Better Breakfast

3 Feb

The word breakfast literally means to break one’s fast. A fast is a time of not eating. So breakfast is literally the time of day where we give our bodies the nourishment that it has not received during our slumber.

You can argue that our bodies need less energy during the night, to which I would agree. But breakfast skippers (my former self included) find themselves not eating until lunch time. Guilty as charged. On an average night, if I went to bed around 11, and ate lunch at noon, that means I was leaving my body without proper nourishment for 13 hours! And by the time I ate, I would crave sugary, fatty foods. And lots of it.

So I started eating breakfast.

I have been thinking about breakfast a lot lately, and doing a bit of Google-research. I find study after study that says eating breakfast has no effect on health or weight loss. And study after study that says it does. So where is the truth in it?

I’ll put up a big disclaimer – I am not an expert. I did not conduct a study. But I can say this:

The studies that seemed to prove that eating breakfast didn’t matter did not control WHAT the eater ate for said breakfast. For example, both studies cited in this article, “Is Breakfast Overrated?” only seemed to control whether participants ate breakfast. No information is given about what was eaten.

In contrast, articles that were proponents of breakfast talk about high protein breakfasts, or low glycemic index breakfasts, and the effects on the participants. This website provides a list of studies addressing the importance of breakfast, if you’re interested: Breakfast Studies

I used to be a poptarts kind of breakfast girl. When I got into calorie counting, I nixed those, and breakfast all together as everything I considered to be a great breakfast ended up being most of the calories I would allot myself for the day. I don’t know what you eat for breakfast, but my typical breakfasts might have been:

– Poptarts on the go

– pancakes with syrup

– scrambled eggs with muffins

– eggs over easy with toast

Carb-laden goodness with a side of butter and sugar of some sort!

A Google image search for “typical American breakfast” pulls up pictures that have eggs, bacon, pancakes (with butter and syrup), a glass of juice, and a glass of coffee.

I did a poll on Facebook to see what some of my peers were eating, and some responses included:

– green smoothies

– oatmeal with peanut butter and/or banana

– chicken

– cereal

– a ham sandwich

– toast with peanut butter and banana

– just coffee

– And the closest response to the American “classic” : two eggs, an english muffin with butter and jam, and apple juice

The Case for a Better Breakfast

I used to fall asleep in class. I used to start my day with a sugar/carb laden breakfast, then a healthy-ish lunch, and I would still feel exhausted by 2. or I would skip breakfast and have a heavy lunch. Same result. Even if I had a “healthy-ish” breakfast – for a long time greek yogurt with fresh fruit and a squirt of agave was my go-to healthy breakfast!- i still ran out of energy and felt tired through out the day.

Then I was challenged to eat protein and VEGETABLES for breakfast. Gross, right? It really was, the first week. Once I got myself out of my American way of thinking about breakfast, it really changed how I approach my meals.

This website shows Breakfast Around the World, and I was surprised to see some veggies make a cameo on the breakfast plate!

Long story short, for the last few months I have been eating breakfast daily, and I typically eat a protein and a vegetable. I have more energy, feel better, and my weight has been creeping down. Just eating a good breakfast won’t guarantee weight loss, but it is a strong way to start the day — with the right nutrients so you have energy and can crack down on those cravings!

For ideas on how to add veggies into your morning meal, you can see what two of my favorite breakfast go-to’s are, as well as peruse Buzzfeed’s 29 Ways to eat More Vegetables at Breakfast.

Breakfast 1: Slowcooked Chicken with Snow Peas and BlueBerries 

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This breakfast eases the stress of morning food prep – I throw the chicken into the slow cooker the night before, and when morning comes around, I am awoken to the delightful scent of savory chicken. Throw it on the plate with some veggies and some blueberries, and you are all set!

Any slowcooker chicken recipe will work, but one of my favorites is below. It makes plenty for multiple meals, which is also a bonus!

1 can tomatoes

2 chicken breasts, 3 thighs

1/2 onion

1 tspn garlic powder

1/2 tspn onion powder

1 tspn italian seasoning

salt and pepper to preference

Toss in the slowcooker on low over night, and VOILA! Done!

Breakfast 2: Brussels Sprouts Power Bowl

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Okay, clearly my over-easy egg needs a little help. Gordon Ramsay?  Personal Lesson?  Just kidding! (but not really!) I’ll keep trying and if I get a better picture, I’ll edit this. :)

This delight is a little more work intensive, but it’s worth it!

2 ounces lean ground beef (or turkey!)

1/2 cup brussels sprouts, sliced into thin rounds (that’s the irritating part, but worth it!)

1 tspn coconut oil

1/4 onion

1/2 tspn paprika

1/2 tspn oregano

1/2 tspn red chili flakes

1/2 tspn garlic salt

1 egg

pepper to taste

Saute onions and all seasonings in coconut oil until tender. Add meat, cook until nearly done. add brussels sprouts. Saute 5 minutes. While sauteeing, cook an over easy egg. Serve egg on top. The yolk will taste so rich and delightful when it oozes out all over your breakfast!

Welcome back!

21 Jan

So I’ve been absent for a few months… during that time.. big things were happening!

I started to learn how to sew.

Jonathan started a new site for me.

I started a new weight loss venture (down nearly 15 lbs!)

I went on a trip to the Azores with Alysha to celebrate her 25!

Thanksgiving.

10 year high school reunion.

Christmas.

New Year’s.

annnnnnnd here we are!

So, I’m welcoming myself back to blogging.

I mentioned Jonathan started a new site for me. it’s not live yet, but I think it will be good when it is! I’ll let you know what it is as soon as it’s ready. :)

It’s going to be started with intention and organization so I can blog about the various things I love in a way that makes it easy to follow what I’m blogging about, and in a way that makes me be more organized with my thoughts and ideas.

It’s going to have travel posts and review.

DIY crafts and tutorials.

Recipes and food ideas.

Exercise and healthy living ideas.

and of course some personal anecdotes sprinkled in.

It’s gonna be GOOD!

The other big thing is that I opened an Etsy shop! It’s https://www.etsy.com/shop/SashAroundTheClock

I mentioned that I am learning to sew, and I am selling these SUPER soft, adorable lime green infinity scarves for Valentine’s Day.

Infinity Scarf - Super Soft Jersey Fabric- Green with Hearts - Great Valentine's Gift! - Shipping Included!

If you know someone who needs one, pick one up! I’m including free shipping since this is my first item!

Anyway, until the new site is live, I’ll be blogging here, so keep coming back. I am about to try to make slow cooker chicken and if it turns out, I’ll put a recipe out there tomorrow! :)

Existential Questions

15 Sep

I signed up for Blogging 101 on The Daily Post. I am hoping that this course will help me get back into blogging and have a little bit more focus both with this blog and with my writing style.

The first assignment is to write about who I am, and why I am here. I felt like I should share this background because I have had this blog for a long time, so a random post about myself and this blog might seem odd.

I really feel like I need one of those surveys that we used to do on our livejournals when I was a teenager that asks a whole bunch of random questions and you just answer them. Who am I? Why am I here?

I am Sasha. I have a lot of interests. I am a trier of things though master of few. I don’t have one THING that I do that I want to blog about. That’s why this site seems to lack focus, I think.

But I also think that that’s who I am. I am easily distracted and easily entertained. I love trying crafts but I rarely stick with any one thing long enough to get good at it.

I live in St. Louis, I work full time. I love my family, my friends, my pet rabbit.

I like to blog about DIY crafts, cooking, beauty, healthy living, travel, reviews of things I’ve tried, and any adventure that I encounter!  I want this blog to be a place where I can connect with friends and family who are far away, as well as anyone who is also interested in the things I like to blog about and can share ideas, advice, or even just try out my recipes or crafts.

This might have not been the most eloquent of posts, but I think it’s a start. :)

I am open to any feedback, and I hope this course helps me blog smarter instead of harder!

Little girl’s layer dress

8 Aug

20140808-220013-79213608.jpgFor my first “unsupervised” sewing project, I decided to tackle a little girl’s dress for my dear friend, Nancy’s, daughter, Charlotte. Doesn’t she make the SWEETEST model? :) In this picture, I hadn’t quite figured out the buttons yet. I actually literally just finished those, so I’ll be sending the dress on over tonight! 

I used the tutorial in this post: http://crazylittleprojects.com/2012/10/girls-tiered-ruffle-dress.html

but edited the size to fit the measurements for Charlotte. 

Once I finished, I realized that I wanted a more finished project, so I used a zigzag stitch to finish the inner seams.  I also had to figure out how to make button holes and put on buttons. It was pretty complex, but I enjoyed learning some new skills and feeling like I craftily put together a project largely on my own! 

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Craftiness!

18 Jun 20140618-210247-75767501.jpg

I am taking a break from the clean eating posts after a quick week two weight update…
Sasha: 162
Jonathan: 178.4
Weight loss has slowed down and the clean eating is running closer to 75% over the last few days due to work functions. We are going to try to get back on track and add back exercise this week.

Now into the point if this post… Craftiness!! My mother in law has kindly lent me her sewing machine and I have been taking lessons. I have made two projects so far, a small tote bag and a pillow! I am also signed up for a three zipper bag and quilting 101 in July. Right now I know how to read a basic pattern and do basic stitches on the machine. If any of my friends see out there, I’d love recommendations for simple projects that I can take on to build confidence! 20140618-210139-75699871.jpg

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Work day nibbles!

13 Jun

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I thought I would share an example of the food I am taking to stay full and away from the vending machine all day at work! What we have pictured for today is:
Half an avocado
Salad with romaine, cucumbers, bell pepper, homemade peach vinaigrette, and a sliced hard boiled egg
Almonds
Cherries
Cucumber, jicama, carrots, and green beans

Yummy clean eating snacks for my workday!

One Week In – Progress Update

9 Jun

Jonathan and I are one week into this challenge. We’ve already blown it. I want to be up front and honest about the fact that we were not perfect this week.  If I had to give us a score, I’d give us maybe a 90%. Which is pretty good — in school I would have been marginally pleased with a 90%. So why did I spend two days trying to decide whether we should just give up on this since we couldn’t even do it for a week? 

Then I read this blog post, shared by someone on my facebook feed. I have no idea who this person is, but their words spoke to me. 

http://jlgerhardt.tumblr.com/post/86313682822/no-more-perfect-days-on-starting-over

In recap, she emphasizes how by human nature once we ruin a perfect day, we feel like that is our permission to give up on that day and on ourselves. Then she decides to start starting over. So I have been trying to do that, even when we get off course. 

Well, Jonathan and I are not giving up. We might have had a crazy busy weekend, didn’t plan appropriately and ended up grabbing hamburgers one day because, well, it was past lunchtime and the hopes of going home and cooking a nice, pre-planned, perfect meal just didn’t pan out. It’s okay. I considered saying, forget it, we already had hamburgers, let’s just have pizza for dinner. It’s fast and easy and we are both tired. But I didn’t. We stuck with it and ate a clean dinner. 

We are eating about 90% clean at this point, and that’s 100% because we are doing this self-imposed challenge. Without it, we would have already lapsed into our regular bad habits. 

So, at this 1-week mark, I wanted to share our weight progress and some thoughts from each of us: 

June 9,2014 Weigh In

Sasha : 163.2 (down 4.4 lbs) 

Jonathan: 181.2  (down 3.6 lbs)

Thoughts from Sasha: 

Each day, making healthier decisions gets easier. I felt exhausted and a little sick after that hamburger. I feel like I am getting better at reading my body and what I need. Also, I believe that you can become desensitized to the amazing flavor of fresh fruits and vegetables when you overwhelm your palate with too much sugar and chemicals.  Today, my raspberries and blueberries tasted as sweet as candy to me.  I am enjoying rediscovering a variety of produce and how great they taste on their own. I eat raw veggies daily with lunch, and have enjoyed jicama, green beans, carrots, cucumber, and zucchini raw. I have also had the chance to get creative with meals. The jambalaya recipe that I shared last week was so great that I remade it tonight! I also made a chicken/coconut/sweet potato stew and chicken with brown rice pasta. I don’t usually do so much cooking, so it has been sort of nice to give Jonathan a break and get creative. 

Thoughts from Jonathan: 

It’s odd, never feeling full but never being hungry either. It’s weird to be eating the same portions as Sasha, but it seems to be working. I’m slowly losing weight and I don’t feel like it’s in a way that is unhealthy or unsustainable (other than the cost). It’s tough to be prepared for every day, but hopefully with some practice that will be easier. Some days I want to just be lazy and get something delicious for lunch, but knowing we’ve bought the stuff and it’s waiting in the fridge makes it easier.

 

So here we boldy go into week two. We’re eating roughly the same things as week one, but cycled ever couple of day in alignment with the Fast Metabolism Diet. 

Does anyone else ever get into the mentality of wanting “Perfect” days? 

 

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