My Gluten Free Story

There’s so much talk these days about going gluten-free. Seems like everyone is getting on the GF bandwagon. I personally don’t  believe it’s a fad. I think most people can benefit from eating a gluten-free diet, especially with all the highly processed grains out there now. On the other hand, eating a gluten-free cupcake isn’t necessarily healthy either. Just because something is GF doesn’t mean it’s healthy. You can still easily gain weight on a GF diet. Simply swapping out a normal piece of brand for a GF piece of bread isn’t going to get you any health gains. At the beginning of my GF journey, I thought this was the case though. I said, ” It’s GF! I can eat as much as I want! Who cares if it’s sugar filled because it’s GF!” I quickly learned that was not the right approach and since then I’ve made major diet changes. (Hello Whole30!) Now I incorporate more veggies in place of the GF substitutes. Don’t get me wrong, I still like to have cookies, ice cream, and birthday cake every now and then, but now I can make it GF and not feel terrible after eating it! 

I hope after hearing my story about going GF and all the benefits I’ve reaped from it, that you’ll consider eliminating gluten from your diet for a period of time and see how you feel. 

Press play to hear my story!

I’d love to hear your stories and comments about going GF!

Comment below and find me on Instagram @iamthefitbaker

 

Whole30 Homemade Tostones~Plantain Chips

   For the past couple of years, I’ve been head over heels for plantains…especially in chip form. I used to eat the Trader Joe’s plantain chips but I got tired of those and just didn’t think they were as healthy as I was looking for. I saw some other Whole30 peeps on Instagram making Tostones (the Spanish name for fried plantains) and I knew I needed to try making these myself. I like how they aren’t as hard as the plantain chips you’d find in the store. They still get crispy but are thicker and stay just a bit soft on the inside. I love to dip mine in guacamole.

I’ve included the Whole30 recipe below as well as step by step photos and videos. They are a bit labor intensive, considering they are fried twice, but if you make a big batch at one time then you’re good to go for awhile.

I’d love to see what you eat  your tostones with! Tag me in your Whole30 pics! @iamthefitbaker

Whole30 Twice Fried Plantains

Ingredients

Green Plantains (find these by the bananas in your local grocery store)

Organic coconut oil

That’s it! Let’s get cooking…or should I say frying!

Make sure to get green plantains. They are firmer and will work better. Cut off both ends of the plantain. Then run your knife down the peel multiple times. Then peel the plantain. Note: this is not like peeling a banana. It will be a struggle.

Cut the plantain into rounds as shown

Click below for a quick video

How to Peel a Plantain

This is the coconut oil I use. It’s a great deal at Costco. Scoop about 1/4 cup in a skillet (preferably cast iron) and let it melt on medium high.

 Once the coconut oil has melted, place your sliced plantains in the skillet. Turn them after about 2 minutes or until they become just a touch brown and cook another 2 minutes. You just want to get them soft enough to smash easier later.

Once they have browned a bit, place them on a paper towel to cool.

Click the link below for a quick video

Browning the plantains

After the plantains have cooled, you’re going to smash them! So grab a small plate or you can use the bottom of a glass cup. Set one plantain on the cutting board and place the plate on top. Then you’re going to apply pressure and turn it to the right until it’s smashed flat. You may have to use a knife to scrap the flattened plantain off your plate. The key here is to only turn one direction. Don’t turn it back and forth or you’ll have a demolished plantain! No bueno. 🙂

Check out the link below for a quick video

Smashing Plantains

You’ve made it to the last step! Hooray! You’re about to taste the fruits of your labor!

Add the flattened plantains to the hot coconut oil and fry until browned on each side…about 1 minute each side. It depends on how crispy you want them. Obviously, cook longer if you desire a crispier chip. You may have to add coconut oil to the pan as you continue frying all the plantains. Transfer the fried plantains to a paper towel again. While still warm, salt them and squeeze some fresh lime juice on them and give ’em a good toss.

Click below for a quick video

Twice Fried Plantain

You officially made tostones! Good work! And now for the best part! Eating them! Whip up some Whole30 approved guacamole or pull out the salsa or eat them straight up…whatever floats your boat. 🙂 I think they are best served slightly warm. They will get a bit soggy in the fridge,  but just pop them in a toaster oven for a minute and they’ll crisp right up.

I hope you enjoy this recipe! Feel free to share it with your friends and family…especially those on the Whole30.

Tag me in your posts @iamthefitbaker

 

Whole 30 & Tips for Slaying the Sugar Dragon

Just when you think you got the sugar dragon licked, Christmas cookies show up. There’s been Christmas treats around since Thanksgiving and I never gave in, but on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day I let myself have a few treats. I thought, after not having sugar for over 6 months, that I’d be able to stop eating the peanut butter balls no problem. But how quickly my body forgets the Whole30 plan and turns into a sugar dragon. It’s like this switch went off and all my body wanted was more and more sugar. I couldn’t satisfy the sugar dragon!!! All my Whole30 peeps out there know what I’m talking about! That was a scary feeling. Was all my hard work so far going to go down in flames because I couldn’t get control of my cravings? Was I going to gain all 14lbs I’d lost, back  in one weekend! It sends shivers down my spine!

Today I said no more. My mind and heart know what I truly want, but my body is taking a bit longer to convince. I haven’t had any sugar today. My body is screaming for it, but I know within a few days the sugar dragon will crawl back into its hole and I’ll be rocking the Whole30 without a second thought.

I also wanted to share a few things I’ve noticed since having sugar. I haven’t slept well the past two nights. Coincidence? I think not. Since starting the Whole30, I haven’t had a problem sleeping. As long as I stick to my usual bedtime routine of reading before I turn out the light, I fall asleep promptly. But since having sugar on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, I’ve tossed and turned, and even though I was tired, I couldn’t fall asleep. Also, I usually go to Crossfit three days a week at 5AM. No, I’m not crazy. I just like to get it done and get on with my day. I’ve really grown to like the morning class actually. That is until this mornings class. The best way I know how to describe it is I felt like a slug. Somehow I could not catch my breath, and I could barely finish the workout! And I’ve been doing Crossfit for a couple years now! A light bulb went off in my head…SUGAR! Darn you sugar! You’re making me look like I’ve never exercised in my life. Isn’t that crazy? Don’t get me wrong. Crossfit is hard. But this was like my body would not do the movements I’ve done a hundred times. I never want to feel like that again. Sugar is no bueno.

All that to say, I’m back on the Whole30 full force! I don’t want to eat sugar because I don’t like the way it makes me feel. I’ve got a goal in mind and I’m going to press on toward. Bye, bye sugar dragon!

I’ve included a few tips below that I’ve implemented when I feel the sugar dragon coming on strong. I hope they help!

Tips for slaying the sugar dragon:

  1. Meal Prep– plan ahead of time what your going to eat the next day. Don’t think you’ll have enough willpower to say no to the snack machine or your coworkers leftover Christmas cookies. Go to the grocery store and get what you need to stay on track. Or at least have some healthy snack options at your desk so you don’t give in to the sugar dragon at work. Some Whole30 approved snacks are: RX Bars, oranges, apple and almond butter, celery and almond butter, Epic bars or other beef jerky.
  2. Exercise– After a weekend of giving in one too many times to the cookie jar, I make myself go to the gym. There’s something about working hard and sweating that makes me NOT want to eat unhealthy. It actually does the opposite! I want to fuel my body with the best since it just put out all that effort for me. Plus, I’m not going to waste all the time I spent in the gym by eating chips and donuts.
  3. Don’t be an island!-Surround yourself with like minded people who will keep you honest. Get an accountability partner. Whether it’s a friend, sister, husband, wife, whoever but get one! This has been one of the biggest reasons I’ve stayed the course this time around on the Whole30. I have two friends that I check in with every week. And I’m honest with them. I tell them when I’ve gained weight and when I’ve lost weight. They are there for me to encourage me to keep going, but also to keep me on the straight and narrow. Don’t put this off! Find someone today! If you don’t know anyone, then contact me and I’ll keep you accountable. 🙂

Cauliflower Fried Rice

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Hello beautiful people! It’s almost been a week since I posted the cauliflower fried rice story on my Instagram account and I promised a recipe forthcoming. So here it is! I love any kind of Asian food. From Thai, to Chinese, to Japanese, Korean and on and on…they always hit the spot. Growing up, my family would go to Happy Teriyaki all the time, and we thought it was healthy! We weren’t quite up on MSG. Yikes! Since then, I’ve come across so many healthy, paleo recipes for classic Asian dishes that are just as delicious and flavorful as I remember. One of the best Asian cookbooks I’ve found is “Paleo Takeout“. Every recipe I’ve made so far has been exactly as I remember it tasting. I would highly recommend it!

Anyways, on to the recipe! This is one of my staple recipes. It can be made with whatever veggies you have on hand. I always keep a bag of cauliflower rice in the freezer for an easy, quick meal. Trader Joe’s carries frozen and fresh cauli-rice. Since you aren’t using rice, you’re essentially eating an entire bowl of veggies! Score!

Cauli-Fried Rice

Ingredients

2 tsp minced garlic

2 TBLS coconut oil

1 cup sliced onions

1 cup peppers

1 cups sliced carrots

1 cup broccoli

1 cup cooked cubed chicken

1 TBLS Thai and True green curry paste

1 package of cauli-rice

1/2 cup toasted chopped cashews

2 scrambled egg

(You can add whatever veggies you want)

Preheat the oven to 400.

Heat the coconut oil and garlic in a large skillet until it starts to sizzle.

Then add the onions and cook until they start to soften. Add all the veggies and cook, stirring frequently, for 7 minutes. Next, add the cauli-rice, chicken, and curry paste and cook another 7 minutes. While the stir fry is cooking, spread the cashew pieces on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant. Lastly, scramble the eggs in a frying pan. Once cooked, cut into small pieces and add to the stir-fry. Remove the stir-fry from the heat and spoon some into a bowl and top with some of the toasted cashews.

I’d love to see what veggies you put in your stir-fry! Tag me in your pics! @iamthefitbaker

 

 

 

 

 

Frustration Nation

One of the most frustrating things in the world has got to be trying to lose weight. And when I say trying, I mean when your eating is on point and your doing things like crossfit, interval sprints and two a days and the scale stays the same! Not cool. I haven’t always been this dedicated. I don’t want you to get the wrong picture. 🙂 But for about the past three years, I’ve been become more and more dedicated to figuring out what is going on with my body. (autoimmune issues, effects of yo-yo dieting, etc…I’ll save that for another post) And let me tell you, it’s quite the mystery! With all the crossfit and exercising I’ve been doing, I’ve definitely built muscle and toned up, but I haven’t lost weight. I’d like the fat off so you can see the muscles! The only way I’ve ever lost weight is by seriously restricting my calories and that only messed up my metabolism. That’s not the way to healthfully shed pounds. Slow and steady is the way to keep it off. I know we all like quick results. Believe me, I’m the queen of trying any diet for quick results, but I finally realized that wasn’t working. I wanted to change my lifestyle. I just wanted to eat  clean and not be consumed with feeling bad after eating something that wasn’t on my current diet. I wanted peace. I was tired of food ruling me. It’s been quite the journey. It didn’t happen overnight, but slowly I began to get the hang of listening to my body. I didn’t see any changes in the beginning, but that was ok because I was learning my body. I thought it was odd that I wasn’t losing ANY weight. Even just one pound a month would have been amazing! I knew I still had food issues, and my sugar addiction would still creep up on me so I decided to get some professional help. I started talking with a counselor and she helped me through so much!!! It’s great to get an outside perspective because we can be so consumed with ourselves and not see the real issues. She gave me hope that I could overcome my body issues. She helped me see the “why” behind my continual food relapses. It was the most freeing thing. I met with her periodically for about a year. I still go back to my journal and look over those notes I took from her and they give me strength and hope and remind me I can do this even when it seems impossible. I look back now and realize this was just another step in my journey. Side note: I would encourage everyone to get counseling. I was scared and apprehensive at first but it ended up being the best thing ever! Promise me you’ll give it a shot?

Anyways, (I got a  bit sidetracked there) my whole point of this post is to encourage you to not give up when you don’t see results right away. I’ve been tempted to throw in the towel (and sometimes I have…hello pint of ice cream) when my jeans only seem to be getting tighter despite being totally on track with my diet and exercise. I feel like people must think I hop from diet to diet and that I’m forever trying to lose weight. That’s the most frustrating part for me. I know it doesn’t matter what other people think, but for once I’d like to prove that all this hard work is paying off and that I’m serious about my health!

The journey continues.

Thoughts?