Homemade Bean Burgers and “Steak” Fries by Jeff Novick

My wife and I tried this recipe and found the burgers to be very tasty, and the steak fries were wonderful! Thank you, Jeff Novick, for providing a terrific recipe that is easy to follow and very tasty as well!

The Recipe…

Bean Burgers
– Two Cans Low sodium Kidney Beans or bean of your choice (we used black beans)
– 1 Cup Cooked Brown Rice**
– 1 Cup Regular Rolled Oats*
– 1/4 Cup Tomato Sauce (or any salsa, ketchup, or BBQ sauce)
– 1/2 Tsp Salt
– 1/2 Tsp Pepper
– 1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder
– 1/2 Tsp Onion Powder
– 1/2 Tsp Cumin
– 1/2 Tsp Paprika

Mash Beans by hand with a fork or potato masher. Mix in all other ingredients, mix well and form patties. One batch will make 4-5 parties. Let sit uncovered in the fridge for 20 minutes to set.

Grill or broil burgers on each side till done.

*Can use ~1/4 cup cornmeal instead of the oats.
**Can substitute other cooked whole grains for the cooked brown rice.

“Steak” Fries
– Bake several large potatoes
– Let cool in fridge for an hour or more.
– Cut cold potatoes lengthwise into steak fries
– Place under broiler till golden brown

We’re Baaack!!

Hey peeps, it’s me, Renee. As you can probably tell, I haven’t posted anything in a very long time. My life has been pretty busy, and life gets in the way sometimes, as I’m sure it does for you all as well. I just wanted to post a little update on my health journey. As you know, I have been trying to lose weight for a very long time, with limited results. I have been riding the weight loss roller coaster for a while now. But, I am not a quitter, and so I am undertaking a new health regime in the hopes that I can get healthier and lose the weight that I need to lose.

At the beginning of the year, I joined the Beachbody team in the hopes that I could lose the weight. At the time I joined, I weighed 296.2 pounds. I went full in and ordered the Beachbody All-Access package with Shakeology, which gives me access to every Beachbody program ever put on the market, and the future workout programs as well. The package came with a bag of Vanilla Shakeology to try as a meal replacement. The package was a little pricey for me at the time – I think I paid around $199 for the package, but I was confident that it would be worth the money. So far, I have not been dissapointed. The all-access package allows me to stream all the Beachbody workouts on my computer, phone, and TV, which gives me the flexibility to be able to work out anywhere at anytime. It is available on the Amazon Firestick, which I purchased so I could plug it into my bedroom TV and work out in there. I have access to all the Beachbody programs such as P90X, Insanity, Hip Hop Abs, Country Heat, and 21 Day Fix, to name a few, plus yoga programs and a cooking program called FixAte. The Shakeology is actually very tasty as well, and I love adding various fruits to my shakes to give me variety. I find that they are filling and I don’t get hungry like I used to. We have recently swithced to the vegan vanilla and vegan chocolate flavors of Shakeology, and I love them both equally.

Anyway, I have been slowly working up to exercising with the Beachbody programs by doing chair workout programs to build up my stamina and get myself back into enough shape that I can use the Beachbody workout programs without passing out or killing myself. My wife found several good workout programs on You Tube, and we regularly do the chair workouts by Fuzion Fitness with Alexis (she has several good videos) and Full body chair workout with @KeairaLaShae (which looks easy, but will have you begging for mercy!). These two videos allow me to exercise and build myself up to being able to perform the Beachbody exercises at a beginner level. I will add links at the end of this post to the two videos we use the most so you can check them out if you’d like.

My wife and I have also recently (like, last week) decided to switch to a plant based diet to improve our health as well. I have to admit that at first I was very hesitant because I love my meat and eggs – and cheese! I was also concerned that there would not be enough variety to keep me satisfied. However, I have to admit that so far, I am quite pleased with going vegan. I have found many videos on You Tube that have helped my wife and I find recipes and different ways of cooking vegetables, and they make the food look so good! And, so far all the recipes we have tried have been delicious! Plus, I find that I can eat and not feel like I have a 10-ton brick in my stomach, which is great. And strangely enough, I have not missed eating meat and cheese. I have also lost a little weight. I am down to 289.6 pounds as of yesterday, which makes me very happy. I will post a link to our two favorite vloggers, just in case you’re interested in checking out vegan eating.

So, why am I telling you all of this? Because I hope that I can use this blog to inform and inspire other women who find themselves in the same or similar situation as my wife and I to make the change to a healthier lifestyle. I plan on posting some workout videos of my own, to encourage others to get up off the couch and get active. The first one I am going to post is of my wife and I trying to do a Beachbody work out called Cize. There are several videos in the workout plan, and the first one is called Craxy 8s. The video is a sped up version of our workout, and is actually quite funny. I have taken the audio out of the video because of the smattering of curse words that we were throwing out because we thought we were gonna die before the workout was over, lol. But, I want to share it to show others that it does not matter how much you weigh, anyone can get moving and get healthier because of it.  If you have any questions for me or my wife regarding Beachbody or plant based eating, please feel free to leave a comment and we will do our best to repsond in a timely manner! Until next time…


PS. Here are the links to the videos I promised you:

Vegan Eating:

Cheap Lazy Vegan: http://www.youtube.com/therosatron88
WHAT I ATE/DID TODAY AS A VEGAN: https://youtu.be/hHdf7VL215o?list=PLv41k0ucT6yWguX6Wa8-S6l5bOKgFMkwj

Blah, Blah, Blah

blah-blahHi everybody. Sorry for not posting in so long, but we have had many things going on in our household. We bought a house this month, and have been busy with the closing and with making the house truly “ours” by painting and making preparations to add a sun room.  It has been a wonderful and busy experience for the entire household.

We have also had some sickness in the family–my mother in law had a heart attack and had to have a triple bypass. Things were complicated by the fact that she is also diabetic. So needless to say, it has been a little hectic lately.  Work has been busy as well for both me and my wife.  It is hard to sit down and try to write when you come home dead tired from work.   Usually, all I want to do is sit down and watch TV–and most nights that is what I do.  But lately, it has not been that gratifying for me.  I feel restless and unhappy, and am not quite sure what to do to make it all better.  I have gained some weight, and am thoroughly dissatisfied with myself, my job, and what I have become.

How does one find the motivation when it is hard to muster up any enthusiasm for doing anything?  I feel like I have let myself down and my wife down.  I used to be able to be the motivator but lately it is hard for me to motivate myself to do anything.  I have been having bouts of deep sadness and frustration.  And it all stems from my low self image at the moment.  I don’t really feel pretty or worth anything right now.  I know my family loves me, but I feel like I disappoint them in many ways.  I’m not as attentive as I should be sometimes, and I find myself not being the kind of friend, family member, and wife that I should be.  I am bad at taking things, situations, and people I love for granted sometimes.  It is depressing.  And my own fault.  So now that I have noticed this, I need to make it right.

So, what am I going to do to turn this around and be the kind of person that my wife, family, and friends need me to be?  I am going to make a conscious effort to be a more attentive and loving partner, and make an effort to spend QUALITY time with my loved ones instead of QUANTITY time with them.  I will do my best to show them more often how much I love them and need them in my life.  AND I am going to try to appreciate myself more and improve my health by doing some sort of exercise daily, whether it be at work or at home.   I will take the stairs at least three times a day at work–even if I have no need to go upstairs.  I will use the stationary bicycle at home as well.  I have got to make a better effort to improve my physical and emotional health so that I can be the person my family needs me to be.  Wish me luck!

Anxiety and My Seizure Disorder

The world today is a much busier, fast-paced place to live and work in.  People all around us may have to cope with varying amounts of stress and anxiety almost daily.  Stress and anxiety can be found in most places and situations—you or your co-workers discuss stress and anxiety that is a result of your job, or maybe a situation in your personal life is causing you to be stressed out, or maybe a health concern is causing you or a loved one excessive worry and stress.  Whatever the situation may be, we all need to learn what the effects of living with too much stress, anxiety, or worry can do to our health—both mentally and physically.  I have had to learn this lesson the hard way.

I had my first grand mal seizure when I was 17 years old.  I had gone through a stressful situation the night before,  I was still upset over the situation, but thought no more of it until the following afternoon when my brother and I had an argument (albeit a playful one) about whose turn it was to feed the dog.  During this argument, I started seeing black dots before my eyes.  I remember grasping the bridge of my nose with my right index finger and thumb…and the next thing I remember is hearing my mom screaming my name hysterically while shaking my left arm.  It took me a few minutes to realize that I was lying on the floor.  I was totally drained…I was so weak that I could not even open my eyes at first.  I had no idea what had happened, but my whole family thought that I was dead.  After I regained consciousness and got enough strength back to open my eyes and ask what had happened, my mom told me that I had fallen to the floor with my eyes rolled into my  head and began convulsing and gasping for breath.  She said that at one point I arched my back and stopped breathing altogether.  I stopped breathing until I turned blue, and then suddenly relaxed my back, gasped for breath, and got very still.  I had what is known as a grand mal seizure.

My mother took me to the ER to be examined.  I was admitted to the hospital, and spent a week in the stroke unit undergoing every test imaginable.  The results of all these tests?  No definitive reason about why I had the seizure.  Although I found out I was not epileptic, the doctors could not find a reason for my sudden seizure.  The only thing that they thought could have caused it was the stressful night I had the night before the seizure, combined with the argument I was having with my brother at the time.  They said that even though the argument was playful in nature, it combined with the stress of the night before could have triggered the grand mal event.  I believe their diagnosis, because every time I have had a seizure, it has been after a particularly stressful event in my life.

Long story short—I tried different seizure medicines, but had side effects such as rashes, severe dizziness and nausea, distorted vision, etc.  In the end, the doctor told me to practice stress reducing techniques in order to lessen the chance of having a seizure.  I have used techniques such as breathing exercises, stretching, and meditation to help me lower my stress levels.  I often “turn the other cheek” in order to avoid drama and stress. The doctor gave me that advice 28 years ago, and up until 2 years ago, I had been seizure free.  Within the past 2 years I have dealt with lingering illnesses and deaths in the family, and I began to have seizures again.  My doctor prescribed me anxiety medication to help me better deal with the stress of losing loved ones.  It has been a tremendous help to me, and I finally have control over my seizures.  They no longer control me.

Resolutions Suck

thCA4Q447HEvery year on January 1st the entire nation (and maybe even world) make resolutions to change certain things in their lives—lose 50 pounds, win the lottery, finally clean out that overstuffed closet, etc. And every year, many people break those resolutions within a few weeks or months. I have been no exception to this trend. This year, I decided to break the cycle and not make resolutions. This year, I made goals instead.

What is the difference you may ask? Well, in my mind the difference is that resolutions generally do not have any definition or plan behind them, where goals have some sort of plan as to how to achieve them. With that in mind, I have compiled a short list of goals for coming year. Some of them are health related and will help improve my daily living:

  1. Drink more water: Try to drink at least 2 liters of water a day
  2. Reduce my sugar intake: I love sweets—it’s my greatest weakness!
  3. Increase my activity level: Currently not exercising, so I am going to incorporate using our stationary bicycle for at least 20 minutes a day to begin with and then steadily increase the duration until I reach 45 minutes.
  4. Greatly reduce my eating out at restaurants: I am striving to eat more home-cooked meals so that I can control my salt, sugar, and fat intake.
  5. Reduce my stress levels and learn to manage it better so that I can eliminate my anxiety medication.
  6. Reduce my weight to the point that I can eliminate my blood pressure medication.

I currently weigh 279.4 pounds, and carrying all that extra weight is slowly killing me. My joints hurt, my moods are haywire, and I have chronic back pain. I know this is all a direct result of my weight, so I have made the decision to get healthier. I know it will be a slow process, but I believe that if I take baby steps and don’t expect things to change overnight, I know that I can accomplish these goals.