Week 2 and 3

These are my confessions (Usher Voice)...

Week 2 was amaaaaaaazing. Meal prepped for the whole week and everything. Started seeing results. The bloating went down and my mood went up! And then week 3 started and it went downhill. I let myself get "busy". I failed to plan and so I failed my plan. It started with a lot of snacking to curb the hunger while I was on the move. I chose healthy snacks but definitely consumed more that was required. 

This bad habit led to a cycle that I know so well... I've worked hard, so I deserve it... It's just for a day, I'll start again tomorrow. Then it happened I tasted some eggs (insert dramatic tears), next thing I knew I was at a friends house eating Macaroni and Cheese and Chicken.

Some of you are gasping, others saying I knew she couldn't do it and then finally the ones saying soooo, what's the big deal. I understand each persons reaction. I chose this journey to learn my bodies language and develop certain disciplines.  While I cannot take it back I do know that failing to be disciplined led me to miss a mark on my goals.  I disappointed myself by not making it all 30days but, this is the first time I am not beating myself up over a 'failure'. I'm simply choosing to get back up and finish strong. My body is trying to reconfigure itself so I'll deal with the consequences and move forward....

                                                                Week 4 here I come!!

Measurements

Weight 140lb

Waist: 28.5 inches

Hips: 38inches

Thigh (R): 21 inches

Calf: 14inches

Body Fat %: 21.1

Meal Plan

  • Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
  • Lentil Burger and Sweet Potato Fries
  • Asparagus and Cous Cous

30 Day Plant Based Diet Journey

Track with me on my 30 Day Journey

       The goal is not to start a comparison trap. My ideal body may not be yours. My current weight to you may seem ideal, or too small ... That's okay lol. I have a goal I'm trying to reach and I'm simply posting my journey. My goal is not  "weight loss" but health. This is  a journey I'm taking to test my body if I'm being honest. At the end of this I want to see what my body likes and what it doesn't... That's it

   

Weight and Measurements (3/1)

Weight:144

Waist:30

Hips: 38.5

Thigh(R): 22

Calf(R): 15.5

Fat % : 22.4

BMI: 25.3

Meal Plan

Smoothies

- Green Apple, Ginger, Banana, 

- Mango, Peach, Carrot, Ginger, Banana 

Meals

- Curried Chick Peas and Pita

- Red Curry Lentils and Cous Cous 

- Sesame Noodles with vegetables (Fork Over Knives Recipe)

- Veggie Fajitas Tacos (Fork Over Knives Recipe)

Snacks

- Plantain Chips (Trader Joes)

- Quinoa and Black Bean Tortial Chips (Trader Joes)

#Excuses

Excuses

verb

ikˈskyo͞oz/

An excuse is shaping your life around anticipated failure.
— Amaedi Etukudo

As a teacher I hear a plethora of excuses. My least favorite excuse and conversation is this one:

Me: Why aren’t you doing your work?

Child of … God: I gave BillyBob my book

Me: -_-

Me again: If they get 100% and you get a 0 what good does that do? It’s your book, your grade and your report card that will be taken home

Child of … God: (looks at me like I stole their Hot Cheetos)…

Child of … God: BillyBob Ms. Etukudo said you have to give me back my book

Me: (Exits scene)

 

So, I thought. If the people I follow on IG, Snap etc. are getting their results… what good does that do for me? It’s my journey, my goals and my results.

What good are your habits doing for you?

We often fall into the trap of waiting until the first of next month, waiting for the next paycheck, waiting till we can’t fit into a dress or unfortunately waiting for the doctor to give us bad news.

Before I rant let me define what I think an excuse is. An excuse is shaping your life around anticipated failure.

So many of us set goals and have no intention of following through with it. We write it down because it looks cute but then nothing changes. We eat what we want and blame it on cravings. We miss a workout because we don’t feel like being in pain. We don’t track our food because we’d have to face the harsh reality that eating a salad for lunch and a pack of brownies for dinner, doesn’t quite balance out. Now believe me I’m guilty of this. What changed? I’m so glad you asked!  It finally hit me that my results are based on my ability to persevere through the cravings, tiredness or just plain laziness. I have goals and I’m tired of not reaching them. My excuses stop now!

 My diktat from here on out is to never let an excuse be the reason I fail. I will not justify my failure by waiting to restart my “fitness journey” every new month. My excuses will no longer be the reason why I don’t reach my goals. A set back is not the end, but a call for new boundaries.

 I am fully aware that life happens but, if you wait for life to be perfect, your goals will remain empty words in writing. What excuses have kept you back? What will you do differently? Who is in your corner rooting for you? Why are you going to wait another day?

 

Let’s Get Practical

1.      Food: Checkout ‘Eat This Not That’. There are a lot of alternatives to your favorite snacks

2.      Exercise: Do a quick 15minutes at home workout. This can be done in bouts throughout the evening as you wind down

3.      Accountability: One of my favorite apps is my fitness pal. You get to actively track your meals and you can have friends view your progress as well #win

 

#Excuses #NoMoreExcuses

 

Amaedi Etukudo

@as_incense

Founder of Chadash Fitness

Confessions of a Food Connoisseur Part 4

I like chocolate!

    Eat your peas, Louise. And your beets and bananas and apricots and plums and cabbage. We already discussed the importance of eating a variety of food in order to obtain the nutrients we require. Now, I want to share with you even more reason to do so! Aside from obtaining calories, vitamins, and minerals from the foods we eat, we can also obtain phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are compounds found in plant-derived foods that can prevent the development of chronic diseases. They can even be found in spices, wine, and chocolate--and I like chocolate!

    Just as each classes of food can provide different nutrients, different colors of foods also provide different phytochemicals! Red foods like beets, cherries, red potatoes, and watermelon are rich in the phytochemicals anthrocyanins and lycopene. Anthrocyanins may protect against the effects of aging while lycopene may play a role in defending against cancer and heart disease through protecting our DNA from damage.

    White-brown foods such as mushrooms, onions, garlic, and cauliflower contain allicin and allyl sulfides which may lower blood cholesterol and blood pressure while also protecting against stomach cancer.

    Apricots, cantaloupe, lemons, and squash are rich in beta-carotene and limonene. Beta-carotene has been associated with a number of great benefits. It may slow aging, protect against some cancers, improve against lung function, and reduce complications of diabetes. On the other hand, limonene may also play a role in preventing cancer.

    Foods like blackberries, eggplant, purple figs, and raisins are rich in anthocyanins, ellagic acid, and phenolics. Ellagic acid protects against cancer in a number of different ways like through slowing the growth of cancer cells. Phenolics may aid in inducing enzyme production to make cancer causing substances water soluble so that they may be excreted.

    Lastly, green foods like artichokes, arugula (a personal favorite), celery, and cucumbers are rich in beta-carotene, lutein, and indoles. Lutein helps to protect our eyes against muscular degeneration while indoles may induce the production of enzymes that block DNA damage from carcinogens

    I have mentioned only a few of the tens of thousands of phytochemicals out there. Each food has its own unique array of phytochemicals and those phytochemicals may have multiple influences within our bodies. In an effort to incorporate more phytochemicals to our diet, let's set the goal of trying something new on our next shopping trip whether it be a spice, fruit, vegetable, or whole grain. If you stepped out of your comfort zone and did not like it, don't fret! There are plenty of other new things to try! If you stepped out of your comfort zone and were confronted by a pleasant surprise, think of how many other foods are waiting for you to discover them! I can't wait to hear how much exploring you've done!

 

Ajiri E.

IG: @ajiria



 

Nutrition information was obtained from Understanding Nutrition by Ellie Whitney and Sharon Rady Rolfes (2013).

 

Confessions of a Food Connoisseur Part 3

We all want to eat good foods (I hope)

Why is it so often encouraged to include whole foods with variety of colors? Doing so is a simplistic way of ensuring you get broad spread of vitamins (and minerals) in your diet!

 

    There are two classes of vitamins: water-soluble and fat-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins (B vitamins and vitamin C) dissolve in water and as a result, when you take these vitamins in excess, they are removed in the urine. Because water soluble vitamins are removed in the urine, we need to take these vitamins more frequently (every one to three days). On the other hand, fat-soluble vitamins (vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K) dissolve in fats and tend to remain in fat-storage sites within the body. Fat-soluble vitamins are needed more periodically (weeks or months). When it comes to vitamins, more does not necessarily equate better; some vitamins can cause adverse reactions when taken far above your nutritional needs.

 

Water-soluble vitamins

    Water-soluble vitamins include B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, biotin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, folate, and vitamin B12) and vitamin C. Although each B vitamin has a specific function, in general, B vitamins directly and indirectly help our body use the carbs, fats, and proteins we consume. We can obtain B vitamins in a wide array of foods like whole grains, nuts, legumes, vegetables, and foods of animal origin. Unfortunately, some B vitamins can be easily destroyed by heat or sunlight so it may be best to store these foods in cool places away form light.

    Vitamin C, another water-soluble vitamin, serves as an antioxidant, helps form the collagen (a matrix that holds cells together), helps us absorb iron, and plays a role in other reactions within the body. We can obtain vitamin C from primarily citrus fruits, cabbage-type vegetables, and dark green vegetables. Vitamin C can also be easily destroyed by heat and oxygen so it may be best to store these foods in a cool area and to eat them soon after being cut.

    When it comes to water-soluble vitamins, in an effort to maximize the vitamins we obtain from these foods, we can cook these foods with minimal water and heat (if need be).

 

Fat-soluble vitamins

    Fat-soluble vitamins include vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Vitamin A promotes vision, maintains the health of specific tissues and skin, and functions in reproduction and growth. We can obtain our Vitamin A needs from foods derived from animals (liver, butter, eggs) and also from dark leafy greens (kale) and rich yellow or deep orange fruits and vegetables (cantaloupe and sweet potatoes).

    Primarily, vitamin D indirectly helps bones grow stronger and more dense through helping us absorb calcium and phosphorus. Some great food sources of vitamin D include egg yolks and oily fish. We can also obtain vitamin D through sunlight! People who have darker skin require more exposure to sunlight to maintain vitamin D nutrition as compared to same effect as those with lighter skin.

    In short, vitamin E preforms antioxidant functions within the body. This fat-soluble vitamin is found primarily in vegetable oils, seeds, and nuts. Vitamin E can also be found in dark green leafy vegetables like greens. Unfortunately, vitamin E can be destroyed by heat and oxygen. (Store these foods in sealed containers in a cool place.)

    Finally, vitamin K activates proteins responsible for blood clotting and indirectly aids in forming high density bones. Vitamin K is produced in our digestive tract and can also be found in dark green, leafy vegetables and cabbage type vegetables.


 

Recipes

    Before you leave overwhelmed (as I felt while researching these vitamins), understand that a raw food diet may not be your portion. We all want to eat good foods (I hope) while also obtaining our nutritional needs. I've got you covered! I have included a few recipes that incorporate a variety of healthy foods that you may enjoy! All you need is two weekends of binge cooking each month and you'll be set! ...kinda. I will say that it takes practice catering recipes to your taste, as I am still working on that myself. But nonetheless, enjoy!

 

Spanakopita

This is like a spinach pie.

 

Pesto pasta

    I've tried this with walnuts, almonds, tomatoes, spinach, and shrimp--not all at once though! Normally, I recreate pesto sauce from a jar (Classico), but I want to try making it from scratch! This looks like a decent recipe. When I make pesto from a jar, I first pour off the olive oil in the jar and use it to cook whatever else I'm adding in with additional spices. I then add the remaining pesto sauce. (Pesto pasta is also an opportunity for you to try out whole wheat pasta.)

 

Lemon pepper salmon

    Just toss lemon pepper, lemon juice, lemon zest, minced garlic, and (Nigerian) red pepper on some salmon. I would, however, recommend not adding salt because often times, lemon pepper seasoning is already salty. Let the fish marinate for at least an hour and cook it, bake it, grill it, do you. Here is a recipe to get you started.

 

Salad

    Before you frown your face as though I am one of those vegetarians, hear me out first. Salad does not have to be boring. (Unless you want it to be.) You can experiment with romaine lettuce, baby spinach, arugula, feta cheese, mozzarella cheese, kalmata olives, tomatoes, onions, fruit, nuts, and all types of salad dressings. (Please, do not go crazy and ruin your salad by drowning it in ranch dressing.)

    I had a phase where I loved Greek salads (kalmata olives, red onions, tomatoes, pepperocini peppers, feta cheese, and romaine lettuce with Greek dressing) and practically ate it every day last summer until I got tired of it. I've also tired pomegranate, grapefruit, and walnuts with arugula and poppyseed dressing. Do not let salad intimidate you: there is a whole world of options.

 

Aloo gobi

    This is a recipe for potatoes and cauliflower. I have a few alterations when I make this: 1 lb frozen cauliflower, 1 tbsp ginger, 1 tbsp garlic, 2 tsp cumin, 1 tbsp turmeric.

 

Aloo matar

    This is a recipe for potatoes and peas. I also have a few alterations when I make this: I used about twice as much garam masala and paprika than what the recipe calls for.

 

Spinach quiche

    Think outside of the box. You can add tomatoes, and mushrooms, (and whatever else your heart desires) to quiche. (I have not made this quiche with a crust in the past, but you can give it a try-or even try making your own crust.) I have two recipes! Recipe 1 and recipe 2!

 

Ethiopian food

    I enjoyed their recipe for yemisir wot and tomato salad. Do not make the same mistake I made by trying to make my own injera. Go and buy it from the store. (Fresh injera is really elastic and springy, not stiff.)

 

    Food is as boring or as exciting as you make it. If you want to try a new food I have this top secret trick that I use. First, I search for X restaurants near me. Then, I look at their menu listings to find dishes that appeal to me. Next, I do a google search of X recipe and find the ingredients I need at an international food store. Easier than shiro wat!

 

Build the temple.

 

Ajiri E.

IG: ajiria

twoanointedhands.blogspot.com

 

Confessions of a Food Connoisseur Part 2

Know your body

    

    As you journey to wellness, how do you determine worthwhile eats? What do you use as a measure? Do you scrutinize the nutrition labels of everything you eat or do you treat nutrition labels the same way you treat the “service engine soon” light in your car? (Mine has been on for some months now, but hey, it still drives.) Neither method of tracking your nutritional needs is sustainable, however, scrutinizing nutrition labels can be a start to get you into the habit of being intentional with what you eat.

 

Knowing your body

Your estimated energy requirement (EER) is based on your gender, age, body mass index, and physical activity level. (To get a rough estimate of your calorie needs, click here. To track you calories, click here. You can also track your calories with the MyFitnessPal app!) Estimates for women range from 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day and estimates for men range from 2,000 to 3,000 calories per day.

    In addition to ensuring you get enough calories each day, you should also strive to ensure you obtain essential nutrients from the foods you eat throughout your day. (Essential nutrients are those that your body can not produce on its own.) These essential nutrients include specific fats, carbs, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.

 

Selecting nutrient dense foods

When you select foods, consider your daily calorie requirement as currency. Supposing you have about five meals/snacks each day, I would advise eating foods that provide you with about a fifth of your daily calorie requirement while also providing you with fiber, essential fats, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. As mentioned previously, you can optimize the nutrients you receive from the foods you eat by selecting a variety of whole foods. (Thankfully, whole foods are often nutrient dense!)

When it comes to choosing packaged foods, things get a bit trickier. I personally read the nutrition label and the ingredients list to make a decision. All of the information presented to you on the nutrition label is valuable, but I find myself paying closer attention to the sodium (salt), dietary fiber, and sugars. You will be surprised to find how many packaged foods are high in either sodium or sugar and low in fiber. (Fiber does many great things for you, don't sleep on it!)

When it comes to ingredients lists of packaged food, I look for foods with few ingredients and little to no added sugars. On the other hand, there are also specific ingredients that I try to minimize or avoid completely. These things include sugar (ends in -ose), enriched wheat, monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavorings. These things have a way of stealthily sneaking into many of the foods we eat.

 

In summary, read nutrition labels and be vigilant. Some foods (and drinks) are not worth eating (or drinking). I challenge you to stay within your calorie requirements and other daily values for a week. Track the things you are eating to see how you measure up and to find room for improvement. Your body is a temple.

 

Ajiri E.

IG: @ajiria

www.twoannointedhands.blogspot.com


 

 

 

 

 

Confessions of a Food Connoisseur Part 1

Yes, your body is more permanent than your career, education, and car. And yes, you only get one.

During our lifetime, we invest in what is most important to us—whether we realize it or not. Outside of God, our body is the most permanent thing we possess. Yes, your body is more permanent than your career, education, and car. And yes, you only get one. How often do we eat with this consideration in mind? If you currently strive to eat healthy foods, I commend you! And if you have yet to do so, consider this one of the most important investments you could ever make!

 

Why bother?

    Adopting a healthy diet is one way to get you started on your journey to attain/maintain healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic disease, and promote overall health. Furthermore, adopting a healthier diet is not as difficult as you think! Some key tips include selecting a variety of foods and minimizing less nutritive foods.

 

How to get started

    When it comes to proper nutrition, the goal is to obtain sufficient energy, vitamins, and minerals from the foods you consume. Sounds easy enough, right? In order to accomplish this feat, it helps to ensure the food you eat is nutrient dense and has variety. When you eat, include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk products, and protein foods. One way I strive to include nutrient dense foods with variety is through selecting whole foods of different colors. Another way I seek to obtain a diverse spread of vitamins and minerals is through trying new foods, recipes, and spices. (My latest trend has been preparing Ethiopian food.) Ordinary ingredients have potential to transform into a mouthwatering culinary masterpiece!

    Incorporating a variety of nutrient dense foods to your diet is only part of the battle. The other part is minimizing less nutritive foods (those high in saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars). With the busyness of our daily schedules, food becomes extremely enticing when it is cheap and convenient. Being constantly bombarded with advertisements for these foods makes it even more enticing. The unfortunate truth is that many of the cheap and convenient foods we come across are the same foods that we should be avoiding.

 

Practical steps to start a healthy diet

  • Have prepared snacks and meals to last you while you are away from home

  • Plan (or cook) the meals/foods you are going to eat before the week starts

  • Eat your meals at a table

  • Create separate budgets for groceries and eating out

  • Choose foods that have no added sugar

  • Have a friend join you or hold you accountable to your lifestyle change

  • Cook without salt

  • Avoid the snack isle in the grocery store

  • Try to recreate the foods you enjoy eating

  • Gradually include or eliminate specific foods from your diet

  • Increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables

  • When you crave something, try having only a small portion of that what you are craving

 

    As you journey to a healthier you through adopting a healthy diet, remember that it takes patience and your regimen should be sustainable. While you transition, the increased fiber in your diet may temporarily cause bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, and/or constipation. But look on the bright side, you will be making one of the best investments you can into the most permanent thing you have—yourself! Start honoring what God has given you!

 

Ajiri E.

IG: @ajiria

Meal Prepping

         Don't you love seeing pictures, posts and videos of people's elaborate meal plans? Sure you do! I initially hated it. I looked at people's elaborate displays of food perfectly packaged and labelled for each day and thought 'they must have a lot of time and money'. They had the cute,fit food for you and your 10 children lunch bags, supplements, 64 oz water bottles... It honestly all seemed overwhelming to me. I came to understood the benefits and the actual money saving opportunities of meal prepping. So, one week I decided to give it a shot. Lessons I learned:

  • I don't like eating the same food for more than two days (first world problems... I know)
  • I don't have space in my fridge for a weeks worth of meals
  • It really does require a lot of time
  • The desire to eat out was not quenched 
  • I need a bigger lunch bag
  • It sucks to leave your food at home 
  • My love for food remained the same

      All jokes aside meal prepping can be fun, budget friendly an delicious!  With these and other factors in mind, I decided to make things a little more me friendly and time efficient. Now I:

1. Stock up on staples

                    There are the staple items  I use often that can be bought in bulk,  are non perishable, or can be thrown in the freezer for preservation. These are items that I'm certain will be included in my meal plan  These include but are not limited to  frozen fruit, meats, grains and legumes. . With certain items readily available, I find myself going grocery shopping less often and spending less money each time. 

When I buy chicken or ground beef, I head to BJ's and buy the large packs. When I get home I season it and place them in baggies in the freezer. This allows me to reach in and grab my already seasoned meats for cooking.              

I buy a large bag of frozen fruit about every two months. I found myself throwing away a lot of fresh fruit that I would buy just for my smoothies. Now each time I'm making a smoothie I can head to the freezer grab a cup or two and blend with my other fresh ingredients like kale and spinach. 

With my grains and legumes, I know I can leave those in the pantry and grab a couple cups whenever  I need to cook it. It's not something I find myself needing to buy each week. 

2. Create a weekly meal plan

Now that you have your staples, plan for your week. Include what you'll be having each day for breakfast, snack, lunch and dinner. Please include your cheat day if you have one. This will help you avoid overindulging on that day.

Each day should be aimed at gaining all your necessary nutrients. A great app I use to track that is myfitnesspal. It helps you track not only calories but your  fat, sodium and sugar intake based on your entries.  Also put items that you know you'd enjoy eating. Don't be afraid to spice it up. Healthy eating doesn't mean bland eating. 

3. Choose two days for prepping your food

I found cooking on just one day took a lot of  time and space! My current meal prep days are Sunday and Wednesday. Two days also gives me an opportunity to add variety to my meals. 

4. Stick to the plan!!

Find someone to hold you accountable, track your eating and don't forget your food at home lol. Meal prepping does take discipline and dedication but, I believe in you! Start with one week and go from there. 

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