Eat organic: Why I switched

Did anyone notice all the organic fruits and vegetables in last week’s (sorry, only three) smoothies?

Sunday Smoothie Preparation for the Week

There were lots, right? Go me!

Now, who remembers when organic fruits and vegetables were too expensive and overrated and I refused to pay for them?

Not that long ago, I wholeheartedly believed that I could eat non-organic fruits and vegetables and get all the same nutrition and health benefits organic food offered. Then, I stayed up way too late watching documentaries about vitamins and minerals and chemicals and pesticides and what the chemicals and pesticides were doing to my hormones and fat cells.

It was so bad, you guys.

In college and graduate school, the budget was a little tight so I didn’t spend money on fancy fruits and vegetables…

…which were a shocking 50 cents more a pound.

I was satisfied to eat regular apples, potatoes and greens. I was A-OK with consuming FDA-approved pesticides. Well, I’m not satisfied or A-OK anymore.

I got over the 50-cent expense, and I switched.

Here’s why:

  • Non-organic apples are one of the worst offenders. Want to know why they’re so shiny?
  • Non-organic potatoes are so soaked in chemicals and pesticides that the people who farm them won’t eat them. I mean… potatoes are supposed to sprout.
  • Leafy greens are not only super awesome for us; bugs love ‘em, too! They get sprayed with pesticides so the bugs can’t eat them and we can.

Plus, pesticides accumulate in fat cells… and, just, sorta, hang out. Making me more fat.

Awesome sauce.

Switching to organic fruits and vegetables on my last grocery run cost me:

  • 50 cents more per pound for apples
  • 40 cents more per pound for potatoes
  • $1 more per bunch of greens (Romaine, spinach and kale)
  • 50 cents more (per bunch?) for broccoli
  • $1 more per pound for leeks
  • $1 more per avocado for avocados…
  • 10 cents more per pound for bananas
  • Pears and kiwi were on sale!

I think I can live with that.

Banana Nut Spinach Breakfast Smoothie

Yesterday’s smoothie was so disgusting that I refuse to share it with you. In a disappointed and gagging manner, I drank nearly the whole thing.

Blegch!

I made up for the nastiness today with my…

Banana Nut Spinach Breakfast Smoothie

Banana Nut Spinach Breakfast Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 handful organic spinach
  • 1 medium organic banana
  • 6 strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 3 organic broccoli florets, stems removed
  • 1 spoonful-ish almond butter
  • 1 smaller spoonful-ish ground flax seed
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup almond milk

Directions
Blend and enjoy!

The taste of this smoothie surprised me! I almost expected it to taste a little green-y because of the spinach and broccoli, but my pallet only picks up the banana and the almond butter. Super delicious plus super nutritious!

I changed the look of my blog! What do you think? It was the same for so long, I thought it was about time for a change.

Pomaveggie Spinach Breakfast Smoothie

Naming my spinach breakfast smoothie this morning was difficult.

When you make a smoothie with several berries, you have a “berry” smoothie. When you make a smoothie with oranges and grapefruit, you have a “citrus” smoothie. When you make a smoothie with peanut butter… well… you get the idea.

What do you have when you make a smoothie with apples and pears?

fleshy smoothie?

Gross, no.

So I looked it up. Apples and pears are part of the pome family of fruits. Hence!

Apple-Pear-Spinach Breakfast Smoothie

Pomaveggie Spinach Breakfast Smoothie (a.k.a. Swamp Thing)

Ingredients

  • 1 handful organic spinach, chopped
  • 1 organic apple, peeled
  • 1 organic pear, peeled
  • 3 organic broccoli florets, stems removed
  • 1 cup organic orange-carrot juice
  • 1 spoonful-ish ground flax seed

Directions
Blend and enjoy what I describe as nearly-the-same taste and texture of applesauce!

I searched the grocery store for carrot juice. I don’t have a juicer, and carrots don’t really… blend. Couldn’t find simple carrot juice without fruit in it so orange-carrot juice it is.

I can only do so much.

Organic Orange-Carrot Juice

However, the next time I have to peel apples and pears, I’m doing this.

Strawberry-Broccoli Spinach Breakfast Smoothie

I eat a cup of Greek yogurt with granola nearly every morning.

Eating the same breakfast gets boring so some mornings I cave to cravings for something different and get… Pop-Tarts… out of the vending machine.

Bad, Shae. Pop-Tarts are bad… except, maybe, these hand pies. They look both delicious and adorable.

One of my coworkers comes to work every morning with a smoothie, filled with fruits and greens, for breakfast, which has inspired me to update my breakfast routine.

So I tried to mimic my healthy coworker and bring a smoothie to work for breakfast but kept running out of time in the morning. A cup of yogurt and granola are so easy to grab when you’re in a rush.

So I took some inspiration from the Lean Green Bean and did a Sunday Smoothie Prep!

Sunday Smoothie Preparation for the Week

Sunday Smoothie Preparation for the Week

I pre-prepared my weekly smoothies on Sunday for quick and easy morning preparations!

I chopped up spinach, broccoli, apples and pears, mixed them with frozen fruits, almond butter, ground flax seed and a variety of Greek yogurts.

Yes. Broccoli. I knew you were thinking it.

Broccoli is my favorite green food. I ate nearly half a pound (I’m not joking) of raw broccoli on Thursday.

Over the next five days, I will share my spinach smoothie recipes!

Strawberry-Broccoli Spinach Smoothie

STRAWBERRY-BROCCOLI SPINACH SMOOTHIE

Ingredients

  • 1 handful organic spinach, chopped
  • 3 organic broccoli florets, stems removed
  • 6 strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 spoonful organic almond butter
  • 1 smaller spoonful of ground flax seed
  • 1 cup-ish organic almond milk
  • 3 oz. vanilla Greek yogurt

Directions
Blend until smooth… smooth-ish. I have spinach and broccoli chunks in mine… (I need a Vitamix!)

Now, even though broccoli is loaded full of nutrients in seriously high doses even in relatively small servings, I know there are people (like my husband) who hate broccoli.

Sub another handful of spinach, some baby spinach, kale or carrot juice and reap the vitamins and minerals you need without the broccoli you hate.

(But you should seriously try the broccoli. You can barely taste it.)

Washington: My forever home

Last September, my husband and I went to Washington State with his parents and his sister, her husband and their two children for a much-needed and more-than-enjoyed family vacation. We visited his family in Washington and spent quality time with his aunt and uncle.

Washington, specifically Sequim, might be my forever home.

And here’s why…

Sequim WashingtonI love my Kansas fields, and the flat lands have their own beauty… but these mountains made my heart sing.

Just, real quick, here’s another reason…

Sequim Washington

That is the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the view from the balcony at our rental house. If you squint, you can see Canada.

Want to see it at sunset?

Pacific Ocean at sunset

Photoshop couldn’t make those colors. The photo doesn’t do it justice.

The big bay window in the living room looked out to the Strait, and the front door opened to the beautiful Cascades. Guuhhh-orgeous. 

Plus, Canada is like right there… so we went.

British Columbia Canada port

Do you see why I would want to live there FOREVER?

 Added bonus: The scenery is also good for outdoor workouts. At least in September.

We went kayaking (chasing down seals like we could keep up), hiked every thing and took long walks through forests with trees twice the size of my house…

hiking in Washington

I mean… that wasn’t even the biggest tree.

The food was as amazing as the view. My husband is a phenomenal cook, but he got his skills from his father – who apparently shares them with his brother. Fresh seafood from Seattle and farmer’s markets in Port Angeles and Sequim made for good eats.

Washington farmer's market

Washington farmer's market

Bouillabaisse, salmon with jalapeno and lemon, crab cakes, prawns… I even ate an elk burger! (I also tried the goat burger, but I think I’ll stick with goat cheese.)

Husband’s aunt and uncle brought sweet tomatoes from their home garden that I ate like candy for three days. (Ha! They didn’t last that long. Two days.) I picked up what I believed to be a three-pound peach that fed the husband and I breakfast twice. I mean… I don’t want to go on and on about how tasty the apples were, but seriously, the apples were tasty… and the size of a toddler’s head.

Washington is nearly perfect.

Fresh seafood and plump fruit, salted lavender caramels and clean mountain air (with the occasional salty sea stink)…

Deer in the Cascade mountains Canada Pacific coast skinnyshae and husband Crystal Lake Sequim WashingtonI will keep dreaming of this beautiful forever home.

 

Bet you can lose weight with DietBet

My motivators are not always healthy motivators.

For example, my motivator in my professional life is my want to be successful. I want success. Why is passion for my career unhealthy? Because I often let it take over other aspects of my life. “I’m working” is an often-uttered phrase even when I’m “off the clock.” I manage all things social media at work so I check Facebook and Twitter on a regular basis… when I’m not at work. It’s hard for me to detach.

My motivators to lose weight, eat right and exercise are not clear.

I want to eat right, but I also want to eat French fries.

HomefriesI want to exercise, but I don’t want to spend money on a gym membership, and I have very little desire to work out in my living room.

Index cards with workouts to take to the gym or on a run

I want to lose weight, but it was easier to buy a new pair of jeans instead of melt away the inches that prevent me from buttoning my old jeans.

My healthy motivators are not strong motivators if I can defeat them with cravings, laziness and new jeans.

But there is something that motivates me to accomplish nearly anything…

…and it’s money.

Greed shines in the heart motivated by money, but I guess I can be greedy for weight loss, and DietBet makes it possible.

DietBet is a social dieting game in which players bet they can lose a certain amount of weight within a certain time frame, and players put their money down as commitment. While the website, DietBetter.com, claims that the game isn’t about making money, I’m only attracted to the game because of the opportunity to win big.

There must be a gambler living in my heart.

When I stumbled across DietBet in December by way of a Women’s Health Magazine article: Get Paid to Lose Weight, I immediately wanted to join the game.

Lose weight? Get paid? Um, yes.

The Transformer, the game I considered (and am stilling considering) joining, starts January 7, lasts six months and requires a $25/month bet.

DietBet screenshot

I’m not an impulsive person, which is probably why I’m not a gambler, so I went through all the fine print and made some calculations to see if it was worth the $150 investment. I calculated that the most I could win would be about $132. And that’s before the company takes its percentage. In order to “win big,” other people have to fail at losing weight.

And that made me sad in my heart.

I don’t want to bet that I can lose weight while secretly hoping other people fail so I can make money! Which might be why DietBet isn’t supposed to be about the money. It’s supposed to be about the community.

Looking at the game from the perspective of a social dieting platform, it resembles something like Weight Watchers, and it makes my heart a little less greedy and a lot less sad.

I am still considering joining The Transformer, but my thriftiness and inability to wish failure on others will likely prevail, and I’ll have to find some other motivator stronger than the pull of an unbeatable craving to lose weight.

What are your weight loss motivators? Have you ever participated in a DietBet game? What were your experiences?

Out with the old, in with the NO resolution year

Because I know I’ve been here before.

I think back to November 2010, when I wrote my first post, trying to remember why I started blogging…

skinnyshae began as a diet, fitness and beauty blog where I could complain about how exercise is hard, how dieting sucks and how I don’t know how to pluck my eyebrows.

The blog survived for just more than two years before I stopped…

I stopped exercising. I stopped cooking. I got rid of my gym membership. I started eating Ramen noodles. I stopped caring about how I looked. I stopped caring about how I felt.

It’s hard to remember why you started something when you have stopped everything…

…but I remember that exercise is hard, and I loved it. I know that my husband is a better chef, but I miss cooking. I remember that yoga made me feel amazing, and I know Ramen noodles are nearly the worst thing I can put in my body.

I miss blogging.

I think I’ll try again.

skinnyshae short hair style

I thought I’d start out with how my 2013 resolutions went…

Resolution #1: I still bite my nails, and I haven’t had a hair cut or trim since April.

Resolution #2: I do eat better. I eat my husband’s food. Way better than what I was eating! Exercising sorta… didn’t… yeah.

Resolution #3: I wanted to stop eating out of boredom… I didn’t.

Resolution #4: I can cook rice without it burning in water!

Resolution #5: I have no budget, but I did get a new job in 2014, which I really like.

I’d give myself a C for barely passing and because my hair still looks cute at least four days a week.

I’m not making 2014 New Year’s Resolutions because resolutions don’t work so I’m just going to keep doing what I do everyday and make small changes as I go… like doing squats when I brush my teeth or using lotion on my face so I don’t get icky dry skin.

Not hard.

Simple.

And I don’t promise to do a single thing all year.

Time for Spring Greens

I haven’t been much of a cook lately, but on Friday, after work, I got a wild hair and decided to prepare all of the greens in my crisper.

Mostly because I knew they’d rot if I didn’t get them cooked and eaten soon.

What came out of my kitchen Friday night was nothing short of healthful and delicious. I didn’t use a recipe either! (I just started cooking so the ingredients are made up of my favorite flavors. Switch them up as you please.)

Spring Greens just in time for spring!

Roasted asparagus and steamed spinach

Cabbage Soup

Roasted Asparagus, Sauteed Spinach and Chicken Tenders with Green Cabbage Soup
Ingredients

  • 1 lb. chicken tenders
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, stemmed
  • 1 handful of fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 half of a head of cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. scallions, chopped
  • 1 32-oz. carton beef broth (or chicken or vegetable… I had beef broth in stock)
  • 2 tsp. fish sauce, separated
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil, separated
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, separated
  • 2 Tbs. minced garlic, separated
  • 2 shallots, chopped, separated
  • 2 tsp. white wine vinegar, separated
  • pinches and dashes of ground allspice, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, ground mustard, celery salt and powdered garlic

Directions

Soup’s On!
Heat half the sesame oil in a stock pot over medium-ish heat. (Gas stove. I cannot measure how hot it is. The flame was about an inch high.)

Add the onions, half the garlic and cabbage, and allow to wilt slightly. Add pinches and dashes of ground allspice, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, ground mustard, celery salt and powdered garlic. (You can never have too much garlic.) Add half the fish sauce, half the white wine vinegar and the soy sauce.

Once the vegetables have a shiny sheen and wilty texture, add the beef broth. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low for a final 10-minute or so simmer. (BTW even after all of the simmering, the cabbage will still have a bit of crunch to it. We have not killed all the texture.)

Roasted Asparagus
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with foil, spray lightly with cooking spray and spread the asparagus spears across the sheet. Add one chopped shallot, and then dust with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Toss about to get full coverage.

Roast for 15-20 minutes. (I did not have a good look at the time on these. Check them occasionally to make sure they haven’t burned. They should come out with a rich green color instead of that brown-green they are when they go in.)

Sauteed Spinach and Chicken Tenders
Heat another tablespoon of olive oil in a saute pan. Season the chicken tenders with salt, pepper and garlic. Saute until cooked through. Add the other shallot and the other half of the garlic. Drizzle with the other half of fish sauce. Remove chicken and set aside.

Toss the handful of spinach in the chicken tender pan. Salt, and then drizzle with the other half of sesame oil. The spinach will not take long to wilt.

What are you left with?

Cabbage soup

Spring greens dinnerHeaven.

Hard Charge. Wichita. Hell.

For some unknown reason, I thought it would be a wonderful idea to run a four-mile obstacle course on one of the coldest April days ever.

Let me start by saying that it was NOT a wonderful idea. It might just have been the worst idea I have ever had.

Hard Charge. Hell.

I ran (read: lugged myself along in a limping jog) for four miles through mud, freezing cold water, barbed wire, sand and grass.*

*Why does the grass matter? The Allergy Obstacle. Sneezing. Watery eyes. More hell.

My husband, our friend, Bryan, and I ran the obstacle course together despite my pleas for them to run ahead of me because I would just hold them back from enjoying the CHARGE.

Hard Charge Wichita

Thankfully, they did stay with me. I needed both of them to help me over both of the 10-foot walls. Ten feet is twice my size! I am especially grateful for my dear husband who made sure I didn’t quit when I felt like I was close to death.

Hard Charge Wichita

Bryan and my husband destroyed the course. They probably could have gotten great time if it were not for them staying behind for me.

Hard Charge Wichita

The hubs is such a beef cake.

I ran out of gas at the halfway point. My shoes were filled with mud and gravel and my clothes were soaked. I felt like I weighed an extra 20 pounds. I shamelessly skipped three obstacles.

  • The monkey bars, which were like four inches thick. I have tiny hands. Who are they kidding?
  • The ice bath. Just no. No.
  • The cars because I don’t trust the Hard Charge folks to duct tape the windows properly. I’ve seen people fall through a car.

I completed all the other obstacles. Even the freezing cold water ones and the ones where I had to climb over things that were bigger than me.

Hard Charge Wichita

But I made it through! (With COPIOUS amounts of help from Matt and Bryan.)

Hard Charge WichitaHard Charge. Hell. Never again.
(But if we sign up for next year before May 5, then it’s like super cheap.)

Do you have any advice for training for an obstacle course, warrior dash or tough mudder?

The end of April

How do I begin a blog post after I haven’t blogged since March 16?

It. Is. Not. Easy.

I will begin by explaining why I have been absent all month…

April began well.

I got a new hair cut by this fabulous lady. I have bangs!
(BTW bangs give you oily forehead. Oily forehead means blackheads.)

New Hair by JKArtCoI took my sister-in-law, her husband and her two boys to Botanica for the Tulips, Fairies and Friends Festival, which was not too fun, but OMG look how cute the boys are.

Adorable BabyAdorable ToddlerHusband and I ate amazing chicken tortilla casserole with his family for his birthday the Sunday after Botanica, and then… Monday happened.

Monday happened, and I became a giant depressed sad person.

On Monday, April 8, my sweet kitty cat, Hobbes, was hit by a car.

Ivan and HobbesAnd he did not make it.

I was devastated. I started crying when I found out it happened, and I did not stop crying until a day later when I slept for approximately 15 hours.

On my husband’s actual birthday.

That week I also started feeling like absolute crap. Almost everything I have eaten lately has not set well in my belly… It’s probably stress.

And abject loss of cat sadness.

Of course when you lose a beloved pet, especially a sweet little orange one like Hobbes, you tend to do irrational things.

Like get another one to fill the empty hole in your heart.

New CatIsn’t he cute?

We can’t bring him home until he’s at least two pounds and completely weaned from mommy’s milk, but the humane society is taking good care of him until we can pick him up! I’m excited!

April was just a rough month for my husband and me.

Ivan had it pretty ruff, too.

Hard Life

Also in April… Hard Charge. (Hell.) But we’ll talk about that on another day. I promise I won’t be gone long.