What we ate this week 11/6 – 11/12

Last Monday, I found out I developed dry socket (a very painful problem that can happen when you get wisdom teeth removed), which made eating pretty difficult. I tried to make softer foods, but it was still pretty hard to eat all week. Here’s what we ate.

Monday

Leftover broccoli cheddar soup from last week

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Credit: Piping Pot Curry

Tuesday, Sunday

Roasted root vegetables with sausage. I loved this so much on Tuesday (the few bites of it I could eat) that I wanted to make it again Sunday so I could fully enjoy it.

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Credit: Primal Palate

Wednesday, Friday, Saturday

Butter chicken over jasmine rice with turmeric roasted cauliflower. No, I didn’t get sick of it. My husband wasn’t home Saturday so he only ate these leftovers once.

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Credit: Little Spice Jar

Thursday

Instant Pot Italian beef sandwiches, Caesar salad

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Credit: This Old Gal

Have you ever gotten dental surgery? What did you eat when your mouth was healing?

Stay fit,

Marisa

What we ate this week 10/30-11/5

It feels like winter here in Wisconsin, and our meals are shifting into late fall and winter mode. On Friday I got a wisdom tooth removed, reflected by the soft and liquid foods on the menu at the end of the week. I didn’t have general anesthesia or moderate sedation. Just local anesthetic and the dentist RIPPED it out. No prescription pain meds either, just extra strength Tylenol and ibuprofen. Now it’s Monday and I’m dying. Here’s what we ate last week.

Monday

Steak fajita loaded potatoes (I used white baking potatoes instead of sweet potatoes, and I used venison backstraps instead of beef)

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Credit: PaleOMG

Tuesday

Out to dinner for tapas

Wednesday

Caribbean snapper over arugula with balsamic dressing

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Credit: Diabetes Well Being

Thursday

French dip sandwiches and salad. I made the shredded beef in the Instant Pot using an Italian beef recipe adapted from This Old Gal. I used one gluten-free onion soup packet (instead of the Italian seasoning packets) and 3 cups beef broth (instead of broth, water and pepperoncini juice).

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Credit: This Old Gal

Friday

Tomato basil soup from the hot bar at the grocery store.

Saturday

Leftover shredded beef from Thursday’s French dips, with gluten-free rice macaroni and white cheddar from Aldi.

Saturday

Broccoli cheddar soup in the Instant Pot and grilled cheese made with Schär gluten-free deli-style bread, Swiss, extra sharp cheddar, sriracha-infused olive oil and Earth Balance mayo.
This soup recipe was the best broccoli cheese soup I’ve made!

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Credit: Piping Pot Curry

What did you eat last week?

Stay fit,

Marisa

What we ate this week 10/16 – 10/22

When I used to post meal plans, almost without fail at least one meal per week would get bumped off the menu as we tried to finish leftovers, were too busy to cook or decided to grab tacos instead. In order to be 100 with you guys, I decided to change up how I shared my menu by posting what we ate for dinner during the past week. This way you can still see what we’re eating and get menu ideas for yourselves, while also seeing that we’re real people who live outside of Instagram and Pinterest and don’t cook according to the plan every day. So here’s the first installment of What We Ate This Week. There are a lot of vegetarian things because I have been cooking for our vegetarian friend lately.

Monday

Butternut squash alfredo. I didn’t add the chicken, but I did include bacon for me and my husband and left it out for our vegetarian friend.

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Credit: Damn Delicious

Tuesday

Vegetarian pot pies. I used this 1-hour vegan pot pie recipe from Minimalist Baker, but I used whole milk instead of almond milk, so mine weren’t vegan. The filling was also too stiff, so I would use less flour. I used a gluten-free pie crust recipe that I didn’t really care for, so I’ll figure out a different topping option if I make these again.

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Credit: Minimalist Baker

Wednesday

I mostly ate snacks. Particularly cured meats, cheese and popcorn while having a glass of wine with some girlfriends. My husband ordered pizza and saved me some for when I got home, but it was too salty and I couldn’t eat it.

Thursday

Out to dinner for tacos to celebrate my husband finishing an important exam.

Friday 

My parents came over and I made one of my favorite recipes that I invented myself: Apple Gorgonzola stuffed pork loin. Here’s a simple recipe:
Cut a pork tenderloin down the center like a book, leaving about 1/4 inch intact. Pound flat to 1/4 inch thickness. Season with salt and pepper.
In a cast iron skillet, carmelize peeled and diced or sliced apple chunks in butter and a little maple syrup. Let the mixture cool slightly and spread evenly on the pork loin. Sprinkle crumbled Gorgonzola cheese on top of the apple mixture.
Roll the pork tenderloin lengthwise and secure with butchers twine. Spray or rub with a small amount of cooking oil. Sear all sides of the pork loin in the cast iron skillet.
Place the skillet in a preheated 425 degree F oven for about 35 minutes. Drizzle with maple dijon sauce (maple syrup and Dijon mustard in proportions based on taste, salt, pepper and thyme; thin with 1 teaspoon of water if needed; optional add chopped walnuts)
Slice and serve with steamed broccoli and baked sweet potatoes.

Saturday

Spinach lasagna rolls (we had some leftovers that we’re eating for dinner today)

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Credit: Skinnytaste

Sunday

Cabbage roll soup (this was a huge recipe and I’ll be eating leftovers for lunch this week)

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Credit: A Pretty Life in the Suburbs

What did you eat for dinner last week? What are you eating this week?

Stay fit,

Marisa

I’M FREE!

Good news! I was released from the walking boot this morning. I’m free!

Well, technically I’m on probation.  During the next week, I’m just supposed to get used to walking.  I can begin light strength training exercises and cardio on the elliptical next week. In three weeks I can return to heavier lifting and the stairclimber (I was really looking forward to using the stairclimber right away, so I was a little disappointed I have to wait.) I have to wait six weeks before I can run again, but I’m really in no hurry to start running.

That’s pretty much all I have to say today. This is a short post, but I wanted to share the news that I’m de-booted and free. I promise my next post will be a meaty one worth reading!

Stay fit,

Marisa

IIFYM as a step toward intuitive eating

I’ve seen plenty of people balk at the suggestion they should count macros. It seems difficult, time consuming, stressful, unhealthy to track your food that closely, and besides, why not just eat when you’re hungry?

All fair points. But what if I told you counting every gram of fat, protein and carbs you put into your body wasn’t the end game? What if I told you that counting macros will help you be a better intuitive eater? It’s true!

Before counting macros, my idea of intuitive eating was probably eating around 1300 calories and almost none of it was protein. No wonder I didn’t have any muscle mass.

Counting macros taught me about portion size and creating meals that have a good balance of macronutrients so that I perform at my best. Now, if I put even a small amount of thought into what my next meal is going to be, I tend to choose things that help me reach a macronutrient balance close to what I would want if I were counting. When I’m putting my meal together, I think to myself, “You need more protein,” or “That would be too many fats for one meal,” and I change my portions accordingly.

You can do it, too. Here’s are some things you can do while you’re tracking macros, so that you don’t have to track forever:

Pay attention to portion size. What does 4 oz. of chicken breast look like, or 2 oz. of uncooked pasta, or 100 grams of raspberries? When you’re no longer tracking, you’ll have a better idea of how much to put on your plate if you learn to estimate portion sizes.

Pay attention to the macros for your frequently eaten foods. It’s helpful to think of the macronutrient group the food mainly represents. I know off the top of my head that a quarter cup of uncooked jasmine rice has 160 calories and about 35 grams of carbs. It might have some trace amount of protein, but I’m mostly concerned with carbs. I know a 4 oz. boneless skinless chicken thigh has about 120 calories and 20 grams of protein. It also has some fat, but I’m mostly concerned with the protein. When you start to step away from counting, roughly calculate your macros in your head as you put meals together.

Pay attention to what a whole meal looks like. This can help if you’re not into memorizing macro counts. How much food is on your plate, and what kinds? How often do you eat meat, eggs, fruit, grains, rice and veggies? What should you eat throughout the day if you want a cookie before bed? What do your snacks look like if you have pasta for dinner? What about if you have steak and green beans? What are your go-to meals that usually fit your macros?

Do trial runs. Plan a meal as if you weren’t counting, then weight and measure the ingredients before you cook or eat them to double check if you were close to your macros or really far off.

Don’t panic. Just like when you’re counting, not every day of intuitive eating will be balanced. Some days, your intuition will tell you that breakfast should be a donut, lunch should be pizza and dinner should be a cheeseburger with some ice cream for dessert. Remind yourself that it’s okay. You’re not on or off any imaginary wagon, and you have the right tools to choose a more nutritionally balanced meal next time.

Did you make the switch from macros to intuitive eating? Do you have any tips?

Stay fit,

Marisa

Grocery shopping at the gym!? Amazon Fresh review

Our refrigerator died just before July 4. By the time we got a new refrigerator a week later, we had lost a bunch of food and needed to restock our supply of condiments. My husband and I both were very busy and didn’t have a chance to go grocery shopping. He noticed an ad for a 30-day free trial of Amazon Fresh for Amazon Prime members, so we decided to take advantage.

Amazon Fresh allows you to grocery shop online using your web browser or Amazon app. You add items to your cart, choose a delivery date and time, and check out. Your groceries show up at your door at the designated time. You can choose attended delivery, which means you have to be home to accept delivery or your groceries, or unattended, where the delivery person leaves the groceries at your door.

I’ve placed a few orders with Amazon Fresh so far and tried both delivery options. Here’s my review of the service.

Amazon Fresh pros

  • Free trial. It’s nice to be able to try a service to see if you like it before you have to begin paying for it.
  • Free delivery if you spend $40 or more. I grocery shop weekly, so it’s easy for me to add more than $40 worth of food to my cart. This might be more difficult for you if you’re someone who likes to get groceries every couple days. If you don’t have a $40 order, you pay a $9.99 delivery fee in addition to the $14.99 per month Amazon Fresh subscription, or just $9.99 if you’re in the 30-day free trial.
  • Saves time. This was the most obvious benefit. It takes time to get to the grocery store, walk up and down the aisles, stand in line, load your car, come home, and unload your car. Amazon Fresh eliminates those steps. Previously,  I had occasionally been using grocery pickup at my local store by ordering online, driving to the store and having someone bring the groceries to my car. It’s a great service, but Amazon Fresh saves even more time since I don’t have to go to the store. One day I multitasked by adding to my online grocery cart while doing steady state cardio. I was literally able to grocery shop from the gym!
  • Prices were similar to my normal grocery store. Some items were more expensive and some less expensive. In the end, I spent about the same amount using Amazon Fresh as I would at my normal grocery store.
  • Tried new brands. Amazon Fresh doesn’t have all the same brands as my normal grocery store. The plus side to this is I got to try some new brands and order brands I’ve tried and liked but aren’t available at my local store.
  • Produce was fresh. I was initially concerned the produce quality wouldn’t be very good, but Amazon Fresh proved me wrong. Everything I’ve gotten so far has been, well, FRESH. When you ask for a ripe avocado, they deliver a ripe one. When you ask for an unripened avocado, that’s what you get.
  • Groceries arrived on time. You can select a two-hour window during which your groceries will be delivered. I tried to select times when roads aren’t that busy. My groceries arrived within the first 30 minutes of my two-hour window every time.
  • Each order came with a recipe card. That was pretty cool because it gives you an idea of what to buy in your next order. I’ll include the recipe card we received in our first order.

Amazon Fresh cons

  • Fees attached. I haven’t experienced the fees yet since we’re in the free trial and my orders have been over $40. Eventually, we will need to pay $14.99 per month to keep the service. That’s not too steep for us, and it’s less expensive than if I used grocery pickup every week at $5.95 per pickup. However, it’s not all free everything all the time, so the cheapskate in me has to list the monthly fee as a con.
  • All my favorite brands weren’t available. I mentioned it’s been nice to try some new brands in place of things I normally buy, but some favorites I didn’t want to switch weren’t available on Amazon Fresh. I had to make substitutions or make a small trip to my regular grocery store to get some favorites.
  • The website had a few glitches, once. The first time I ordered, I experienced a problem where I tried to add items to my cart and got a notification that the attempt was unsuccessful and the item wasn’t added. So I tried again until it was successful. Turns out, some items were added to my cart two or three times because the unsuccessful additions actually had been successful. I ended up with a few duplicate items because I hadn’t double checked the cart. It wasn’t a big deal because I can use the duplicate items, but it would be inconvenient to get more produce than you can eat before it spoils, for example.
  • Attended delivery is weird. I tried attended delivery the first time I ordered. The person who came to my door was driving a regular car and wasn’t wearing any type of delivery uniform. I typically don’t answer the door for random people, and I almost didn’t answer it until I remembered I was expecting groceries. Some type of uniform or a more clearly marked vehicle might make some people more comfortable answering the door. I switched to unattended delivery so my bags could be left at the door and I just made sure to be home to bring them in from the heat after the delivery person left.
  • Lots of packaging waste. I normally shop with reusable grocery bags, so it was surprising to see all the packaging that came with my Amazon Fresh order. Paper grocery bags, cardboard cartons inside of grocery bags, temperature control bags inside of cartons, loads of ice packs (we can reuse them, but we only need and have room for so many ice packs), plastic baggies or netting for the different types of produce… I don’t like this. If we end up not renewing the service, I think it will be for this reason. Amazon Fresh, how can you improve your environmental game and create less packaging waste? Maybe re-usable bags and cold packs that you can send back or return with your next delivery, that come with a deposit you lose if you don’t return them?

 

Final verdict: I really like Amazon Fresh for the time-saving and convenience benefits. I do not like that the service produces so much packaging waste. I’m still undecided if I’m going to continue using it once the free trial is over. It would be a no-brainer if there was a better solution to the packaging waste problem.

What do you think? Did you like Amazon Fresh? Are you interested in trying it?

Stay fit,

Marisa

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How can I get my partner to workout?

This post was inspired by a reader who asked how to get her partner to join the fitness journey she already started. I can’t let a reader question go unanswered!

I’ll start by pointing out that your partner needs to have some inkling of desire to want to participate in fitness in order for these to work. Often, a partner who doesn’t exercise doesn’t know where to begin or needs some motivation to get started, and these tips can help. But if your partner absolutely and stubbornly has no interest in exercising, it’s unlikely you’ll change their mind quickly.

Don’t make them feel bad about themselves.

This sounds obvious, but I’m not just talking about being outright mean. Pointing out that your partner should be exercising or should be eating differently can be taken as criticism. Even if you have their best interests in mind, be careful not to make your partner feel like his or her current lifestyle choices are wrong.

Plan activity into your daily life.

Suggest going for a walk after dinner to talk about your day. Plan a bike ride into your weekend date or family outing. Helping your partner get active is a good start, even if the activity isn’t intense.

Make it about you.

Let your partner know that he or she can be supportive of your fitness journey by joining you because working out with the person you care about most will hold you accountable and motivate you. Your partner may be more willing to hit the gym if it’s a favor to you.

Share your progress.

Your partner might be more motivated to work out if he or she sees your good results. If you hit a new PR in weight lifting or your mile time, talk about it. Let your partner know if you’ve lost weight, fit into a new clothing size or you have more energy and less joint pain. Your partner may realize there’s something to this working out thing, or want to keep up with you.

Go with your partner.

The gym can be an intimidating place and finding motivation to work out alone can be difficult for a newbie. Even if you’re someone who likes to exercise solo, try to find the time and energy to accompany them if it’s important to you that they continue the habit.

Make it fun.

Don’t choose jogging as the workout you do together if your partner would rather die than go for a run. Their first workout probably shouldn’t be the one that leaves you unable to walk for three days. Pick something doable and fun to build their confidence and show them exercising isn’t so bad. Ask if there is a type of exercise they would like to try. Sign up for some new classes at your gym. You might find something you didn’t know you liked while introducing your partner to fitness.

Help them set a goal.

A realistic but challenging goal will help keep your partner on track with exercising. It doesn’t have to be running a marathon or participating in a bikini competition. It might be running a mile without stopping or feeling comfortable squatting with a barbell. No goal is too small and every achievement is valuable.

Reward yourselves.

Set up a reward system for both you and your partner. If you achieve a fitness goal or reach a certain number of workouts in a set time period, give yourselves more free spending cash, make a toast, treat yourself to a new pair of gym shorts, or whatever motivates you to keep exercising.

Brag about your partner.

It’s a great feeling when you know your partner is proud of you. Tell them you’ve noticed their effort and think it’s awesome they’re working out. If they’re okay with it, post a picture on Facebook or Instagram of their first fitness class or the finish line of their first race.

In my relationship, my husband enjoys cycling, so I try to bike with him as much as possible. Last summer, he noticed I was spending a lot of my time away from him running, so he decided to join. While he had no interest in training for a half marathon, he was willing to run if I agreed to sign up for a 5K with him and run a couple 1-mile loops around our neighborhood together. I was surprised to find he was actually pretty fast, and I told him so. He felt good about running after that because he was proud to be good at a physical activity. I posted on Facebook about the 5K we did together and told our friends and family what a quick runner he is. I plan to buy him a pair of good running shoes before he starts to train for his next race.

Have you ever had a partner encourage you to start exercising? What worked and what didn’t?

Stay fit,

Marisa