Monday, November 26, 2012

I Quit!

This is the story of how I gave up what I swore I'd never give up.

Ode to Coffee

Oh, how I have loved you for decades my sweet and creamy friend!

When I was a child my parents spooned you into tiny plastic coffee creamer cups so my siblings and I could enjoy miniature cups of coffee. I felt special, included, and grown-up like Mom and Dad. It was a rite of passage.

When I was in college and frequently pulled all-nighters to study, you were the drink that kept me going. You didn't mind that my friends and I spent more time socializing than actually memorizing information.

I've spend thousands of dollars over the years perfecting you. I even received an espresso machine from my parents for my wedding gift.

When my mom died you were there for me like a liquid hug reminding me of all the times I'd seen my parents enjoy you.

How excited I have been every year when Starbucks rings in the holiday season with their Red Cups!

When I had three children under the age of two and couldn't remember what week, let alone day it was, you were there giving me energy to make it through another day or night.

I've fought hard to keep you in my life even when money was very tight. When I chose to become fit and healthy I threw out the cookies, ice cream, chips, processed foods, fried foods, and pop, but refused to let you go. I held tightly to you even though you made me dehydrated and made my workouts that much harder. I knew that I could do anything, make it through any day, complete any task, keep any diet or exercise regimen as long as I had you. I'd NEVER give you up! I placed you on a throne and called you sacred.


I realized you were my god. I truly, sincerely loved you, Coffee. I couldn't wouldn't make it through one day without you. I started going to Starbucks twice a day and longed for a third trip. If I didn't drink you by 10 AM, I felt nauseated by a horrible headache. Hundreds of times I've made all three of my little girls climb out of the car, walk into Starbucks, climb back in the car, and buckle their car seats, over and over and over and over rain, snow, sleet, or shine just so I could have my coffee.

You are not my god. You should not be my comforter, my reward, my coping mechanism, my strength to make it through the day. I should not depend on you or long for you throughout the day. I should not be having an affair with you.

And so I have decided...

I am not a victim. I can and will choose to stop being addicted to you.


I have gone ten days now without any coffee and couldn't be happier. Detox was no fun. I did have terrible headaches off and on for six days. I spent the first Thanksgiving I can remember without a cup of coffee in hand. Now I just drive down the street right past Starbucks without it calling my name. The first several days I was very tired without coffee but my body regulated itself. Now my energy level stays fairly consistent all day long. My appetite has decreased too since I don't have the cream and sugar spiking my blood sugar levels. I do find myself wanting to go to bed earlier at night which is a great thing.

Erica McMullen, my fitness boot camp trainer, is always asking our group, "Why are you here? Why are you doing this?" I had an epiphany that it was crazy to get up at 4:45 AM for boot camp three times a week "to take care of my body and improve my health" then go mess my system up with sugary, creamy coffee twice a day. No more! Once I decided in my heart that I was ready to quit coffee, I shared that decision with some members of F.I.T. Boot Camp. I did this to hold myself accountable to them. Knowing someone was bound to ask me if I'd had any coffee forced me to stay committed when the going got tough.
I know most people do not have the addiction problem with coffee that I do. Most people use it correctly. A cup of java can play a helpful role in giving one energy for a workout or the ability to drop some water weight. I am by no means suggesting others should also quit coffee. My husband still drinks it every day and it's not a temptation for me because I already decided I'm not drinking coffee -- period. I finally got to the point where I was able to give up what I swore I'd never give up and I gained confidence by following through with a goal I set out to reach. I've gained back the time I used to spend driving to and from the coffee shop twice a day. I've kept the money I would have spent on my drinks and can use it toward other things.

I don't feel deprived.

                               I feel free.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Lululemon Exercise Pants $3.99 -- Say What!?!


I spent an hour last night and another hour today bidding on various exercise clothes on ebay. I go to boot camp three days a week and try to run one or two days a week so I need lots of exercise clothes. Unfortunately, I kept getting outbid on things at the last second. But that's okay with me because...

My weekly trip to the thrift store today turned up this pair of NEW Lululemon belted exercise pants --for $3.99! I seriously just about freaked when I saw they were my size! Even if they weren't my size I would have bought them just to turn around and sell them for some serious cash on ebay. Okay, that's not true. I would have just kept them in my closet so I could see that I bought $145 exercise pants for $3.99. Since they do fit I'll be wearing these babies often. They are so comfy.

My New Lululemon Pants

These are brand spankin' new pants, People!

Another pair of these same exact pants are selling on Ebay today: Starting big $110 or Buy it Now $130 + $15 for shipping!

Someone else's Ebay posting and picture. Their picture quality is way better than mine. I'm over it.

 Often I find great deals on less expensive brands, like GAP. Last week I bought this GAP fully lined, side-zip, herringbone wool pleated skirt. Because it had the week's 50% off number on the tag, I only paid $1.98 for it. It's perfect for fall.

Snub your nose at me and my thrift stores if you want. I don't care. I'll be happy to keep dressing cute and saving thousands of dollars a year on my high quality thrift store finds. It's the only way (for now) I could afford to wear such lovely brands like Saks Fifth Avenue and Lululemon. I have many other things to do with the money I save.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Lentil, Sausage, and Bean Soup

Most of the time my three girls tend to be pretty picky eaters, and so I can count on one hand the number of meals all five members of our family like to eat. Today I decided to let my three-year-old twins, Piper and Riley, create their own recipe for dinner. I took them to Target with the instructions to pick ingredients they would like to eat in a soup. What they created turned out to be delicious!

Lentil, Sausage, and Bean Soup

8 oz. dry lentils (cook according to directions)
32 oz. chicken broth (we use fat free, 33% less sodium)
2 large carrots, shredded
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can light red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
1 pound ground turkey sausage
1 Tablespoon processed garlic

In large pot, brown turkey sausage with shredded carrots and garlic. In another pot, cook lentils according to directions. When sausage is thoroughly cooked, add all of the ingredients, including the cooked lentils, to the pot. Stir and simmer until ready to eat.

We topped off our soup with Parmesan cheese and enjoyed it with hearty artisan fresh-baked bread.

I snagged this picture off google images because it looks somewhat similar to our soup and I'm taking the lazy way out.

I think I'll let the girls be in charge of our menu from now on!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Jennifer's Berry & Green Protein Shake

This is the recipe I use for my daily protein shake. I know it's good for my body and I enjoy drinking it. I often bring the ingredients and my blender with me even when I travel.

3/4 C. Water
3/4 C. Crushed Ice
3/4 C. Almond Milk - (Silk brand unsweetened 30 calories per cup, found at Target) - 23 calories
1/3 frozen banana - 25 calories
1/2 C. Mixed Berries (I use Target's Market Pantry Frozen Triple Berry Blend) - 40 calories
1 large handful of fresh spinach, collard greens, or kale - 5 calories
2 teaspoons Flax Meal- 40 calories (aka "ground flaxseed meal" – grocery baking aisle)
2 teaspoons Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter - 66 calories
1 scoop Designer Whey Protein French Vanilla – 100 calories

Put all the ingredients in a blender, berries last, and blend. Drink right away. This makes a very large shake. I try to talk one of my kids into drinking some of it. It will NOT be good to save for later.

299 calories

This shake has it all -- greens, berries, fiber, protein, good carbs, and good fat. I use Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter because it’s the only one I can find with only peanuts and salt for the ingredients. I buy it at Target or Reasor’s. Other peanut butters include oils, like palm oil, that I don’t want. I try to keep ingredients as natural and as raw/unprocessed as possible. I use Designer Whey protein because it is one of the “cleanest” protein powders available in that it doesn’t have harmful chemicals many cheaper products have. The French Vanilla tastes great. I bought it at Akins for years, but just found a 4 lb. container on Amazon for $49 (which is only $8 more than Akin’s 2 lb. container). I buy a large container of organic baby spinach at Sam’s. It’s so much cheaper than buying spinach at the grocery store.

There you go. I drink this shake every single day and just switch up which fresh greens I use (spinach, kale, or collard greens). I’ll be honest, the kale is horrible, but the spinach and collard greens are great.