Bacon and Goat Cheese Brussels Sprouts + Post-Holiday Detox


Anyone else feeling extra sluggish today? I definitely am. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have the next week off. My holiday break consisted of LOTS of driving and eating, which was completely out of the norm for me. We visited Ryan’s family in NW Texas from Saturday through Christmas morning, then hightailed it back to Austin on to have dinner with my family. It’s been a whirlwind, and now it’s time to get back to the routine.

I was REALLY worried about losing grip on my good habits while we were out of town, but we made conscious decisions to keep up with ourselves and not fall out of step. I tracked my food consistently with the exception of Christmas dinner and tried to keep my macros close to the proportions that I’ve been sticking to. I wasn’t perfect, but that’s okay.

Ryan’s family lives in a very small town about 30 minutes away from any of your usual stores, gyms, or restaurants, so we weren’t very sure that we’d have a gym to use while we were there. So, we went to Academy on the way there and picked up dumbbells, a med ball, resistance bands, and an ab roller and set up a makeshift gym in his mom’s garage for less than $100 and kicked our own asses. Ryan’s family watched us do our own circuit workout and were awestruck when I did 50+ “man push-ups” as part of our finisher. It was hilarious.

The next day, we found out that there IS a gym in his home town, so we went there instead. (Oh well.) Here’s a picture of the at-home workout that Ryan drew up for us… I kind of wanted to kill him by the end of it:

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SPLURGE SPLURGE SPLURGE! (No Guilt)

I cooked a few healthy breakfasts and dinners while we were there (banana cream protein pancakes, spaghetti squash and meatball bites, and the sprouts below to name a few), but we ate much more of the typical “unhealthy” foods than we usually do (a few cookies, a slice of pie, a little bit of stuffing, 2 types of potatoes, Mexican food twice in one day, etc.). Here’s the thing: I don’t feel guilty about it, because I know it’s not my normal M.O. I know I won’t get stuck in a pattern of continuing in that way. I weighed the week before we left and planned to weigh again the morning after Christmas (today), and I’m glad I let myself indulge without beating myself up with guilt because I actually lost a pound. (Ryan lost 2.3… Jerk.) That’s the best part of having a ton of muscle from lifting and working out consistently — lean muscle burns more calories at rest. Since my body fat percentage has decreased and my muscles have grown from more lifting, I can indulge without worrying as much as I used to. My metabolism is WAY better than it used to be, and my body composition is more capable of burning off the occasional splurge. So yesterday, I dug into some Blue Bell vanilla and pecan cheesecake pie, and it was divine. There’s nothing wrong with indulging, as long as it’s not an everyday thing.

Listen to Your Body

Even though the number on the scale tells me that the past few days of abnormal diet and less-than-usual workouts didn’t knock me too far off course, I don’t FEEL as great as I normally do. I woke up later this morning, my face is breaking out, I feel more lethargic and easily distracted, and my GI tract is totally screwed up, meaning I can tell I haven’t been digesting things quite as well as my body usually does (probably because it’s full of crap that it’s not used to right now). I’ve trained myself to really listen to my body over the last few months, and I know it’s not operating very well because I’ve been fueling it with sub-par nutrients. That means it’s time for a little natural detox. No, I don’t mean a crazy cleanse — there are simpler ways to naturally reboot the system than trying some crazy cayenne pepper-lemon juice-honey detox.

Simple Detoxing in 4 Steps

First off, water. The next few days, I’m going to aim to drink at least 100 ounces of water per day to flush out all of the extra sodium and crap in my system. Normally, I drink half my body weight on a daily basis, but I know I’m dehydrated — I can feel it and see it in my skin — so I need to replenish.

Second, it’s back to the no refined sugar and no processed foods for me. I’ve had my share of that in the last week, so my plate will be filled with whole, unprocessed foods at every single meal. I noticed WAY more cravings for crap within the last few days because that’s what I’ve been eating (the body craves what you continue to feed it), so it’s time for me to get back to the good stuff and make my body crave sweet potatoes instead of brownies.

Third, SLEEP. I will sleep a LOT over the next few days. I’m tired from the long drives and the early mornings, so I need to recuperate. 8 hours a night, no alarm in the morning until January 2. So. Excited.

Last and certainly not least, I’ll be hitting the gym as frequently as I normally do with equal or greater intensity. Tonight after I cook dinner for my grandpa, I’ll be visiting the weight room at my apartment and hitting legs HARD. Tomorrow at 4pm, I’ll be back to boot camp and I absolutely cannot wait. Saturday morning at 9AM will be the same, and Sunday I’ll be back to the apartment weight room for upper body. There’s no better way to detox than sweating it out.

If you’re wanting to get back on track today or on January 1, these four steps are the best place to start. Be consistent with it. Give your body a little reset and flush out all of the stuff it doesn’t need.

Bacon and Goat Cheese Brussels Sprouts

20131226-191553.jpgBetween Thanksgiving and Christmas, this was hands down the BEST side dish that I made. Both my brother and Ryan’s grandma weren’t big fans of Brussels, but this recipe changed their tune. This is a little bit higher in fat with the goat cheese and bacon added in, but you can eliminate either of the two if you need to cut back on that. I totally wouldn’t recommend it, though. :o) Don’t reserve this for a holiday side dish next year. Make it this week! It’s easy enough to throw together on any normal night — plus, sprouts are so trendy nowadays… They’re the hippest vegetable I’ve ever eaten, I think.

Nutritional Overview
Calories: 122
Carbs: 6
Fat: 8
Protein: 6

Serves: 7-8
Cook time: 30 minutes (10min  prep + 20min baking)

 Ingredients

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  • 3 tbsp unsalted, grass-fed butter
  • 1.5 tbsp minced garlic
  • 4 slices of uncooked all-natural bacon, sliced into thin strips (width-wise)
  • Sea salt (to taste)
  • Cracked pepper (to taste)
  • 2 oz. crumbled goat cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 415 degrees
  2. Wash Brussels, then trim the ends and cut them in half. If they’re HUGE, go ahead and quarter them. Doing this allows them to get crispier in the oven and soak up more flavor
  3. Cover baking sheet with foil and spread your sprouts out
  4. Melt 3 tbsp of unsalted, grass-fed butter in the microwave and drizzle over your sprouts
  5. Top with sliced bacon, garlic, salt, and pepper
  6. Combine with your hands. (Just dive in and mix it all up real good)
  7. Bake for 10 minutes, remove and stir, then return to your oven for another 10 minutes or until the sprouts start to crisp and your bacon is browned
  8. Transfer to a serving dish and top with crumbled goat cheese
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