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Quest for the BiG Skinny Journal

>As promised I am taking you along on our journey toward the BiG Skinny. We are doing this family style experimenting with fitness, food and changing our thinking habits together. All of the years of fitness coaching I have heard the common dilemma most women come into as they choose to change eating and fitness habits with their families. Most give up after the first signs of resistance. After meeting some resistance with my family I began to feel like it would be easier to do it on my own and become the short order cook most women resort to as they make a meal for their family and another for themselves simply because it seemed like it would be too much work to get everyone on board. After some consideration I recognize that I was forgetting the most important philosophies I have held to all of these years.

  1. It is what you do most of the time not some of the time that counts.
  2. Eat high nutrient dense foods.
  3. Three colors at every meal.
  4. Everything in moderation.
  5. You are what you think so think outside the box.

To begin our Quest for the BiG Skinny we are cutting our carbs for four weeks to get the sugar out of our systems and to get our bodies to burn the stored winter fat for fuel instead. Funny how just before we began our quest it seemed the house was filled with sugar… just what you would expect after holidays filled with goodies.  To make the change over we have been reducing carbs in our main meals and purging the cubboards of sweets. Once I changed my mind about family meals, things have gone easily and effortlessly.

I decided that WinCo is my new favorite place for shopping. The bulk foods section is filled with nuts, grains, and spices that have been fun to play with, not to mention the availability of fresh herbs at an outstanding price. We picked up Quinoa (qeen-wah) on our first visit.

I had heard that this was a great “grain” to use in place of rice and couscous. After doing some reading I found out that it’s not a grain at all, but a seed from a plant similar to chard and spinach… that just makes it even more appealing as we are looking through our recipes and most include pasta, potatoes or rice all of which are off limits for a few weeks. Quinoa needs to be prepared by first soaking it. You can soak it for as little as 15 minutes, traditionally it is soaked for an hour. I would recommend the traditional method. Rinse the quinoa well to rinse any “starch” off of the seeds and to promote a fluffy end product.

This is what was for dinner tonight.

Steamed Fish with Lemon Olive Quinoa Salad
I modified the recipe for the fish we had in the freezer, with fresh basil instead of the parsley and almonds in place of the pine nuts. I would add less salt than the recipe asks for because the green olives are pretty salty. This would also be good with capers in place of the olives. 
I also cooked the Quinoa at a ratio of 1:1.75 which kept the quinoa from getting mushy. You can also toast the Quinoa after rinsing and before steaming to give it a nutty flavor. To toast add a tablespoon of butter to a skillet and gently toast over medium heat for two to three minutes.
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 4 center-cut halibut fillets (7 to 8 ounces)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup green olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Spicy Lemon Quinoa


  1. Fill a large skillet halfway with water and bring to a boil. Line bottom of a bamboo steamer basket with lemon slices. Set in boiling water.
  2. Season halibut with salt and pepper, place on top of lemon slices, and cover. Steam until fish is opaque, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together olives, parsley, lemon zest, and olive oil.
  4. Top fish with olive mixture and serve immediately with quinoa.

Read more at Steamed Halibut with Lemon Olive Quinoa Salad – Martha Stewart Recipes

Spicy Lemon Quinoa

  • 2 cups quinoa
  • Coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Place quinoa in a fine mesh sieve. Rinse under cold water until water runs clear. Transfer to a medium saucepan, add 1 teaspoon salt and 2 1/4 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until water is completely absorbed, 18 to 20 minutes.
  2. Transfer quinoa to a medium bowl along with pine nuts, lemon zest, parsley, cumin, cayenne; drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper; toss until well combined. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Read more at Spicy Lemon Quinoa – Martha Stewart Recipes

The verdict from the family was that some didn’t like the texture of the quinoa which is like small tapioca pearls and others liked the variation. I loved it because it’s not a grain, works well to replace rice, and takes on flavors well. Overall, this is a keeper. Once the quinoa is prepared (soaked and rinsed) you can store it in the refrigerator and use it as a morning cereal with fresh and dried fruit, as a side dish served cold or hot, and in any main dish.

Happy Eating,


Save the date, third Tuesday in March at the Transformation Station in Salt Lake City to attend my Body Contract Workshop. Details to come.


1 Comment

  1. Elle says:

    >Ya, ya, promises, promises, I know. My apologies to the follower of this blog that I have not kept my word about publicly journaling my diet and exercise habits. In my defense I do want to say that I have used the time wisely to create fabulous stuffs for my fans on my website and elsewhere places over the past months. I also want to say that I am committed to this project launching in full in 2012 so if you don't see a health journal on here by then, I should be flogged.Thank you for loving me in spite of my minor imperfections.Elle

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