Salad with a Side of Salad

Why, hello there.

Last week was a pretty decent week for my revamped healthy eating lifestyle. Since, well, moving into our house, my eating habits have been awful. (We moved in almost a year ago.) I’m not sure what the cause, but I’ve known for a while that things need to change.

The funny thing about eating healthy and exercising, is that it’s actually fun to me. I used to relish my Saturday afternoon meal planning sessions, even if it was just an excuse to sit on Pinterest for hours. I used to love that satisfaction of finishing a day under my caloric goal. Heck, I used to even enjoy the idea of hopping on an elliptical, just because it meant I could actually set aside some time for a podcast. However, moving in to my permanent fixture made me a bit…lazy. It was suddenly too easy to just come home, order take out and hit the couch. It was far too much effort to actually lace up my running shoes and head back out for a workout. Plus, for the first time in my adult life, I am without a gym. Sure, we have the treadmill in the basement, but I loathe it! I detest it! It’s honestly a torture device to me! Finally, the best part of eating healthy and exercising was being able to talk about it on Cat Hair in my Coffee. It gave me something to work toward, besides actual work.

Did you enjoy that derailment, because I sure did.

Last week, I made the effort to get up every morning and make breakfast, throwback style. I made two eggs, over-easy with two pieces of turkey bacon. I decided to skip the English muffin to see if I would miss it, and the good news — I didn’t! In fact, I found myself staying fuller longer throughout the day. Amazing.

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Another meal I was particularly proud of was my Caprese salad with a side of salad. I’m obsessed with mozzarella, tomato and basil, so I’ve been trying to incorporate some combination of those flavors into as many meals as possible. This particular one was just a classic serving of Caprese salad with toasted baguette pieces. Since I had a ton of lettuce/salad mix from Round Right Farm, I decided to make a big salad to along with it. I wanted a creamy dressing, so I opted for this amazing creamy avocado dressing recipe I found on Pinterest. The recipe can be found below:

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

NOTE: Some people have said that this recipe is way too tart for their tastes. I’ve made it quite a few times (it’s a summer staple for us!) and still love it, but if you aren’t a big fan of tang, try reducing the vinegar to 1/3 cup and use only half a lemon.

  1. In a food processor, combine avocado, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Run processor until very smooth and creamy.
  2. With processor running on low, stream in olive oil through the shoot until just combined.

I personally used my Magic Bullet for the blending and it turned out great! I liked the tartness of this dressing and thought it really went well with the feta cheese I sprinkled on top.

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So there you have it. My “A for Effort” meal. This week, I’m expecting a Blue Apron delivery, so I’ll be back in the kitchen for that.

My Healthy Tip of the Day: Making drastic changes too quickly is a recipe for disaster when trying to maintain or work towards a more healthy lifestyle. Stick with small, gradual changes. For example, instead of buying a store bought dressing that is often filled with preservatives, find a recipe on Pinterest or another recipe site and take a crack at making your own. I found this amazing cheat sheet that might help with this!
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My Solution to Hating Store-Bought Salad Dressing

I’ve tried to like store-bought salad dressings for years now. Every once in a while, I’ll get brave and pick up a new one to try, but I almost never use it more than once. (That’s a lot of money wasted!) Anyway, yesterday I decided to try something new-ish: hummus and balsamic vinegar. Yum! After I topped my salad with this winning combination, I gobbled the thing down like it was peanut butter froyo! I liked it so much I decided to have it again today for lunch.

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Apparently I wasn’t the only one interested in this tasty and healthy meal.

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After this, I chopped up some kiwi and dumped it in my Oikos vanilla Greek yogurt.

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Do you have any favorite yogurt toppings?

Just thought I’d share my delicious discovery. Let’s hope this will help me chill out on my carb cravings! Off to watch my new favorite comedy United States of Tara. If you haven’t watched this, I highly suggest you check it out on Netflix. I absolutely LOVE T. She cracks me up.

Healthy Tip of the Day Brought to You By ZenHabits.net: If you’re just starting out with exercise, it’s best to take it slow. If you’re running or cycling, for example, build up your endurance for at least a month before you get into anything more intense. That means going at a rate where you can easily talk without being out of breath. However, once you have that base of endurance, step up the intensity to step up the effectiveness of the workout.

Disgusting Lunch

A coworker of mine was right: I did set the bar too high for my lunch today.

I (reluctantly) assembled a simple spinach, cucumber and tomato salad, tortilla wrap with string cheese, and a honeycrisp apple. Sounds great, right? NO. It was horrible. The salad was mushy and had a funky taste (PBFingers has a theory on salads not tasting as good when made at home and I agree), the tortilla/cheese wrap tasted like feet and then even worse after I tried to fix it with spinach and cherry tomatoes, and the honeycrisp had a big, fat, mushy rotten spot. GAGGGGGG. I really hate to be dramatic, but it was the worst lunch on record.Luckily, I keep a stash of dark chocolate and rice cakes at my desk for emergencies. Oh, and I had a Clementine leftover from Monday. (I didn’t feel the need to photograph this lunch, since it appeared to be well-balanced and delicious. I don’t support false advertising.)

Has anyone else had a total lunch fail like this before?

Overwhelming nausea aside, the past few days have been pretty exciting for Cat Hair in my Coffee. First off, on Sunday, I took the plunge and created a Twitter account for the blog. I am a huge fan of Twitter, but didn’t want to create an account specifically for the blog until I knew I could get a few readers.

Online Rag

To his credit, Cat Hair in my Coffee would never have evolved from Living Well had it not been for Alex. Read the story here.

Anyway, if you have Twitter and would like to follow Cat Hair in my Coffee or would like to refer this blog to someone, follow me @cathaircoffee. I still have the Facebook page, but it doesn’t seem to get a lot of diversity. This is where I hope Twitter can fill in the gaps.

My Healthy Tip of the Day: Today’s tip comes in the form of a quote I found while Bible dipping in The Complete Life’s Little Instruction Book: “Judge your success by the degree that you’re enjoying peace, health, and love.” Sometimes it’s easy to forget that what you do outside of work and school is just as important.

Eat This…And That…And That…

A coworker of mine is in the process of cleaning up her diet by a doing a vegan “cleanse.”  She says although it’s a great way to reset the body, the first few days are pretty rough due to her body’s dependency on sugar and caffeine. Apparently it’s a real eye-opener to the additives in food we don’t even think about consuming. Although I wussed out nearly a year ago when I tried a vegan diet, I did make more of an effort to eat more naturally. Because of this choice, I now have difficulty enjoying the “normal” foods I once loved.

As many of you know, I started my journey to a healthier life three years ago when I began exercising regularly. The first year was really focused on getting into a routine of exercising 5-6 days a week and the second year I tried to work on limiting or completely eliminating meat from my diet. The third year has by far been the most successful on two fronts: my diet and finding the joy in fitness.

When I first started trying to clean up my diet, I was very stubborn about hanging on to certain foods. For example, I loved **French fries, so I opted to exercise an extra 15-20 minutes just so I could enjoy these little buggers. I wasn’t willing to give up much, so imagine my excitement when I found the wonderful online version of Eat This, Not That. It offered better-for-you alternatives to the traditional foods I loved and also helped me understand how much I was consuming when I went to restaurants. Before I knew it, I was flying over my second year plateau and still enjoying my goodies.

By my third year, or more accurately, June of 2011, I was two years (soda) sober and had really started thinking about what I was putting into my body. The fast food was almost completely eliminated (with the exception of Subway) because of a combination of the vegetarian diet and finally being able to ***taste my food. I had started food journaling, which I absolutely stand behind, but realized I was opting for low-calorie foods over ones with nutrition. I had started to plan my Running to Rome challenge and knew these foods wouldn’t do me any favors on my longer runs. I hit the produce section hard and started loading my cart on broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and fresh fruit. I tried to opt for fruit for dessert and decided to lay off the granola for a while. Before I knew it, I was actually turning my nose up to anything with a long ingredient list and gobbling down the fresh stuff. I finally felt full at lunch and noticed I was staying well within (sometimes under) my caloric goal.

Fitting a ton of filling veggies into a big salad is a fast and easy way to get some serious nutrition.

Although Eat This, Not That helped me tremendously when trying to decide what to order at a restaurant, I now know that for me, the best choice is always the cleanest, simplest dish on the menu. I do encourage all of you who are easing your way into a healthier diet to visit this site and examine the many lists of alternatives. This site also offers many grocery store guides that really helped me navigate my way through the middle aisles when I needed pantry staples.

My Healthy Choice of the Day: Since I didn’t post one yesterday, I’ll cover two. Yesterday, I listened to my body and only did a 2.45 mile run. I was coming off an 8 day hiatus from running and knew too much too soon would wreck my week. Today, my healthy choice was loading up on fruit and veggies for lunch. I enjoyed leftover tomatoes, cucumbers, and cauliflower, as well as fresh broccoli and a plum for lunch. (Don’t forget the Atheno’s Roasted Garlic Hummus!)

Running to Rome Update: I’m currently 20 miles from my September goal. I fell quite a bit behind, but intend to catch up this weekend. My running total is 54.10 miles since July 4th. The number is so much smaller than I thought, but hopefully I’ll improve.

**Eat This, Not That Swap:

EAT THIS:

KFC Potato Wedges

Yes, please.

260 calories

13 g fat (2.5 saturated)

740 mg sodium

NOT THAT:

Wendy’s Medium Fries

410 calories

19 g fat (3.5 g saturated)

350 mg sodium

***When I was fifteen, I took a trip to see my family in Seattle, Washington. We had dinner at a Thai restaurant one night and noticed the waiter tossed me a side glance when I ordered a Coke. At the time I assumed it was because I was new to the Thai cuisine and he had heard me asking the pronunciation of certain dishes. However, after he took our orders, my cousin Emily informed me that in some Asian cultures, it’s insulting to order a carbonated beverage, because it distills the taste buds. I didn’t give up soda until several years later, but I did notice a big difference in taste when I did.