Easy Crunchy Asian Slaw

This is one of the best recipes I’ve stumbled across. My sister brought it to the beach with her one day this summer and I am so glad I took a bite! Talk about fresh and crunchy and delicious! You can serve it along with chicken, fish tacos, salmon or I love to serve it with some shirataki noodles – If you haven’t learned how to best prepare these amazing noodles, click here and you will never long for rice or flour noodles again!

Ingredients

  *   1 lb shredded veggies (your choice of cabbage, carrots, bell pepper, snow peas, broccoli slaw, brussel sprouts, etc) roughly 6-7 cups.

  *   3 scallions, sliced

* 1 cup cilantro ( or Italian parsley or mint) chopped

* 1 package shirataki noodles

Asian Slaw Dressing:

  *   3 tablespoons of olive oil

* 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil

  *   ¼ cup of rice wine vinegar

  *    3 tablespoons of SF maple syrup, agave or honey

  *   1 tablespoon of soy sauce (or GF alternative like Braggs or Coconut Aminos)

  *   1 garlic clove, finely minced (you can use a garlic press)

  *   1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, finely chopped

  *   ½ teaspoon of salt

  *   ½ teaspoon of chili flakes or chili paste (optional) – I use sriracha

* ½ C. chopped peanuts

Optional toppings:

* Toasted sesame seeds

  *
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  *   Instructions

  1.  Toss slaw ingredients together in a large bowl. Add cilantro and scallions.
  2.  Whisk Asian Slaw Dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.
  3.  Pour dressing into slaw and toss well.
  4.   Garnish with peanuts.

Salad will keep up to 3-4 days in the fridge.

Makes 6 servings

What the HECK are Shirataki Noodles??!!

Let’s talk about Shirataki noodles.  These are a great substitute for traditional noodles.  In addition to being extremely low in carbohydrates and calories, they help you feel full and can be beneficial for weight loss.  They have also been shown to have benefits for blood sugar levels, cholesterol and digestive health!  They are a translucent, gelatinous traditional Japanese noodle made from the konjac yam (also known as the Devil’s Tongue Yam or the Elephant Yam)

I’ve always WANTED to like shirataki noodles, but every time I made a dish with them, I was left unsatisfied. They were always lacking in flavor and had a slimy texture and they never absorbed any of the flavor of whatever sauce it was in which they were cooked! One day I decided to give it a last ditch effort and came up with this witch-craft and OMG I’ll always make these from now on! Thrive marketplace sells many forms (you name it, spaghetti, fettuccini, linguini, elbow and even RICE!). You can always get some at your local supermarket in limited forms (It’s usually located by the tofu in the stores). It is sold in two forms, Dry and packaged wet. I have never cooked with the dry noodles (I plan on trying it someday) so this is only for the wet packaged noodles.

You’ll need a bag of wet shirataki noodles, a colander and an acid.  My acid of choice is good old ACV with the mother, but you can use lime juice or lemon juice or whatever you choose.

Ingredients

  *   One bag of shirataki noodles in liquid

  *   Apple Cider vinegar

Instructions

  *   Empty contents shirataki noodles into a colander to drain the liquid, it is stinky, but it’s gone now.  So no worries!

  *   Rinse noodles under running water for about 30 seconds

  *   Place noodles into a bowl and add enough of your acid to cover them.  They don’t have to be swimming in it, just enough to soak each noodle.

  *   Leave noodles to soak in acid for approximately 3-5 minutes

  *   Drain noodles in colander again and rinse under running water again for about 30 seconds

  *   Once noodles are thoroughly rinsed, place in a pan with just a dash of oil (avocado is my go-to)

  *   Toss in pan, noodles may make a sound as the moisture cooks off, that’s okay.  You want to cook as much moisture off as you can.  It may take a while.

I usually cook my noodles for about 15 minutes to properly prep them for whatever dish I’m making.  You guys, this is totally worth it with the calories and carbs you will save and you get that satisfaction that noodles give!  Let me know if you try it!

I Don’t Run

I have a vivid memory of a time in nursing school when a friend ran a 5K and proudly displayed the 5K sticker on her car. Shortly thereafter, I was shopping and saw a sticker that displayed 0.0 miles saying “I don’t run” on it.

My white flag?

I remember at the time, thinking it was hysterical and of course bought it. I had every intention of putting it on my car, but something kept me from doing it. Some greater power distracted me every time I thought about it. Up until I became too obese to participate, I was an athletic person. I competed in sports all through school, and was an avid swimmer and ice skater in my earlier years. With no relief in sight, and failed diet after failed diet, it appeared as though this was maybe my destiny. Was that silly sticker my white flag? My blanket excuse for why I wasn’t out there with the rest of my friends being active? It was okay that I was the one sitting on my butt. But it wasn’t okay at all. I want to grab that ‘me’ at the shoulders and scream “this is not okay! It’s not excusable! Get up off your ass and move something!” Those who know me, know that after nursing school, came a career and desperately trying to start a family. We had a rough time with the first one. It took us a year and a half before getting pregnant with her. We had planned and payed for IUI and found out we were pregnant about a week before it was to be done! That fall before getting pregnant in my desperate attempt at being more healthy in the hopes that would help me get pregnant, I started the Couch to 5K program (C25K) and I would do whatever the app would tell me to do. So say I was on week 2, day 3, and it would lay out the plan for that walk/run (I.e walk 2 min, run 30 sec, walk 1 min, run 2 min….. etc). I remember whatever music played in my ears, finding a way for it to be about what my goal was (a baby) and that would drive me to succeed. But at a weight far greater than I am right now, even running for 2 minutes was a huge challenge.

Of course, we had our oldest daughter and then decided we wanted them relatively close in age and had a plan for when we would start trying with an end for when we would seek treatment again for infertility, but we never got to ‘start trying’ again….. never mind the fact that my pregnancies were totally different…. (with #1, I felt amazing and beautiful – 5lb, 5oz at birth – and with #2, I thought I was dying of CHF – 10lb, 1oz at birth!!) so our two girls are 17 months apart. Not quite what we had planned, and I wasn’t a young mom. I was 37 with #1 and 39 with #2. The first (roughly) two years of #2’s life were somewhat of a blur for me. It was total ‘fight or flight’ mode for a while, and then I was seeing clearly again. That’s when I started to realize that if I wanted to see these two amazing creatures develop and grow and flourish, I needed to do something drastic – and fast.

In my fog.

Looking back on it all, I find it hard to believe we are even the same person.

Craving workouts now

Now, I start my day with a workout (or two, depending on what the workouts are) on Beachbody on Demand – my current program is Morning Meltdown 100. Once to twice a week, I go out in my neighborhood for a run. I have been working toward a 5K gradually and finally hit it last week! I am constantly looking for ways to get in more movement throughout my day.

Starting the process of weight loss surgery and the counseling that comes with it, there is discussion of a transfer of addiction that can come along. We don’t, after all, have brain surgery and I am the same person with the same personality and coping mechanisms as I was before my surgery. If I’m not careful, my coping mechanisms could transfer from food (cause, not a possibility) to any other addiction and that was a moderate fear of mine. But I recall learning about exercise endorphins fitting the same cell receptors that (insert addiction) food/drug/shopping/alcohol…etc… fit. So if this is my new “addiction” (and I am not liking that term AT ALL!), Ill take it! What a great thing to enjoy and use for ‘coping’!

A Little Before and After

I’ll post more pictures of progress and journey later, but wanted to show a quick glimpse into how I’m feeling as of late. Words can’t even describe. ❤️

Dresses make me feel beautiful now!
That lady on the left couldn’t have imagined the workouts the woman on the right could complete and the distances she could run!

Late to the Party, but Better Late than Never….

On January 13, 2020, my life changed exponentially for the better. Beginning a year before, I had made the decision to take control of my own health and explored the possibility of weight loss surgery – specifically, gastric bypass. Making that decision was in no way, shape or form easy. It was the farthest thing from it, actually. I had just been diagnosed with hypertension and type 2 diabetes and was at the highest weight of my life. I had this wonderful husband who supported me and loved me no matter my size and I had these two beautiful little girls who watch and copy their mama and who want to be just like me, so I needed to make some serious changes in my life! I would occasionally catch myself thinking “Oh, I hope I get to see them in their school years” or “I wish I could see them get married” or “I want to be there when they graduate from high school”. NO mother of young children should ever say or even think those things to herself. Putting my thoughts to paper this way makes me cry as if I’m reading someone else’s words and not my own. I feel terribly for this mom who is trapped in her own body. But this was indeed me and those were definitely my thoughts. I realized that I needed to not only be alive for my daughters, but also, demonstrate healthy behaviors if I wanted to break the cycle. So. The decision was made for me to undergo gastric bypass and begin the process. It was a long process that was filled with visits to the nutritionist, the social worker, the surgeon’s office, group classes, etc. etc……. Part of the approval process includes losing at least 10% of your body weight, which is not easy at my age and my weight. But the gravity of the situation was not improving. I was so serious about making this change, I made a silent promise to myself and my children and family and I lost, in earnest, 40 pounds pre-operatively.
I was supposed to stay in the hospital overnight only. Surgery was on a Monday, and I definitely didn’t go home on Tuesday…… Or Wednesday…..No, I went home on Friday. You see, I had what is called the nurse’s curse. What that means is that nurses tend to be the ones where if something goes wrong, it will be with the nurse as the patient. I passed out in my bathroom the first night, which was a result of an internal bleed I had at the surgery site that I didn’t know about, and then ended up with two blood transfusions, the second of which gave me a massive transfusion reaction with rigors to terrify me. The recovery at home was slow to begin, but I have the most incredible support system, the least of which included my mom (who moved in with my family, helping with childcare, let’s not forget my dad who gave up my mom for that time!), my husband (who took amazing care of me) and my two daughters who called themselves my nurses, placing band aids wherever (not necessarily at the surgical sites), bringing me water, giving me the best snuggles (the most therapeutic thing I could ask for!) and covering me with a blanket when I was cold. I couldn’t have asked for a better care team! About four weeks post-op, I got up the strength to return to the gym. Starting slowly, I worked out minimally. Let me make it clear that I did not work out on a regular basis leading up to the surgery – or really much ever, for that matter. I worked out when I could. Which, let’s face it, could have been more. For certain, childcare was one area that hindered my workout ability. I couldn’t just leave my girls home alone while I go work out. So post-op, I went on weekends, both days when Seth was home. Working out suddenly became a priority and about four-ish weeks into a regular workout routine, COVID-19 hit hard. My gym closed. I was devastated. Terrified, really. I was scared I would lose my momentum I had worked so hard to maintain, I was scared I would be one of those unsuccessful stories with my surgery…… but I think that the closing of the gym was actually a blessing in disguise. That fear is what fueled my drive in finding other sources of activity and exercise. Starting out with YouTube videos, I had a 10 lb. kettlebell and some resistance bands, and did a bunch of workouts on there. Then I was introduced to Beachbody on Demand. This was the clear game changer in my life. Unsure of where to begin and which workout to choose, I began with 21 Day Fix, Real-time with Autumn Calabrese. This was exactly what I needed. During all of this, I was also home schooling my oldest daughter, who was in Kindergarten. We quickly developed a routine. Get up with the girls, make them breakfast, workout while they eat and watch something on their tablet, make a smoothie for all of us, home schooling, then, as the weather was getting nicer, we wanted to get out more, so we would get out and go for a trail walk, discovering that the girls could handle a max of two miles at a time, so discovering all of the greater Portland area trails (and there are MANY!!) was easy with an app that showed me how long each one was. So we would take a nice hike in the afternoon. This became the daily norm on my days off from work. On my work days, I would take the stairs from the ground to the floor where I work (six flights in total) at a minimum of three times during the shift. Soon, the trail walks were becoming easier and easier and one day I wanted to try running on one of the trails. So I did. And I was amazed at how far I was able to go. Actually, I wasn’t able to go too far, as my youngest was already tired and wanted me to hold her and made my life miserable if I didn’t, so she would walk and cry and walk SLOWLY. So, in order to not leave her behind, I couldn’t go far. Once I realized I COULD actually run a bit, I waited until I was alone and left the girls at home with Seth and found a trail and ran. It was a quick loop, so it was “only”0.61 miles. Well, that’s 0.61 miles more than I could have done pre-operatively, so……… I’ll take it as a win! I was flying so high after that! Once I knew what I was capable of, I brought the girls to the local cemetery (where many people go to walk, run, ride bikes…) with their bikes or scooters or whatever they wanted at any given time and I ran. Note that each of these times, I ran without stopping. Not once. This is something that many would take for granted, but that, for me, is unreal. 0.61 miles turned into 1 mile, turned into 1.75, turned into 2.15 miles…… no stopping, up hills, I would run wherever I could. Running in my neighborhood was also a fave, as I could go after getting the girls to bed. Put in my air pods and hit the road. What a freeing feeling. As the time went on, I sped up my pace by a lot and became healthier cardio-wise.
Lest we forget the whole food component of this process….. It’s funny, my exercise has become the shining star, but that’s not because I’m not focusing on dietary. It’s just not really a big issue anymore. Like, I’ve become very used to what I can eat and what I can’t eat. I steer clear of foods high in fat and high in sugar. It was a challenge at first, but has become so much easier as I go along. If I’m craving pizza, I can still have cheese with sauce in small amounts (remember, my pouch is small) and get the pizza flavor, just with no crust, and let me tell you, it is satisfying. I haven’t felt deprived one bit.

So, you’ve read this far and I haven’t even told you how I’ve done. Like numbers-wise…. Here goes. I’ve never told anyone this. My heaviest weight was 338 lbs. On my surgery day, I was 297.4 and I am currently at 236.6 lbs. So, for those who struggle with math, that’s 60.8 lbs lost since surgery and ………………….. wait for it ………………..101.4 lbs lost since last year. That’s a lot. And I feel it. I feel amazing. And, unless there are other plans for an early demise, it WON’T be because I’m unhealthy. Nope. So when I look at the girls and think about the future, I can think like other parents and say “I can’t wait to see………..”