FAQ Installment 29

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on June 10, 2009

Green morning everyone!

Another day,


another Amazing Grass Green Monster!

There is NO better way to start the day. :D Green and Glowing!

Here is the first FAQ installment from all the questions I answered while on my recent flight! No better way to get caught up than on a 4 hour plane trip, right? :)


231. Niki asks, “I was wondering why I never hardly see potatoes on your daily meals or on other people’s fitness blogs?”

Well, I can’t say for other people, but for myself I am not a big potato fan. I prefer sweet potatoes as I find they taste better. I like mashed potatoes, but Eric isn’t a fan so I rarely ever make them anymore!

232.  Kathleen asks, “Your blog is one of my favs and I have a quick baking question for you. I made vegan coconut cupcakes last weekend and they turned out great, but the bottoms stuck to the liners…any ideas on how to fix the problem?”

This is a common problem when baking low fat items. I had many low fat muffins stick to the liners before I finally just started greasing the muffin pan and not using any liners at all. You can also try buying the silicon liners (they are reusable too!).

233. Seagirlrun asks, “I stumbled across your blog a few days ago and am quite intrigued/impressed by how you changed your diet and exercise by looking at the “big picture”… I have read through your “transformation” posts and still have questions- What would you say are the top lessons you have learned that are now guiding your health and fitness? I have struggled with the yo-yo of diets/binge eating for many years. I have finally resolved to be good to my body and focus on eating healthy and exercising above all.  I am a little confused on how to determine what foods are the best for my body- can you help to clarify what you mean?”

234. April asks, “Hi Angela! I have recently decided to stop counting calories after realizing it was getting out of control. However, it’s really hard! I’m afraid that I can’t trust my body to tell me what it needs. Calorie counting gave me control, and now I have to learn what my body wants instead. Do you have any suggestions or advice? Anything is appreciated! “

One of the biggest lessons that I have learned throughout this journey actually seems a bit counterintuitive- I had to relax. For many years I was so hyper focused on every calorie, every weigh-in, every splurge that it literally drove me crazy and led to years of ups and downs with my weight. I had to loosen my grip and just let it be! This was not an easy thing for me to do because I am a person who likes to feel in control and like I am following the rules.

What I found out was that the more I sought this control over my weight, exercise, and food, the more it made me out of control. I was too focused on all of those things for too long. I never would have thought a few years ago that I could finally be free from counting calories. I did it for so many years it was literally ingrained into my daily life. It was an automatic process. I tried many times to stop and I quickly learned that it was like trying to stop smoking in a sense. I ‘relapsed’ many times and reverted back to counting calories once again. I finally broke free from it on my 5th or 6th serious attempt. I had to let go of it gradually. I would maybe count calories for a meal, then stop for the day, or maybe count a couple days in a row and then stop for a day.

Eventually, over a few months as I realized that I could trust my body, I didn’t feel that urge to tally up how many calories I was eating. Counting calories took all the pleasure out of eating for me and even took away my perception of my own hunger! For so long I only knew how many calories I had allotted for a certain meal, and I never really stopped to ask myself if perhaps I should just eat until I am satisfied and no longer hungry! Once I loosened my grip and stopped the daily obsession I felt so much healthier. Now I eat until I feel content and satisfied, not until I have reached my calorie limit.

What I did was I took those negative behaviours that I was doing and I found new positive behaviours to take their place. I think this is key. If you are trying to stop weighing yourself not only do you need to remove the scale from eyeshot, but you also need to do something positive to replace that behavior. For example, if you normally weigh yourself every morning, perhaps replace that behavior with 10 push-ups. This way you are doing something you can feel good about and it takes your mind off the number and onto something more positive like improving your strength!

As for determining the best foods for your body, that is very much a personal choice. The food choices that I currently make are due to researching nutrition for many years. Nutrition has always been one of my hobbies since I was about 11 or 12 and I always read up on the latest research. I encourage you to do the same if you are feeling like you need a good base of where to start with your diet. I don’t expect anyone to eat how I eat and I don’t pretend that my diet is a perfect diet by any means because it isn’t. I don’t believe perfect diets exist. While I do suggest doing your research, I also suggest to take everything you read with a grain of salt. There are about as many recommendations out there as there are people looking for advice. Not everything you read will be good advice.

What I learned throughout my research training is to be a very critical consumer of what you read. Make sure the research you are reading comes from a reputable course. Read up on the top tier journals in the health field. Be wary of articles that do not cite proper sources for their claims. Be a Health Skeptic!

235. Leah asks, “Sorry if you’ve answered this already, but I was wondering what you use as a sweetener? Since you don’t do the fake stuff, I find it hard to believe you would use regular sugar. And in FAQ 28 you seem to not care for the new sweeteners either like Truvia. So what do you use? Honey? Or just live sans sweet…”

The sweeteners that I use for baking are typically agave syrup, brown rice syrup, demara sugar, tubinado sugar, honey, and natural cane sugar. I don’t tend to use any of the above in my normal diet as I don’t really eat/drink foods that many would sweeten (e.g., coffee). I do drink black tea on occasion and I have just trained myself to get used to drinking it without sweetener and a dash of soy milk.

236. Kathleen asks, “I have been reading your blog for a few weeks now and am really enjoying it so thank you!
I have some questions for you:
First off, how do/did you do it all! I would love to hear some of your tips for budgeting your time and getting it all done. I am currently juggling correspondence university work and close to a full-time nonpaying ballet apprenticeship and I am having a hard time feeling like I can get everything fit in, but that seems like peanuts compared to your Masters stage, so I want to know how you did it! ;)
You have mentioned that you eat vegan or mostly vegan now and I am curious (and really hope this doesn’t come across as being judgemental because that is completely not where I am going here, just curious) as to what your basis is. I get the feeling that it is mostly for health reasons, but having learned more about it do you agree with the ethical points of view as well? If you do, are you planning on changing other aspects of your life (like foregoing leather products) as well? If you do go that route, I would love to read about it, I am a Canadian as well and have been having a hard time finding vegan products, particularly shoes that aren’t hideous!
Anyways, thanks so much for a great blog (I am drinking a green monster as I write this!)
P.S. I want to see more of Sketchie, he seems to have been missing lately!”

1. You seem very busy so I can certainly see why you are having trouble fitting everything in! Last spring/summer was the busiest time of my LIFE. I was a full time Master’s student (preparing to defend my thesis that summer and graduate), I just got a new research full time position, and I was planning our wedding! I would be lying if I said that I managed the stress perfectly because I didn’t. I actually really struggled with that period of my life.

I was under a HUGE amount of stress from both school and work and at times I felt like I would have to quit either school or the job because I just wasn’t managing everything with the finesse that I wanted to. Poor Eric…he dealt with so much and was a great support for me. Same with my family. So many nights I would sit at my desk and cry because I was so exhausted from working, commuting, wedding planning, and then coming home and have to work on my thesis until bed. It was not healthy for me and looking back on it I totally regret that I took a full time job while I was still in school. It was a bad choice on my part.

I have a tendency to take on too much (still do!), but it is something that I am working on. I am a huge ‘yes’ person but now more and more I am learning that I can say no to some things and it is OK! But you are right- I did get through it, somehow, although much of it seems like a blur right now. My best tips for how I stayed healthy with regard to eating and exercise are these:

  • I got up and worked out before work every morning. This wasn’t up in the air unless I needed a rest day. It was part of my routine and I just got up and did it. I knew that when I came home from work the chances of me working out were very slim so I knew that it was either first thing in the AM or never.
  • In the evening, while I prepped dinner, I also packed my lunch at the same time. This way my lunch was ready to go and I could just throw it into my work bag.
  • I relied heavily on my slow cooker! In the morning I would randomly throw a bunch of ingredients into the slow cooker and by 7 or 8pm we had a fabulous dinner ready for us- no cooking involved. The slow cooker creations would also make leftovers for lunches and dinner the next night- bonus!

2. My reasons for eating a vegan based diet are a combination of health and ethical reasons. We now know that plant based diets reduce the risk of many chronic illnesses. As well, eating a meat free diet is the number one thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint on the environment- even more so than giving up your car entirely!

I tell others that I eat a 99% vegan diet- this gives me some wiggle room when I am traveling or visiting family and can’t do anything about it. For example, I eat fish on occasion when there are no other vegan menu options for me to eat (as was the case at the restaurants I went to on my vacation- they didn’t have vegan meals so I have to be flexible!). As for purchasing other vegan products- at this point I don’t know, but I can see myself exploring that route down the road as I learn more about it.

237. E asks, “What brand of liquid garlic are you using?  How much are you taking now that you ‘doubled it’?  How are you taking it ~ straight of the spoon? blended in your monster?  Mixed w/something?”

I use Kyolic Liquid Garlic and I mix ½ teaspoon into my green monster every morning. I don’t notice the taste at all and it is odorfree so it won’t give me garlic breath.

Stay tuned later today for another FAQ installment!



See you this afternoon:

  • How I am prepping for my 10K race this Sunday!
  • My thoughts on how I did with trying to be healthy while on vacation! Did I slip up, have areas for improvement, or get it just right? I ‘weigh’ in on this topic.
  • Later tonight- The winner of the Amazing Grass Giveaway! I extended the contest another day so you have until 4pm EST to enter!!!
  • Check out Help Meghan Run’s contest calcium giveaway!

Let's get social! Follow Angela on Instagram @ohsheglows, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Katrina (Gluten Free Gidget) June 10, 2009 at 8:23 am

BTW- I totally blame you for my Green Monster obsession!


Mara @ What's for Dinner? June 10, 2009 at 8:26 am

Yup, your fault I now go through 2 lb. spinach a week… can’t wait to hit a farmers market instead of the grocery! I’m doing the everyday green monster thing and the scrubbing thing with the hopes that my skin will even out before my wedding in November!


AGS June 10, 2009 at 8:44 am

Great post. The idea of replacing one behavior with another is valuable.

Also wanted to let you know that I’ve started drinking green monsters. Due to a pretty crazy schedule the last couple weeks, I realized I coulod “fit in” my dark green veggies early in the day. . . and it’s worked great! GMs are a life-saver for eating healthy with no time.

Question: I’ve been using a cup of frozen spinach in my GMs, instead of fresh spinach/kale. It’s cheaper, and easier to store. I think the nutritional content is the same — do you agree?

Actually, some research shows that frozen veggies may have MORE nutrients preserved as compared to ‘fresh’. Our poor fresh veggies have to go through so much before they hit the grocery shelves, oftnen many nutrients are lost ‘in transit’. I think frozen is a great option. I didn’t know that frozen spinach could work because I think a couple readers told me they had a bad experience with it. Good to know! :) ~A


Jenny June 10, 2009 at 9:22 am

Great post! I always love reaing your FAQ and answers Angela! :)


Katherine June 10, 2009 at 9:22 am

Thanks for all the FAQ responses! I Love the idea of replacing one behavior with another and prepping lunch while making dinner. I find that my mornings get hectic when I try to do too much and your tips will help streamline the little time that I have!


Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope June 10, 2009 at 9:31 am

Wow, thanks for taking the time to answer all those FAQ’s with such in-depth answers! :) I always love hearing more about your experience and advice.

LOVING the new “print” option! Have a wonderful Wednesday!


Holly (The Healthy Everythingtarian) June 10, 2009 at 9:44 am

I’m trying to break calorie counting right now too, and it is hard. I’m so programmed to do it, sometimes I forget I’m mentally adding it all up. Thanks for that post – I know I need to keep trying and just listen to my body.

Ya hear that body? :)


brandi June 10, 2009 at 9:56 am

great faq’s! I like seeing what questions people ask – some are ones I want to know and forget to ask and some are ones I never though of!

GREAT JOB with all the baking, and I’m glad you got home safely!

i want one of those sippy cups! :)


Rachel June 10, 2009 at 9:58 am

I tried frozen spinach and it wasn’t good AT ALL! I think maybe because it wasn’t baby spinach so the taste was stronger?

I also blame you for my daily green monsters – hubby looked at me this morning and goes “do you know you have an entire blender full of spinach there?” He definitely thinks I’m crazy!!


Recipes for Creativity June 10, 2009 at 10:03 am

I just got back from an airplane trip, too!

Anyways, love the FAQ, thanks for continuing to give out great advice. I’m wondering if you’ve read Michael Pollan’s “In Defense of Food”? I read it on my trip and it was fascinating and I think all of us who are interested in health and wellness would be interested in his discussion on food and nutrition. I know I learned a lot!


e June 10, 2009 at 10:16 am

Thanks for answering about the garlic question. I have one more pertaining to it. When you were just on vac I think you stated you used one tablet or capsule in you gm? Did you open the capsule and dump in the powder and/or if it was a pill did you chop it up? I’m asking because I have pills I want to finish before ordering the liquid. Thanks as always for the great advice.

You just ‘twist’ the capsule from both ends and dump in the powder- my mom taught me this trick! ~A


David June 10, 2009 at 10:27 am

Good blog read linked above to Dilbert.com about switching to veggies.

Welcome home and good luck on your run!


Michele June 10, 2009 at 10:29 am

Thank you for the FAQs. I really appreciated the section on time management. I’m a mother of two and have a full time job. Managing my time is a must if I’m going to live a healthy lifestyle.

BTW – I have my husband and kids drinking the Green Monsters :)


Amanda June 10, 2009 at 10:37 am

Your healthy attitude toward food is so inspiring. I am struggling to break a cycle of disordered eating, but have so much trouble just going with the flow and being okay about little splurges here and there. I KNOW deep down that because I am a runner and generally a very healthy eater, that these indulgences should be both allowed and enjoyed! It is frustrating to be a perfectionist who feels so much guilt if I step off of the “good eating” path.


april June 10, 2009 at 10:50 am

Thanks for answering my question! I’m actually doing pretty well with the calorie counting, although I’ve been easing into it. At the end of the day I have been totaling up my calories just to show myself that my body knows what it wants and that I haven’t gone overboard. I hope to slowly stop altogether!


trish (girlatgym) June 10, 2009 at 10:55 am

Love the Q&A! :-) There is some really great/helpful info here.


Fitzalan June 10, 2009 at 11:12 am

I have to say…your calorie counting story is so similar to mine. And I thought I was alone in the fact that I basically got addicted to calorie counting. And I would force myself to eat when I wasn’t hungry because I had to have my 300 calories I had allocated for lunch…I just completely killed any intuitive eating.

How long would you say did it take for your to really kick your disorderly eating habits? How long was it until you can say you trust your body? Also how long was it after you had accepted these new habits that you reached you equilibrium regarding your weight?

Happiness Awaits


kim June 10, 2009 at 11:18 am

I’m a recent calorie counting convert here too. It’s been hard, BUT I’m actually starting to learn to listen to my body, which is nice. Another habit I’m trying to break is timed eating. I tend to want to eat at noon and 6 for lunch and dinner, even if I’m not actually hungry, it’s just that I’ve trained myself to say I’m “supposed” to eat a full lunch or dinner at those times. Any advice/tips on how to work on that part of the disorderly eating? I think that if I can get that fixed, I’d be really on my way to achieving my goals!


[email protected] June 10, 2009 at 11:43 am

I can not wait to receive the samples of Amazing Grass that they are sending me!!!!
Angela, I would love to have you do a guest post on your favorite places to visit in Canada later this summer on my blog, if you have the time! I am lining up guest bloggers for when I (hopefully) get to go on vacation!


Nicole (the other one) June 10, 2009 at 11:47 am

To “Recipes for Creativity” – everyone always raves about “In Defense of Food”. It was good, but I thought Pollan’s “Omnivore’s Dilema” was even better. Check it out if you haven’t already.


tj June 10, 2009 at 11:58 am

Not sure if you answered this question already but I was wondering which amazing grass product are you adding to your green monster smoothies?? I want to go to the health food store today to see if they carry it there.

:) Thanks Angela!!


Rachel June 10, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Did I miss what the OSGMOM birthday surprise was???


Diana (Soap & Chocolate) June 10, 2009 at 12:16 pm

I LOVE Your answers to these questions, Angela. Especially re: calorie counting and giving it up. I’m in the process of giving it up right now myself and finding it hard to reliquish that control. Doing ok so far and mainly reminding myself to trust the good things I learned from calorie counting and to let go of the bad effects it had on my psyche. I know full well by now what a good portion of ANY food is, so I just need to quiet my brain and eat that way! It shouldn’t be more stressful than that.

Thanks for good thoughts!


Recipes for Creativity June 10, 2009 at 12:51 pm

Nicole (the other one) I will definitely check out Pollan’s other book – I got this one out from the library so I’ll check to see if they have the other one as well!


AGS June 10, 2009 at 1:25 pm

A follow up to the comment about frozen spinach. I did try it with several cups of lightly steamed spinach (which I happened to have on hand) the first time, and the taste was different (not as “strong”). But I guess I don’t mind a really strong taste. (I used to drink just wheat grass juice all by itself.) So, if you don’t want a spinach flavor, then you probably shouldn’t go with frozen.


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