Always Be a Better You

Lately I’ve really been focused on becoming the best me I can be. While I’m young, it’s time to take control of my life and make some changes. I’ve been looking at those I admire and trying to mimic them. I want to become less judgmental , less stuck up, less angry, and more patient.

To become less judgmental…I plan on correcting any judgmental thoughts as they come through my mind. By correcting the thoughts as they come up I will rewire my brain to automatically correct the thoughts before I even think them. After correcting those thoughts I will ask myself why I had them. When I get down to the bottom of why I had judgmental thoughts I will work on changing those reasons so I don’t continue to have judgmental thoughts.

To become less stuck up…I plan on using the same sort of idea as becoming less judgmental, but taking it a little bit farther. Judgment is in my head, being stuck up is more related to my actions. I will correct the judgmental thoughts and take it a step further by not allowing myself to take actions that come from those judgmental thoughts. For example, I won’t act colder to someone I deem “not good enough”. I tend to have judgmental thoughts based on looks, but I’ve realized that the people I admire don’t seem to care if someone’s hair is out of place or if they may be 10 lbs heavier. It’s not about what you look like and what you can do, it’s about the inside and how you treat other people.

To become less angry…I plan on taking deep breaths and thinking before reacting. When any sort of anger comes up I will try to take a deep breath and think before reacting. I may not be able to work through the anger in the moment, but I will try to at least make sure it appears as if I am not angry. Afterwards I will reflect on why I was angry and try to work through those thoughts so that I do not hold onto the anger.

To become more patient…I will work on thinking before reacting and get down to the bottom of why I am impatient. I will then talk myself through why I don’t need to be impatient. Being impatient will not get me to where I need to be any quicker.

How are you working on yourself?

Make Your Own Juice Cleanse

I love juice cleanses.  They are a great way to get back on track after a period of making unhealthy choices.  The first juice cleanse I did was a 3 day juice cleanse and I made the mistake of doing it on the weekend when I had nothing to distract me from the desire to chew on something.  I recommend doing a juice cleanse during the week when you have plenty to distract you from how difficult it is to not eat solid food.

It is important that during your juice cleanse you make sure to drink plenty of water between juices.  The water was a nice relief from the juice during the cleanse and I came to crave water.  The more you drink water in general, the more you crave it. I lost a couple pounds and felt free of bloat during my first juice cleanse and days after . I made sure to continue that feeling by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.

During the juice cleanse you will have 6 juices per day. Feel free to double or triple this plan to fit how many days you plan on doing the cleanse. For a couple of the juices I have included options so you can have different options the other days if you plan on doing a longer juice cleanse. 

Let’s be real, juice cleanses are expensive! Save money at home by using my recipes for your own juice cleanse at home. Follow along for the types of juices to make on a juice cleanse, recipes, grocery lists, and tips.

During a juice cleanse you typically do 6 juices a day, 1 every 2-2.5 hours.  I like to plan my juice schedule around work so one of the juices falls during my lunch time.  It is important to set a schedule for yourself that works best with your daily activities. Some people do a “cleanse til dinner”  program where you drink 4 juices then you eat a healthy dinner. That program works well especially if you find yourself needing the solid food.  Just make sure you keep that dinner very healthy. Here are the 6 types of juices to drink. The order is based on a couple local juice places and their cleanses, but I know I’ve seen cleanses that tell you to drink the juices in whatever order you want.

These recipes make quite a bit of nut milk, so either choose just one and use it a couple days in a row or cut the recipes down to fit how much you will drink.  If you have some left over they can be great in cereal, smoothies, protein shakes, and more!
These are the items I already have on hand. Depending on your pantry staples, the cost will go up or down.

Please note:  My home made grocery list costs does not take into account buying items in bulk.  A lot of times apples, oranges, lemons, and more can be bought in bulk at a much cheaper price.  It’s hard to know how many items are in each bag though so I did my pricing based on individual pricing.  The cost is still cheaper than store bought juice cleanses, but will be even cheaper once the bulk pricing is applied. You are welcome to substitute or leave off ingredients as desired.

The combined list costs a little bit less than the two separate lists because some things like celery and beets won’t be completely used up in just one juice.

I have not done this homemade cleanse as I am writing this, but I plan on trying it after my vacation coming up in a couple weeks to get back on track. I will be using the combined list and doing a 2 day cleanse. I will keep you updated with cost after taking into account bulk pricing.

Healthy Snack Guide

The key to avoiding unhealthy choices is having healthy snacks on hand.  I always get hungry between meals, so I like to make sure I prepare. If I’m not prepared I will more than likely end up grabbing something that isn’t very healthy. Follow along for some of my favorite healthy snacks to keep on hand.

Fruit has a natural sweetness that can help reduce the cravings for treats with added sugars.  It is definitely one of my favorite snacks. Dip fruit in peanut butter, fruit dip, hazelnut spread, etc for even more of a treat. Maybe even do a fruit smoothie and take it on the go.

I’ll admit, veggies are definitely not my favorite snack. They are, however, good for me so I have found ways to enjoy them. Raw veggies give a nice crunchy texture. They also have a high water content that helps fill me up until my next meal. My favorite way to eat them is with dips. Dipping veggies into dips helps me satisfy the craving for chips and dip. I am always looking for healthy alternatives to my favorite guilty pleasures.

Nuts are a great way to fill up and add some extra protein and healthy fats.  Try making your own trail mix by adding dried fruits and dark chocolate. I like to make my own dried fruits so I can control how much sugar goes into them. You can also try nut butters or nut milk. Nut butters go great with fruit or carrots and celery. Nut milk goes great in smoothies and protein shakes, or you can drink it by itself.

While yogurt may not always be low calorie, it is high protein and comes in a variety of different flavors. When I eat yogurt I get the same satisfaction as when I eat pudding or ice cream. My favorite is Yoplait’s Oui french style yogurt. I also like to pair plain greek yogurt with agave and berries. Sometimes I will add granola. I prefer to make my own granola so I can control exactly what I’m eating. Making your granola is super easy and it’s fun to be able to customize it exactly the way you want!

Cheese and meat are great low carb snacks. They are also high in protein and keep you fuller longer. Pair these with fruit for the perfect combination! Create your own combo or buy one of the many readily available meat and cheese snack packs found in deli sections.

I love juice. There are so many different varieties so I never get bored of it. It fills you up and keeps you hydrated. I prefer to make my own, but you can always buy some. When buying juice, make sure you pay attention to the ingredients. Always buy your juice in the refrigerated section, the shelf stable juice is full of preservatives.

Black Bean Brownies

Today I decided to try a healthy guilty pleasures recipe…black bean brownies. If you like dark chocolate you will love these! I was worried they would have a black bean taste, but there is no hint of black beans. Follow along for this super simple delicious recipe. Find the full recipe here: https://joyfoodsunshine.com/black-bean-brownies

I made some substitutions to the original recipe that I will detail below.

The recipe started with rinsing a can of black beans then blending the black beans, coconut sugar, melted butter, and agave together until combined. The original recipe used coconut oil instead of the butter and honey instead of agave. You can substitute granulated or brown sugar for the coconut sugar. Use whatever you have on hand! Next I added the salt, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Blend until combined then add the eggs and blend just until everything comes together. Finally add the chocolate chips and mix by hand. The original recipe had this baked in an 8×8 pan but I wanted to make individual brownies to freeze and thaw out as I eat them.

The result was a delicious moist and dense brownie. I love the taste and I love that the black beans add extra fiber.

What are some of your favorite healthy versions of guilty pleasures? I am thinking of trying healthy instant pot cheesecake next. Stay tuned…

Favorite Gadgets

Below are my favorite gadgets for staying healthy! I use these weekly. What are your favorite kitchen gadgets to use?

I love my cold press juicer! It extracts so much more juice than my old juicer and it keeps more of the nutrients than centrifugal juicers. The cold press juicer does take a little bit more time in making the juice and prepping the components because it requires they be smaller, but it is so worth it!

I love using my Instant Pot for rice and quinoa. It makes them the perfect consistency. It’s great for my weekly meal prepping.

I use my Ninja Foodi Grill for almost everything! It also has an air fryer, dehydrate, roast, and bake setting. I love that I can get that grill taste indoors. I use this so much that it’s been weeks since I have used the stove and oven! Definitely worth the money!

Set Your Intentions

In Pure Barre the instructors always talk about setting your intentions. Setting your intentions is very important on the journey to wellness. You need to set your goals and set your mind on completing them. You need to realize that most difficult tasks are mind over matter.

Recently my power went out right before I was going to cook dinner. Instead of ordering unhealthy delivery like I normally do, I set my mind on getting something healthy. This was a big step for me. The more I make healthy choices, the easier they become.

My biggest goal right now is for healthy decisions to become natural. I know that if I set my mind on completing my goals I can do it!

Setting your intentions for healthy choices begins with the grocery store. By planning ahead you are more likely to stick to the healthy choices you plan. I find by having a plan when I get to the store I can easily walk past all of the unhealthy options. If I’m having trouble in the store I practically jog to get away from that section and it makes it easy to keep on track.

I start with a meal plan, move to making a list, then adjust as needed. I like to use the Kroger app to plan my list so I can keep track of how much it is going to cost me. Throughout the week I make changes to the list and meal plan as needed.

I just want to feel the love…

Below is a very raw and emotional post…

For years I have always felt like nobody notices me. Every time I’ve thought about doing negative things like going overboard with healthy eating or have had depressing thoughts, I have felt all alone with nobody to share with. My sister shared that she does notice. She told me that she has worried about me for a while. My sister told me she has cried about being worried about me. I always assume she doesn’t think about me much, but hearing what she told me has given me a new sense of purpose. Sometimes just knowing people care really helps with depression. Knowing I am not alone is a great feeling. I am somebody that is part of this world. I matter to someone.

I have always struggled with negative thoughts. Whether they be about my body or whether they be about not wanting to be alive. I am constantly stressed about eating too much or making unhealthy choices and getting fat. I worry that I will go overboard with these thoughts someday. I used to want to go overboard just to get them to notice me and I worry that is still what I am trying to do. Why won’t more people pay attention or care that I may be harming myself?

Maybe I need to focus on loving myself enough to not let myself get to that point. I always hear that you can’t love someone else until you love yourself. I think I am getting close to that point of loving myself so hopefully I find someone to love me soon. I believe there are plenty of reasons to love me!

Meal Prep – Week of March 1st

  • Raw Chicken Wings
  • Korean BBQ Marinade
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Powder
  • Greek yogurt
  • Almond/Coconut Milk
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Napa Cabbage
  • Cucumbers
  • Grapes
  • Kale
  • Ginger
  • Oranges
  • Carrots
  • Mangoes
  • Bell peppers

Above is my grocery list for the week. I like to focus on whole ingredients. A very large majority of my grocery list is fresh fruits and veggies. Follow along for how I’m going to use my groceries this week!

I’m single, so my week of meal planning consists of the same thing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday. It’s the best way to keep my costs down.

Breakfast – Carrot, Apple, Ginger Juice

  • Carrots
  • Apple
  • Orange
  • Ginger

Lunch – Protein Shake with Banana and Grapes

  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Powder
  • Almond/Coconut Milk
  • Bananas
  • Grapes

Dinner – Korean BBQ Chicken Wings and Apple Carrot Slaw

  • Raw Chicken Wings
  • Korean BBQ Marinade
  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Napa Cabbage
  • Greek Yogurt

Snacks

  • Grapes
  • Oranges
  • Juice(kale, cucumber, apple, orange)
  • Carrots
  • Mango
  • Apple
  • Celery
  • Bell Pepper

Pantry items used:

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Feta
  • Cinnamon
  • Turmeric
  • French onion dip

What are you prepping this week?

Accountability

Yesterday was NOT a day full of healthy nutritional choices. It made me realize I need for someone to hold me accountable for my food choices. Who better to keep me accountable than sharing my unhealthy choices with the world. I started this as a way to share my healthy choices. I then realized no matter how hard I try there will still be unhealthy choices. I want to share that I make unhealthy choices to show you that it’s ok! As long as the majority of the time you are eating healthy, a couple mistakes are ok. My weakness yesterday was several cookies when I should have only eaten one. Today I am doing very well. I avoided buying cookies at the store even though they looked amazing, and I waited until I was hungry to start preparing dinner. I realized I put my eating on a schedule instead of waiting until I’m hungry. Today is a big step in the right direction and with you following along I hope to make many more!

Guide to Juicing at Home

Over the last couple of years I have fallen in love with juicing.  It’s a great way to get in plenty of fruits and veggies. I love juice for snacks, breakfast, and resetting my body.  I go to juice bars every once in a while, but I really love making my own juice. Making my own juice allows me to control everything I put in and allows me to be creative with the many possible combinations.  I also like that I save a little money by making my own. I love to find ways to do what I love and save money in the process. Follow along for some tips and recipes.

There are many different kinds of juice, and lately I have been into making green juices.  I almost never do the same juice twice. I like to go the grocery store and pick out what sounds good that week.  I recently found a recipe that was the perfect mix of greens, sweet, and tang. From there I just substituted different ingredients but kept the same components.  These are just the components. Follow along for options.