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I Weighed My Food for a Week—Here’s What Happened

I Weighed My Food for a Week—Here’s What Happened

I’ll forever weigh these four foods.

I’ve never been great at the whole portion control thing. Most Sunday nights I’ll try to clean out the fridge by making a quick bowl of pasta and tossing whatever I have left into the mix. I typically pour dry pasta to fill a bowl, and boil that as a serving. Then I’ll bulk it out with handfuls of cheese, whatever vegetable I have on hand, and a helping of tomato sauce. Dinner is served, and next thing you know I’ve single handedly finished a bowl fit for three.

To keep myself in line, I’ve recently started to use recipes for every meal as a crutch. If I know exactly what goes into a recipe and exactly how many servings it should make, I can usually keep myself from overdoing it.

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

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But then there are those few portion sizes that I think I know without a recipe. How much is a serving of protein? A hamburger to fill a small plate, yes? How about a bowl of pasta? A quarter of the box, right? I usually just guess—and then I tend to overdo it.

I decided to put my portion-control knowledge to the test by going an entire week weighing the foods I don’t typically measure out. I dusted off my kitchen scale, researched portions by weight from the American Heart Association and United States Department of Agriculture, and got cooking. Though I found weighing every single item I ate was not only super annoying, but totally unnecessary, I did find I was able to control my portions for many of my meals. After a week of weighing, here are the four things I’ll definitely put on the scale in the future.

Pasta

I was most excited to see if I could eyeball a serving of pasta. It turns out, a single serving of dry pasta is approximately 2 oz. which really isn’t a lot. So, I poured out a bowl of dry noodles to estimate about how much I would eat (my usual go-to pasta measuring technique), and weighed it.

What I perceived as a serving was 4.2 oz. That's more than double what I should be eating. And that’s before considering the insane portion sizes I’ll usually get at a restaurant. Needless to say, I packed in extra veggies to bulk out the bowl, and I’ll be weighing my pasta from now on.

Proteins

Later in the week, I prepped this Salmon with Kale, Walnut, and White Bean Salad for a few dinners. Though a single serving of protein is about 3 oz., this recipe called for a 6 oz. fillet per serving. I tried to estimate what I would assume that weight of fish would be.

I ended up with a 7.8 oz. fillet, so I clearly had no idea how large a serving of protein should be. After I cut (ok, more like hacked) a third of the fish off, I ended with a sizable serving. I’ll definitely be weighing my proteins in the future.

Wine

I’m not one to turn down a glass of wine, so I figured I should check in on how close my pour is to the 5 oz. recommended serving. Typically I’ll fill just about half the glass, which surprisingly gets me a 6.5 oz. serving.

I don’t see myself pulling out the kitchen scale every time I want a glass of wine, but I intend on being more mindful with my pours in the future.

Flour

I’m not much of a baker, but I’ll occasionally make a loaf of this Chocolate-Tahini Banana Bread (because it’s just so good). The ingredients call for 6 oz. of white whole-wheat flour, or about 1 ½ cups.

Before my kitchen scale days, I was a firm believer in lightly spooning some flour into a measuring cup and then leveling it off. To my surprise, 6 oz. of flour equals to significantly less than the 1 ½ cups suggested. Did weighing the flour make a huge difference in my banana bread? Not really. But if I have the scale available, I’ll probably use it.

My Takeaway

I’d have to say weighing my serving of pasta was the biggest shock of this experiment. I had no idea that I'd be off by so much! And while weighing my food didn’t transform my life or my cooking, I’ll definitely turn to my kitchen scale when a recipe calls for an ingredient by weight—or when cooking dry noodles.


This Is What Happens When You Eat Like Kim Kardashian West for a Week

With trendy new diets cropping up almost daily, separating truth from fiction can feel harder than navigating the kombucha aisle. Can a three-day raw food diet really help clear your acne? Will chugging a magic shake once a day give you a body like Bella Hadid’s? Probably not, but we’re game to try everything and report on the results (no need to thank us—we consider it our civic duty). Which leads us to the topic of Kim Kardashian West—more specifically, her post-pregnancy body and the diet she credits for it. After shedding 60 pounds following Saint’s birth like it was no big deal, Kardashian West revealed the exact meal plan she followed: the low-carb, fat-burning diet dubbed Atkins. Our co-founder Hillary Kerr and editorial director Faith Xue decided to try Kim’s post-pregnancy diet for seven days…with very different results.


Miranda Cosgrove Finally Weighs In On The Drake and Josh Wedding Drama

Miranda Cosgrove finally weighed in on the feud between her former Drake & Josh co-stars, Drake Bell and Josh Peck.

In case you missed it: Josh didn't invite Drake to his wedding, causing Drake to dramatically subtweet about his former on-screen brother's "true colors." Eventually, Josh admitted that he and Drake aren't really friends anymore.

Drake & Josh fans (aka literally everyone alive) was understandably heartbroken over the scandal. And a ton of people flooded Miranda's Instagram comments with questions about whether or not she was invited to the wedding.

In a new interview with Entertainment Tonight, Miranda explained, "No, I didn't go [to the wedding]," but added, "I'm very happy for Josh. I hope he has a good marriage. It's exciting. It's just crazy to me that so much time has passed &mdash like so many of my friends and people who were on Nickelodeon with me are married now."

She admitted she only sees her Drake & Josh co-stars "every once in awhile," but plans to attend Drake's birthday this week. Here's to hoping she hugs Drake, sista.


When food obsessions get the best of us

I don’t like to eat 2 different colored candies. For example, if there is a bowl of starburst in front of me I need to eat 2 pinks or 2 yellows. Eating 1 yellow and 1 pink is not an option. A bowl of M&Ms in the office, I must eat 2 blues or 2 reds. Hershey’s miniatures assortment mix, always 2 Mr. Goodbar’s. Some people know this about me. Some don’t.

However, although typing it sounds weird, I think if we all think for a moment we can identify an obsessive ritual we have with food. Or an obsessive ritual we have with dieting.

I thought about this when I was at work the other day. I am trying to drink more water so I gave myself a goal of drinking 3 full cups throughout the day. I was passing the water cooler on my way back from a meeting and thought that I should refill my cup. The problem was that cup wasn’t quite empty yet and I wasn’t ready to take that last gulp. The obsession of perfection got the best of me because I didn’t fill up my cup in that moment. In fact, I never went back and filled up my water cup again that day. I thought about this again this week while wearing my new fitness tracker. One day I got home and had no more than 2,000 steps. I considering taking a couple laps around the block to get some more in but my obsessive mind went to the place of, “If I can’t get to 10,000 why even bother.”

For me, the feeling of strict compliance has always been exhilarating. Every time I’ve ever started a diet I’d pick the plan and do everything the diet instructions called for with extreme accuracy. I’d get out the measuring spoons, the measuring cups, perfectly portioning all food, making the drinks exactly as the diet instructed. I’m on a strict compliance high. The problem with perfection is, one slip up and I become a bicycle going downhill with no breaks. I can’t stop myself unless I vow to start another perfect plan. Of course the perfection pays off, but perfection also severely holds us back from realistic progress. Instead of taking 2 steps forward and 1 step back, this mentality usually causes us to take two steps forward and 3 steps back.

The secret, I have learned, to lasting success isn’t about finding the plan that works. It’s not about finding a diet that helps us lose the most weight. The secret to success is understanding ourselves emotionally. Understanding the chaotic rituals we have picked up around food. And giving ourselves permission to not be perfect. Weight loss isn’t about finding the perfect diet, it’s about learning how to diet imperfectly.

Happy Monday!


The Monday Diet: The first diet ever written that has nothing to do with food.

This diet is something I’ve thought about writing for a very long time. The idea came to me one day when I told my husband that therapy is the best diet I’ve ever been on.

When I first sat down in the therapist chair, I told my therapist I had a problem with food. I said, “I have no willpower.” I think about food all the time. I am obsessed with dieting. I can’t lose weight. Can you help me? She told me I was an emotional eater. Whenever I had something going on in my life that sparked emotion, it showed itself as food. Either eating a lot of food or restricting a lot of food. Either being on a diet or being completely off the wagon. I was skeptical at first, but the more we met and the more we talked, the more my emotional eating became so clear. I slowly learned to connect everything I overate with an event that triggered emotion. I was also able to connect any obsessions with dieting as my way of numbing anxiety. It wasn’t always easy to find the trigger or realize that something so small could trigger me, but when I really looked or swallowed my pride and admitted that something upset me, I was able to make the connection. That was the beginning of me learning that when you let emotions out, you don’t eat them in. When you let yourself feel emotions, you don’t have to numb them with food.

Because of my experience and what I have learned I believe that understanding the emotional component of dieting has been the biggest influence in my life. It’s been the most effective diet I’ve ever been on. If losing weight was as easy as eating healthy and exercising more, we’d all be thin. And since I’ve never binged on broccoli, I know emotional eating is what causes my weight gain, weight fluctuations, body image issues and obsession with dieting. One handful of licorice (my go-to binge food) isn’t going to move the scale, but when I eat the whole bag…that’s when the problems start.

That’s why I decided to pen the first ever diet, that has nothing to do with food. This diet doesn’t tell you what to eat. It doesn’t tell you how much to exercise. This diet was built on the emotional component of dieting. And as we all work to make 2018 our year, I hope you consider giving this diet a try. I promise, it’s everything! For lack of creativity…we’ll call this: The Monday Diet.

FIRST WHAT TO ELIMINATE: Instead of eliminating high sugar and high fat foods, Eliminate (or limit):

  • Toxic friends
  • Time with family members who trigger us
  • Self-Doubt
  • Feeling guilty
  • The scale
  • Comparing ourselves to others

Instead of tracking exactly what you eat, Track:

  • When you eat
  • When you choose to not eat healthy
  • When you find yourself completely overeating
  • When you find yourself unable to stop eating

Instead of eating certain foods based on a diet plan, organize your food choices into 2 groups

Food is everything healthy you eat. Fruits, vegetables, protein, healthy fats, grains, beans, yogurt, you name it.. it’s in this group. Also in this group is any “unhealthy food” you eat with intention. I eat dessert after every meal. It ends the meal for me. It may be 1 chocolate chip cookie or sometimes 4 mini peanut butter cups. I eat them. They are in the “food group.” When I reach for the second cookie and then the third that spills into the emotional food category. When I’ve eaten dinner and my dessert and I’m still opening up the cabinet and eating 12 handfuls of animal crackers before bed, that spills over into emotional food. The emotional foods are the foods that hinder us from losing weight. The emotional foods are the foods we eat beyond hunger.

These two food groups pertain to meals as well. I used to cut out foods like bagels, pizza and Chinese food because I had labeled them as “bad foods” or “non- diet foods.” Now if I eat a slice of pizza for dinner, it’s just a food. But when I eat 3 slices of pizza followed by 6 garlic knots and lasagna, it’s emotional food.

As someone who is studying to be a registered dietician, I know the importance of eating for our health. I am not saying eat pizza and pasta for all meals. I am saying that when we aren’t emotional eating, we naturally tend to pick foods, like fruits and vegetables, that promote health. After all, we like these foods. We like the taste and we like the way they make us feel. Our eating mimics how we feel. When we feel like crap, we eat like crap.

The hardest part about this diet is that its up to us to put the breaks on emotional eating. The only way that can happen is to address the emotional trigger. Bring awareness to the fact that something or someone is causing us to want to eat. That, I have found, will suppress my appetite more than anything else. Realizing WHY I am eating beyond normal amounts of food. Let your emotions out, don’t eat them in. This diet, my friends, is an absolute game changer .


I ate whatever I wanted for a week. Here's what happened.

I had been hovering around 125-130lbs for a few years now and finally wanted to shed the fat off. It's true that I didn't have a lot of weight to lose compared to a lot of you on this subreddit. But at my height and weight, 1200 calories was not too far off from my TDEE. That means losing even a few pounds was much more difficult compared to someone who's maybe 100lbs larger than I am. It also meant I had to be a lottt stricter about counting calories to see the scale shift.

I started 1200 in mid-January (I was 129lbs). With VERY strict calorie counting (some days even less than 1200 calories, which I don't necessarily recommend) and almost daily exercise, I got down to about 119lbs by early-March. However, I could see a difference in my body due to increased muscle tone (+ decreased fat) even by the time I reached 123lbs. I lost the most fat from my thighs and belly, and I started fitting into pants that I previously couldn't fit into. Even though I hadn't reached my goal weight, my body was close to what I wanted to see in the end.

In terms of nutrition, I'm a college student who cooks my own meals. I'm not a great cook, which meant most of my meals were very simple - toast, protein shake, protein + veggies. I was too lazy/busy to cook anything more complicated, which did help with the fast weight loss. I didn't eat out very often, and even when I did, I made sure to count calories.

Here's where the story starts. I was 119-120lbs when I went back home for spring break (6 days) and decided not to count calories AT ALL. I guess I was confident at this point that I could lose whatever I gained when I went back to school. Since the food back home was infinitely better than my college food, I also wanted to "make the most out of it" (like a vacation?). My goal wasn't to purposely eat as much as I could - but it was to not limit myself whenever I wanted something.

I ate wayyyy more than I could handle at some times, to the point where I felt sick (which I definitely do not recommend lol). For breakfast, I usually ate pastries, several slices of toast with as much nut butter or toppings as I wanted - basically 2-3x my normal breakfast. For lunch/dinner, I ate out A LOT - hot pot, buffets, noodles, bowls of rice, fried chicken, etc. My favorite food is dessert though, and I didn't limit myself with this either. After all those large meals, I ate ice cream, more pastries, cake, boba - it was like food heaven for a week.

The only thing I did "right" was work out every day still. I'm no gym aficionado, but I did very light lifting (like dumbell curls, squats, pulldowns) and ab workouts (leg lifts, windshields, etc..). With all that I was eating, the least I could do was use the extra energy to gain some muscle while I was at it.

I weighed myself every day, and started to see the scale go up. From 123lbs to 125..even 129lbs (my starting weight!) at some point. It was a little crazy, but I trusted my knowledge that it was probably mostly all water weight.

I "lost" my slim body for a week (sometimes I even looked slightly pregnant lol..). I felt more than a little gross at some points tbh..

Here's what happened after a week:

I ate moderately healthy again, drank a lot of water, and waited a FULL week after I returned to weigh myself for the first time. I was not back to my starting weight. In fact, I was only 121lbs. I was extremely surprised (especially since I had pizza the night before), but it taught me a lot about my 1200 journey.

The moral you should take away from my experience is not that you can/should go crazy like me for a week and expect minimal repercussions. I only ate this way because I knew I "only" had 6 days and my mom was almost purposely spoiling me with food. But rather - weight loss is a JOURNEY. In my head, I flipped the scenario around. If I ate grossly unhealthy for 10 weeks and ate healthy for 1 week, that week would make only very temporary difference to my overall health. It's the same situation. 1200isplenty is not about starving or punishing yourself whenever you eat unhealthy. One pizza, beer, night out with friends WILL NOT ruin your progress (I realized this more than ever now). I enjoyed being lazy for a week, but ultimately I feel much better and satisfied when I'm eating healthy. In fact, I'm not finding it hard/unhappy to eat healthy again because of the habits I've built up the past few months. I'm still planning on reaching my goal weight, but it doesn't seem daunting to me at all now and I know I can do it. In fact, I'm more positive about it because I know that those small "cheat meals" I used to obsess about in the past don't really "matter" as long as I'm eating healthy the majority of the time.

Necessary disclaimer : this is MY experience, not anyone else's. I don't claim that anything I say will extend to anyone else and take what you wish from this. Again, I am NOT encouraging anyone to do what I did and I'm not really looking for personal criticism about my decisions either. I do feel that I have a healthy relationship to food (I'm just a starved college student lol) :)


These Viral 'Mukbang' Stars Get Paid to Gorge on Food—at the Expense of Their Bodies

After a long day of work, there's only one way that 23-year-old Nadia* knows how to unwind. While eating a reasonable dinner of chicken, rice, and beans, she watches her favorite YouTube star down two days' worth of food.

“That’s my favorite thing to do,” she tells Men's Health. She’s not alone. Her favorite online personality, Nikocado Avocado, has more than a million YouTube subscribers. The account is run by 26-year-old Nicholas Perry, who records himself eating massive amounts of food best consumed in moderation: spicy ramen (a fan favorite), chili cheese fries, and buffalo wings are a few examples. Perry’s videos are part of a trend dubbed mukbang, wherein people earn a living by eating large quantities of food for an online audience.

Mukbang is a mashup of two Korean words: “mukja,” or “let’s eat” and “bang song,” meaning "broadcast." It originated in South Korea, but it's gone on to garner international attention and recruit legions of mukbangers and fans alike, all united by the desire to watch ordinary people consume extraordinary amounts of food.

Even the most hearty of eaters will be impressed by these caloric feats: People inhale upwards of 4,000 calories in one sitting. The mukbang stars who spoke to Men's Health said their bodies suffer the consequences–but the money (and attention) they're collecting in this strange digital age mean it's a sacrifice they're willing to make.

Before making it stateside, mukbang began airing on the South Korea-based live-streaming service AfreecaTV. There, viewers chat with the Broadcast Jockeys, request specific foods, or make donations–which is how most earn money, Splinter News reported.

Mukbang is a little different in the United States. Instead of live-streaming, professional eaters upload their videos to YouTube in hopes of gaining an audience and earning a portion of the ad revenue generated by views on their videos. Some accept donations and make money through corporate sponsored videos. Their success is dependent on the appetite of fans, like Nadia, who are ravenous for new content.

“Last night I got so annoyed because my old roommate from college called me as I was getting my dinner ready,” Nadia says. "I was ready to sit down and have my YouTube time. I had to eat while I was talking to her, and that really annoyed me."

Nadia may tune in because she's "a huge foodie," but viewers swarm to mukbang for a variety of reasons: pure entertainment a virtual taste of their favorite food while dieting or company when they're eating solo, as is the case in South Korea.

“In Korea, it’s not common for people to go out to eat by themselves,” Candian blogger Simon Stawski, who co-founded "Eat Your Kimchi" and lived in South Korea, told the TODAY show. “Dining is a social activity, and you don’t sit and eat alone. For those that can’t eat with others, they’ll more than likely stay home to eat alone, but they’ll still have the urge to socialize while eating, which is what I think mukbangers replicate.”

23-year-old Madison Killer, who regularly watches videos from YouTube channels Erik the Electric, Peggie Neo, and YummyBitesTV, became a mukbang enthusiast during her first year of college.

“Given that I am not into the typical partying, I found I was having quite a bit of free time and felt a little lonely,” she explains to Men's Health. "I don’t know how I came across those types of videos initially, but I honestly think at my lowest, they made me feel less alone.”

Becoming a mukbang star seems like a good gig if you can get it. After all, getting paid to eat all the processed, fried, and sugary foods we begrudgingly enjoy in moderation sounds like a dream. But Perry of Nikocado Avocado fame says trading calories for clicks is more work than you'd imagine.

“I know it sounds like an easy job,” he tells MensHealth.com. "You sit. You gorge. You make thousands of dollars. Whee, it’s so much fun.”

What you don’t know is that one video, ranging from 20 to 60 minutes, takes hours to produce. Perry posts at least once per week and says these videos take up more time than his previous full-time gig. Prior to Mukbang, he supported himself as a freelance violinist and by pushing carts at Home Depot. Initially, he uploaded videos of his musical performances to YouTube, but transitioned to gorging after a dieting friend introduced him to this online feeding frenzy.

“It’s a full time job. I’m the business,” he says. That means Perry treks to the grocery store, cooks, sets the stage, films, and cleans up the mess. The process is shorter for videos filmed at restaurants Perry has orchestrated mukbangs all over the world, including at a Las Vegas buffet.

In a way, these YouTube channels are akin to a personal red carpet: "It's very powerful to have millions of people following your every move to the point where they want to know what you’re doing," Perry claims.

But this self esteem boost comes with a cost.

Perry reveals his sex life has become, well, less sexy since jumping into this line of work. “I started having erection problems,” Perry admits. “It never happened until I started doing mukbangs.

There's no scientific evidence linking erectile dysfunctions to binge eating, but Perry says he's just not in the mood after a full day of work. It makes sense. Think about the last diarrhea-inducing-meal you ate: did sex sound that appealing after?

It goes without saying that regularly gorging on junk food takes a toll on your body, and frequent diarrhea is a problem for Perry–along with weight gain. When he began eating, Perry weighed 140. He now tops 220.

“Most people, when they think about it, are not willing to destroy their bodies for money,” Perry says.

You can add gas, bloating, and stomach pains to the list of Perry's ailments–especially when he eats spicy noodles.

“I can’t fall asleep because I feel like my digestive tract is on fire,” he says. “And then I’m running to the bathroom. I’m sitting on the toilet crying.”

Despite all this, Perry really isn't worried about his health because he eats plenty of greens outside of filming.

But not every online glutton experiences such drastic consequences. Erik Lamkin, 25, is an amateur competitive eater who manages one YouTube account for food competitions and another for mukbangs, because yes, there is a difference.

In a food challenge, Lamkin aims to consume as many calories as possible, which means eating quickly-there is no time for small talk. In his mukbang videos, relegated to a separate channel called The Electrics, Lamkin is chatty, and often films these videos with his girlfriend.

Lamkin’s experience with mukbang has been positive. “It’s kind of fun for me,” he says. He admits the constant farting, water retention, and bouts of diarrhea aren't ideal, but manages by drinking plenty of water and exercising.

One time, after a particularly sodium-heavy feast, Lamkin could barely move at the gym.

"I tried to run on the treadmill and it felt like I had another stomach on me," he says. "It was horrible."

Now, he usually goes for a bike ride following binges, since it's easier.

Lamkin sees his doctor every couple of months for blood work to monitor the effects of binging.

“Everything is fine,” he says. “I would be more worried if I were an actual competitive eater that traveled around and did contests every weekend.”

These guys may not be concerned enough to retire from YouTube stardom, but ingesting obscene amounts of junk food once a week doesn’t seem like a good idea–even if your body is treated like a temple the remainder of the time.

“It’s quite a roller coaster to put your body on,” says Dr. Andrew Bates, M.D. and assistant professor of surgery in the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University. He explains the repeated cycle of binging and clean eating could make your system's biochemical signaling go haywire. “Your body won’t know whether you’re in feast or famine mode,” he says.

Long-term, it’s not clear if this erratic eating pattern can have lasting damage.

“We don’t have the benefit of watching them for years and seeing what happens,” he says.

Bates believes obesity is the biggest threat to these guys. Even mukbang stars who don’t gain weight could develop issues often found in obese adults, like difficulty managing their sugar levels.

“It would be really hard to reverse that kind of behavior if you’re doing it one or two to three times a week,” he says.

But Gastroenterologist Dr. Samantha Nazareth, M.D., wonders if we shouldn't think instead about the effects these videos have on viewers' health.

"In a country with increasing amounts of obesity, this is not the correct message to send nor is this something to try at home," she says.

Perry and Lamkin realize this is a young man’s game-but don’t expect either of them to quit as long as the dollars keep rolling in. The two won't disclose how much they make each month, but it's safe to assume the figures are significant, especially considering their high grocery bills. Perry spends up to $1,500 a month on food. One high-profile South Korean mukbang star reportedly rakes in $9,4000 a month, according to Reuters.

“I’ve worked hard at building this audience. I would never throw it away,” Perry asserts.

As long as mukbangs continue to drive views–and dollars– both guys are pretty set to continue their online feasts for now.

“I still have a few years left in me,” Lamkin believes. He says cutting back would be an option if blood tests revealed binging was having disastrous effects on his fat or cholesterol levels.

Perry is already brainstorming other possible YouTube shticks for the day he can no longer stomach mukbangs.

“Maybe I’ll document a weight loss journey,” he muses. He also toys with the idea of dedicating his channel to healthy recipes.

Although Perry isn’t quite clear on plan B, he is adamant about one thing: “I never see myself quitting YouTube."


Meal Prep Monday: Chicken curry + coconut rice

Happy Monday! Our weather over the past week has been insane. It started out gorgeous on Tuesday and Wednesday, with over a foot of fresh powder:

And then it got ridiculously cold (like, negative degrees cold), then snowed some more, and then poured rain all weekend. The storm drains are all blocked up with snow so the roads have flooded on top of the packed snow/ice, so driving around town right now is like a real-life version of the winter level of MarioKart. I may start carrying a stash of banana peels around with me so I can throw them out the window in front of tailgaters.

Me on day one of the storm.

Anyway, on to this week’s Meal Prep Monday! If you’re new to meal prep, you can read about my meal prep method here.

This weather has me craving warm, rich comfort food, so for this week’s lunches I decided to prep coconut rice and chicken curry. The idea for this came from my coach, who told me she adds coconut milk to her rice to make it creamy and delicious and I was like YES I MUST TRY THIS.

To make the rice, I just replaced half the water with coconut milk and cooked it like usual. I co-hosted a baby shower on Sunday and knew I wouldn’t feel like coming home and slaving over homemade curry, so I kept it super simple and used this simmer sauce:

I try not to eat too many jarred sauces because they tend to be really high in sugar and artificial ingredients, but the ingredient list for this isn’t too terrible: Onion, Water, Tomato, Tomato Puree, Coconut Cream, Tomato Paste, Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil, Spices (Including Turmeric), Lemon Juice from Concentrate, Salt, Sugar, Garlic, Ginger, Gum Arabic, Xanthan Gum, and Carrageenan.

I just sauteed some onions, mushrooms, and chicken in a little olive oil, then threw in this sauce once the chicken was cooked through and simmered it on low for 15 minutes. It tastes AMAZING with the rice – I’m super excited to eat it for lunch next week.

Since I’ll be eating the same lunch throughout the week, dinners will have a bit more variety: I plan to make Pioneer Woman’s Sausage, Potato, and Kale soup (using turkey sausage) as well as PaleOMG’s slow cooker Barbacoa (which I will likely wind up throwing over the coconut rice since I’m not actually Paleo). Both of these make enough to provide ample leftovers, so I’ll be cooking a grand total of two days this week. Which means I can spend more time huddled in front of the wood stove trying not to freeze.

What are you prepping this week?

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Celebrating my Blog’s Birthday: What I’ve Learned From Blogging for Five Years + A Vegan Muffin Recipe

Well I suck. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but what I meant to say is that I suck at remembering to celebrate my blog’s birthday, mainly because I don’t have the date of my first post at the top of my head for the most part. Well, after searching it up in a few seconds, now I know that my blog turns five years-old today!

Unbelievable, right? I’ve been blogging regularly for five years. I created this website when I was just about to become a sophomore in high school. Barely sixteen years-old, I had an undying passion for health and fitness, and I wanted to share my love for them to the whole world. Truth is, I expected nothing out of starting this. No fame, no sponsorships, none of that. Obviously, I’m not a superstar blogger with hundreds of thousands of followers, nor am I backed by large companies, but I am so proud of what I have accomplished with this blog.

First of all, I cannot be more grateful to have met so many like-minded individuals through my blog and collaborate with amazing brands that embody the beauty of wellness through this blog, such as Health Warrior, The Lion’s Choice, and Lakanto. I truly hope to build stronger relationships with all three of these companies as well as countless others.

Secondly, nothing describes how gratuitous I am of my family, my friends, and everyone I have met online who have encouraged me throughout my blogging journey. Since the birth of my site, my outlook on health has transformed tremendously. Even though I feel unbearably embarrassed when I receive a compliment regarding my blog from those I know in real life, I truly take their support to heart.

  • 2014: It was two years since I embarked on my fitness journey. During the particular moment, my pride was sky-high but my satisfaction was rock bottom. I still felt like there was more I could achieve, thus that served as one catalyst for publishing my first post. Despite that English was one of my weakest subjects, I found nothing but joy in articulating my days and advice through typing a post or writing on paper. The act of recording a memory, an emotion, or just any sensation was liberating and gratifying in every way. Ever since, I pretty much clutched onto my blog as if it were my luckiest charm.
    • Most popular post: As You Can See…I HATED My New Elli Quark.
    • Most popular post: Foods that Increase Oatmeal Volume or Thickness (most viewed post of all-time)
    • Most popular post: Enlightened Ice Cream Pints: Sea Salt Caramel Review
    • Most popular post: Wink Frozen Desserts Review: Cake Batter, Dark Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Jelly, and Caramel Candy Apple
    • Most popular post (at least as of lately): I Walked More Than 20,000 Steps a Day for a Week…Here’s What Happened

    For so many times, my mindset regarding my self-worth, health, and wellness have shifted in all directions and speeds. Still, what I have yet to learn expands far beyond what the eye can see. There are so many areas pertaining to marriage, politics, society, religion, health, diversity, fitness, nutrition, veganism, humanity, and family that I am ready to experience. Whether they be sufficed easily or through the hard way, I have absolutely no clue as to what’s in store for me for the rest of the year, but I’m pushing through with as much strength and mental preparation as I can. That being said, I have every reason to celebrate.

    I know exactly what kind of people I gravitate towards. Some people are carbon-copies are me, others are total opposites. I find that individuals with a mixture of similarities and differences become the closest to me, but they ultimately have to share my core values and understand what hardships feel like. In addition, I know exactly what kind of content I desire to post. They vary on all spectrums, through my creative streaks constantly self-ignite. Before I know it, I’ve finished ten posts in one day, all scheduled for the next month. When anything takes me more than a week to drag myself to write, I know those are not worthy of continuing.

    But anyways, happy (late) birthday to my blog! Check out the recipe and mukbang I’ve posted to celebrate through a great meal!


    Week 1

    Hooray! I survived week 1 of my plant based diet. Oddly enough I am not craving any of the foods that I love to eat, or the temptation of my wife’s cooking. I’m okay even seeing what other people are eating. The desire to have what everyone else is having, easily made me fall off the wagon with past diets. Part of publishing my thoughts, feelings and actions, is to help me stop caving into my own peer pressure. I could hold a debate with myself, caving into my own peer pressure and going right back to the same old routine of unhealthy eating and weight gain. Something’s different, and that’s a good thing.

    I finished week one on December 6, 2020. I’m going to try to do this for another week, I’m very happy with the results. How could I see so much change in only one week? Here’s what I’ve experienced so far:

    1. I’m not going to lie, while I did have a headache for the first few days, I expected that. It wasn’t crippling, just annoying. In the past, I’ve been out of commission, taking over the counter headache meds to try to relieve the pain, but that didn’t help and before I knew it I needed soda, I just couldn’t give it up. This time, nothing has stopped me. The pain went away, and I’m not on pins and needles waiting for my next fix.
    2. The next thing that I can say I’ve never experienced before is my head felt “airy”, not “foggy”, just like it was lighter. My wife thought it might be low blood sugar, but this happened after the headaches, and lasted a few days. I didn’t feel sick, I felt good, but this light, free feeling in my head was new.
    3. By the end of the week, I felt “normal”, no cravings, no yearning to grab a drink or a snack, nothing “missing”. I was not prepared for the change, and how I was feeling about food at this point.
    4. I felt better. I felt a lot better. If you don’t know me, you don’t know that I’ve had issues walking, standing, just getting off the couch could make me short of breath and sweaty. My back hurt all the time, and simple tasks like putting on my socks and shoes, could take the wind out of me.
    5. My mobility improved, I could now take the trash down to the end of the driveway (really long driveway) and make it back to the house and still be okay! Before I would have to take the car and “drive” the trash or recycle down. I could make it one way, but I would be out of breath and in so much pain that the struggle to remain standing was unbearable. I would almost ‘run” back to the house and grab on to the first thing, usually a vehicle, to catch my back, rest my back, and then I’d be able to make it into the house, and sit again.

    Let me give you a little background here, if you haven’t seen my “prelude” video you should. There was a time not so long ago that I would drink two or three 20oz Red Bull energy drinks for breakfast, and wash that down with a 2 liter bottle of Mountain Dew. That’s just how I started the day, don’t be fooled, I might need more throughout the day to help with that sugar crash and that doesn’t even begin to cover the snacks or food I might graze on throughout the rest of a day.

    I’m not a mathematician (or a calculator), but if my math is correct, I was drinking 825 calories, 210g of carbohydrates, 750g of protein, 150g of sodium and 203g of sugar from my Red Bull each day. Mountain Dew racked up more points at 1,760 calories, 463g of carbohydrates, 8g of protein, 1107g of sodium and 456g of sugar. Has your heart stopped? Mine is racing just thinking about it.

    If I could go back and do one thing, it would be to visit my 13 year old self while trying my first soda, and slap that can of Mountain Dew out of my hand and tell myself all of the bad things that will happen if I take that first sip.

    Wanna know the downfall of every “diet” I’ve tried? CRAVINGS, headaches and the mental debate of why I really need these things, not to mention the automatic action that was ingrained in my muscle memory to go to a vending machine or walk in a store and grab one without realizing what I did until I was finishing yet another can of either one or both of these drinks. They should have a new label “Pure Evil”, but since that’ll never happen, I can’t believe that now, so many tries, so many years, and so much damage, with a few changes, here I am with no craving, no desire, and nothing but a clear mind choosing not to drink or crave these poisons.

    The Results

    Since starting this way of life, because I know now it’s not a diet, it really is life changing, here are my stats:

    Day 1: November 28, 2020 – weight 326.5 pounds, making my BMI 52.7. Already a change from September when weighed 330.2 pounds with a BMI of 53.3.

    Week 1: December 6, 2020 (Sunday), weight 314.0 pounds with a BMI of 50.5. I’ve lost 12.5 pounds and my BMI has come down. My measurements after a week showed a loss of 6 inches for the week: 2 inches from my waist, and 1/2 inch from my chest, hips, wrist, and thigh. Even better, my blood glucose levels are unbelievable. Watch the “prelude” and you’ll see the highest number that I’ve ever known to have�+ to what you see below:

    More to follow & if you have not checked out my YouTube channel yet, please check it out. Tales From Tiger – YouTube