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What I Ate Wednesday + Sugar-Free Week Recap

Posted on by Susan Posted in Challenge, Eats | 2 Comments

Well, I survived #SugarFreeWeek!

Now that it’s over, I have to admit that it was easier than I originally thought it would be. I was tracking my eats and read the labels of everything processed (crackers, yogurt, etc.). If it contained sugar it was a no. If it was sweetened naturally, I ate a little bit of it. And by eating this way for a week, it reminded me that this was my actual diet! This is how I normally eat. It was no problem at all, to ditch the junk and eat fresh food, made from scratch, mostly veggies, fruit, grain and lean protein. I just needed a little kick in the you-know-what to snap out of my sweet treats habit, that I slowly developed over a few weeks.

For example, I made myself this super filling breakfast smoothie this morning.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cooked rolled oats (leftover)
  • 1 oz chilled coffee
  • a tsp of peanut butter (Whole Foods 365 brand only has one ingredient: organic dry roasted peanuts)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • cocoa powder
  • cinnamon
  • a few vegan chocolate chips

Give it a quick blend and you’re good to go.

The chocolate chips were sweetened with organic cane juice, so I was OK with it especially since I only added 7 or 8 chips in total.

This was an amazing combo that I will keep in in my breakfast rotation, especially since I’m extreeeeeeemely slow in the mornings lately. Prep the night before, add milk and the frozen ‘nana in the morn and you’re good to go!

Other breakfasts included eggs, toast & fruit, or yogurt, kamut puffs and banana.

Lunch is always a tricky one for me, because the little guy is usually snacking pretty frequently, so I end up filling up on his snacks as well, such as grapes, bell peppers, cucumbers, crackers, hummus, cheese, raisins or Lärabars. So when lunchtime rolls around, I’m either starving, because my son wouldnt share, or I’d be full, because he didn’t eat his snacks.

I still make it a point to make our lunch (for habit purposes), and that could be anything from a PB&J, to grilled cheese, or more hummus and veg. When we’re out and about, we might pick up something from a salad bar, or yesterday little dude and I shared a Chipotle burrito bowl (see above).

Treats:

We got Starbucks on the weekend and my mind went blank about the whole no sugar thing.  The other sweet treat was whole wheat crepes, with a bit of whipped cream, fresh strawberries and homemade blueberry sauce.

Dinners are always simple.

Yesterday, for example, I was so happy to see chicken enchiladas in the freezer, after spending 3 hours chasing the little guy around the park and playground. I had no desire to spend time in the kitchen, and since I had done my prep work the week before, this worked out perfectly!

What did I think of going sugar-free for a week?

My diet is by no means perfect, and it might not ever be in someone else’s eyes. For others, my foods may look super healthy, I don’t know. Remember, my goal was not to cut out all sweets or treats. My goal was to eat more at home, from-scratch meals, made with real food. Yes, we did eat out a couple of times, but I stuck mostly to fish tacos and salad. Oh, and then there was Umami Burger in Costa Mesa on the weekend… Oh well.

I just needed to give my body a little space and time to wean myself off the added sweeteners and processed junk, to get back to my normal eating habits and I’m happy to report it worked!

Jenn over at Peas and Crayons is hosting What I Ate Wednesday, so make sure to check out some other fabulous bloggers’ eats.

Did you ever ditch sugar for an extended period of time? How did it affect you?

What are your fun eats of the week?

 

Moving to Another Country: Culture Shock?

Posted on by Susan Posted in Life, Travel | Leave a comment

I thought it’s time for an update on our recent move from Canada to the United States, now that we have been here for almost two months. How has it been two months already?

On the one hand, it seems to me that there is so much I could tell you, but on the other hand it’s all details that bother no one except us. But some things have happened in the past few weeks, including a signed lease for our next apartment. :)

Where are we?

Still in San Diego, still close to the office (to cut down on hubby’s commute time). Trader Joe’s in walking distance to the new place. Score!

How do we like it so far?

This is definitely one of the most frequent questions we get. Ok. Let me start.

It’s nice. Yeah, it’s pretty awesome to have sunshine almost every day. I love palm trees. I love the ocean. I love the variety of foodie finds in grocery stores. I love Mexican food. I love burgers, especially the grass-fed beef burgers from Burger Lounge.

There are some things that bug me, but that is to be expected, as with any move to a new place, there are some bumps on the road and challenges ahead. Call it culture shock , if you want. ;)

It’s silly things, really, NBD. Pushy sales people that have NO clue what they’re talking about (I’m talking to you, Stride Rite lady, that’s trying to sell me a shoe for my toddler that’s about an inch too long…). Or people that drive right in my behind. I’ll get over it. But you may hear me talk about it. #sorrynotsorry

How am I feeling?

OK, this one’s tricky.

On the one hand I am incredibly grateful to be able to experience living in such a beautiful place

On the other hand, I am incredibly exhausted. We have so many things to take care of, and as usual (it happened in Canada, and it happened here again), something went wrong during the process (not our fault). Moving to a new country is no piece of cake, especially if you have a family to take care of. If you’re young and single, no problem, you can just go and explore, meet new friends over a glass of beer and get settled. However, if you have a little one, you don’t really get that option. San Diego is very family friendly, but I find that it’s tricky to make new friends if you have a little one in tow. I’m planning to attend a few more meetups, though, to get out of the house and have some social interaction for me and the little guy, once we are in our new neighborhood. Can’t wait to get settled into our new place in T-2 days!

Things I didn’t expect:

  • Hills/mountains. For some reason I assumed San Diego would be flat. 8-O
  • The distances to get around. Vancouver was pretty confined, space-wise, so San Diego is definitely much more sprawled out.
  • What you see is NOT what you get. I’m referring mostly to our apartment hunt. Most complexes call themselves “luxury rental homes” or something like that. Yeah, I think I have a different view on that. Don’t get me wrong, our new place will be fine. But it’s just a standard (big for our standards, normal for Americans) apartment. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s all about making a sale.

Favorite spots so far:

  • Old Town (touristy, but yummy food, nice music, and great for shopping gifts and souvenirs) and Embarcadero (a stroll along the water is always nice, isn’t it?)
  • Encinitas: This is my type of town. Has beaches, walkability to restaurants and stores, and it’s outdoorsy and cute! <3
  • La Jolla Shores: fantastically wide and family friendly beach, perfect for long walks in the sand
  • Solana Beach Farmers Market: We picked up the most delicious organic strawberries I’ve had in a very long time. Yum!
We’ve seen a few more places around here, but obviously we have only been in San Diego for 2 short months, so we are still actively exploring.
This whole move to the US has definitely been a challenging and interesting time for us. I have always been interested in the States, and I’ve even majored in US Cultural History, when studying in Germany. I never thought I would be living here one day. And here I am, with a 5 year stopover in beautiful Vancouver, BC, our little family actually ended up in sunny California.

Have you ever moved to a different country? What was the biggest challenge you had? 

Any San Diego blog readers? What are some fun places to check out? Next up on our list is Balboa Park (been there once, but only at a playground) for a hike and a visit to the Zoo, and North Park.

Vegan Experiment Success + Challenge

Posted on by Susan Posted in Eats, Fun | Leave a comment

Hi folks, how is your day? Hope you are having a good one so far!

Are you stuffing yourself silly with holiday foods? ;)  I’m studying for my very last exam, but I’m sure to get in some fun times as well. Yesterday, we met with friends and had some great treats at the German Christmas Market, including Gluehwein and Meat Loaf Sandwiches, followed by a trip to the public library to let the boys read run and play for a bit.

Looks healthy, huh? ;)

I’ve been feeling a little crappy and overwhelmed lately and it has an effect on everything, including my diet. Instead of focusing on healthy eats, I focus on easy (insert: frozen pizzas…) and I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown due to zero me-time, weight-gain, study stress and my 15 month-old ball of energy.

I’m trying hard to get back on track with the eats, last night I finally cooked two vegan dishes that I just have to share with you!

Why vegan? I’d like to call my eating style occasional vegan, mostly plant-based, often experimental, but I do also eat animal products. I’m German after all, so I’m not gonna say no to a Bavarian Meatloaf sandwich. Often, I find vegan dishes in restaurants rather bland (unless it’s Indian – yum!), or too heavy on the grain/beans/lentils. I also try to stay away from tofu, because soy is often a GMO product, which I’m not a fan of. But never say never, I do once in a while eat those things too. :)

This week I decided to switch things up a little from my usual pizza/pasta/salad combos, with two vegan experiments.

Exhibit #1:

Vegan Quinoa Chili (recipe found and adapted from veggiebentolove)

I was so excited when I found this recipe I knew I had to make it. It turned out a little mild (based on the ingredients I had on hand), so I’m hoping the spices will intensify a little bit overnight, but it’s such a great idea, I know I’ll be making it again.

Exhibit #2:

Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato Salad

It’s actually using yams, not sweet potatoes, but if you love sweet and spicy together, you will love this!

I will post the recipe in the coming days so keep an eye on my blog if you want to read more.

What’s your eating style? Do you have a favourite vegan recipe to share? Feel free to leave a comment, I love some new cooking inspiration!

Non-Vegans: Would you like to join me on a little vegan challenge? The point is to eat at least one vegan meal per day. You can find me checking in on Twitter: @susoniadotcom #veganmeals

Also, make sure to check back this weekend with another delicious giveaway as a Happy Holiday treat from me to a lucky reader!

 

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