Thai Mango Salad

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A girl I follow on YouTube called Leyla from Getfitwithleyla occasionally posts recipes for healthy meals, namely vegan. This salad was one of those recipes I’ve been wanting to try for a while. It looks so colorful and full of flavor, and I’ll eat pretty much anything with mango in it. I also like trying new salad recipes to keep me motivated to eat salads and keep vegetables interesting. It turned out pretty well, and the flavors were pretty interesting because there were so many in this dish. It mixes sweet with salt, and spice with tartness. You can also adjust this to your own liking if you’re not a fan of spice or anything else in this dish. I didn’t follow Leyla’s recipe exactlty because i forgot to buy red onions, so I used shallots/green onions instead. I rarely follow instructions so I’m sorry I don’t have exact measurements of things. My measuring involves, “Yeah, that looks about good.”

Ingredients

  • Bell peppers/capsicum: assorted colors.
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 Mango
  • 1 Cup parsley
  • Bean sprouts

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Dressing

  • 1/2 Jalapeno pepper
  • 1 Tbsp grated ginger
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

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Directions

First is the painstaking task of cutting the mango, bell peppers and cucumber julienne style. Julienne is a fancy way of saying cut stuff into long thin slices. They make machines for this process but I like most people I imagine do not own such a machine. It is also quite trying to peel the mango, but I think my years of working in a restaurant have traumatized me from having to peel and cut onions and potatoes en masse.

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So, two hours later after you’ve completed this step you need to finely chop the parsley and green onions.

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Now set these ingredients aside to prepare the dressing.

Grate the ginger and cut up the jalapeño peppers finely. In a small bowl add the soy sauce, olive oil, salt, pepper, jalapeño peppers and ginger and mix together.

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The dressing may sound odd, but it’s what really creates the thai flavor in this. If it sounds too weird, you really could add whatever dressing you’d like to this…it just wouldn’t be a Thai salad anymore.

Now you just add all the ingredients to a large bowl and mix together. Leyla suggested to add cashews to this dish to add even more of an Asian flavor. That would be a good idea if you are eating this salad on its own. It is a pretty filling salad. I didn’t add cashews because I was serving it with steamed cod.

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This salad was pretty good to me but I like weird flavors and have a love for mango. I was actually pretty surprised with how much it had that signature thai flavor. I honestly thought it was going to just taste like a salad with soy sauce, but all the flavors work really well together. I actually think this would be a hit with my vegan in-laws so I’ll definitely be making it the next time we get together. I have to admit my husband didn’t warm to it immediately. There was a bit of slow chewing and a look of befuddlement going on, but he only likes about 3 of all known vegetables. He also is not a fan of mango.

But if like me you are drawn to the weirdest thing on the menu, are adventurous and have 5 free hours then give this a go!

Note: It really only took me about 45 minutes to julienne the ingredients, it’ll be okay.

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Reenergized and Motivated

After eating really healthy and working out for over two months I felt so frustrated that I had hit a complete plateau. I was saying to myself, “How much less can I possibly eat?”. I already felt like I was barely eating anything, especially since my schedule means that I often don’t eat lunch at all. So once I had finished my last semester and went on a small vacation I started off good, but by the end of it I was so fed up and feeling burnt out that I started eating poorly. I have to admit there are times in my weight loss journey where I wonder what the difference is in eating clean and eating junk, because either way I wasn’t losing any weight! But after eating poorly for about two weeks now, I have the answer to that question. There is a huge difference. Since I have been eating complete rubbish again I have noticed that I feel foggy, unable to concentrate and more than anything, I just feel lazy and disappointed in myself. Even though I wasn’t losing weight as fast as I wanted to, I should have reevaluated my goals and readjusted what wasn’t working. That’s what you do with any plan. You observe your progress along the way, and anything that isn’t working you have to go in and figure out why. Then you implement a better approach to produce real results. When I look back there are a lot of things I could have improved upon. I recently found a really inspiring blogger called The DMMD Lifestyle Revolution http://dmmddiet.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/weekly-photo-update-week-7/ and he conducted an SWOT analysis on himself. I thought it was a really useful tool in analyzing the efficiency and progress of your goals. So I’m going to try it here myself and I actually found that some of my answers were the same as his.

Strengths

  • Past success with losing weight.
  • Determination to succeed.
  • Available resources to aid in exercise and a healthy diet (free gym, beautiful suburb to walk in, my juicer, steamer, e.t.c….)
  • A partner that often helps support me to succeed.

Weaknesses

  • Not having a set schedule.
  • Having a dog that doesn’t walk well.
  • Anxiety.

Opportunities

  • Make time to eat small, frequent meals throughout the day.
  • Make exercise a priority.
  • Lead by example.
  • Eat lighter meals for dinner.

Threats

  • Living with someone who also has their own vices.
  • Anxiety
  • Work overload with school and work.

When I look at this I really realize that I have all the resources to achieve my goal, but I let little things hold me back. I don’t want to say that not living in a completely supportive environment is holding me back. The first time I lost the weight I absolutely did not have a supportive environment. My family and friends weren’t into fitness or healthy food and I actually lost a lot of my friends because they didn’t like that I was losing weight. But I was so dedicated that I focused on my goal and just did it. My mum actually said to me afterwards that she was really inspired by my dedication because I would not let anything get in my way. And now even though my husband isn’t totally into health and fitness like me, I shouldn’t let that hold me back. I think when you’re married or even living with your partner it’s easy to engage in mutually destructive behavior. You justify each other’s actions, and it becomes difficult to separate yourself from them and do your own thing. But I am the only one responsible for my actions and I need to do what I have to do. Even though life would be so much easier with a life coach and a fitness coach 24/7 that is not the reality for most people. We have to be our own life and fitness coach.

My brother shared this video on Facebook today and it really got me motivated to get back into this and turn it up. I must admit that I feel kind of lame for not being able to come on here and say, hey I lost all the weight now, and I’ve arrived. I think the reality with most goals and journey’s is that, it takes time, persistence and dedication. I like other bloggers and people losing weight have made significant progress. Katie Foley from Bringing my Sexy Back did her 5K marathon in Boston which was awesome (http://katiefoley11.wordpress.com/2013/07/31/5k-success/), Rebecca from Healthy Intentions is significantly building up her stamina (http://healthywithintent.wordpress.com/2013/08/13/still-trucking-along/), The DMMD Lifestyle Revolution continues to see weight loss and fitness progress (http://dmmddiet.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/day-52-sub-15-minute-mile/), and even I am able to do more weights and more squats than I ever have and lost 20lbs.  So I may not be where i wan’t to be yet, but I haven’t given up.

This is a short video about the beauty of hard work and dedication.

Breathing taking views in Lake Arrowhead

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One day I am going to rent a yacht, or better yet buy one and go out on this lake. Then I could be the one singing, “I’m on a boat!” and no one would understand because that reference is from the past.

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The amazing views from the edge.

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Side note: when I got home and looked at my photos I realized my husband is completely dressed in Nike and looks like a walking advertisement. If only we were getting paid…

Anyhow, definitely go and see Lake Arrowhead if you can because as you can see the views and hiking trails are amazing. I have to admit I really miss Australia, but living in California allows me to see so many different things and it’s all within driving distance. I also could not believe the cyclists that were riding up this mountain! They must have thighs and buns of steel! Just saying…

Hiking in Seeley Creek, California

One of my favorite things to do on my days off is to go on an adventure, which usually translates into going somewhere scenic and hiking. I love exploring new trails and walking off the beaten path. At the same time I have terrible coordination and usually end up falling on my butt after trying to walk down some crazy steep hill. But that’s where the best views are! I walked down into some crazy off-look today and had some kid walk past up above on the trail and exclaimed, “Mum, there’s a woman down there, can I go too?”, to which the mum replied, “Yeah and then I can come after you after you’ve fallen on the rocks and are bleeding from the inside out.” Pretty morbid and graphic, but she was trying to make a point I suppose….to an 8 year old kid….

Today we went and hiked in Seeley Creek and then went further up to Lake Arrowhead for the amazing views. The trail was pretty short and was a total of 2 miles. We were supposed to see a waterfall at the end of it with a naturally formed heart in the rock formations but the water was dried up. It’s amazing how nature creates hearts and in the photos you can see the heart shape in the rocks, and also in a tree trunk and branches.

Seeley Creek, California

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Hearts in Nature

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There’s something kind of cool about the fact that everyone on this hike wanted to see the rock shaped heart in the rocks that had been created naturally over several years of erosion.

Sonic was also a huge hit on the trail. Everyone always thinks he’s a puppy but he really just is this ridiculously small. While we were worried about taking him on a long trip we are trying to get him used to long road trips so we can take him up to Sequoia and Yosemite. He absolutely loved this trail though and I love taking him with us whenever we can because I think dogs should have adventures too!

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These photos take up a lot of space so I am going to put up my Lake Arrowhead photos in the next blog.

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An off week & a question for you all

I have not written a blog post in a few weeks and I’ve missed it! I have had a very hectic couple of weeks and after my last finals I had two weeks off from school. It was definitely a much needed break because I was just studying non stop. I went to Vegas again for my husband’s birthday, and this time we went to see some more scenery and headed up to Red Rock Mountains. It was beautiful there and we took a very short hike. If I had the right shoes on I would have liked to go further, even in the high heat of the desert! In the second photo you will see we saw some weird spiral rock formation.

IMG_3149IMG_3200So, I wanted to come on and admit my failures and the fact that I am a hypocrite. I know the last couple of posts have been very positive and my last post was about being committed wherever you are. But, being on vacation and then coming back to a lot of stress made me fall off track for a week. I don’t deal well with stress and that paired with my anxiety disorder is why I developed an addiction to food in the first place. I just wanted to come on and be real and admit that the journey to a goal is not always perfect. I’m not perfect and I have my weaknesses that can rear their ugly head now and then. I have never been someone who eats when they’re depressed. In fact that is the time I don’t eat anything! But when I am really stressed I have difficulty coping with it well and it is something I continue to work on.

I have been stressed because I am now in my last semester before I graduate with my AA degree with a 4.0 GPA. I have really worked my butt off in school and it has been my priority. But lately I have really been stressing about what major to pick and I am torn between how viable it is to follow your passion, and whether I should choose stability and security instead. I could very well have both but it is stressful! In our current time when technology is changing rapidly, the work market isn’t the same. Having a degree is now just 50% of what you need, when it used to be ALL you needed. But I’m not going to go into that in this post.

Other than that our lease on our apartment was ending so we were looking for a new place to live, and home hunting is almost as trying as job hunting! Long story short we decided to stay where we are because we like it, it was just expensive. So now there is the stress of having to work harder to pay crazy So-Cal rent prices. The fact is though that for me when things are really stressful and more so undecided and unknown, that is usually when I lose control. It’s hard to stay on track when you don’t know what life will be in a month from now, or two months from now. I didn’t know where I was going to live, whether I should move back to Australia, which school to study my BA in, nothing. That really affects a goal achieving process. In order to be successful, you really need to lay a strong foundation down and have a plan. Being wishy-washy and indecisive gets you nowhere. This was just a very strange week too because my lovely grandmother-in-law passed away and I wished that I had gotten to know her better and driven down to San Diego to see her more. My dad also finally sold his business that he owned for 20 years!

During these times when life gets crazy and you don’t have control over things, you have to let go and let things work out. One of my favourite quotes:

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I think it is during these times, and afterwards that we can really see what we truly want. After this past week of eating poorly I really saw just how much I hate the way I used to eat. It has only been one week and I already feel drained and just plain disgusting. It’s only been a week and I already don’t feel as confident about the way I look as when I was on track. It really shows how important eating well is both physically and mentally. And the danger is that the longer you let it go on, the harder it gets to get back on track. It doesn’t help to beat yourself up over it, just get back on track as soon as possible. Now that I am back in school I am getting right back on track and I am even going to try cutting meat out of my diet. I would like to become Pescetarian for both health and environmentally conscious reasons.

I have also been researching the whole idea of following your passion as a viable career choice. I think after the  “The Secret” came out everyone was almost misguided and disillusioned by the message of that film. I definitely believe in the law of attraction but I really wanted to look into what it really means and what it takes to truly live a life beyond obligations and necessity. I mean how many people do you know that are living or pursuing their passion? Even when I look at people who are doing well, or at least decent they are not living their passion.

So I’d like your input on this:

Is it better to pursue your passion, even if you risk failure and struggling financially? Or, is it better to pursue a career that isn’t necessarily your passion but that you have some interest in and could tolerate doing as work?