Don’t Panic! I’m Here.

I know, I know. I didn’t post on Sunday or Monday.

Don’t worry: I didn’t quit. I didn’t fall off the wagon. I didn’t binge eat tacos until my blood turned into queso.

Can I confess the silly, embarrassing, and downright amateur reason I didn’t post this weekend?

I forgot my laptop charger at work.

And, since my house is currently a state of chaos, I couldn’t find ANY of my spare chargers to save my life.

It was a really good weekend. Friday morning I ran with my girlfriends (roughly 6 miles), and then hit the gym for an extended sweat-sesh after work. Burned a ridiculous 1,900 calories Friday as a result.

Saturday was a good workout (over 1,400 calories burned!), but I did eat a bit heavy – went to a soccer game and had chicken tenders and fries. I probably rounded up the calories a bit much, but figured it’s better to overestimate versus under-estimate and see it on the scale a few days later.

Sunday I ran errands, ate Greek food, and skipped the gym, giving myself a well-deserved night off to relax.

Monday, the holiday, I opted out of BBQ and opted to spend an entire day in the kitchen, prep-cooking and making meals for the week.

The Planned Work-Week Menu:

  • Keto Blueberry Muffins
  • Keto Italian Herb & Cheese Muffins
  • Miracle Noodles Chicken Alfredo
  • Spinach, Egg, Turkey Bacon Frittata
  • Greek Cucumber Salad

I’ll share some of the recipes this week, but now …it’s time to head to the gym!

Have a great night everyone!

– Tori

Seeking Balance: Can Keto Work for Me?

I know I’ve talked for years (and years and years) on this blog about striving to find balance with my diet.

As someone recovering from an eating disorder (specifically: bulimia), I have to be very careful when it comes to creating concrete rules around food. The more rules I set, the more likely I am to become obsessive, to binge, to feel guilt, and then to purge. Not a healthy cycle.

On Instagram, I try to follow people who motivate and inspire me. I follow several fitness gurus, weight loss winners, and motivational pages to keep myself in a positive mindset. As of late, ALL I see on Instagram is a nearly incessant push toward the Ketogenic lifestyle.

Here’s my issue: I want to do it, but DAMNNNN it’s hard to cut out sugar. Yes, there are billions of low carb substitutes for everything now, but as someone who loves to run and do steady-state cardio, carbohydrates are really hard to wean yourself off of.

Every time I start my morning, it’s with the intent of attempting a low carb/ high fat diet. I prep breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks and start my day with great intentions to stick to it. However, somewhere around 3-4pm, when the impact of my morning run (or the looming knowledge of my evening workout surfaces) kicks in and I start SERIOUSLY jonesing for something sweet.

My struggle is that I can’t stop with one bite of something sweet. It must be because I’ve set a “rule” that I have to avoid carbs in my mind, because once I cave in and have that bite of something sweet, I’m like a shark with blood in the water. I can’t stop. No matter how full I am, no matter how many healthy snacks I’ve packed, I’m full-blown sugar binge mode. And, of course, this wreaks havoc on my self-esteem and body, since the headache following a sugar binge is nearly paralyzing to someone who normally minimizes carbs.

Does this mean I can’t attempt Keto? Is it too restrictive? Does a diet that truly inhibits carbohydrate consumption not work for someone recovering from an eating disorder?

I see so many success stories and have so many friends for whom the Keto diet has been a god-send, but I just can’t seem to make it more than a day or two no matter how much I mentally and physically prepare. Does anyone else have this problem?

Super Fast, Low-Carb Pizza

In a rush for a quick dinner that didn’t break the caloric bank, I decided to whip up a low carb (net carb: 10g) pizza that could be ready in 10 minutes or less.

Using a Multigrain Flat-Out brand tortilla as the base, it literally takes under 90 seconds to prep and only about 6-8 minutes to bake. Seriously, talk about FAST FOOD!

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Ingredients (serves one):

  • One Multigrain Flat-Out wrap.
  • 1/3 cup tomato sauce of your choice. (I opt for a low sugar marinara, but to each their own.)
  • 1/2 cup shredded 2% mozzarella cheese
  • 4 tbsp shredded Parmesan
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 10-12 Turkey pepperoni slices

Preparation Instructions:

Place the multigrain wrap in the center of a very lightly greased cookie sheet. Spread out the tomato sauce to cover the surface area and then top with shredded mozzarella, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and pepperoni slices. Top with Parmesan.

Pop into a 425 degree oven for 6 minutes. For the last 60 seconds, set over to Broil. It’ll toast the cheese and help the crust crisp up.

Approximately 275 calories, 10-11g net carbs, 8-10g of fat (depending on the brand of cheese you use), and about 15-18g of protein.

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

AKA, The Yo-Yo Dieter

Paleo Bar Review: MyHealthyEats Cashew & Cocoa Bar

Hi, friends!

So, I finally had a chance to crack into that shipment of Paleo Bars sent to me by My Healthy Eats over the weekend!

I decided to try out the Cashew & Cocoa Bar first, because, well … CASHEWS ARE MY JAM and who doesn’t love chocolate?

At a hefty 289 calories per bar, I will point out that these babies should likely be considered a meal replacement versus a snack – unless you’re a much bigger person. As a 135 lb woman, 289 calories is a substantial chunk out of my day, so I decided to have the bar as my dinner on Tuesday night.

 

First and foremost: these bars are moist, thick, and LOOK LIKE REAL FOOD.

If you recall my experience with Julian Bakery’s Paleo Protein bars, this is a DRASTIC –and much appreciated– difference.

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Seriously, this actually looks really good. Big chunks of nuts, NO MOLD (again, see my review of Julian Bakery’s bars), and a pretty substantial-looking bar.

I was most impressed by the TEXTURE: it was soft, chewy (think brownie, not tootsie roll), and had a dessert-like flavor on first bite.

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Similar to a LaraBar or the RXBars, the main ingredient of these bars is dates. This is what gives it a sweetness and the moist, thick texture that is such a departure from the Julian Bakery bars.

My husband tried a bite and thought I was having a dessert bar; so that’s definitely a vote of confidence!

All in all, I liked these bars, but I probably wouldn’t have them daily.

Here’s my voting/opinion in summary:

TEXTURE: Perfect! Moist, chewy, and brownie-like.

FLAVOR: Good, but not much different than a LaraBar.

CALORIES: HIGH – 289 is a substantial snack!

SUGARS: The bar is marketed as a “low carb” option, but this is NOT THE CASE. While it doesn’t have added sugars, the first ingredient is “date paste,” which is very naturally sugar-dense. This bar packed a whopping 24g of sugar, which is more than I normally aim to eat in a day. I would strongly advise against these bars if you’re following a Ketogenic or low carb diet.

PROTEIN: The bars are marketed as high protein, but with only 8g of egg white protein –it’s literally the last ingredient– I would consider these to be more of an energy bar versus a protein bar. I told my husband I plan to use the bars as carb-supplements while doing my marathon training this Fall.

Overall, I found the bar tasty and a decent option for those following a Paleo, Primal, Whole30 or vegetarian eating plan. I wasn’t floored by it, but I did find it substantially better than Julian Bakery’s Paleo bars.

That being said, I doubt I’ll be ordering any for myself. At over $4 per bar (almost double what Quest Nutrition and RX Bars charges), it’s definitely not in my price range. On top of that, I aim to eat less than 25g sugars MAXIMUM per day (realistically, I try to avoid sugar fully, as I’m following a hybrid Keto-Paleo diet), so these don’t fit well into my Macros.

For someone not concerned about carbs/sugars and who has more money to burn, these could be a good option. They do taste good, and I’m sure they’d be a nice treat warmed up, but they’re not a viable option for me to consume daily, both from a financial and nutritional perspective.

MY HEALTHY EATS BARS IN REVIEW:

PROS:

  • Paleo/Primal/Whole30 compliant.
  • Vegetarian option!
  • Natural ingredients (not 100% sure if they were organic, but I didn’t research it).
  • No junk fillers.
  • Available on Amazon for easy/expedient delivery.

CONS:

  • Very high in sugar (24g of sugars alone in the bar I ate)
  • High calories (between 250 to 289 in the three flavors they offer)
  • Relatively low in protein (only 8g)
  • Very pricey: Almost $37 for 9 bars! (yikes)

I do plan to try the other flavors this weekend (planned for the days I do my LONGEST training runs for my upcoming marathon), so I’ll post again if I have any additional feedback about them!

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

Trying Something New

Well, as much as I was ENJOYING the Dine N Ditch meal plan service, they unfortunately closed up shop just a few weeks in. Not a permanent close (I hope), but they needed to relocate their kitchen, hire new staff, and take a step back from the service for a few weeks to restructure the entire business model.

I was doing exceptionally well on the meal plans, dropping almost 10 lbs in my first four weeks, but after the deliveries ended and I was left to my own devices …well, you can imagine what happened.

Today’s weight: back up to 141.2.

Yikes. It’s hard to believe that just two years ago I hit my all-time low of 123.4, and now I can barely get (and stay) in the 130s anymore.

I know it has been a combination of factors: stress, overeating, and, shockingly, overexercising.

For those of you who have followed the blog a long time, you know I’m a cardio-junkie and, as my weight started to slowly climb at the beginning of 2015, I started to seriously step up my cardio, hitting more than 3 or 4 hours on some days.

Well, as I’ve learned, you not only can’t out-exercise a bad diet (or, in my case, a healthy diet, but in MASS quantities), over-exercising can actually sabotage weight loss by making your body freak out and think you’re fighting for your life on a daily basis. Hence my weight creeping up and up, even when my diet was in check. Yeaaaaaah, that fucking sucks, if you don’t mind me being frank. Ugh.

So, with less than 5 weeks until my 32nd birthday, I am trying to switch things up and break out of my rut.

For the next 34 (well, basically 33, since it’s 11:35 pm EST as I write this) days, I am going to drastically reduce my cardio (think 10-30 minutes per day, versus my usual 90+) and look to integrate substantially more strength training, yoga, and stretching. My body has been in a perpetual state of stress for over a year as I pummeled it with intense bouts of cardio, so now I’m going to try to give those slow-twitch muscles a bit of a break and focus on building lean muscle mass.

In addition, I’m attempting to modify my diet slightly, increasing my fat in take and leaning more toward a Ketogenic plan. Not full Keto – which involves like 70% of your calories from fat – but definitely hoping that incorporating more healthy fats, like avocado and coconut oil, will help with satiety and appetite control.

Yesterday was a rough start, only because I have absolutely no will power when it comes to nuts, so my “single handful” of almonds before bed turned into half of a can, but today’s been better:

Calories: 1,611
Carbs (total, not net): 72g (about 17% of my daily calories)
Protein: 136g (about 33% of my daily calories)
Fat: 93g (about 50% of my daily calories)

I prepped all of my food for the next two days (salmon and green beans, chicken and broccoli, shrimp and sauteed cauliflower, etc), so hoping that having quick, easy to grab meals will help me stay on track. I’m aiming for 1,350 calories per day, but happy as long as I stay under 1,700, as I am exercising pretty consistently.

Fingers crossed I can reset my system and get back into the 130s before I hit 32. I feel like it’s only getting harder with age, so I need to really get control of my weight now before it becomes an impossibility, you know?

Any advice, suggestions, or feedback is always welcome.

Bon appetite, my friends!

~ Tori

P.S. The photo is totally my dinner tomorrow night: shrimp sauteed with basil, garlic, coconut oil over a bed of chopped cauliflower and orange pepper. Much noms. Many yums. So delicious.

Meal Delivery, Week One

On Sunday, I began my quest to regain control of my eating disorder (and return to a healthy body image and weight) by utilizing a meal delivery service.

I selected Dine N Ditch, a locally-based company that caters to athletes and busy, working-adults who care about clean eating and overall wellness.

I signed up for the 6oz meal plan, which consists of five meals per day, six days per week (30 total), with one day scheduled for “normal eating.”

Dine N Ditch delivers every Saturday morning (between 9am and 12pm) and Wednesday afternoon (free of charge), right to your house.

One of my main issues with meal-planning is the repetition, but I have to admit right off the bat that this will not be an issue with Dine & Ditch. Every three days I’m provided with a totally different menu and never have to repeat the same meal more than three times in three days.

For example, this was my menu for Sunday-Tuesday:

  • Crustless Egg Quiches (mini-muffins) with turkey sausage and herbs.
  • Grilled Mexican Chicken with carrots and fresh pico de gallo.
  • Roasted chicken with homemade pesto and sauteed zucchini.
  • Baked cod with cream sauce and sauteed green beans.
  • Roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, and carrots with mushroom gravy.

Every dish is gluten-free and they’re a pork free (and shellfish free) kitchen! As someone with a pork allergy, this is a big deal to me. I never have to worry about cross-contamination with Dine N Ditch, which is a huge worry off of my plate.

And did I mention the food is incredible?

Not too shabby!

Each meal is between 250-350 calories, has 25-35g protein, and is under 25g carbs (maximum).

But here’s the real kicker: the meals are so filling and satisfying, I haven’t been able to eat all five in a day! In fact, I’ve managed to save one meal each day since Sunday, so I actually won’t need to worry about taking a “cheat day,” as I still have three meals leftover that I’ve frozen to use later.

With eating four meals per day (roughly 1000 calories), I’ve given myself a 200 calorie allowance to be human – which I’m using daily with a piece of raw chocolate (under 50 calories) and a spoon or two of almond butter (between 90-180 calories) so I don’t go crazy and binge later.

So, how am I doing so far?

Monday, 4/25 Weight: 143.6

Today (Wednesday, 4/27): 141.0.

Already 2.6 lbs down in two days? Not too shabby.

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

Product Review: Quest Chips!

Protein Chips.

Yes, you read that right: protein-loaded potato chips. Not only do they exist, they’re also ridiculously delicious.

As you probably know if you’ve followed this blog for a while, I’m a big fan of Quest Nutrition. They sell flavored protein powders (the caramel is to die for), protein bars, and, like a gift from Heaven, protein-infused potato chips and candy.

If you’re like me, you’re probably VERY skeptical about the idea of a protein-packed salty snack, aren’t you? Lord knows I was. But, trusting in the delicious quality of the protein bars I’ve had in the past, I decided to order a couple packages of Quest Protein Chips on Amazon.com.

I ordered the BBQ flavor and the Sour Cream and Onion Flavors:

bbq sco

Needless to say, Quest delivered on their promise.

While the crunch isn’t the same as your favorite, high-fat kettle-cooked variety, these chips definitely deliver the potato-chip like texture you’re craving. I’d compare them to Pringles – thin and airy – but flavor-loaded.

When I read the ingredients (and saw the Whey protein), I was worried these chips would have a chalky or awkward aftertaste, but I am pleased to report they were perfect. The seasoning blend was not too salty, but still packed a punch. My husband preferred the BBQ (he said it tasted like a spice-rub from his favorite restaurant), whereas I was absolutely hooked on the Sour Cream and Onion.

They have a few other flavor options (Sea Salt, Salt & Vinegar, and Cheddar & Sour Cream) and I can’t wait to try them and see how they compare.

As a note: the chips are very light, so I would *not* recommend them for dips unless the dips are very soft. I tried dunking the Sour Cream & Onion chips into some Greek yogurt dip and they cracked pretty easily, so I’d suggest a different alternative if you’re trying to recreate your long lost nachos.

All in all, I’d strongly suggest stocking up on these (they’re super cheap on Amazon, especially if you use Subscribe and Save for bulk purchases), especially if you’re a sucker for salty indulgences. There is nothing to feel guilty about with these chips, and you’ll wonder how you survived so long without them!

Bon appetit, my friends!
~ Tori