Mission Accomplished

It’s official, I don’t have the time to blog my recipes every day anymore.  Between teaching, working out, and spending every spare moment with my family, there just are not enough hours in the day.  Summer break starts next week, and at the end of a school year, I always seem to find myself reflecting on my journey through life.  After recent discussions with friends, followers, and other people that have found themselves in my shoes, I have decided that it is time to write an update.  I am officially in a great place.20160623_103344

I was very down when I last shared stories of my personal battle to regain my health after giving birth to the most fabulous baby girl.   I wrote a blog called New Year. New Me. which was essentially a pep-talk for myself to make a change in 2015.  I had hoped to inspire others by sharing.  I had plans to get my strength back, fight my thyroid issues (more specifically Graves Disease), and lose that dreaded baby weight.  I found myself at a new low in March of 2015.  I had grand plans, but I was only becoming discouraged.  I am thrilled to report that while it may have taken me a bit longer than a year, but I. AM. BACK!

April of 2015 was a game changer for me.  The bootcamp program that I had been involved with underwent some major changes.  I no longer looked forward to going which was a cue to me that I had to find something else that worked for me.  I stumbled across a Groupon for a CrossFit gym in the next town over.  It was $199 for 3 months.  Cheaper than bootcamp and 3 months was long enough to decide if it was right for me.  I don’t deal with change well, but I reluctantly laced up my shoes and stepped into the box.  I would never look back.

Instantly, I knew it would be a challenge.  I wasn’t used to lifting anything heavier than 15 pound dumbells, and minutes into my first WOD I already had several plates slipped onto a 35 pound bar.  Maybe this was the change I needed?

Fast forward one month.  It was May of 2015.  I quickly adapted to CrossFit.  My coach was absolutely incredible in that process.  When I had doubt in my mind, he believed in me.  I also had a friend from my old program that started CrossFit with me. His support (and trash talk) motivated me as well.  I religiously went 5 days a week and by Memorial Day weekend, I received a call from my endocrinologist.  It was official.  My Graves Disease was in remission.  I stopped taking my meds that night and haven’t had a single issue since.  That was over a year ago now!

After my 3 month trial Groupon was up, I knew that this was absolutely the right place for me.  I paid for the next year in full upfront.  I could no longer use the excuse that my thyroid was broken.  It was time to finally make that change.  I spent the next 6 months gaining my strength back and learning new skills in the box, however, the scale was not budging.  In December I started wearing a Garmin activity tracker (Vivosmart HR) and I noticed that while I was having great workouts, I wasn’t burning nearly as many calories as I thought I was.  This is when I kicked things into full gear.

I needed to keep myself honest.  I would stay after the WODs and do cardio until I burned at least 500 calories.  I started logging my food intake. I made better choices when it came to what types of calories I was putting in my body.  I started drinking my greens.  I made lifestyle changes which made me take more daily steps. Holy crap, IT WORKED!

Within the first 6 months of 2016, I have lost over 25 pounds.  I am slipping into clothes that I never thought I could possibly fit into again.  I wake up in the morning and can’t wait to workout that evening. I am back to my pre-baby weight and have more muscle on my body than I have ever had in my life.  I can deadlift 300 pounds which is over 200% my body weight.  I can do real pull ups.

While all of these things are great, as far as I am concerned, the most important outcome is that I am a strong role model for my nearly 2 year old daughter.  She sees what it means to be healthy.  Not skinny.  Not pretty.  Healthy.  It melts my heart when I hear her say “strong like mommy”.

Since it is a Thursday, I will leave you with a couple Throwback Thursday images.  I started blogging as I worked towards getting in shape for our wedding.  I was in the best shape of my life… until now.  Below are pictures from 3 years ago and then today.  I did it.

Collage1

Collage2

For those battling Graves Disease:

  • A healthy lifestyle is great medicine.
  • Remission is possible.
  • There are good and bad days, please embrace the good.
  • Finding an endocrinologist that you are comfortable with is priceless.
  • Stand up for yourself.

For nursing mamas:

  • It is possible to continue to nurse while working out.
  • If you are worried about supply, up your calories a bit when you first start.
  • Stay EXTRA hydrated.
  • A side note: Through life’s curveballs, I am proud to say that I am only one month away from my goal of nursing my daughter for 2 years.

Coconut Fish Sticks with Spicy Garlic Aioli

Here in Jersey it’s the season for fresh fish!  It doesn’t get much fresher than when your dad delivers you fish that was caught that morning!  I used fluke for this recipe, but any white fish would work.  Flounder is easily accessible and pretty much the same thing.  Give it a try!

2015-06-23 09.33.11

Continue reading

Fig & Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Salad

When explaining the paleo diet to people, they often say “no dairy means no eggs?!”…. Then I kindly remind them that eggs do not come from cows.  Neither does goat cheese.  While it isn’t the most paleo-friendly option, it sure is delicious!  This was so yummy and the ooey gooey goat cheese made it even better! Yes, “ooey gooey” is a technical term!

20150615_190311-1

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts

1 sprig thyme

1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles

6 fresh figs

2 plates fresh greens

1 pear – thinly sliced

1 Tbsp. honey

1 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp. olive oil + a drizzle

Salt and pepper to taste

1.  In a small bowl, mix half of the goat cheese and two figs diced.  Place a small slit in each chicken breast to create a pocket.  Stuff with goat cheese and fig mixture and seal shut with toothpicks.  Season with thyme leaves, salt, and pepper and set aside.

2.  Lay fresh greens on two plates.  Top with pears, half of the goat cheese and remaining figs that have been halved.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

3.  Whisk together white balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and honey and set aside.

4.  Preheat a drizzle of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat.  Cook chicken while covered for 7-8 minutes per side.

5.  Top salads with chicken (remove the toothpicks too!) and pour the honey balsamic dressing over it.

Italian Shrimp Kabobs

Everything tastes better on a stick!  This meal is super yummy, but even better is that you can throw it together in the morning and then just toss it on the grill when you are ready to eat!  I am sure you can think of plenty of other delicious things to throw on the kebob, so be sure to let me know in the comments how you have modified it!

?

Continue reading

Avocado Salsa Ahi Tuna Salad

If I am ever stuck for an idea for dinner, I know that Trader Joe’s will have a product that will inspire me.  I stumbled across their Avocado Salsa this week and decided that I just had to try it.  Wow, yum!  I could eat avocado on pretty much anything, so when I saw it turned into salsa I was delighted!  Don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you?  Use your favorite salsa instead!  Super easy, super fast, super yummy!!!

?

Continue reading

Mango Chicken Stir Fry

Ever since we discovered that the hubby isn’t actually allergic to the fruit of the mango, it’s time to catch up on all that mango-deliciousness that we have been missing out on for years. Our supermarket has a mango display before you even get into the store now, and I think they were calling to my husband. I looked over at the fruit basket this morning and asked him if he had a plan for the mangoes that he was compelled to buy. He didn’t. I had no clue how to work them into a paleo meal since I never actually cooked with mango before last week, but I threw together this dish with hopes that it would turn out well. It did!
IMG_0669.JPG
Continue reading

Bacon Mushroom Paleo Quiche

Quiche is really a very overlooked food. It makes a perfect breakfast, lunch, or snack. It is packed with protein. It reheats awesomely in under a minute. You can throw anything you have laying around the house into it.

I always like to have extra dinner left over for lunch the next day, but I knew that wouldn’t be the case tonight. I decided to whip up this bad boy to make sure I had lunch ready to go for tomorrow. The best thing is that my hubby and kids also have a quick and nutritious breakfast ready to go tomorrow morning!
IMG_0668.JPG
Continue reading

Bacon Littleneck Clams

My entire house smells so good that I want to eat it.

Seriously.

Two hours after creating this dish, it still smells incredible. It makes me a bit bummed that the hubby and I ate it all down to the last drop of delicious molho (that’s Portuguese for scrumptious sauce).

I enjoyed this meal as is, while the hubby dipped some Portuguese bread into the molho. I know for sure that this would have possibly been the best meal ever if it was served over pasta…. Grrrr paleo! Good news is that I thoroughly enjoyed it, had no guilt, and enjoyed feeling satisfied instead of stuffed afterwards.

When shopping for little neck clams, the smaller the better. Our supermarket had fabulous looking little guys on sale this week, so I couldn’t resist. Actually, who am I kidding? I will probably hit them up again later this week and make the same exact thing again!
IMG_0667.JPG Continue reading