Hello my friends!
I cannot believe Thanksgiving is tomorrow! Gah! Where does the time go?
I love this time of year. 🙂 I love the magic of the holidays. I love the coziness of the cold weather, a fire in the fireplace, hot chocolate and all of the fun traditions of Thanksgiving and Christmas!!!
However, I DO NOT love the craziness and hectic pace of the holidays. Blah. I really just wish I could enjoy the holiday season and soak up the time with my family. <3
Each year I always try to get everything done as early as possible in hopes that I can just kick back and enjoy the holiday season, BUT it seems like every year I end up failing miserably at that and end up scrambling to finish everything (last minute gifts, neighbor gifts, Christmas cards, wrapping presents, etc.) at the last minute.
Well, THIS year I’m bound and determined to succeed. I’m happy to say I’ve already bought the neighbor gifts, friend gifts, teacher gifts and extended family gifts. Woot! We also took our family picture for the Christmas card last week!
GUYS, that is huge for me! Yay! It is such a PAIN in the be-hind to coordinate all the schedules, get all the kids dressed and ready and get everyone to smile and look at the camera like we’re not stressed at all, lol!
I’m sure glad we take a picture every year though! We don’t take a professional picture; just a quick snapshot, but I’m so happy to have them! It’s so fun to go back and see how our family has changed over the years.
I will share our “official” Christmas card when I get it done, but for now I’ll just share a couple of the outtakes….
We also snapped a quick pic of Kev and I and I’m glad we did (I always forget to take pics of just the two of us!)
Sadly, when I saw this picture I thought, “Man, we’re gettin’ old!” It’s weird because in some ways I feel like we were just dating and were just newlyweds….now we’re old fogies. Time flies!
Well, the past few weeks I’ve been staying away from sugary stuff and it’s been so good for me! I actually hate to say that out loud because I love my sugar and I really wish it wasn’t so bad for the body, dang it.
Ya know, I can usually handle sugar just fine. I can make cookies with my kids and have a few. I can snag a few pieces of candy and be completely satisfied. I can enjoy dessert at a special event. I can enjoy myself and then get right back to healthy eating.
However, every once in a while I can feel sugar starting to become an addiction to me. It starts to call my name more and more and then I crave it and want it all the time! THEN, if/when I start to eat more and more of it, my body starts to self destruct.
I start to feel sluggish and run down. My immune system takes a hit and I get sick more often. I start to feel more nervous energy and I don’t sleep as well. My sleep is a lot lighter; not that deep, restorative sleep that the body needs!
It’s crazy. The effects of too much sugar are always more than evident to me! Sad, but true.
Sooooo, whenever I start to sense sugar becoming an addiction to me, I like to just cut it out for a while. AND, when I cut it out for a while, the results are always astounding to me.
I have more energy. My workouts become easier and more fun. I’m happier. I’m more productive. I have a spring in my step. I also sleep like a baby and that is such a gift to me! I wake up in the morning feeling restored and refreshed.
It really is miraculous. I’m not willing to cut sugar out of my life completely forever, but when I cut it out temporarily, I always learn so much! It strengthens my willpower and self discipline and teaches me that I can control how much sugar I consume. It gives my body and my hormones time to heal and reset so my appetite and cravings can chill out. It reteaches me how to have just a little bit of sugar here and there instead of all the sugah!!
So, when I cut the sugar out of my life, my body obviously enjoys the physical benefits, but there are so many mental and emotional benefits as well. It just helps me to find that balance once again.
Over the years I’ve met many people who really aren’t tempted by sugar. I really can’t wrap my head around that, lol. However, I know that most of us have something that we have a level of addiction to. If it’s not sugar, it might be fast food, soda, salty food, too much food, caffeine, alcohol, coffee, etc.
One way to tell if you might be addicted to something is to ask yourself how you would feel if you cut it out of your life for a while. If you feel a sense of panic, then there is definitely a level of addiction there. Do with it what you will.
I think it’s important to be honest and evaluate ourselves sometimes to see if there are things in our lives that are holding us back, keeping us from reaching our goals or stealing our health. I’m a huge proponent of self improvement and self mastery. I also love a challenge, so I actually think it’s very rewarding to change things up as necessary and do hard things.
I’ve definitely still been eating food that contains sugar, but I’ve stayed completely away from the things I feel an addiction towards like cookies, candy, donuts, cake, ice cream, soda and chocolate.
Chocolate has actually been the hardest for me to stay away from because I love to add a few chocolate chips to everything; my oatmeal, yogurt, healthy treats or just some by themselves. They are my fav! 🙂
Soooo, whenever I’ve had a sugar craving the past few weeks or I’ve just wanted a little somethin’, somethin’, this has been one of my favorite sweet treats….
This is my protein pudding (plain Greek yogurt + a little cocoa powder, stevia and milk) topped with a little vanilla sugar free Jell-o pudding topped with light whipping topping (from the can) and some sprinkles.
Yes, I know the sprinkles and whipped topping contain a little sugar and the Jell-o pudding is super fake and contains artificial sweeteners. I am A-OK with that and I’ll tell you why!
It is not addicting to me!
It helps me to stick to and reach my goals. It makes staying away from all of the sugary things that are addicting to me, livable! It helps me to create a long-term healthy lifestyle that’s sustainable.
I also love this treat because it’s high in protein and the sugar impact is quite low, so it doesn’t cause huge swings in blood sugar. Those huge swings in blood sugar are exactly what jack up the hormones and set off the addiction cycle.
Here’s another version of that treat…
This one is protein pudding topped with a little sugar free chocolate Jell-o pudding, whipped topping, Cocoa Krispies and bananas.
Yes again, I know the Cocoa Krispies have sugar in them and I know they are not healthy! BUT, they are not addicting to me and sprinkling a little on top actually helps me! It makes me feel like I’m indulging a bit which helps to keep me satisfied and keeps me from eating all the cookies!
Super weird, I know. BUT, over the years I’ve just learned what works for me!
Now, I’d sure love to sprinkle some mini chocolate chips on there too, and I will do that in the future, but FOR NOW, I am not. It’s all about cutting out the things that I know are addicting to me so I can handle them again in the future!
Here’s another yummy sweet thing that I eat all the time that always tastes so good to me!
Oh, how I love Chocolate Protein Pancakes! <3 I usually triple my recipe and then keep them in the freezer. I love to top them with peanut butter (I’ve been loving Jif Whips on them because it’s lower in calories and fat), fruit, whipped topping or any of Walden Farms calorie free syrups. Their caramel syrup is my fav….it’s so so so good!
Seriously folks, this always tastes just like a treat to me! In fact, when I’m in the mood to bake something, I like to cook up a fresh batch of these! The ones I pull out of the freezer and put in the toaster are great, but the fresh ones are sooooo good! It’s so yummy to top a hot one that’s fresh off of the grill with peanut butter! YUM!
Oh, and just an FYI, that’s a side of scrambled egg whites topped with ketchup in that picture.
Here’s another yummy thing I’ve been enjoying a lot lately…
Oatmeal! I just put 1/2 cup (40 grams) of oatmeal in a bowl and cover it with water. In this bowl, I also added half of a chopped up apple before I cooked it. Then, I cook it in the microwave for 1 minute 45 seconds. Afterward, I top it with 1/2 scoop of protein powder (I’ve been using PEScience Peanut Butter Cookie flavor lately and it’s so good!), a Tablespoon of ground flaxseed, some cinnamon and raspberries.
This oatmeal is the bomb and it fills me up for hours!
I thought I’d share a few more things that I’ve been eating and enjoying lately. They aren’t sweet, but they are very good, filling, nutritious and satisfying. 🙂
I know that looks like a salad, but it was technically a wrap, lol! I put a Joseph’s Pita Bread (love them!) on the bottom and then topped it with Spring Mix lettuce, tomatoes and some turkey breast. I drizzled some OPA feta dill dressing on top. I’ve been loving the OPA dressings guys!
Ya know, healthy salad dressings have come a long way the past several years. They used to all be gross, but now there are so many good ones out there that I love! Most of them are right around 50 calories for 2 Tablespoons and they taste great. These are my two favs lately…
Here’s another random wrap that was actually a taco.
I made tacos for dinner for the fam and I made this for me! I used another Jospeh’s pita bread on the bottom and then topped it with fat free refried beans, turkey taco meat, lettuce and salsa.
I also had some protein hot chocolate on the side. I’ve been lovin’ that stuff! Ya know, when it’s cold outside sometimes I don’t want to drink a cold protein shake….so I’ll make hot chocolate instead!
I just heat up a mug of water in the microwave for a minute. In a separate bowl I mix a scoop of protein powder (I’ve been using PEScience Chocoate Peanut Butter flavor), a spoonful of cocoa, a pinch of stevia (I use 100% stevia, so you only need a little bit) and some water. I mix it up with a spoon until it’s smooth (add as much water as you need until it’s smooth.) I then mix the contents of the bowl into the mug of hot water and voila, Protein Hot Chocolate.
Super good, super yummy and super warming to the belly.
That’s a giant mug full….more like a bowl full! It’s so good and so satisfying this time of year!
I’ve still been loving my protein shakes too! I especially love to have one after I get home from the gym….
Yup, they pretty much all look exactly the same!
I have a lot of great protein shake recipes on the blog, but lately I’ve just been mixing up a cup of homemade kefir, a cup of water, a scoop of protein powder, either flaxseed or chia seed, some greens powder and some regular greens (usually a mix of spinach, kale and chard that I buy at Costco.) Sometimes I add ice, but lately I haven’t been because it’s so cold outside! My shake is still cold because the kefir and water are refrigerated and the greens are frozen, but it’s not as cold as when I add ice too!
Well, I think that’s all of the food creations I’m going to share today! I really think a key to living a healthy lifestyle is finding foods you love that don’t make you feel deprived! I have a lot of healthy foods that I love and I just eat a lot of the same things often because it’s easy, quick and simple!
I hope you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving tomorrow! I’m not going to be eating any dessert, but I’m definitely going to enjoy some sweet potatoes and rolls, which pretty much taste just like treats to me anyway! Isn’t Thanksgiving dinner the best???
I really feel thankful every single day for all of the blessings in my life, but it’s sure nice to have a day when we can spend time with loved ones and focus on all of the things we are thankful for!
I also want to say that I’m very thankful to each and every one of you out there who read all of my thoughts and ramblings. I really consider all of you my friends, even if I don’t know you personally. 🙂 I hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend! xoxo