Category: Substitutions

How I encourage clean eating with teens

Ok… let’s just say from the get-go that it’s not easy.  I have gotten to where I am because I chose to research like crazy for, well, years really.  And to be honest.. it’ll never stop.  But, I’m also sensible enough to remember what I was like as a teenager.  I could eat whatever I liked…  never got sick, or had what I now know to be food related health issues.  Even the things that are indicators of unwise eating for me now.. like intestinal discomfort (that’s a nice way of saying borderline constipation 🤣), headaches, gas, sluggishness.. that kinda thing…  wasn’t an issue for me (as far as I can try and remember it anyway).

And to be real….  I pretty much ate whatever I wanted until after having my first bubba at 24yrs old… and didn’t have to even think about making ‘healthy choices’ until after that… and if I’m real honest, it was totally about weight management. (aka.. caring what I looked like… aka vanity🤔) . I did, however, make good choices around pregnancy… no deli meats, weird seafood… that kinda thing.  I also began drinking water regularly when I was pregnant.. and that’s actually where I developed my love for drinking water.  It was just convenient that you kinda NEED to drink lots of water regularly when breast feeding.. and seeing I was pretty much pregnant or breastfeeding from mid 2000 until mid 2003… and then pregnant with James in mid 2004, breastfeeding until mid 2006, I formed good habits that continue today.  #thankfulI

(somehow, without even trying really, having developed a love of drinking water in my kiddos, but that solely comes down to it being the only thing I gave them when they were young.  There was no cordial or juice in our house.. they may have had juice as a treat.. but they never had soft drink.. and even now, don’t like it much.  Jordan is the only one who drink some occasionally. )

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So, I am able to see why they don’t automatically just take on what I have to say around their health and the correlation to their eating.  I didn’t give two hoots at their age either.. I had no reason to care about it.  My 17yr old son Jordan is mindful re eating… but that is solely around body image.  He wants to look a certain way, so he exercises and eats in a way that will best help him achieve that.  He does still have his ‘naughty’ eating though.. so he’s still very much a normal teen in that way.

My 18yr old daughter, TJ….  well, let’s just say she probably has a % of Nutella flowing through her blood stream.  How she doesn’t experience negative issues due to her Nutella consumption is simply beyond me.  I mean, as I said, I didn’t care what I ate as I teen.. but I also never consumed things like Nutella by the tubful.  🤣 .   Anyway…  we’ll just need to let that one run it’s course.. only she will deal with the negative (if any) issues that come from her Nutella addiction.  (Maybe there’s a Nutella addicts anonymous ??  who knows.😂) . And yes, trust me, I’ve tried to make my own, buy healthier versions etc etc.. no luck so far.)

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My 14yr old, James… while not really caring about his food intake from a healthy point of view.. he also doesn’t really have any hugely unhealthy things that he eats.  The issue with him, which has some correlation with his ADHD meds, is actually getting him to eat at times.  If he’s focused on something… or basically if there’s something more interesting to do…  he simply won’t eat.  And seeing that his medication can only be given to him if he within a healthy weight range.. it’s super important to keep him fed.

I really do see it as part of my responsibility as their mother to respect THEIR temples…  while they don’t have the maturity to do it themselves.  I was blessed with those kiddos, I and I need to look after them.. that pretty much covers it really.

And then there’s my DH, Terry…  He doesn’t really care about healthy eating….  that’s about all I have to say about that.  LOL

Then we get around to me….  in the interest of total honesty… Peanut M & Ms are my kryptonite..  #nuffsaid

OK.. so now that I’ve thoroughly thrown us all under the bus….  let’s look at how  I deal with this as a family.

Thrown Under Bus

It’s is a pretty important to me (that’s putting it mildly) to put a very healthy meal on the table each evening.  I want out ‘meat and dairy footprint’ to be less than it has in the past, so usually, our meals would be considered Vegan, if not for the meat. LOL.  I use organic extra virgin coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil, to cook in…  a dairy free butter for spreading, or to cook in with veggies etc, cashew meal replicates the cheese flavour in pretty much all meals.  Some cheese may go on the top of spag bol etc, but other than that..no cheese.  When making any recipes that would have previously begun with a bechamel sauce, they now start with coconut cream, cashew meal & the vegan butter, Nuttelex.

Shameless Nuttelex plug…  Dairy free, Lactose free, Nut oil free, Gluten free, Soy free, Cholesterol free oil, Salt reduced, Contains Vit D, Natural flavour and colours.  The main ingredients are basically Olive Oil & Sunflower seed.

Having a family that loves curries is super easy too, as you can so easily substitute with coconut milk/cream.. and a dairy free yoghurt.  In those types of recipes, you can’t even tell it’s a dairy free option used.

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We also have ‘Meat free Mondays’… but it sometimes end up ‘meat free whatever night it happens’.  It’s super super easy to make yummy vegan meals if you do just a little bit of research.  The stigma around vegan meals is downright ridiculous.  Now, to be clear, I’m not promoting a 100% Vegan diet, at all… I love my chicken and steak too much for that…  but I do wholeheartedly believe that our meat and dairy consumption is ridiculously glutinous.   I believe this very strongly as a Christian also !  Scripture backs the premise that meat was originally not even ‘on the table’, and even once it was ‘permissible’ following the flood, it was a luxury… not a main staple.  The mass production of our meat industry is disgusting.. but hey, don’t get me started.

So, the biggest way I combat my teens lack of interest in eating healthy, is to put that healthy, appealing meal on the table each evening.   While I transitioned to dairy free milk nearly 3yrs ago, we are now a dairy free milk family as a whole.  It was a gradual thing though… with Jordan he was convinced by doing some research himself and finding out that milk products are like moths to a flame when it comes to acne… and what teen likes acne.. so over he came to the dairy free side.  My husband was convinced when he received a high cholesterol result in a blood test around his 50th b’day.  He could have just gone to a lighter milk option.. but hey, I shamelessly took the opportunity when it was presented to me.  ha ha.

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By this point, with it being 3 against 2, it was a foregone conclusion that we were going to go 100% dairy free milk as a family… but both James and Tyler-Jasmine were easily swayed by the possibility of acne improvement too.

We did play around with different options for a while, and finally everyone was happy with Rice Milk.  Sadly, there’s still one certain 14yr old who much prefers the white rice milk as opposed to the healthy option of brown rice milk… but hey.. take the wins where they come.

With that change in the family diet, breakfast was sorted, as all 3 kids, and my husband, like weetbix for breakky each morning.  No, I don’t think it’s the healthiest breakfast one could consume.. but hey, it’s far from the worst.

Snacks are typically tricky… I myself, don’t snack to be honest.  I’ll have a bliss ball if I’ve made them.. but as a general rule, I don’t snack.  I would like to improve in that area though, as besides fruit & good quality muesli bars….  the boys don’t take much else in the snack department.

Lunch can be an issue… and here’s where I’ve decided to ‘regress’ in some ways.  My kids were encouraged to be independent with lunch (& brekky) from a fairy young age….  and that’s what has happened for many years now.  Only thing is, I noticed that fairly basic things were being taken to school each day (that’s if anything was taken), and sometimes on weekends, I would notice that they didn’t eat lunch at all. It was then that I made the decision that I’d much prefer them ate well then argue with them about health and wellbeing…  which, as I’ve already said, they pretty much don’t give two hoots about.

So, yes, I do now make my son’s lunches each day… and I don’t mind doing it.  I would much rather they had good healthy food intake in these really important developing years, than have them eat food very low in nutrition, because I’m being a stick in the mud regarding independence.  They’ve got their adult lives to make bad food choices, and I won’t be able to do a thing about it… but while I can have a say in what goes into their bodies, then I’m going to to that.  Even my husband, who, for context, just walked in the door from woolies with dairy iced coffee and a bag of choc covered honeycombs.. Arrrggghhh…  he will go without lunch when busy, rather than make himself something… so I don’t have an issue with making him something.  I mean really… with those rubbish choices, I’ve gotta get as much nutrition in as I can.  😂

While I’m here..  a hot tip for you…  If you suggest to your family to use wholemeal bread/wraps instead of white…. or to add spinach to their wrap/sandwhich…  they won’t be too keen initially…  but you make them a toastie on healthy bread, with healthier ingredients.. and all you’ll hear is “Thanks Mum!”  As I’ve said before… sooooo much of it is about healthy substitutions.

That pretty much tells you how I subtly indoctrinate my family into the healthy eating lifestyle..  😂🤣🤣 #noshame #letshopeitsticks

Blessings Peeps…  Remember to Respect the temple, inside & out . xx

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Healthy on the hols

Hi all !!

I just wanted to jump on and share 3 things with you ….  how much I LOVE my smoothies of a morning, how easy it is to make simple substitutions in order to still have a ‘treat’ when out & about…. and lastly, how creating a yummy healthy dinner is actually fun to do !!

So, EVERY single morning starts with a Healthy Mummy Smoothie….  I’m in a bit of choc cherry or Raspberry Ripple phase at present, but really any flavour is divine !!

My husband is constantly in awe at how much I actually pack into my brekky smoothie, so here’s a run down on what goes into every morning smoothie.

I used to put almond milk in my smoothies, but ran out one day, so simple threw a handful of almonds in with water.. and it tasted just as good.  So I thought…  well, that’s gotta be a healthier option.  If you look at the nutritional info on a carton of almond milk (even the good organic activated almond milk), the % of almonds is pretty darn low.  This way, I know I’m actually getting a good amount of almonds in.

So, along with the almonds and water, goes a frozen banana, 2 or 3 frozen strawberries, (usually some frozen blueberries, but I actually forgot them this morning, .. whoopsie), a big ole spoonful of LSA (Yes, I know I’m doubling up on almonds.. but hey, there’s worse things to double up on, right?), Organic cacao, Maca powder, Chia seeds, Hemps seeds & the HM mix.   This one had some organic cacao nibs on top with the blueberries and strawberry too.   Whip it up in the trusty Ninja Auto IQ.. and you’ve got yourself a nutrient dense, yet delicious, breakfast !!

I literally go to bed each night looking forward to my smoothie… it’s crazy right?  I did wonder when I started with HM whether I’d get bored with them, or get sick of making them each morning, but no… I still LOVE it.  I also wondered how I’d go thru winter.. whether I’d like getting up and having a cold smoothie on a cold morning.. but I actually went through last winter still having one each day.  There was one morning that I made a warm smoothie, using the thermomix, after seeing a HM recipe for it. I really did like it, but didn’t actually make another.. so who knows if I’ll do more of that in winter this year.

I also have come to love using my ‘smoothie time’ as my quiet time with The Lord.  I make my delish smoothie, make it pretty (a totally unnecessary part of smoothie time.. but hye, it makes it more special.. like you’ve having a smoothie from Charlies Raw Squeeze.. lol).. and then go sit somewhere nice and get into the Word.  I GREAT way to spend part of your morning.  I’m still working on ‘becoming an early morning person’…  (says the blogger at the computer after 10pm).  It just seems to make so much sense to me.. to get up by 6, have a solid hour with The Lord.. and then tackle the day… but I’m not there yet, so currently have a quiet time of about 20-25mins.

OK… jump forward into the day.. and we decided to head to the beach around lunchtime as there’s not too many of these opportunities left before school goes back.  I totally could have taken something with me to eat, but part of the fun of a ‘beach trip’ is the chips on bread lunch/arv tea you have after a swim in the ocean.

Sooooooo, here’s how I still have my ‘treat’ with the kiddos, while fueling my body the best way I can in the situation.

If you’re not Australian, and you’re reading this…. that pic on the left, is a VERY Aussie beach meal.  A ‘chip sanga’.  Not many would choose to have it on multigrain, but hey…  I actually like it.. and it meant I was actually adding some nutrition to what would normally not have much.

In years gone by, the chip sanga would have gone down VERY well with a Pepsi Max, but today… a delish Watermelon water was my selection.. and man, it was no sacrifice.  It was downright divine !!  I have had this one before, so knew it was going to be yum.. but still.  It meant that I ate alongside my kiddos.. enjoying the beach lunch experience with them.   Being healthy isn’t just about the food & exercise peeps !!!  However, I can’t help myself, I did walk out a mere 5000 steps along the beach while the kids rode the waves.

OK… an hour drive home… and it’s time to tackle my challenge for the week….  instead of ‘meat free Monday’.. I decided to challenge myself to a ‘meat free week’.  It’s too much to go into right now, but when my niece went vegetarian a few years back, I decided to look into and do some research as to why people think it’s a better option.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my chicken and beef far too much to go vegetarian, but after all the research I did, I certainly do believe there is too much meat production in the world.  As a result, I made the decision to go one night a week without meat… but I’d like to aim for 3 or 4 nights per week as meat free.

What had me seeing it as difficult tho is I didn’t think I could come up with enough options to reduce our meat intake, but after I came across a page last night, I’ve put together a list of options.

Here they are  – Vegetarian lasagna, soup, fritters, spinach and ricotta cannelloni, veggie bake, mushroom risotto, chick pea & veg curry, flafel burgers, sweet potato and feta sausage rolls, veggie nachos with guacamole, veggie frittata, roast pumpkin and quinoa salad, quesadillas with beans, spinach & ricotta pastries, bbq halloumi & veg kebabs.. and vegetarian pizza.

Tonight, I decided to simply start at the top of the list and make veggie lasagna.  We actually ended up having friends over for diner last minute, so they were my little guinea pigs.  lol.

I was honestly just making it up as I went along (see, it’s fun !! )….  randomly putting in whatever I thought would work…  actually being so lazy that I didn’t even make a cheese sauce, but only poured a can of coconut cream over one of the layers.  I also used lavash bread instead of the lasagna sheets.  One, because it’s a healthier option.. and two, because it gets dinner on the table WAY faster.

My method was – Slice up 2 sweet potatoes and lay the pieces on a pan and drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the top, then season with S & P.  In a 180 degree FF oven for approx 20mins.  While they’re cooking, slice up 2 big zucchinis and 4 large carrots and microwave them for 10mins (if I had more time, I would’ve steamed them though).  Once everything is ready, simply start constructing layers in an oven proof rectangular dish.  I added a can of diced tomatoes, a can of corn kernels, the sweet potato, carrot and zucchini slices, some cream cheese spread dollops, some chopped mushys,  the coconut cream.. and some grated cheese on top.  It only took maybe 10mins in the oven as there’s really nothing to cook.

I’d love to show you a picture, as it actually came out of the oven looking gorgeous.. but it got eaten too quickly.  I do have 2 serves left tho… so I’m now hanging out for lunch t’row.  ha ha.

OK..  so there you have it… a day of Fi’s meals.  A little bit of a treat with the chip sanga, but overall, a very good food day, nutritionally speaking.

Still #respectingthetemple

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So, what’s my secret ?

Since getting full-on serious about dropping unhealthy weight from my body last September, I’ve shed 15kgs.  The thing I get asked most often is “What’s your secret?”

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Well, this is one secret I’m not gonna keep…. you’re all welcome to it. ha ha.

2 key words…. and neither of them is exercise..  (calm down…  exercise is certainly one of the secondary key words.)

OK.. so #1 is DIET !!  Now, let’s be clear…  when I say ‘diet’, I DO NOT mean I ‘went on a diet’.. and you’ll never hear me telling you to ‘go on a diet’ either.   By ‘diet’, I mean what goes in your mouth each and every day, for the rest of your life.    Don’t think you can make changes by not making any changes.  (yeah, I know.. that’s a meme.)

I had to examine my diet and work at eliminating the foods that didn’t feed me in a 100% positive way.  I had been finding for years that I felt pretty sluggish after each time having dairy, mainly milk.  I seemed to get away with cheese and butter ok…  but pretty much all other dairy has had to go.  This was a little sad for me, as I really used to love a tall glass of super cold milk !!  But never fear, it’s all good, as now I love a tall glass of super cold almond milk (preferably with coffee in it.. lol) !!

I also upped (as I was already pretty good with fruit & veg etc) my wholefoods intake.  The dead-set easiest way to add fantastic nutritional goodness to your diet is with brekky smoothies.  for example, adding a small zucchini to your morning smoothie may sound kinda gross, but honestly, you don’t even know it’s there once blitzed up, and you’ve just added amazing life giving nutrients to your body to start your day.

Unhealthy carbs had to go too !!  Did you know that many fruit juices are super high in carbs?  I once heard Candace Cameron Bure say that she’d rather eat her calories than drink them.. and I so agree.  I’d so rather add some ‘treats’ to a healthy meal with a similar amount of carbs to a glass of OJ, that you knock back a glass and be done & dusted.

Examples of whole carbs include vegetables, whole fruit, legumes, potatoes and whole grains. These foods are generally healthy (when had in moderation). On the other hand, refined carbs include sugar-sweetened beverages, fruit juices, pastries, white bread, white pasta, white rice and others.

To put into perspective the goodness within healthy carbs, check out these 4 popular choices and their differences…

  • Corn (1 cup): 41 grams of carbs, 5 of which are fibre
  • Potato (1 medium): 37 grams of carbs, 4 of which are fibre
  • Sweet potato/yam (1 medium): 24 grams of carbs, 4 of which are fibre
  • Beets (1 cup, cooked): 16 grams of carbs, 4 of which are fibre

Soft drink went from being a once a week treat, to a ‘maybe when out for dinner, but hardly ever’ treat.  I thought it would be hard, but it actually hasn’t been.  I keep good quality iced tea sachets in the house, and whenever a full on craving hits me, I just grab one of those, and it hits the spot.  (PS.. I buy X50.. here is a link to their website to check out their products. ) . Remember though, that these drinks do contain sugar, so be sensible about when you have them.  Post workout is a great idea, or just prior to when you know you’ll still knock some calories off.  ie.. an evening walk, or tready sesh.  :0)

So, #2 key word is SUBSTITUTION !!  The two do overlap a fair bit, but let’s look at the easy ways you can budge that unhealthy weight by implementing some really simple substitutions.

Bread…  if you must have it, avoid white bread, and grab the multigrain or mixed seed etc.   (better still, make your own using a healthy flour choice like coconut or spelt.)

Cereals – If you tend to lean towards the sugary cereals, find something with grains & fruit in it.  Muesli is a fantastic option.. or overnight oats, chia pudding etc etc.   (let’s be real… I’m a brekkie smoothie girl all the way, but hey, if you like cereal… knock yourself out, but do it with a healthier option.)

Milk (we’ve already covered this… but here’s some additional info ) – swap to a dairy free option. While cows milk is still packed with nutritious goodness,  almond or coconut milk are a far better option.  Almond milk generally contains fewer calories than cow’s milk, but it depends on the type of milk you buy. Unsweetened almond milk provides just 30 calories per cup, vs. 90 calories in a cup of skim cow’s milk. One-percent low-fat milk contains 110 calories, two-percent milk provides 130 calories, and whole cow’s milk contains 150 calories per cup. Sweetened vanilla-flavoured almond milk generally contains 90 calories in each cup. (Praise the Lord for Espresso Almond Milk !!)

Yoghurt – Change over to a greek yoghurt, and sweeten it with berries etc.  Adding healthy nuts etc adds a fantastic texture sensation.

Pasta – As with the bread, reach for the wholemeal option… or go really crazy like me and whip yourself up some zoodles to have with your fav bolognese mince sauce.  It’s crazy easy to do with a spiralizer from ebay.  There’s some big price differences, but I honestly paid approx $12 for mine and it works a treat.  If you’re thinking it’s too much of a pain to do something different for you than the rest of the fam… it’s really not.  As you don’t actually need to cook the zucchini, it only really needs a minute dunking in boiling water.  (Don’t take the pasta from your kiddos diet, as they kinda need those carbs for their ever growing, ever active bodies. )

You can also change over to Pulse Pasta.  Pulses are part of the legume family, the term “pulse” referring to the dried seed. Dried peas, dried beans, lentils and chickpeas are the most common varieties of pulses. Pulses are very high in protein and fiber, antioxidants, and low in fat!

Rice – Once again, stay away from the white rice and grab for the brown rice… or better still, swap over to Quinoa. Both foods’ calories come primarily from their carbohydrate content, and a serving of brown rice or quinoa offers 22 or 20 grams of carbohydrates, respectively. However, quinoa offers more dietary fibre and protein than brown rice, so it should make for a more filling addition to your diet than brown rice.

Spreads – Before you grab for that strawberry jam off the supermarket shelf, consider making your own, or if you’re not into that, find a local market that stocks 100% fruit jam.  You won’t regret it, and you’ll soon wonder how you ever ate that other stuff.  If it’s peanut butter that you love to smear on your toast…  grab the 100% version.. whether it be peanut, almond or cashew butter.  If you’ve got a thermomix, or a good food processor, grab some raw peanuts from a good health food store or stockist, and blitz up your own.  It really is a super easy thing to do.  (& you’ll feel super clever for doing it.. ha ha)

Meats – Go for your leaner options, (and watch your portion size).  Chicken breast over chicken thigh for example.  Salmon is a great choice also.  Pork chops used to be on the doctors’ hit list. Today, however, pork is “the other white meat” and is a healthy alternative to red meat. And when it’s eaten in moderation, a pork chop can be quite good for you. Pork chops can be relatively lean, but they’re typically not as low-fat as chicken or fish.  If you love yourself a good steak every now and then (as I do), don’t deprive yourself, just stick to a better cut (sorry, yes, it is dearer), but it also usually comes in a much smaller portion size too.  eg..  an eye fillet piece (also known as fillet steak, beef fillet and beef tenderloin) is usually only around 200g.  (bear in mind that is still about double the recommended intake for a woman at a meal, so factor that in with what the side dishes are…  in other words.. skip the fries, go the salad.) .

Still on the meat substitutions, make sure you are buying the best quality sausages you can, if that’s something your family likes (as mine do).  There are lots of great healthy meals you can make with sausages, so source some good ones, and go your hardest.  Same theory with mince… buy the 5 star (but having said that, the Aldi 3 star is pretty darn good at my local Aldi store.)

Drinks – We’ve covered this a little, but the best piece of advice I can give you for fluid intake is WATER WATER WATER !!!  Yes, I know some of you are probably cringing right now, but it really is true that LIKE ATTRACTS LIKE !!  Get yourself an app on your phone.. and start drinking more water… you really will be so glad you did !!  You’ll feel so much better across the board..  hair, nails, skin…  and just in yourself in general.

When water just won’t hit the spot (there are ALWAYS gonna be those times), as I said, make yourself up an iced tea, or if you really can’t go without a soft drink, at least go for a sugar free option.. but let’s be real…  just think chemical poo storm.. and you’re right on track.  That info alone is usually enough to keep me away from it.  There is also great options you can source when out and about, without having to grab a sugary soft drink.  Just take not of where you find them, so you know where you can and can’t source a healthier option.

I’m afraid I can’t really speak much for hot drinks as I really don’t have a lot of them, but we all know tea is good for you.. and coffee has it’s benefits too.  Just watch the frequency in which you’re having them.. and if you need to sweeten, look at a Stevia option, or something similar.

Eating out – I know we talked about the steak option when eating out, but there’s other great healthier options you can go with when out with friends.  There is usually a low carb bread option available for a burger, steak sandwhich or toastie, and if you want those fries with it, go the sweet potato ones (they’re way yummier anyway.)

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One tip I can give though is that it is far easier to eat a meal out and eat healthily, than it is to have a snack/coffee date out.

Snacks at home – I’ve never been a real bikkie eater, but if you are… let’s think about breaking that habit.  There is little to NO nutritional goodness in a biscuit.. just a whole pile of sugar to make you sluggish, clog your pores and rot your teeth. (sorry..  not sorry).  If you have a sweet tooth, you may find this a more difficult transition, but try and swap over to savoury snack options, rather than sweet.  You’ll be glad you did.  You can still add some sweetness to your snacks by including things like plums, dates etc etc.

(PS.. if you’re organised, you can also take this out with you when you’re having that coffee catch up that you know will not have any healthy choices on offer. )

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And finally.. and this isn’t a food one….  Go to bed early and GET MORE SLEEP !!!!  It’s beyond beneficial for your body, your mental health.. and your general wellbeing.  So, turn Netflix off, and go to bed !!!

I hope this has given you a bit of an idea on some simple substitutions that can make a big difference to not only your waistline, but how you feel in general.

Partner these simple substitutions with some gentle exercise 3 times per week (obviously more than gentle, based on how quickly/the results you want to achieve.) . If there’s a stand-out that I’ve learnt in the last 10months, it’s that the 80-20 rule is TOTALLY true.  It’s 80% diet, and only 20% exercise.  I’ve been exercising very well for 4 or 5 years now, but it was only when I seriously looked at my diet that I saw real change.

The point was also proven in recent weeks when I couldn’t exercise at anywhere near my normal level after my foot injury, and then surgery 2wks ago… but the scales still showed a loss each Saturday morning.  Not huge, but a loss nonetheless.

OK…  let’s keep respecting the temple together

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