Monday, 13 April 2015

We're Moving!!!

I have some exciting/bittersweet news. I am officially retiring Running to Bake. It's been amazing while it's lasted, but I've decided that I need to take my blog in another direction. I no longer run, and I really don't bake that often.

I'd like to introduce you to "My Real Life Kitchen"
This is a place where I'll tell you about ALL the ups and downs in my kitchen. The good, the bad & the ugly. Mostly the good.

I'm also going to take a more honest route with the blog. A look into my life an anxious over eater and my journey to learning to live with my crazy brain. I have been approached by so many people who are struggling with what I am and I want to open up about it more.

My Real Life Kitchen is a work in progress, but I hope you'll check it out & continue on the journey with me!!!


Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Things to Know Before you Start Your FIRST Whole30

Guys, I finished Whole30! I cannot believe that I did it. When I first started I was SURE I was going to want to quit at some point or at the very least cave and sneak a little summin summin in. While I did have a tough weekend after week 3, I pulled myself together and finished.

I have to say, I feel very proud of this accomplishment. If I ever wondered what kind of willpower I have, I certainly found out. A bonus, I feel freaking AWESOME. I haven't felt this good in as long as I can remember.

Now, I don't think I would have been as successful as I did if I didn't do my research. I looked at blogs, I read reviews, found recipes, planned meals, had a game plan, the works.  For those of you starting Whole30 for the first time, here is a (lengthy) list of things that helped me before I started & something things that I wish I knew.

Either way - no matter your age, lifestyle or gender, I really recommend this program if you're looking to get yourself out of a bad eating rut & want to jumpstart your body & eating habits.

Things to Know Before you Start Your FIRST Whole30:
  • BUY THE BOOK - it's only $10 for the eBook or $20 for the hardcover
    • The program creators have an amazing way of explaining WHY certain foods are off the list and HOW these foods can impact your body negatively
  • If you're not going to buy the book - read the whole website
  • Pre-Whole30 PLAN
    • This program takes A LOT of planning - it is not something you can just start the next day 
    • Know what you can & cannot eat, find recipes that sound interesting to you & understand what you're getting into
  • Have a game plan for each week:
    • Know what is coming up (events, long days, dinners out) so that you can plan accordingly
  • Do yourself a favour and buy ALL new spices 
    • If you can't remember when you bought fresh spices last, chances are, they're old. Go get new spices
    • The ones I used the most - Cumin, Paprika, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Oregano, Chili Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Sea Salt, Fresh Black Pepper.
  • Don't do this program if you're looking to loose a lot of weight quickly - that is not the spirit of the program
  • Do not do this program if you're going to have a lot of occasions in which you will want to "cheat" (weddings, your birthday etc)
  • The first couple of weeks are expensive - you need to buy some things that you don't have immediately 
  • It's not hard to eat out
    • Just make sure you look at the menu first before you go & decide ahead of time what you're going to have
    • The safest bet is grilled chicken w/ greens & oil/balsamic dressing
  • Figure out your triggers
    • For me, watching TV or a movie at night after a long day - I want to reach for a snack. Now, I do my nails, read a book, drink herbal tea, CLEAN. Just need to keep my hands busy
  • It is HARD sometimes
    • Most days, I loved the program. There were a couple where all I wanted to do was buy a bag of chips and stuff my face 
    • These days SUCKED. I was irritated, emotional and angry. Jon was awesome and told me to keep going & that it was going to be worth it. He was right.
  • Have a support system - it is SO much easier to do this with someone else, especially when you have days like the above.
    • Even if it's your partner who is at least eating the same meals as you - that's what Jon did and it was SUPER amazing
  • For the first week or so, you will be hungry
    • It takes awhile to figure out how much food is enough to fill you up between meals
  • Prepare snacks for when you get hungry so that you're not reaching for junk
    • I had a jar of almonds on my desk at work and a piece of fruit
  • It's a challenge to explain the program to others
    • Most of the time, when I tell people about the program I see a lot of scrunchy noses and a lot of "Ohhh, so like you can't really eat anything?"
    • The best way I've found to describe Whole30 is a "Healthy Lifestyle Challenge"
  • Don't deprive yourself
    • Make sure you eat as much as you need - there is no need to count calories or fat. Just pick good food to eat and the rest will follow 
  • Have an exit strategy - think about what you're going to do at the end. 
    • It's all well and good to do this for 30 days, but the whole purpose is so that you can change your habits for life, have a plan for that
There you have it! It's a lot to take in and a lot of things to consider. If it helps, I enjoyed the experience so much that I think I'll be doing this program once a year, after Christmas & New Years and all that. It's a perfect way to re-set. 

Have you done a Whole30? If so, do you have any tips to add? I'd love to hear from you!

If this is your first time, feel free to reach out, I'd love to talk to you about it!

Good Luck!

- Lisa

Monday, 2 February 2015

Whole30 Week 3 - Trials & Tribulations

Follow my Whole30 adventure here: Week 1 & Week 2

Guys...I'm almost done my Whole30 Program! I won't's been a long haul. A lot of planning, prepping, shopping and dish washing. That being said, it's also been a lot of good food, healthy mind, healthy body and education.

 Update: Week 3

This week was a big challenge for me. It's hard to say why exactly, but this week, more than ever, I was craving junk. And I don't just mean I wanted some chips. I mean, I was going through serious withdrawal. I was cranky, upset, moody and at one point felt sick about turning down some leftover Christmas chocolate. While this may sound funny, food is my drug. I use to to help make me feel better, relieve stress, celebrate and console me. I use food the way addicts use drugs. I can feel it physically when I have to turn down food that I really, really want. My stomach tenses and my lungs restrict. It takes ever single fiber of my being to turn away.

Here's the kicker - you can't just give up food. You need food to live. It's not like cigarettes where you can just stop (not, by any means, belittling quitting smoking. That is a horrible beast all on it's own). All I'm saying is, I cannot say "my food consumption has become out of control, I am going to detox and stop eating." It's just not that simple. This was the reason I started Whole30 - to kick my reliance on "bad" food and up my love for "good" food.

Needless to say, I was very frustrated this week when all the cravings I'd manage to stave off for 2 weeks, returned. I suppose it was inevitable. For the rest of my life I'm going to have to fight the "urge" to binge. Like my anxiety, this is something I will have to embrace and figure out how to deal with the cravings as they come. Even now, just writing about it, makes me feel on edge.

Anyway, I did "cheat" a little bit on Saturday - I bought a bag of chips that were, for all intents and purposes, Whole30 compliant. They were just potato slices, baked & salted. This wasn't the cheat. One of the big no-no's in the program is no snacking to fuel an emotional need and that is where I cheated. I was feeling down & depressed and bought these chips to console myself.

I'm not going to felt amazing biting into the first few chips. The crunch and the salt was a beautiful combination. Also, it did make me feel better. I hate to admit it, but it really did. The good news is, I only ate a handful, them put them away. So while I was frustrated with myself for breaking the "no emotional eating" rule, I did feel better knowing I could put the bag aside after only a few chips.

Here are some recipes that I LOVED from this week:
  • Naked Bruschetta Turkey Burgers (from SkinnyTaste)
    • I've made these MANY times before, but to make them Whole30 compliant I used almond flour instead of breadcrumbs and no mozzarella - AHMAZING
    • Served with sweet potato fries & side salad
    • For lunch the next day - ground up the cooked burgers and put remaining bruschetta topping in with spinach for an awesome salad
  • Paleo Butter Chicken (from My Heart Beets)
    • I love me some butter chicken & this was pretty damn close to restaurant quality
    • This was a great Sunday night meal - took a little extra time & care but was totally worth it
  • Lime & Coconut Cauliflower Rice (from meatified)
    • I needed something to go with my butter chicken & had heard SO many good things about cauliflower rice
    • SO easy to make & was quite delish - J really liked it too which was a surprise
 My next post will be when I'm done the program (a week and 1 day from today!)

Catch ya on the flip side!

- Lisa

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Whole30 Week 2 - Halfway There!

Another week down! It's funny, when I first started this program, I thought I'd be counting down the days until I was done. However, the farther I get into the program, the more I actually love it. Don't get me wrong, it hasn't been easy (especially when there is glorious food & beverage all around me) but at the same time, I have yet to feel deprived. Every day, I have new meals planned, something new to try. It really has been awesome.

Here are the updates from this week:
  • I feel awesome
  • My head is more clear
  • I just feel happier & lighter (emotionally)
  • Here is a big one: I haven't once been worried about the food I'm eating - meaning, I don't worry about what calories are in the food, how much I'm eating, I just eat until I feel satisfied and then I stop
    • To that end, I haven't once been too full, felt uncomfortable or bloated
    • I don't have food guilt because everything I'm eating is good for me and is nutritious and delicious 
  • Another big thing - having a snack is no longer an emotional occasion - I only snack when I'm hungry. I have a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit and then I feel satiated.  
  • Black Coffee is growing on me...still gross and I look at J with envy when he drinks his with milk & sugar, but I'm getting there
  • STILL not getting the "Jump out of bed before the alarm" thing...I still want to sleep as late as possible before I get up
Things I've learned this week:
  • Spaghetti Squash is amazing - SO easy to make & is a fab substitute for pasta.
  • Eating this way IS time consuming - between grocery shopping (being a 3 store affair), preparing & cleaning, I'm still spending the majority of my time in the kitchen
  • PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Mandolin's are dangourous (duh) - nearly cut my thumb off making Sweet Potato Nachos
  • It is entirely possible to go out and still enjoy food - 2 times this week I went out with friends and was able to eat "on plan"
    • Granted, it was still salad based, but if you, read the menu online ahead of time, ask the right questions, you can eat out no problem
As I mentioned in my last post, at the end of the 30 days, I'll post & share all my favourite recipes.

 This week I loved (missing pictures, this week!):
  • Sweet Potato Nachos 
    • These would be PERFECT for game day, late afternoon snack or a "Junk" Meal
    • Honestly, they were so good, I figured I had gone off plan somehow
  • Chipotle Chocolate Sweet Potato Chili 
    •  Made this on Saturday so that we'd have lunches for the week & it is GOOOOOOD!
    • J doesn't like beans in his chili so this was perfect
  • Lazy Eggs Benny
    • Instead of an Eglish Muffin, slice up a tomato, layer with bacon & place an over easy egg on top
    • Splash a little Franks Hot Sauce on it and you've got yourself a fabulous breakfast
Until next week my friends!

- Lisa

Monday, 19 January 2015

Whole30 - Week #1

Last week, I started a program called "Whole30" I've read a TON about it online and have been following them on Instagram for about a year now. The basic premise is that for 30 days, in a row, NO CHEATING, you eat a very specific diet. This means no sugar, no dairy, no legumes, no alcohol, no grains & no MSG. While I was interested in the premise I was also very skeptical. At first glance it seemed like a overly restrictive version "The Paleo Diet" and told myself I wasn't ready and moved on.

Then, after the absolute GLUTTONY of Christmas, I was really beating myself up about how much food and drink I'd consumed. Not only that, my snacking and junk intake was out of control. No lie, I could not help myself from eating junk. I was just eating, eating and eating.

After our cruise, I decided to take a closer look at this program. 

Here are some things I learned:

1. While losing weight is a pleasant side effect, it's not the ultimate goal - the goal is to eat healthfully for 30 WHOLE days (no cheating!) and help your body to come away from it's dependance on junk.
2. Another goal of the program is to help you appreciate and love good food again - vegetables, fruit, meat, eggs, nuts - all wonderful things that don't really taste like much after eating junk
3. While this program IS restrictive, there are very good reasons. Something that I a found on a couple blogs was that is was very important to read the book "It Starts with Food" before beginning the program (I'm glad I did, more on that later).
4. I found a heap of bloggers (no associate with Whole30 at all) that had amazing results from doing this program (like more energy, clearer mind, more focus, enjoyed exercise more).
5. There are SO many amazing resources available to help see you through the program.

After learning all that, I decided "what the hell?" - I bought the book on my Kindle and gave it a read.

First VERY important fact - do not start this program right away. It takes a lot of planning before you'll be ready to begin. Understanding exactly what you can and cannot eat is a steep learning curve and you'll soon realize - sugar and gluten is in EVERYTHING.

In any case, the week before I started, I planned out meals (breakfast, lunch & dinner), created my grocery list and set out.

I'm now one week into the program - here is where I stand right now...
  1. I’ve tried a lot of foods that I wouldn’t have otherwise. Further to that, I've learned some new ways to prepare food. 
  2.  I eat breakfast every morning (the program requires that you do) and I have more energy when I get to work. I drink less coffee (because black coffee is gross) and have switched to herbal teas (or Green Tea). 
  3. I am tired still, but I read that it is common to experience that in the first week. Plus, I’ve heard that the cold I had leaves tiredness behind even after it’s gone. 
  4. Instead of snacking at night, I’ve been doing my nails, reading or meal planning (which I actually really enjoy). 
  5. I haven’t had any MASSIVE cravings...yesterday I saw a President's Choice Truck with the Decadent Cookies on it, and for a moment I really wanted cookies, but then it passed. I’m getting enough salt in my diet, so I haven’t been craving chips (yet)
  6. I’ve been spending most of my time in the kitchen. A lot of dishes, a lot of “pre-prep” for the next day, a lot of making sure we have enough food for the next meals. 
  7. Eating this healthfully is expensive, especially the first week when you turn over your kitchen and stock your pantry with the right ingredients. I didn't have most of what is recommended to have in your kitchen
  8. Further to that - when you find a favourite sauce (like Frank's Hot Sauce) that is compliant with the program, it pretty much makes your life
  9. Explaining this program to people is difficult. It's hard to tell them for 30 days you can't eat sugar, dairy, legumes, grains or alcohol without them thinking you're only eating salads for 30 day. The truth is, I've eat better this last week than I have in 4 years. The food tastes better, you feel more satisfied, it's actually kind of awesome.
  10. Overall, I just feel better. While I’ve been sleeping more soundly, I haven’t felt the “jump out of bed in the morning” energy, but I suspect I’ll start to feel that at the end of next week. 
  11. I have the most amazing husband who has been eating all of the meals I prepare WITHOUT complaining. 
At the end of the 30 days, I'll post & share all my favourite recipes. This week I loved:

  • Favourite Snack - Apples & Almond Butter

I'd LOVE to know - have you tried Whole30? What did you think? Any amazing meals you would suggest?

Until next week!

- Lisa