Posts Tagged ‘food’

  1. My Balanced Approach to Weight Loss – Step 3

    June 5, 2014 by Melanie Faris

    Today I want to talk about something that is very important when it comes to weight loss, but often overlooked. It’s something people talk about doing, yet very seldom take the time to do properly. This is quite possibly the most important step to successful weight loss. Without doing this, you will be spinning in circles with no clear direction of where to go and what to do.

    Instead of thinking about where you are today, you need to think about the future you and what steps you need to take to move towards your goals. Today’s focus is goal setting. Before you close this page, let me warn you now…

    If you skip this step, I can almost guarantee that your weight loss goals will not become a reality.

    For a moment, I want you to think about your ideal physical body . How do you envision yourself as the “perfect you”? Close your eyes and picture yourself. Seriously. Stop reading this and do it.

    Have you got a picture in your mind? Take a good hard look at the future you.  How do you look? How do you feel about yourself? How do you live your life in your ideal body? What do you eat on a regular basis? How often do you exercise? Ask yourself this:

    What did you do to have the body of your dreams?

    Grab a pen or open up a blank document of your computer. If you are serious about this, you can’t skip this step. Writing this down is what will take you from today to the future. Trust me.

    I want you to write some quick notes about the future you, just like I have done below for myself…

    When I see the future me, I am…

    • Dedicated to my exercise routine, even when I don’t feel like exercising.
    • I have self-control with food (I stop eating when I am full. I don’t indulge in late-night snacks…etc)
    • I walk around confidently in my body. I even wear shorts to the gym (which I don’t do now)
    • I enjoy eating healthy and do so everyday, not just some of the time.

     

    Once you have a few general ideas jotted down, you need to get specific. Don’t be unrealistic.

    Be realistically specific.

    If you see yourself 30 lbs lighter in your ideal body, do not give yourself a measly 4 weeks to get there. Give yourself some room for “balance” in your lifestyle. Losing 1-2 lbs a week is healthy. Losing 5 lbs is not practical and definitely not healthy. You want to pick a goal that you can happily maintain. You may not need to exercise at the same intensity as you do now, or eat a perfect diet, but you will need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Who wants to go back to square one once you reach your goal? Not me! I want to keep my goal body for the long haul. So let’s be realistic.

    Your specific goals are what you are going to use to create your goal card. You may be tempted to turn off your computer now, or just “read” instead of “do” this part. But I can’t say this enough – do this, no matter how silly this seems to you now. One day you will look at your goal card and realize “Hey! I am living this NOW. I reached my goal!!”

    The purpose of your goal card is simple: remind yourself of what you really want each day. This is something you will read once or twice a day, not only once in a while. I keep mine on my night table so I can read it first thing in the morning and before I go to sleep at night. On days when you don’t feel like working out or eating healthy, you will read your card and go, “AHA! I needed that extra push.” Every single day makes a difference, so start doing this today. Here’s how…

     

    Goal Card Writing 101

     

    Three simple-specific steps to help you move from today to your future body…

    Step #1:

     

    Begin with the date. When exactly do you see yourself with your ideal body? Write it at the top of your page.

     

    Specific Step #2:

     

    What is your measurable goal? This could be your future weight, pant size, or measurements…etc.) Write down something specific you can track and see.

    *Do NOT put what weight you are today on your goal card. Today does not matter. The future you is what we are focusing on. Write down your current weight or other tracking measurements somewhere else other than your goal card.

     

    Specific Step #3:

     

    Looking backwards from your goal date, what did you have to do to get there? Break this down into 3 sections: monthly, weekly and daily. How did you honestly, realistically and specifically get there?

     

    Check a sample goal card I wrote below for myself. I like to “super-charge” my goal card by including my faith in my goals. I would highly recommend doing this too if you want to use “super” gas instead of “regular” to fill up your motivation gas tank. I don’t believe my goals are achievable without the strength, focus and peace I receive from God. With Him by my side, I know I can do ALL things. So here is what I read everyday to myself:

     

    Melanie Faris

    Goal Date: July 1st, 2014

    Weight: 120 lbs

    8-10 pounds total weight loss in one month. In order to lose this weight, I have focus and dedication daily to my health and fitness. I will successfully lose 1-2 lbs each week in 4 weeks time. Today I have the strength to say no to the things that tempt me. Today I will push myself even when I don’t feel like it. Today is a day that matters to my future. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). For it is God who works in me to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. (Philippians 2:13)

     

    See?! Not so hard at all! Now simply read and repeat your own personalized goal card daily, and as often as possible! Watch how powerful it is to remind yourself of what you truly want on a regular basis.

    I will be posting my own personal transformation pictures in July for you all to see. Stay tuned for more steps to a balanced approach to weight loss and to follow me on this journey.

    Love always,

    Melanie Faris.

     

    If you want to catch up on my previous weight loss tips, check them out below:

    My balanced approach to weight loss – step 1

    My balanced approach to weight loss – step 2

     

     


  2. My Balanced Approach to Weight Loss – Step 2

    May 24, 2014 by Melanie Faris

    This is one of those days I just want to sit on my cozy couch, cuddle up in a blanket and find something inspiring to write about. So here I am, sitting on my couch with my laptop & a pillow on my lap, pondering on what to share with you today. First things first, it just hit me that the word laptop literally means LAP-TOP. A.K.A- to sit on your lap. Ha! Silly me, I have been using this as a “tabletop” for far too long. Now I have a good reason to do my work from the couch. =).
    Okay, so now that I’m cozy and ready to write, I find myself going to my favourite place for inspiration: The Word. I love opening my Bible or typing in “daily verse” on the web to see what comes up. Looks like God has food on his mind too. Here is what popped up:

    “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20 NIV

    Looks like God is hungry too. Phew, I’m not the only one! But seriously, it’s too funny that this verse popped up right as I am ready to type about my 2nd step to my balanced approach to weight loss. I love when that happens!

    Find more on this verse under Food for Thought near the bottom of this post…

    Step #1 Recap…

     

    In Step #1, we discovered the importance of loving ourselves today, imperfections and all. It’s not about reaching a goal in order to be happy with our body –  it’s about being happy with who we are now so we can love our self along the journey.

    Our next step…

     

    Remember that diet you stuck to 100%? How good did you feel about yourself? Awesome I bet! We all feel so fantastic when we stick to our diet, but usually it is pretty short-lived. When you decide to go on a diet vacation (when you are sick of dieting), you find yourself swimming in a pool of guilt wondering how to get back on track again and find your focus.

    You go through seasons of highs and lows, but seldom do you find a happy medium when you are on a diet

    Too many times we are on a yo-yo diet that takes us no where. Actually, I think it does take us somewhere: one step ahead and then two steps behind. We go on these diets and do so well, but then we fall so hard (with good intentions of course). No one goes on a diet with a hope to fail miserably when all is done and dandy. Some of us make it through 30 days, and others pack it in and call it quits after the first week. So what’s the point if it’s not going to bring us to our goal of being happy in our own body (for longer than a few weeks)?

    I have been on far too many diets. I am the type of person who likes to have a plan and stick to it. I will print out my meal plan and follow it to a “T.” Unfortunately, when my diet is over, I also un-fall from it to a “T.” I like diets – when I am on them and doing well that is. It’s the coming off of them part that I don’t like. Some people have been blessed with more self control than me, but I for one do not plan on sticking to a diet for the rest of my life. I want my waffle cone on a hot sunny day…but I also want a hot summer body. So what is a girl to do?!

    I’m not going to tell you to keep your eating habits the same as always if you are looking to change your body. Diet is the most important key in transformation! I’m just telling you to stop dieting. That’s right, you heard me…

    Step #2: It’s time to stop dieting

    For me, going on a diet means: I feel restricted, I am counting everything I eat, cutting out the food I love, not filling my plate, feeling sorry for myself and digging a hole far in the ground so I can hide myself from everyone and everything…seriously, try going to a dinner party on a “diet.” It sucks. That hole in the ground sounds a lot better to me! I mean, common, no one feels happy on a diet…am I right?! At least that is the case for me. The only time I feel happy is when I see the diet is working and begin to think, “the end is near!!”…

    We can’t possibly think that a diet is our lifelong strategy to weight loss and staying fit. Sure, a diet can certainly be helpful, especially for short term results, but I don’t think it is practical if it is something you want to maintain long-term. I’m not knockin’ em – I’ve done my fair share of diets. But today, I’m ready to have, pursue, and KEEP the body I feel best in. Who’s with me?

    So you’re probably wondering,

    If I’m not dieting, how am I going to transform?

    Back to my first concept of this approach…you have heard me say it before, but I’m going to say it anyways:

    Balance & Harmony

    Let’s be realistic here. If you can’t possibly live without chocolate for the rest of your life, eat your darn chocolate. I do! I have chocolate almost every day of my life. I break off a piece of my 85% dark chocolate after dinner and enjoy every last bit. Sure, it’s only a small piece, but I look forward to it and I have no guilt when eating it. Here’s why: I have allowed this food to be part of my lifestyle.

    Allow the food you can’t see your future without to be part of your lifestyle

    If you want to be happy, you can’t possibly remove all of the things you love & enjoy. Now obviously there are things we shouldn’t be eating every day. Forget the donuts, McDonald’s, and even those waffle cones. Those probably aren’t the healthiest daily treat. You need to make some changes if you want to see change, but you don’t need to restrict yourself entirely. If you are serious about loving your body, the emotional and physical aspect, you need to develop a healthy relationship with food and eat your un-healthy food occasionally.

    *Side note – If you ENJOY eating healthy 100% of the time, kudos to you! That is seriously awesome – keep it up. I will be the girl at that dinner party wishing I had the same self control while I taste a bit of everything on the table. I just can’t help myself.

    This brings me to my next and final point. We are all at different phases of health. Remember hearing this before? This is a journey. YOUR journey. It’s not about what other people are doing to achieve their own results. Stop comparing yourself. I’m not going to criticize how everyone else eats, because honestly, that’s a personal choice and we are all at different places when it comes to how we live and eat. You are unique – what she does or he does does not apply to you. You need to figure it out for yourself. Even if you need to have a “structured diet” to get a kick start, go for it. I’m just saying, be realistic and honest with yourself.

    I want everyone to pause and ask yourself these three questions:

    1. Am I on a diet? Be honest with yourself. *You probably ARE if you think like this when you eat: A- I just had a successful snack or meal. B-That meal/snack was a fail and I need to work that off later.

    2. Do I enjoy when I eat healthy? (If you don’t, this needs to change! Otherwise, you will do something that you will regret – like eating that entire bag of chips in the cupboard…). Then starts the guilt and your bright idea to cut everything you crave out of your diet the next day. It’s a vicious cycle!  *Tip –  Start small and introduce things slowly. I used to drink cream and sugar in my coffee every day. I now LOVE my coffee with almond milk and coconut sugar. Over time, this was a personal change I decided to make, and now I am healthier because of it. If you simply can’t give up your cream and sugar, then don’t…or don’t for now at least :).

    3. Can I reach and maintain my “body goal” with what I am currently doing?

    This week I want you to think about those questions. Wrestle with them and really see where you are at. Be honest with yourself and make simple changes you want to make! It’s not a race, it’s a journey. Enjoy it too, whoever you are, whatever you do. =)

    For those who want a little extra “food for thought”, scroll down and you will find a little more…if you have had enough reading for one day, no prob! Enjoy your weekend and I’m excited to share with you the 3rd step next week. So come back ya hear?

    Love always,

    ♥Melanie.

     

    Food for Thought

     

    Here is an interesting thought…What would you do if Jesus was coming for dinner? For me, I’d probably start by cleaning the entire house so there wasn’t even a crumb on the floor that a mouse would find. Next, I would make sure I had the best ingredients and use one of my favourite recipes I am confident in making. It would be the most exciting day in my house. Want to know something funny though? He IS coming for dinner. He is also with you at breakfast. He is your passenger as you drive to work, your lunch buddy, your gym partner & your guest at every moment of every day.

    Isn’t it funny how we forget? Or maybe you didn’t realize this at all! But I can tell you this – He certainly wouldn’t care how dirty your house is, especially since He has seen it in every state. He’d also be happy with a boring dinner, as long as you can hang out, have a good chat and enjoy each other’s company. If only we would take the time to answer the door more often when we hear a little knock, because then we would we realize:

    He hasn’t just come for dinner. He has come to be part of our home.

     

     


  3. My Balanced Approach to Weight Loss – Step 1

    May 19, 2014 by Melanie Faris

    I’m sitting outside on my front porch with a glass of red wine enjoying the last hours of sunshine. What a beautiful long weekend it has been. I have enjoyed lots of food, unhealthy treats, great memories and much needed relaxation! Sitting here, I feel overwhelmed with gratitude for all of you who read my posts and share in my health journey. Thank you so much! What a blessing you are to me.

    front porch

    Cheers to you my friends and a great weekend!

     

    If you haven’t seen my last post, you may want to check it out before moving on to get caught up…

    For those of you who are up-to-date and have already read my previous post, you already know about me at 108 lbs and what it took for me to get there. It was pure dedication and focus on my diet and exercise routine. I was exercising on average 6 days a week, counting my calories and macro-nutrients (protein, carbs and fat) on my plate with every meal. You BET I got results. You also bet I could not live this way forever…

    Over the past year, a lot has changed in my life. I got married at the age of 21. It was exciting to have a kitchen of my own and to start making meals for two. I changed my career path and decided to be a health focused personal home cook/chef this year, (although I’m not sure if “chef” is the technical term since I am self-taught…). All I know is I LOVE food and cooking. I realized that food was my main passion when I stopped watching tv shows and only watched The Food Network. It is very important to know where the best food trucks are located….or at least that was my excuse for watching Eat St. I’m a foodie, what can I say?! I seriously enjoy watching food and people eating food. There is nothing better on tv – except for Downton Abbey. This show takes the cake.

    Pause. If you haven’t starting watching this series, turn on Netflix and start now. You won’t be able to stop.

    Play.

    Being married and being a food lover, I was obviously excited to start cooking for my new Husband. I was not about to make tilapia and tuna sandwiches everyday. I wanted to impress my man and make sure he was excited to come home to a nice cooked dinner after a long day of work. I can confidently say that he was very pleased with my many experiments in the kitchen and was happy to have a home cooked meal to come home to. Although still healthy, not all of my cooking was “fitness model friendly” like it was before I got married. I decided to have a bit more fun with occasional cheese, higher fat foods and delicious snacks and treats. I enjoyed eating everything I cooked in my home. On top of changing my diet when I got married, I slowly slipped away from my usual gym routine. It took around 5 months for me to notice my pants were suddenly a tad too tight and there was a roll forming around my belly button. What the heck?!

    So here I am today, almost a year after the wedding, wondering what steps to take next.

    Pause again…I want my wedding body back! But I do distinctly remember thinking back then that I did not have the body I wanted on my wedding day. What the heck was I thinking?!

    View More: http://one2photography.pass.us/melanie-thomas View More: http://one2photography.pass.us/melanie-thomas

    View more of our wedding photos here by One2Photography.

    Yes, I still feel and eat healthy, but I also know that my love for food has probably gone a little too far. I certainly have had my many ups and downs with my eating patterns.Don’t get me wrong, I do feel great and love my body (this is very important!). I’m not overly concerned with losing weight, but I know that I would like to set some new goals and find motivation again to get fit and toned for summer. With these new goals, I plan on not feeling guilty about eating avocados or whole eggs like I would have before. I’m going to take a new approach to “weight-loss”…

    Balance & Harmony

    With summer on the way, I know that it is time to take action and finally get my bum back in gear. I want to feel good without feeling deprived. I want to be realistic – not something for today and gone tomorrow. I’m tired of going from one extreme to the other. You know what I mean?

    I have never been one to weigh myself. I don’t step on the scale often because I would rather go by “how I feel” than a number on the scale. I often think the scale is not an accurate measure to follow, especially when strength training. I also know that my exercise has decreased a lot over the past year so any weight gain would not be caused by muscle gain… After “assessing my feelings” for the past while and not feeling so great, I finally decided to step on that nasty piece of metal at the gym to see where I am at. Keep in mind, my exercise has gone from primarily strength training to now: exercising at a lower intensity, focusing on primarily cardio instead of strength training, and not paying close attention to portion control & cheat meals. I was at 130 lbs today. I finally realized that I need to make some changes. My comfortable/average weight is around 120, but 130 is bridging the stage of “do I go out and by new clothes?”… Again, it’s not about a number. I’m only using this as one form/measurement to track my progress from where I am now to where I will be in a month or so.

    I have decided to openly post about my struggles. I am human, far from perfect and one who often makes mistakes. Yes, you will find me occasionally at the local ice cream shop ordering a scoop of rolo ice cream and moose tracks. Yes, you will see me out at a restaurant diving into the shared appetizer platter (probably going for the piece of cheesiest garlic bread on the table). I often sneak into the fridge at night, even if I know I’m not really hungry but just want something to munch on. I am far from the ideal health-food eater. As many mistakes as I make with my diet, I also can see the many healthy choices I do make each and every day. Instead of focusing on the many mistakes I make, it is more important to focus on the good decisions I make. You really need to start doing this too! No one is perfect, so don’t let them fool you. Don’t feel so bad about your mistakes. I for one am not perfect and never will be. It’s time to get out of this vicious thought cycle and start a new approach…

    The first step in my balanced weight loss approach is:

     

    I will love myself today, imperfections and all.

    This is extremely important. I can’t stress this enough. Even at 108 lbs, I was not happy with my body. Even on my wedding day, I saw the flaws in my body and didn’t feel small enough. We all do a great job of convincing ourselves saying, “if only I were skinnier, I would be really happy.” Or, “if only I had more money, then I could eat healthier…” Or, “If only I had more time, then I could exercise more.” The list goes on…

    Let me tell you, this negative mindset does not change once you reach your goal. I still saw cellulite on my thighs and skinny arms in the mirror at 108 lbs. I was still not happy with me. Unfortunately, I still suffer with a negative mindset – but I’m working on it! Starting today, I am going to be so HAPPY with the person I see in the mirror, along with every great decision that I make each and every day. I’m going to be so dang happy with me that there will be no room for my old negative mindset. It’s time to stop beating ourselves up. Remember, if you don’t start today, right now, you will never be truly happy with yourself. If you see yourself as “fat” or “ugly” now, nothing will change, even when you make progress.

    First you need a diet for the MIND before a diet for the BODY.

    If you have made it this far on my post, you are probably on the same boat as me. You may struggle with loving yourself today or feeling comfortable in your own skin. Please know this before you close the window…you are loved. You are precious. You are worthy to be and feel BEAUTIFUL. You are! Don’t you know that? It doesn’t matter if you weigh 100lbs or 300lbs, know that God does not love you any less or any more either way, so why should you? The creator of the universe and everything on this earth sees you as PERFECT just the way you are, so stop criticizing his amazing craftsmanship. He does not make mistakes.

    Even though we all make mistakes and mess things up, it’s time to start seeing these “mess-ups” as opportunities to grow instead of opportunities to feel bad about ourselves. Common people, let’s do this together!

    Stay tuned for Step #2 in my balanced approach to weight loss….

    Love always,

    Melanie Faris.

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  4. I Have an Addiction

    May 5, 2014 by Melanie Faris

    I can honestly say that food is always a thought in my mind. Maybe you can relate? Yes, cooking is part of my job, but regardless if I am cooking or not, I am always thinking about food (or rather, when can I eat next?!).

    Be right back, I need a snack.

    Okay, now that I have food in my mouth, I am feeling pretty satisfied. Give me 15 minutes and I will be back to square one wondering what I can eat next. Obviously food is something I need, but I also know that food can be an addiction.

    I have an addiction. Do you?

    In my lifetime, I have always had a love for food. I was never a picky eater and would eat anything & everything on my plate. Maybe this was how I was raised, or maybe it is just part of my genetics. Is that even possible? My Mom and I have the same taste buds and the same absolute love for food. If I am making a meal and want someone to share it with someone, Mom is at the top of my list. I know that she will share in the joy of eating a meal together – and I mean fully enjoy and appreciate each bite. Our meals are filled with lots of “mmmmms” and “oooooohs” and “aaahhhhhs.”

    We all love food, some more than others, but there comes a point when we need to ask,

    “Am I eating for enjoyment or eating for nourishment?”

    This is an important question we all should ask, especially when faced with the desert menu that simply is impossible to turn down. That was me the other night at Milestones. I gave in and ordered the white chocolate cheesecake. It was good.

    I know that it is important to eat for enjoyment, but I also know that it is more important to make sure this isn’t your only or primary reason for eating. French fries smell way better than a healthy green salad. It takes willpower to turn down the foods you know are not healthy but taste so good. If you can’t say no, you have a food addiction.

    I struggle with this all the time. I haven’t fully conquered my addiction yet, but I have found a way to help me take control. I suggest you try it too if this is something you struggle with. Here’s my secret tool for those of you who struggle with food addictions:

    If it isn’t an option to begin with, you will not be tempted to eat it.

    That might sound way too simple, but I promise you this works. Let’s look at this from a different perspective:

    We are painting our house blue. We don’t know specifically what colour of blue we want yet, but it has to be blue. What do we do? We go to the paint section of the store and look at the blue samples. We compare the blues, see what one we like out of the blues, and we pick a blue paint. The end.

    Let’s see how blue paint shopping relates to our little problem here…

    Whenever I set it in my mind to eat healthy, I know specifically what foods I want to eat. I know what foods I am shopping for. Healthy food is my blue paint. For example, when I walk into a restaurant and open the menu, I will not even see fried foods, cheese, white bread, processed foods and sugar as an option, because I am not looking for them. They are not an option. I am looking for blue paint, not pink or yellow or orange. I turn to the section of the menu where my options are and I pick one. I never look at things like drinks. In fact, what IS a drink option besides water and tea? I have made the decision that water and tea are my only options, so I don’t need to see what else they offer. See where I’m going? Why look at the things you have decided not to eat?

    Why look at paint colours that aren’t an option?

    It takes time to begin thinking like this. Remember, no addiction is easy to break – that is why it is an addiction! But if you are serious about your health, weight loss, or whatever else you are struggling with, I beg of you to try this, (even if for only one meal of the day).

    Remove some of the “options” from your diet that are feeding your addiction. Start with one day or meal at a time. There certainly are days when I give myself more options, but I have now developed a new way of thinking when it comes to what I eat. Slowly, my options have changed from what I thought I wanted to eat, to healthy food I enjoy to eat! It is a great feeling knowing that I have the power to decide what to feed my body.

    Hopefully, this little tip will help you conquer your food addiction and begin to make changes that will have a lasting effect on your health. I know it sure has helped me. If it weren’t for this way of thinking, I’d probably be ordering a cheesy slice of pizza for dinner tonight. At least I would get my serving of vegetables from the tomato sauce. Not.

    Let me know what food is your biggest weakness and “addiction trigger” below. Lately mine has been desert…I think I grew a new sweet tooth. Why?!…oh well. I’ll have to pull it out (after desert tonight).  😉

    Lots of Love,

    Melanie Faris


  5. 10 Days Raw

    April 2, 2014 by Melanie Faris

    It has been 10 days, and I have to admit, this lifestyle is growing on me. I never imaged enjoying this as much as I am. I find that I’m not thinking about food as much anymore (besides when I am cooking for clients). If I am thinking about food, it’s fun and delicious raw food that I can experiment with! Mind you, I have had some moments where I am ready to pack it in and dive into Thomas’ dinner (that moment may have been tonight).

    The Rawlicious restaurant has really helped me for the past week, especially with adding variety to my diet lately. I have eaten salads and the same avocado wraps for days (and still enjoying them), but a change is always nice, especially without having to prepare it myself. I had their Caesar wrap today, and boy was it delicious! I think the new scent lingering with me wherever I go is garlic. Poor Thomas has to put up with my breath, but I have been sneaking garlic in his meals too so I’m not the only one with the bad breath – hehe.

    This whole experience has been amazing so far. I always thought my energy only came from carbs, but now I am beginning to see that I have MORE energy without carbs. I’m not saying, “go cut your carbs!” I’m simply realizing that I don’t need starchy or processed carbohydrates to give me energy. In fact, carbs and coffee cannot compete with the energy fresh green vegetables have given me. My focus and attention to detail has grown, and my overall feeling of well-being is amazing. I am continuing with fresh green juice every morning and still eating only greens all day. I want to make it to the 2 week mark before introducing any form of sugar (including fruits and certain vegetables) into my diet. I may continue longer than 2 weeks with greens to fully detox and give my body a break from sugar entirely. I will keep you posted!

    In my free time, I have been watching tons of documentaries and reading books on raw and/or vegan diets. It is fascinating. I love to learn and lately my brain has been getting crammed with new information non-stop. I am amazed that society has practically shunned this lifestyle, when in reality, this is possibly the most healthful way to live (in my opinion it is). There are many many opinions on this subject, and I’m not trying to start a debate. I don’t judge anyone’s way of living and I’m not against eating meat. I have just opened my eyes to see another way of living and have found great enjoyment from it so far. I don’t plan on staying raw after the 30 days, but I may venture on and try life as a vegan, or at least 80% since I love eggs for breakfast some mornings and sushi on occasion…I’m a cheater, but that’s okay.

    Life is about learning, growing and discovering the best you that you can be. For the past 2 years (at least), my focus has been eating animal protein 5 times a day. I was trying to gain muscle and look my best. I did look my best physically, but internally my body was screaming. I thought I was perfectly healthy then, but now I see that I was not as healthy as I thought. My snacks consisted of yogurt or cottage cheese instead of vegetables, and my meals always had to have a big piece of meat. I love meat, I really do. You may still catch me at The Keg on occasion digging into a juicy steak – I’ll be real with you on that. But, take it from the carnivore, I feel way better without the meat at every meal. I don’t feel hungry all the time and I certainly am not as “addicted” to eating as I was before. I feel better. Period. Your quality and quantity of life increases when you cut out processed and cooked foods. If you don’t believe me, try it for 21 days (to break your habit of eating cooked foods), and feel the difference for yourself.

    Well, that’s all I have to say on my progress so far. As for tonight, I’m off to grab an avocado and sit on the couch with my husband. Besides all the food and health talk, he really is my favourite one to focus my attention on. Chow for now and chat with you soon!

     

    Melanie.


  6. 6 Days Raw and counting

    March 29, 2014 by Melanie Faris

    Well, I’ve made it to day 6! Only 24 days to go. That sounds like a long time, but I’m quite surprised by how I feel so far…

    Day 5

     

    I woke up this morning not feeling so great. No headache, but I really wanted food. By food, I mean over easy eggs, two thick slices of rye bread and a side of fruit. It wasn’t happening though. I pulled out my juicer and began making a green juice to start my day. I was feeling a bit dizzy and not “normal” so I decided to lie down for a bit. Around 15 minutes or so, the juice must have digested because I felt energized and ready to take on the day! I guess I didn’t eat enough the night before so I was in need of nutrition to get me going again…

    I had another large green drink for lunch from Natures Emporium and headed off to “work”, although cooking never feels like work at all. I had a ton of energy and focus the entire day. With a big list of things to cook, I often get a bit flustered and can’t seem to time things properly. Well today – I was on the ball! I couldn’t believe it. I was able to think clearly and get everything done in perfect timing without feeling flustered or stressed at all. Coincidence? I think not.

    You might be wondering if cooking is difficult for me on the Raw Diet. Surprisingly…no! Although certain things I need to have a taste of, but I haven’t had any cravings or strong desire to eat the food I am cooking. I had WAY more cravings when I wasn’t eating raw compared to now. I think it comes down to mind over matter – since I know I’m not allowed cooked foods, I automatically don’t make it an option for myself. Since coffee isn’t an option for me in the morning, I don’t even think about it anymore. Although, now that I mention it, a nice cup of hot coffee would be pretty good right now – Hehe, but I’m totally fine without it! This morning’s craving for eggs went away right after my fresh juice. I may think about a food I want to eat that’s not raw, but it’s not a desire that controls my body. I simply say no and the craving goes away. I also don’t have the urge to “sneak” bites here and there because I just don’t want to. That right there is a miracle.

    Day 6

     

    I’ll keep this short because I don’t have much to say besides:

    I feel gggggrrrrrreat

    without the frosted flakes…

    Today I have the most energy yet. I woke up at 4:30 am for personal training, pulled out my greens and started juicing. Although going back to bed was tempting because it is warm and cozy, and who doesn’t like sleep?!…But I certainly had tons of energy, and it just kept on comin’! I had one juice for breakfast, a raw green wrap for snack with avocado, and a delicious Green & Glowing Salad (recipe posted below) for lunch. I am going out for dinner with the family tonight and plan on making a green drink before. I will order a salad for dinner and bring my own dressing with me (weird? maybe, but I’m ok with it). Check out the juicer I use and salad recipe below!

     

    Omega NC800

     

    nc800hds_1 <—–There is my new baby. The Omega NC800. I have to say, she purrs like a kitten. Thomas stays snoozing even when I am juicing at 4:30 am! It is incredible how quiet it is. I also love how easy it is to clean. It is not a “big ordeal” to juice anymore, which is why I think most juicers stay in cupboards…this baby is sitting on my counter, and she is there to stay. This is one of the best investments I have made for my health yet. If you could preserve years of your life and relieve any sickness, pain and disease from your body for only a small cost under $400 would you not do it?! I think I spent almost that on my prom dress, which I wore once and is still hanging in my closet…hmph.

     

     Green and Glowing Salad

    with Creamy Ginger Dressing

    
    

     

    green and glowing

     

    Click Here for the Printable Recipe

     

    Recipe By: Melanie Faris

    Servings: I eat this all to myself, but it is probably big enough to share!

    Preparation: 5-10 minutes

    Ingredients

    1 big handful of dark green lettuce mix (I like spring mix)

    3-4 purple kale leaves, chopped (hard stems removed)

    1 handful of sprouts (I like to use a mix – sunflower, broccoli, radish…etc)

    Fresh parsley and cilantro leaves picked off the stem (however much you desire)

    ½ ripe avocado

    ¼ large cucumber

    Slice of lime

    *Optional – pinch of dulse flakes

     

    Method

    Rinse all lettuce and vegetables. Chop, cut and place salad in a large bowl or plate. Sprinkle with dulse flakes and squeeze lime to add a burst of citrus. Top with creamy ginger dressing and enjoy.

     

    Creamy Ginger Dressing

     

    DSC_0135 (1)  

    Ingredients

    ¼ cup cold-pressed olive oil

    ½ of each lemon & lime (juice only)

    2 tbl raw tahini paste

    1 tbl raw unpasteurized apple cider vinegar

    ½ inch of fresh ginger, peeled

    1 clove of garlic

    pinch of sea salt and pepper

    1-2 tablespoons of water

     

    Method

    Place all ingredients in a blender (or food processor) and combine until smooth. Add water until it reaches desired consistency (you may want to add more or less than suggested). Keep leftover dressing in a sealed container in the fridge. The dressing will thicken as it sits so you will need to add a bit more water again.

     

    Fill your body with greens that nourish your cells and give you glowing skin!

     

     


  7. Going Raw After Jamaica, Yeah Mon!

    March 27, 2014 by Melanie Faris

    After visiting Jamaica last week and seeing the people live off the earth, I was struck with a realization – their lifestyle is so calming, relaxing, and brings you to a whole new place mentally…Yeah Mon! If you have ever been to Jamaica, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I still can’t believe how many pool boys or maintenance workers asked, “You good? Need anything? I got some good stuff if you want…” Oh, how they sincerely cared about our well-being…Teehee. If you have never been to Jamaica and are completely lost, ignore that joke and continue on…

    Jamaica – March 2014

    IMG_0255

    Thomas and I having a blast!

    IMG_0170

    Fresh Coconut Water. So delicious!

    IMG_0134

    This Filet Mignon was so good. I ate it all.

     

     

    I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I wished I had enough courage to go raw. I always admired those with glowing skin, incredible energy and piercing clear eyes from their healthy lifestyle. Some of you reading this probably think that is the most absurd thing you have ever heard, and you may not even know what “going raw” is or why I am giving it a try. Let me explain…

    What is RAW?

     

    Unplug your oven, forget about dumping your veggies in boiling water or frying them up on the stove top. Raw foodism is eating completely uncooked, unprocessed, and entirely plant-based food. Think: all vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds & only sprouted grains/legumes. Sounds exciting doesn’t it?!

    I know you are probably thinking: Who would put themselves through eating only plant-based foods? What about meat and dairy? Are you nuts? Why?

    I’m definitely one who LOVES food. All kinds of food. In Jamaica, I had desert with every meal. I’m not kidding. I enjoyed pasta AND pizza for lunch (along with many other things from the amazing buffet…). I also was not shy on drinking pina coladas, “dirty bananas” & beer. Oh – and the cappuccinos were heavenly! I had 2 or 3 a day…oops?

    IMG_0126

    Desert and specialty coffees daily. Yum! I’m going to miss this…

    The point is – I’m a foodie! I have nothing against cooked food. I love meat, dairy and every kind of food you can think of. The fact is, I know that there are many benefits to eating only raw foods. I know eating all the junk I could manage on vacation had something to do with the 10 lbs I happened to gain over the past little while. I also know as much as my taste buds were satisfied, every cell in my body was lacking proper nutrients. I could eat a whole heap of food and not feel satisfied simply because my body was not receiving the nutrients it was expecting from the food I was eating. I was starving “nutritionally” on the inside but not showing any signs of this on the outside. When trying to squeeze my caboose into my jeans, I finally realized…

    “Houston, we have a problem!”

    As weird as some of it seems, I am attracted to the beauty of the raw food lifestyle. So simple, so healthy and completely…freeing. You may think this lifestyle is the exact opposite of freeing – it does kind of feel that way at first, but I’m beginning to see that by having the strength to say “no” to certain foods, the chains that have been holding me back from true nutrition are being cut free (sorry, I’m getting deep on you here). I’m free to have the choice to eat what I want, but I am deciding not to.

    I have always been interested in raw foodism, but could never muster up the will to do it. Who really wants to eat greens for breakfast lunch and dinner? That does not sound overly appetizing. But, I decided to take a challenge and do 30 days raw (primarily greens). I’m going to document my journey and take some pictures along the way to be living proof of a raw lifestyle and the transformation that takes place in my own life.

    I also want to clear something up – as much as weight loss is an awesome benefit to a raw food diet, I am not doing it for this purpose. I am simply doing it to cleanse my body of toxins and to feel the difference! If I fit into my jeans comfortably by my 30 days – Bonus!! hehe.

     My Raw Experience So Far

     

    I am currently on day 4 of my raw experience. I have to say, I wasn’t planning on doing a blog on this, especially after the first few days of agony. I was expecting to feel energized and healthy…I wasn’t feelin it. Not one bit. I thought I would have felt amazing from the start. To my surprise, I felt like crap. I honestly had a raging headache for 2-3 days and wanted to sleep. I was having green juice in the morning (kale, cucumber, celery, spinach, dandelion, wheat grass, parsley, lemon, lime & ginger) and eating salads, veggies, avocado, and some nuts/seeds throughout the day. Surprisingly, I felt pretty satisfied and I didn’t feel hungry. My body was going through the detoxifying process, and I was praying that there would be a light at the end of the tunnel…

    On day 2, I decided to go to the gym and sweat a bit. That didn’t last long. I wasn’t feeling overly great and my head was pounding, so I decided to leave after only 30 minutes. Darn you toxins! (Also, no coffee is definitely contributing to the head pounding…).

    Yesterday (day 3), I was beginning to feel better. I had more energy and was starting to enjoy the lifestyle a bit. I attempting a workout once again and to my surprise it went well! I had energy and only a slight headache. Things were improving.

    The most difficult thing has been planning food when I am not home. I was so thankful to find some amazing raw wraps at the health food store that are a total life saver. I spread some raw tahini paste, avocado and a sprinkle of sprouts and away I go. Yum! I can’t find the wraps online, but here is the company who makes them: Live Organic Raw. The ingredients are all greens, and surprisingly the wrap actually wraps well! I hate when you buy healthy wraps and they just fall apart. What’s the point?! Mine as well call it a crumble instead of wrap since there is no wrapping involved. I don’t mind the flavour of these raw wraps, although it does taste a bit “green”. There is another kind they sell (not green), maybe I will try that in the future. For now, green is where it’s at!

    Today (day 4) has been the first day where I feel darn fantastic. I feel energized, healthy and cleansed. It is amazing how quickly your body can detoxify and reboot. It really is a wonderful feeling knowing that your health is in your own hands! I am beginning to realize my addiction to food and how I used to eat out of emotion, or boredom and not out of real hunger. Now, I am actually eating when my body tells me to and feeling satisfied with foods I never imaged would fill me up. It’s awesome! There is something about this experience that I can’t explain. Although difficult at times, I am beginning to embrace this lifestyle and see food in a new way. Trust me, get passed those first few days and then you start to see why people live this way.

    Tonight I am off to the movies to see Divergent with my hubby. I know the smell of popcorn will bring on the cravings, but I won’t give in. 26 days to go and I’m not slowing down any time soon.

    Check back for more updates on my raw experience…

    Check out some of the links and documentaries below that helped me make my decision on trying a raw food diet:

    Cancer Cure: Gerson Therapy

    Diabetes Cure: Simply Raw

    Improved Health and Healing: Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead & Hungry for Change

     

     


  8. I don’t feel like cookin’ kind of lunch

    February 9, 2014 by Melanie Faris

    Today was a clean the house, sit on the couch, don’t feel like cookin’ kind of day. I was rummaging through the fridge for something quick to eat for lunch when it hit me – there’s a little lazy lunch ingredient hiding in our cupboard. It’s probably hiding in yours too. It aint PB & J (although this is a great lazy lunch too), I’m talkin’ bout tuna! Who hasn’t enjoyed a good ol’ tuna sandwich smothered in mayonnaise & squeezed between two big buns?! Unfortunately, this way of eating tuna will probably give you some big buns too.

    I wasn’t planning on eating it the typical way with big globs of mayonnaise mixed in to cover up the fishy taste. I wasn’t about to eat it right out of the can either…I’m not a huge fan of eating canned tuna all the time, especially because of the mercury in it, but I definitely am not opposed to this easy source of protein every once in a while.

    Here’s my lazy lunch tuna wrap. Great for packing as a lunch or eating at home when you just don’t feel like cooking. We’ve all been there, you aren’t alone. Forget about loading it with unhealthy ingredients, instead, try it my healthy way!

     

    Packed Tuna Wrap

    The Healthy Way

     

    packed tuna wrap

    Recipe By: Melanie Faris

    Prep Time: 5 Minutes

    Ingredients

    1 Can of Tuna (Packed in Water), Drained and Rinsed

    1 Ezekiel Brand Sprouted Whole Grain Tortilla

    Mayonnaise Replacement

    1/4 Cup of 0% Plain Greek Yogurt +2 Tablespoons of Fresh Lemon Juice +

    Pinch of Sea Salt & Pepper

    Optional Toppings

    2 Teaspoons of Hot Sauce

    2 Teaspoons of Dijon Mustard

    1/2 Avocado, Sliced

    Sprouts (I used my own grown mung bean sprouts)

    Handful of Spinach

    Sliced Tomato

    Banana Peppers

    Method

    This is pretty self-explanatory. Follow the steps in the picture below. Step 6 is the best one! Although, the picture doesn’t explain how to do this part…

    tuna steps

     


  9. Protein Nut Loaf

    January 20, 2014 by Melanie Faris

    protein nut loaf

    After looking over the ingredients of a popular loaf of bread said to “boost your protein!”, I was saddened for those who fell for this sly marketing trick. I turned over the protein loaf and saw there were 11 grams of protein per serving. Wow, that is pretty good! Until I realized that it was for 2 slices, making 1 slice only 5.5 grams of protein. Big deal! Also, not to mention the protein is coming from genetically modified soy beans. Not so healthy… I would rather eat my sprouted Ezekiel bread with 4 grams of protein per slice and know that everything I am consuming is organic with no preservatives.

    It didn’t take me long to think up a better idea than buying a loaf of bread from the grocery store. Why don’t I just make my own protein bread? I then remembered all of the left over almond meal I had from making my own almond milk the other day. I have dried it out in the oven and saved it for later in the fridge. Time to put all this fiber and nutrition to good use! I put on my apron, grabbed my mixing bowls and began an experiment in the kitchen. To be honest, I had no idea how to make a loaf, but I wrote down my ingredients and began mixing everything together. I popped it in the oven, and within 45 minutes I was indulging in a sweet, nutty, protein packed slice of deliciousness. I was completely satisfied with my experiment in the kitchen. So satisfied in fact that I feel compelled to share my great protein loaf recipe with you! Leave the popular so-called protein loaf on the shelf and try making your own at home.

    Ps. It makes me really happy to hear your feedback and see you trying my recipes! I would love to see your pictures posted on my Facebook page if you decide to make any of my recipes.

    Pps. Don’t forget about Food Wars! There is a little over a week left for you to enter the battle. Even if you don’t enter Food Wars, you can still try my Goji Berry Muffin recipe posted on my Food Wars Post.

     

    Protein Nut Loaf

     

    Protein Nut Loaf

     

    Printable Recipe for Protein Nut Loaf

    Recipe By: Melanie Faris

    Servings: 9 Slices

    Prep Time: 10 Minutes

    Bake Time: 40-50 Minutes

    Ingredients

    1 Cup of Large Flake Oats

    ½ Cup of Homemade Almond Meal or ¾ Cups of Store Bought Almond Flour/Meal (Bob’s Red Mill Brand)

    3 Scoops of a Natural Vanilla Whey Protein Powder

    ½ Cup of Xylitol or Coconut Sugar

    1/3 Cup of Raw Pumpkin Seeds (or substitute with nut or seed of choice)

    ¼ Cup of Sliced Almonds *Optional for sprinkling on-top

    1 Cup of Almond Milk

    ½ Cup of Unsweetened Applesauce

    1 Egg

    1 Tablespoon of Vanilla Extract

    1 Teaspoon of Almond Extract

    1 Tablespoon of Baking Powder

    ¼ Teaspoon of Sea Salt

    +

    1 Teaspoon of Coconut Oil or Organic Butter for Greasing

    Method

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare your loaf pan by greasing it with coconut oil or butter.

    Combine all the dry ingredients (except nuts and seeds) in a large bowl using a whisk. Stir in the pumpkin seeds or your own choice of nuts and seeds.

    Lightly beat one egg in a small bowl.

    In a separate medium bowl, combine wet ingredients together with a whisk and stir in the egg.

    Add the wet ingredients into the dry and stir gently until combined. Pour everything into the loaf pan and bake for approximately 40 minutes. If using store-bought almond flour, increase baking time to 50 minutes. Test the loaf by piercing it with a knife to be sure it comes out clean. If anything sticks to the knife, throw it back in the oven for a while longer until fully cooked.

    Let the loaf sit for a minimum of 10 minutes before slicing it. Sprinkle the sliced almonds on-top and cut the loaf into 9 slices. Top with almond butter or spread of choice!

     

    Cover and refrigerate to save for later.

     

     

    Nutritional Facts (Per Serving)
    200 kcal
    22 grams of carbohydrates
    9 grams of fat
    13 grams of protein
    2 grams of sugar
    2 grams of fiber
    246 mg of sodium
     
    All nutritional facts can vary depending on brands and ingredients used. Nutritional facts are generated to the best of my knowledge from www.myfitnesspal.com. Nutritional facts are based on the first ingredients listed and are intended for your general information.


  10. Simple Homemade Almond Milk

    January 17, 2014 by Melanie Faris

    There is nothing like fresh homemade almond milk – believe me! The taste is divine. I make 2 batches/week because I can’t get enough of it. The taste does not even compare to store-bought almond milk, and neither does the nutrition. Store bought almond milk contains preservatives, unnecessary additives and can be hard on your digestion from the carrageenan that is often found in almond milk (did you know that?). Overall, it is always best to have natural food put in our bodies, which is why I will make my own almond milk whenever I can! It only takes 10 minutes and it is so much better. You can make it too – Check out my recipe and video for how to make your own homemade almond milk!

    Click Here to watch the video.

     

    Simple Homemade Almond Milk

     

    Simple Homemade Almond Milk

    Click Here for the printable recipe

    Recipe By: Melanie Faris

    Makes approximately 4 cups of almond milk
    Prep Time: 10 minutes

    Ingredients

    1 Cup of raw almonds, soaked overnight

    4 Cups of water

    1 Tablespoon of honey or maple syrup

    2 Teaspoons of vanilla extract

    ¼ Teaspoons of sea salt

    Method

    Place 1 cup of raw almonds in a bowl and cover with water. Let the almonds soak for at least 6 hours, or overnight on the counter. Drain and rinse the almonds and place them in a high-speed blender with 4 cups of water. Blend on high until almonds combine with water and is the consistency of milk. Strain the mixture through a nut-milk bag or cheesecloth into a separate container, squeezing the liquid out of the almonds with your hands. Rinse the blender container you used previously and pour the almond milk back into it. Add the remaining ingredients to the blender and blend until combined.

    The milk will separate as it sits so give it a shake before using.

    Refrigerate and drink within 3-4 days. You will know by the smell if it has gone bad.

    *Don’t throw away the blended almonds after squeezing out the liquid. Spread the almonds over a baking sheet and bake at 200 degrees for 2 hours to dry it out. Transfer the dry almonds to a blender or food processor and turn it into almond meal/flour!