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Quality vs Quantity; Kiwi’s experience with food tracking

Trigger warning: talk of eating disorders

Counting and weighing is a great tool to understand portion sizes and to get an idea of what things should look like, especially on a bariatric plate! After two straight years of meticulously planning out my meals, sometimes up to a week in advance, I became obsessive about the numbers game (calories in vs calories out) and it eventually turned toxic. I fell victim to my ED and began restricting my food intake, which would drive me crazy and force me to binge, feel guilty about it and “get back on track” by going back into the same restrictive dieting habits of trying to stay within an allotted calorie or macro range. It was a disturbing and harmful trend that I could no longer maintain mentally.

And people say weight loss surgery is the easy way out.

April 16, 2017 was the last day I tracked my food. I am personally so much happier (AND STILL MAINTAINING) now that I focus on the quality of the foods I eat (what are it’s ingredients? How is it made?) rather than strictly quantity (how many calories are in this? What are the macro specs, etc.)

Let me clarify that I DO NOT think that meal planning and prepping, or calorie and macro counting is a toxic habit. It’s an absolutely fantastic way to stay on track and reach your individual goals! I’m sure that if I went back into meal prepping and calorie counting with the quality notion in mind, it’d be nothing but glorious success!! A new, bright approach on food and how it benefits my body! But. I don’t want to count calories and macros anymore.

I do a different kind of meal prep now by stocking my house with fresh, wholesome ingredients and finding something to do with them before the turn. Researching ways to make things from scratch because I want to be able to say, “I made that, I didn’t buy it.” Pizza dough, mayonnaise, salad dressings, seasoning spices, BAKED GOODS. I want to make it all and I want people to understand that FOOD IS FOOD. CALORIES ARE NOT THE ENEMY.

You can be healthy and eat your favourite comfort foods. You can eat muffins and still fit into your jeans. Be mindful about the foods you eat, the ingredients you use, read your labels, DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH. Become an informed consumer.

The truth is out there
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Seriously though, this is just MY experience and while I’ve found this doesn’t work for me anymore, you need to do what’s best for you! There is no one size fits all solution. We’re all here to learn from each other!!

So let me know what you think! What’s your routine look like? Have you had a similar experience? I’d love to heard from you đź’•


maca

Super Thick Chocolate Maca Protein Smoothie

I’m all about Maca powder recently. You can add it to anything from yoghurt to smoothies and even coffee! Its got so many great health benefits, too.

Its an adaptogen, a natural product that increases the body’s resistance to physical and mental stressors. If you haven’t tried it yet, pick some up in your local grocery store in the health food section or on Amazon to give it a whirl!

Maca is used for stamina, endurance and hormonal balance and is a natural energizer.
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Chocolate Maca Protein Smoothie

MACA is adaptogen; a natural product that increases the body’s resistance to physical and mental stressors. It's used for stamina, endurance and hormonal balance and is a natural energizer. By adding frozen fruit it gives any smoothie the perfect, icy texture with the added benefits of their antioxidants and vitamins. Definitely better than just plain ol’ ice.

Course Drinks, Main Course, Snack
Prep Time 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond milk (or other milk/liquid of choice)
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder of choice
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • ~1.5 cup frozen fruit or ice if you hate your life

Instructions

  1. Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Depending on which fruits (or how much) you use and your personal preference, you may need more almond milk to thin it out. This baby is SUPER THICK.

Recipe Notes

that's what she said


maca pie

No Bake Cocoa Maca Pie – Vegan + Gluten Free

This amazing no-bake pie is perfectly sweet and only takes a few hours to set in the refrigerator to perfection!

I’m neither vegan or gluten free, but I love to experiment with other forms of eating to experience m o r e  f o o d. I was able to adapt this recipe from The Truth About Cancer.

I used what I had around the house for nuts, but I’ll list a few alternatives you can use, too!

No Bake Cocoa Maca Pie - GF + Vegan

This pie is filled to the brim with ALL KINDS OF SUPER FOODS! Chia, flaxseed, coconut oil... from how decadent it tastes, its hard to believe its good for you. I was able to adapt this recipe from The Truth About Cancer.

Course Dessert, Snack
Prep Time 20 minutes
setting time 1 hour

Ingredients

crust

  • 3/4 cup raw peacans you can use almonds, cashews or any combination of raw nuts!
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil melted
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup or honey if you’re not strict vegan
  • 144 tsp salt chocolate sea salt from The Spice and Tea Exchange

Filling

  • 1/2 cup raw hazelnuts soaked in water for 4 hours OR macadamia nuts soaked 1 hour OR cashews soaked for 2 hours
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder or dutch cocoa powder add an additional 1/4 cup for a richer, dark chocolate flavour
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil melted
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup or honey if you’re not strict vegan
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp maca powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper optional, but I LOVE the kick it gives the filling!
  • 1/4 cup water optional; to think mixture if needed

Instructions

  1. Use a little bit of oil or nonstick spray to coat 9″pie pan. Add all crust ingredients to a blender or food processor and pulse until combined. Press the mixture evenly into the pie pan and about 1/2″ up the sides and stick it in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

  2. Combine all filling ingredients (except the water) in a blender or food processor until smooth it will be the consistency of thick pudding adding water 1T at a time if needed.

  3. Pour the filling over the crust and set back in the freezer for an hour to set if you’re in a hurry or in the fridge overnight. Let it sit at room temperature for ten minutes to soften if its frozen before cutting into 8 slices. Top with coconut flakes, cocoa nibs or powdered peanut butter.. or eat it plain! Store in the fridge for up to a week.

Recipe Notes

The cayenne gives the pie a wonderful kick, but if you’re not a fan, feel free to skip it!


pickled peppers

Quick Pickled Jalapenos

Just in time for TACO TUESDAY! Only about 30 minutes from prep to jar and you’ll have some UH-MAZING jalapenos for your tacos, nachos or anything else you want to use them for!

I’ve been all about trying to make my own canned items; jam, mayo, pickles.. so when I came across this quick pickling method, I knew I had to share it.

Only a few easy ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry and you’ll be on your way to spicy deliciousness!!

Quick Pickled Jalepenos

I've been all about trying to make my own canned items; jam, mayo, pickles.. so when I came across this quick pickling method, I knew I had to share it.

Only a few easy ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry and you'll be on your way to spicy deliciousness!!

Course Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8-10 jalapeno peppers thinly sliced
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cloves of garlic smashed
  • 1-3 Tbsp white sugar the less sugar, the spicier they’ll be
  • 1 Tbsp salt

Instructions

  1. Combine the vinegar, water, garlic, sugar, and salt in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add the jalapeno slices, stir and remove from heat.

  2. Allow it to sit at least 8 minutes before transferring to a jar. This can be stored in your fridge for up to two months! But first…. let it cool off for an hour or so.

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chicken crust

Protein Packed Pizza! – Buffalo Style

Chicken crust pizza? HECK YEAH. Low-carb, gluten free.. all that jazz and MORE. I’ve got a magical, secret ingredient I’ve used for this recipe… you won’t want to miss it!

You can use pre-ground chicken breast for this recipe if you want, but I wanted to play with my grinding attachment on my KitchenAid. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN.

before the mix

Use what you’ve got available OR tailor it to your needs. Why not use ground turkey? A mix of chicken and beef? I don’t know… whatever you want!

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Kiwi's Lentil Stew and Whole Wheat Naan

Kiwi’s Spicy Lentil Stew

I was able to throw this together using a bunch of stuff I had hanging out in my cupboards! I’ve had lentils in there for what seemed like forever and I needed an excuse to use them up.

This stew is inspired by the flavours of tikka masala, but with a few less tomatoes and a lot more chicken stock. Feel free to adjust the spices to your taste!

 

Kiwi's Slow Cooker Spicy Lentil Stew

This stew is inspired by the flavours of tikka masala, but with a few less tomatoes and a lot more chicken stock. Feel free to adjust the spices to your taste! What I love most about crock pot meals is you can literally toss your ingredients inside, turn it on and in a few hours, you'll have a meal that will seem like you slaved over all day. I won't tell if you won't...

Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Mediterranean
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 whole chicken breasts use tofu or more lentils if you're meatless
  • 2 tomatoes diced
  • 1 can tomatoes and chilies
  • 3 cups chicken stock if using extra lentils to substitute meat, add an extra cup of stock
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 Tbsp ginger grated or in a squeeze paste
  • 1/2 red onion diced
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1.5 Tbsp Garam Masala to taste
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk

Instructions

  1. Throw everything except for the frozen peas and coconut milk into the crockpot on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8hrs.

  2. In the last 30 minutes, take out the chicken and attack the sauce with an immersion blender if you have one, (or you can leave it chunky!) Put the chicken back to shred and add the peas and coconut milk; stirring to combine. Replace the lid and finish cooking time.

  3. Serve in a nice big bowl with a piece of warm naan.

Recipe Notes

Use whatever extra veggies you have around... add some celery or carrots for some extra colour. Maybe even toss in some spinach before serving!


naan

Whole Wheat Naan Bread

You’d think using whole wheat dough would weigh these beauties down and make them less superior to their white flour counterparts.

You’d be wrong.

When I was making my lentil stew, all I could think of was dipping a nice warm piece of naan into it; but I didn’t have any. And because I’ve been without work for a while, I didn’t want to spare the extra moolah to go out and buy any.

I poked around and found the best recipe so I could make it for a fraction of the cost at home.

Whole Wheat Naan

Through my trials of using yeast and whole wheat flour, I've found not all products are created equal. Some brands of flour will rise better than others, but as long as your yeast is still alive, it doesn't effect the tastiness of the bread; just the final "puffed" appearance.

Course Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Rising Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup warm water; around 110F think warm… NOT HOT bath water
  • 2 Tbsp plain Greek yoghurt
  • seasonings of choice I used coconut oil, salt, dried parsley, and minced garlic

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl or in a stand mixed fitted with a dough hook, mix together the flour, yeast, sugar and salt.

  2. Add the yoghurt and slowly begin adding the warm water until a dough starts to form; kneading for about 3-4 minutes until you get a nice smooth texture. If it still sticks to your hands, add some flour to it a little at a time until it no longer sticks.

  3. Cover the bowl and leave it in a warm place to rise; about 2 hours until its doubled in size. Then portion into 6 dough balls and allow to rest another 5-10 minutes.

  4. Heat a skillet over medium heat and spray lightly with oil. On a well floured surface, roll out the dough balls until their about 1/4″ thick and cook on the hot skillet for about 1-2 minutes on each side; spraying the pan with oil between each piece.

  5. Season as desired and serve warm with your favourite stew, Indian cuisine or use it as a base for a pizza! The possibilities are endless!

Recipe Notes

Thanks to Amy at Amy's Healthy Baking for giving me the tip to combine Gold Medal whole wheat flour and Red Star yeast for the best rising results!

Kiwi's Lentil Stew and Whole Wheat Naan

Kiwi’s Lentil Stew and Whole Wheat Naan

Here are just a few other recipes this would pair well with:

Tofu Tikka Masala – Vegan and Gluten Free!
Stupid easy pizza sauce

Kiwi’s Spicy Lentil Stew
Simple Beef and Stout Stew