Today is a special day here at ZooFit. It is the birthday of our beloved tech-wizard, photographer extraordinaire, web-designer, and house artist, my husband, Chris.
Usually, I try to honor Chris in simple, healthy ways. I create a workout just for him (and me) (but mostly him). There’s usually cake of some sort involved, and a favorite meal.
But a couple things have happened over the past year, and even recently to change a little of our celebration. First, Chris got a kidney transplant (it’s a long story, but you can read a little about it here). After the transplant, we decided to change a lot of our habits. Especially our eating habits. Because we A) want to honor our donor’s amazing gift by taking care of Arnold (that’s the name our donor gave the kidney), and B) we want this kidney to last as long as possible.
We never really ate a ton of meat in the past, but after the transplant, we really cut down on animal proteins. The kidney breaks proteins down, and the more protein in your diet, the harder it has to work. So, even though steak dinners weren’t a FREQUENT birthday celebration, they were basically taken off the list.
Becoming the Ideal power Couple
This year, we embarked on a program called Optimize Coach together. The past few months, we’ve learned how to apply principles (very much like operant conditioning) to create the optimal lifestyle we want. We’ve studied how to create algorithms to create habits which run on autopilot. How to manage your energy, not necessarily your time, to experience masterpiece days. And lately, how to maximize our fundamentals- eating, moving, sleeping, breathing, etc. For our last class, we focused on nutrition.
I like to believe we eat fairly healthy. We don’t follow a lifestyle, like Paleo, or Keto. There are a lot of aspects OF these lifestyles we practice, like no processed foods, whole, organic, and (especially this month), as plastic-free as possible.
But there’s always more we can do.
A Sugar-Free Birthday Party
Which is why I was filled with dread, excitement, and hope (all at once, yes) when Chris announced after our Optimize Coach program that he wanted to eliminate sugar from our diet completely.
Dread- there’s a lot of dread, actually, if I’m being honest. I dread getting rid of all the sugary stuff we do still have in the house. Because it’s just really hard for me to waste food by throwing it out. Doesn’t matter that it’s horrible for me. I justify it all the time by stating I don’t use it that often.
But if it’s in the house, we will eat it. That’s the Beaven curse, apparently. And I inherited it when I said “I do” 18 years ago.
I’m also excited and hopeful, though. Eliminating sugar and flour is one of the toughest practices we can do. And even when I make these pies, cookies, cakes, or scones myself, they aren’t part of a human’s natural diet. And getting back to natural is better for us.
So, what do you make for a guy who doesn’t want sugar in his diet anymore? On his birthday? During Plastic-Free July?
Well, I can’t speak for too many others, but here is what is on our list for today’s celebrations:
Fried Zucchini Blossoms
- 8-10 zucchini blossoms
- ¼ cup flour
- ¼ cup + extra (for thinner consistency of batter) coconut or almond milk
- ½ cup oil (I used sunflower oil today, but usually I use olive oil)
- Rinse off zucchini blossoms well.
- Mix the flour and coconut milk, adding more milk for thinner batter if desired.
- Pour oil into a large skillet and set on medium-low.
- Take one blossom at a time and dip into batter, completely covering it.
- When oil is hot enough, place battered blossoms in skillet and fry on each side for 2-3 minutes. They should turn golden brown.
- Remove from skillet and serve warm with your choice of sauces or on their own.
——🍂 HOMEMADE HUMMUS
4 servings ◈ 220 calories ◈ Carbs: 22.6g ◈ Fat: 11.8g ◈ Protein: 6.2g
- 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1⁄2 cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp each paprika, thyme, and chili powder
- 1⁄4 tsp salt (if needed)
- 1 Tbsp Tahini
- Heat chickpeas in a small saucepan over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes.
- Transfer chickpeas to a blender or bowl of a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and 1⁄2 cup warm water to the bowl and begin processing or blending.
- If mixture is too chunky or dry, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and continue blending until hummus reaches your desired consistency.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Spicy Carrot Chickpea Nom-Nom
- 2 cups chopped carrots
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (I get local yogurt in a glass jar with a metal lid)
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp red curry paste
- ½ tsp each paprika, curry, and turmeric
- 2 cups chickpeas, cooked and drained
- ½ cup chopped celery
- ¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted (I get from the bulk section)
- ⅓ cup raisins
- Preheat oven to 375F. Line a pan with parchment paper. Place carrots in pan; drizzle with oil and toss to coat. Roast, uncovered, about 20 minutes or until tender (If you haven’t toasted the almond slices, toss them with the carrots after 15 minutes, and return to the oven). Turn off oven and let carrots passively roast another 5-10 minutes before taking out of oven and letting them cool.
- While roasting carrots, make the sauce. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the yogurt, lemon juice, thyme, red curry paste, and spices. When the sauce is uniform and spices are mixed through, add chickpeas, celery, raisins, almonds, and carrots. Stir to mix all ingredients through sauce.
- Serve with your choice bread (as a sandwich) or lettuce (as a low carb, plastic-free wrap).