Building Foundations

“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”

I posted about the importance of healthy foundations on my instagram a few days ago, but I feel the need to expand and emphasize exactly how important it has been for me to create a solid foundation on which to live your life.

Our foundations will all be created in different ways, but our foundations are what can stabilize us in the most critical conditions. The stronger you build your foundations, the more you can withstand. Never neglect your foundations, when times are good focus on strengthening yourself (body and mind alike) because that will contribute to those foundations.

Last year, I neglected all the positive things in my life and focused on all that was negative and as a result I let my foundations kind of crumble down, so when additional challenges were added to my schedule I sort of fell through the cracks (more so than I ever had before). Climbing out from that mindset was one of the hardest things I have ever done. My mentality caused me physical pain and suffering because I classified everything in the wrong way (for my post on how I try to reclassify my struggles click here).

The past three months have been a full dedication to being truly happy and healthy and focusing on all the blessings in my life. The combination of eating a healthy amount, working out to get stronger (not to get skinnier), smiling more (and meaning it), and taking time to look around and be thankful for all the positivity that I am surrounded by (everything from people to weather, my puppies to my education) have resulted in the strongest foundation I have ever built.

Exactly what does this mean for me? It means that when I spent all of my spring break working then got the news that I was missing two classes I needed to graduate this May—I didn’t panic (well not for long). I did everything I could to remain calm and find a solution. Did I handle it perfectly? No. But did I let it break me? Definitely not!

Now I am: enrolled in 21 credit hours (including one Master’s level course), completing my thesis, organizing a student leadership day for junior high student, working 5 days a week (I take two days off because I am at school from 7:30-5:35 on those days), and dealing with the never ending stream of tests, case studies, and miscellaneous other responsibilities. I am lucky to workout three times in a week.  But- I am still eating over 2000 (mostly very healthy) calories a day. I am still staying positive. My body is hardly changing. And I know that when my schedule opens up, I will get to go back to my beloved workout routine.

Until then, I am resting easy on my strong foundations.

 

 

Maple Cinnamon Banana Bread (With Vegan Options)

I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen, AKA procrastibaking, and this was the result! I am in the process of writing a new muffin recipe so keep a careful eye out for that one! This maple cinnamon banana bread is FULL of flavor and can be made vegan or gluten free with basic substitutions!

Ingredients:

4 EXTREMELY ripe bananas (mine were practically liquid, but that was because they got super ripe so I froze them and when I was ready to make this bread I left them in the fridge to dethaw… it makes for great banana bread)

1/3 cup of melted vegan butter substitute (I use Smart Balance Light with Flaxseed, but if anyone wants to try it with coconut butter/ oil I would love to hear how that is)

1 extra large egg (vegan option: enerG egg substitute works just fine)

Cinnamon (I like cinnamon so I go crazy with it, but definitely adjust this to your flavor preference. I also threw in a dash of pumpkin pie spice to really bring out the maple and honey flavors)

1 tsp vanilla extract

¾ cup of sweetener (here is where we can diversify our portfolio of flavors—sugar/ stevia works but if you do that then add maple extract, I used a combination of sugar free maple syrup, honey, and stevia and I did not use the full ¾ of a cup because the banana I used were so sweet and I don’t like my stuff sweet)

1 tsp of baking soda

pinch of sea salt

1 ½ cup of flour (I was boring and used half unbleached all purpose and half organic whole wheat pastry flour, but next time I may use a combo of oat flour, coconut flour, etc.)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F and spray an 8 x 5 pan.

In a big bowl, whip your big egg (or vegan egg substitute). Whip it, whip it good. Then add your butter and bananas and mix together. Make sure the bananas are really mashed in (feel free to squish up the mixture with your hands, I did).

Once the bananas are all mashed into the mixture, add the cinnamon (and other spices) and mix thoroughly.

Then add the salt and baking soda and mix in (really make sure they are evenly distributed or else your bread will have some awkward spots).

Finally mix in the flour (don’t mix in more than ½ a cup at a time). transfer it to the pan and lick the bowl clean of anything that didn’t make it to the pan (seriously this mixture puts raw cookie dough to shame). Place the pan into the preheated oven and cook for about 50-60 minutes.

My Trip to Banana Island

My Trip to Banana Island

Recently I decided to visit “banana island.” For those of you who don’t know what that means I will do my best to explain: essentially you eat nothing but bananas for an extended period of days. You eat 22-30+ bananas a day to ensure you are eating an adequate amount of calories

It is a considered a healthy detox. I did it for that exact reason- I had been eating a lot of “bad” foods recently and my stomach was certainly feeling the negative effects of it (you reap what you sow, right?). I wanted to cleanse my body of all the toxins I had been consuming. Detoxing has always fascinated me, but with my history with restrictive eating habits, I decided it was best to avoid them while I was trying to restore my metabolism. I am doing remarkably better now and I knew I was ready to try a detox again!

I first heard about mono fruit islands or banana islands a few months ago and I was BEYOND skeptical. Nothing but bananas?! That sounded like a terrible idea. All that sugar would make my skin breakout, right?! And all the starch in the bananas would back up my system, right?!

Well I was wrong as it turns out. After reading just about every blog and article on mono fruit islands/ banana islands and watching all the videos youtube had to offer- I learned that the pros outweighed the cons and I was ready to begin.

One of the key aspects of a banana island is ensuring that the bananas are ripe (ripe bananas are far less starchy and much easier to digest and according to a recent research study, ripe bananas with dark spots combats abnormal cells that cause cancer). I bought my case (that’s right case) of bananas last Friday in order to start my island on Sunday. I knew I wasn’t ready to do my banana island for more than 3-4 days, so I only bought one case of bananas (my bananas were nearly all green so I threw apples in the case with them to speed up the ripening process).

Day 1:

I knew I wanted to eat as I normally would (calorie-wise), so I ate about 5 bananas for breakfast. Some of them I ate whole and a few I ate in smoothie form. Then I went to do a lifting session and I admit, I felt very weak. I completed the lifting session, but wasn’t quite up for running after. By the late afternoon, I was craving anything but bananas! I was struggling because bananas (particularly ripe bananas) are far too sweet for my liking. I decided to try “nice cream” for dinner, so I froze a few bananas. I admit, I added unsweetened cocoa powder because the sweetness was getting to be too much for me. Nice cream made the whole experience a lot more enjoyable and I went to bed ready for day 2.

Day 2:

Day 2 was a lot easier. I had whole bananas for breakfast and my snacks and nice cream for lunch and dinner. I ran 5 miles at a fairly normal (quick) pace for me, but once again I felt a little bit weak.

Day 3:

Once again, day 3 passed normally. I was ready and prepared to run, but I was very exhausted from work and some personal stuff so I skipped my run to work on my thesis.

Day 4:

I decided to transition into other foods again because, frankly, I was kind of over the detox.

My opinions of the detox:

It did what I wanted it to, but not all that I expected it to. From all that I read, I expected more energy to keep up with my normal exercise routine, but I suppose I neglected to consider how intense my normal workouts are and I should have resorted to long walks and yoga (not heavy weights and speed runs). My stomach feels better, so the job was done.

I think I will do the detox again and it was definitely my favorite detox I have ever done. It is much more manageable than other detoxes and not restrictive. In fact, next time I hope to do it for a week!

Let me be clear, I DID NOT do this for weight loss and the only physical change I noticed as a result of the weight loss was significantly less bloat (especially noticeable in the stomach and joint areas).

If you want to complete a banana island:

DO your research.

DO NOT do it to lose weight.

DO plan ahead.

DO NOT under-eat while doing the banana island.

DO sleep plenty during your detox.

DO NOT try a banana island if you are in the early stages of recovery from an eating disorder. It could lead you to fall into restrictive habits or binge.

As always, I am sure I forgot plenty of things that I could talk about so please ask any questions you may have and I will do my best to answer them!

Resources:

http://www.rawsomehealthy.com/bananaisland/

http://www.thegreencreator.com/banana-island-detox-without-hunger/

image-1 image-2 image

20140312-195216.jpg