Archives for gluten-free spaghetti

Plant-Based Eating :: Volume II Day 8

Day 8 Volume II

It was time to get real today and challenge my sugar intake. Over the years I have cut out more, and more, and more sugar… but according to My Fitness Pal I’m still WAY over what my daily intake should be. I say “get real”, because I grew up surrounded by sweet treats and baked goods. My grandparents started a bakery in 1952 and it is still in operation today! So my outlook on sugar was pretty skewed growing up. We make a pretty tasty product… actually, MULTIPLE products. You won’t find a bakery like this on every corner like Starbuck’s or Dunkin’ Donuts. We have one store, that’s it.


I could go on an on about our family business, but I think you already get the point. I included the above visual to drive it home. I grew up around sugar, amazing, tasty, addictive, white sugar. My sugar tolerance was abnormally high compared to the average person. I could eat a slice of chocolate cake minutes before going to bed and sleep like a baby. But the older I’ve become and the easier it is to pack on the pounds I’ve learned to make adjustments to my daily intake of foods.

Now to really educate myself today, I looked to the experts. I found an article on the American Heart Association’s website that is really straight forward. The key word in everything I read about sugar, is ADDED. Not sugar from a banana, apple or carrot, that sugar is considered intrinsic sugar since its an integral part of the whole fruit. Added sugar is refined or processed and NOT naturally occurring and offers our bodies zero nutrition – this is the bad guy. The number one culprit is soda or drinks containing sweeteners – shocking I know. The “good” news is the experts say we can have some refined sugar each day – yay!!!! If you are a woman (or small man) – 6 TEASPOONS. If you are a man (or large woman) – 8 TEASPOONS. The current average American’s intake? 22.2 teaspoons a day. Just one 12 oz. soda has 10.5 teaspoons of sugar. (If you want some super serious reading, you can check out this scientific statement released by the American Heart Association.)

For the past year and a half Mr. Zucchini Runner and I have been very careful about our added sugar intake. We don’t use refined sugar when baking, and started making our own peanut butter and spaghetti sauce because most brands like to add sugar of some sort. We always look for extra sugar in anything pre-made at the store; you’d be surprised at how many brands do it! So the sugars I’ve been giving at the end of each journaled day are mostly from fruit! Unfortunately My Fitness Pal doesn’t distinguish between added or intrinsic sugars. They just give you the RED NUMBERS with the negative sign, which freaks me out! All my research today was very useful, and made me even more aware of sugars in general. I watched my added sugars like a hawk today and I STILL got the red number, only this time I didn’t freak out! 😉

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For breakfast I wanted to try something different; no smoothies, no eggs, no oatmeal. I went all veggie and beans, much like my dinner from Day 7. I combined a bit of grapeseed oil, onion, celery, zucchini, kale, tomato and garbanzo beans. I seasoned it with a little curry powder and pepper, topped with some hot sauce. (538 calories, 93 carbs, 12 g fat, 24 g protein, 14 g INTRINSIC sugar)


Mr. Zucchini Runner was really proud of his egg platter this morning, so I took a picture and promised I would share it!

As I stated in Day 2, we get our eggs from a local couple, Adam and Melissa, who have their own hens in their backyard. They are very well fed and cared for, and their daughter has a special attachment with each one! I’m of the firm belief that if we are taking from an animal, we should give something in return. They clearly have a great give and take relationship! Plus, these eggs are way cooler looking than the factory-farmed store bought ones. 😉IMG_3007

We skipped coffee today since we ate breakfast so late… so I tried some tea I’ve had in my pantry since Christmas. I tried it once and didn’t really like it. Since I used the last bag of my favorite tea last night, I thought I’ve give this one a shot. I even added some cinnamon. It was really good – and good for me!peppermint_cocoa

For our late lunch, we had spaghetti squash with lentils, onions, tomato and kale – a great standby that is loaded with nutrients and iron! (619 calories, 117 carbs, 3 g fat, 40 g protein, 20 g INTRINSIC sugar)IMG_3032

We went to a work happy hour and I drank nothing but water. I’m sure the restaurant looooooved me! 😉 By the time we came home, I was actually hungry again so I had a gluten-free, peanut butter, homemade applesauce and half a banana sandwich. (191 calories, 38 carbs, 4 g fat, 5 g protein, 14 g INTRINSIC sugar – I do not add anything to my homemade applesauce, it’s literally just cooked apples!)


Tomorrow morning I’m meeting up with a couple friends for an early morning run, so I made sure to fuel enough today! My legs are pretty sore still from Tuesday’s plyo workout and now this morning’s workout – P90X Legs and Back. The run should be a nice challenge! I’m super excited to try Shakeology after my run too! I had an awesome Beachbody Coach send me 3 free samples of their new vanilla flavor and I can’t wait to test it out. I’ve been wanting to try Shakeology for a long, long time… but just never pulled the trigger because of the price. I’ve recently started researching the ingredients and I was very happy with what I found!


Final totals today include a couple handfuls of almonds I forgot to photograph 🙂

Calories: 1,495

Carbs: 253

Fat: 32 g

Protein: 74 g

Intrinsic Sugars: 49 g

Quinoa and Zoodle Dinner

This is the coolest kitchen tool I’ve purchased in 2013. I love it! Dan and I frequent the local vegan restaurants and they’ve all started using this tool when creating their dishes. I knew I needed to find a way to get one too! Thank you Amazon. 🙂


This dish was pretty quick and easy to make and its packed with protein and veggies too!

You’ll need:

3/4 c. rinsed quinoa
1 1/2 c. water
1 clove of pressed garlic
1/2 c. chopped kale, spinach or other greens
1/2 c. canned butternut squash purée

1 tsp. olive oil
1/4 c. of chopped onions
1 clove of pressed garlic
1/4 to 1/2 c. of water
1 – 6 oz. can of tomato paste
2 diced and seeded tomatoes
few dashes of salt
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano

4 small green zucchini (you could also just use spaghetti squash, or pasta)

Start cooking rinsed quinoa, with water and garlic in a saucepan on medium heat. Cover and cook for about 14 minutes once it starts to simmer, turning heat to low if needed. While the quinoa cooks, you can start the sauce!

In a shallow saucepan, heat olive oil with chopped onions and pressed garlic. Once the onions are translucent, add ~ 1/4 to 1/2 c. of water (depending on how thick you like your sauce). Add tomato paste, and tomatoes. Stir to combine. Add a few dashes of salt, and dried herbs. Keep heat on low and stir occasionally. Add more water for a thinner sauce.

By now the quinoa should be done cooking. Scoop out a 1/2 c. of the sauce with a measuring cup and pour it over the cooked quinoa. Also add the butternut squash and greens at this time. Mix well. Salt to taste if desired and mix again.

Using a cookie scoop or small ice cream scoop, measure out the quinoa balls onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. I was able to make 20 balls with this recipe. Bake at 350°F to 10-15 minutes, or until crispy on the outside and golden brown.

This is a perfect time to make your zucchini noodles! Once they are all cut into noodles, place in a saucepan and spray with a little olive oil and sprinkle a few dashes of salt. Cover and let cook on med-low heat for roughly 5-10 minutes, depending on desired  tenderness. I prepared ours al dente!

Plate the zucchini first, topping with tomato sauce and 5-6 quinoa balls.

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