Healthy and Sane

Challenges challenges

June 10th, 2009 · 27 Comments · 20 minute meals, Cleaner Life, Italian, sandwich, smoothies, snacks

Sorry for the lack of post yesterday – Adam and I decided to go on a little impromptu date at Bertucci’s. Let’s just say I was not on my healthiest behavior yesterday (or these last couple of days) but today is a whole other story. As always, when I get back into the swing of things, I feel great! I feel like I’m taking care of myself while nourishing my body with not only nutritious foods but also crazy delicious foods 😀

Now, before I get into today’s eats, let’s cover a few things I wanted to mention….

1) I joined Annabel’s This Ain’t No Freshman 15, this is the Final 10 Challenge. I’d like to lose more than 10 lbs but honestly I’ve been trying to stay away from the scale. I know when I’m being good (I see results in my body, not just on the scale) and I know very well when I’m being bad. I would really really love to lose 10 lbs by August 1st, but instead of concentrating on the number I chose a different goal – I decided to stop my mindless eating and bingeing as part of the challenge. I just think if I get rid of this nasty habit, everything else will just really fall into place. I truly love exercise and I love healthy eating (in general) so the weight eventually would have to come off. Well, I’m sorry to report I already fell off the wagon! :( That means I’ll have to donate $50 to a charity of my choice (because I didn’t meet my goal) but that does not mean that I’m going to give up on it! I will continue with the challenge and report back here. I am motivated to stop this horrendous cycle! :)

2) Reading about Heather’s Cleaner Life Challenge also inspired me today. At first I was like: “Oh I could never go for 30 days without sugar and white flour without blowing my brains out!” but then I thought about it. I mean, really thought about it… and I think I want to try! :) I am going to NYC this weekend and I plan on enjoying it to its fullest, so the challenge will begin on Monday, June 15 (hey I kind of like this round number 😉 ) and will go on for 30 days. Here are my rules – they are much looser than Heather’s but it’s still going to be a challenge for me. Baby steps.

  • No tofu, less soy in general
  • Organic dairy after I run out of the stuff we already have at home (I just stocked up on chobani – which is not organic!).
  • Organic meat to the extent possible. *Organic meat is crazy expensive and my husband likes meat most nights with dinner (and I cook for both of us the same thing). Once I run out of the stuff we already have, I will try to find a way to eat organic meat.
  • No artificial sweetener, except for gum. I already cut out artificial sweetener out of my diet (except for a very rare diet coke here and there) but I really like chewing gum and unfortunately it contains artificial sweeteners. I don’t think this small amount will kill me.
  • No white sugar!!!!!!!! Ok this is by FAR the hardest part of the challenge! I will allow myself up to 1 Holey Donut a day. I just put a purchase in that will arrive next Tuesday. I was really looking forward to them and I know I will go crazy if they are in my freezer, mocking me. I think having a treat waiting for me at home will also help with avoiding other treats with white sugar in the ingredients list. Let’s hope :)
  • No white flour (second hardest challenge) – again 1 Holey Donut a day is the exception.
  • No white rice or white pasta
  • When purchasing produce, consult the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides. If it’s in the top 20, only buy if it’s organic. Otherwise, try to buy organic whenever possible. If it’s not organic, it should be at least local.
  • Avoid highly processed foods.
  • Continue to replace conventional cleaning products with environment friendly counterparts
  • Replace current body products (lotions, washes, etc.) with 100% natural products, with the exception of my prescription acne medication

Oh and I should mention there are a few very special occasions happening over the next 30 days, including my first year wedding anniversary (!!!), my dad’s birthday, the 4th of July, and potentially a special dinner with my parents. On those days/meals, I will allow myself to fully enjoy myself and that will inevitably lead to some white sugar consumption. Yep, I’m a junkie but I’ve been waiting for nearly a year to eat the top of our wedding cake, and I will not wait 1 extra day to do it!

I think that will do it for this challenge :mrgreen: Does anyone want to join my less hardcore challenge? Thanks, Heather, again for inspiring me! 😀

3) I’m hosting a potluck dinner for bloggers and readers on June 21st. Does anyone want to join us? Comment here or shoot me an email if you’re in the Boston area and are available. It’s going to be a small crowd so far, but I’m sure it will be a lot of fun :)

Ok, now that we’re done with “business” let’s take a look at today’s food, shall we? :)


I started the morning on the right foot with this green monster. This was the best batch so far… I’m getting good at this 😛

green monster with whey

[316 calories]

Looks like every other monster, but this guy had 1 frozen banana, 1/4 avocado, 2T ground flaxseed, 1/2 cup soy milk, 1/2 cup water, 1 scoop of vanilla Whey Protein (key!!), a bunch of ice and a bunch of baby spinach (maybe 3 cups?). It was so creamy and delicious. It was definitely the Whey Protein. I think it may have junk ingredients, though. It’s really old so I just decided to use some up because I wanted this breakfast to last me through the morning without other solid foods. It did! It will likely not qualify for the Cleaner Life challenge though. :(


Oh my – this was such a delicious sandwich. I bought some fresh mozzarella at the farmers market the other day (it was made that morning! SO cool!!) and used up the leftovers in this yummy sammie with prosciutto and balsamic vinegar on TJ’s sourdough bread. I also packed up an organic fuji apple, which I ended up eating as an afternoon snack.

mozz prosciutto sammie


fuji apple

[384 calories]


AK MAKs, 1/2 pear, string cheese

[189 calories]


[100 calories]


Dinner was the perfect way to end the day! I made pasta with zucchini and toasted almonds using this recipe from Cooking Light. This was from Cooking Light’s 20-minute meals section, which I’ve loved in the past and this meal once again blew me away. Fresh pasta with zucchini, grape tomatoes, garlic, cheese and almonds… I mean how could I NOT love it? 😉 Adam bought his pasta and it wasn’t whole wheat, but boy was it delicious! Once in a while regular pasta is ok, I think. I can’t wait for lunch tomorrow when I get to eat the rest of the leftovers :)

CL pasta with zucchini + almonds

big juicy bite

[~325 calories – I used 2.5 tsp less of EVOO than Cooking Light]

Total calories for the day: 1344

No exercise today – I worked for 11 hours straight instead. I feel good, though, because with my recent love/hate relationship with food, it’s good to be in love again 😉 Happy humpday! Did you enter my Holey Donuts giveaway yet?

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27 Comments so far ↓

  • #1 - Shannon

    That pasta is lookin fabulous-o! I am definietly going to join you in the cleaner eating challenge and eliminate artificial sweeteners… I use Splenda out of habit every day and I know I need to stop!! Tomorrow maybe I’ll throw the box of it out completely…

    Yum for Holey Donuts!!

  • #2 - Anne K.

    Good luck with the challenges! Ooh I LOVE fresh mozzerella. It’s so delicious! I love making sandwiches with basil, fresh mozz., and tomato. Yummm!

    Have a lovely night!

  • #3 - Annabel

    Elina — you are such a superstar, seriously. If you feel you fell off the wagon just remember how great it feels to jump right back on it, holding on for dear life. Thanks for joining my wagon, by the way, it’s nice to have your company! 😀 Your challenge to watch the binging sounds like a great plan. I struggle with that too — believe me. It helps me to see bloggers like you who really do such a great job at balancing eating well with living well. So thank you for that.

  • #4 - Tiffany

    That sandwich looks amazing! Yum.

    That’s a nice challenge you’ve got posted. It seems pretty in line with what’s usually in my fridge, minus the white sugar. If I tried to replace the sugar in our sugar bowl, Kyle would have a conniption.

  • #5 - Lara (Thinspired)

    Two weeks ago I was totally up for a challange/clean eating of sorts…I might be ready again after we are back from Italy because I plan to enjoy food and wine there! Your guidelines look great though, and you are so hard-core in your devotion to stop your mindless eating. Awesome.
    I’ve found that whey is great in GM’s, too, I’ve been using chocolate. It does something to make it fluffy! I haven’t tried flax in them yet…can you taste it?
    You did great today and I am inspired by your “get back on the wagon” attitude :)

  • #6 - Adam

    Where’s my credit for the sandwich! That was my idea :) And it was awesome!

  • #7 - Elina

    Yay, Shannon! I used to add splenda to EVERYTHING but decided that I’d rather have less of the real thing instead. You never know what this junk can do for you in the long term. It took me a while to justify the calorie deferential, but honestly now the stuff almost grosses me out. You can do it!!

    Thanks, Annabel!! And thanks for the challenge. Like I said, I’m determined to kick this terrible habit to the curb!

    Lara, the whey protein totally made the smoothie fluffy! Great description. Yum :)

    Um, Adam – it was my idea! You just happened to make it before me 😀

  • #8 - sister inna

    hey it’s waaaay past humpday! it’s THURSDAY now — i see you tomorrow 😀
    i read about that final 10 challenge on priorfatgirl’s blog and thought it was really cool you get to donate money if you ‘lose’ but didn’t think of making it my own challenge. good idea on that one! (and sorry you already lost)
    on another note, we just bought some vanilla whey protein at WF this week, and we have a new blender — soooo you can make me one of these monsters .. if you want to that is lololol

  • #9 - april

    Good luck with the challenge! it sounds intense!

  • #10 - Hangry Pants

    Rock on with your challenge.

    And Bertucci’s was the site of one my first dates with Mark. I still have the receipt …. from 2000!!!

  • #11 - K

    Good luck with your challenge!! You’ll be great!

    That pasta dish looks so refreshing and light – YUM!

  • #12 - Ali

    I’ll def join you in the challenge! :) After last night’s impromptu cold stone trip.. cough cough.. hehe

  • #13 - Sara

    Hey there!

    So I read your post this morning and couldn’t decide whether or not I wanted to say anything, but then I couldn’t stop thinking about you today so I figured what the heck :) As you know, I really struggle with bingeing, and I don’t know the extent of your issues with it, but this is what came to mind while reading about your challenges….

    First, think really hard about why you want to do a 30 day no sugar, nothing “bad” challenge. Is it realistic that this is how you want to eat for the rest of your life? If that answer is yes, then I have no doubt you will be committed to it. For me, MAYBE I could go 30 days, but not forever (I just love food too much! Healthy food, and treats too), and so then what is the point?

    I am just wondering what motives you have behind doing a challenge. If your goal is to lose weight, then over the next 30 days you might, but if you go back to eating differently afterwards, the weight might not necessarily stay off.

    I COMPLETELY understand the goal of wanting to eat a healthier diet with less processed foods, etc. But I fear that I am sensing that mindset in you that “I was *bad* and now I have to redeem myself by denying myself all of those *bad* foods”. I am also concerned when you said you will start the challenge after your trip because you want to live it up….just don’t use that as an excuse to binge before going on a restrictive challenge the next day! I know the pattern all too well.

    I hope I’m not overstepping here, and please know that I think you are awesome and this just comes from a place of concern. I could be reading it all wrong, but a lot of what you wrote I can relate with, as it has been part of my binge/restrict cycle for so long. Just make sure you know what your true motives are and what you hope to accomplish from this challenge (I would be interested to hear those things!). Living a healthy and balanced life no doubt will include those foods every once in a while, in moderation, which should be ok.

  • #14 - Alison

    Good for you for trying to eat healthy. And good for you for getting up ready to start again after you’ve had a not-so-healthy meal. It’s good to have those every once in awhile.
    Good luck with your challenges. Just make sure you don’t restrict too much that you don’t enjoy yourself.

  • #15 - Elina

    Innz- stock up on bananas, spinach, almond milk and other fruit and let’s get to smoothing this weekend!! :mrgreen:

    Heather – that’s such a cute Bertucci’s story. I think our first “date” was at a dive bar with friends. 😉

    Ali – awesome! Let me know how it goes!! :)

    Sara – thank you so much for your comment! I think I should address the reason I’m doing this on the blog, but I’ll post a quick answer here too. Actually your comment made me really think about it and I really loved that, so never fear about commenting here. I know it comes from a place of love :) Ok so here is why I want to do this… I do want to reduce my consumption of all these things in the long term, but complete elimination of especially white sugar and white flour will not be possible for good. I know that. The reason I’m doing this challenge is because lately I’ve been eating too much junk just completely automatically. I didn’t think about whether I wanted it or how it made me feel (during and after eating it) – I just grabbed things and ate them. The worst problem is that I felt completely out of control and felt like I couldn’t stop this stupidity. I think making some things “off limits” for a little while will stop this automatic behavior. It will force me to evaluate what I’m about to consume. Yes it will be a challenge but I usually do well with challenges so I’m actually excited about it! I also, as I’m sure you saw, allowed myself certain things – like a sweet donut at night (which would otherwise “break the rules”), and anything I want on special occasions. I know if I were to restrict myself on those days, I would be miserable and then that would lead to problems. I don’t know if this makes sense. Maybe I’ll think about how to formulate it better soon and actually address it in a post. Thank you, though, again! 😀

  • #16 - Melissa (Nibbles and Wiggles)

    I recently have been trying strawberry whey protein in my smoothies and I’m in love with it. :)

    Good luck on your personal challenges!

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    This Cleaner Life Challenge looks great. Although I’ve just renewed my commitment to eating healthier and regular exercise, I’m hesitant to join you…I’m worried about *jinxing* myself. ; ) I’m with you in spirit, and I’ll be cheering you on.

    BTW, I gave up chocolate on Monday — it’s been 6 days since I’ve had any. I’ve given it up because it’s like a drug for me. I have NO will power.

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  • #26 - Ally

    Hi Elina,
    I’ve been reading your blog for the past month or so and have really been enjoying it! It is relieving to see someone else puts themselves through the good-bad-binge-good cycle too.

    I’ve been thinking that starting the CLC might be the ticket to kicking my bad behaviour. Nothing else seems to be working long-term (‘good’ for three days, then I’m face down in a bag of chocolate chips. “I’ll start tomorrow, this is the last time…” etc.). If you have any tips for getting through it, shoot me an email!

    :) Ally

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