The importance of fat

Although I have been seeing small changes like a slimmer face, a lifted behind, and a, might I add, sexy collar bone, I weighed myself to find out that I was at 199 pounds. Still. :< And this midsection is not moving along fast enough for me. Maybe it is a little early to get concerned, but fearful of a 2 week plateau I’ve decided to change my diet.

Sean of Underground Wellness explains this plateau pretty darn well.

I’ll let yaw know how this goes. I brought some raw cheddar and raw butter today as well as some beef, bacon, and sprouted wheat grain bread. And breakfast was the bomb! I had two omega-3 eggs fried in coconut oil, bacon, a skillet-toasted slice of Ezekiel 4:9 Bread with raw butter, and a medium banana. Right away, I noticed having a boost in energy. But we’ll see how everything feels after a few days. My tummy is weird like that.

Quinoa Pancakes

Thin batter. Not a huge fan.

On Sunday I made quinoa pancakes from scratch. What I liked about this recipe is that they are straight up pancakes meaning it is quinoa flour, baking powder, oil, eggs, and milk. Nothing more, nothing less. What I did not like too much was the taste. Next time I will try vanilla extract, some more sugar, and maybe some melted butter. Also, I will be adding milk instead of all the water the recipe called for. I got the recipe from Bob’s Red Mill website. He uses way too much water in his batter so I found myself adding more quinoa flour.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 cups of Quinoa flour – I used GoGo Quinoa flour
  • I eyeballed the raw sugar – Sugar in the Raw – the sugar is not a requirement but be warned of the taste, you might want to add agave nectar are organic maple syrup as a sweetener
  • 2 Tb Coconut oil – or which ever oil you prefer to use. Vegetable oil is a huge no no for me.
  • 2 eggs – not a requirement for the recipe
  • 4 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 cup of water – Bob says 2, but I got some of the most pitiful looking pancakes ever

What to do:

  • Heat pan for HOT so that it can catch your pancakes before they become blobs. Especially if using the watery batter from Bob’s website. Adjust heat so that you aren’t burning your pancakes.

Combine all dry ingredients first and whisk together

Add liquid ingredients next. I also added some chopped bananas and my eggs at this point.

You can also add oil or butter to your pan for crispy edges. If you're into that sort of thing.

Scoop out about 1/4 of batter and slowly pour into pan. Flip when bubbles begin to form. If you choose not to use sugar, your pancakes will not brown so don't be alarmed. It is all good.

I made way too many pancakes with this recipe so you might want to adjust the amounts so that you’re not swimming in pancakes like I am.

And enjoy! I had eggs and chicken sausage with mine. I also sautéed a chopped apple to top my pancakes in addition to the apple sauce.

And here are my recipe bloopers. This is what you get with too much water. Thin, pitiful looking pancakes.

Attempted to flip them... No bueno

And here is the mess.

Week 2: Mo’ water, mo’ water, mo’ water, mo’!

Photo from fan page of Black Women "Do" Work Out!

Oh the importance of water. You’ll be surprised once you are anointed with the knowledge. It makes up to 60% of the human body and is how the body moves everything along smoothly, removes waste adequately, and keeps the skin healthy.

And how about its key role in weight loss? Yes, you need water. You, NEED water.  According to a 2010 article from WebMd.com, water is key to weight loss because it helps the stomach feel fuller before a meal. The article also states that no scientific research proves why water helps with weight loss and nutritionist do not know how much water a person actually needs.

But the unconventional health knowledge from the experts I came across through Underground Wellness have broken down the science of water and weight loss pretty well.

According to what I have learned thus far, the human body has a desire to be healthy and optimal in performance. That means there are plenty of defense mechanisms and processes that take place in the human body to make sure it is healthy and running in top shape. One thing the body does to make sure it is healthy is remove waste.

I’ve heard that waste is also stored in body fat. My guess is that the more water you drink, the more the body and its cells can address the fat it has stored and the waste contained in this fat. Think about it. When you drink plenty of water and have to use the restroom in almost minutes to an hour, does water really get through the system that quick? I don’t think so, I think the body is super happy and gets to work.

It is also said that you need half your body weight, in ounces, of water a day. Is that a lot? Well it depends on how much you weight, but your body will most definitely let you know if you are not getting enough.

Which is pretty much what happened to me this week. After another week of sticking to my healthier eating habits and completing all the workouts from the Underground Workout manual, I did not lose a pound and actually put on 4 ounces. I was not completely crushed by not losing weight because I did see my arms shaping up and my dad, who had not seen me in a month, said I looked like I lost a lot of weight.

After improving my consistency in water intake, I seen a pound gone in a day so I definitely know it was the water.

Water and your body according to http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu:

  • The brain is 70% water
  • Lungs are almost 90% water
  • Lean muscle tissue is 75% water by weight
  • Body fat has 10% water
  • Bone is 22% water
  • Water helps cells “use valuable nutrients, minerals, and chemicals in biological processes.”

Meal Prep: the busy dieter’s best friend

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks.

I’m a pretty busy person. Besides working on my own entrepreneurial venture, I am a full time student with a job and a whole bunch of stuff I have to learn. Not to mention that I live about an 1 hour and 35 minute train and BART ride away from campus and work.

So my veggies would go bad. My cage free/veg fed chicken would stay frozen. And my favorite chicken sausage from Trader Joe’s, the only chicken sausage I respect enough to eat :), would start to form a weird slime on the last four. I was waisting money!

Being that I can’t afford to live so lavishly, I devised a plan to keep me on task and living consciously as well as economically savvy. Designate days for chopping and cooking. So on Sundays, when everybody has gone to church and I have the house to myself, I put the Zap Mama Pandora station on and get to prepping for the week.

I cook chicken, wash, chop, and steam veggies, fry my plantain, and bag chopped peppers, onion, and cherry tomatoes. I have everything done before the week gets hectic.

Then I came across the Facebook fan page of Your First Figure Competition and seen that she has taken meal prep to an even more prepped mode. She separated her meals in correct portions and then put her meals into plastic containers.

Now, after the first week of trying this I can say that I did save some time. However, with my tiny fridge in my tiny place, I don’t really have room for prepackaged meals. Especially not 8 containers of lunch and dinner. So I will most likely be going back to the meal prep and one container.

Whether you are more comfortable with one container or have the room for 8, the time saved and room given by a meal prep day are extremely beneficial:

  • Saves time
  • Grab and go meals
  • Quick, healthy breakfasts
  • Makes you more conscious of what you eat
  • Assist in keeping serial cheaters on task
  • Aids in the conscious involvement, planning, and learning portion of your lifestyle change

I am a huge fan and will continue.

Five dinners of chicken and Brussels sprouts. I did not prepackage lunch because I had shrimp salad all week with homemade flaxseed oil dressing.

Gluten-free pancakes

Sunday is my cheat day and I decided to keep cheat days as clean as possible. This past weekend however, I had to make an exception for my boyfriend’s son’s birthday party. (Could not skip on the cake, ice cream, and veggie pizza :).)

Anywho… I made gluten-free pancakes and strawberry syrup as a birthday breakfast meal. I was not a huge fan of the Gluten-Free Pancake Mix I brought because it contained rice flour witha whole bunch of other ingredients I could not pronounce. Ingredients I’m pretty sure were added for preservation and to make rice flour fry like pancakes.

Gluten-free pancakes with homemade strawberry syrup. Pancakes made with rice flour

I did find some quinoa flour so we’ll see how that goes next Sunday.

Strawberry Syrup Recipe

  • Organic raw sugar
  • Fresh Strawberries – as many as you like
  • Small amount of butter if you like – I have this thing for buttery syrup… hehe
  • Chop the strawberries as desired and add to heated, buttered pan. Add sugar to the pan. I eyeball the amount of sugar and usually add when the pan is hot so I can tell how much liquid I might be getting. Then heat strawberries and sugar until liquid begins to form. If you want your strawberries to contain some of that tart freshness, don’t cook too long. Cook until you have the desired amount of syrup.
  • Enjoy! 🙂

Plantain: my favorite breakfast carb

I LOVE fried plantain with breakfast, but they also go awesome with spicy cuban black beans and some brown or wild rice.

According to info I found while following nutrition guru Isabel De Los Rios, a post-workout meal should contain carbohydrates so that muscles can heal and the process of weight loss can take place. I usually mix it up between quinoa or a smashed yam with coconut oil, sea salt and seasoning. My favorite though has to be fried plantains.

With just the right amount of sweetness and delicious with coconut oil fried eggs and turkey bacon, plantain is a low Glycemic Index carbohydrate meaning it takes a while to digest, absorb into the blood stream, and gradually raises blood sugar. For my body type, this is awesome because I get hungry quickly, especially after a workout. The plantain keeps me feeling satisfied and helps my body utilize calories I already have stored. 

Plantain is also high in potassium, magnesium, and phosphate and contains vitamins A, B6, and C which are good for vision, healthy skin, and building immunity against diseases.

The green, unripe plantain is low in sugar and good for diabetics. But the ripe, yellow, or brown plantain is very sweet. I like to chose something in-between. The green plantains don’t taste good to me at all and seem much harder to cook while the yellow or brown plantain fry great and taste awesome. In between is where you find a cool amount of sugar for taste, but a good amount of nutrition for the purpose of rejuvenation and nourishment.

Here’s how I get down with the plantain:

What You’ll Need: 

  • 2 to 6 yellow to brown plantains – softer, darker plantains are sweetest while green ones are hard to peel and ideal as a starch like a potato
  • Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

What to Do: 

  • Wash plantain with a small dollop of soap or you can go the organic route and make a vinegar, banking soda, and water mix to rinse your plantain in 
  • Cut the plantain peeling down the middle of the plantain and peel away from the meat of the fruit like a jacket
  • Cut plantain into rounds. I usually cut down the middle lengthwise and then cut thick pieces diagonally.
  • Put approximately a tablespoon of coconut oil in the frying pan and medium heat until it coats the pan
  • Place plantain in the medium heat pan and cover; check every few minutes for sweating. I’ve found that plantains are ready to turn when they are sweating and the meat has a darker yellow tan. Or you can check for how brown you want it. 
  • Flip plantain over and fry on the other side.
  • Remove from heat and cool.

It’s actually a pretty simple process and really simple recipe. I usually fry 6 plantains at the beginning of the week and eat off of that.

Slow Down, Shop Smart

Cheapest trusted Plantains

Today I picked up some produce at one of my favorite stores, Real Produce. Real Produce, in San Jose, is small and the customer service is always awesome. Also equally awesome, if not more, are the prices!! I LOVE THE PRICES!

I have yet to walk out of this shop spending more than 20 bucks. Here is where I found that buying leafy salad greens by the bulk is a whole heap cheaper than buying the bags at the supermarket. I would love to say that everything is cheaper here than at the supermarket, but that is not the case. I can usually remember the price range of a veggie or fruit and decide to go elsewhere. Real Produce, however, remains my first stop. 

It is definitely important to shop around when beginning a wholesome eating lifestyle. Especially if your pockets are about as tight as mine. When I first decided to change my lifestyle, Wholefoods freaked me out. The price of vitamins and supplements also discouraged my intended changes.

Then I discovered the power of being a good shopper. I pay attention to prices and do not hesitate to pass an item. I also found that doing research on vitamins, supplements, and cleansing or detox supplements saves a ton of money. I save by reading ingredients. If the cheaper item does the same thing as the more expensive item and still has a lot of the essential nutrients I was looking for, I go with the cheaper item. Obviously. 🙂

It is essential to begin with a plan to avoid picking up produce and other foods you will not be able to eat in time. When I first started out last year, I found that I purchased food too enthusiastically instead of slowing down for an informed and cheaper trip. At first, I probably lost about $5 in produce every two weeks to mold and my left-overs occasionally went bad. As a busy student, intern, and academic assistant, I was barely at home to eat what I brought.

When I shop I consider how busy my week is, what I have time to prepare, and how much do I actually eat. On busier weeks, anything that decomposes quick or needs a considerable amount of chopping, I don’t purchase. I also found that dried fruits and raw nuts are my friends. 😀

As you explore the world of wholesome eating, and leave behind the heavily processed foods, you will find that what you spent on frosted flakes, pizza rolls, and trips to burger joints, can easily fund better choices. You might even find yourself saving some money.

Good eating for under 20 bucks