Day #7- Sunday (Last Chance Day!)

The last day before the official midway point of 2013!

8:00 AM- Breakfast



Quick and simple. Frosted shredded mini-wheats, fresh blueberries, and organic fat free milk.

11:10 AM- Lunch



When I got home from church, I made a single taco using a low-carb tortilla, spinach, tomatoes, guacamole, green onions, shredded monterey jack, and crock-pot Mexican chicken: just frozen chicken and salsa. So easy and very tasty! 2 cups water.

I have to admit, I'm really surprised I only ate one taco, with no rice or beans or chips or anything with it. Not even fruit for dessert. Just one chicken taco and water. And I was honestly quite full. This week, I've noticed I'm not as hungry on the days I don't do cardio. Maybe that means my body is truly using calories like it's supposed to?

1:30 PM- Last Chance Workout


This is my proud and excited face after making it all the way through Bob Harper's Yoga for the Warrior DVD. Don't let the word "yoga" fool you. It sounds all calm, peaceful, and relaxing, but it's none of those things when Bob is leading you. It's 60 minutes of intense yoga (and he "sneaks" in push-ups and crunches too; ugh). Every now and then, I'll get the wild idea to pull this one out and do it, but I really, really don't enjoy it. So, I felt accomplished for doing so this afternoon.

5:30 PM- Dinner



YUM! I went looking for recipes that use feta cheese since I bought it for the first time to make the Mediterranean salad I had earlier in the week. I found a very simple, healthy one for baked chicken and tried it tonight. Delicious! I had a baked sweet potato with 1 tbsp olive oil butter and 1 tsp brown sugar, and roasted vegetables: squash and zucchini from the garden, onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes. This was a wonderfully tasty meal, and very filling.

I'm loving sweet potatoes now. I don't usually eat them, but I found some for 38 cents a pound at the farmer's market last Monday. Who knew they were such a better alternative for white potatoes?

And that's that! I didn't get hungry again for a snack. Like I said, that seems to happen on no-cardio days. Maybe that's the secret! Maybe I've just been working out too much?

Anyway, tomorrow is the big day. The midway weigh-in and measurements (with an actual tape measure to track inches lost). Plus, I'll be looking over my 2013 goals to see how I'm doing and what I need to work on for the second half of the year.

If you had any made any goals for the year, now is a great time for a self-assessment. Make the most of what's left of 2013!

Day #6- Saturday

6:35 AM- Breakfast


I had a toasted slice of Ezekiel bread with 1 tbsp peanut butter and half of a navel orange. 1 cup water.

7:30 AM- Run


The local running club has been hosting training runs for the big upcoming Woodstock 5K I've been talking about on here (Woodstock was my very first race). The race is in August, so I've been trying to prepare for it the best I can. Anna went with me today to try it out. We finished the course in less than forty minutes; not sure about our exact time because I didn't take my watch. Finished about 4 cups of water.

9:45 AM- Tea



Anna came over to the apartment after the training run and we had tea. Earl Grey with stevia and a drop of fat free milk, into which I dipped these delicious Kashi Pumpkin Spice Flax bars (there's 2 in a 1-serving pack). So good!

1:00 PM- Lunch



Meatless spinach and mushroom pasta bake with a side salad and 1 tbsp thousand island dressing. 3 cups water. A bit splurgy, but it was meatless, and I ate about half as much as I wanted. Not sure about the calorie count though. :\

5:45 PM- Dinner


Welp. The inevitable.

Jessica and I went to the parents' house for the afternoon. When the discussion of dinner came around, Daddy said he wanted to try one of the new bacon cheeseburgers from McDonald's. I immediately thought Jessica and I would go to the drive-thru, get everyone's food there except for me, and I would eat something else healthier later. But I was so hungry. Plus, I wanted to eat with my family. Those opportunities are rare nowadays.

So, all things considered, I think I did pretty well. I got a cheeseburger Happy Meal and drank water instead of the soda that came with it. Calorie-wise, it wasn't too terrible. The burger was 300 calories, the ridiculously tiny order of fries was 100, and the apple slices were 15. And I do appreciate the apple slices.

But you know, it wasn't even that great. The fries were cold. I tried not to chew the beef too much. And really, the meal itself looks quite gross in this picture, especially when compared to all the colorful, vibrant, healthful meals I've been eating lately. Just something to think about. I wish I could get these thoughts in my head all the time and keep them there. Junk food is called junk food for a reason.

7:35 PM- Snack


And my little Happy Meal left me hungry before too long. More apple slices and yogurt/peanut butter/honey/cinnamon dip.

I feel like today could have been better, especially with the weigh-in coming up on Monday. But it definitely could have gone a whole lot worse. Weekends are just really hard for me.

Day #5- Friday

Okay. This is pretty humiliating for me, but if any of you have gotten an e-mail from somebody named "Tara" containing comments from me, don't be alarmed. It's me. Jessica has been showing me how to do some new things on here, like replying to comments through e-mail. Well, I didn't realize it, but the e-mail account I used to open my Blogger account was an old one I had used for writing...fanfiction. Yes. That was my pen name. Now you know I'm an even bigger nerd than you already thought I was. If you don't wanna be my friend any more, I really don't blame you. But I didn't want any of you to think I'm an online predator or anything. Jennifer Bain is my real name. You can find me on Facebook. I just made up a pseudonym to write embarrassing stories.

There. The truth is out.

I'm trying to get the e-mail address changed to my current one.

Now. With that out of the way, let's please move on with today's recap. I started off the day with my regularly scheduled weekly weigh-in. I haven't been this nervous about a weigh-in in a while. But I was pleasantly surprised:


I LOST 4.8 POUNDS!!! I haven't had a week that good since I started changing my habits back in January 2012. Plus, my BMI dropped back to the "overweight" category again, no longer "obese". YAY!

Now, my goal is still to post food and activity this entire week and do the Big Middle-of-the-Year Weigh-In/Measurements on Monday, July 1. And now I am totally pumped and ready keep trying, keep making healthier choices, and keep fighting.

7:30 AM- Breakfast



Lacey inspired me with her grey smoothie recipe: frozen blueberries, banana, spinach, almonds, and soymilk (I substituted 1 cup of regular fat free milk). She was right; it did have a rather unappetizing color, but it tasted really delicious. The almonds added a very nice flavor. Thanks so much for sharing! (Oh, and BTW, I did not eat that photo-bombing cantaloupe.)

8:30 AM- Swim


(Sorry the pic is blurry. Also sorry there's no pool in the background to prove I was there. I was too embarrassed to take a poolside selfie today. I was the only person there besides the lifeguard, and he just kept watching me. So I took one when I got to the dressing room.)

All excited and motivated after the weigh-in, I had the guts to go to the pool by myself for the first time. I went for Aqua Zumba, but no one else was there. Not sure why. I guess the class got canceled? Or maybe I got the time confused. Anyway, I got in the pool and swam as many laps as I could for 35 minutes. I think I did about seven or eight, with long breaks to catch my breath. Got in some good practice. I also tried treading water in the deep end for the first time, and I didn't drown, so I guess it went well too.

11:00 AM- Lunch


Salad- leftover garlic brown sugar chicken, 1 boiled egg, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, <1/4 cup shredded cheddar, and 1 tbsp thousand island; carrot sticks and hummus (can't see it in the pic; it was under the carrots); and strawberries with cottage cheese. 4 cups water.

I haven't talked to my parents in a while, so I decided to hang out with them for a bit today. Their house is usually where my downward spiral begins. There's cookies, candy, chips, sometimes cake...and I find it so difficult to refuse their offers, especially when some of those things are homemade. My mom has a lot of health problems, so when she feels well enough to do something, it's usually baking. And I feel extra horrible for not eating her food. (Not to mention the fact that it's darn good food and I want to eat it anyway.) Also, when I'm over there at meal times, one of them will sometimes offer me their debit card and suggest I hit up the drive-thru and bring us back some milkshakes and burgers. I do love a good burger. And I love my parents, of course. So guess what I usually end up doing?

Today, I went prepared. I packed the healthy lunch shown above and took it with me. My mom didn't feel like getting out of bed today, but I did get to spend some time with my dad. I ate my lunch while he had a Lean Cuisine TV dinner. Much better than some of our past options, for both of us!

2:20 PM- Strength Training



(Nice hair.)

Used the 5 lb dumbbells and 5 lb medicine ball to do bicep curls, tricep extensions, chest flies, and those 2 other exercises I don't know the proper names of. Again, I also did 3 sets of 15 squats, calf raises, push-ups (mostly on knees), and crunches. I did this for 25 minutes. Drank 2 cups water.

4:20 PM- Snack



Got busy writing again (YAY!). Munched on this handful of almonds and sipped about 2 cups of water while doing so.

6:12 PM- Dinner



1 80 calorie garlic-butter tilapia filet, steamed brown and wild rice with carrots and broccoli, and roasted veggies: squash, tomato, onion, mushroom, and green beans. 2 cups water.

8:00 PM- Snack



1 sliced Gala apple and some amazing dip made with plain nonfat Greek yogurt, peanut butter, honey, and cinnamon. 1 cup water.

Another great day! The weekend will be the real challenge for me. I can have a perfect week, then go crazy binge eating on Saturday and Sunday. It's so important not to undo all the effort, though.

Have a great one!

Day #4- Thursday (My Best Friend Is A Liar)

Okay, so, Anna has asked me to hold her accountable, and on Tuesday, she suggested I even do so through my blog. (I then, of course, told her to get her own blog). Buuut I ended up telling her that if she didn't follow through and do the workouts she told me she was going to do this week, I would tell the world she is a liar. So there. She didn't go to the Pilates class she said she was going to on Tuesday, and she overslept or dawdled around or something this morning and missed yoga class. Tsk tsk tsk.

I'm not sure what her numbers are exactly, but she's lost a lot of weight herself. Allow me to display my Facebook creeping skills for you all:


She told me once that the picture on the left was her Photo of Revelation (which I, ahem, borrowed from her Facebook page; don't kill me, Anna! And, er, I also creepily blacked out her mom's face; I wasn't sure she'd want to be featured here, lol). Anyway. Photo of Revelation. The wake-up call. It's been a couple of years since that picture was taken. She gradually lost weight since then and has been more quickly and noticeably shrinking since last August. I took the picture on the right in April at one of the 5Ks we did together. Hasn't she gotten tiny?!?

Although she looks fantastic, she's still not quite where she wants to be on the scale. She's only a few pounds away from her goal weight, and she's really been struggling to get there, especially lately. She has also just been accepted into a PhD program in Texas (which means she'll moving far away from me. :*(  But I'm not even gonna go there today...). We're both a bit worried that the stress resulting from this huge move combined with working on a PhD plus not having a workout buddy to exercise with throughout the week will cause her to revert back to her old couch potato habits. So she really needs to get back on track before all that extra stress is added into her life!

Oh yeah. And tomorrow is her 26th birthday. I know she wants to have a healthy, positive beginning to another year of life.

Her attitude and eagerness to make positive changes in her own life have played an enormous part in my own weight loss journey. We've been checking on each other constantly since last August, when we first started meeting to walk. She's been so supportive and encouraging and willing to do anything she could to help me out, and I want to do the same for her. So, Anna, stay strong!!! Remember where you used to be. Remember how far we've come- from getting together to make and eat homemade bacon cheese fries or Gooey Cheesy Deliciousness while we watched Smallville to doing 5Ks, even a 10K! Don't stop now! You're so close to your goal! Run, you clever girl! And remember!

Now, as far as my own efforts to get back on track go, today was another great day. Since I wrote so much at the beginning, I'll try not to ramble so much from here on. I'll try.

6:20 AM - Breakfast


"Strawberries and cream" oatmeal: 1 pack plain, unsweetened, instant oatmeal, sliced strawberries, spoonful of plain nonfat Greek yogurt, and about a teaspoon of honey. 1 cup unsweetened green tea.

9:30 AM - Yoga Class



UGH. I'm so sorry. My pictures are getting homelier by the day. I couldn't exactly take a picture during yoga class, so I had to be sneaky and get a creeper shot by the sign in the hallway. Proof I was there. The class is an hour long, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I really love yoga.

11:30 AM - Lunch



I was feeling fancy.

1 serving homemade tuna salad (1 can of tuna, about 2 tbsp olive oil mayo, 1 small chopped apple, chopped green onions, garlic, seasoned salt, black pepper, and a dash of parmesan cheese makes 2 servings) on a bed of spinach, cucumbers, and 1 chopped boiled egg. I also had 1/2 navel orange, which I sliced and placed decoratively around the main dish to make it look more impressive than it really was. (It was good, though. Really.) 2 cups water.

5:00 PM - ...Unexpected Snack

I must confess: while I was getting the potatoes ready to go into the oven, I popped about 12 raw almonds. I didn't take a picture. It just sort of...happened.

I somehow didn't have a "real" afternoon snack today. I spend the afternoon writing, and I got so caught up in it, I actually forgot about food. Love when that happens! So rare.

6:00 PM - Dinner



A fantastic dinner. I did one of my favorite go-to recipes, garlic brown sugar chicken, steamed green beans, a baked sweet potato with 1 tbsp olive oil butter spread and 1 teaspoon brown sugar, and baked squash (fresh from the garden!). 4 cups water.

This is really strange, but I didn't want a snack after dinner. I'm still quite full. So, I will be calling it a day now. Tomorrow is Friday!

Day #3- Wednesday

7:05 AM - Strength Training



I have a set of 5 lb dumbbells and a 5 lb medicine ball that I used to do bicep curls, tricep extensions, chest flies, and 2 other exercises I don't know the proper names of. I also did 3 sets of 15 squats, calf raises, push-ups (mostly on knees), and crunches. I did this for 25 minutes. Drank 1 cup water.

7:40 AM - Breakfast



Found this one on Pinterest last night. A peanut butter and banana smoothie: 1 frozen banana, 1 tbsp peanut butter, 1 heaping spoonful of plain nonfat Greek yogurt, and 1 cup fat free milk. Amazing. It reminded me of childhood memories, when my parents would randomly take us to Sonic "late" at night (like 8:00), and I'd get a peanut butter milkshake. This smoothie really did taste like a dessert. Of course, I guess it kinda should. The thing is around 300 calories.

9:40 AM - Run



Just noticed it kind of looks like I'm crying in that picture. Go figure. Went to the park again and ran with occasional 1-2 minute walking breaks for 40 minutes. Then I just walked for a little over 20 minutes, making it a total of 60+ minutes cardio. May I add this was in the sweltering summer heat? Today was SO humid. Needed a major shower after this one. I had sweat dripping off my forearms. I didn't even know you could sweat there. Gross. I got in 3 more cups of water.

11:50 AM - Lunch


Found this on sale at Publix. White pizza: four cheeses and spinach. 1 serving is an entire 1/3 of the pizza, and it's only 290 calories. 


It was delicious!!! I had a few carrot sticks (maybe 15 calories?) and a tablespoon of hummus (40 cal) on the side. 2 more cups of water.

3:00 PM - Snack



A cup of China Oolong tea with stevia in my inspirational writin' mug and a 90 calorie Fiber One bar.

6:30 PM - Dinner



Taco night! Cilantro lime shrimp on a low-carb tortilla with spinach, tomato, green onions, monterey jack, and a teensy bit of fat free sour cream. Side of roasted Mexican-street-style corn and mashed pintos with fat free sour cream, taco sauce, and shredded cheddar. Om nom nom! 2 more cups of water.

7:45 PM - Snack



Yep. Barely an hour after dinner, I got the munchies. I had 1 serving of original Pretzel Crisps and 2 tbsp Tostitos spinach artichoke dip (only 50 calories). Another cup of water.

I was really hoping I wouldn't need a post-dinner snack today. But there you go. Even though it's a little early, I'm gonna go ahead and brush my teeth. That's a little trick I heard somewhere. If you want to stop eating, go brush your teeth with minty toothpaste and rinse with Listerine. Nothing will taste good.

So, how was your day? Did you meet any personal goals you set for yourself? The week is halfway through. End it strong!

Day #2 - Tuesday

Thank you guys so much for the feedback and support on my previous post! Your encouragement really means more than I know how to say. I've been really frustrated and de-motivated by how difficult it's been for me to lose these last 30-something pounds, and it's so awesome to have you guys cheering me on! So thanks.

6:20 AM - Breakfast

1 cup of Post Great Grains Protein Blend cereal (first time trying it; pretty tasty. The kind I got has honey, oats, pumpkin seeds). 1/2 fresh banana. 1/2 cup organic fat free milk.

7:10 AM - Swim

Yay raccoon eyes. I met my BFF, Anna, at the pool like we've been doing twice a week this month. We floated around/swam a few laps for about 45 minutes.

I haven't posted about it on here yet, but June has been The Month of Swimming. Anna and I signed up for swimming lessons at the YMCA, and we just completed our last one this past Saturday! Woohoo! Anna took swim lessons as a young kid, but pretty much forgot what she'd learned. I never had any kind of training, could barely doggy-paddle, hated putting my head underwater, and had a paralyzing fear of THE DEEP END. But I have a "secret goal" of completing a triathlon. So...we faced our fears together and took these lessons. And now I can swim! (Not gracefully, or very well, but still. Lots of progress there. I can go to the deep waters now without tears.)

Normally after our morning swim/float, Anna and I either stay in the pool for Aqua Zumba (where the other participants are at least 40 years our seniors) or go upstairs to the yoga room for a 1-hour yoga class at 8:30. Today, we weren't feeling either, for some reason. So we made some promises for each other to follow up on. She says she is going to Pilates class this afternoon. I said I would go home and do at least 20 minutes of yoga and a minimum of 10 minutes of some other cardio I don't usually do.


On the way home from the pool, I stopped by the local produce market and picked up some fresh veggies and fruits to ensure this week goes well. (I also got some sweet potatoes, but they somehow ended up not being in this picture? IDK what happened.)

9:00 AM - Yoga


I came through on half of my bargain as soon as I got home. I rolled out my mat, put in my headphones, pulled up my yoga playlist, and practiced for 35 minutes. Got in first cup of water for the day.

11:45 AM - Lunch


Feeling all inspired because of this challenge, I wanted to impress you guys by eating some super healthy meals I haven't tried before. So, for my lunch today, I made a Mediterranean salad: fresh spinach, tomatoes, green onions, black olives, cucumbers, mushrooms, sauteed shrimp, feta crumbles, and a drizzle of olive oil. So fresh, colorful, and tasty! However, I did end up picking out the olives. A bit too strong and salty for my liking. I also had the other half of my orange from yesterday and 2 cups of water. 

2:00 PM - Snack


Less than a 1/2 cup Chobani Greek nonfat vanilla yogurt, five raspberries, a handful of blueberries, sunflower kernels, and homemade granola. 2 cups of water.

4:00 PM - 10 Minute Workout (Since I Missed Class)



I found this CrossFit style workout video on YouTube. Did it. Felt like I was gonna die. Those mountain climbers are for the birds. I didn't take a picture because I did this in my living room and couldn't do the moves whilst holding a camera. Another 2 cups of water.

6:00 PM - Dinner

OH MAN have I discovered a healthy jewel! 


I've seen these at the grocery store for a while now, but I haven't tried them because they were kind of expensive. But Publix has a BOGO deal on them this week, so I got two! There's two servings in a box, the ingredients list is surprisingly clean, and one serving is 270 calories. Not too shabby considering how awesome these tasted! Seriously. Better than some things I've had at Olive Garden.


So: 1 serving awesome ravioli with about 1/2 cup-ish marinara and a sprinkle of parmesan. Side salad: spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, onion, <1/4 cup shredded cheddar, and 1 tbsp light 1000 island dressing. Jessica and I also really wanted garlic bread, so we took a single hamburger bun, spread about 1 teaspoon olive oil butter spread, garlic powder, and a bit of shredded mozzarella, baked it, and split it. (While this sounds a bit indulgent, normally we would not have split the one bun; there would have been at least two involved. So yeah.) We sliced our halves into tiny breadsticks so it would feel like more. Don't judge. Also drank 2 more cups water!

8:00 PM - Snack


After my carb-filled dinner, I wasn't too annoyingly hungry, but I still craved something sweet. I had a Kashi Cherry Dark Chocolate bar and a glass of water. (I gotta say, the bar barely cut it for something sweet; too much like a granola bar, not enough like a candy bar. lol)

And that's it. Brushing teeth and getting ready to read a bit before bed. I think Day #2 was another success. If I keep it up for the next week, there's no reason why the July 1 weigh-in and measurements shouldn't be a pleasant experience. 

What healthy choices did you make today? 

Intervention: Day #1

After all that rambling in my experimental smoothie post about how I'm trying to get back on track with weight loss and do better this month, my Friday weigh-in showed that I've gained a pound since last week. I'm up to 187 now.

*Weary sigh.*

I had a fantastic week, too. Really. I ate about two handfuls of cheese puffs one time, but that was really the only "bad" thing I consumed. And since I ran/walked three times, swam twice, did Aqua Zumba, and went to a one-hour yoga class, I really don't know how I gained a pound.

Although I keep a food journal, I'm thinking I must be eating more than I realize. I'm obviously not paying enough attention to it. So, today, a very daunting idea came to me...

This week, in addition to recording my intake and exercise in my journal, I will take pictures of these things and post on here for the world to see.

If I eat it, I gotta take a photo first. I really believe the annoyance of having to do that will inspire me to eat less! Plus, I'll know that somebody out there might be reading this, and you won't be too impressed if I post a picture of a large pizza, cheesy bread, and a Dr. Pepper. You will unintentionally keep me accountable.

I know the picspam or whatever will be annoying to follow, but I'm only going to try this for a week. Seven days. From Monday, June 24, to my weigh-in on Monday morning, the first day of July. That day marks the halfway point of 2013, so I really want to lose as much as I can by then.

So:

Day #1: Monday, June 24, 2013

8:00 AM - Breakfast


A packet of plain, unsweetened instant oatmeal with 4 sliced strawberries. 2 cups of water.

9:30 AM - Run



I went to my favorite local park and jogged/ran/shuffled for 15 minutes. Then I walked with short bursts of running for 30 minutes. 45 minutes of cardio total. Guzzled 2 more cups of water.

11:40 AM - Lunch



Salad: 1 hard-boiled egg, tomato, onion, spinach, 1/8 cup shredded cheddar cheese, lemon juice, spritz of olive oil, dash of black pepper. Carrot sticks with 1 tbsp Sabra Basil Pesto hummus. Half of one navel orange (...because this really inspiring, fit lady I talked to at the gym insists one piece of fruit is actually 2 servings. Pssh. We'll see.) 2 cups of water.

2:30 PM - Snack



1 cup plain, unsweetened green tea. 1 serving Kashi Pumpkin Spice Flax bars.

5:20 PM - Dinner



(Had to eat early because I was really hungry. Apparently, my stomach isn't used to eating lightly. Hmm....) Sauteed garlic shrimp with basil pesto pasta in lemon juice, olive oil, and 1 tsp butter. 1 Fuji apple. 12 almonds. 1 tbsp peanut butter. 2 cups of water. Then, because I was still hungry after eating, I had 2 more cups of water. That caused my stomach to finally get the message, and it stopped grumbling.

7:50 PM - Snack



1 serving Snack Factory Everything Pretzel Crisps with Weight Watchers Cheese Spread. 1 last cup of water.

Soooo...I think today was quite a successful start to the week. I'm about to brush my teeth and get ready for bed, and I'm actually not hungry, so that's good. I feel very satisfied, yet clean. That may have something to do with the fact that I somehow ended up drinking almost 12 cups of water throughout the day. Anyway, I'm feeling positive and optimistic.

Let's all have a healthy, productive week!

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An Experimental Vegetable Smoothie

Lookin' questionable.
Hello!

...It looks as though I haven't posted in a while. I suppose I've been too busy basking in the freedom of summer! That said, I haven't done all that much. I've just been working out, writing, working on music, cooking, and watching a whole lot of Doctor Who.

I'm using this period of freedom to recommit to a healthy lifestyle, to refocus on weight loss. If you check this blog regularly, you may have noticed my Weight Loss Progress thingy on the main page sidebar has been stuck at 185 lbs since March.

Ahem.

I was good the entire month of April, got to 184. Then I got sick at the beginning of May, had to take prednisone for a week. Ohhh, prednisone. I ate everything in the apartment, headed to my parents' house and raided their kitchen, then hit up some drive-thrus. The highest number I saw after this experience was 196. Awful.

So, yes. June is about getting back on track. As of last Friday's weigh-in, I'm back down to 186. Almost back to where I was in March. I'm so behind. I feel like I wasted a third of the year. Buuut I'm trying not to think about that. I'm trying to just go forward from here and do the best that I can. So far, so good.

Since I don't have any friends to hang out with or any spending money to use right now, when my morning workout and Bible study is complete, I end up wandering around the apartment, playing guitar, writing, wasting hours on Pinterest, doing some cleaning. With this laid back schedule, I have plenty of time to cook healthy meals (and no excuse for not doing so). This has led me to make smoothies for my lunch.

Now. Old me would say, "Uh...a smoothie for lunch? You mean for dessert, right? Surely not the actual meal?" But I've discovered they are surprisingly filling. I posted my Green Power Smoothie recipe on here a while back. Since then, I've been thinking... if raw spinach is that undetectable, what else could you sneak in a smoothie? And do you have to have all the sugary calories from the orange juice for it to still be drinkable? Today I used some of my free time to find out.

I rummaged through the kitchen and rounded up these items:


A banana, some chunks of fresh pineapple, frozen mango, a big handful of raw baby spinach, and yes, two carrots. Carrots. Two of them. (Though they are, admittedly, a tad scrawny for carrots.)

I bravely piled these in the blender and poured in some water.


...And I blended it. It took longer than usual for all the pieces to liquefy, but I kept going, and eventually, it came out looking like this:



And the verdict??? 100% drinkable. And tasty! It has a very tropical, fruity taste, just like the Green Power Smoothie. The only thing that could be improved, to me, would have been a colder temperature. You might want to toss an ice cube or two into the blender. But other than that, it was great. I'll definitely make it again!

I was really surprised when I calculated the nutrition information. Sadly, there's only 4 grams of protein, which is pretty insufficient for a meal. You can add chia seeds, flax seeds, and/or protein powder to make up for this, I guess, but those things are expensive. I'll be looking for other ways to add protein. But man. Well under 300 calories with 10 GRAMS OF FIBER. Yowza.

Here's the official deets:

Ingredients

1-2 raw carrots, sliced
2 cups raw spinach
1 banana, sliced
1 cup fresh pineapple
1/2 cup frozen mango chunks
1 cup water

Directions

Put everything in the blender and blend until smooth. Makes 1 smoothie.

Nutrition Information per serving

Calories: 267
Fat: <1 g
Fiber: 10
Carbs: 66
Sodium: 92
Protein: 4.5
Weight Watchers Points: 5
PointsPlus: 7