun rises. The pace of water consumption definitely slows down my eating. Therefore, I only managed to get down a few sips of my green monster before the sun was fully in the sky. To be honest, while I absolutely hate to waste food, I wasn’t too broken up about it- this was the first time I’ve ever put chocolate almond milk in my monster and I wasn’t a fan. It was also the first time I’ve used frozen spinach in my monster, and it was a bit too cold and the texture was off.

Today is a pretty busy day- there’s a 1776 morning matinee, and I’m working in the afternoon. Tonight’s dinner will be day 3 of the macaroni and cheese bowl (Don’t worry, it’s the WW friendly day Smile), and I’m going to start posting recipes from the first two days of the macaroni bowl this evening. Yeah, I’m pretty excited about today. Smile

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Tummy Rumblings

Ok, somehow my karma is off. It must be. I must have done something truly awful within the last month and now I am having epic karmic payback. Because WHO THE HELL GETS FOOD POISONING AND A SEVERE COLD IN THE SAME TWO WEEK SPAN?

I will spare you all the gory details of my epic vomit free-for-all last night, but just know that I would not wish what happened to me on my worst enemy.

I’ve reached the point where I hate missing class. I feel like I’m ten steps behind everyone else. All I need at this point is for a bottle of flat ginger ale to appear in my bedroom. I could also use a hug.

So..probably one of the worst Valentine’s Days ever?

On the bright side (as dim as it may be), at least typing doesn’t require moving my mouth. Even if it does require sitting upright. Maybe I should move horizontally.

Ok, much better. Actually, it’s not that much better. Anyway, though I’m feeling a little too ill to right write, I wanted to post a couple of quick snacks and meals that I throw together when I’m on the run. I’ve had several people ask me what I eat on a typical day. I don’t post about my ‘typical’ on the go meals because they tend to be pretty simple and similar to one another. However, I’ve come up with some really helpful ways to get protein, dairy, fruit, and carbs into my body even when I’m in a hurry.

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I eat a lot of fruit. I also eat a lot of Greek yogurt. I like to chop up fruit (in this case, kiwi), throw it in  a cup of yogurt (in this case, Chobani Pomegranate), and eat another piece of fruit on the side. Surprisingly, a breakfast like this will tide me over for several hours. And it’s only four wwpoints+. However, if you really want a breakfast like this to sustain you, have this on the side:

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It may not look appetizing, but it tastes pretty delicious. This green monster consisted of 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt, two big handfuls of spinach, 2 tsp spirulina, and 1 heaping spoonful of Boku superfood. Oh, and these little babies:

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However, since my juicer decided to commit suicide in honor of Jack Lalanne’s death:

juicer R.I.P.

I decided to see how well my new food processor could pulverize fruit.

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I was very pleased. My Black and Decker FP1600B handled the extra fruit very well. I peeled the orange, sliced the apple, and peeled the kiwi- I didn’t do any extra small chopping or anything like that. I tossed the fruit into the processor with the Greek yogurt and watched it smush the fruit into a creamy yogurt concoction. There were no surprise chunks of fruit- it was perfectly smooth and creamy. To be honest, I’m not quite sure how I feel about using the yogurt in my green monster. I think it makes the liquid a little too thick and rich for my personal taste. In the future, if I need extra liquid, I might use almond milk or water.

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This is a pretty typical snack for me. I love ritz crackers, but I have to carefully portion them out or else I will have a food black out and eat an entire box. Anyway, usually I count out 10 (four wwpoints+) and eat them with a side of fruit (0 wwpoints+). I like bananas and oranges because they have protective skin which keeps them safe from the other items in my bag. However,

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This is what happens when you carry two bananas around all day in a bag with a can of Progresso soup. Welcome to mush city.

As much as I’d like to keep writing, I think this weary body needs to curve against my pillows ASAP before I add another disgusting story to my already impressive list of vomit experiences.

Happy Gay Valentine’s Day, y’all.

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Spirulina- Sounds like a Disease, Tastes like a dream

You know, every time I get sick in my adulthood, I think this is some sort of karmic payback for every time I faked sick during my childhood. However, as an adult with a schedule and mandatory responsibilities, getting sick? SIGNIFICANTLY LESS COOL.

At this moment I’m sitting in the UNCSA Health Center, praying that the doctor doesn’t utter the word ‘influenza’. When I arrived at the Health Center this morning 5-10 minutes before it opened, I was surprised to find that I was merely joining a queue of other diseased students.

Since I started this entry I have seen the doctor, endured a heinous pharmaceutical experience, and have taken up at a semi-permanent residence in my bed. Again, the one good thing about being sick is that I can blog my heart out (as long as there are tissues in the immediate vicinity).

Because I’ve been so ill, I decided to make an extra special Green Monster yesterday. Actually, two things really sparked my need for green:

1. I discovered an untouched pint of FAGE plain yogurt in the back of my fridge that expires in a couple of days. My new found love of Chobani has distracted me from my lifelong obsession with FAGE texture, and I refuse to let such a thick and luscious yogurt go to waste. I don’t usually put dairy products in my monster, but this was an emergency.

2. I wanted to try the spirulina powder I bought. News flash: remember when I blogged about Winston-Salem’s Washington Perk and Provisions? Well, you can buy spirulina powder IN BULK there. Huzzah.

Yesterday’s monster consisted of:

-Three Giant Handfuls of Spinach (I’m not big on measuring leafy greens, but I think the handful trick is good enough)

-3/4 cup FAGE plain non-fat greek yogurt

– 1 Banana

– 1/2 cup Peaches

– 2 tsp spirulina powder

First I blended the top four ingredients, making sure to put the yogurt on the bottom. It’s a pretty good rule of thumb to put liquid beverage ingredients close to the bottom of your food processor/blender (this also goes for smoothies, milkshakes, pina coladas, etc.) because they allow the bulkier items to smooth out easier. In the case of a green monster, the spinach will whip right into the yogurt creating a thick and creamy mixture.

Oh, have I not introduced you to my new friend? Meet my new food processor, the Black and Decker FP1600B. She’s sleek, matches my coffeemaker (and ipod dock and scale), and doesn’t start smoking when I run her for long periods of time- therefore, she’s my newest and bestest friend. I still have my baby cuisnart mini-prep, but it was starting to show signs of age- i.e. smoking while in the act of crushing garbanzo beans. I’m not ready to give up on ol’ cuisnart, but that baby definitely needed a pinch hitter.

Anyway, after I blended up my main ingredients, I added the featured player: spirulina powder.

Look at those greens! I just want to go swimming in that color. Ok, not really.

As I’ve mentioned before, spirulina is an incredible superfood and is the richest beta carotene food- legit, spirulina beta carotene is 10 times stronger than carrots. Among the multitude of its incredible benefits, spirulina also strengthens the immune system. And since I’ve been struck by the black death, I need as much immune system subsidizing as possible.

I only used 2 teaspoons because I wanted to ease my way into drinking spirulina- however, because of the additional flavors in my beverage, the spirulina blends in seamlessly.

Now, as a fair warning, this green monster was not very sweet- if you need more natural sweeteners, add more fruit. So don’t make this exact recipe and expect to taste the fruity rainbow- I was going for greenery, not garden variety. However, I found this drink to be quite delicious and just what the doctor ordered.

Since we’re on the topic of green smoothies: Roni of Green Lite Bites made an adorable video of her and her son making smoothies together. It’s really cute, and very informational- if you’re interested in joining the green revolution but want to ease your way into it, watch this video for some great pointers and hints.

I can’t wait until I’m making green smoothies with baby Jessamyns. Actually, this is what I hope my motherhood looks like:

Also, I was a touch too emphatic when I added the spirulina to my monster, and ended up sprinkling forest green powder on my Santa Claus footed Jammy Jams.

santa jammie jams

Yes, that’s right. I’m 23, and I wear footed Santa Claus pajamas. Jealous?

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The Couch to 5k Challenge: You Woke Up At WHAT time?!

As I mentioned earlier, I have been on a metaphorical ‘roll’ today. I don’t usually need to wake up quite so early, but when my alarm started blaring at 5am, I rolled out of bed without a hint of reluctance (ok, maybe there was a hint. Actually, it was more like a generous dash of reluctance). Anyway, today was the first day of my Couch to 5k Challenge adventure, and I wanted to make sure I had my game face on before I hit the gym.

First day verdict? I’m not going to lie: I still don’t like running….yet. In general, I find that when I’m running I can’t find a good point of focus- my mind is zooming around and I start to think ‘I can’t believe I’m running/how long have I been running/how much longer do I need to do this/etc’. I think I’ve spent the last 23 years translating these th0ughts as “I don’t have the right body type for running and I suck at this”. However, after my experience this morning, I just think I get bored really easily and this tendency to get bored results in self-deprecating thoughts. All in all, the run wasn’t so bad. I was definitely breaking a sweat, and I think there are few things which feel better than breaking a sweat from effort that you want to exert (as opposed to breaking a sweat from standing in the sun wearing all black- that definitely doesn’t feel good). At this point, I think I just need to work on distracting myself from the task at hand. Getting inside my own head and thinking crazy thoughts is becoming my Achilles heel.

I was very proud of myself for not quitting, even though there were a couple of moments when I wanted to start walking a little sooner, or lower the treadmill speed. I kept my breathing relatively in check, and when I was struggling to focus, I just tried to train my thoughts on my breathing. And actually, simply thinking about the constant passing of air through your own lungs is pretty therapeutic. With that as my guiding light (and Missy Elliott providing the soundtrack, natch), I think I might actually look forward to Friday morning.

Before bed last night, I threw together my version of Danica’s Crockpot Steel Cut Oats, only I scaled down the recipe a little. The original recipe creates a giant pot of steel cut oats- Because I doubted both the capacity of my crockpot AND how many containers of steel cut oats I wanted to parcel out into my freezer, I decided to make two cups of oats instead of the original three.

steel cut oatmeal

This was a great decision- when I checked the pot this morning, it was packed to the brim with steaming oats and peaches (I didn’t have any blueberries on hand so I omitted them- personally, I’m not a big fan of blueberries. If they are not in liquid form I’m kind of weirded out by the texture.)

I really enjoyed the oats. Cooking them overnight insures that they are cooked thoroughly, and you don’t end up with any chunks of undercooked grain. I added a teaspoon of both Smart Balance and brown sugar to my serving of oats, and the whole bowl was still only 4 WWpoints+ .

I also ate two egg whites (1 WWpoints+), and I drank a giant Green Monster.

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My mom turned me on to green monsters over a year ago, and I can personally swear by the health benefits. Some people claim to be really turned off by the texture, but what’s really happening is just a case of old-fashioned food color prejudice. It’s a tale as old as time- we’ve been taught from childhood that green comes in a solid, usually leafy, form. You don’t DRINK green. But let me ask you two questions:

(Imagine me dressed as Billy Mays. Go ahead, I dare you.)

Do you like the taste of fruit juice?

Do you like cold, delicious, fruity smoothies?

Then you, my friend, are about to become a member of the Church of the Green Monster! Yes, there are vegetables in your drink- lots of them, in fact. But guess what? YOU CAN’T TASTE THEM AT ALL. Do you know why? Because you can’t TASTE a color- Ok, I’m starting to channel Billy Mays a little too much and now I’m not making sense. What I’m trying to say is that just because a certain vegetable (say, spinach) has a very dominant color, it does not have a more dominant flavor than say, apples. So if you put the flavor of apples and spinach in a blender, you’re going to have a really delicious glass of green apple juice in no time.

The great thing about a Green Monster is that everyone has a different way of preparing theirs. Some people like to make something akin to a smoothie, and they’ll add a dairy product (yogurt, milk, etc). Some people are looking for a specific mix of vitamins, and so they’ll choose fruits and veggies based on what they need on a given day. There are two secrets to my green monster:

jack lalanne juicer

(Source)

boku

Since I don’t have a super blender (feel free to buy me a vitamix anytime you feel like it), my juicer is basically the best thing since sliced bread. A couple of years ago, my mom inherited a Champion juicer– that meant I got to inherit her JACK LALANNE POWER JUICER.

Y’all, Jack Lalanne is a beast- the guy is almost 100 years old, and he does one armed push-ups on the regular. He claims that juicing is basically the elixir of life. I’m not going to lie, and maybe I’ve been drinking the Jack Lalanne kool-aid, but I think he’s right (actually, it would probably be the Jack Lalanne radish and beet juice- dontchathink?) The Jack Lalanne juicer is so strong that you can put an entire orange in the shoot, and it will juice it whole. Did you hear me?

AN ENTIRE ORANGE.

Anyway, if you want really fresh and smooth Green Monsters and you have a lackluster blender, an excellent juicer is really helpful. I didn’t say this juicer was cheap (let me be clear- I DEFINITELY DIDN’T SAY THAT), but it’s worth every penny.

My second secret weapon to the best Green Monster is Boku Superfood. Boku contains way too many excellent ingredients to list them all here (including spirulina), but just know that even one scoop in your daily monster will quadruple your vitamin intake. Plus, a scoop of Boku is only 1 WWpoints+.

Today’s Green Monster consisted of the juice from 3 apples, 1 orange, and 1 pear, blended with 2 big handfuls of spinach and a scoop of boku. I meant to juice some carrots and a couple of celery stalks, but I got so caught up in the “I’m on such a great schedule this morning!” mood that I forgot to throw them in the juicer. Whatever- since fruit and most vegetables have a ZERO WWpoints+ value, the entire GIANT Green Monster only equaled 1 WWpoints+. Yeah, that’s right. You definitely need to get into this.

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Anyway, my entire breakfast totaled up to only 6 WWpoints+, and I don’t know about you, but that’s a number I feel really good about.

Also, OH MY GOD, I can’t believe I mentioned blueberries and I didn’t talk about this video. After watching this clip, you will never think about blueberries the same way again*.

* I realize this makes the video sound like it’s going to show something gross about blueberries. It’s definitely not. This video is….well, just watch the video.

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