I Tried Noom for Two Weeks and I’m Conflicted

It seems like every time I’m on YouTube I see an ad for Noom. If you don’t know about Noom, it’s a nutrition-based weight loss program that’s pretty popular right now. Noom costs $45+ a month and it teaches you how to make healthy choices using a psychology-based approach. This concept intrigued me so I signed up for the two week trial.

The Sign Up Process

When you sign up on the website or app (I chose the app), it asks you some basic questions about what your weight loss goals are and how quickly you want to lose weight.

I’ll include some screenshots below:

noomnoom

How it works

Each day it gives you activities to do, like meeting a step goal or logging your food.  It also gives you articles to read that teach you how to trick your brain into making better choices, like how to say no to the donuts your coworker brings to work (so hard sometimes). Plus, it gives you healthy recipe ideas.

Motivation is a large part of succeeding or failing at working out and eating healthy and Noom seems to understand this.  It provides you with a coach and a goal specialist. At the end of week 2 you are put in a group with other real life Noom users to motivate each other. You are also given a group leader, similar to your coach.

I thought this was pretty cool. One thing, however, I should say is that based on the very vague general messages and responses my coach sent me, I’m not sure if it was an actual person or a robot. No offense to my Noom coach if she is real but the messages I got weren’t ever personalized to me so I wasn’t convinced.

My Experience with Noom
The Good

I’ve never heard of a weight loss program using psychology to keep you on track with your goals so I thought this was a refreshingly new approach. The articles they have you read are interactive and seem like they are written by a friend. They are funny and self-deprecating. They were probably my favorite part of using Noom.

It also might be because I am a planner (Who else loves crossing off to-do lists?) but I really enjoyed doing the daily activities and watching them disappear after I completed them.

The Bad

A big issue for me is that you are supposed to weigh yourself EVERY SINGLE DAY. It’s supposed to reassure you that it’s normal for your weight to fluctuate. It had the opposite effect for me. I really struggled seeing my weight go up and down and then back up every day. It became something I really dreaded doing every morning. I normally weigh myself once a week if that much. I, instead, typically like to measure my progress by how I look, how I am feeling, and how my workouts are improving. So while Noom says to do it to reassure yourself that it is normal for the scale to change, it had the opposite effect of me and made me feel sad or frustrated constantly seeing a number higher than where I want to be.

Another big issue I had with Noom is that it put me on a very low calorie diet. I’m not sure why. It set my target maximum calories at 1200 CALORIES. I’m sorry but I am a grown adult who needs more than 1200 calories. I know that the goal of the app is to get you to lose weight but I think it is dangerous to put someone on a 1200 calorie diet. Especially someone who is very active. So every single day I logged my food and every single day I was told that I was over budget on calories. There was never any explanation given for why the app wanted me to eat 1200 calories.

Overall, I really wanted to like the app but I just have too many issues with it to spend $45+ a month on it.

I would love to hear if anyone else has tried Noom and what your experience was like!

The Easiest One Bowl Vegan Carrot Cake Ever

When I think of Easter desserts I think of carrot cake. I’m writing this a few weeks before Easter self isolating at home thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic and I know that I most likely will not be able to see my family for a while, and definitely not by Easter.

I was feeling homesick so I opened up one of my mom’s cookbooks that she gave to me a while ago. It’s a vintage Southern Living Desserts Cookbook from 1967.

Here’s a picture of it.

It’s old school. It has that “old book” smell which I absolutely love. There’s only one page that’s in color and there are basically no pictures of any of the recipes. All the recipes were submitted by Southern Living magazine readers around the US.

As I was flipping through the pages I came across a carrot cake recipe that I decided to use as inspiration. I adapted and veganized it and it is absolutely delicious. It is great on its own or with icing.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 flaxseed eggs (see below for instructions)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1.5 cup grated carrots
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/4 cup raisins (or other dried fruit)

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

2. Combine all ingredients into a bowl. Mix well.

3. Transfer batter to a pie pan and bake for 35 minutes.

If you want to make a glaze for the cake, just combine 1/3 cup powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon water. Super simple.

How to Make a Flax Egg

It’s super easy to make a flaxseed egg. Just combine 1 tablespoon flaxseed and 3 tablespoons water. So since this recipe calls for 2 flaxseed eggs you would double it and combine 2 tablespoons flaxseed and 6 tablespoons water. Set aside for a few minutes to thicken.

I Tried Drinking Celery Juice for a Week: Why I Stopped After 2 Days

The Plan

Have you heard about celery juice?   If you haven’t, it became super popular after the Medical Medium (who FYI isn’t a doctor or nutritionist and apparently receives health advice from a spirit) wrote a book about all of its benefits, like gut health, reduced bloating, and detoxing abilities. Some of his claims seem a bit outlandish and even dangerous (like that celery juice can cure ADHD or eating disorders) but I was curious to test out whether it really can reduce bloating and improve digestion.  I decided to try drinking 16 oz of celery juice every day for a week.

Now, I should preface this by saying that I don’t like the taste of celery. I never have. But I wanted to see if there was any truth to the celery juice claims so on day 1 I got to work on making my celery juice.

Day 1: Instant Regret

I’ve had really GREEN tasting green juice that I’ve forced myself to drink (because health is wealth) but I was not prepared for the taste of pure straight up celery juice. Oh my god.  It was a struggle to finish. But I powered through and then followed it up with breakfast about an hour later.

I felt okay until about noon when I started feeling really dehydrated. I thought that maybe I hadn’t had enough water so I didn’t think much of it. I drank 24 more ounces of water but the dehydration feeling never went away.  I looked online to see if anyone else had experienced this side effect from drinking celery juice. A few people had and said it may have been due to the high sodium levels in celery, compared to other vegetables. I don’t know how much truth there is in this since I’ve never heard of this before.

Day 2: Upping My Hydration

Ok, now that I knew that celery juice made me weirdly thirsty I decided to make a game plan. I vowed to drink a LOT more water. I drank 72 oz of water at work, plus more at home. Unfortunately, it didn’t help. I felt just as dehydrated as the day before and so weak. 😦 

Day 3: Back to Reality

There was no day 3 of drinking celery juice. I decided to stop my celery juice challenge early. This was a hard choice for me because I like to see things through and commit to what I say I am going to do. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a quitter. But I just felt that something wasn’t right and that I shouldn’t continue doing it if it made me feel sick (that’s just good general life advice too). 

So the moral of this story is this: not everything works for everyone. Whether it’s drinking celery juice or going keto or trying intermittent fasting or whatever the next craze will inevitably be, don’t just take what the internet says as fact. Don’t just blindly follow the next trend.  Think for yourself and if something doesn’t seem right, know that it is okay to stop.  Listen to your body because everyone is different. What works for one person may not work for someone else and that’s okay. Do what is right for you.

Your turn: Have you tried celery juice before?

 

 

 

Vegan Cream of Spinach Soup | Nutritious and Delicious

You can’t go wrong with a good soup. I’ve been loving making this cream of spinach soup lately because it is not very time consuming and is so hearty, packed with flavor, and nutritious (bonus!). It’s also a wonderful way to get some greens in to your diet and can be meal prepped in advance!

vegan cream of spinach soup

Instructions

To make this soup, you will want to peel and cook 3 small or medium sized potatoes until they are soft and mashable. Give them a good mashing and then set them aside. You will be pureeing them with the other ingredients later.

In a pot, sauté 1 cup of chopped onion until they start to become nice and golden. Chop or mince 1 clove of garlic and add to pot. Cook for a minute or so and then add 1 can of coconut milk. Add your mashed potatoes to the pot along with half a bag of spinach (about 4 cups). Cook until the spinach wilts.

Turn off the heat and carefully pour your soup into a blender (be extra careful because it will be warm!) and purée until the soup is super smooth.

Then transfer back to your pot, turn the heat back on, and add your seasonings. Add 3/4 – 1 tsp onion salt (or just salt if you don’t have onion salt), 3/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp cayenne, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp thyme, and 1/4 tsp black pepper.

This makes about 3 servings.

Enjoy!

Strawberry Walnut Salad | My Favorite Salad Ever

It takes a lot for me to eat a salad. They’re a great way to get greens in but I just find salads boring. Most salads. This one, though, I love and actually crave.  It’s ridiculously easy to make but so so good.

Instructions

Wash 2 cups of spinach and 2 cups of butter lettuce. (It’s really important to wash your greens!). Dry them off with a paper towel or use a salad spinner.

Chop up 2 tbsp of walnuts and three strawberries. Add them to your greens. Finish them off with 2 tbsp of your favorite salad dressing. For this salad, I use the Annie’s brand papaya poppy seed salad dressing or you could make your own!

What are your go-to salads?

How to Make Tofu Scramble – Easy and Delicious

This week I wanted to show how easy it is to get your greens in! Starting with the classic tofu scramble. If you’ve never heard of tofu scramble it’s a good alternative to scrambled eggs and an easy way to get protein in. Plus something about crumbling up the tofu with your hands is just so satisfying.

Instructions

First, chop 1/2 of a green bell pepper along with 3 white mushrooms. Sauté until softened.

While that is cooking, dice up 1/4 of an onion and then add it to your pan.

When your veggies are all cooked through, crumble 1/2 of a block of tofu (I use extra firm tofu) and add to your pan.

Finally, add your seasonings: 1/4 tsp onion salt (or just regular salt if you don’t have onion salt), 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, 1/4 tsp ground cumin, 1/8 tsp black pepper, and 1 tbsp nutritional yeast.

Heat until the tofu is completely warmed through and then add 1/2 bag of spinach. Heat for an additional minute or two until the spinach is cooked and enjoy!

I like to top mine with salsa and avocado. This makes about 2-3 servings.

What is your favorite way to make tofu scramble?

20 Things to Do When Stuck At Home

It’s a crazy time right now with so many places on lockdown. If you are social distancing (you should be!) and stuck at home here are some things you can do with all the free time:

  1. Journal. Writing about how you are feeling can be really helpful. It can also be helpful to write about what you are grateful for or what you are looking forward to.
  2. Maintain a workout routine. Exercise is good for the soul and can lift your spirits (endorphins make you happy after all). It is a good stress relief and something I try to incorporate most days. There are tons of home workouts on YouTube.
  3. Stick to a routine. I’ve been trying to keep as many of my routines as I can so that I can try to maintain a sense of normalcy. I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home. Even though I don’t have to factor time in for my commute, I still set my alarm and wake up at the same time every weekday, I still make sure to change into different clothes every morning instead of working in pajamas, and I make sure to get enough sleep at night to maintain my sleep schedule.
  4. Play with your pet. Animals can be a great source of comfort when we are stressed.
  5. Learn a new hobby. I recently bought an electric keyboard and have been learning how to play some simple songs on it.
  6. Clean your space. Having a clean space just makes me feel better. Being stuck at home is going to feel so much worse if you are surrounded by clutter.
  7. Limit the news. Being aware of news updates is important but at a certain point it can be damaging to constantly be checking online or social media. Instead, read happy inspirational news stories. I suggest following upworthy or goodnews_movement on Instagram.
  8. Socialize from afar. Skype or FaceTime with your family or friends. It’s a tough time so being able to see the people you love really helps.
  9. Stay positive. Think about the bigger picture. We are not going to be self isolating for the rest of our lives. This will end at some point so focus on that.
  10. Experiment with food. Bake something fun or try making your own bread. Get creative with the food you have.
  11. Clean out your closet. Go through your clothes and see if there is anything you don’t wear or don’t like anymore. Put it aside to donate.
  12. Dance. Put on your favorite music and have a dance party. Or choreograph your own dance.
  13. Check on your loved ones. We are all in this together so check in with others. It can be hard not seeing the people you love (which is why #8 is so important) so check in with your friends and family to see how they are coping.
  14. Get a plant. You can order plants online and get them delivered right to your door. I would definitely do this if I didn’t have a cat that tries to destroy everything. A plant would not survive in my house.
  15. Learn a new language. You’ve got the time! I use the app Memrise but there are a bunch of apps you can use to learn a new language.
  16. Support local businesses. If you are in the position to, get your food delivered from a local restaurant.
  17. Make a bucket list. Think of things you would love to do once we are freeeee.
  18. Build bonds. If you live with others, use this as an opportunity to spend more time with them.
  19. Take an online class. There are so many free classes you can take from websites like Udemy, Future Learn, Skillshare, and so much more.
  20. Focus on self care. Meditate, take a bubble bath, or put on a face mask. You deserve it.

8 Self Love Quotes For a Bad Day

These are some of my favorite quotes about loving yourself if you are ever feeling down. What are some of your favorites?

“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”

Louise L. Hay

“Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.”

Veronica A. Shoffstall

“To love yourself right now, just as you are, is to give yourself heaven. Don’t wait until you die. If you wait, you die now. If you love, you live now.”

Alan Cohen

“Loving yourself isn’t vanity. It is sanity.”

Katrina Mayer

“Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand-break on.”

Maxwell Maltz

“The reward for conformity is that everyone likes you but yourself.”

Rita Mae Brown

“To love oneself is the beginning of a life long romance.”

Oscar Wilde

“Whatever you are doing, love yourself for doing it. Whatever you are feeling, love yourself for feeling it.”

Thaddeus Golas

I Tried Meditating: My Review of the Calm App

2020 has been a stressful year to say the least.  I think it is safe to say that most people’s stress levels are pretty high. So I thought I would share my favorite way to meditate, in case you need some self care ideas.

I’ve been using the Calm App for several months now and it has been a wonder.  I started off with the free version which I really liked and so I upgraded to the full year unlimited plan for $59.99. As of today I have completed 119 sessions which is about 22 hours of meditating. Wow! They have a ton of meditations you can listen to (most of which are 10-20 minutes long) plus they upload a brand new meditation every day, called the Daily Calm.

I meditate first thing every morning.  Once I turn off my alarm I click on the app and zen out.  It is a really gentle way to start each day.  (Be careful not to fall back asleep though!)  The app is really easy to navigate and also includes “sleep stories” and songs to help you fall asleep easily.

I have always really struggled with meditation.  I get distracted and start thinking about everything I need to do that day, etc. but this app has been really helpful because the meditation sessions often remind you to focus on your breathing and teach you that it is normal to be distracted by thoughts.  The point is not to be disappointed in yourself for being distracted.  Instead, acknowledge that you are having a thought and then return to focusing on each inhale and exhale again.

What are your favorite ways to meditate?  What is your favorite meditation app?  I’ve only used Calm and Headspace so I would love to learn about any others.

Anxious about Coronavirus? Click here for free meditations and other free resources they are offering.

My Favorite YouTube Channels for At Home Workouts

 

It’s a crazy time right now. With social distancing and more and more gyms closing, here are my favorite YouTube channels for home workouts (no equipment required!).  I love these workouts on their own but you can always add dumbbells if you have them (or use water bottles!)

Blogilates

She has literally hundreds of workout videos you can choose from that don’t require any equipment. She also has a two week quarantine workout plan on her Instagram if you want even more workout ideas. I really recommend her workouts but, beware, they burn (in the best possible way).

Here’s one I recently did and loved:

Madfit

She has tons of full body at home workouts plus a lot of shorter workouts for if you don’t have a ton of time but still want to sweat. I love the variety of workouts she has plus she has a good amount of videos for if you want low impact and knee friendly exercises.

I really liked this workout:

Fitness Blender

I had to include Fitness Blender. When I first got into home workouts I religiously used Fitness Blender videos because they are great for all fitness levels and they have a huge range of home workouts you can do.

I really like this one: