It wasn’t until after college that I ate seafood other than canned tuna as tuna salad. However, it wasn’t until a former student of mine and I met for sushi a few years ago that I started to really get adventurous with my seafood. There are still things I don’t like such as lobster – I know, blasphemous to many who are from New England. I had a bad batch of scallops that made me sick so I stay away from those too.
We will make seafood dishes every now and then, but as many people say financial barriers can make it hard to make healthier choices and that’s a huge reason why we limit the diversity in the seafood we have at home. When shrimp go on sale we will buy them and same with salmon burgers, fresh white fish and squid, but canned tuna is probably always going to be my go-to lean protein because it is more reasonably priced.
To help prevent meal burn out I try to keep diversity in my meal planning, but sometimes you can only have chicken so many ways before you decide it’s not what you want for lunch. Last week, while I was trying to figure out what I wanted for lunch that wasn’t chicken, I decide I could go for tuna, but I didn’t want a tuna sandwich or a tuna melt. I’ve had salmon burgers at a few restaurants in the area, not steaks, but a formed patty with spices and binding ingredients. I figured I could probably make a tuna burger if I looked hard enough.
What You’ll Need
- 1 can of tuna
- 1 egg
- 2T of flour
- 1 tsp of seasoning blend of choice
- Baking sheet
- Cooking spray
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Prep your baking sheet with a little cooking spray. You could also use olive oil.
- Drain a can of tuna and add to a small bowl. Break up tuna into smaller chunks.
- Add an egg and flour to tuna. Mix well. You may want to add the flour a little bit at a time so that it doesn’t poof out of the bowl.
- Add seasoning blend to tuna mixture. If you want want to use a seasoning blend, you can add salt, pepper and individual spices to your taste.
- Once mixed, take a flat spatula and move mixture to the middle of the bowl forming a circle. Slowly dump mixture to baking sheet and shape to a circular patty about half an inch thick. You can make one patty or two 2 ounce patties.
- Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes. Patty will be crispy on the outside and cooked through on the inside.
I served mine on top of lettuce with onions, tomatoes and sriracha mayo. You can serve it on a bun or in a salad. There’s a place in town that makes an excellent broccoli slaw.
Well, damn, Now I’m hungry.
Macros for a 4 ounce patty: 4.5f | 10c | 28p
What happens when I find things in the pantry I forget I had? I start skimming through Pinterest so I can make it a fun consumable and get it out of the pantry. Today’s adventure was with a can of pumpkin puree. In the fall I always have a can on hand and I won’t lie I was surprised when I found a can today. After going through some pins, I got an idea of the basis for a protein bite or protein ball, let’s be real though, 5g of protein doesn’t make something a protein snack. It does, however, support the well rounded nutrition in a snack, but I just can’t call it a protein ball.
So with a can of pumpkin, some protein and a canister of oats I made some magic in the kitchen.
What You’ll Need
- 120g or 1.5 cups of oats
- 264g of canned pumpkin
- 1 scoop of protein – I used a sample of Sun Warrior vanilla vegan protein
- 30g of 1/4 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes
- 3T of Splenda
- 2tsp of vanilla extract
- a few dashes of cinnamon
- In a medium mixing bowl, weigh out your oats.
- In the same bowl, weigh out your canned pumpkin. I added pumpkin a little at a time until the oats were sticking together.
- Mix in Splenda, cinnamon and vanilla extract. I added cinnamon a little at a time until I got the taste I wanted. At this point it tastes like an unsweetened pumpkin pie mix.
- Add in protein powder. As I’m using up the pantry, I used a sample of vegan protein powder. You can use any protein powder. A basic flavor may be best like cinnamon roll, vanilla or snickerdoodle. I don’t think there would be an issue using whey, casein or a blend. *If you find that the casein or blend protein makes the mix hard to combine, add a tablespoon or water or two.
- Using your hands, mix in coconut flakes.
- When thoroughly combined roll into a ball and divide into your preferred servings. I wanted to keep the macros under 30g of carbohydrates per serving, so I made 5 equal larger portions.
- After weighing out the total serving fell free to make into small pieces. Each larger portion made 4 pumpkin and oat bites.
- Chill to keep fresh. Because these are a no bake, minimally additive food, please keep in mine that they may mold if kept too long.
Of course before I could chill the container, JP felt the need to take one to try – a row of 4 was a serving. I put pumpkin spice peanut butter on mine, but you could have them plain or with a different nut butter. JP and I agreed they tastes like an unsweetened version of pumpkin pie. Cinnamon and vanilla was subtle, but tasty.
Macros per serving without peanut butter: 5.9F/22.4C/7.6P
I hope you enjoy!
Let’s talk sweet tooth.
I think most of us can agree that there are some things you hate passing up on, but at the same time you wish there was an alternative. I feel this way about doughnuts and cupcakes, but I won’t lie those are sacred and I will never try to find a replacement.
When I started flexible dieting the idea of protein cheesecake was one of the most glorious concepts ever. I’ve tried different recipes, one or two maybe posted on this blog, but as I’ve evolved in my knowledge of flexible dieting and exhausted myself in the kitchen, I realized some things can’t be completely left out just to make something healthy taste like the real thing.
Right now I’m talking about fat.
Last week, I played with a new protein powder I bought on sale – mocha cappuccino from Optimum Nutrition. It’s a whey isolate, which is different than a blend. It’s thinner for one, but it also doesn’t add fluffy or thickness like a casein blend does when mixed with other things.
To make cheesecake no- bake I couldn’t use whole eggs, but I knew I needed to keep fat somewhere otherwise the texture would be spongey and while I can tolerate that, I don’t want to if I don’t have to. This is something I’ve dealt with when making other recipes, but I’m over that nonsense. Either it needs to have some fat to be smooth or I don’t want it.
My fat source was light cream cheese, enough fat to have flavor and texture, but less than normal so that my macros wouldn’t be blown out of the water.
What happened in the kitchen was magical and I felt kind of silly for not trying to find a no-bake recipe sooner. So here it is. Play with it and let me know your thoughts!
What You’ll Need
- 8 ounces of cream cheese – I used the store brand’s light cream cheese
- Vanilla extract to taste
- 1 tablespoon Splenda – or any sweetener
- 46g of egg whites/3 tablespoons of egg whites
- 2 scoops of protein powder – I used whey isolate
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt – I used 0% to bring the overall fat content down
- Keebler graham cracker crust pieces
- In a mixing bowl, add cream cheese. Put in the microwave to soften. Heat for 20-30 seconds at a time. I needed about a minute and 20 seconds.
- With a hand blender, mix the cream cheese until smooth. Add yogurt and blend. You don’t need to use 0%, but if you’re trying to keep the total fat content down then it’s highly suggested.
- When thoroughly mixed add vanilla extract. I used 2 teaspoons, but this is completely on preference. Blend until smooth.
- Add in egg whites and 1 tablespoon of Splenda. At this point it should taste like cheesecake, this is the basic form.
- Pick your protein and add it slowly while blending with the hand mixer and scraping the sides as needed. I used a whey isolate, using a casein blend may make it thicker – if that’s the case a little almond milk or water may help with consistency.
- Since I track my macros very closely I weighed the total batter and then divided by the amount of servings I wanted. For this I wanted 4. These macros are slightly rough, but it’s really the best way to be as accurate as possible.
- I divided the filling into 4 mason jars for easy storage and travel. I let them sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours before consuming.
- I topped the cheesecake filling with 1 tablespoon of crushed graham cracker from Keebler. You could also use the mini pie shells Keebler makes or Goldfish grahams.
Macros for just the filling: 9.6F/5.8C/15.5P – nutrition may vary depending on protein and cream cheese used.
Try it out and let me know how it goes! What protein do you think you would want to try using for your filling?
This week was pretty great. I know as the days and weeks add up I’ve been saying that they’ve been getting better, but let’s be honest some of those weeks had shitty days. This week hasn’t had one bad day. I know that’s so optimistic it’s almost adorable. But it’s true.
On Monday, JP went to work and I went to the gym. He had Starbucks for breakfast and I made myself pancakes. Pancake Mondays are what is right with the world.He did his usual on the way to work thing and I did my usual post-work out thing. We didn’t eat together and I didn’t see him until dinner time. We didn’t text all day – something that is 100% unusual for us. But when dinner came, we could actually say “Babe, how was your day?”
You see, when he was in Indiana we would text all day and night. Around bedtime we would get on Facetime and then fall asleep that way. I know, we’re crazy and thankfully there’s wifi. It was a “we live long distance, but are still dependent on each other in some kind of way” relationship. During work hours, we would sometimes switch to GChat because of poor cell phone reception. We were long distance for two years and I’ve already told you the story about the tree. If you don’t remember it, check out this Instagram post. Anyway, there’s a lot of stuff we’ve never had the chance to do, like spontaneous date night or vacation.
JP moved home at one of the best and worst times because everything came crashing down, and while he definitely added to it and I’m going to get to that, I don’t know what would’ve happened if he wasn’t home.
So this week was great because JP was gone. Because while I was so excited to have him home, I was dealing with everything else and we never had an opportunity to adjust to each other. Yes, he was home for about seven weeks during my recovery, but the us we where then, is different than the us we are now. You see, he moved home and was hit from all sides. After driving 16 hours, we had a family party to go to, where I heard multiple family members ask him how it felt to be unemployed. I’m not saying they meant harm, but what I am saying, is some people can fit both feet in their mouths. He had already been putting pressure on himself to find a job and then that happened, they piled on the pressure unknowingly. I know I added some too because we just couldn’t live the lifestyle he wanted on my salary.
As we were dealing with this, I was dealing with my own problems and while he knew what was going on, I don’t think either of us realized the extent of the damage everything was causing. From this to my car accident, to not having a car for about a week to medical leave – we have been by each other constantly. I wish I was kidding. I’ve told him he’s needy and boy he fucking is. I lay in bed and he immediately cuddles on me, it’s cute until you can’t handle the touching. And sometimes, with my anxiety, I can’t be touched. It makes me more upset – he doesn’t understand this. We would be playing cards at the bistro table and he would ask if I wanted to cuddle and I would blatantly tell him “no, I’m already out of bed and I don’t want to get back in bed.”
His need to help me was turning into suffocation.
On Monday when JP asked me how my day was, I said it was really good. He asked why and I was honest. I told him it was because for the first time in a few weeks I was able to get up and workout and then come home and relax. I was able to make breakfast and show, but then I could get back in bed and write or watch TV. I was able to go to a new to me coffee house and not have to worry if JP wanted to come or not. I just got in the car and went. I didn’t have to be concerned if he was interested. I looked at him and said, “I think you can go to the car show on Saturday alone with your friends. I don’t want to go, I’ll find something else to do.” He asked how come. I explained that before he had moved home going to the car show meant that I lost hours with him. Since he’s here I don’t feel like I need to follow him around. He said “you mean we can have separate lives?”
Yep, that’s what I’m saying.
So the last piece of this puzzle of feeling torn down I think was taken care of this week when JP went to work. I know that sounds terrible, but the past few weeks we really were smothering each other and now we finally can learn how to live together as a couple. That’s scary and weird and crazy, but we haven’t really had the opportunity to do that. We kept saving each other, supporting each other when we felt down. But we haven’t been able to just live with each other, enjoy each others’ company and just be together. This week we got to do that.
Tonight we’re going out for date night and we’re dressing up. We never get to do this.
I’ve told him about all of this, so writing this isn’t a surprise in this house, but it doesn’t make it easier to say or easier to read. This has been hard on both of us and still is. This is the first week I’ve felt more like myself, but I also recognize that I’m starting to get tired quickly and need to relax during the day. Yesterday, after I got out the apartment for dessert and lattes, I felt exhausted, but knew that if I went home I would just nap in the middle of the day and that would impact my night… so I kept myself out and went to Target to pick up a few things. Surprisingly, I didn’t go overboard with all the things pumpkin, but I did get a few things that were necessary… new colored pencils for example. I may have also had some fun in the dressing room…
So many people have asked me how I’ve gotten over mental health issues, but if you’ve been paying attention, I haven’t. I’m working through them every day. I’ve been journaling on my own. I’ve been keeping myself busy and trying to get out so I don’t feel confined within my apartment. Just because I don’t have meetings every day doesn’t mean I should stay shut away. I’m also going to therapy and working with someone who specializes in trauma and disorders that are an extension of trauma. It’s the same therapist that I saw this summer about body dysmorphia – which turns out is just a coping mechanism for my anxiety. Most of his clients have PTSD and other disorders that are connected, like me with anxiety and binge eating disorder. I’m clinically diagnosed. These aren’t terms you through around lightly. These aren’t terms that you joke about. There’s a difference between over eating and binging. There’s a difference between indulging and binging. Yes, you can eat a little too much when indulging, but looking down at the bowl and realizing you ate all the popcorn versus binging the popcorn intentionally. There’s a difference in mentality. When I’m going through a binge episode I’m hunting. That’s how I feel. I feel like I’m searching for what I’m looking for without truly knowing what I’m looking for. I know it when I’m eating it because I then feel satisfied.
This week we talked about the adventures I was going on. I mentioned JP starting his new job and how relieved I felt. We talked about some of the triggers that started this whole ordeal and the original events the created those triggers… childhood. Some things you just can’t truly escape. I felt good during the session and after I felt like we accomplished what I wanted to, so until next session.
That gym life
My workouts this week were really good. I started the PH3 program by Layne Norton that is on bodybuilding.com. You can find the program here. It’s a new lifting structure for me and focuses on strength. I was skeptical at first because the first few days don’t seem like a lot, but as more volume was added throughout the week I started to feel myself really pushing through the workouts. I’m working the muscles differently than I’m used to, so this week was the first time in a while that I was sore, but in a good way. My shoulder after Sunday was pretty sore from benching… something I don’t do often or heavy or really like doing at all, but as the week continued it definitely got easier and my shoulder became less sore the day after the lift. Since I’m trying something new I figure this was a perfect time for new gloves… mine are falling apart. Literally ripped at the seams. I also bought a lifting belt because I feel as I want to get heavier in my lifts, I want the support. I don’t want to rely solely on it, but I feel like it may help prevent my form from weakening as I increase. One thing I did that the program doesn’t really do is to make sure I’m hitting my steps by walking on the treadmill for about 15 to 20 minutes after my lift. While lifting works the body, you’re not moving a lot, walking on the treadmill after my lift let’s me stretch out (sometimes I do long stride lunges), but I can still hit my step goal for the day without exerting too much energy or over working my muscles. So one week down, three more to go with this lifting phase.
This morning I checked in and I was down .6 pounds from last week and I’m really happy about that. I feel like chemically, my stress levels are going down and settling so cortisol is going down. Most people don’t realize that stress increases cortisol, which prevents other processes in the body to occur and weight gain can occur or weightloss can stall. This paired with the binges resulted in a dramatic weight gain in a short period of time. I’m happy to say that I’ve lost 5.4 of the 10 pounds that I did gain through binges.
Physically, I’m feeling better. I mentioned earlier in the week that the gain was pulling at my abdomen around my scar. I was pulled so tight in surgery so bloating can be painful and well, that also means that kind of weight gain can be too. So 136 – I was 126 about a month ago, is a lot for my body. Today I was 130.6 and that feels pretty good. I’m hoping to keep my fluctuation between 128 and 130.
Mentally, I’m getting comfortable with this weight and how my body is looking since developing a range of macros to stay within. The range allows me to have some wiggle room in case I want to eat more one day, but I don’t want to eat as much another day. I’m loosely tracking and below are some of the things I ate this week that weren’t easily trackable, but still allowed me to loose .6 pounds.
Yeah I know, here I’m like let’s balance out our weight, and then I’m like ooh latte’s and cookies. But for me, being able to fit these into my daily life and still loose or maintain or whatever the goal at the time is truly is balance for me. Tomorrow was a little more indulgent than normal, latte and tart, but both were excellent and there were no regrets.
Class because I still have that going on
I got my grades for class this week and I got a 100% on my quiz, homework and discussion. My grades slightly slipped when all of this started, but I was honest with my professor about what was going on and she said if I needed extensions to let her know. I told her I didn’t need that, but I wanted her to know that the quality in my work wasn’t normal and I wanted her to know why.
I’m excited for the upcoming week. It’s week two of the lifting program. JP is at work and I’m figuring out my adventures.We have a wedding next weekend and the rehearsal dinner on Friday. I’m hopeful it’ll be a good week all around like this week was, but if not every day is perfect, it won’t be the end of the world.
We’re watching movies and lounging in the living room until it’s time to get ready for date night. So I’ll talk to you guys later.
I was told by a commenter on Instagram that I should try Bounce Energy Balls as a protein bite/bar. I won’t lie, I was a little skeptical at first because I want to make sure that my protein is going to fill me up and keep me full for longer than 15 minutes. The Bounce Energy Ball is about the size of a ping-pong ball, so at first glance I wasn’t too sure. However, if it says it’s a good flavor I will probably be enticed to buy it.
I found coconut macadamia protein bliss in cacao mint protein bomb, with names like those I really couldn’t pass them up.
Tonight as I was making dinner I had some room in my macros for a snack, so I dug through the pantry to find something new that I hadn’t tried before. I came across the coconut macadamia protein bless ball and figured why not.
So again, at first glance you’re not so sure how good this ball will be, and mine wasn’t exactly a ball (see picture above). Though, the amount of coconut that cover this ball definitely intrigued me because I love coconut everything.
This ball tastes is as if a KIND Bar and a coconut macaroon decided to get it on at a party and made little bouncing balls. It’s chewy like a KIND Bar, but the shredded coconut gives it something extra.
I found these at Vitamin Shoppe and I haven’t looked for them anywhere else. I definitely recommend to anyone who has no idea about protein snacks or treats to find them and give them a whirl. I also recommend buying individual bars whenever possible so you can try different flavors of bars. You never know which bar you will live or hate and it would be a waste to invest in a box of something you won’t eat.
I can’t wait to try the cacao mint protein bomb next! Has anyone found any ther flavors of these before that I should search for?
Being on prep you need to be creative with your ,even if you follow flexible dieting because it can’t be all Oreos and ice cream all the time. I eat a lot of yogurt, specifically Greek yogurt, even outside of prep because it’s a great source of protein and it’s one of the few dairy products that agrees with my stomach. It’s also flexible enough and can work as a dessert.
In college, I developed a sensitivity to dairy – I was tested and it wasn’t a full blown intolerance, but I’ve identified things that make my stomach very upset such as soft serve ice cream, milk and cheesecake. The last one kills me because if you’ve ever been to Cheesecake Factory you know that those are so hard to resist. There are so many possibilities of flavors and styles and now I miss out, but not quite.
A lot of people make protein yogurt or a protein pudding because it has a taste and texture like dessert. This is something I do often and depending on my macros I’ll add granola or fruit to it to round it out and make it more filling.
A few weeks ago, I found mini graham cracker pie crusts at the store and I thought it would be interesting to see how a pro-yo pie would be. My favorite pro-yo to make has cinnamon swirl whey in it and when made with a few other ingredients, it tastes just like cheesecake.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- vanilla extract
- plain Greek yogurt: 5.3 ounce container or 150g
- 1/2 scoop flavored whey – the kind and brand will change your macros
- mini graham cracker pie crust
- Optional items: sprinkles, oreos, whip cream
- In a bowl, scoop your yogurt out of the container. I buy the individual yogurt cups when I make this so it’s easy to measure. I also use fat free yogurt, but you can also use 2% if you need the fat macros.
- Add 3 tablespoons of water to the yogurt and mix slowly. This will thin it out and make it easier to add the whey later.
- Once the yogurt and water are mixed out completely, add a teaspoon or two of vanilla extra. This is more to your own taste. You don’t need a lot, but I like a little more vanilla than most.
- Add in whey. This is completely up to you on the flavor and the amount. When I made this a few weeks ago I used 7g of chocolate chip cookie dough whey because it was the last of the container – I added a little more vanilla. Tonight when I made this recipe, I used half a scoop of cinnamon swirl. So if you want more protein then add a little more whey, but remember to add a little more water because it’ll be really thick otherwise.
- This is the part I usually taste the mixture and decide if and how much Splenda I need to add. Half to one teaspoon is usually enough.
- You can either choose to mix in other things like sprinkles or a crushed up Oreo if you want to, but if you don’t, just scoop some of the mix into the pie crust. Not all of the mixture will fit, but that’s why you have a spoon.
- Set in the fridge for about 30 minutes to an hour. I usually make this the afternoon I know I want it for dessert.
The macros for the basic recipe are: 5.3F/20.5C/28.5.