Yep, I am going there.
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I’m not going to lie – it’s pretty great being a Trim Healthy Mama (and, no, I don’t get paid to say that). I don’t have to count calories or feel deprived. I can still eat bread, fruit, butter, and cheese. Best of all, my body feels good from the inside out.
As a former “newbie,” I know the plan and lifestyle can feel daunting, or even confusing, at first. So, I’m here to give you my best tips for starting (or restarting) the Trim Healthy Mama Plan.
- Keep. It. Simple. The best way to implement big changes in your diet or lifestyle, is to keep things simple. Know the basics of the plan for S and E meals. Make yourself notes, charts, graphic sketches whatever helps you keep the information fresh in your mind. Stick to recipes in the original book or THM cookbook, to start. Once you know the ins and outs of the plan, then you can venture out to the many great THM blogs for more inspiration.
- Find your support system. I was lucky to have my mother-in-love helping me with my first THM steps. I was always asking her questions and trying the recipes. Having her support and knowledge was incredibly important, not to mention helpful, in those first months. Ask a friend to go in with you. Head over to the THM support pages on Facebook and ask for a mentor, pen pal, or heck, a new friend. It will be a life
- Set yourself up for success. Busy working mom? Homeschooling mom with a few kids in your flock? Working and/or going to school full-time? Use your time wisely. You may not have much time to spare, so what you get is precious and it has to be used to your advantage. Plan your free time. Pick a day during the week to plan your meals (not just dinner – breakfast, snacks, and lunches too!). Scour the weekly ads of the stores in your area, make your list, and shop. Pick a day for meal prep, and get most of the work for the week out of the way. If you can, plan a few crockpot meals during the week that you can set and forget. Yes, you’re busy, but you are NOT too busy for yourself.
- Don’t be afraid. Making changes can feel difficult. Hello, we’re humans. Creatures of habit. None of us like change. But you know what? We adapt to change. Changing can be real gut-wrenchingly scary at first, BUT…we get over that. Once you get over that fear, guess what happens? Success. Everyone messes up a little at first, and you shouldn’t be scared to do that either. Push past your comfort zone. Try new things. Because that’s where the magic happens!
- Ask questions. There are SO MANY THM Facebook groups out there. The main group, Purists, Drive-Thru Sues, NSI (No Special Ingredients), Allergen Free, Turtle Losers, and Pregnant/Nursing just to name a few. Use them to your advantage! Ask questions. Look at the posts. LEARN. Trust me, it’s incredibly helpful having those groups around. Even as a “seasoned” THMer, I still use those groups for questions. When you learn the plan, and can answer member questions, jump in with your knowledge and keep the ball rolling. The groups also have files where you can access sweetener conversion charts, special recipes, fuel charts, and more. Again, use these things to aid in your success. They’re there for YOU, and they’re free.
- One at a time. Take it one meal, snack, and day at a time. Focus on what’s in front of you, and make it the best you can.
- Out with the old, in with the new. If it’s not on plan, either put it out of sight, out of mind or donate it. Again, it’s about setting yourself up for success. Can you really be successful with that Duncan Hines brownie mix glaring at you from inside the pantry? -_- Maybe not. I know, I know. “But what about the waste?” Food pantries are always in need of donations! Call a few that are central to you, and find out if what you have is OK to donate.
- Organize. I love my THM ingredients – gluten free flours, Pyure, extracts, collagen, whey isolate, gelatin, xanthan gum, and chocolate! I gotta have my chocolate. I’m also spatially challenged when it comes to my kitchen. Small cabinets, no pantry, and next to zero counter space. I got creative, painted and re-purposed some Costco-sized plastic containers for most of my ingredients. It’s especially helpful since I buy a lot of ingredients in bulk. You can also use clear plastic bins for extracts, spices, or the like in your pantry. They also double as excellent refrigerator organizers. Check out Pinterest for more organizing ideas.
- Look beyond the menu. If it’s one thing I’ve found out as a THMer on the go, it’s that you have more options than you know about. Options, that might not even be on a menu! You can still stay on plan at places like Jimmy John’s, Chik Fil A, Starbuck’s, Chipotle, Olive Garden, and even your favorite neighborhood Mexican/Tex-Mex joint. Jimmy John’s has the unwich (lettuce wrap). You can order breakfast wraps at Chik Fil A minus the wrap. Breve lattes at Starbuck’s, and bring your own sweetener. Burrito bowls at Chipotle minus the rice, beans, and corn. You can even have any pasta dish at Olive Garden served over steamed broccoli – who knew! My family and I love to hit our neighborhood Mexican restaurants, and I’ll usually partake in fajitas, minus the tortillas, or chilaquiles with grilled meat and veggies, minus the chips. All of this to say, just ask for what you need! Most restaurants are happy to oblige.
- Step away from the scale. It’s easy to be motivated by the number on the scale moving downward. It’s even easier to become obsessed with it. THM isn’t just about getting the scale number moving. In fact, you may not even see that number move much at first. Which is why you need to turn your focus inward – energy levels, blood sugar levels, fatigue, bloating, headaches. You’ll feel differences in these areas first, possibly before the number on the scale moves too drastically.
And last, but certainly not least, remember who you’re doing this for – you. Be kind to yourself. Celebrate your victories (not with cheat meals). And remember this is not a short-term deal. You’re in it for you, and you’re in it for the long haul.
I’m going to start this post by saying that developing this recipe was not easy. It took a few tries, BUT I finally got a winner out of it.
If you are not familiar with Minny, she baked the most amazingly decadent chocolate pies in all of Mississippi [in The Help]. A few years ago, I was inspired to make one of Minny’s pies for my family during Christmas. In short, it was a huge hit.
This year, I was determined to bring it back, AND make it healthier. Which brings me to the process…
It wasn’t what you would call, “pretty.”
This picture was actually from my second attempt – the first was so horrid it was thrown out immediately. But! Through my trial in error, there are many advantages for you – one, I have specific tips that will help yours be a success the first time, and two, it shows you that not every little thing that comes out of my kitchen is “picture perfect.” Perfection is a hard standard to live by, and I’m 100% a human who makes mistakes. I’m also very stubborn in achieving what I want. One try didn’t stop me. Two tries didn’t stop me. Three tries almost made me cry, but it still didn’t stop me! All this to say, don’t feel discouraged if things don’t work the first time. I’m still understanding that there’s a learning curve with leading a healthy lifestyle, and it doesn’t come overnight delivery.
Third time’s the charm!
Minny’s Chocolate Pie (THM S)
- 3/4 c almond flour
- 1/4 c coconut flour
- 1/2 c (or 1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1/3 c Swerve or Gentle Sweet
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 3/4 c Pyure or Gentle Sweet
- 1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Pernigotti)
- 4 Tsp melted unsalted butter
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 c unsweetened almond milk
- 1/3 c heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp salt
Preheat an oven to 350.
In a food processor, combine the ingredients for the crust and pulse until a dough ball forms.
Roll the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper, form a ball, then press it down into a disk with your hands. NOTE* Don’t work it too much with your hands, just light touches, because you don’t want the butter to get too soft. Place another piece of parchment paper on top and roll the dough out to about 1/4 in. in thickness.
Turn the dough out into a pie plate or 9in cake pan.
HUGE NOTE* My first 2 tries were in a ceramic pie plate. Nothing fancy, but it also didn’t work well. The crust would get too wet in some places, and completely stuck to the plate in others. SO FRUSTRATING. However, it worked perfectly when I used a nonstick cake round. I’m assuming the round offered more even heating throughout, which kept the crust crispy, not burnt, and allowed the slices to pop free. Choose wisely, my friend.
Press the dough evenly into the bottom and sides, removing the parchment carefully. Prick the sides and bottom with a fork, and crimp the top if you wish.
Take a 12in. piece of foil, cut into 3s, and cover the upper crust of your pie to prevent burning. I also then placed the pie plate onto a baking sheet for easier transfer in/out of the oven.
Bake the crust for 12 minutes at 350.
While that’s happening, prepare the filling.
Beat together the sweetener, cocoa, and melted butter with a hand mixer. Add the eggs, and beat for 3 minutes. Add the almond milk, cream, vanilla, and salt and beat to combine. (NOTE* Yes, the mixture is watery. Trust me, pie will be made out of it. I’m about to go all Barefoot Contessa on you – use a really good cocoa powder. Really, it makes a difference.)
Pour the mixture into the pre-baked crust and say a little prayer (just kidding). Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350. When finished, the outer part will be set and have a soft bounce to the touch, and the center will be soft-set with a little jiggle to it. The top of the pie gets a brownie-like texture as it cools while retaining the soft, fudgy core.
Here’s the hard part: let the pie cool completely to room temperature before slicing. The pie can be chilled for a firmer texture – it won’t impart any negative moisture onto the crust. However, it’s served best at room temp with a big ol’ dollop of fresh whipped cream.
I mean, you can share…but why?
When dinner goes exactly as planned, it’s a damn miracle.
This was obviously not what I had planned.
This is also what happens when you take your eyes off the broiler for a *second*.
It’s not always perfect. Lord knows my life is 95% “making it work” when plan A and B went awry.
A lot of bloggers wouldn’t even show you this, but I think it’s important. In an online-centered world where everything always looks so perfectly polished, it’s important to know that everyone gets blunders. I’m not shy about my blunders, no matter how big or small they are. I’m also not one to pretend my life is perfect. [HAHAHAHAHA – it’s definitely not.]
Truth is, I’m a mom who gets burned out really easily. My temper is shorter than I would like it to be, and I get overwhelmed very easily. Also, a big part of me getting past little things like this, is that I find a way to laugh at them. Because if I didn’t laugh, I would cry. A lot.
So, here’s to all you moms! The rockstars making perfect dinners every night, the awesome momma tossing together leftovers for the second night in a row, the wonderful woman feasting off toddler leftovers after bedtime, and all the rest of us in the trenches making it work every day and night. The char in my dinner salutes the inner char in yours.