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Homemade guacamole

The first time I tried guacamole was in Cancun ~3 years ago.  I was skeptical because I had never tasted anything made with avocado before, and the texture of guacamole had just always kind of turned me off.  But, being on vacation, I thought, “What the heck, why not?!”  It turned out that the guacamole at the resort had a very pleasant and strong lime and garlic flavor, so that I didn’t even know that I was eating avocado.

When we got home from that trip, we found several guacamole recipes online and began trying them.  Our first time making it on our own was a little comical, as we didn’t realize that the avocado wasn’t very ripe. It was very hard to smash in the bowl and ended up being a little too “crunchy” for our liking.  Over time we have “tweaked” our recipe until we have found one we really like and have stuck with.  It is easy enough to add your own favorites to this recipe, such as diced onion and/or tomato, but it is just as good without these items as well.  This recipe usually makes enough for a dinner for the two of us plus a little bit of leftovers (sometimes, depending on whether I clean out the bowl with my spoon/fork or not), but it could easily be doubled or more to accommodate your family size or to make enough for a gathering.

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Chocolate Bacon Cake

I must be on a sweets kick lately :).

I wanted to make my husband a special birthday cake but still stick with the no white sugar, flour, or dairy theme.  If you lived here, you would hear how much bacon is requested each day for at least one of our meals.  After doing a long of thinking, I wondered, “What would a chocolate cake with bacon mixed in it and on top of it taste like?”  All my conscience kept answering was, “Sounds pretty amazing to me.”  I was very excited to give it a try and make it a nice surprise for his birthday.

Trouble is, I haven’t been able to find a good recipe yet for a homemade chocolate cake that is my “go-to.”  I was browsing online, and saw a link for the Paleo Baking Company, and began looking at their mixes.  The ingredients for the chocolate cake and muffin mix are simple:  cocoa, coconut flour, sea salt, and baking soda.  You have to add eggs, coconut oil (or butter), honey (or syrup), and water.  I decided to take a chance and try this mix.  Yes, it is more expensive than regular cake mixes, but seeing as how a birthday is a once a year event, I didn’t feel bad splurging a bit.  The cake turned out great; it was moist and didn’t taste like coconut at all (I am not too fond of coconut flavor!)

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Homemade pickles

I remember being disappointed when looking at the ingredients list of the store-bought pickles I was regularly getting.  I don’t even remember the brand name to be honest, but I remember that the list seemed longer than it should be for something that in my mind seemed like it should be relatively easy to make.

My husband grew cucumbers in his garden this year, and he was anxious to experiment with making his own pickles with a batch of smaller cucumbers he had picked.  So, I can’t take credit for the recipe or for making them, only eating them :).  They have a nice “bite” to them (i.e. they are definitely not sweet!).  We both enjoyed having them while the plants kept producing, but if you have access to smaller cucumbers, you could make these to have year-round.

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Fuel for Endurance Events

It has taken almost a week for me to be able to think about writing this post.  I have been in a brain “fog” of sorts, and in body healing mode, after a 145 mile bike ride across Michigan last Saturday.  I wanted to share with any other endurance athletes out there how I was able to eat and drink in a manner that still followed by diet throughout this event.

The market is full of energy drinks, gels, power bars, etc., but I have found that a lot of these still contain ingredients that I am trying to avoid.  Endurance events that have supported rest stops often have cookies, Gatorade, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches (which are hard to resist), granola bars, and some fruit, amongst other things.  Usually all I will take from these stops is the fruit, and I pack the rest of my food.  Yes, it takes a lot of planning, and yes, it adds more stuff to pack on a road trip, but I wasn’t about to have my ride ruined by a bad body reaction to food I’m not used to eating.   The recipes for several of the items that I ate/drank have already been posted on the blog.

The picture is what I had packed separately for “ride day.”

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Homemade electrolyte drink

In between all the rainy days I have been trying to slowly increase my biking mileage.  I have started to get to the distance where I feel like I need something a little more than just plain water to drink.  In the past I have used Nuun tablets and Hammer Heed as my 2 sources of electrolytes, thinking they were better than the Gatorade/Powerade alternatives.  They do still contain maltodextrin and sorbitol, which probably are better than sucralose and high fructose corn syrup, but I was curious as to whether one could make their own electrolyte drink with sugar from more natural sources (i.e. mainly fruit itself).  My husband found several recipes, and my co-worker gave me one as well, and this weekend we tried one of them for the first time.

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Homemade Deodorant

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One of the first things I remember being asked after my first nutrition response visit was, “Do you use store-bought deodorant?”  I remember thinking, “Why wouldn’t I?  What else is there to use?”  Then she informed me that my body was dealing with aluminum toxicity, and that antiperspirants tend to have some form of aluminum as one of their main ingredients.  I remember getting angry that something I’ve been using daily sometimes more than once since who knows when could possibly be one of the main reasons that I’ve been having one of my main issues since high school?!

Once the anger surpassed, I was able to listen to the recommendation that I either start making my own deodorant or buy a product that they had at the office.  Luckily, I had gotten a recipe for homemade deodorant from my sister not too long before this appointment, and I had just made a batch of it (initially for my husband to be the guinea pig for).  I wasn’t too excited about making this change.

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“SMART” goals vs. New Year’s Resolutions

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Rewind back to PT school days.  It seemed like immediately documentation was being crammed into our heads, and that it never ended until graduation (and to my disliking it still haunts me every day!)  I remember having to write goals for almost every assignment that we did, for a “fake” patient in a certain situation.  I remember that if it wasn’t in the appropriate “SMART” goal form, I would get docked points and/or have to keep writing until it was right.

I’ve been thinking lately about how soon it will be time to start hearing about people’s New Year’s resolutions, and how gyms everywhere will become packed all of a sudden, only to thin back out again by around March.  When I combined this thought with thinking about the dietary changes I’ve made over the past 3 months, I had to take a break from posting recipes and get on a soap box for a moment.  Instead of making a New Year’s resolution this year, why not sit down and actually write down some “SMART” goals instead?

What I remember about “SMART” goals:  SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic or Relevant, and Time-based.  The specific part is where you think back to English class and figuring out the plot of a book.  It is the “who, what, where, when, why, how” of the goal.  Measurable is the “how much, or how many,” an objective way to know that the goal is met.  The attainable part can be tough, because sometimes you don’t know what you’re capable of, but just because you may not attain a goal in the originally scheduled time frame doesn’t mean you can’t modify the goal at a later date and/or modify your actions/lifestyle/attitude/skills, etc. to eventually attain a goal.  The person setting the goal is really the one who will know if a goal is realistic, but keep in mind that it needs to be something that you are both willing and able to do!  Finally, for the time frame, don’t think that you always have to be in a hurry to meet the goal.  I’ve had plenty that have been made for a year or longer, depending on how high my sights are set.

Now, a simple application of a New Year’s resolution turned into SMART goal.

New Year’s resolution (common ones I hear): Be more active.  Exercise more.

SMART goals (write them down to make yourself more accountable, and check progress along the way!):

1.) Go to spinning class twice per month until until at least April 2015 (when IN weather turns nicer) to better allow me to accomplish #2

2.) Be a finisher in the One Day Ride Across Michigan in  August of 2015 in less than 12 hours

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