Beef / Clean eating / Dinner / Kale

I Survived 6 Weeks of No Drinking!

Back in August I was really concerned about how starting work full time for the first time in 9 yrs was going to affect my life (re. working out and eating clean while staying sane) so I decided to quit drinking.
I know! Stupid idea eh?
I was thinking that as I was entering probably the most stressful time of my life, I thought attacking it sober was probably a good idea.
I used to love drinking. I loved the “adult” feel of drinking a glass of wine with dinner. I loved a cold beer on a summer’s night. I loved frozen pína colada served in a pineapple with a tiny umbrella. I loved jello shooters at the annual Halloween party (well I loved the shooters that night… next morning not so much!). Basically, I really did love drinking.
I quit drinking once before (well and 2 pregnancies so three times…). When I first began working with my nutritionist- her first requirement was that I quit drinking. I didn’t drink one drop of alcohol from January 27 until my fortieth birthday in April. 4 months of no alcohol! I did it! I was really focused at that time on losing weight so I found it really easy to stop the booze. This time was different.
This time, the no drinking thing was at first entirely based on discipline. I am not really focused on trying to lose weight at this time. I am super focused on increasing my fitness level though. My sole goal was to eat clean and focus on exercise and my new job. I set a goal to eat clean and not drink alcohol for the first 6 weeks of school (which conveniently brought me to Thanksgiving weekend). My awesome hubby committed to the plan too!
Sometimes during this temperance time, I found this super easy! Sometimes, it sucked!
As the weeks went on, something started to change. I began to miss alcohol less and less. I started to love that feeling of waking up each morning feeling energetic and clear headed. I loved being able to workout with maximum effort every time. I loved deep sleeps- uninterrupted by having to pee a million times because of the beer I had drank that night!
I think I be might becoming a “non-drinker”. I honestly can say this is the thing I personally find most shocking about my own clean eating transformation. I am living proof that anyone can change their lifestyle. I have changed and I am actually happy about it.
A year ago, I never would have predicted that I would maintain any of the changes I have made in my life.
Sometimes I can’t believe I’m still me– but I am still me- a me who works out, who eats clean, healthy food, who rarely drinks, who loves her life, who is happy.
I’m still me– just a little different.
I’m also still me who loves Lebanese food! Lebanese food is one of those meals that I definitely do not associate with alcohol. Sometimes, when I eat pasta I crave a glass of wine or hamburgers make me want a beer. Lebanese food makes me crave water- not sure why- maybe because it is already so healthy that I crave a healthy drink too?
Tonight for dinner I made one of my favourite all time meals! I made beef kafta which is a Lebanese beef patty loaded with parsley. I use my mother-in-law’s recipe but since our renovation is NEVER ENDING my cookbook is packed away I found this similar recipe on the internet: http://www.mamaslebanesekitchen.com/meats/grilled-kafta-kabob-recipe-kafta-mishwiyyeh/
You will need:
1.5 lbs ground beef, lean
2 large yellow or red onions finely minced (I use a cheese grater)
1/2 parsley bunch finely chopped
2 teaspoons of 7-spices (I used allspice)
1-2 teaspoons of salt (or to taste)

IMG_0350.JPG I usually put more parsley in, but my bunch was on the small size.
The kafta can be cooked on the BBQ or bake them in the oven.

IMG_0163.JPG You can serve them with the Fatoosh salad recipe you can find here: https://ichoosehappyblog.com/2014/07/19/bye-bye-pizza-night-make-your-own-shawarma-is-healthier-2/
You could also be adventurous and try this Kale Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad. I based the salad on my mother-in-law’s recipe but since it is packed away, I referred to this recipe http://food52.com/recipes/22792-kale-tabbouleh
You will need:
1bunch curly parsley (or 2 if the bunch is small)
1/2 bunch curly kale
1pint grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
2 persian cucumbers or 1/2 english cucumber, diced
1shallot, finely diced
1/4 cup quinoa
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup good extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste

IMG_1462.JPG
Next time, I would want to chop my kale finer, possibly putting it in the food processor.

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Choose happy 🙂

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