And so it begins – the first day of my 6-week Eat To Live challenge!
Note: If you are interested in giving this program a try, I suggest that you start tomorrow after you’ve had a chance to read my last two posts, this one, and do the prep work. It will help prepare you and get off to a good start. Your program will lag behind me by a day or two, but I’ll point out any obstacles so you don’t get tripped up.
The first day of my Eat To Live Challenge was a good one. If you followed me on my Facebook page today, you’ll know that I had a smoothie for breakfast, a large salad for lunch, and a large bowl of soup, curried lentils and sautéed kale and mushrooms for dinner (see all recipes and photos below). I didn’t feel hungry at all and I had very good energy all day.
Before I get to the recipes and photos, I thought I’d share a couple of helpful hints that I used to get through the day.
Helpful Hint #1: Eat breakfast as late in the morning as possible. I had breakfast today at 9 a.m., and I usually try to eat between 8 and 10. If I have to leave the house early, I just bring breakfast along with me to eat later. I find that if I eat when I first get up (between 6 – 6:30), it triggers my “eating clock” which makes me want to eat again in another 3 – 4 hours. Then I end up eating 4 – 5 meals/snacks a day, rather than 3.
Helpful Hint #2: Drink a lot of water. I drink between 10 to 12 8-ounce glasses of water per day. I keep a big 32-ounce water bottle on my desk and sip water throughout the day. I find that I often mistake thirst for hunger. So by keeping filled up on water, I don’t tend to eat as much.
Helpful Hint #3: Keep busy. I find that if I’m bored or procrastinating getting work done, I tend to wander into the kitchen a lot more. Then I grab a little something to eat here and there which adds up over the course of the day. By keeping busy, the time flies by and all of a sudden it’s time for the next meal, and I didn’t mindlessly snack during the day.
Now, on to today’s recipes.
Breakfast: Choco-Berry Banana Smoothie with Chia Seeds
This is my “go to” smoothie. I have one at least 3 times a week. It’s easy to make, delicious and filling. And there’s my monster water bottle in the background that I sip on all day. Here’s how to make the smoothie:
Ingredients (serves 1): 1 banana, ½ cup frozen raspberries, ½ cup frozen blueberries, ½ cup water, 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon chia seeds
Directions: Place all ingredients and blend for 1 – 2 minutes until completely smooth.
Lunch: Mixed Herb & Lettuce Salad with Black Beans, Sunflower & Hemp Seeds
This is a really big salad. Take your time eating it and chew well. I ate lunch at 12:30 and wasn’t hungry for dinner until 5 p.m., so it held me over very well. I used the Basic Salad I prepared yesterday (see this post for the recipe) and added a few toppings and used balsamic vinegar for the dressing. Here’s how to make it:
Ingredients (serves 1): 11 ounces of the Basic Salad, ½ can black beans (rinsed and drained), 1 ounce (¼ cup) sunflower seeds, 1 tablespoon hemp seeds, 2 – 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar for dressing
Dinner: Sauteed Shitake Mushrooms & Kale, Vegetable & Bean Soup, Curried Red Lentils with Carrots & Onions
This is where prepping meals ahead of time comes in handy. It’s the end of the day, you’re starting to get hungry, and if there isn’t healthy food waiting for you in the fridge, you’re probably going to grab something quick and bad for you. Tonight, I warmed up 2 cups of the Vegetable & Bean soup I made yesterday and ½ cup of the Curried Red Lentils (see this post for the recipes). CHEAT ALERT: I used a small amount of salt on the soup and lentils. I’ll address this in more detail tomorrow, so stay tuned.
In addition, I quickly whipped up a really tasty side dish consisting of 3 shitake mushrooms (about 1 ounce with stems removed), 2 cups of kale leaves (2 ounces), and 1 teaspoon of Bragg’s Amino Acids (or tamari or soy sauce). This makes one serving. Here’s how to put it together:
1. Slice the mushrooms in strips. Tear the kale leaves into bite-size pieces.
2. Place the mushrooms in a non-stick pan over medium heat with 3 tablespoons of water and ½ teaspoon Bragg’s. The water distributes the soy sauce flavor so the mushrooms can pick it up very nicely. Keep stirring to prevent the mushrooms from sticking. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add small amounts of water as needed to prevent sticking.
3. Place the kale on top of the mushrooms, add 3 tablespoons of water and another ½ teaspoon of Bragg’s. Then cover with a tight-fitting lid, reduce heat to low, and let cook for about 2 – 3 minutes. Remove the lid and stir to make sure mushrooms are not sticking. Cook for about 1 more minute until the kale is bright green. If you like the kale cooked more, feel free to do so.
4. Serve hot immediately.
That’s it for today. You can catch up with me tomorrow morning on Facebook, or wait until tomorrow night when I post what happened on Day Two.