The Best Compliment Ever!

Yesterday started just like any other Tuesday morning. Breakfast in the car while driving to work…. I was already at my desk working when I receive an email from my husband that he had sent out to my family and copied to me. The subject read “Khania- The healthiest person I know”. When I opened the link I was surprised (and a little embarrassed) that my husband had nominated me for this award on the Healthy State website. After a few minutes I also started getting some notifications from Facebook that he had asked friends to join him and re-nominate me. I thought to myself “but why me? There are people out there that do so much more than me”. Several friends joined and re-nominated me, writing some very nice messages along the way. Now I was really surprised!

In the evening, when I got home from work I asked him where did all this come from? He responded: “I heard it on the radio and thought of you. I’ll show you the letter I wrote to nominate you”….

Here is his letter.

I nominated Khania Contreras for Health State’s health and fitness award because she is a regular person with an extra-ordinary commitment to health, fitness, and happiness that is contagious beyond words.
Just over two years ago my wife and I were overweight, eating junk food, doing no exercise, and probably enjoying wine a little too much for a healthy body. We (she) decided that would change. She started exercising, joined a bootcamp (Jungle Fitness), started eating better, and signed up for her first 5k (Susan G Komen 5k, 2009) – all the while taking me along for the ride. Soon after the 5k, we were hooked.
Since that time, Khania has changed her life and mine, and has inspired others through her blog “Khania’s Journal: Healthy Living in Progress” (https://khaniasjournal.wordpress.com/). She has run a full marathon, 4 or 5 half marathons, dozens of 5k and 10k races, and even 5 or 6 triathlons. She has inspired me to do the same, and with her help I have lost nearly 50 lbs, recently completed my first half Ironman triathlon and am now signed up for the 2012 Arizona full Ironman triathlon. Today, Khania continues to work out regularly with Jungle Fitness Boot camp, swims twice a week at the JCC Swim Gym, is an active member of Miami Pace, and occasionally joins me for long bike rides on Key Biscayne or down to Homestead on the weekends.
Khania’s commitment to healthy living goes beyond just exercise and blogging. Khania has become a first-rate healthy-living chef. Her diet centers on the Paleo diet, but is not strictly limited by any particular fad diet. Instead, she tries to focus on natural unprocessed foods, eats organic whenever possible, stays away from fried foods, and eats as many fruits and veggies as she can get her hands on. Every week she takes a day to cook for the week. In that day she cooks a few known dishes and then spends the rest of the time experimenting with new recipes and original healthy food ideas of her own. Her cook book/recipe list has become quite extensive (filling two large 3 ring binders) and is growing every day. She is always reading books on nutrition and diet, and is hungry for knowledge on the subject. Her wide knowledge of healthy and delicious food is such that both her trainer at Jungle Fitness (his name is Edwin Lopez and he was named “fittest person” in S.Fla. by SoBe Magazine in 2010) as well as my triathlon coach, Gian Gil of Reaction Coaching, have both recommended Khania’s blog to others interested in eating healthy.
Her commitment to healthy living and diet in particular has created quite a buzz among people we know. Her blog (up and running since October 4, 2010) has gained a loyal and growing following among both people we already know and “Internet friends” that were previously strangers to us. In fact, she was recently approached to create and run a healthy “cantina” food delivery service. However, she declined as her work with the elderly would likely be compromised by the double duty of organizing and running the “cantina.” That’s right! She works with the elderly. She is a social worker and case manager with Amerigroup Insurance and is tasked with overseeing elderly clients typically living in assisted living facilities, and her duties include evaluating the mental and physical health of her clients.
Khania Contreras is an ideal candidate for your healthiest person award. She eats well, exercises regularly, inspires others to do the same, and still manages to have fun. And the icing on the cake? She does all of this without seeking financial gain. Khania is not a personal trainer, a paid chef, or a consultant. I am not nominating her to increase her for-profit-health profile as she has no for-profit-health profile. Khania simply has a sound and healthy life style that can be matched by few.

This is by far the best compliment ever! It’s one thing when someone tells you something but to see it written, specially when shared in public that really makes it special for me. Thanks so much to my husband, he made my Tuesday not just another boring weekday but a special day!!!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

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Cauliflower – Sausage Mac and Cheese

For those that include some carbs in their diet, this is a really good dish to try. I wanted to make a pasta dish but with some added protein and veggies to give it a healthier twist. So I came up with this….

Cook any Mac and Cheese pasta of your choice as directed on the box. I picked out a gluten-free brand.

I cooked some Al Fresco Sausage on a skillet until brown. Chopped in small cubes. Add in the sausage to the already cooked pasta with cheese sauce.

Steam cauliflower until soft. Let it cool some and then chop into tiny pieces. You can also put it in the food processor and chop.
Add in the cauliflower to the pasta and sausage.

Next, sprinkle with some low-fat cheddar cheese and bread crumbs. I used this gluten-free brand.

To finish, bake at 350 until cheese has melted and bread crumbs have browned, about 20 minutes. For the last 5 turn on the broil for a better crisp.

Egg Muffins

I’ve experimented with this idea of the egg white muffins I saw on Jungle Fitness‘ blog.

Here I mixed three whole eggs with one cup egg whites and added some Al Fresco sweet chicken sausages. All you have to do is cook the sausages on a skillet until brown and chop them up.

Place some chopped sausage into each cup and pour in the egg mixture all the way to the top. Easy enough! Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. It helps to have a silicone tray because once it has cooled down you can just pop out each muffin. I keep them all in the fridge and reheat 2 for breakfast everyday. It’s a great option when on the go!

30 Day Challenge – Final Post

This is it, 30 days are up today! If you joined me in this challenge, good job. As you can see below is a chart provided by the Wellness department at my job and I am happy to report that I’ve been successful. I will continue trying to eat like this for the rest of the year. Both these challenges combined have helped me keep focused on my goal. The toughest days are approaching as I have Christmas parties, birthdays and many more social gatherings. This is when you know how bad you want to meet your goal. That’s what comes to mind when someone is pressuring me to have a bite of something I don’t eat or to have “just one drink”.

Let me know what your results were. I know a few have reached out and asked me some questions, so give me some feedback!

Happy Hump Day!!!

Cheesy Sweet Potato Crisps

I love sweet potato and I’m always looking for new and different ways of cooking it. I found this fun recipe on Carrots ‘N’ Cake website.

Ingredients:

2 sweet potatoes
1/2 cup liquid egg whites
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425. Set a wire rack on top of a baking sheet. Spray rack with non-stick spray.

Peal the potatoes.

Grate sweet potatoes and then squeeze the moisture from them. (I just used my hands to press out the liquid with a paper towel.) The more moisture you remove, the crispier they get in the oven.

To the grated sweet potatoes, add the egg whites, cheese, pepper, and rosemary. Mix until combined.

Scoop out potato mixture and set on wire rack. Press sweet potato mixture as thin as possible. Repeat until potatoes are gone.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until potatoes are dark around the edges and crispy.

Enjoy! These are a great side dish for any protein.

Ham and Egg Cups

I found this very easy breakfast or snack idea and I loved it! All you need is a silicone cupcake baking sheet, slices of low sodium han and eggs.

Place each slice of ham on a cupcake mold and make sure it sits just like a basket. Then crack one egg in each cup. Bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes if you want the egg completely cooked. If not try for less to get a softer poached egg consistency.

This was my end result…

Have a great day!!!

30 Day Eating Challenge – Post # 4

So we are at about a week left of our 30 days clean eating challenge, if you started with me. I have not been on point 100 % of the time but this challenge has helped me to stay as close as possible. So far Thanksgiving weekend was successful and I did not put on any weight that week. Since I’m participating in a “Maintain, Don’t Gain” holiday challenge at work, I get to weigh myself every Monday and keep track of my progress. These two challenges are helping me be mindful of my food intake.

After the 30 days I will continue to eat like this through the holidays and hopefully I won’t be to hard of a challenge. For those that continue on here is a list of fibrous vegetables to help you stay “regular”. If you are like me, this one my only concern when eating clean. Include this food and it should help…

I’m interested in knowing who’s still on it and your experience so far!!!

FIBROUS VEGETABLES list

Alfalfa Sprouts
Artichoke Hearts
Arugula
Asparagus
Bamboo Shoots
Bean Sprouts
Beet Greens
Bok Choy
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Celery
Celery Root
Chard
Chives
Collard Greens
Cucumber
Eggplant
Fennel
Green beans
Hearts of Palm
Kale
Leeks
Lettuce
Mache
Millie lettuce
Mushrooms
Okra
Onion
Parsley
Peppers
Radicchio
Radishes
Rhubarb
Sauerkraut
Scallions
Snow Pea Pods
Sorrel
Spaghetti Squash
Spinach
String beans
Summer Squash
Water Chestnuts
Wax beans
Zucchini

Chocolate Almond Cups

I saw this idea online and I immediately had to give it a try. Luckily I had both ingredients at home. For this you will need dark chocolate of 65 percent cacao or higher, almond butter ( I used the crunchy kind), a kitchen brush and a silicone mini cupcake or square bite size tray. This is such a great dessert or even a snack when you want to have a treat. Give it a try!

Melt the chocolate in sauce pan on medium low.

Brush the chocolate onto each cupcake mold. Be generous and make sure enough chocolate is on all sides.

Place in freezer for 10 minutes. Than take it out and place a teaspoon of almond butter or just fill up each individual cup. Cover by brushing on more melted chocolate to completely seal the almond butter.

Place back in freezer for another 15-20 minutes. I like to leave them in there and eat them straight from the freezer.