Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tuesday's Eats and Workout

Sorry that I have been a bit behind on posting. I have been very busy at work and at home.

Here are my eats for the day:

M1 - 1/2 cup egg white + chicken sausage + 1 slice cinnamon-raisin ezekiel toast
M2 - vita mix: wheat grass + spinach + mango + frozen berry mix + ground flax + wheat germ + bee pollen + brown rice protein powder
M3 - 1/3 cup porridge, dry, cooked with 2 tbsp peanut butter
M4 - 1 cup plain, low-fat yogurt + strawberries + protein powder
M5 - turkey breast + pico de gallo + 1/2 sweet potato
M6 - 1 brown rice cake + 2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce

My knee is still bothering me, so I did the same upper body workout from last week. Tomorrow morning I will work out my lower body and try to baby my knee a bit and see how it works. Here is the upper body workout that I did:

Lying Triceps Extension: 10lb/12 reps, 15lb/12 reps, 15lb/12 reps
Seated Dumbbell Curls: 10lb/15 reps, 15lb/12 reps, 15lb/12 reps
Bench Crunches with twist at top: 24, 24, 24
Reverse Crunches: 15, 15, 15
Alternating Dumbbell Presses: 15lb/15 reps, 15lb/12 reps, 15lb/12 reps
Incline Dumbbell Rows: 10lb/15 reps, 10lb/15 reps, 10lb/15 reps
Stiff Legged Deadlift: 50lb/15 reps

Monday, March 30, 2009

Quick Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

This is a very simple vinaigrette recipe that I whip on days that I don't have time to make a more complicated dressing.

Quick Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/4 cup raspberry white balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp almond oil
1 tsp basil
1 tsp parsley

In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Nut Oils can become rancid quicker than traditional vegetable oils. Store them in the fridge to prolong their shelf life.

I use Nut Oils in most of my vinaigrettes and dressings because they are liquid at cooler temperatures. Most vegetable oils will solidify in the fridge.

Good Morning!

Hello there. I hope that everyone had a fabulous weekend. 

Allan and I kept ourselves extremely busy - but we were very productive. I don't know if I sat down for more than 5 minutes. Oh well... We have been saving up to buy some new furniture for our house to "finish it off". We have lived in our house for 2 years now. When we moved we has been living in a 1 bedroom apartment and did not have nearly enough "stuff" to fill our new 3 bedroom, 2 bath home. I feel like we are almost finished and by the end of this year we should be completely done with the house!

I am hoping to check back in later on today with a new Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette recipe.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Barrio and Rent

Last night Allan and I went to a fun and hip restaurant downtown, Barrio. We were sat at the front of the restaurant facing a window overlooking Nicollet Mall - it was the perfect location for a nice romantic dinner. I tried to keep the food choices as clean as possible, but this was a planned cheat meal after all. I had a glass of red wine, 3 chips with Allan's guacamole, and the tequila marinated raw Salmon small plate. We were planning on sharing a piece of seared Ahi Tuna, but the waiter was not able to get it to the table for us to eat in time to leave to see Rent at the Orpheum Theatre. 

Rent was amazing... the music, dancing and acting were superb! This was not the usual Minnesota actors putting on a Broadway play, it was a one weekend event featuring the original Broadway actors, Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp. I am so happy that we were able to get tickets. And best of all, somehow we lucked out and were sitting in the second row!

Today we are going to Mankato to see my dad's family for lunch. It is the first time that we have all gotten together (my dad has 7 brothers and sisters) since my Uncle Lonnie passed away in December. My Aunt received my Uncle's autopsy a week ago and I am sure that it will be the elephant in the room. We are meeting at the Old Country Buffet. I have looked at the menu and what I will eat: backed chicken breast (no skin) + big salad with oil/vinegar + steamed veggies. Wish me luck in resisting temptations!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I want to be a good tree...

No good tree bears bad fruit, 
     nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.
Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. 
     People do not pick figs from thornbushes, 
     or grapes from briers. 
The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, 
     and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. 
     For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.
                                                                       - - Luke 6:43-45
Strive to be a good tree today!

BTW, today was weight-in day and I am down 1.5 pounds this week!!! I guess Laura and Melissa were right when they told me that I could use a week off from heavy lifting to let my knee rest!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Accomplishment is Around the Corner

The choir sang tonight at the Wednesday Lenten service and one of the readings tonight was Isaiah 55, and this part really resounded with me today.

As the rain and the snow
     come down from heaven,
     and do not return to it
     without watering the earth
     and making it bud and flourish,
     so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
     It will not return to me empty,
     but will accomplish what I desire
     and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.  
                                         - - Isaiah 55: 10-11
It might have been the constant rain and snow that we have had for the last couple days or the competition... but I was just really feeling this!

Here are my eats for the day:

M1 - 1/2 cup egg whites + chicken sausage + 1/4 cup dry porridge, cooked with blueberries
M2 - quinoa broccoli frittata + salsa
M3 - meatball + marinara + 1/2 pita pocket + a little spinach (THIS WAS AMAZING!!!!!!)
M4 - 1 cup greek yogurt + blackberries
M5 - 1/2 wrap + 1 banana + 2 tbsp peanut butter
M6 - 4 oz grilled chicken with Frank's Hot Sauce + spinach + evvo/balsamic

I did do a workout this morning, knee still hurts... so was just upper/core workouts

Lying Triceps Extension: 10lb/12 reps, 15lb/12 reps, 15lb/12 reps
Seated Dumbbell Curls: 10lb/15 reps, 15lb/12 reps, 15lb/12 reps
Bench Crunches: 30, 30, 30
Reverse Crunches: 15, 15, 15
Alternating Dumbbell Presses: 15lb/15 reps, 15lb/15 reps, 15lb/11 reps
Incline Dumbbell Rows: 10lb/12 reps, 10lb/15 reps, 10lb/15 reps

Books Referenced in The Eat-Clean Diet

I just finished re-reading The Eat-Clean Diet Expanded Edition and have added all of the books that Tosca references in the book to the Simply Clean Bookstore.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Eats for Today

My knee is still hurting, so I will stay off of it for one more day. Tomorrow morning it's on! I plan on doing upper body and core. Today when I get home, I am going to do my Karen Voight stretching video to give my knee, hamstrings and gluteus a good stretch before I get back into the swing of things tomorrow.

Here are my eats for the day:

Meal 1: 1/2 cup egg whites, 1 chicken sausage, 1/4 cup dry porridge cooked in 3/4 c water with 6 frozen blueberries + americano with 1 tbsp unsweetened soy milk + 1 wheatgrass shot + 16 oz water

Today's Cooler Contents:

Meal 2: quinoa broccoli frittata topped with salsa + 1 tbsp bee pollen (straight up)
Meal 3: 4 oz chicken breast + spinach + homemade raspberry balsamic dressing + orange
Meal 4: banana + 1.5 tbsp peanut butter + 1/2 ezekiel wrap
Meal 5: apple + 1.5 tbsp peanut butter

Super for Tonight:

Meal 6: 3 chicken meatballs + 1/2 cup marinara + 1/2 cup whole wheat noodles

I would like to try spelt noodles... do you recommend a brand of spelt noodles that I could try?

I finished all of my Peppermint Lemongrass Green Iced Tea last night and plan on making a batch to put into the brand new BPA-free pitcher that I purchased at the Container Store last night. I also picked up some 2- and 4-cup glass storage containers made by Anchor Hocking and a few small glass jars for salad dressing (both in Cooler Contents pic above with white tops).

Morning Glory Porridge

½ cup rolled oats
3 tbsp whole grain cream of wheat
½ cup muesli, clean (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
¼ cup 10 grain cereal, clean (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
¼ cup flax seed, ground
¼ cup wheat germ
2 tbsp cinnamon
2 tbsp organic zero

In a medium sized bowl, combine all ingredients.

Store leftover porridge mixture in an airtight container in the fridge.

To Prepare One Serving of Porridge:

In a small saucepan, combine 1/3 cup porridge with 1 cup water. Add desired Mix-Ins. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Turn heat down to medium low and simmer until all water is absorbed. Top with desired Toppings.

Mix-In Ideas
o Frozen Berries
o Dried Cherries, Berries or Apricots
o Vanilla Extract
o Nut Butter
o Almonds, Walnuts, or Pecans
o Pumpkin Pie Spice
o Nutmeg
o Mashed/Pureed Pumpkin or Sweet Potato, canned or cooked +
o Carrot Puree (or baby food)

Topping Suggestions
o Bee Pollen
o Fresh Berries
o ½ Banana
o Protein Powder
o 1 tsp Maple Sugar Flakes

Nutrition Information for 1/3 cup porridge cooked in 1 cup water 
Calories 153; Fat 4; Carbohydrate 20, Fiber 7, Sugar 2; Protein 6.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Eats and Workouts

Unfortunately, last week when I was weight lifting I tweaked my knee. I have ran on it since the injury and went on a couple long walks with my husband this weekend. However, today it is very stiff. It seems to be best in the morning and gets worse as the day progresses. It feels like the muscles inside of it are very tight. I want to do an upper body/core workout tomorrow or Wednesday, but will have to try to fit it in my morning routine, as my knee hurts too much later in the day to stand up for long periods of time.

I just got done making the meatballs from the Family and Kids Cookbook. They smell delicious and will be great tomorrow night with whole wheat noodles and fresh marinara sauce from a local italian market.

Here are my eats for the last couple days:

M1 - 1/2 c egg whites + chicken sausage + 1/3 cup dry porridge, cooked
M2 - vita mix smoothie: yogurt + wheat grass + spinach + orange + strawberry + flax + wheat germ + bee pollen
M3 - chocolate protein bar made with almond butter (YUM!!!)
M4 - apple + yummy fruit dip
M5 - rachel sandwiches (turkey breast + swiss + sauerkraut + 1 slice bread) + steamed edamame

I just bought new bee pollen and love it! It is from the same farm (I buy a local variety from Ames Farm), but tastes much better than the previous batch that I purchased. It must be the time of year that it was harvested because the granules are much darker than the previous batch. Oh well... whatever it is, I like it!!!

M1 - 1/2 cup egg whites + sausage + 1/3 cup dry porridge, cooked
M2 - vita mix smoothie: yogurt + wheat grass + spinach + orange/strawberry + flax + wheat germ + bee pollen
M4 - chocolate protein bar made with almond butter (YUM!!!)
M5 - super bowl burger made with bison + 1 sprouted bun + steamed carrots

M1 - 1/2 cup egg whites + sausage + 1/4 cup dry porridge, cooked
M2 - 2 sweet potato pancakes
M3 - vita mix smoothie: yogurt + wheat grass + orange/strawberry + flax + wheat germ + bee pollen
M5 - grilled chicken breast + edamame
M6 - apple + yummy fruit dip

M1 - 1/2 cup egg whites + sausage + 1/4 cup dry porridge, cooked
M2 - 3/4 cup mashed sweet potato + grilled chicken + mixed greens
M3 - salsa + quinoa broccoli frittata
M4 - apple + yummy fruit dip
M5 - 2 egg whites + 1 egg + 2 sweet potato pancakes
M6 - vita mix smoothie: hemp protein powder + wheat grass + pineapple/strawberry + flax + wheat germ + bee pollen + 1 slice dry ezekiel toast

Sweet Potato Pancakes

Last weekend my Aunt and Uncle were in town to visit, join us for church and to hear me sing. After church, we went to the local Highland breakfast joint, Copper Dome. It had been a while since I have been to the Copper Dome and had never realized how many clean options they had on the menu. One of which was Sweet Potato Pancakes. My aunt ordered them and they were fabulous! 

This weekend, as I reminisced of the yummy pancakes, I decided to make up a batch of my very own! My test kitchen delivered deliciously delectable Sweet Potato Pancakes that rivaled the ones served at the Copper Dome while being low in calories, fat, and sugar, and fairly high in protein. Bon appétit!

Sweet Potato Pancakes

1 ¾ cup whole wheat flour (or any whole grain gluten-free flour)
½ cup rolled oats
1 ½ tsp baking powder
2 tbsp maple sugar flakes or sucanat
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp sea salt
8 egg whites (or 1 cup)
1 cup nonfat cottage cheese
1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
¾ cup cooked sweet potato, puréed
2 tsp vanilla extract

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients – flour, oats, baking powder, sweetener, spices, sea salt. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine all wet ingredients – egg whites, cottage cheese, yogurt, sweet potato and vanilla extract.

Place wet ingredients into the well of the dry ingredients. Mix until moistened, do not over mix. Set aside for 30 minutes to soften oats.

In the meantime, preheat oven to 200˚ F and preheat a nonstick griddle to medium high heat. Mist a jelly roll pan with olive oil.

Spoon ½ cup of batter on to the hot griddle for each pancake. Bake until golden brown on either side and cooked through. Keep pancakes warm on the prepared jelly roll pan in the preheated oven.

Enjoy plain or with a tablespoon of unsweetened applesauce.

Makes 13 pancakes.

To Freeze: Wrap leftover pancakes individually in cling wrap then wrap all pancakes in a piece of tin foil. Place in a freezer bag and freeze.

Nutrition Information for 1 pancake, dry.
Calories 119; Fat 1; Carbohydrate 22, Fiber 3, Sugar 5; Protein 7.

Some conventional cottage cheese contains carbon dioxide - Read your ingredients label to ensure that you can pronounce and feel comfortable eating all of the ingredients listed!

Will Smith on Tavis Smiley

I just watched the following video on Alwyn Cosgrove's blog and was moved by Will Smith's words. As I have stated in the last week, success is all about determination, which is achieved through a state of mind. Now, I am not saying that I am willing to die on a treadmill... however, I am willing to push myself to attain my goals. 

How far are you willing to go to get what you want?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

12 Week Challenge

I joined a 12 week challenge on the Eat-Clean Diet forum called the Too Chicken to Go on Stage Makeover Challenge. The idea is to see how much you can change your body in a 12 week period. At the end of the challenge two winners will be selected. One will be the girl who looks closest to being able to compete in a figure competition and the other winner will be the girl who has had the most dramatic transformation. I am really not looking to win either prize, but in the next 12 weeks I plan on getting down to my goal weight. 

I had already set a goal for myself to get down to goal by mid-June, so the timing is perfect. The reason that I joined the competition is for the support and encouragement of the others girls that are involved. I love the sense of community that a challenge on the forum brings and think that it will help me to feel accountable and keep my mind refreshed.

My goals for the next 12-weeks are the following:
  • Pray for strength, courage, and determination every day
  • Loose 17.5 pounds and at least 18 inches
  • Lift weights 2-3 days per week
  • Run intervals 2 days per week for 20-30 minutes
  • Follow Cooler 2 strictly, allow myself one cheat per week, usually a glass of red wine
  • Eat more high-water content vegetables instead of fruit
  • Remember to take my multi-vitamin, omega, calcium/magnesium, digestive enzymes and wheatgrass every day
  • Eat a variety of protein sources every day
  • Stay positive
  • Create an organization area in my kitchen for a vision board and menu planning
  • First note for the vision board: "Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken." Psalm 55:22
Please pray for me! :)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Peppermint Lemongrass Green Iced Tea

On Thursday afternoon, the sun was shinning and the birds were chirping and I was in the mood for a cup of iced tea! I scoured my cupboards and came up with a fabulous Peppermint, Lemongrass, Spearmint, Green Tea concoction that satisfies my sweet tooth and my desire for fresh summer days.

Peppermint Lemongrass Green Iced Tea

4 cups very hot water
2 cups ice
2 cups ice water
4 tea bags Tazo China Green Tips
2 tea bags Tazo Zen
2 tea bags Organic Peppermint Herbal Tea

Place tea bags in 4 cups very hot water and let steep for 10 minutes.

In the meantime combine 2 cups cold water and 2 cups ice in a large pitcher. When tea has finished steeping, pour over cold water/ice in pitcher and stir. Let cool in fridge for at least 1 hour. 

Sip from a fabulous glass while laying in the warm summer sun!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Chipotle for Supper!

Tonight Allan and I are attending the AIGA Design Show Opening Reception at the Weisman Art  Museum at the University of Minnesota campus. Allan is up for a couple awards and it is always a fun event. The reception starts at 6 PM and I am picking Allan up from work on my way there. At the reception, they serve appetizers, and usually we would have these for supper. However, today I do not want to waste my cheat meal on some crappy little appetizers. Instead I would like to have a glass of dry red wine while we look at art! 

So, yesterday's dilemma was trying to find a place that we could get a quick clean meal prior to the event. I spent some time scouring local "fast food" restaurant menus and unfortunately, places that I thought had clean items (Panera) actually did not!

For some reason, I thought that Panera's movement to not include trans fats in their products meant that they were nixing most artificial fillers, also. It looks like they had me fooled! Looking at the nutritional information and ingredients of some of my favorite items amazed me! HFCS and crazy bad for you preservatives (i.e. sodium benzoate) in almost everything. It seems that the only clean choice would be the Vegetarian Black Bean soup. But who can live on Black Bean soup alone?

I then quickly moved on to Chipotle's website and was pleasantly surprised. I have seen Chipotle's "natural" marketing campaigns for some time now, but I always thought that because they are owned by McDonald's the food would be bad for you. However, after doing a little more research, I found that Chipotle is no longer owned by McDonald's and has not been since October 2006 - which is making the rest of my research make SO MUCH MORE SENSE!!!

Chipotle is on a mission to deliver natural ingredients to customers. Which is really cool. On their website they state that they do not use any artificial ingredients, ever. They are even honest about how they can legally say that their tortillas are "trans fat free" even though they contain traces of trans fat. It's refreshing that they are honest - they could "lie" about it, but they choose not to. Also, Chipotle has undertaken a huge effort to have "naturally raised" meats served at all stores. You can look at this map to see which meats are naturally raised in your state. Chipotle defines Naturally Raised  as the following:
  • Never be given antibiotics/hormones
  • Have more room to move about or are open pastured
  • Be vegetarian fed, never given animal by-products
Also, Chipotle is making strides to purchase all organic beans. Right now, 30% of their beans are organic, but they would like to be at 100%. In addition, Chipotle's cheese and sour cream is free of the growth hormone r-BGH.

Overall, I applaud their efforts! If you would like to check out the nutritional data of your favorite Chipotle burrito click here.

Here are my eats for the day:

M1 - 1/2 c egg whites, 1 chicken sausage, 1 slice cin-raisin ezekiel bread with 1 tsp apple butter (just apples, spices and apple juice)
M2 - 1/2 vita-mix smoothie: 1 c nf plain yogurt, 1 frozen wheat grass shot, spinach, strawberry/mango, 1 very small orange (seriously, it was the size of a lime!), flax, wheat germ, bee pollen, vanilla extract
M3 - 1/2 vita-mix smoothie from M2, 1 wheat grass shot, leftover quinoa broccoli frittata
M4 - 1/2 ww pita, turkey breast (roasted REAL turkey breast from whole foods), spinach
M5 - Chipotle burrito bowl: steak or chicken (haven't decided yet), black beans, no rice, fajita veggies, tomato salsa, green salsa, lettuce
M6 - 1 glass dry red wine

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Eats for the Last Few Days...

Tonight while shopping at Whole Foods I had an opportunity to put my latest research to good use. I was in the baking supplies aisle purchasing Organic Zero. The young girl standing next to me picked up a package of Stevia and showed it to her friend. In passing I told her that she may want to reconsider purchasing the package of Stevia before doing her research on the product. She then asked me what I knew about it and I was able to tell her about the research that I had done on Truvia and Stevia. She decided to purchase the Organic Zero.

I have been ravenous since I started Stage 5 of NROL4W. I think that it is from the HEAVY weights that I am lifting (I complete 4 reps of each exercise, 3-4 sets). I have been limited on time to complete the weight lifting sessions, so I have been doing them as a circuit without rest in between alternating exercises and only 30 seconds between sets. 

Here are my eats for the last couple days:

M1 - 1/2 c egg whites, 1 chicken sausage, 1 slice raisin ezekiel bread
M2 - 1 c nf plain yogurt + strawberries
M3 - 1/3 c porridge + apple + 1 tbsp peanut butter
M4 - vita-mix: spinach, strawberries, orange + 1 tbsp peanut butter + 1/2 c nf plain yogurt
M5 - 1/2 ezekiel wrap + 1/2 serving chicken + 1/2 serving black beans
M6 -  banana + 1/2 ezekiel wrap + 1 tbsp peanut butter

M1 - 1/2 c egg whites, 1 chicken sausage, 1 slice raisin ezekiel bread
M2 - 1 c nf plain yogurt + blackberries
M3 - 1/3 c porridge + pumpkin + apple + 1 tbsp peanut butter
M6 -  vita-mix: spinach + strawberries + blackberries + 1 tbsp peanut butter + 1/2 c nf plain yogurt

M1 - 1/2 c egg whites, 1 chicken sausage, 1 slice raisin ezekiel bread
M2 - 1 cup yogurt cheese + blackberries
M5 - vita-mix: spinach + strawberries + orange + 1 tbsp peanut butter + 1/2 c nf plain yogurt

Yummy Fruit Dip

Yummy Fruit Dip

1/2 cup non-fat plain yogurt cheese or greek yogurt
1 tbsp peanut butter

Combine ingredients in a small bowl and enjoy with your favorite Fruit!

For Cooler Plan: counts as 1 serving protein (1/2 serving dairy + 1/2 serving fat)

Yogurt Cheese is from Tosca's Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook - it is strained yogurt.

Place a moistened piece of cheesecloth or a moistened coffee filter into a fine mesh sieve. Add non-fat or low-fat plain yogurt into the prepared filter. Let sit in fridge overnight. Voilà! You have yogurt cheese.

Herbed Pizza Crust and Pizza Sauce

I have finally perfected my recipe for Clean Pizza and am ready to share it! The crust recipe is based on Tosca's Pizza for Clean Eaters recipe from the Family and Kids Book... with a few modifications.

Herbed Pizza Crust

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups gluten-free flour (I use Tosca's power flour... but have used quinoa flour or all whole wheat flour, also)
2 tbsp ground flax seed
2 tbsp italian seasoning
1 oz parmesan (buy an old variety)
2 tsp sucanat, divided
1 1/2 cups warm water (between 100˚ and 110˚)
2 packets yeast
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, divided

Place warm water in a large glass liquid measuring cup. Add yeast, 1 tsp sucanat, yeast, sea salt, and 1 tsp olive oil and stir until combined. Set aside for 5-10 minutes until mixture becomes very frothy.

In the small bowl of a stand mixer combine flour, flax, italian seasoning, parmesan, and remaining 1 tsp sucanat.

Add frothy yeast mixture to dry ingredients. Mix with spoon to combine. Use kneading hooks of stand mixer and allow to knead dough for 5 minutes. This can also be done in a food processor with a kneading attachment.

Remove bowl from stand mixer and rub remaining 1 tsp olive oil on the outside of the dough ball. Place the dough ball into a large bowl and cover the bowl with a wet kitchen towel and set aside in a warm place to rise. Allow dough to rise for 1 hour.

In the meantime make Pizza Sauce recipe below, cut up desired toppings, and mist pizza pan with olive oil.

After dough has finished rising, preheat oven to 425˚ F. 

Divide dough into 5 dough balls. Each dough ball can be used for one 12" - 14" thin crust pizza. Extra dough balls can be individually frozen.

To Freeze: Individually wrap each dough ball in plastic wrap and then in tin foil. Place wrapped dough balls in a labeled freezer bag and freeze. You don't want "mystery" items in your freezer!

Roll out dough to fit your pizza pan on a lightly floured surface. Place dough on pizza pan and pierce with fork several times to prevent air bubbles. Mist pizza crust with olive oil.

Place pizza pan into oven and cook for 4-6 minutes.

Remove from oven and top with Pizza Sauce and desired toppings.

Place the pizza back into the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and starts to brown.

1 serving is 1/8 of a 12"- 14" thin crust pizza
Calories 49; Fat 1; Carbohydrate 9, Fiber 2; Protein 2.

Pizza Sauce

2 garlic cloves (if using blender: minced)
1/4 of a large yellow onion (if using blender: minced)
2 (28 oz) cans whole tomatoes, drained (if using blender: use diced tomatoes)
1 (14.5 oz) can fire roasted tomatoes, drained (if using blender: use diced tomatoes)
1 (14 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp italian seasoning
1 tsp sucanat
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Place all ingredient in a Vita-Mix container (or high-powered blender) in the order listed. Blend on medium until all ingredients are combined and mixture is smooth.

Makes enough sauce for at least five 12" - 14" pizzas. 

To Freeze: Place individual 1 pizza portions in freezer bags and freeze flat. The sauce unthaws in minutes when freezer bag is placed in warm water.

1 serving is 1/8 of a 12" - 14" thin crust pizza
Calories 23; Fat 0; Carbohydrate 4, Fiber 1, Sugar 2; Protein 1

Clean Eating Toppings
  • Turkey or Chicken Sausage (without nitrates and nitrites)
  • Turkey Pepperoni (without nitrates and nitrites)
  • Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese (limited amount)
  • Chèvre (limited amount)
  • Bell Peppers
  • Spinach
  • Arugula
  • Red Onions
  • Olives (limited amount)
  • Broccoli
  • Sun-dried tomatoes (from the bulk section, not packed in oil)
  • Banana Peppers
  • Pineapple

Nitrates and nitrites have been linked to cancer, especially to very aggressive colon cancer.

Check the label on your turkey and chicken sausages, pepperoni, ham, and bacon products - some may be cured with nitrates and nitrites. If in question, as the butcher about the curing process used in their meats. If the label does not say "uncured" or "no nitrates, no nitrites added" then the meat may contain these carcinogens. If unsure, do not purchase the product and find a safe alternative.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Quinoa Broccoli Frittata

Tonight I made the Quinoa Broccoli Frittata from the latest Oxygen Magazine. It was one of the most amazing things that I have had lately. 

Anyways, back to the Frittata. I made it with a couple changes to suit my taste buds. I added 2 additional egg whites, used fresh steamed broccoli instead of frozen and added some seasonings.

Please find my version of the recipe below...

This would be a fabulous recipe to make when on Cooler 1!

Here is the recipe (with my above edits)

Quinoa Broccoli Frittata, inspired by Oxygen Magazine Recipe

1 whole egg
4 egg whites
1/2 cup milk - skim milk, unsweetened soy milk, or unsweetened vanilla almond milk, unsweetened rice milk
4 oz low-fat cheddar cheese, grated and divided
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp grill seasoning blend
1 tsp veggie seasoning blend
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and cooked
14 oz broccoli, lightly steamed

Mist a large oven-safe skillet with olive oil and set aside. Preheat your oven's broiler.

In a medium bowl whisk together egg and egg whites. Add milk and 2 oz cheese and spices. Whisk until combined.

Combine quinoa and broccoli in the prepared skillet. Pour egg mixture over quinoa and broccoli and combine all ingredients, pressing them down into the pan. Sprinkle the remaining 2 oz of cheese over the frittata.

Cook the frittata mixture in the skillet on the stovetop at medium-high heat until the edges begin to brown. Place the skillet under the broiler until the middle sets up and begins to brown.

Makes 4 servings.

Calories 257; Fat 9, Saturated Fat 3; Carbohydrate 21, Fiber 5, Sugar 4; Protein 24.

Always look at the Ingredients of any seasoning blends that you purchase... some have unclean fats, sugars and preservatives added.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Simply Clean Bookstore

Simply Clean has launched the Simply Clean Bookstore filled with recommended books, DVD's, music, video games and much more on topics such as Nutrition, Fitness & Training, Christianity, Sustainability & Green Living, and Gardening. I recently compiled a must read list and they are all included in the bookstore.

In the future, you can find a link to the Simply Clean Bookstore from the About Me section of the Simply Clean Blog located on the right sidebar.

Let me know if you see a must read that is missing or if a book that I have listed should be removed. Keep checking back as I will be updating the lists as I read new books or find reviews of must reads!

Pumpkin Pie Protein Bars

The following bar is a modified version of my Chocolate-Banana Protein Muffins. I decided that I wanted to try to make a sweet potato or pumpkin pie version of this recipe to change things up a bit. I did not have an extra sweet potato laying around, so I decided to use pumpkin instead. These are very sweet and pack a protein punch - they taste like you are cheating, when you're not! I decided against making another batch of muffins and opted to make traditional looking "bars" instead.

Pumpkin Pie Protein Bars

2/3 cup rolled oats, divided
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
4 scoops vanilla protein powder
3 tbsp organic zero
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie seasoning
¾ cup canned pumpkin
¼ cup organic unsweetened apple butter (just apples)
¼ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
3 tbsp dried cranberries, unsweetened

Preheat oven to 350˚ F. Mist a 9 x 9 baking pan with olive oil.

Place 1/3 cup rolled oats in a food processor or magic bullet and pulse to create oat flour.

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients – oat flour, remaining 1/3 c rolled oats, flaxseed, protein powder, organic zero, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine wet ingredients – pumpkin, apple butter, and almond milk.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredient and mix until combined. Gently stir in the cranberries.

Place batter into prepared dish and bake for 15 minutes. Do not over bake. Makes 4 protein bars.

Mixture will set up as it cools. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Nutrition Information for ¼ of recipe: Calories 282; Fat 5; Carbohydrate 41, Fiber 6, Sugar 12; Protein 26.

For Cooler 2, each bar is 1 Complex Carb and 1 Protein.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Carrot Cake Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting

This week I am posting the results of my Friday baking frenzy. The first and fabulously delicious recipe that I made were cleaned up Carrot Cake Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting. These can be made as a cake in a 9 x 13 pan, but I prefer the portion controlled muffins - for me it's easier just to have one of muffins as opposed to looking at a 9 x 13 pan of goodness. 

If you look below, at the end of the recipe I have also included the Nutrition Information. I am not a calorie counter and do not advocate calorie counting; however, I have had several requests for Nutrition Info and also think that it is alright to look at the recipe analysis as an indication of how healthy and low-fat these muffins really are!

Carrot Cake Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Cake Muffins

2 cups whole wheat flour or any gluten-free whole grain flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
2 cups carrots, grated
1 (4-ounce) jar carrot baby food
1 ½ cups unsweetened applesauce
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, skim milk or unsweetened soy milk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ cup agave nectar, pure maple syrup or molasses
½ cup organic zero or sucanat
½ c walnuts
½ cup raisins, unsweetened

Preheat over to 350˚ F. Mist 24 muffin tins with olive oil or line with cupcake liners and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients – whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt.

In a medium bowl combine wet ingredients – grated carrots, carrot baby food, applesauce, milk, vanilla, sweeteners.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well. Combine the wet and dry ingredients until moist, do not over mix. Gently stir in walnuts and raisins.

Add batter to prepared muffin tins and bake for 45 – 55 minutes.

Cool completely before icing with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

4 oz neufatchel cream cheese, brought to room temperature
2 tbsp agave nectar, molasses or pure maple syrup
2 tbsp organic zero or fine sucanat (place sucanat in food processor for 30 seconds)
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a small bowl combine all ingredients and mix until combined. Spread on cooled muffins.

Nutrition Information for 1 muffin with approximately 1/2 tbsp frosting: Calories 111; Fat 3; Carbohydrates 20, Fiber 2, Sugar 7; Protein 3

Friday, March 13, 2009

Roast Chicken with Herbed Vegetables

Good Morning, Bloggers! Last night I made a Maria Original Recipe for supper... super easy, clean, and very tasty! Check out the recipe below... 

I have the day off today and I will be doing some cleaning and baking. I am planning on making Chocolate "No-Cook" Protein Bars - for Allan; Spreadable Olive Oil Butter - for Allan's toast in the morning; 2 alternate versions of Tra's Chocolate Pumpkin Protein Bars - one chocolate and one spice, I want to try something different than my usual Chocolate Banana Protein Muffins; non-fat plain Yogurt Cheese; Clean Carrot Cake Muffins - for fun; and Homemade Whole Grain Pizza Crust and Pizza Sauce - for Friday date night at home with Allan. Check back later today for some more recipes...

Roast Chicken with Herbed Vegetables

4 bone-in chicken breasts
2 garlic cloves, passed through garlic press
1 tbsp rosemary, crushed
1 tbsp poultry seasoning, crushed
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp each sea salt and pepper
2 sweet potatoes, cubed
1 ½ summer squash, ½ inch slices
2 carrots, peeled and cut into ½ inch slices
½ lb green beans
1 ½ onion, ½ inch slices
6-8 garlic cloves, in paper

Preheat the oven to 425˚ F. Mist a large casserole or roasting pan with olive oil.

In a small bowl, combine the seasoning blend – garlic, rosemary, poultry seasoning, olive oil, sea salt and pepper; set aside. In a large bowl, combine vegetables – sweet potatoes, summer squash, carrots, green beans, onion, and garlic cloves. Place half of the seasoning blend into the bowl with the vegetables and stir to combine. Place vegetables into the prepared roasting pan.

Raw Veggies with Seasoning Blend

Lift up the skin of the chicken breasts and rub the remaining seasoning blend directly onto the meat. Fold the skin back down to cover the seasoning and meat. Place the chicken breasts in the roasting pan on top of the vegetables. Insert a meat thermometer into a meaty section of one of the chicken breasts.

Roast in the preheated oven for approximately 40-45 minutes or until the meat thermometer reads 165˚ F.

Let the meat rest for 5 minutes. Discard the skin of each chicken breast.

Serving Size
1 palm sized serving of chicken, without the skin, and two cupped handfuls of vegetables

Keep the chicken moist while roasting by leaving the skin on. To keep it lean, discard the skin before enjoying.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday Weigh-In Update

Thursdays are my "weigh-in" day. Since body weight fluctuates, I try to keep myself off of the scale all other times except Thursday mornings. Since last Thursday I have lost 1.5 pounds. Only 18 more to go! 

Here are a couple more ways to look at my Clean Eating accomplishment so far:
  • I have lost 60% (27 pounds) of my goal weight and only have 40% (18 pounds) more to go. That seems doable to me! 
  • So far I have lost 15% of my total beginning body weight and 18 pounds is only 11% of my total body weight right now. Another encouragement.
Start looking at the smaller amounts of weight that you loose as a sum of what you have already accomplished and you will feel motivated!


“Courage is the ladder on which all other virtues mount.” —Clare Boothe Luce

In order to inspire change in your life you must first have courage. According to Princeton University’s WordNet, courage is...
“a quality of spirit that enables you to face danger or pain without showing fear”
I love the way that this is worded. Most people have a fear of the unknown and change is definitely an unknown. In order to have the courage to make changes in our lives we need to obtain a quality of spirit that will enable us to face the pain of change without showing or even thinking about fear.

If you have a dream - don’t give it up because you are afraid. Fight for what will make you happy. Personally, I have always envisioned my body as thin. Looking back at photos of myself 47 pounds ago is painful – because in my mind I did not look like that. However, when I finally came to the realization that I needed to do something to change my life to become healthier and happy I needed to have the courage to make a drastic change in my life. I prayed to God and asked for the courage to make the change so that I could start treating my body like a temple.

To say “no” to unclean foods is easy if you have courage – plan ahead for difficult situations and come prepared! The second half of preparation is the follow-through. Have the courage to stick to your plan no matter what happens. There will always be temptations and occasionally you will give in. However, when you do have an unplanned cheat – don’t get down on yourself. Have the courage to pick yourself up and lend some words of encourage instead of doubt. The way that you talk to yourself plays a large role in your self-esteem. Treat yourself with respect and encouragement and you will reap the rewards.

If you are planning on asking God for courage here are some Bible verses for inspiration:
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.."
- II Timothy 1:7
“For since Jesus Christ himself has passed through the test of suffering, He is able to help those who are meeting their test now.” Hebrews 2:18
“God is faithful and will not let you be tested beyond that you are able but will with the testing time make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
“My God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
“God said to me, my grace is sufficient for you. My strength is made perfect in your infirmity.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
“And we know that in all things God works together for the good of all them that love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Shopper's Guide to Pesticides

A new shopper's guide to pesticides has been created and can be downloaded here. They even haver a nifty printable pocket guide to bring with you on your shopping trips.

Dirty Dozen
  1. Peach
  2. Apple
  3. Bell Pepper
  4. Celery
  5. Nectarine
  6. Strawberries
  7. Cherries
  8. Kale
  9. Lettuce
  10. Grapes (Imported)
  11. Carrot
  12. Pear

Clean 15
  1. Onion
  2. Avocado
  3. Sweet Corn
  4. Pineapple
  5. Mango
  6. Asparagus
  7. Sweet Peas
  8. Kiwi
  9. Cabbage
  10. Eggplant
  11. Papaya
  12. Watermelon
  13. Broccoli
  14. Tomato
  15. Sweet Potato

Cooler 2 Eats and Last 2 Workouts of NROL4W Stage 4

Here are my eats for the last couple days, I have been on a strict Cooler 2...

  • Meal 1 - 1/2 cup egg whites + 1 chicken sausage + 1 slice ezekiel cinnamon raisin toast
  • Meal 2 - 1 cup nonfat plain yogurt + 2 servings blueberries and blackberries
  • Meal 3 - 2 organic plain brown rice cakes + 2 tbsp peanut butter + 1 apple
  • Meal 4 - 1/3 cup porridge mixture cooked in 1 cup water + protein powder + broccoli
  • Meal 5 - 3 oz salmon marinated in balsamic, honey, and olive oil + lightly steamed broccoli + 1/2 sweet potato

  • Meal 1 - 1/2 cup egg whites + 1 chicken sausage + 1 slice ezekiel cinnamon raisin toast
  • Meal 2 - 1 cup yogurt + 1 serving each cantaloupe and strawberries
  • Meal 3 - 2 chocolate banana protein muffins + cantaloup
  • Meal 4 - 2 rice cakes + 1 tbsp peanut butter + apple
  • Meal 5 - 3 oz leftover salmon + spinach + broccoli + raspberry balsamic + almond oil
  • Meal 6: protein hot chocolate

planned meals for Wednesday:

These are the last 3 workouts that I did (Goodbye Stage 4 of NROL4W)...

Stage 4, Workout A
3 sets of 8 reps for all exercises
  • Front Squat Push Press, 50 pounds
  • Step Up, 40 pounds, each leg
  • Dumbbell One Point Row, 20 pounds, each leg
  • Static Lunge, Rear Foot Elevated, body weight, each leg
  • Push Up, body weight
  • Plank, 120 seconds (plank 60 seconds, rest 60 seconds, plank 60 seconds) done 3 times
  • Horizontal Wood Chop, 20 pounds
  • Prone Cobra, 120 seconds

Interval Run on Treadmill
  • 4 min warm up: 3.3 - 3.8 mph
  • 2 min: 3.8 mph
  • 1 min running interval: 7 mph
  • 2 min recovery: 3.8 mph
  • I did the above 2 min, 1 min intervals for a total of 4 running intervals and 4 recovery intervals
  • 1 min, 30 sec incline interval: 4 mph at 6 % incline
  • 2 min recovery incline: 4 mph 2 % incline
  • I did the above 1 min, 30 second and 2 min intervals 3 times
  • 4 min cool down: 3.8 - 3.0 mph
Stage 4, Workout B
3 sets of 8 reps for all exercises
  • Wide-Grip Deadlift from box, 70 pounds on level 2 of step
  • Bulgarian Split-Squat, body weight, each leg
  • Pullover, 10 pounds, 15 reps
  • Reverse Lunge from Box with Forward Reach, body weight on level 2 of step, each leg
  • Dumbbell Prone Cuban Snatch, 10 pounds
  • Long Arm Swiss-Ball Crunch, 10 pounds
  • Reverse Crunch, body weight
  • Hanna Side Flexion 2, body weight, each side

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

An Amazing Transformation Begins

"It is impossible not to love someone who makes toast for you." —Nigel Slater

I have decided to post before and after pictures of myself – from 200+ pounds to where I am now. It’s still a bit difficult for me to see the transformation, 45.5 pounds lighter and sometimes I still feel like I look the same as I did back in 2005 before I started loosing weight.

Christmas of 2005, I found myself in the full swing of wedding preparations. I had purchased and received my wedding dress, which my mom had to pay an extra $50 for a size 18 to fit my bust measurements, the location was booked, and it was time to take care of the small details. I knew that I did not want to be overweight on the “happiest day of my life”. I was determined to change something – anything in my life – so that I could feel good about the person starring back at me in the mirror.

I had always been overweight growing up – but not this overweight. The challenges of going to college full time and working 30 hours a week had taken a toll on the way that I nourished myself and left little time for physical activity. I had gained over 20 pounds since I had met my husband just a short 2 years earlier. How had this happened?

I knew that I would need to take drastic measures, but I did not have the time to work out several times per week. I would have to revamp my diet and make the most out of my trips to the gym. My mom was a member at the local Curves and had joined a class that followed the Curves way of eating. Basically, you followed a pre-set 6-week menu that consisted of 5 smaller meals per day. You ate exactly what the menu told you to. There was freedom to substitute foods, as long as the calories, fat, carb and protein counts were similar. By counting calories and eating a low-fat, high protein, lower carb diet I lost 30 pounds from January 2006 to May 2006. I felt great about my accomplishment. I once again weighed the same as I had when I met my husband – which was the least that I had weighed as an adult. I was proud of myself.

After the wedding the motivation to loose weight dwindled. I was nearing my senior year in college and decided to take 20 credits per semester in order to graduate in the spring of 2007. I ate what I wanted using my new found Curves nutrition guidelines that had served me well; although, as time passed I grew lazy and quit writing down my food intake and counting calories. I gained 5 pounds and then plateaued at that weight.

In August of 2008, my very dear friend, Melissa, introduced me to Tosca Reno’s Eat-Clean Diet. At first I was not interested in a “fad diet” and had a difficult time grasping the idea of NOT counting calories while simply watching my portion sizes and intake of certain foods to ensure a balanced, nutritious diet. I thought that I knew what I was doing and if I wanted, I could drop the weight. Then the realization that Melissa had lost all of her “baby weight” and then some by Eating Clean and working out hit me. If she could do it with a new baby and a full time job – why couldn’t I? She seemed so excited and motivated about the plan that it was contagious! I started to ask questions about what it meant to Eat-Clean.

Finally, in September, Melissa convinced me to purchase Tosca’s Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook – just to try it. I was instantly hooked! Tosca’s way of simply explaining the way our bodies require nutrition made much more sense than anything else that I had read. It was a no-nonsense approach to eating. Soon thereafter, I purchased Tosca’s Eat-Clean Diet book and read it cover to cover in a matter of days. After reading the Eat-Clean Diet book I cleaned out my cupboards and we started from scratch. At first my husband didn’t understand, but blindly trusted that what I was doing would make me happy. He was such a good sport. Now, he is just as into Clean Eating as I am and has leaned out and bulked up in the process. He jokes that he has lost “sympathy weight”.

In the first month of Eating Clean I lost 8 pounds! I was following the open Cooler 3 plan and wasn’t really working out. In November, I decided to take my workouts seriously. I followed Melissa’s advice and purchased the New Rules of Lifting for Women – that is when the transformation really begun. I was still not following a strict Cooler plan (simply Cooler 3 foods) and was still loosing weight.

I managed to follow the Clean Eating principles and loose a decent amount of weight through Thanksgiving, the loss of a very close Uncle, a vacation to Mexico at the beginning of December, 3 Christmas Celebrations, New Year’s Eve, and 5 Birthday Celebrations (dad, mom, husband, nephew, and father-in-law). When we travel to relatives’ homes I pack my cooler for the weekend. I resist temptations as much as possible and treat myself instead of holding myself back – and at all times I try to make smart, clean decisions about what I eat.

The weight loss finally began to slow in mid-January. I decided that it was about time that I try following one of the strict Cooler plans. I have been on Cooler 2 since – with one week of Cooler 1 a couple weeks ago. I am still slowly loosing weight and inches. In the month of February, I lost 4 inches and 1.5 pounds. I could have lost more weight, but gave myself a cheat meal each weekend in addition to a few glasses of wine. I feel like I am becoming stronger with each workout session and developing lean, powerful muscles. My muscle definition is finally showing as the fat is melting away.

I am amazed at the changes that have occurred in the shape and form of my body from Eating Clean and being dedicated to my workouts. I look at myself in the mirror and sometimes do not recognize the person starring back at me. My friends that have not seen me lately tell me that I do not look like myself – I look like someone else. I will let you be the judge of that.

Here are some before and after pictures over the last 3.5 years.

September 2005

May 2006

April 2008

October 2008

December 2008

February 2009

Update on 7/1/09:
I recently completed a 12 week competition and posted my before and after pics here.

March 2009

June 2009


"Never does nature say one thing and wisdom another." —Juvenal

The ingredients in Truvia are Erythritol, Rebiana, and Natural Flavors.

Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that is frequently created by fermenting sucrose using yeast. In general, erythritol is considered a “good” sugar alcohol, because it is absorbed into the blood stream in the small intestine rather than the large intestine, so it does not usually cause the gastrointestinal problems of most sugar alcohols. It is also shown to have little to no effect on blood glucose levels, making it low on the glycemic index.

Personally, I use Organic Zero by Wholesome Sweeteners, which is organically produced erythritol. When Wholesome Sweeteners produces their erythritol they do not use any chemicals, they simply use an organically approved fermenting agent to ferment the sucrose into erythritol. Unfortunately, in the case of Truvia, the method of fermentation is not disclosed – so they could be using chemicals to produce the erythritol. You can read more about Erythritol here.

Natural Flavors is a very cryptic description of an ingredient. At this point, the FDA has not placed regulations on the term “Natural” so any company can claim that anything is natural; however, there is some regulation on natural vs. artificial ingredients that are very broad. I am definitely wary of what this term could include. Read this article for more information on natural vs. artificial flavors.

Rebiana is part of the stevia plant. Unfortunately there is not much information out there about how the rebiana is harvested from the stevia plant or exactly which part of the plant it is. Also, there is not much information on the 3 different types of sweeteners harvested form the stevia plant. Most people consider stevia to be safe.

According to some research that I found, in the safety tests that were conducted in 2008, 14 of 16 studies cited that stevioside (derived from the stevia plant, and the most common stevia sweetener on the market) did not show genotoxic effects, 11 of 15 studies did show genotoxic effects for steviol (another sweetener derived from the stevia plant), and none of the studies showed genotoxic activities for rebaudioside a (another sweetener derived from stevia, and possibly the type used in Truvia). Unfortunately, the details of these research studies were not released and it is not clear whether these studies use high or low doses of the different forms of stevia.

Yes, other countries, like Japan, do use stevia as a sweetener. However, they do not use it in high doses. It is used to sweeten tea – not placed in every “sugary” beverage that they consume. The negative effects of stevia have been documented when rodents are given high doses of the herb, not when lower doses are present. Unfortunately, if stevia is placed into all of Coca-Cola and Cargill’s sweetened beverages, foods, etc. it may bring out the higher dose effects.

We know that the large food companies will not use the sweetener sparingly. Most commercially sweetened items are significantly over sweetened. In addition, the population that consumes these types of beverages and diet food items oftentimes consume several beverages/diet food items per day which would result in consumption of high doses of stevia.

Here are the main safety concerns:

Reproductive Problems/Infertility. One European study found that stevioside “seems to affect the male reproductive organ system”. Male rats were given high doses of stevioside for 22 months and their sperm production was reduced, the weight of their seminal vesicles declined, and there was cell proliferation in their testicles, which could cause infertility and other problems. Another study found that when female hamsters were fed high doses of steviol, they had fewer and smaller offspring.

A. Yamada et al.: Chronic toxicity study of dietary stevia extracts in F344 rats. J. Food Hyg Soc Japan 26:169-183, 1985. (Not indexed in Medline and not available on the Internet)

C. Wasuntarawat et al.: Developmental toxicity of steviol, a metabolite of stevioside, in the hamster. Drug Chem Toxicol 1998 May; 21(2):207-22. (Abstract available in Medline)


Cancer. In the studies that I listed above, researchers were able to convert stevioside and steviol into a mutagenic/genotoxic compound, which may promote cancer by causing mutations in the cells’ DNA. It is unclear whether or not steviosol or rebaudioside a is converted to steviol then into a mutagenic compound in the human body.

Energy Metabolism. It has been found that high amounts of stevioside can interfere with carbohydrate absorption in animals, which could inhibit the conversion of food to energy within cells.

All in all, stevia appears to be safe in small doses – although, if you do decide to purchase a stevia product, I would not recommend Truvia because it is not pure stevia. However, there are definitely some issues that need to be further explored for stevia’s mass consumption. Unfortunately, a lot of the information that I found seemed to be buried by the “positive” press that stevia has received as of late.

I do not think that Splenda is a better alternative to stevia, as the harmful effects of all artificial sweeteners are better documented. I just want to make sure that you have all of the facts when making decisions about what to put into your body.

Please let me know if you have further questions, comments or additions to the information that I have listed above.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Lemon-Thyme Pork Tenderloin with Cinnamon Apples

This weekend was action packed! On Friday night we went to one of our favorite restaurants, Axel's Bonfire. I ordered my cheat meal of the week - Chicken Fajitas (with black beans, minus the sour cream and cheese, and I did eat the guacamole) - they were fabulous! I had the bartender make me a special Martini with POM, soda water and vodka - yum!

Saturday night we had my father- and mother-in-law over to celebrate my father-in-law's birthday. I made a fabulous marinated Pork Tenderloin,  oven roasted sweet potato fries (from the Eat-Clean Book for Family and Kids), steamed broccoli, and cheesecake. 

I made the cheesecake from a recent Clean Eating magazine and I am sorry to say that I was disappointed at how it turned out. The mixture never solidified, was very sticky, and developed a "smoky crust" on top (as my FIL described it). I froze the leftovers to see if that helped; and although the cheesecake is now solid, it still has a smoky flavor and something seems slightly off about it. Back to the kitchen to develop an improved recipe! 

I have a few ideas of how to remedy the situation and will get back to you when I have found something that works. My main concern is the number of eggs whites (6), I will decrease the number of eggs whites, substitute non-fat, plain greek yogurt/yogurt cheese for cottage cheese and increase this to account for the loss of egg whites. I am also toying with the idea of creating a "Marble" cheesecake by adding cacao powder to some of the cheesecake mixture and swirling it in.

The marinated Pork Tenderloin recipe that I made was inspired by a recipe that I saw on Rachel Ray's 30-minute meals show. This is my version of Rachel Ray's Uptown Pork Chops with Escalloped Apples.

Lemon-Thyme Pork Tenderloin with Cinnamon Apples

Pork Tenderloin

2 tbsp walnut oil
1/4 - 1 cup organic lemon juice, enough to cover pork tenderloin at least 1/2 way up sides
1 tbsp grill seasoning, divided
1 tbsp thyme, divided
dash of sea salt and pepper

Whisk together almond oil, lemon juice, 1/2 tbsp grill seasoning, and 1/2 tbsp thyme, salt and pepper in a glass container. Add the Pork Tenderloin. Marinade  for at least 3 hours, turn once half way through.

Meanwhile, mist a baking pan with olive oil.

Preheat over to 450˚.

When the Tenderloin has finished marinating, remove from marinade and place in the prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 tbsp grill seasoning, 1/2 tbsp thyme, dash salt and dash pepper over the top of the Tenderloin. 

Bake at 450˚ for 35 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160˚.

Cinnamon Apples

3 large apples, cored and cubed
2 tbsp sucanat, agave nectar or organic zero sweetener
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp whole-wheat flour, or gluten-free flour of choice
2 tbsp organic lemon juice

Mist a large skillet with olive oil. Saute apples over medium heat for 12-15 minutes, until tender. Add sweetener, cinnamon, flour, and lemon juice and saute until combined.

Serve pork tenderloin with apples.


Be sure to use Organic Lemon Juice, as some conventional Lemon Juice contains the preservative, Sodium Benzoate, which when combined with Vitamin C becomes Benzene, a powerful carcinogen!

Check the labels of your seasoning blends - some contain hidden sugars, hydrogenated oils, preservatives and lots of sodium!

Tosca Reno on Extra TV

For those of you who missed Tosca's appearance on Extra TV this weekend or would like to re-watch the segment you can check it out here.

Happy Watching!

I was ultra busy this weekend and plan on stopping back a little later on this afternoon to make a couple fun posts. One of which is a history of how I came upon Clean Eating, my weight loss journey - in the last 3 years I have lost 45.5 pounds - and how I plan on achieving my goals - to loose 19.5 more pounds - for a whopping total of 65 pounds!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Building Your Support System

A couple days ago I was talking to my good friend, Laura, about subject matter for blog posts and she suggested that I write about the importance of having a strong support system. When I got to thinking about it, I would not be where I am today without a sound support system.

Support is crucial to success. It is essential for building character, encouragement, inspiration, and originality.

Fortunately, support can come in many shapes, sizes, and mediums and as we develop our own personal network of support we end up knowing exactly where to turn for codling, a shoulder to cry on, advice, the hard truth, or motivation. Support systems keep us accountable to our goals and facilitate conquering them.

Unfortunately, our network of support can become detrimental to our success. It is important that our support system shapes into a positive place where we can be ourselves and get advice that is significant. We need to be strong enough to identify the positive and negative places to go to for support and keep moving ourselves toward the positive type of support. Oftentimes it is much easier to hear someone tell us what we want to hear rather than what we need to hear. BUT without the truth where would we be?

As I said earlier, support comes in all shapes, sizes, and mediums. What works for one person may not work for you - sources of support are not one size fits all. Many of us work on several unrelated goals at once and will need many types of support for each of these goals. Be careful not to put all of your eggs in one support basket – but don’t spread yourself thin with too many sources of support or you will run the risk of not benefit from each resource and simply becoming burnt out.

Here is a look into the support system that I have built for myself by goal/area of interest:

1. Christianity – I believe that nothing is achievable without God and it is through Him that all things are possible.
  • Daily Bible Verse Subscription
  • Church Community, specifically the Choir (I am a Member and regular Soloist)
  • Christian Radio
  • Family Members that are believers (specifically my husband, Allan; my parents, Al and Trish; my godparents, Becky and Jim)
  • Close Friends that are believers (specifically Natalie and Sam, Melissa, Carrie)

2. Music – I am as much in love with singing as I am with Clean Eating.
  • Church Choir Member and Soloist
  • Christian Radio
  • Sharing my love of music with family (specifically my dad, Al and my husband, Allan)

3. Clean Eating and Fitness – I can’t imagine my life without this beloved interest, however, it was not long ago (August 2008) that my friend, Melissa, introduced me to Tosca Reno and Alwyn Cosgrove.

4. The Environment, Organic Foods, Organic Cosmetics/Health & Beauty, Sustainable Food Chain, etc. – I am a huge supporter of sustainable and organic food. I think that this topic goes hand-in-hand with Clean Eating. Why spend the effort to Eat-Clean and workout if you are not actually making yourself healthier inside and out? Pesticides and chemicals will kill you.

5. Design and Art – I am in love with simple, modern art of all forms… architecture, furniture, interior design, color, museums, screen printing, drama/musicals, etc.

Simply Clean gets branded

Thanks to the fabulous Allan Peters for creating a new identity for Simply Clean. Allan is the most talented designer that I have ever met and was gracious enough to spend a little time to give Simply Clean a fresh look and feel using my favorite color, pink! 

If you are looking for some amazing design inspiration or just want to check out some really pretty picks head over to Allan's portfolio site or his design blog!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Community Supported Agriculture

I am really excited about joining a CSA this year. I considered joining last year, but did not make time to evaluate the different farm options and sign up. I am a member of Valley Natural Foods and they are having a CSA Day on March 28th where I plan on making my final decision.

For those of you who have not heard of CSA’s, here is a little background information. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Numerous farms offer subscriptions, or shares, of produce that can be purchased for the length of the growing season. Members of the CSA receive weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or one-time containers of veggies, fruit, flowers, eggs, dairy and/or meat. The selection of items varies on the chosen farm and the shares that are purchased.

A typical CSA share includes mostly veggies along with some fruit; additional items such as flowers or meat can be added on at an additional charge. The variety and quantity of vegetables are dependent on the farm, weather conditions, and share chosen.

Members are often referred to as “shareholders” or “subscribers” because with their investment they are taking on the risk associated with each growing season. Some farms even require that members work a few hours on the farm. Most farms offer member only events, potlucks, and demonstrations. Others offer cooking lessons and internships.

Many CSA farms offer local delivery to specific locations along with farm pick up. Customarily farm pick-up is less expensive than local pick-up. Oftentimes pick-up locations are at local co-ops, schools, community centers, and host homes. Some CSA farmers are even open to adding new drop off locations as long as a specific number of shares will be ordered from the location.

Typically, the Minnesota CSA season begins in Mid-May and runs through October (18 - 20 weeks). However, the length and breadth of the season is completely dependent on growing conditions – droughts, floods, pests – all determine crop yield.

The CSA’s that I am considering are sustainable and organic where a half-share of produce ranges from $275 to $470 per season - averaging out to $14.47 to $24.70 per week for fresh, organic produce. The price of each share varies by farm and is dictated by the variety and quantity of produce offered. 

For more information about CSA’s in your area check out the Local Harvest website.

The photos in this post are sample CSA boxes from Featherstone Farm.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Today's Eats

I am back on Cooler 2 today. I lost 1 lb last week on Cooler 1 for 3 days and was really excited. Usually a couple days on Cooler 1 is all that I need to jump start the fat loss.

Here are my eats for the day:

Meal 1 - egg whites, chicken breakfast sausage, 1 slice cinn-raisin ezekiel bread
Meal 2 - 1 serving Chocolate-Banana Protein Muffins, 1/2 Vita-Mix Juice: spinach, strawberries, orange
Meal 3 - Friday Night Chili (from the Family and Kids Cookbook)
Meal 4 - Macaroni and Cheese (inspired by the recipe in the Family and Kids Cookbook) and 1/2 Vita-Mix Juice from Meal 2

Meal 5 - Organic Basil Chicken Sausage with organic sauerkraut

Tosca on AM NW

Check it out here.

Pangea Organics

As many of you know, I have been searching for Clean Cosmetics that fit a strict set of rules that I have outlined for myself to replace my Clinique products that are on their way back to because they are not clean.

I think that I have found a winner! I purchased the following Pangea Organics products from Organically Happy last week and am in love! First of all, Organically Happy was offering a nice discount on the products and I ended up saving over $20! In addition, I found the following promo code: supergreen.

What I love most about the products are the choice of essential oils, they smell amazing and are really refreshing - especially in the morning!

Egyptian Calendula & Blood Orange Facial Cleanser

Italian Green Mandarin with Sweet Lime Toner

Nigerian Ginger, Sweet Lavender & Thyme Facial Cream


BTW, Annie over at Foods that Fit is compiling a Blogger Cookbook - keep your eyes open for more information.