30 Day Mediterranean Lifestyle Challenge
We're in the lunch room as I write this. Cindy Mann is making Breakfast Veggie Burgers and Nature's Candy Parfaits. Recipes below. While she cooked, Cindy asked us to think about our biggest success and our biggest challenge so far. This is what we discussed.
- Cutting out sugar has been both a success and a challenge. Knowing that we were burning fat for fuel and not wanting to mess that up kept some folks motivated. Cindy said our mindset and self talk matters. "I can't eat cake because I'm doing this Sonoma thing." vs "I won't feel good if I eat cake." Get rid of "I can't." "I don't" is a choice.
- Eliminating breakfast out has been a success. There are both physical and financial benefits and some of us learned Ezkiel bread is pretty good.
- Realizing our emotions impact our behavior -- "I'm yelling at my husband, maybe I need to go to the gym." Be present. Recognize what you're doing. Think about what you really need. Cindy said she sometimes craves french fries after leading a healthy eating workshop. (I think we all love her even more now.)
- It's been hard to give up chocolate. Especially when colleagues bring in donuts and chocolate cake. Some managed by being "rule followers." Cindy suggested we think about how we manage when the "rules" are looser.
- Special occasions are a challenge. Some found success by having just a little taste of the treats they wanted most.
- Making the time to cook is a challenge. Cindy suggests making an appointment with ourselves. Having a handful of quick and easy meals to rely on during our busiest days can make this easier too.
- Having a mindful meal is a challenge when you have young children. Cindy pointed out that rewarding our kids with sweets might create connections that we don't want.
- Some have enjoyed cooking again now that they have a well stocked fridge and pantry.
- It's been great for some tackling this challenge with their family members.
- Timing eating with exercise is a challenge for some. Especially since the Sonoma diet discourages snacking.
- Most of us have found that our cravings have diminished. For some folks, it will take longer to rid ourselves of the sugar cravings. Cindy said some of her clients go for 30 days without sugar before they notice that the cravings are gone.
- Dining at a friends house poses a challenge when a meal that is inconsistent with the way we eat is served. Someone suggested offering to bring a dish that you can share. Cindy also encouraged us to talk with our friends about how we eat. She said this may empower others to stand up for themselves. Cindy pointed out that it is common in San Francisco for people say they're eat gluten and dairy free -- in DC not so much. Maybe we can help to change all that. Cindy said, if we do splurge, to be mindful.
Breakfast Veggie Burgers
1/4 red pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
2 baby bella mushrooms, diced
2 T extra-virgin, cold pressed olive oil (and a little more for sautéing)
1 handful baby spinach
1/4 cup bread crumbs
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of black pepper
- Coat a pan with olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the peppers, onions and mushrooms and sauté for 3 minutes.
- Add the spinach and sauté for another minute or until veggies are cooked to desired doneness.
- Let the veggies cool for a couple minutes and then combine the cooked veggies with the breadcrumbs and egg.
- Coat the pan with olive oil again and heat to medium-high.
- Portion 1/4 cup of the burger mixture and put in pan. Flatten with the bottom of the measuring cup so the burger is 1/2 inch thick.
- Cook for a few minutes on one side, flip and cook for a few minutes on the other side. Burger should be browned and crispy.
- Serve with salsa and plain greek yogurt.
This is a great recipe to use when cleaning out your fridge! Use whatever veggies you have on hand including grated carrots, celery and zucchini. Make the mixture equal to 1 cup of veggies per egg and breadcrumb mixture.
Nature's Candy Parfaits
Servings: A bunch
1 cup pitted dates
1/4 cup dried cherries (optional)
1 tsp cinnamon (or more to taste)
1 T agave nectar
1 tub Total Greek Yogurt
Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or any of your favorite
- In a food processor, combine all ingredients except yogurt and berries. If using a small food processor, do it in two batches.
- Serve the mixture over yogurt with agave nectar and berries.