Wellness Wheel

So often, our overall health is only defined by the number on the scale. While your physical health (including what you eat) is critically important, there are other factors involved in health that are overlooked. If you aren’t ready to tackle the physical “spoke” of the wheel just yet, are there other areas where you can make positive changes?

Source: Wellness Wheel 

I’m Baaaaack – Restart. Do Over!

I finally got the courage to read this blog again. The progression of the posts is so telling. Especially this one. I didn’t know it then (or I did and wanted to ignore it) but the warning signs were definitely there. I was having a little of this “healthy” food here, a little of that there. Fully justifying each step because the foods were “on my plan.” However, not in the amounts that I was eating them. Before I knew it, I was back where I started. Confused and wondering “How did that happen? I had the PERFECT system in place! All angles covered!”

In the depths of failure, I allowed other aspects of my life to fill up my time and energy. “Out of sight, out of mind” ruled the day with my weight and the scale was sent to the back of the closet. In the back of my mind I thought I might figure it out eventually, but probably not because I had put so much effort into it THIS time and failed. What would be different when I decided to try again? THAT is the question that I have been asking for the last few weeks.

I am still, slowly, working on the answers, but things are becoming more clear with each honest assessment of what went wrong. The feeling of hopefulness is returning and I am starting to feel again like I am not only going to be ok, but I am actually going to be pretty great. This song below helps tremendously!

Warning: Why Your Diet Will Fail You | Courtney Green

How about we actually like our bodies AND the food we eat for a change while producing the results we want, instead of being the sacrificial lamb at the altar of the fitness Industry? THIS should be the new face of health. Are you with me?

Source: Warning: Why Your Diet Will Fail You | Courtney Green

Diana Nyad: Never, ever give up | TED Talk | TED.com

Broccoli Rabe Pasta

broccoli rabe pasta

Last night’s broccoli rabe pasta turned out fantastic. I have never really eaten broccoli rabe before and I wasn’t sure how it would work as the substitute for spinach in this dish, but it did the trick.  Broccoli rabe a bit more bitter than spinach but I like the addition of the little “trees” that give it a bit more texture. I also added some sliced zucchini and yellow squash since I was really trying to make it mostly vegetables with less pasta as I am (constantly) working to cut down on the whole grains. Doing great with no or little oil, no meat, no dairy, but the whole grains are my weakness for sure!

I ended up using some No Sodium Organic Trader Joe’s Marinara with this due to lack of prep time but now I see on Fooducate that there is quite a bit of sugar per serving (10 grams) though the app did give a score of A-. In the future, I will just use fresh tomatoes with some Italian seasonings and lemon juice. Happy Friday!~ Amanda Rae

Kale, Kale, and More Kale – Greens Prep

week prep

My kitchen counter during my weekly greens prep looks a little something like this. Towels everywhere, water everywhere, greens everywhere. I would say it takes about a good hour to wash everything, dry, chop, and bag. However, it does make for an easier week.

The flashlight? I live in a tornado-prone area so that is always handy. Vega One? New all veggie protein powder which I love. Got that last week at my local nutrition store. Great to add to smoothies but also to bowls of oatmeal with fruit. What else is in there….a 99 cent pineapple from Aldi, plenty of bananas, a mango hiding behind the toaster, red wine vinegar, and ground peanuts from Whole Foods.

So this week I had some homemade hummus in the fridge and decided to make a kale salad with it. Put the hummus in a large bag…


Add chopped kale….

kale hummus

Massage and mix….


Now you could eat it up just like this all by itself, but of course you KNOW I had to put it on a pizza!

kale pizza 2

So good! Just make sure your hummus is nice and spicy! Have a great weekend! ~Amanda Rae


Kabuli Pizza Crust – The Best Veggie Pizza So Far


I found and tried a Kabuli pizza crust after reading about it on the Engine 2 Diet website. It was listed as one of the “allowable foods” for that plan which stresses “plant strong” foods.

The Kabuli crusts were hidden in the frozen section of Whole Foods (about 45 minutes away) but when I went to another location today (about 30 minutes away) they didn’t have them. So, apparently not every WF carries them.

I did see where you could order 16 crusts for $49 plus shipping from their website (UPDATE: I can’t find Kabuli anywhere anymore! After some research, trying this soon! Will let you know how it compares!) which is a good deal considering I paid $5.67 I think for just one? Warning…pizza crust is amazing, website is horrible, but it looks like they have decent customer service via phone.

I used Dei Fratelli pizza sauce which I found at Publix and tasted really delish. Next time I will use less sauce because 1) I thought a pizza without cheese “needed” more sauce. Not true. 2) There are 4g of sugar per serving in this sauce. Tastes great, but too much sugar. I think I will cut this sauce in half next time with some no salt added tomatoes. Since I was making the pizza for more than just myself, I had to be a little bit flexible.

I topped the pizza with basil from my happy basil plant (which is just temporary until the basil my mom planted grows a bit more) also from WF for $2.49.


Then I added green peppers, onions, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, and sundried tomatoes (no oil). It was so Yummy! Having a pizza like this really makes you rethink the Pizza Hut Meat Lover’s I used to get. This had no grease, no added fat, and lots of veggie power.

Hopefully I will find this Kabuli crust again when I go to the far away WF. I will post the nutritional info when I get the next crust as I already threw the wrapper away! Enjoy! ~Amanda Rae


The Longest Five Pounds


Have we talked plateaus yet? Let’s get started, shall we? Good news first. I am happy to report that I reached my next five pound mark and hit 60 pounds total and 263.4! Yay! Bad news…seems like it took FOREVER to do it. That’s ok. I am happy about it, but definitely reworking some things to get this train moving a little faster.

Ok more good news! The jeans I am wearing in the photo are a pair that my mom got me for Christmas. I thought they were super cute (Boom Boom jeans) but I could not get them on at all! Now they are fitting perfectly and I am going to wear them basically every day until they don’t fit anymore. Ha! For those of you that see me on a regular basis, don’t judge!

No, I will probably mix it up with a pair of new size 20 linen pants I got from the Avenue! Ugh, I can’t wait to stop shopping in big girl stores, but I am thrilled that I can walk out with pants at least. There were a few visits in the past where I couldn’t find ANYTHING that fit. No size 26, size 28. It was awful. Now if something doesn’t fit, I don’t get so upset because I am trying on 20-22. I refuse to buy any 24 because that is not my size anymore :)

Ok, so why so long with those pesky five pounds? Well for one thing, I haven’t been blogging. There was a graduation and family visiting which legitimately took me away from blogging, but then I just went on a mental vacation. It was necessary. When I am not blogging and PAYING ATTENTION to everything that goes in my mouth, more goes in my mouth. A binge may not be a trip through McD’s drive-thru or a visit to the local Country Donut shop, but a “binge” is a binge.

For a while it was LaraBars (curses to sweet Tracy M. who introduced them to me! ;). These things are horribly addictive and I suggest you refrain from keeping them in your home. I saw the ingredients of my favorite bar, Cashew Cookie – cashews, dates – and thought, “Oh, I can eat that!” Yes, I can, technically. But I have quickly realized that I should not. They are binge-worthy. So, they are no longer in my house but they actually are a great option if you are stuck on the road and just have to have SOMETHING. Most major grocery stores seem to have them.

Then it was just extra of everything. If one bowl of veggie chili is good, two must be great right? For some reason, the more you eat, the more you want to eat. That is just how it is. Your body gets really good at whatever it is that you are doing the most. Lately, my body is getting really good at bread, rice, and pasta. All 100% whole grain and “healthy” but still they slow the weight loss for me anyway. I keep saying I “need to cut, back to E2L 6 week plan, etc. etc.” but it hasn’t happened yet.

So can I really call taking too long to lose five pounds a plateau when I know I wasn’t eating what I should have been eating (for MY body) to lose weight a bit faster? Probably not. In fact, calling it a plateau factors out any choices I personally made to put certain foods in my mouth and instead blames a sluggish loss on the mysterious. Are there plateaus that are legitimate? Yes, definitely, and I have seen those too. But not this one.

I did reach one other milestone though yesterday. I decided at about 7:00 last night that I was going for a walk. This was a small accomplishment as I ended up walking 2 miles. Yes, it was harder than I thought it would be. Yes, I felt generally ill the whole time because it was still hot outside. But also, yes, I did it. Little celebrations. ~Amanda Rae

PS – Thank you to Carmen and Mom for getting my butt back on my blog!



Rock and Roll-y Guacamole Wrap


I crack myself up..Rock and Roll-y.  Here is the breakfast I made for today- a fresh, gorgeous, healthy, satisfying guacamole wrap. On some days, I just want simple without a lot of fuss. I have major projects and assignments due today and more on Friday so this is how it is going to be all week! I am happy to report that even with a bit of end of semester stress, I am still MPD (More Pounds Down)!

Guacamole Wrap Recipe


  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 tomato
  • 1/2 small onion
  • Handful of cilantro (chopped)
  • Ground pepper to season
  • Squirt of lime juice
  • 1 Ezekiel sprouted whole grain wrap
  • Baby spinach leaves
  • Daiya cheese


Peel and chop the avocado. Place into bowl. Add chopped tomato (I leave the seeds and everything in but that is up to you). Add chopped onion and cilantro. Mash and stir together. Season with ground pepper and lime juice.

Place the wrap with spinach and cheese on top in the microwave for about a minute. Top with two teaspoons of guacamole. Wrap and enjoy! ~Amanda Rae

Tofu, Rice, and Spinach. Breakfast?

tofu rice

Tofu, rice, spinach, mushrooms, and onions for breakfast? Absolutely! This is a huge difference from my former typical diet of fast food sausage, cheese, eggs, biscuits, and hash browns. Usually topped off with a cinnamon roll of some sort! After all, I needed to get in all of my food groups – fat, salt, and sugar. Ugh.

In 1995, I taught English in South Korea. One week was spent at a children’s summer camp in the woods so meals were served community style. I was shocked at the time to see the breakfast menu. Rice, vegetables, and mushrooms. I didn’t eat. My mind was so ingrained in the Standard American Diet (SAD) that I couldn’t even conceive of these foods as breakfast food!

I wasn’t eating so I ended up getting sick and having to leave camp early. The first thing I did when I got back into town was to head to the US military base bowling alley and order a pizza, cheeseburger, and some fries. I instantly felt better which meant I was eating the right thing, right? Ha!

Something Dr. Joel Fuhrman recently said that I wish I had heard back then. He said

When you eat broccoli, you don’t feel differently, you feel the same. If you are eating something that instantly makes you feel better, you are using food as a drug.

Even back then I was using food as a drug. I am so thankful that my taste buds have matured and I am willing to try so many new things, at different times of the day.

Why this bowl is great for breakfast:

1) It is nutritionally complete. Protein in the tofu; Vit K, A, manganese, folate, and iron in the spinach;  potassium, phosphorous, antioxidants in mushrooms;  and manganese, magnesium, and selenium in the brown rice. Good stuff.

2) It is filling. This bowl has an entire bag of spinach in it! That is a lot of fiber which is very satisfying.

3) It actually tastes great for breakfast. You want to start the day with something hearty. While it definitely takes some time to want to eat this for breakfast (it took me about 2 months) your taste buds change and you start to want to eat for nutrition instead of for “well that is what I am SUPPOSED to have for breakfast.”

So maybe you are not there yet. Maybe you feel like you need a bowl of cereal, or some toast with fruit spread when you first wake up. That’s fine, but if you make the switch to eating a lot of fresh fruits and and vegetables and limiting sugar, salt, and avoiding fats, you might be surprised how quickly things change. ~Amanda Rae