Like Iron for Vegetarians

A vegetarian diet is great, but there’s a lot of nonsense out there about filling your nutritional requirements on a vegetarian diet.

We are probably meant to eat some meat. You need iron and B12, and these things are tricky on a fully natural vegetarian diet.  Your doctor might tell you that spinach is an excellent source of iron, but this is largely a myth.  Also – you might eat all the lentils in the world and still end up severely anemic.

Things like iron and B12 are not always easy to get from plants. You can get them from fortified cereals and such, but if you don’t eat processed foods – then you could run into some trouble.  And even if you do eat fortified foods, you can still run into some trouble.

If you’re a female who doesn’t eat much meat – do yourself a favor and track your iron levels.  Not just hemoglobin but indications of stored iron (ferritin).

I’m very careful to eat plenty of veg iron sources. Even so, I’m dealing with a second bout of severe anemia in two years.  The creepy thing about low iron is you might not feel anything is wrong until your levels are catastrophic.

Once you’ve depleted your iron stores, your hemoglobin might come up quickly with supplementation but it could take months to relieve symptoms. I’ve been taking iron twice daily for almost a month, and now finally starting to feel relatively normal.

Also, iron supplementation is not fun, as iron pills have plenty of unpleasant side effects. So really, it’s better to prevent problems.

Unfortunately, way too many doctors know nothing about nutrition or don’t think to order the most obvious test.

If you’re feeling fatigued, there are doctors who will tell you to get some exercise. If your iron stores are catastrophically low, this will only make the problem worse. You need to be your own health advocate and learn what tests to ask for, what good numbers look like, and what advice you should take with a grain of salt.

A CBC will give you your hemoglobin levels, which should be at least 12 for females. I just bought a copper sulfate solution on Amazon to self-monitor my hemoglobin (this is what they use at blood banks to quickly disqualify you from donation if your hemoglobin < 12.5). But you should get a blood test for accuracy.

In most states (not NJ), you can get a ferritin test for less than $30 without visiting a doctor 

Last time I tested my ferritin, I was at a 7 and I felt like death.  My doctor didn’t even think to order the test, didn’t pay any attention to the number, and tried to send me to a rheumatologist.

Trust your own intuition, and do what you can to come to your doctor prepared. If your doctor says something that betrays a lack of common sense, go to a second doctor.  A medical degree does not make a good doctor, just as a law degree does not make a good lawyer.

That said, Iron can be very dangerous to supplement if your levels are not low, so make sure you know where you stand before trying anything.

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GoodRX.com

Ok, so admittedly this blog post has nothing to do with fatness or fitness. But sometimes a tantientally related website makes its way into my life, and I feel I must share it.

www.GoodRX.com – for those without prescription coverage is a really an awesome resource that I very much wish I had found sooner.

This website will compare pharmacies BY PRICE, giving you the ability to get the best price on your prescriptions. It’s likely that all your local pharmacies are listed.

I used it this weekend, and saved on prescriptions that I had apparently been overpaying for for years. #awyiss

Hope this does some good for someone out there.  Please share with any of your friends who you feel might benefit from this information.

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Happy Holler-ween

As the sluttiest of all holidays, Halloween is a great time to enjoy those weight loss results.

Here is what I look like now:

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neanderthal

And here is what I used to look like just a few years ago:

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yikes!

Just in case you think I’m particularly strong in the willpower department, I can assure you that I’m not.

I’m also not particularly hard-working, never deny myself chocolate, and NEVER exercise unless I actually want to (that said, I enjoy walking).

I’ve struggled with weight for a long time, and it took me a lifetime to figure out what works for me. For me, it boils down to three things:

  1. Keeping bad stuff out of the house;
  2. Setting myself up for success (ie.. understanding the reality of willpower depletion, and knowing my own weaknesses);
  3. Eating mostly veg, and a little bit of everything else

This is not just about looks.  It’s about empowerment mental health, and also physical health.  It’s about being a version of yourself that you are genuinely proud of.

Living a lifestyle that allows you to feel and look your best is not easy, but it’s also not that hard.  Every person deserves to look as beautiful and vivacious on the outside as they feel on the inside.  You just need to figure out what works for you. And never give up on yourself.  Past results are NOT binding! 

If you find yourself in a bad place now, just know that I’ve been there, and so have my friends and co-contributors to this blog. I don’t mean to say you’re not good enough as you are, but rather that you should live the full life you want to live.

You don’t have to lose a billion pounds this week, and you don’t have to run a marathon today.  Just make one small change and stick to it this week.  Next week, try another.

If I can do it, then anyone can do it.  Put in the effort now, and make the small changes.  By next Halloween, you’ll be strutting your stuff with the best of them 🙂

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How a Blank Calendar Can Help You Lose Weight

Dun Dun Dun! Introducing, one of the most powerful (and understated) weight loss tools in the known universe. A blank calendar for the month of November 2016.

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The Power of a Blank Calendar

You might have read my earlier post about the fresh start hypothesis.  If so, you know that a clean slate (for example, a new month or week) can either help or hurt your weight loss efforts, depending on your own circumstances.

The blank calendar is mighty.  Why?

  • It’s a great way to leverage the positive psychological benefits of “starting fresh.”
  • It forces you to break a large daunting goal into smaller, more immediate goals (which translates to a higher rate of sustained motivation and success).
  • The concrete action of writing your goals down might alone be enough to keep you sticking to them
  • It can serve as a visual reminder of the bigger picture, which helps when motivation starts to wane
  • It’s effectively free! (Provided you have access to a computer and printer).

How to Use a Blank Calendar for Weight Loss

Step One. Find a printable blank calendar (I googled “blank calendar 2016”) and print said calendar
Step Two. Choose an achievable weight loss goal for one month (for example, 8 pounds). Subtract this goal from your current weight, and write your new goal weight the last day of the month.
Step Four. Create weekly weight loss goals, and write each new weekly weight at the end of each week.
Step Five. Surrender to the blank calendar (optional).
Step Six. Tape the calendar somewhere visible.
Step Seven. At the end of each week, reevaluate your goals. If you lost more than your weekly goal, you can change your next weekly goal post to reflect your current weight. If you lost less than your weekly goal, you can do the same. The key is that you can keep adjusting your goals as you get closer to the end of the month. (For more details, see this post.)

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Your calendar might look something like this.

But How Do I Actually Lose Weight?

Obviously, the calendar itself is not a weight loss plan.  It’s just a tool to help you stay organized and to improve your stick-to-itness.

As far as losing the weight itself – there are plenty of different ways.  The right way will depend largely on your own circumstances and preferences, but removing processed foods and focusing on a plant based diet will likely go a long way.  In any event, you need to do what works for you.

Additional Uses of the Blank Calendar

In addition to using the blank calendar to plan your weight goals, you can also use the blank calendar to plan concrete actions on specific days to help you reach those goals.

These actions can be related to food intake or to exercise. Just remember to keep your actions achievable.

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Example of calendar with concrete behavioral actions

Also, keep in mind that missing one day doesn’t mean you should give up on the rest.  In fact, you will be better off if you plan for failure.

Rewards.  You can also use weekly or monthly rewards for making your goals (mani-pedi, anyone?).  Just remember not to be too hard on yourself if you miss a week.  Weight is weird, and it’s not the best measure of fat loss. On my own weight loss journey, I found that I lost weight 3 out of 4 weeks.

If you try this method, let me know how it works out for you.

If you have any thoughts on modifications, I’d love to hear those also.

Happy calendaring 🙂

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Falling into Fatness

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As a basic millennial of the female type, I am under enormous pressure to enjoy Fall.

Yes, I’m white. Female. Twenty-something.  I understand well what my obligations are.

Boots are cute, everything is orange, and all the pumpkins have features carved into them. I get it. And I don’t mean to distance myself from my cohort, but I just don’t enjoy Autumn.  (Except, of course, for all the dogs in costumes.)

Fall makes me cold, and when I’m cold I want to eat creamy delicious things called “food.” When the leaves drop off, my body begins to sense that Winter is coming. This bodes poorly for my upper arms.

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my only consolation

In Summer, hot long days bring me joy and food barely crosses my mind.  During Fall, I sometimes find myself wondering how the fella adjacent to me on the subway would taste drenched in Nutella.

Speaking of which, I had a rough weekend.

I ate a jar of Nutella – the whole jar. (In all fairness to me, it happened over a two day period. But also, I ate it with buttery crackers).

This is what happens in Fall. Bad bad things. Bad chocolatey things.

I don’t consider eating a jar of Nutella a setback, actually. And I’m not “Falling” into Fatness.

My former self would ruminate, and to be perfectly honest – my current self is doing some of that also. But my current self also has a sense of proportion: Nutella happens, life goes on.

Fall is an easy time to put on weight for me, as I suspect it is for many people. But the key, I think, is to allow yourself to let go a little and remind yourself that not every decision needs to be a great decision.  The important thing is that you regularly make good decisions.

There is no such thing as falling off the bandwagon. There is no such thing as “all or nothing.” To the extent these things exist, they are products of your own imagination. Products of my own imagination, and I’ve lived with them for years.

This weekend I ate an entire jar of Nutella. With crackers. But today, I’ll eat eggs and veggies. I love eggs and veggies, and I’ll enjoy the contrast.

I don’t think weight maintenance should be such a tricky thing. It’s hard as long as you make it hard, and for me, it’s harder in the colder months.

My simple tricks are these:

  1. don’t freak out;
  2. don’t keep tempting caloric things in the house;
  3. don’t avoid the scale (catch problems while they’re small)
  4. exercise if you want (long walks are nice)

I’m also going to try a bit harder to find joy in the colder months. Starting with cute new Fall boots, and MAYBE (just maybe) a new fitness regimen 🙂

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Cheat Clean Pizza

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This pizza is awesome and so is my Pusheen cat eating pizza shirt

You are so lucky that I am not greedy when it comes to sharing food or I would have never provided this gem of a product to you. It’s called Real Good Pizza and it’s delivered straight to your door.

Christmas came early this year and all of Santa’s Little Helpers are putting together these little, beautiful, tasty pizzas to drop at your front door. Just because you’ve eaten bad here and there doesn’t mean you’ll get a lump of coal this year. Santa actually wants to help you reach your goal while enjoying guilt free, gluten free, grain free pizza.

Whoever created this is like the Steve Jobs of pizza or wait, the Mozart of pizza, ok last one, the Picasso of Pizza (ba dum tss!)

These 5” pizzas are packed with 25g of protein and only 4g net carbs. This is a low carbers dream! Three styles available for purchase: Pepperoni, Supreme, and Three Cheese 

Shipping is free and usually arrives within 2-3 business days and if you use code Rachel , you will get an additional 10% off your order.

Prep is easy as well- either microwave or oven and it has such a fresh taste. I served it along side a salad and was totally satisfied. My Husband is a huge evening snacker but he was so happy with this dinner that he didn’t reach for a snack last night. This is the definition of #cheatclean

One more thought before I go-

Pizza is life!

XOXO,

Rachel

Hump Day snackaroo

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This picture does the fudge no justice…just sayin’ …don’t judge a book by it’s cover

On Wednesday’s I usually post music to get us through the rest of the week but today I decided to share a no bake-6 ingredient fudge recipe.

Some strawberries, fudge and a little mid week lovin’, not a bad deal, huh?

Low carb mid week lovin’ fudge:

Ingredients:

  • 3oz Baker’s unsweetened chocolate (this can be purchased at any supermarket in the baking aisle) *one bar has eight servings = 90cal per serving 1g of NET carbs per serving
  • 4tbls butter
  • 1 tbls coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup natural peanut butter (or peanut butter of choice)
  • 1 tbsp sugar free syrup- I used Torani (Found mine at Home Goods)
  • 1/3 cup honey but I am sure agave or maple work

Directions:

  • Melt all ingredients in microwave or double broiler if you have the patience
  • Line a meatloaf pan with parchment paper
  • Pour mixture evenly throughout pan
  • Freeze for about 2 hours but longer the better

XOXO,

Rachel

 

Updates-Taco Tuesday Recipe-Music

Hi All,

Can’t believe it’s already September! Speaking of which….Why are Halloween decorations already for sale? No, wait, why are THANKSGIVING decorations already for sale?

Stop- slow down…smell the roses! Time is flying by so fast… everybody needs to relax.

My Husband and I completed our second mud run- Warrior Dash … what can I say, we love getting down and dirty.

We wanted to get one more trip in before the end of the year so we will be celebrating Thanksgiving in Prague!

This past weekend my two other blog-mates and I got to stand along side our friend and watched her marry the love of her life.

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I discovered a delicious taco bake recipe that I would like to share with all of you! I am in love with this recipe for several reasons: It’s versatile (can add/swap ingredients), make a big batch to last all week or to freeze, it’s low carb, easy and quick to cook.

Taco bake recipe found here *I did make some changes to fit my needs so check out the original if you do not wish to follow mine

Ingredients

Crust

  • 4oz of cream cheese softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon taco seasoning
  • 8oz shredded cheddar cheese (I used taco blend- that’s what I had on hand)

Topping

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3 teaspoons taco seasoning
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce (I did not have this on hand so I used marinara and tasted just fine!)
  • 4oz chopped green chilies
  • 4oz shredded cheddar cheese (I used taco blend)

Directions 

  • Preheat oven to 375F
  • Beat cream cheese and eggs until smooth
  • Add whipping cream and seasoning- blend well
  • Grease a 9 x 13 pan
  • Spread shredded cheese evenly throughout the bottom of the pan and slowly and evenly pour egg/cream cheese mixture on top
  • Bake for approx 30 min
  • While your crust is baking, cook the beef until brown.
  • Drain fat
  • Stir in chilies, taco seasoning and tomato sauce
  • Once crust is cooked, remove from oven and let it sit for 5 min. Then spread meat mixture over crust, top with additional shredded cheese.
  • Lower oven temp to 350F
  • Bake for another 20 min or until bubbly. I like my cheese more burnt so I baked for approx 30 min.

Additional topping ideas:

  • Salsa, guacamole, sour cream, scallions.

I divided the pan into 8 squares- one square for lunch each day this week and some left over slices for Hubby to enjoy with a side of brown rice and salad.

Sooooo… some music for ya. I have to listen to people all day long and sometimes, I just love the silence. Don’t we all? But, I don’t like to work out in silence… that’s just boring. I have found a happy medium for anyone in the same predicament.

Instrumental music! Don’t sigh at me. Give it a chance… here is some of the music I’ve been listening to:

Lindsey Stirling- Swag

Lindsey Stirling- The Arena

Lindsey Stirling- First light

Audiomachine- Legions of Doom

Jorge Quintero- 300 Violin Orchestra

London Music Works- Requiem For a Tower

Roberto Concina Escala Chris Elliot- Children

I have some more recipes for you but I will be posting in the days to come. Let me know if you like this music, I can give you all some more ideas.

Xoxo,

Rachel

 

Indecisions of Greatness

 

I don’t think I’m alone in hating decisions. They’re hard. They suck up your life energy.  Before I make a decision, I feel like my stomach is going to fall through my asshole.  Immediately afterwards, I feel like a wet rag and my brain hurts.

I’m working on getting better at making decisions. I’m meditating, thinking, and trying my best to generally chill the fuck out.

But until then, I’ll be making indecisions. Specifically, indecisions of greatness.

Indecisions of greatness happen when you don’t know what the hell you’re doing, but at least you’re doing something that’s good for yourself. Or at least less bad for yourself than something you might otherwise do.

Example 1. I’m stressed about something that comes up with work.   I don’t know what to do. Normally, I might procrastinate and eat a delicious bagel filled with all of my favorite things. Today, I’ll procrastinate by going for 10 minute walk.

Why is this good?: I’m still procrastinating, so I suck. But maybe by channeling my procrastination in a slightly better way, I’ll feel slightly better about myself in general, therefore slightly less anxious, and therefore slightly less likely to continue procrastinating. I’ll probably continue to procrastinate, but at least I’ve improved my odds.

Example 2. I don’t know what’s going on with my life, and I’m sad. Sundays in particular make me sad.  I really want to light up a bowl and become one with my couch.  Instead, I will make an indecision of greatness. Maybe I’ll still light up a bowl, but I’ll tune into a Continuing Legal Education course instead of succumbing to another season of Hoarders.  And maybe I’ll take notes. And maybe I won’t light up that bowl after all.

Why is this good?: I’m still self-medicating and sloppy, but at least I’m not watching Hoarders. I’ll become a better lawyer (and arguably BETTER at being lazy).  Maybe that course will help me get better at helping someone else someday. Maybe I’ll forget the whole thing.  But if I’m using my sloppy Sunday for even .001% self-improvement, I’m making an indecision of greatness. And that is OK.

Indecisions are not good. But indecisions of greatness are better than indecisions of sorrow. They might not be a step forward, but at least they are not a step backward.

You can’t always be on the ball. Because the ball is round, legs are not good at standing on balls, and learning balance takes practice.

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Walking in Beautiful Places

I don’t know what goes on in your head, I can only (attempt to) tell you what goes on in mine.

I enjoy everything, and I feel happy. I love being young, and my entire existence feels light and silly. In the same moment, I feel profoundly isolated. I disappoint myself, and I’m disappointed by others. I ruminate and dwell on things that I could probably change but don’t. I feel uncalm, yet strangely unfazed. I’m just watching IT happen, and IT is (for the most part) awesome.

Night time shore walks bring me stillness, especially in the colder months. Usually, I’m  there alone – little Dorit versus the entire ocean and world. I’m tormented by the most intense loneliness and sadness. I’m humbled and silent and reminded of my insignificance.

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Yes, I got soaked. 

Then, suddenly, it all feels like the greatest gift. I have to let it wash over me or I’ll burst. I feel almost unbearably grateful to be living the best possible life at the best possible time. The world is great, and its begging me to make it even better. I can’t be stopped (possibly because I’m having a manic episode?). It’s beautiful and special to feel all of these feelings.

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Night time skyline walks can have a similar effect. 

Then I start to feel that I’m crazy. Then I start to feel that I’m sane. Too sane. Maybe the last sane person walking on earth.

My regular walk takes about three to four hours, during which time the ocean regularly lights a fire under my ass. I write short stories in my head (usually about murder) and I think about how the world will end. I’m never very interested in the plot. I like to play with the sentences and scenes, and I text myself the favorites. Later, I’ll adapt them to whatever context.

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Isn’t this shit special?

When I walk all alone late at night, I feel unpleasant things.

I’d love a friend to talk to, but if one came along, I have a feeling I might lie and say I have plans. I need to leave the world regularly, and go to a beautiful place and just walk. Then when I come back, I can function (most of the time). The world is filled with incredible landscapes to walk through and appreciate.  It’s the greatest gift.

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